Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Jiang Yu's Regular Press Conference on April 22, 2008
On the afternoon of April 22, 2008, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Jiang Yu held a regular press conference and answered questions on the Olympic torch relay, EU Commission President Barroso's visit to China, China-France relations and etc.
Jiang Yu: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I will start with an announcement.
At the invitation of Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, Foreign Minister Pak Ui Chun of the Democratic Peoples' Republic of Korea will pay an official visit to China from April 26 to 29.
Now, the floor is open.
Q: Did Australia request Chinese torch escorts to stay in car during the relay and to get off only when the torch is extinguished? What's your response to this restriction? Does that mean that the Australian side did not allow the guards to run along with the torch?
A: After consultation, China and Australia have properly addressed the issue of escorts during the Olympic torch relay in Australia. We believe that with the joint efforts of two sides, the Olympic torch relay in Australia will be smooth and successful.
Q: According to reports, China is selling weapons to Zimbabwe. Could you confirm? If it's true, why is China doing so? It is also reported that Chinese soldiers are seen on the streets of Zimbabwe. Could you give us more details about this?
A: According to my knowledge, COSCO was contracted by a Chinese company to deliver some weapons to Zimbabwe, which are part of the normal arms trade between China and Zimbabwe. The relevant contract was signed last year and has nothing to do with the latest developments inside Zimbabwe. As far as I know, it is universal practice to deliver goods to inland South African countries through the Port of Durban in South Africa. Since the Zimbabwe side could not receive the goods as scheduled, COSCO could not unload at Durban Port and is considering shipping back the goods.
I'd like to stress that the Chinese Government always adopts a prudent and responsible attitude towards arms export and one of the important principles it adheres to is non-interference in the internal affairs of recipient countries. We hope relevant side not to politicize this issue.
On your second question, according to my knowledge, several Chinese professors are teaching at Zimbabwean military schools. What you mentioned might be some teaching activities conducted by the schools.
Q: Last weekend, large-scale protests against the French supermarket Carrefour erupted in many cities. How do you comment on that? What measures does China want to see from the French side to mitigate the conflict? Besides, US undersecretary of State Dobriansky met with visiting Dalai Lama recently. Do you have any comment?
A: On your first question, recently, some Chinese people and college students have spontaneously organized boycotting French products. I believe the Chinese people will express their patriotic appeal in a rational and orderly way within the framework of law. For the sake of overall interest of China-France relations, relevant Chinese authorities have taken some guiding measures. We hope that France respond positively to the reasonable appeal of the Chinese people so as to maintain a stable and sound development of bilateral relations. We disapprove of the radical moves by some individuals.
I'd also like to tell you that, from April 18 to 22, Mr. Zhao Jinjun, former Chinese Ambassador to France, visited France as the special representative of President Hu Jintao. This is an important diplomatic move taken by China under the current circumstance, which fully demonstrated that we highly value and cherish the traditional friendship with France.
During his visit, Ambassador Zhao met with President Sarkozy, Senate President Poncelet, former President Raffarin and De Villepin respectively. He brought to President Sarkozy a letter from President Hu Jintao and exchanged views with the French side on China-France relations and issues of common interest.
President Sarkozy reiterated that he values China-France relations and adheres to the One-China principle on the issues of Taiwan and Tibet. He also wished Beijing Olympics a success.
President Sarkozy asked Senate President Poncelet, who is on an official trip to China, to visit Jin Jing on the morning of April 21 and conveyed his letter to her. In the letter, he applauds the outstanding courage of Jin Jing and resolutely opposes the attack against her. President Sarkozy's friendly move is appreciated by the Chinese people.
We also hope President Sarkozy and the French government uphold justice on major issues concerning Tibet and the Beijing Olympics, understand and support the justifiable and necessary measures taken by the Chinese Government to safeguard social stability and protect people's lives and properties, oppose politicizing the Olympics and support Beijing to host a successful Game.
On the meeting between the US official and Dalai, in disregard of China's firm opposition, this US official of the State Department insisted on meeting with Dalai and pointed a finger at China over the Tibetan affairs, which are completely China's internal affairs. This extremely erroneous and irresponsible act is a blatant violation of the fundamental rules of international relations and an interference in China's domestic issues. China has made solemn representations to the US.
It must be pointed out that the criminal act of violence in Lhasa on March 14 is premeditated and organized by the Dalai clique and perpetrated by Tibetan separatist forces both in and outside China acting in collusion. No eloquence can avail against the solid facts. The US official, in stead of condemning the atrocity of the rioters, attempted to justify their acts and targeted at the Chinese Government and people. What on earth is her motive?
We urge the US to respect the facts, recognize the situation and stop supporting and encouraging the separatist activities of the Dalai clique so as to protect the China-US relations and its own image.
On the issue of the contact between the Central Government and Dalai, we have expounded on our consistent stance on many occasions recently.
Q: European Commission President Barroso is to visit China shortly. Whom will he meet with? What will be discussed? What agreements does China expect to reach? Will the two sides reach consensus on such issues as trade imbalance and RMB exchange rate? Will Mr. Barroso and Premier Wen Jiabao jointly meet the press as they did last time?
A: At the invitation of Premier Wen Jiabao, European Commission President Barroso will pay a visit to China from April 24 to 26 with several EU commissioners. Apart from the main theme of sustainable development and climate change, the two sides will also exchange views on China-EU relations and major international and regional issues of common interest. We hope that this visit will expand our strategic common ground, consolidate political mutual trust and deepen mutually beneficial cooperation so as to promote a long-term, healthy and stable development of China-EU relations.
Both sides attach great importance to our cooperation on climate change, committed to the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities" enshrined in the UNFCCC and Kyoto Protocol. We are ready to strengthen communication and cooperation with the EU on climate change, hoping that the EU can step up financial input and technological transfer so that positive and concrete results will be achieved in our cooperation.
With regard to the China-EU economic relations and trade, according to the Joint Statement concluded at the 10th China-EU leaders' meeting last year, a China-EU high-level economic and trade dialogue mechanism will be established this year. Intensive preparation is under way at this point. You can refer to the Ministry of Commerce for details.
The China-EU economic relations and trade are mutually beneficial and the mainstream remains healthy and in good order. We would like to expand our economic cooperation and trade with the EU and upgrade the cooperation level. Meanwhile, we hope to see less EU export restrictions and more high-tech products in China so as to solve the trade imbalance gradually by expanding two-way export.
The arrangement for President Barroso's visit will be released in due course, and the press will have the opportunity to cover the story.
Q: What is the purpose of DPRK Foreign Minister Pak Ui Chun's visit to China? It is reported that the DPRK is planning to submit a declaration list. Has China received the list?
A: At the invitation of Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, DPRK Foreign Minister Pak Ui Chun will pay a visit to China from 26 to 29. The itinerary is still under consultation, I will keep you updated.
China and the DPRK enjoy traditional friendly relations of cooperation. At present, the two countries' cooperation and communication are growing at a steady pace in political, economic, cultural and other fields. We have also maintained good coordination and cooperation in international issues. The development of our bilateral relations benefits the two countries, and contributes to peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula and the region. We will continue to be committed to the development of this relationship of mutual benefit.
As for your second question, we have not received any declaration list up to date. We support all parties concerned to strengthen communication and coordination so as to push forward the Six-party Talks and the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsular. We hope the US and the DPRK will continue to exert sincerity and flexibility to achieve positive results in consultations.
Q: Last week, the US Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong voiced its concern over foreigners' application for multiple-entry visa to China, saying that there are mixed messages. My question is, has China's visa policy changed or not?
A: The specifics relating to visa application should be referred to our diplomatic missions overseas. We will continue to facilitate foreigners' normal visit to China. This policy has remained unchanged. As you all know, our visa policy is more convenient compared with most countries. For example, the American journalists in China are holding multiple-entry visas for 12 months, while the Chinese journalists in the US don't have such luxury. It's not hard to find whose visa policy is more user-friendly.
Q: Will it affect China-Australia relations if protests occur in the torch relay in Canberra?
A: I'm sure those disruptive activists cannot represent the Australian people, and their activities will lead to nowhere.
Q: If foreigners break Chinese laws during the Olympics, for example, by launching illegal demonstrations, will they be expelled automatically out of China or tried in China?
A: I believe the Chinese people will open their arms to welcome the world's people who love peace and Olympics to Beijing in a warm and cordial manner. I hope that they will impress the Chinese people with their good manner, take the Olympic Games as a platform to build up understanding and friendship, and promote friendly relations of cooperation.
As for the potential illegal activities you mentioned, in any country, foreigners should abide by the law of the sovereignty. No doubt this applies to all the countries in the world. Illegal cases will be dealt with according to law.
Q: Have you noticed that the US could be asking South Africa, Namibia and other African countries to keep the Chinese cargo-ship offshore?
A: I think your first question should be referred to the US. It will be ridiculous if the US did such a thing, because it's not wise to politicize this normal military trade between China and Zimbabwe.
As a matter of fact, China only has a very small share of the world's weapon market. According to the statistics by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, among the top ten world weapon exporters last year, the US ranked number one, the UK, number six, and China, number ten after Sweden. From 2003 to 2007, China's export volumn of weapons only accounted for 2% of the world's total, while the US accounted for 30%, making it the biggest weapon exporter.
Q: Xinhua News Agency recently issued two articles, appealing Chinese people to concentrate their patriotism on national development. Are you concerned that the Chinese people's patriotism is getting out of hand? Secondly, now the Chinese netizens have strong feelings against the western media, and in particular, against France. Has it occurred to you that this may discourage foreigners from coming to watch the Olympics?
A: First and foremost, we must understand our people's aspiration and appeal behind their various ways of expression. What they are trying to express is their strong faith of safeguarding national sovereignty and territorial integrity. What they oppose is not all western or foreign people, but those separatist and disruptive activities, the distorted reports by some western media and unfair accusation against China. Their patriotism is impressive. I believe they will express their patriotism and reasonable appeal in a rational manner.
The Chinese people love peace, uphold justice and value friendship. We will open our arms to people from all over the world to Beijing in an ardent, friendly and open-minded manner, and present our good image to the world people. We would like to work hand in hand with world people in staging a distinctive Olympics and making the Beijing Olympics a platform for all peoples to build up friendship and communication.
Q: Do you believe the visits to China by two French envoys this week will help ease the tension between China and France? Which Chinese leaders will meet with them?
A: At the invitation of the National People's Congress and Chinese People's Institute of Foreign Affairs, French Senate President Poncelet and former Prime Minister Raffarin will visit China from April 21 to 27 and from 24 to 27 respectively. Both of them are old friends to China and the Chinese people and we attach great importance to their visits. President Hu Jintao, Chairman Wu Bangguo and Chairman Jia Qinglin will meet with Senate President Poncelet respectively. Premier Wen Jiabao will meet with former Prime Minister Raffarin. In addition, French President's Diplomatic Adviser Levitte will visit China from April 26 to 27. He will have informal consultation with State Councilor Dai Bingguo on China-France strategic dialogue and they will exchange views on bilateral relations and major international issues of common interest.
Further consolidation and development of China-France relations is in the common interest of the two sides and our two peoples. We hope the two countries view and handle the bilateral relations from a strategic and long-term perspective and make joint efforts to push forward the long-term, sound and stable development of bilateral relations.
Q: Yesterday a Chinese citizen was beaten and seriously injured in St.Petersberg. Fights between Chinese and Russian students also took place in Vladivostok. How do you comment on this?
A: I need to double check the first incident you asked.
As to your second question, on April 14, in a fight between the Chinese students and local students, two Chinese and three Russian students were injured. They were sent to hospital and are out of danger now. My Ministry and the Ministry of Education take the incident seriously. Officials of the Consulate-General in Khabarovsk have visited the injured students. The Ministry and our Embassy in Russia have requested the Russian counterparts to conduct objective and fair investigation into this, handle the incident properly and safeguard the security and lawful rights and interests of the Chinese students there so as to prevent similar incidents from reoccurring. The Ministry and Embassy in Russia will continue to follow and deal with the incident.
Q: Chinese people are now protesting the biased reports of the western media. The safety of some foreign journalists in China is threatened. Has the Chinese government been investigating into this? What about the results?
A: I believe the foreign journalists present here are well aware of the working and living environment in China. Governments at various levels in China try to facilitate your work and life in all aspects. I want to reiterate here that the Chinese government will continue to protect the security and lawful rights of foreign journalists in accordance with law. We will follow the routine of the Olympics, honor the Olympic commitment, and offer convenience and assistance to journalists to cover the Olympic Games in China.
Q: It's said that China and Japan are having consultations over the common political document to be signed during President Hu Jintao's visit to Japan. Is there any progress? In what form does China want this document to be released? Is it the same with the China-Japan Joint Statement or as the fourth political document between the two countries? Does China want to resolve the issue of the East China Sea before President Hu's visit to Japan?
A: On your first question, President Hu Jintao will pay a state visit to Japan. China and Japan are still discussing the specific arrangement and how to present the achievements of the visit.
On the question of the East China Sea. Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi visited to Japan recently. During the visit, Minister Yang elaborated on China's position on this issue. He stressed that both China and Japan agree to give priority to the overall interest of bilateral relations and resolve this problem at an early date through developing bilateral relations. The two countries have all along maintained contact and consultation which yielded positive results. In the meantime, the East China Sea question has a long history and is very complicated. We cannot rush into any conclusion. We are ready to make joint efforts with Japan to find a win-win solution acceptable to both at an early date.
Q: Some Japanese lawmakers visited the Yasukuni Shrine this morning. How would you comment on that? Will it affect President Hu's visit to Japan?
A: The Yasukuni Shrine question has been a major sensitive political issue between China and Japan for a long time. It is in the interest of Japan to face up to history and deal with issues of history correctly, which will help Japan to improve its international image. We always believe that on issues of history, we should take history as a mirror for the benefit of the future. We are ready to develop friendly China-Japan relations from generation to generation on the basis of facing up to the future and drawing lessons from history.
Thank you for attendance. See you.