Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Jiang Yu's Regular Press Conference on January 15, 2009
On January 15, 2009, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Jiang Yu held a regular press conference and answered questions on China-EU relations, China-US relations, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi's visit to Africa, the Palestine-Israel conflict, and etc.
Jiang Yu: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I have no announcement to make today. The floor is open.
Q: The World Bank announced yesterday that four Chinese companies were banned from bidding for any other of its projects following the discovery of cartel over a Philippine road scheme in which the four Chinese companies were apparently involved. Does China think this is fair? Or does China plan to appeal to the World Bank?
A: We have taken note of the news. I suggest you contact the Ministry of Commerce, which I believe will make a timely response.
Q: Since China and the EU both say that they value bilateral relations with each other, is there any arrangement for communication or dialogue in the near future?
A: The mainstream of the current China-EU relations is good. The bilateral relations in general develop steadily. China and the EU are major trade partners to each other. The EU has been China's largest trade partner for five years in a row. The two sides keep sound communication and coordination on major international issues. After years of joint efforts, China-EU relations now enjoy a pattern of mutually beneficial cooperation that covers multiple dimensions and broad areas at various levels. China's policy to further promote the comprehensive and strategic partnership with the EU remains unchanged.
On January 19, Vice Foreign Minister of the Czech Republic, which holds the rotating Presidency of the EU, will be in Beijing with the EU Troika to hold the Fourth China-EU Strategic Dialogue with Vice Foreign Minister Li Hui. The two sides will exchange views on China-EU relations as well as international and regional issues of common interest. We hope that through this dialogue, the two sides could enhance mutual trust, expand consensus, deepen cooperation and promote healthy and stable development of China-EU relations.
Q: Follow up on the EU. The Czech Republic, the Prime Minister of which met with Dalai last year, is taking over the rotating Presidency of the EU. How will this affect China-EU relations? Separately, a senior official in charge of Asian affairs at the National Security Council of the White House yesterday asked China to increase transparency of its nuclear strategy and policy. How do you respond?
A: China's position on the Tibet-related issue is consistent and clear. We always oppose any foreign leaders meeting with Dalai in whatever form. This position is firm and steadfast. We hope the international community and countries in Europe could fully understand and respect China's core interest, remove every disturbance to promote long-term and healthy development of China-EU relations.
As for your second question, I have taken note of relevant report, but I don't have any information yet.
Q: There have been recently several cases foiled overseas with Chinese spies involved. What is China's position on espionage overseas?
A: This is a hypothetical question based on a groundless premise, which is unacceptable. Time and again such groundless accusations find their way out. Some are even out of ulterior purpose.
Q: According to the latest statistics, China's trade volume declined by a large margin last December. How will this affect China's international status and China's capacity to provide assistance to less developed countries in Africa?
A: In principle, China's opening-up policy is consistent. We conduct extensive foreign trade cooperation on the basis of equality and mutual benefit. This policy has stayed unchanged. China will continue to provide assistance to Africa within our capability.
Q: Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi is now visiting Africa. Chinese leaders used to sign cooperation agreements on trade, investment and infrastructure during their visits to Africa. What is the priority of Chinese investment in Africa this year?
A: Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi has visited Uganda and Rwanda so far. He is going to visit Malawi on January 15 and South Africa from January15 to 17 as scheduled. Relevant news will be released.
It is a tradition for more than a decade that Chinese Foreign Minister starts his foreign visit with African countries at the beginning of every year. The traditional friendly cooperation between China and Africa has endured more than five decades and the relations of friendly cooperation are a significant cornerstone of Chinese foreign policies. In the new period, we are willing to work with Africa and promote new strategic partnership between China and Africa in the spirit of sincere friendship, equality, mutual benefit and common development. China and Africa cooperate in a variety of fields, covering agriculture, infrastructure, education, health and etc. The cooperation has strongly advanced social and economic development in Africa and also brought more attention from the international community on Africa. We have always been open and positive on the cooperation with Africa. We are willing to exchange with countries and regions that truly care about peace and development of Africa, and jointly promote stability, peace and development in Africa.
Since the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, China and Africa have been actively materializing the follow-up actions, which are now being implemented steadily. Bilateral political relations have become closer and pragmatic cooperation on economy and trade deepened. This is the last year of the implementation of China's eight-point measures towards Africa, which is conducive to the deepening of friendly, mutually beneficial and pragmatic cooperation between China and Africa.
Q: It has been reported recently that several Chinese companies were banned from bidding for World Bank projects because of their involvement in commercial malpractice. What measures will the Chinese Government take to supervise the overseas activities of Chinese companies? The second question is, it is said that Liu Jianchao is no longer the Director-General of Information Department nor Spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry. He will be Ambassador to some country. Please confirm.
A: I have answered your first question already. Please contact the Ministry of Commerce for comments.
Director-General Liu Jianchao announced yesterday at the New Year Reception that he would leave his current position for new assignment. We will update you when the arrangement is confirmed. Just before the press conference, he asked me to thank you for the good cooperation in the past years and wish you all the best.
Q: It is reported that CNPC has signed a contract with Iran National Oil Company to explore North Azadegan oil field. Please confirm. Besides, Japan used to own the right to explore Azadegan. Does China know about this?
A: China and Iran have normal cooperation on energy. Companies from both countries have normal commercial cooperation of mutual benefit following market rules. This cooperation has positive significance for a stable international oil market.
Q: The new U.S. administration will swear in in several days. What is China's expectation on the Obama administration? Will China send special envoy to the inauguration ceremony?
A: Mr. Zhou Wenzhong, Chinese Ambassador to the U.S., will accept the invitation and attend the inauguration ceremony of President Obama.
As the largest developing and developed countries respectively, China and the U.S. shoulder common responsibility on the lofty mission of peace and development of mankind. The development of Sino-U.S. constructive relations of cooperation is in the fundamental interests of the two countries and peoples, which is also conducive to peace, stability and development of the Asia-Pacific region and the whole world. Sino-U.S. relations are currently at an important stage of serving as a link between the past and future. China is willing to work with the U.S. to view and handle bilateral relations from a strategic and long-term perspective, strengthen dialogue, exchanges and cooperation, respect and accommodate core interest of each other and promote long-term, healthy and stable development of Sino-U.S. constructive relations of cooperation in the new period.
Q: It is reported today that there are labour disputes involving Chinese workers in Saudi Arabia. Can you give us any details? How many Chinese workers are working overseas currently and how fast is the number increasing? What measures has China taken to protect the rights of Chinese workers overseas?
A: With regard to the figure of Chinese workers overseas, please contact the Ministry of Commerce.
The Chinese Government always supports qualified enterprises to "go overseas" and carry out investment and project contracting cooperation based on the principle of equality and mutual benefit and following international practice. Chinese enterprises are always required to comply with local laws and co-exist and cooperate in harmony with local parties. If there are any issues, we hope the relevant parties could adopt an attitude of active consultation and handle the problems based on local laws and signed contracts.
The Chinese Government always attaches great importance to the protection of lawful rights of Chinese citizens overseas. We have done a lot of work in past years, cooperated with relevant countries and parties actively and helped to solve problems. I believe that the problem you mentioned will be solved properly with the concerted efforts of relevant parties.
Q: The U.S. side has said recently that if Taiwan ships are under pirate attack in the Gulf of Aden, the U.S. is willing to provide assistance. How do you comment on it?
A: With regard to the issue of convoy assistance for Taiwan ships, the Chinese Government has sent convoy navy ships to relevant waters. Taiwan ships are the objects of our protection. We will try our best to provide assistance if necessary.
The Chinese Government has sent convoy navy ships to the Gulf of Aden and Somali waters based on relevant UN Security Council resolutions and the consent of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia.
Q: Can you tell us about the latest efforts made by China in joining the international community to solve the Middle East crisis?
A: China supports every effort made by the international community to ease the tension in Gaza and relieve the humanitarian crisis. Ambassador Sun Bigan, Chinese Envoy on the Middle East issue is continuing his visit to the Middle East, and actively working on parties involved. China will work with the international community and make its own efforts to ease the tension, relieve the humanitarian crisis, and push for a cease-fire and the resumption of talks. We have noted that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is visiting the Middle East. Egypt and other parties have proposed a cease-fire initiative. We hope that with the mediation efforts of Egypt, the cease-fire negotiations can produce positive results. At the same time, we once again call on the relevant parties to earnestly respond to the strong appeals and request of the international community.
Q: According to Japanese media reports, Mr. Wang Jiarui, Minister of the International Department of the CPC Central Committee, will visit the DPRK soon. Can you confirm?
A: I haven't heard about this. Please refer your inquiry to the International Department of the CPC Central Committee.
This year marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the DPRK. The two countries have also set Year 2009 as the Year of Friendship, and will hold a series of colorful activities. We hope that these activities and exchanges will consolidate China-DPRK friendship, expand exchanges and cooperation, and promote China-DPRK friendly relations of cooperation.
If there are no more questions, thank you for attending. See you!