Foreign Ministry Spokesman Qin Gang's Regular Press Conference on 19 June, 2007
On the afternoon of 19 June, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Qin Gang held a regular press conference and answered questions on the Six-party Talks, the issues concerning Darfur, Palestine, UN Human Rights Council, etc.
Qin: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I shall begin with an announcement:
At the invitation of President Hu Jintao, King Juan Carlos I of Spain will pay a state visit to China from June 24 to 29.
Now I am happy to take your questions.
Q: What is the purpose of President Haya's visit to China? What will be discussed during her visit?
A: Ms. Haya, President of the 61st Session of the UN General Assembly, will arrive in Beijing this afternoon. On the morning of June 20, she will address the opening ceremony the 10th General Assembly of the IAESCSI, and visit the Olympic Stadium Bird Nest. On the morning of June 22, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi will talk with her; while on the afternoon, Premier Wen Jiabao will meet with her. She will go to Shanghai on June 23, and leave China on June 24.
Q: A Chinese man was detained for throwing a bottle at Lee Teng-hui at an airport in Japan. Has the Chinese Foreign Ministry made representation with Japan on the issue?
A: We have taken note of relevant report, hoping that the question can be properly solved.
Q: Has China made any contact with the DPRK on the resumption of the Six-party Talks and the deadline to shut down the nuclear facilities in Yongbyon?
A: Thanks to the positive efforts of the parties concerned, there has been positive progress in settling the issue of DPRK-related funds in BDA. The DPRK has sent a letter to the IAEA, inviting it to visit the DPRK. This shows the political will of the DPRK to implement Feb.13 Joint Document, which we welcome. We hope relevant parties can continue to take positive steps to their respective commitment and fulfill the initial actions in a comprehensive and balanced manner so as to promote new progress of the Six-party Talks and the de-nuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
Q: Yesterday Assistant Secretary of State Hill said he might go back to Beijing for the resumption of the Talks within several weeks. Do you think it is possible? Besides, sources from Taiwan suggested that Chen Shui-bian hopes to hold a "referendum" to join the UN in the name of "Taiwan". What is your comment?
A: Assistant Secretary of State Hill is visiting Asia. Yesterday, Mr. Wu Dawei, Vice Foreign Minister and Head of the Chinese delegation to the Talks met with him. They reviewed the situation and exchanged views on how to further promote the Talks. They agreed to continue to take positive steps to implement the initial actions. The parties concerned shall maintain coordination and communication for the early resumption of the Talks. China will make joint efforts with other parties to find a proper time for all to resume the Talks.
On the second question, the spokesman of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council has made our solemn position clear. Chen Shui-bian attempts to join the UN in the name of Taiwan and hold a combined "referendum". This is a major step to seek to change the fact that both the mainland and Taiwan belong to one and the same China and move towards Taiwan Independence de jure. The purpose to combine the "referendum" with presidential election is to mislead and deceive the general public in Taiwan to realize the "Taiwan Independence". If the situation continues developing, it will have a grave impact on cross-Straits relations and seriously endanger peace and stability across the Straits and Asia-Pacific region.
We have the sincerity to development cross-Straits relations. We are ready to make utmost efforts with maximum sincerity to improve cross-Straits relations and realize the peaceful reunification of the motherland. But we are firmly against "Taiwan Independence", and will not allow any one to separate China's Taiwan from China by any form. We hope the Taiwan compatriots and the international community fully recognize the political intention of the Chen Shui-bian authorities to hold "referendum" and the danger and risk it generates. We believe the international community and the UN can firmly abide by the one China principle. The attempt that goes against the historical trend can never succeed.
Q: The US State Department issued 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report and put China into tier 2 watch list for consecutive 3 years. It also criticized China's practice in dealing with illegal border-crossers from the DPRK. What is your response?
A: The Chinese Government attaches great importance to the protection of the rights and interests of the Chinese citizens and the cracking down upon trafficking activities concerning women and children. With our unremitting efforts, human trafficking activities in China have been decreasing and major progress has been made in this regard. China has also actively participated in the international law enforcement cooperation and conducted fruitful cooperation with relevant countries and international organizations in countering human trafficking and illegal immigration. We hope the US government can look at the issue fairly and objectively.
It is known to all that the illegal transgressors from the DPRK came to China for economic reasons and they are not "refugees" at all. The Chinese Government has been dealing with relevant issues in light of the domestic law, international law and the humanitarian principle, which has been universally recognized by the international community. The accusation by the US government to China is unreasonable.
Human trafficking and illegal immigration are the common challenges to the international community and the resolution needs joint efforts around the world. China will continue to commit itself to enhancing international cooperation in this field.
Q: Hong Kong has returned to China for 10 years. Although different systems are adopted in Hong Kong and the rest of China, it shall not become an obstacle for them to hinder exchange and learn from each other. What shall the Mainland learn from Hong Kong and vice versa?
A: Hong Kong is China's Hong Kong, and it is a Special Administrative Region of China. The connection between Hong Kong and the motherland has never been cut off no matter in terms of the historical origin or the blood relationship of the Chinese nation.
During the past 10 years, "one country, two systems" and "high degree of autonomy" has achieved great success in Hong Kong. The exchanges and cooperation between Hong Kong and the inner land have been strengthened and Hong Kong maintained prosperity and stability. This is universally recognized and applauded by the international community.
Looking towards the future, we are full of confidence in "one country, two systems" and the continuous successful implementation of the Basic Law in Hong Kong in the future. The future of Hong Kong will be brighter.
Regarding how shall Hong Kong and the inner land can better learn from each other, it is a matter of China's internal affairs which the spokesman of the Foreign Ministry is not in a position to discuss. You may refer your question to competent authorities of China, and I believe you will get a satisfactory answer.
Q: Could you give us more details about the visit of Spanish King Juan Carlos I to China?
A:In recent years, Sino-Spanish relationship has maintained good momentum. In 2005, the two countries established all-round strategic partnership. The two sides have supported each other on major international issues. We highly appreciate Spain's support to China on a series of major issues concerning China's sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as the positive efforts of the Spanish government on promoting Sino-EU relations. We are satisfied with the achievements on the exchanges and cooperation between the two countries in various fields.
King Juan Carlos I will visit China on June 24-29. During his visit, President Hu Jintao, Chairman Wu Bangguo of the Standing Committee of the NPC and Premier Wen Jiabao of the State Council will meet the King respectively. In addition to Beijing, King Juan Carlos I will visit Shanghai and Chengdu as well. The visit to western China will help the King better understand the economic and social development in the region, and explore new opportunities for cooperation between Spain and China in the development of China's western region in the context of the strategy of developing the west. We look forward that the King's visit will bring to a new height the friendship, cooperation and the overall relations between our two countries.
Q: I have three questions. First of all, the US plans to tighten controls on high-tech exports to China on products that can be used for military purposes. But the new regulations also make it easier for authorized Chinese customers to buy those products. Can you tell us how this would affect PLA's modernization efforts and the bilateral relations in general? The second question is, IMF made an announcement yesterday on new guidelines for how countries should conduct their foreign currency policies. This is a move that supports the Bush Administration's push for China to reform its foreign currency system. I was wondering if I can get some reaction from China. My last question is, China yesterday proposed that the UN Human Rights Council get two thirds majority for any special investigation to be launched into alleged rights violations. This move leaves the future work of the Council in shaky ground. What is the reason behind this and how would it help the overall process to investigate rights violations?
A: It needs joint efforts of both China and the US to make further progress on Sino-US economic and trade cooperation. Particularly, we hope that the US could make positive and constructive efforts on the issue of the US trade deficit with China. Among those efforts, it is important to lift the control on high-tech exports to China, so that China can buy not only planes, bean and beef but also other products China is interested in. Of course, Chinese people welcome Boeing planes, and enjoy American bean and beef. But it's far from enough. The US should take concrete actions on high-tech exports to China if the trade imbalance between the two countries is to be addressed. As for the military and civilian dual-use products that you mentioned, it's very difficult to differentiate and categorize those products. We hope that this should not become an excuse for impeding the development of normal trade between our two countries.
With regard to your second question, I have also taken note of the relevant reports. I will leave that to relevant departments in charge for a formal reaction. It is our view that as an international inter-governmental financial institution, IMF should have an objective and impartial evaluation of member countries' foreign exchange policies.
Regarding your third question, at 12:00pm of June 18, Geneva time, the fifth session of UN Human Rights Council reached consensus on the principle of President's packaged draft on the Council's institutional building. The Council will officially adopt the draft on the morning of June 19. Thanks to the joint efforts of President of the Council and various countries, the UN Human Rights Council will eventually accomplish its institutional building after tough negotiation over the past year. This will laid a foundation for the work of the Council to embark on a normal track. China has been participating in the institutional building negotiation in a constructive and cooperative manner, making its own contributions in pushing the Council to deal with human rights issues in an impartial, objective and non-selective manner. We will continue to participate in the dialogue and cooperation on international human rights issues to promote as well as protect human rights around the world.
China's proposal on country human rights issues will help ensure the impartiality and seriousness of the work of the Council, prevent the abuse of country resolutions, and avoid the political confrontation in the UN Human Rights Commission in the past. China's proposal is supported by the vast majority of developing countries and many members of the Council.
Q: Has the BDA issue been completely resolved? Could you confirm that the fund has been transferred to the DPRK account? Besides, Mr. Hill hoped to resume the meeting of the heads of delegation of the Six-Party Talks in early July. Does China support his idea?
A: As to your first question, I can not confirm if the DPRK has received the full sum of money because the route of the transfer does not go through China. You might refer to relevant parties for confirmation.
When the meeting of the heads of delegation will be held depends on whether the six parties could reach a consensus on that.
Q: Iraqi President will visit China soon. This is the first visit by an Iraqi President since 1958, while for Iraq, it is still under occupation and war. Why does China accept such a visit at this moment? What agreements will be signed during this visit?
A: As to your first question, you could review our stance when the Iraq war broke out four years ago. We have persistently upheld that the sovereign rights and territorial integrity of Iraq and the Iraqi people's choice for a development mode and path suited for its own situation should be respected.
At present, political and economic reconstruction is under way in Iraq. We stand for respecting the sovereign rights of Iraq and the important role the UN plays in the reconstruction. Relevant countries should strengthen cooperation in promoting the realization of peace, stability and economic development in Iraq so that the Iraqi people could lead a stable and happy life at an early date. China has always played a constructive role in actively participating in the reconstruction process.
Iraqi President Talabani will visit China soon. During his visit, President Hu Jintao will have a meeting with him, and Chairman Wu Bangguo and Premier Wen Jiabao will meet with him respectively. The leaders of the two countries will exchange in-depth views on bilateral relations and international and regional issues of common interest. As far as I know, the two sides will sign documents of cooperation in fields including education and public health.
Q: Recently, the issue of forced labor in brick kilns in Shanxi Province has drawn attention home and abroad. Some foreign groups of human rights criticized China of employing child labor. What's your comment?
A: On this issue, there are cases of illegal employment and use of child labor in some place. Those included have violated law and will inevitably be punished by law. The attitude of the Chinese Government is very firm on this issue. We resolutely crack down upon the activities that violate labor rights and interests, especially the illegal employment and use of child labor. You could see a wide coverage of the case in Chinese media these days. The Chinese Government, leaders, and all circles of the society have been extremely concerned about that.
As to some international criticism, if it is constructive, we would listen to them earnestly. But we should also view this issue objectively. Is this issue a result of violations of law by a minority of people or a result of the policy of the Chinese Government? Does a large scale of employment and using child labor exist in China? You have lived and worked in China for so many years, and I believe you could come to an objective and just conclusion.
Q: The Financial Times issued an interview of Ambassador Liu Guijin, the Chinese special envoy to Sudan, in which Mr. Liu said that China used very direct languages to persuade Sudan to accept the Annan plan. What are those very direct languages? Has China changed its traditional policy of not interfering with other countries' internal affairs?
A: Let's have a review of the positive and constructive efforts China has made in peacefully resolving the Darfur issue, realizing peace and stability and improving the security and humanitarian situation in the Darfur region. We have worked on the Sudanese government through high-level exchange of visits, sending special envoy, exchanging phones and correspondences. We hope the Sudanese government could cooperate with the UN and AU and take positive measures to ease the tension in the Darfur region. Is that not direct enough?
Besides, we provided donations and assistance to the Darfur region and the AU peace-keeping missions, and we will send 275 peace-keeping military engineers to the region. All that has shown that China is actively committed to an early resolution of the Darfur issue.
As the international community, China has the same concern on the Darfur issue that the security and humanitarian situation there be improved as soon as possible. We hope relevant parties find an appropriate resolution through consultation. We also uphold that relevant resolution be sought with the full respect for the Sudanese government, relevant dialogue and consultation be equal and concerns and interests of all parties be taken into consideration.
Q: Yesterday, China expressed its respect for the legitimate status of President Abbas and the Palestinian National Authority while the new government has not won the approval of the Palestinian Legislative Committee, making it illegitimate. Why does China support President Abbas and the emergency government?
A: You must not forget that China welcomed the establishment of the Palestinian National Unity Government. President Abbas and the Palestinian National Authority have won universal recognition of the international community including China. China is deeply concerned with the armed conflicts within Palestine. We hope that relevant Palestinian political factions end armed conflicts and resolve their differences and disputes through consultation and dialogue at an early date.
Q: It is reported that there has been some contact between Panama and Chinese leaders. Does it suggest any possibility for the establishment of diplomatic relationship between the two countries, specifically when Costa Rica has established diplomatic relationship with China?
A: There are still a few countries in Central America that have not established diplomatic relationship with China. Chinese people and Government have held friendly feelings towards these countries, while the Taiwan question constitutes the main obstacle to the development of our relationship. China is willing to establish and develop normal state-to-state relationship with these countries based on the United Nations Charter and the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence.
China welcomes the friendly cooperation of equality and mutual benefit with Panama in various field. We believe the improvement and development of the bilateral relations will open up a broader prospect for the cooperation of the two countries.
Q: It is reported that Japan begins to plant corals near Okinotori that lies in the disputing waters between China and Japan. What is your reaction?
A: Firstly, we must clarify that "Okinotori" is not an island but a reef, which means it will immerse in water in high tide. Therefore, according to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Its geographical feature makes it disqualified to claim, as Japan insisted, the 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone and continental shelf. Japan's practice to expand its administration over the vast waters based on this reef or to enhance its claim by adding artificial facilities is not in accordance with the universally recognized principles of international law and has affected the interest of the international community.
Q: About China-Vatican relationship. This morning Vatican said that the Pope would send a pastoral letter to Chinese Catholics. Also some reports say that Vatican would show the draft of the letter to Chinese side before officially sending it. Do you have any new information on that?
A: We have taken note that the Pope will send a pastoral letter to Chinese Catholics. We hope Vatican can see the fact that China advocates freedom of religious belief and Chinese Catholic Church has been developing so as to take concrete actions to create favorable condition for the normalization of its relationship with China. China's position on relationship with Vatican remains unchanged. China is willing to actively explore the approaches to improve the bilateral relationship through continuous constructive dialogue based on the two principles on China-Vatican relations.
If there are no other questions, thank you for coming. See you!