Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Liu Jianchao's Regular Press Conference on July 15, 2008
On July 15, 2008, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Liu Jianchao held a regular press conference and answered questions on the Beijing Olympic Games, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov's visit to China, the Darfur issue and etc.
Liu Jianchao: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. First of all, I have three announcements to make.
At the invitation of Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, Foreign Minister Sergei Viktorovich Lavrov of the Russian Federation will pay an official visit to China from July 21 to 22. The two sides will exchange in-depth views on bilateral relations and major international and regional issues of common interest.
The follow-up 172 troops of the Chinese peace-keeping military engineers to the UN/AU hybrid mission in Darfur will leave for Darfur from Zhengzhou, Henan Province, on July 16. All of the 315 personnel sent to Darfur by China will fully be deployed until then. We will work with the international community and continue our contribution to achieve at an early date the peace, stability and development in Darfur.
At the invitation of Russian side, a total of 1,000 primary and middle-school students from China's Sichuan and other quake-hit areas will visit Russia's Vladivostok city, Tuapse city, Omsk region, Novosibirsk region, Kemerovo region, and Krasnoyarsk territory for recuperation from July 17 to August 5. This is the first group of the 1,570 students invited by Russia, and the second group will go next year.
The invitation for the students from China's quake-hit areas to recuperate in Russia was a proposal of Russian President Medvedev, and also an important consensus reached by leaders of the two countries. It embodies the profound friendship of the Russian people towards the Chinese people and the high level and distinctiveness of the Sino-Russia strategic cooperative partnership. We believe this important move will further deepen the mutual understanding and traditional friendship between the two peoples, promote our friendship from generation on to generation, and lay a solid foundation for the long-term, sound and stable growth of the Sino-Russia strategic cooperative partnership.
Now, I'm ready to take your questions.
Q: It's reported that Ma Ying-jeou might stop over in the US on route to some Mid-South American countries in Mid-August. What is your response, particularly when Taiwan keeps asking for "diplomatic truce" and more "international space"?
A: However the situation across the Strait might change, the one-China principle will stay unchanged. China opposes official exchanges in any forms between the US and the Taiwan authorities. We hope the US side will honor its commitment to the one-China policy and the three China-US joint communiqués, prudently and properly handle relevant issue.
Q: What is your position regarding ICC prosecutor's decision to charge Sudanese President Bashir? Will China ask the Security Council to defer the decision?
A: China expresses grave concern and misgivings over ICC's charge against the Sudanese leader. The relevant actions of the ICC should be conducive to the stability in Sudan and proper settlement of the Darfur issue, not the opposite. At present, the situation in Darfur is at a sensitive and critical moment, we hope all parties will be prudent in their actions and solve their disputes through consultations so as not to further complicate the issue, disturb or even impair the cooperative atmosphere. China has consulted with relevant parities over the issue at the UN Security Council. We hope all parties concerned will reach consensus on this issue.
Q: Reportedly, the Sudanese ambassador to the UN warned that Sudan could take UN peacekeepers as hostage if the ICC bring charge against President Bashir. To our understanding, Chinese peacekeeping engineers are now working in Darfur, and the Chinese Government plans to send more troops to Darfur. Then what is your response to the Sudanese ambassador's remarks? Are you concerned about your troops' security?
A: I have not read any such remarks by the Sudanese ambassador to the UN as you mentioned. I do take note that the Sudanese Government recently promised to do its best to protect the security of peacekeepers as well as foreign diplomatic missions in Darfur and other parts of Sudan. We appreciate such an attitude. We hope the security of UN/AU peacekeepers including Chinese peacekeeping engineers in Darfur and other parts of Sudan will be safeguarded.
Q: Eight business people from Taiwan were involved in a tragic accident in the waters off Madagascar, and one of them lost his life. It's said that his mainland-born spouse has asked the Chinese Foreign Ministry for help. Could you tell us the concrete measures taken? How would you respond to some Taiwan people's argument that the mainland is just making some gestures without doing anything?
A: On July 11, eight Taiwan compatriots and one mainland Chinese went missing after an accident in the waters off Madagascar. The Chinese Government and leaders took the case seriously, and the Foreign Ministry immediately instructed Chinese Embessy in Madagascar to take every measure necessary to rescue the victims. The Chinese Consulate in Tamatave was also engaged in rescue work. Our ambassador to Madagascar made urgent representations to relevant Madagascan authorities. Madagascar took our representations and concern seriously. Rescue ships were sent out immediately, military police was asked to search along the coastline, and rescuers were sent to the site. The Transportation Minister of Madagascar is now in the island nearby to coordinate rescue efforts. Chinese Embassy in Mauritius also asked local authorities to search the nearby sea water. The rescue work is being carried out in full swing. Two bodies have been found so far, and we are continuing to search for the missing. Meanwhile, we will help the families of the victims in dealing with the aftermath. The allegation by some Taiwan people is surely unfair and politically motivated, which is unacceptable.
Q: The Chinese Government has already adopted many security measures for the Olympics. Which venues will be the focus, the major traffic roads or shopping centers? Besides, how many extra security forces are used to guarantee a safe Olympic Games?
A: The Olympic Games is a great event for the whole world. The Chinese Government, relevant departments of the Beijing Municipality and the security authorities of the BOCOG are all making efforts to hold a successful and safe Olympic Games, thus offering a happy and joyful moment to the athletes and people attending the Games from all over the world.
It's very important for relevant Chinese authorities to adopt some measures to strengthen security, which has won applause and support from participating parties. Security is the basic requirement for a successful event. We hope that Beijing Olympic Games to be peaceful and pleasant.
Q: China has all along urged the Sudanese Government to show flexibility towards the deployment of the peace-keeping operation in Darfur. Will the prosecution against President Bashir by the International Criminal Court undermine China's efforts on the Darfur issue? Is the ICC's decision influenced by political factors?
A: China follows closely the peace, stability and development of the Darfur region. As you have mentioned, China has made positive efforts to the resolution of relevant issues.
We are seriously concerned and worried about the ICC's move, and believe that relevant move should help maintain stability in Sudan and promote a proper resolution of the Darfur issue, rather than the contrary. Countries have different views on this issue. We hope the international community endeavor to promote peace, stability and development of Darfur.
Q: What are the topics in China-Japan Human Rights Dialogue held in Beijing today? Are there any results? Another question, China will ban the entry of leprosy patients during the Olympic Games, which has drawn criticism. How do you comment on that?
A: On your first question, China-Japan Human Rights Dialogue is being held today in Beijing in line with the consensus between leaders and specific arrangements by the foreign ministries. The dialogue will be conducted on the basis of equality and mutual respect. I hope that this dialogue help to strengthen mutual understanding and narrow our differences in this area.
The second question is a technical one. China has no restriction over the entry of those cured of leprosy and families of patients. Relevant laws in China stipulate that leprosy patients and persons with some epidemics are not allowed to enter, with the purpose to protect the safety and health of Chinese citizens and foreigners here. It's a universal practice. China supports the resolution calling for elimination of discrimination against leprosy patients and their families, and will continue to study relevant measures in future.
Q: Besides Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, who will meet with Foreign Minister Lavrov during his visit to China? Will the handover of the boundary islets from Russia to China be discussed?
A: Besides Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao will meet with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov. Both sides will talk about some remaining boundary issues. I believe that this visit will play an important role in pressing ahead with the China-Russia relations and strengthening the strategic mutual trust between the two countries.
Q: According to U.S. media report, China will forcibly repatriate people escaping from the DPRK before the Beijing Olympic Games. Some U.S. Congressmen have written to Chinese leaders, urging the Chinese government to settle the issue. What is your comment?
A: The issue has been there for quite some time. Some countries and organizations have expressed concerns in this regard. We have reiterated China's position on many occasions. In fact, China is a victim of the illegal North Korean immigration. China has been dealing with the issue in accordance with China's domestic law, international law, and in the principle of humanism as well. So far, the principles China adhered to and measures taken have achieved good effect, and won support from the international community. We hope that parties concerned would take an impartial position and have a correct understanding of China's important efforts in resolving the issue.
Q: The International Criminal Court has issued charges against the Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. In this case, will China stick to her policy towards Sudan and maintain close cooperation with the Sudanese government?
A: China and Sudan maintain normal state to state relations. The two countries develop friendship and cooperation for the welfare of the two peoples and the development of the two countries. China-Sudan cooperation is in the benefits of the improvement of the living standard of the Sudanese people, and peace, stability and development in the Darfur region as well. China has made due efforts for the resolution of the Darfur issue, including actively participating in the hybrid peacekeeping force of the UN and AU, for which China has sent a 315-men multi-functional engineering unit. These concrete efforts have proved that China has made her own contributions for the resolution of the Darfur issue as well as Sudanese people's welfare. We believe that such kind of policy is correct and we will stick to it.
Q:I have three questions. First, BBC reported that China broke a United Nations arms embargo against Sudan, selling weapons and military equipment to the Sudanese government and training pilots for them. What is your comment? Second, it is reported that two Uighur ethnics have been executed in Xinjiang. Could you confirm and comment on that? Third, the U.S. President George W. Bush said that he paid tribute to Dailai Lama and honored those Uighur Muslims seeking religious freedom in China. Do you have any comment?
A: As for your first question, I have read the relevant BBC report. I'd like to reaffirm that the Chinese government has always adopted a responsible attitude toward military exports, enforced strict control over military exports in line with China's international responsibility and domestic rules and laws, and never sold to countries or regions under UN embargo. The BBC's accusation is neither fair nor correct. China has never violated any UN Security Council resolution. On the contrary, China has been actively engaged in promoting the resolution of the Darfur issue, and earnestly abides by the UN Security Council arms embargo in Darfur. Anyone with common sense of the international law will tell the real political intention of the BBC report.
With regard to your second question, I don't know the specifics and the source of the information. Therefore, I can't make a comment. But I'd like to stress that China is a country with the rule of law, and local authorities will handle cases in accordance with the law.
On your third question, China is a country with the rule of law. We protect citizen's fundamental human rights including religious freedom in accordance with the law. The U.S. is clear about China's position on issues of Tibet and Dalai. Chinese citizen's religious freedom is guaranteed by law. In the meantime, the law does not allow any illegal and separatist activities undermining China's stability. No one can breach the law on the ground of religious freedom. Anyone violating China's law will be punished in accordance with the law in any place in China. We hope that countries concerned would stop interfering into China's internal affairs.
Q: The ASEAN Regional Forum will be held on July 24 in Singapore. Will Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei attend the Forum? On the sidelines of the Forum, will the Six-Party Ministerial Meeting be held?
A: Just as you said, the ARF will be held in Singapore. ARF mechanism has been operating for 15 years. China has attached great importance to ARF and is considering sending senior diplomats to attend this meeting. I have not heard that Vice Minister Wu Dawei will attend the meeting and I will update you on that.
During the just-concluded meeting of the heads of delegation to the Six-Party Talks, parties have reached consensus on the principle of the Ministerial Meeting. The time and venue of the meeting still has to be agreed upon among parties through diplomatic channel.
Q: The Vice Defense Minister of Iran claimed that the recent missile test further consolidated Iran's position on the nuclear issue. How do you comment? What impact will the test have on negotiations of the Iranian nuclear issue?
A: Iran will soon resume contacts with the EU. The EU presented a package of proposals to resume talks and Iran put forward some suggestions as well. We hope both sides seek more common ground and resume talks through consultation at an early date. China will take an active part in relevant process so as to promote the nuclear issue towards a diplomatic resolution.
I expounded on China's attitude towards Iran's missile test last week. At present, the situation in the Middle East is highly sensitive and complicated, we hope relevant parties do more to promote regional peace and stability, rather than the contrary.
Q: Will China propose or support a resolution within the UN Security Council of suspending ICC's prosecution against Sudanese President Bashir? Do you believe it is correct for the Sudanese Government not to cooperate with the ICC?
A: China will continue consultations with other Security Council members. However, I could not speculate on the possible results. I just expounded on China's position on the ICC prosecutor's accusation against the Sudanese leader.
As to your second question, I won't comment on Sudan's relevant position. What I want to stress is, while handling the Darfur issue, the international community should endeavor to improve the situation, promote stability of Sudan and ensure a proper resolution of the Darfur issue.
Q: Will China discuss the situation in Tibet and Xinjiang with other parties at the ARF? Do you believe that ARF could be a platform to resolve the religious extremism in Tibet and Xinjiang? In handling these issues, what's the difference between the ARF and the SCO?
A: ARF is an important venue for regional countries to exchange views on regional and international security situation and promote security dialogue. China, highly valuing this, has taken an active part in the ARF consultation and dialogue over the years. However, such a venue could not and should not be used to discuss internal affairs of other countries. A majority of the ARF members adhere to the principle of mutual respect to sovereignty and non-interference in other countries' internal affairs.
The ARF and the SCO vary in topics and composition of members. The SCO, as a regional cooperative organization composed of China, Russia and four central Asian countries, mainly discuss cooperation in security, trade and economy and people-to-people exchanges among its members. Over the past years, SCO cooperation has yielded positive progress driven by multiple mechanisms. We are looking forward to a bigger leap forward of the SCO. As to the ARF, China will continue its part in relevant dialogues and discussions.
Q:We can fully understand China's concerns over the security of the Beijing Olympics. The slogan for the Olympics is "One World, One Dream", but the security measures taken by China have caused much inconvenience and some security personnel's behaviors are rude. How do you comment on that?
A: I can understand your concerns, which may also represent concerns of some other foreign correspondents in Beijing. I would like to emphasize that first, the Chinese Government and people warmly welcome media and journalists all over the world to cover the Beijing Olympics. We will try our best to provide convenience for your coverage. In fact, we have already taken a series of moves, including setting up the BIMC and etc. Secondly, given the current international security situation, it is understandable to take necessary measures. Undeniably, sometimes enhanced security measures will cause some inconvenience, but it is a common problem facing all countries. A proper solution acceptable to all requires coordination, cooperation and understanding. The Foreign Ministry will refer your concerns to relevant authorities and provide more convenience while ensuring security. Meanwhile I hope all the correspondents respect the instruction of the law-enforcement personnel. The two sides may have something unpleasant while performing their duties. I hope we all keep calm and resolve the problems properly with mutual understanding.
If there are no more questions, thank you for attending. Goodbye.