Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang's Regular Press Conference on December 30, 2008
On December 30, 2008, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang held a regular press conference and answered questions on conflicts between Palestine and Israel, tension between India and Pakistan, and etc.
Qin Gang: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I have an announcement to start with.
In order to promote the profound development of China-ASEAN strategic partnership and strengthen communication and coordination between the two, the Chinese Government has set up the ASEAN Ambassadorship, and has decided to appoint Madam Xue Hanqin as the first Ambassador, who will temporarily be non-permanent. Ambassador Xue is a senior diplomat and expert on international laws. She was Direct General of Department of Treaty and Law, Foreign Ministry, Chinese Ambassador to the Netherlands, and the permanent representative of the Chinese delegation to Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. Ambassador Xue will play an important role in promoting the friendly exchanges and cooperation between China and ASEAN in extensive fields.
Now the floor is open.
Q: It’s reported that China and Japan may postpone their negotiation on joint development of oil and gas field in East China Sea till next February, could you confirm?
A: China and Japan are keeping contact and communication on the East China Sea issue.
Q: Could you elaborate on China’s position regarding the attacks in Gaza? Also, Could you tell us more about Vice Foreign Minister He Yafei’s visit to Pakistan?
A: China is deeply concerned about the continuous conflict in Gaza Strip. We hope relevant party could listen to the appeal of the international community and immediately stop armed conflicts so as to avoid more casualties and seek for political means to solve disputes.
With regard to India-Pakistan relations, the Chinese Government is deeply concerned and worried about the re-emergence of tension between the two countries. As a neighbor of both India and Pakistan, China hopes the two countries could properly handle relevant issues through consultation and dialogue, improve bilateral relations and be jointly committed to peace and stability in South Asia. It is out of this consideration that the Chinese Government sends Vice Foreign Minister He Yafei to Pakistan as the special envoy of the Chinese Government to communicate with Pakistan on relevant issues and explain China’s position. Pakistan says that it is willing to improve its relations with India through dialogue and consultation and work together to combat terrorism and religious extremism in the region in order to safeguard regional peace and stability. Meanwhile, the Chinese Government is also having communication with other parties concerned. In the past couple of days, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi held phone conversations with his counterparts in India, Pakistan, the US and Russia, and elaborated China’s position on India-Pakistan relations. The other parties appreciated China’s efforts in safeguarding peace and stability in South Asia.
Q: Japanese Media reports today that China plans to start building two aircraft carriers next year. Could you comment?
A: I cannot confirm this report. As for your question, the spokesperson of Ministry of National Defense has already made response. I have nothing more to add.
Q: Following the question on Gaza, you called it a conflict, but I’d rather call it an aggression. Israel used foggy and unclear rhetoric as a cover or green-light to escalate attacks against Palestinian people. On the other hand, the international community, members of the Security Council including China are not doing their international obligations to force Israel to act like a normal state and obey international resolutions. How do you comment?
A：It is China’s consistent position to oppose the use of force in resolving disputes and any actions that bring harm to innocent civilians. China upholds a proper settlement of the Palestinian issue through political dialogue and supports any efforts conducive to this goal.
Q: Since this is the last press conference of this year, if we look at next year, what are China’s biggest foreign policy issues for next year? Especially with the Chinese navy ships just gone to the Somali coast, is China planning to get more involved in helping to resolve issues in Africa, such as specifically in Sudan Darfur and in Zimbabwe?
A: The year 2008 is an unusual year for China, and a year of new initiatives and fruitful achievements for China’s diplomacy. Next year marks the 60th anniversary of the founding of the PRC. It will be a year of special meaning for China in its efforts to build a well-off society in an all-round way. At the same time, the international situation will continue to undergo complicated and profound changes. The negative impact of the financial crisis will continue to bear out. Conflicts and hot-spot issues still exist, and there are severe challenges for countries in traditional and non-traditional security areas. In the coming year, we will continue to follow the guidance of scientific outlook on development, further explore new initiatives, and try our best to work for the modernization drive. It will be a core task for China to ensure a smooth and rapid economic development next year, against the backdrop of international financial crisis. China’s diplomacy will focus on this task and work to create a sound international environment for domestic economic development. At the same time, we will continue to push forward all-around diplomacy, develop relations with major countries and friendly cooperative relations with developing countries, continue to play a constructive role in multi-lateral fields, and better safeguard national sovereignty, territorial integrity, security and development interests. We will also implement “Diplomacy for the People”, and work all out to ensure safety of Chinese nationals and institutions overseas.
As regards the hop-spot issues you mentioned, China will as always adopt a responsible attitude, play an active and constructive role and work with the international community to safeguard international and regional peace and stability and promote common development of the world.
We also hope that the international media will continue to cover China’s diplomacy objectively and comprehensively so that the world will know better about China’s role internationally.
Q: About the Six-party Talks, do you think the next round could be held before President Bush leaves office on January 20?
A: When the next round of Six-party Talks will be held depends on whether the conditions are ripe and whether the six parties can reach a consensus on this. We hope that the Six-party Talks can continue to forge ahead.
Q: This year, the cross-straits relations are getting less tense and the two sides are not so dramatically antagonistic to each other as before. Will the two sides continue to move towards a “diplomatic truce” in 2009? Taiwan is striving to become an observer at next year’s World Health Assembly. What is your position on this?
A: No matter it is on cross-strait relations, or on Taiwan’s participation in international activities, we have always upheld one fundamental principle, that is, the one-China principle. The two sides can carry out consultations on the basis of this principle. It is our hope that the two sides can work together and pave the way for solving the problems through consultation.
If there are no more questions, thank you for attending the last Foreign Ministry press conference in 2008. As usual, our press conference will be cancelled during the New Year holidays and will resume on January 6, 2009.
Last but not least, on behalf of my colleagues, I wish you every happiness, health and good luck in the new year.
Thank you. See you next year.