Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Liu Jianchao's Regular Press Conference on February 28, 2008
On the afternoon of February 28, 2008, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Liu Jianchao held a regular press conference and answered questions on Nigerian President's visit to China, Ambassador Liu Guijin's visit to Sudan as the Special Representative of the Chinese Government on the Darfur issue, the dumplings incident in Japan, the Iranian nuclear issue, the Six-Party Talks and etc. He also briefed the press on the talks between Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and British Foreign Secretary Miliband at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse. (Please check the Latest News on the official website of the Foreign Ministry for the whole text of the meeting between Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and Secretary Miliband.)
Liu Jianchao: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Now, the floor is open.
Q: CNOOC is supposed to be signing a deal with Iran to develop the north part of Iran's gas field. The US has been greatly opposed to foreign countries helping Iran to develop its oil and gas resources at a time when it's under UN sanctions for its nuclear program. Is China concerned about diplomatic repercussions of this deal, particularly with the United States, or is there a concern that the deal might help Iran evade UN sanctions?
A: Firstly, the energy cooperation between CNOOC and Iran is nothing beyond a business deal between relevant enterprises. Secondly, China is highly concerned about the Iranian nuclear issue, and has taken an active part in relevant negotiations. At present, China is having close contact and consultation with other Security Council member states over the resolution of the Iranian nuclear issue.
China upholds that the international nuclear non-proliferation regime should be safeguarded. Meanwhile, we believe that all countries are entitled to the peaceful use of nuclear energy. Iran should now implement relevant Security Council resolutions earnestly, and actively respond to the request and appeals of the international community to create conditions for resumption of negotiations. On the other hand, UN Security Council's resolutions and actions should contribute to the peaceful solution of the issue through dialogue and consultation. Actions against Iran should not affect or impair normal economic and energy cooperation with Iran.
Q: Did British Foreign Secretary David Miliband raise the subject of human rights in his discussion with Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, and what was Mr. Yang's response?
A: As I mentioned earlier, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and Foreign Secretary Miliband agreed to sustain bilateral dialogue on human rights. They both agree that human rights dialogues between China and the UK on the basis of equality and mutual respect will help the two countries to enhance mutual understanding, narrow differences and promote the development of human rights.
Q: The Pentagon said recently that China has agreed to allow the US access to some of its military archives of the missing US soldiers during the Korean War. Could you comment on this?
A: China and the US are keeping sound cooperation on this issue. For years, China has done a lot of work in the humanitarian spirit to help the US search for the remains of the missing US soldiers in China since the Second World War. During Vice Chairman of Central Military Commission Guo Boxiong's visit to the US in July, 2006 and US Defence Secretary Gates' visit to China last November, the two countries reached an agreement that China would help the US search for the remains of the US soldiers missing during the Korean War. Now competent departments of both sides are having consultation on the specifics of cooperation. China will continue to help the US in this regard in the spirit of humanitarianism .
Q: Sao Tome and Principe just had a new government. The new Minister of Foreign Affairs said that the relationship with China will be one of the priorities for the new government. How would China see the possibility of reopening bilateral relations with Sao Tome and Principe?
A: China is ready to develop normal state-to-state relations with all countries, including Sao Tome and Principe on the basis of the UN Charter and the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence. We welcome and will positively respond to a correct policy on the One China issue by relevant countries.
Q: It seems that the cooperation between the Chinese and Japanese police on the dumpling incident is not going on very well. Are you concerned that this might affect President Hu Jintao's visit to Japan?
A: The Information Office of the State Council held a press conference on the dumpling issue this morning. Officials from the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine and the Ministry of Public Security have elaborated on the initial investigation result, considerations for the next step of work, and China's position on the issue.
The result of the investigation at this point suggests that the problem didn't occur in the production process, and that the incident is an individual case.
As the incident relates to food security, the Chinese Government attaches great importance to the case, and hopes to strengthen cooperation with Japan to find out the truth. I believe that the two sides will handle the issue properly as we would not like to see any negative impact on our bilateral relations because of this.
Q: Please brief us on Ambassador Liu Guijin's visit to Sudan as the Special Representative of the Chinese Government on the Darfur issue. Do you think that the visit is going to defuse international criticism against China on Darfur issue?
A: Before his visit to Sudan, Ambassador Liu visited the UK, which sends out a message that China is ready to enhance communication, coordination and exchanges with relevant countries so as to contribute to peace, reconstruction and improvement of humanitarian situation in Darfur. During his stay in Darfur, Ambassador Liu had communication and contact with leaders and officials of the Sudanese government, as well as officials and leaders of various factions in Darfur. When he met with the Chinese peacekeeping engineering team there, he encouraged them to continue to contribute to the resumption of peace and reconstruction in Darfur.
You asked whether the visit will dilute criticism against China, according to my knowledge, the British officials, the officials and different factions in Darfur all appreciate and applaud China's positive role on the Darfur issue. They wish China will play a greater role for the solution of relevant issues. We believe this visit has made achievements.
The Darfur issue is matter of development in essence, with complicated factors and various faction involved. It can not be resolved only by China's efforts. The international community share common responsibility in promoting the peace process in Darfur, especially in encouraging relevant factions to join the peace process at an early date. We hope with the concerted efforts of the international community, the humanitarian situation in Darfur can be improved and peace and development can be translated into reality.
Q: An overseas group issued a report, saying that Qinghai-Tibet railway does not bring benefits to Tibetans. Have you read the report? How do you evaluate on the impact of the railway on Tibet?
A: Since the accomplishment of the construction, Qinghai-Tibet railway has played an important and positive role in promoting economic and social development, enhancing personnel exchanges and transportation between the autonomous region and other provinces, which is greatly welcomed by the Tibetan people. Besides, we are happy to see that the railway does not have any negative impact on the environment there. Many of you present here have traveled to Tibet by train. You have already seen its obvious benefits to Tibet.
Q: The US Democrat's Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton said recently that the US helped China enter WTO, with the return of "tainted fish, lead-laced toys and poison pet food" from China. Do you have any response? If she becomes the President, is her position helpful to the development of China-US relations?
A: It is up to the people in the U.S. to decide whom they want to vote for as the President. We will respect their choice. As to your specific question, facts have proven that the China-US economic cooperation and trade is mutually-beneficial and win-win. It has brought tangible benefits to people of the two countries. We hope the US view China-US economic relations and trade in an objective and rational way, instead of bringing domestic politics into bilateral relations.
Q: Some US congressmen criticized China's human rights at a hearing, saying that the Chinese government did not honor its commitment in bidding for the Olympic Games. Do you have any comment?
A: China's commitment to improving and developing human rights of all the Chinese people has been written into the Constitution. China is ready to discuss and cooperate with other countries in this field on the basis of equality and mutual respect. We hope those people and congressmen can take off their colored spectacles and recognize China's tremendous progress in improving and developing human rights. This will better help the two sides enhance communication and promote the development of human rights.
Q: US Secretary of State Rice said after her visit to China that China has promised to encourage the DPRK to implement the October 3 Joint Documents. Please confirm. What does China plan to do?
A: I think that all parties concerned have made efforts to implement their commitments so as to press ahead with the process of the Six-Party Talks. Now there are indeed some difficulties and problems and relevant work has been deferred to certain extent. However, the process of the Six-Party Talks has been advancing with important progress towards the goal of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. All parties concerned are optimistic about this and willing to fulfill their commitments and push forward the process of the Six-Party Talks. As the chair of the Talks, China is ready to continue playing a positive and constructive role in the process of the Talks.
Q: My first question is, it is reported by Xinhua News Agency that Ambassador Liu Guijin will visit Chad and France after Sudan. What's his purpose? And my second question is, Mr. Hill met with Chinese officials yesterday and Secretary Rice said she exchanged views with China on pressing ahead with the Six-Party Talks. Have the two sides reached any consensus?
A: As for your first question, Ambassador Liu Guijin has two capacities, the special representative of the Chinese Government on the Darfur issue, and the special representative of the Chinese Government on the African issue. He is going to visit Chad in the second capacity. China keeps good relations with Chad, and the bilateral relations have been developing smoothly since the two countries established diplomatic ties. We are concerned over the situation in Chad. I think that Ambassador Liu will exchange views with Chad's officials on bilateral relations and the cooperation during his visit to Chad. I have no information on whether he will go to France or not, I will check it for you. If this is the case, I think it is just a normal arrangement.
As for your second question, Secretary Rice had in-depth exchanges of views with Chinese leaders and officials on the nuclear issue of the Korean Peninsula when she visited China. Mr. Hill also discussed the issue with his counterpart, Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei. Their talks focused on how to encourage all parties to resolve the problems at an early date, fulfill their commitment and complete the work at the present phase so as to move on to the next phase smoothly. The two sides also exchanged views on the specifics.
Q: The President of Nigeria has arrived in China and he will meet with Chinese leaders. Will China sign any agreement with Nigeria during his visit?
A: Nigerian President Umaru Yar'Adua has begun the state visit to China. This afternoon he will hold talks with President Hu Jintao. As for the achievements of their talks, you have to wait for several hours.
Q: As for the dumpling incident, Chinese officials of the Ministry of Public Security said on the press conference this morning that the Japanese side didn't provide material evidence and refused China's request to inspect the spot when they were in Japan for investigation. But today officials of Japan's National Police Agency said that Japanese side has provided relevant results and they were unhappy to hear China's accusation. What's your comment?
A: I think there's no contradiction between the two statements. We hope that the Japanese side could provide material evidence, while the latter has just informed us of the results of their investigation. We hope that there could be more cooperation of the Japanese side. Instead of wrangling with each other, the two sides should strengthen their cooperation with a practical and responsible attitude so as to find out the truth of the incident, which is crucial for the resolution of this issue.
If there are no more questions, thanks for coming!