Foreign Ministry Spokesman Qin Gang's Regular Press Conference on 12 April 2007
On the afternoon of April 12, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Qin Gang held a regular press conference and answered questions on the Six-Party Talks, the East China Sea issue, the situation in the Kyrgyzstan, the trilateral meeting in Addis Ababa on Darfur issue, the violent attacks in Algeria and Morocco and other questions.
Qin: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I have two announcements to make:
At the invitation of Mr. Tang Jiaxuan, State Councilor and Chairman of China-UK Relations Task Force, Mr. Prescott, Deputy Prime Minister, First Secretary of State and Chairman of China Task Force of the United Kingdom will pay an official visit to China on April 19 to 25.
At the invitation of Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing, Minister of Foreign Affairs Allam-mi of the Republic of Chad will pay an official visit to China on April 18 to 20.
Now, the floor is open.
Q: It is reported that the situation in Kyrgyzstan was worsening. What comment does the Chinese government have? Will it affect the SCO Summit to be held in Shanghai this year?
A: China is deeply concerned with the latest development of the situation in Kyrgyzstan. Kyrgyzstan is a friendly neighbor of China and member state of the SCO. China sincerely hopes that Kyrgyzstan will maintain stability, economic development and happy life for people. This serves the fundamental interest of Kyrgyzstan as well as the people in this region. China also hopes that the international community will play a constructive role in the stability of Kyrgyzstan's situation.
Kyrgyzstan is the rotating chair of the SCO this year. In August, the SCO Summit will be held in Bishkek. This summit is very important for the development of the SCO and the member states agreed to cooperate closely and assist Kyrgyzstan, so as to ensure the success of the meeting.
Q: Yesterday, the DPRK held the 5th session of the 11th Supreme People's Assembly, elected a new prime minister and set boosting economic development and improving people's living conditions as core task. This reminds us of China's 3rd plenary session of 11th CPC Central Committee in 1978, which mapped out the direction of China's development. China has registered a rapid economic growth ever since then. How does China comment on the meeting?
A: Thank you for your positive comment on China's reform and opening up program.
We noticed what happened in the DPRK. The domestic affairs of the DPRK shall be determined by the DPRK government and people on their own. China will not make comment on the domestic affairs of the DPRK. As a neighbor of the DPRK, we hope it will sustain its economic and social development. We are glad to see the DPRK further opens and develops its economy and willing to step up our good-neighborly and friendly relations with the DPRK on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit, so as to help the DPRK within our capacity to develop economy and improve people's livelihood.
Q: Premier Wen Jiabao announced China-Japan energy cooperation during his visit to Japan. Can you offer more details on that, such as figures and projects? The two countries reached consensus on the East China Sea issue in the Joint Press Communique. Does this indicate that China will stop its oil and gas exploration in the disputed waters of the East China Sea?
A: During Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to Japan, Chinese and Japanese leaders exchanged views on strengthening mutually beneficial cooperation in various aspects and reached important consensus. This consensus is manifested in China-Japan Joint Press Communique. China and Japan agreed that the two countries should strengthen cooperation in the energy field. Both of the two countries are big energy countries, and Japan owns advanced expertise and technology in this field, in particular clean energy and renewable energy. China is marching on the path of sustainable development and dedicated to building an energy-conserving and environment friendly society. We are willing to draw on the helpful experiences of Japan and step up energy cooperation with them.
As for the cooperation projects and other details, the two sides need further discussion. Chinese Minister in charge of National Development and Reform Commission Ma Kai, who is in the company of Premier Wen, will attend the opening ceremony of China-Japan energy cooperation workshop today together with Japanese Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Akira Amari, and co-chair the first session of China-Japan Ministerial Energy Policy Dialogue. This is very beneficial for the two countries to increase mutual understanding exchange and cooperation. We hope this mechanism will be carried on and yield new outcome.
As for the East China Sea issue, Premier Wen and Prime Minister Abe made a candid discussion on that and reached broad consensus. The most essential point is to uphold the crucial principle of "shelving differences and seeking joint development" and solve the differences on the East China Sea through consultation, so that the East China Sea can become a sea of peace, cooperation and friendship.
As for China's oil and gas field exploration in East China Sea, I have to clarify the definition of "joint development". The "joint development" should be conducted in the waters that China and Japan have dispute. Now, China's oil and gas exploration is conducted in the waters that we do not have dispute with Japan and thus a normal activity to exercise China's sovereign rights and interests. We hope Japan will understand this point.
Q: Japan think some of China's oil and gas fields lie in the disputed waters. Are you implying that China rejects Japan's delimitation claim?
A: China's claim on delimitation of East China Sea is based on the UN Convention on Law of Sea and the principle of natural extension of continental shelf stipulated by the modern law of sea. We have sufficient basis in law. Japan has its own claim on the delimitation and so China and Japan have dispute. We stand for friendly consultation as the way to address dispute.
Your question is actually out of the "median line" principle claimed by Japan and indicates China's exploration trespasses the "median line". China does not recognize the "median line" unilaterally claimed by Japan. This position will remain unchanged.
Q: Recently, the Sudanese government, the UN and the African Union succeeded in their trilateral meeting in Addis Ababa on implementing Annan's plan. The meeting reached consensus and issued a joint statement. What's China's comment?
A: China welcomes the agreement recently reached by Sudan, the UN and the African Union in Addis Ababa. We hope the parties concerned will implement the Annan Plan through equal dialogue and consultation, properly solve the Darfur issue and realize peace, stability and development in Darfur at an early date.
Q: It is reported that the DPRK capitals in the Banco Delta Asia has been unfrozen. Through what channels will the DPRK gain access to these capitals? What positive impact will this have on the reopening of the six-party talks? When will the six-party talks be resumed?
A: We have noticed the announcement by the Macau SAR Government as well as the earlier announcement by the US treasury Department. The Chinese side is now communicating with relevant sides, hoping that the BDA issue can be properly solved as soon as possible.
We hope that the handling of relevant issues should not only help to maintain the financial and social stability of the Macau SAR, but also promote the course of the six-party talks.
As to when the next round of six-party talks will be, I don't have any information on this right now.
Q: Yesterday, India test fired a ballistic missile. What's your comment on this?
A: We have noticed relevant reports. We hope that India, as an influential country in the region, can exert positive impact on maintaining and enhancing regional peace and stability.
Q: April 14th, the deadline for the initial actions is approaching. How confident is the Chinese side on DPRK's faithful implementation of the February 13 common document as scheduled? Has the Chinese side heard that DPRK wishes to postpone the implementation for one month? Also, sources say that Mr. Hill was scheduled to arrive in China today, but he has changed his itinerary and will arrive tomorrow. Do you know about his itinerary in China?
A: April 14 is coming, but hasn't arrived yet. It is not time for me to make a judgment right now.
We have noticed relevant reports from the DPRK side. We think that, either the 9.19 common document, or the 2.13 one, has expressed the political will of the six parties to realize the denuclearization of the Peninsular, the normalization of relations between relevant countries and last peace and stability in the region through dialogues, negotiations and the course of the six-party talks. Though currently, some difficulties have occurred in the implementation of the initial actions, the relevant parties are trying their best to solve the problems. However, the volitions of the parties in promoting the course of the six-party talks and realizing the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsular hasn't been changed. You can see that from the series of recent remarks by the leaders of the six parties, including Premier Wen Jiabao's meeting with President Roh Moon-hyun and Prime Minister Abe and the communications between China and the United States and other sides. We hope that relevant parties would attach most importance to the overall situation, overcome difficulties and implement the initial actions as soon as possible, so as to continuously promote the development of the six-party talks.
I think it is also natural that the six-party talks may encounter other difficulties and twist and turns in its future development, because the six-party talks has never been a royal road. But I believer, as long as we have common volition and resolution, we will be able to overcome the difficulties and strive ahead.
Regarding Assistant Secretary Hill's visit to China, I don't have any further information.
Q: Tomorrow will mark the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Joint Declaration of China and Portugal on the question of Macau. Can you comment on the significance of this document on Sino-Portugal relations and the development of Macau?
A: Ever since Macau was returned to China in 1999, the Basic Law has been faithfully carried out and the policies of "one China, two systems", "Macau people govern Macau" and high-level autonomy have been observed and implemented truthfully. Macau's economy has developed continuously and great achievements have also been made in social, cultural and other fields. We are very happy about that and have great confidence in the future of Macau.
Macau's returning to China is a successful example of the cooperation between the Governments of China and Portugal. It has infused new vigor and added new contents into the development of Sino-Portugal relations. Sino-Portugal relationship has enjoyed smooth development for the past years. The leaders of the two countries have maintained frequent contacts while cooperation and exchanges in all fields are being deepened and widened. We are willing to make joint effort with the Portuguese side in the future and further promote the development of Sino-Portugal relations.
Q:China doesn't consider the BDA issue has been successfully solved despite the Macau Government's willingness to unfreeze the fund. Am I right?
A: The proper solution of the DPRK's fund in the BDA should be defined on the basis of the two principles. It should be conducive to both Macau's financial and social stability and the proceeding of the Six Party Talks. We hope the legitimate and reasonable concerns and interest of all parties, including those of China's Central and Macau SAR Government, can be taken into consideration so as to find a proper solution to this problem as soon as possible.
Q: You said in Tuesday's press conference that Vietnam had violated China's sovereignty on the South China Sea. However, Vietnam today claimed that their exploration was within its territorial waters. What response do you have?
A: China holds clear and constant position on the South China Sea issue. China has undisputable sovereignty over the South China Sea and its nearby waters. We resolutely oppose any unilateral action of any other country in the South China Sea waters, which is violation on China's sovereignty and ownership.
Leaders of China and Vietnam have reached important consensus on the South China Sea that it should be handled through friendly coordination from the principle of co-explore while putting aside disputes instead of taking unilateral action which may have the problem complicated. We look forward to actions that are conducive to the peace and stability of the South China Sea and the friendly China-Vietnam cooperation.
Q: What comment do you have on the recent terrorist attack in Morocco and Algeria? And can you tell us more information about Chadic Foreign Minister Allam-mi's visit to China?
A: China opposes any kind of terrorism and is critical of the terrorist chain explosion. We express profound condolences for the dead and convey our heartfelt sympathy to the bereaved.
Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing will meet with Chadic Foreign Minister Allam-mi and exchange views over the bilateral relationship and international and regional issues of common concern. Chinese leaders will also meet him. Besides, Mr. Allam-mi will also attend the re-opening ceremony of the Chadic Embassy in China.
China and Chad have been enjoying growing exchanges and closer cooperation as well as the drastic increase in bilateral trade since the diplomatic relation between the two restored on August 6, 2006. We hope Mr. Allam-mi's visit will contribute to the further development of China-Chad relation.
If there are no more questions, thanks for coming. Goodbye!