Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang's Regular Press Conference on May 13, 2008
On the afternoon of May 13, 2008, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang held a regular press conference and answered questions on the severe earthquake in Wenchuan, the Korean Peninsular nuclear issue and etc.
Qin Gang: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I would like to start with an announcement.
The Third Ministerial Meeting of China-Arab Cooperation Forum will be held in Manama, the capital of Bahrain, from May 21 to 22. Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi will head the Chinese delegation to attend the meeting and visit Bahrain.
Now the floor is open for questions.
Q: Many countries including the US and Russia have offered to help China overcome the difficulties of the severe earthquake. Is China willing to accept their assistance? China has recently provided aid to Myanmar. Will China continue to assist Myanmar after the earthquake?
A: After the earthquake hit Sichuan, many countries including the US and Russia, and international organizations extended their solicitude to China immediately through various channels, expressing their willingness to support and help the Chinese Government and people in disaster relief. The Chinese Government and people welcome and express heartfelt gratitude.
On your second question, we express our concerns and solicitude to Myanmar for the heavy casualties and property losses caused by the violent cyclone. The Chinese Government has provided two batches of disaster relief materials and cash to Myanmar. If necessary, we will consider providing aid to Myanmar within our capability according to the situation there.
Q: Yesterday, the competent authorities opened channels for international aid. How many donations China has received? What kind of assistance will China accept, especially that from Hong Kong and Macau?
A: We appreciate and welcome the kindness of the international community to offer various kinds of support and assistance to China. The competent authorities have publicized the specific communication channel. Those who want to donate may contact with them.
The Foreign Ministry is not in charge of receiving assistance. If you want to get the authoritative information of the number of aid from Hong Kong and Macau, please contact competent authorities.
Q: Is there any foreigner killed and injured in the Wenchuan earthquake? Apart from the 15 British tourists missing in Sichuan, are there any other foreigners missing?
A: Up to this noon, we have not received any report of death or injury concerning foreigners. On your question concerning the missing British tourists, we are still double-checking it.
The Central Government and governments at various levels attach great importance to the safety of foreigners in China. After the earthquake, the Foreign Ministry immediately contacted the foreign Embassies and Consulates in China to learn whether there are foreign citizens injured or killed in the affected region. The Information Department of the Foreign Ministry called foreign correspondents based in Chongqing and other places to make sure they are safe and sound.
As you may already realize the magnitude of the damage in the affected area, with transportation, communication and other infrastructure ruined. We will have to wait for further details as the disaster relief work proceeds. We will keep you updated on the situation of the disaster and our relief efforts, and inform relevant foreign Embassies and Consulates in China. Besides, if any diplomatic mission here has any information concerning foreign citizens injured, killed or under emergency, please contact the Chinese Foreign Ministry immediately. We will spare no efforts to help them.
Q: Will the torch relay continue after the earthquake? Will China accept international assistance, and in what form?
A: The BOCOG is following the disaster and the relief work. They will assess the situation and make decisions accordingly in due course.
After the earthquake in Wenchuan, the international community immediately expressed solicitude and support to the Chinese Government and people, which we appreciate. Many countries and international organizations expressed their willingness to provide various kinds of assistance to China. We welcome and thank them for that. The disaster relief authorities and the civil affairs department of China welcome international assistance and stand ready to stay in communication with those countries and organizations.
Q: Mr. Kim Sook, the ROK chief negotiator of the Six-Party Talks, is visiting China today and will have a meeting with Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei. Please update us on the meeting.
A: Recently, new progress has been made in the Six-Party Talks. The second-phase action plan is pressing ahead with positive progress achieved in the disablement of the DPRK nuclear facilities and the assistance to the DPRK is underway. Relations between relevant countries, the DPRK and the US in particular, have been improved. We welcome the new contact between the DPRK and the US not long ago and its results thereof.
This afternoon, Mr. Kim Sook, head of the ROK delegation to the Six-Party Talks, will meet and exchange views with Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei on how to further promote the Talks. We believe the current sound momentum should be maintained and relevant parties should take measures to further enhance mutual trust, display pragmatism and flexibility so as to step up the implementation of the second-phase action plan in a comprehensive and balanced manner while exploring the next phase action of denuclearization. China is willing to continue its constructive role and keep communication and consultation with other parties.
Q: Is China worried that the Wenchuan earthquake will affect the Beijing Olympics?
A: After the earthquake took place in Wenchuan, the Central Committee of the CPC and the State Council attached great importance and set up a headquarter for disaster relief, taking the relief work as the highest priority. At present, all the relief work is underway. We have the confidence and courage that under the firm leadership of the Central Committee of the CPC and the State Council, the Chinese People will unite as one to assist those in the disaster-hit areas so as to overcome the difficulties caused by the shock and win the battle against the disaster.
The courage, perseverance, cohesion and unity of this nation in fighting against the disaster will surely encourage us to do a good job in the Beijing Olympics. We are confident and capable to press ahead with the preparation of the Games as scheduled.
Q: Are foreign correspondents free to visit the affected areas? The Myanmar Government still restricts the access of international assistance, while the Chinese Government handled that quite differently. How do you comment on that?
A: The earthquake in Wenchuan is so strong that it caused heavy losses including damages to transportation, communication and other infrastructures. It is quite difficult and inconvenient for journalists to visit the quake-hit areas, but we will exert our utmost efforts to create conditions for that. Meanwhile, relevant authorities will update you on the latest developments of the situation and disaster relief efforts.
Due to the continuous aftershocks, we'd like to remind those correspondents reporting there to take precautions to keep themselves safe. Please contact the Information Department of the Foreign Ministry or local offices of foreign affairs when encountering emergency, and we will do whatever we can to help.
We have noted that Myanmar has stated that it welcomes international assistance. Recently, assistances from relevant countries and organizations have arrived in Myanmar successively. We think it is imperative for the international community to continue to assist Myanmar according to the latter's need and support the Myanmar people to combat the storm and rebuild their homes. We are willing to work together with the international community to this end. While providing assistance, the international community should follow the principle of equality and mutual respect, conduct communication and consultation with the recipient, respect its will and take into full consideration its capacity.
If there are no more questions, thanks for your attendance.