Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Jiang Yu's Regular Press Conference on April 29, 2008
On the afternoon of April 29, 2008, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Jiang Yu held a regular press conference and answered questions on President Hu Jintao's visit to Japan, the Olympic torch relay, contact between the Chinese Government and the Dalai Lama and etc.
Jiang Yu: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I would like to start with several announcements.
At the invitation of the Japanese Government, President Hu Jintao will pay a state visit to Japan from May 6 to 10.
At the invitation of Premier Wen Jiabao of the State Council, Barbados Prime Minister David Thompson will pay an official visit to China from May 5 to 9.
On May 2, Foreign Ministers from China, the US, Russia, the UK, France and Germany will attend a meeting on the Iranian nuclear issue in London. Assistant Foreign Minister He Yafei will be present at the meeting as the representative of Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi. The meeting will have further discussion on talk-resumption proposals and relevant documents on the Iranian nuclear issue. China wishes the meeting fruitful results in promoting the resumption of talks so as to seek for a proper, comprehensive and long-term solution. China will continue to play a constructive role in promoting the solution of the Iranian nuclear issue through diplomatic negotiations.
Now I would be happy to take your questions.
Q: During the torch relay in Seoul, thousands of Chinese rallied and followed the bearer in the name of protecting the torch. Some of them even attacked protesters and ROK police. Would China apologize to the ROK people? How will China prevent such things from happening again?
A: Thanks to the hospitality and active cooperation from the ROK Government and people, the Beijing Olympic torch relay in Seoul concluded with a success. China appreciates this reflection of care and support of the ROK Government and people to the Beijing Olympic Games and the friendship between our two peoples. The torch relay in Seoul was warmly received by the Chinese people, particularly Chinese students in the ROK, who expressed their support, aspiration and passion for the Olympics. There were frictions between Chinese students and some groups attempting to disrupt the torch relay. China expresses its solicitude to the ROK policemen and journalists injured in the process.
Q: Please brief us on the dialogue between the Central Government and the Dalai Lama. Who will host the dialogue on behalf of China? How did China reach out to Dalai? What was Dalai's response? When will the dialogue be held?
A: To my knowledge, the specifics of the contact are still under discussion. We don't have more details to release so far.
The Central Government's policy to Dalai is consistent. The fact that relevant Central authorities agreed to have contact with Dalai is a reflection of the Central Government's consistent policy and generosity. We hope that the Dalai side will cherish this opportunity, have a correct understanding of the situation, change its position, take concrete actions to stop criminal activities of violence, stop disrupting the Beijing Olympics, and stop separatist activities in order to create conditions for future talks.
Q: The "Human Rights Watch" issued a report, claiming that human rights lawyers in China are under constant discrimination or harassment. Do you have any comment?
A: I have not heard of the report you mentioned. Biased towards China, this organization always ignores facts and makes groundless accusations against China. I can assure you that Chinese lawyers, like other Chinese citizens, enjoy various fundamental rights and freedom according to law, and exercise their rights within the legal framework. Their legitimate rights and interests are protected by law.
Q: Could you tell us more about the kidnapped Chinese in Indonesia?
A: It is confirmed by the Indonesian police through our embassy in Indonesia that seven Chinese citizens were taken hostage in Aceh, Indonesia. One of them was released shortly. China has required Indonesia to carry out rescue at full tilt on the premise of hostage safety, and take effective measures to ensure the safety of Chinese people and institutions there.
Q: To my understanding, in the previous dialogues with Dalai, the Chinese representatives were all officials in charge of religious affairs with the United Front Work Department. Will it be the same with the current dialogue with Dalai? You said that the specifics of the contact are under discussion. Do you mean discussion with the Dalai side or discussion within the Chinese Government?
A: I fully understand your aspiration to learn more about the contact between the Central Government and the Dalai, but I'm not authorized to provide more details. I believe relevant authorities will release the information in due course.
Q: You often condemn foreigners taking part in violent protests in the torch relay. Now would you also condemn the Chinese people involved in violence in the ROK?
A: In the first place, we must understand the nature and cause of the matter. The purpose of the "Tibet Independence" activists is to disturb the relay of the Olympic torch which belongs to the world's people. This runs against the Olympic spirit of peace, friendship and progress. In contrast, the intention of the Chinese students is good and friendly, which is to welcome the torch relay. It was when some Tibetan independence and disruptive activists began to stir up trouble that some of our righteous students stood up to safeguard the dignity of the torch. I'm sure their intention is good. It could be the radical emotion of some students that led to some conflicts. All in all, we should analyze and understand the nature of the matter.
The Chinese Government always requests its citizens to abide by laws of their resident countries, and live in peace and harmony with local people.
Q: Japanese media report that during President Hu Jintao's visit to Japan, China and Japan will discuss the dumpling case and product security. Could you confirm? Do you have any comment on the report? Mia Farrow will be arriving in Hong Kong on May 2. What do you want to say to her and those who link the Darfur issue with Beijing Olympic Games?
A: It is our consistent view that no possibilities can be ruled out before we find out the truth of the dumpling case. We hope that relevant authorities from both sides could strengthen cooperation to straighten things up.
I have no idea whether Mia Farrow will go to Hong Kong or not. However, I think she should have a better knowledge and understanding of China's positive and constructive role in settling the Darfur issue.
I hope that you would tell her, China is the first nation to put forward and push for a tripartite mechanism involving the Sudanese government, the African Union and the United Nations and a dual-track strategy of peace-keeping mission and political settlement in resolving the issue. China is the first nation outside Africa to send its peace-keepers to Darfur. China provides a large amount of aid and donations to the region and the AU mission in Darfur. China appointed a special representative on the Darfur issue and maintains close communications and frequent negotiations with parties concerned. In fact, many leaders of various groups of Darfur stay in Europe. We hope that countries with influence on those groups could play a positive role in persuading the opposition parties to join the peace process. Mia Farrow would have done some concrete work for the people in Darfur if she could appeal for those countries to play a positive role in this regard.
Furthermore, China has provided substantial assistance to the Darfur region, such as providing food, paving roads, drilling wells, building schools and houses. What the people in Darfur really need is some concrete help instead of noisy criticism against other people. If anyone sincerely wants to be of help to them, he or she should help build schools and roads and drill wells there. This would be a genuine benefit. The Darfur issue is not caused by China, but China has played a significant and positive role for the proper settlement of the issue.
Q: German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schäuble is currently visiting China to share Germany's experience in 2006 World Cup's security work. Could you brief us on his visit?
A: At the invitation of Mr. Yin Weimin, Minister of Human Resources and Social Security of China, German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schäuble is visiting China from April 28 to 29. He will exchange views and sign cooperation agreements with the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security on the reform of civil servants system. Minister Wolfgang Schäuble will also visit the State General Administration of Sport of China and sign a MOU on sports cooperation. He will also meet with officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Public Security, the International Department of Central Committee of the CPC, and etc. But I don't know whether or not he will bring about issues of security cooperation on the Beijing Olympic Games.
Generally speaking, the security situation facing the Beijing Olympic Games is stable. Nonetheless, against the current backdrop of the frequent international terrorist attacks, the Beijing Olympic Games is not risk free. The Chinese Government always places security as the top priority in preparing for the Games, and has taken a series of effective measures to prevent and deal with various security threats. We are fully prepared and confident of the security for the Games. We are also willing to strengthen international cooperation to ensure a secure and successful Beijing Olympic Games.
Q:Why do you agree to have contact with the representatives of Dalai? Is it because of the international pressure?
A: I can assure you that it is not because of the international pressure that the Chinese Government agreed to have contact and consultation with Dalai.
Tibet is an inalienable part of the Chinese territory and Tibet affairs are absolutely China's internal affairs. So is the contact and consultation between the Central Government and Dalai. The Chinese Government and people will never give in to any external pressure in safeguarding national sovereignty and territorial integrity. We are confident and capable of doing a good job on our part, hoping that the international community can fully understand and support the efforts of the Chinese Government in safeguarding sovereignty, social stability and the interests of people from all ethnic groups.
Q: Could you brief us on President Hu's itinerary in Japan? What is your expectation for the visit?
A: During his stay in Japan, President Hu will meet with Emperor Akihito and Prime Minister Fukuda. He will also have extensive contact with the leaders of the Diet and political parties, as well as people from all walks of life.
The improvement and development of China-Japan relations is in the fundamental interest of the two peoples, and conducive to world peace, stability and development. China is ready to join hands with Japan to enhance mutual political trust, deepen pragmatic cooperation, and expand people-to-people exchanges through President Hu's visit to Japan so as to press head with the development of China-Japan strategic relations of reciprocity.
Q: Will China and Japan resolve the East China Sea issue during President Hu's visit to Japan?
A: The East China Sea question is a sensitive issue between China and Japan. During Prime Minister Fukuda's visit to China at the end of last year, China and Japan agreed to resolve the issue step by step in the process of the development of bilateral relations. Actually, recently the Foreign Ministries have had conducive and in-depth explorations on the issue and some progress has already been generated. We are willing to make joint efforts with Japan to find a solution acceptable to both.
Q: The DPRK Foreign Minister has concluded his visit to China today. During the talks between the two Foreign Ministers, whether the nuclear declaration and the nuclear cooperation between the DPRK and Syria were discussed?
A: Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi met with his DPRK counterpart Pak Ui Chun on the 28th, and relevant information has already been released. As the host of the Six-party Talks, China has maintained close communication and coordination with other parties on the process of the Talks. We have been supporting related parties to enhance exchanges to promote new progress out of the Talks. We welcome the recent bilateral consultation between the DPRK and the US, which is helpful to the improvement of bilateral relations and the Six-party Talks. We also hope to intensify communications and coordination with other parties so as to implement the Second-phase Action at an early date in a comprehensive and balanced way, and bring the Talks into a new phase.
Q: It is only 100 days away from the Beijing Olympics. Do you believe Beijing is ready? Second, will the disruption of the torch relay affect the Beijing Olympics?
A: Thank you for your interest in the preparation for the Olympic Games. Australia held the Olympic Games successfully, and we have learned a lot from Australia. You may refer to the BOCOG for the most authoritative information concerning our preparation for the Olympic Games. Tomorrow will be the 100-day countdown to the Games, and some splendid activities will be organized. We are ready. But we are clear-minded and aware that there is still room for improvement. We need to take solid steps and nail down the details. We are willing to make joint efforts with people all over the world to hold a successful Olympic Games.
The Olympic Torch, traveling through 18 cities of five continents between April 1 and today, has been warmly welcomed by people of countries on route. This fully reveals people's aspiration and support for the Olympic across the world. The Olympic Torch belongs to people worldwide and carries forth the Olympic spirit and the concept of peace, friendship and progress which will not be held back by any disruption and sabotage.
Q: Some foreign reporters have arrived at Mount Qomolangma, hoping to cover the torch relay there. However it is said only Chinese reporters will have the opportunity to cover the event. Can you confirm this? How can you guarantee foreign journalists will be treated equally as their Chinese counterparts during the Beijing Olympic Games?
A: International press are invited to cover the torch relay on Mount Qomolangma. Regrettably, two of them quit. I wish they gave the chance to you. On the reporting of the Beijing Olympic Games, we will surely follow previous practices, honor our commitment when bidding for the Olympics and ensure a smooth coverage. We are ready to provide you with the facilitation and assistance.
Q: DPRK Foreign Minister Pak Ui Chun was in China for a visit from April 26 to 29. What is the purpose of his visit? Did he discuss with the Chinese side on the DPRK leader, Kim Jong il's visit to China?
A: We have released relevant information of Minister Pak's visit. During his talks with Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, they agreed to make joint efforts to deepen the good-neighborly, friendly and mutually-beneficial cooperation, so as to press ahead with our bilateral relations. Vice President Xi Jinping and State Councilor Dai Bingguo met with him respectively. As to whether the DPRK leader, Kim Jong il will visit China, I don't have any information.
Q: When will the foreigners be allowed to go to Tibet?
A: Tibet will certainly be open to international tourists. The government of the Tibetan Autonomous Region and the National Tourism Administration will let you know when in due course.
Q: Has China confirmed the identity of the Chinese kidnapped in Indonesia? Will you pay the ransom requested by the kidnapper?
A: The Chinese Goverment takes the incident very serious and adopts proactive rescue measures. I have told you all I know and have nothing to add.
If there are no more questions, I have an announcement to make. During the May Day Holiday, the press conference on May 1 will be suspended. We will be back on May 6. Wish you a pleasant holiday. Goodbye!