Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang's Regular Press Conference on November 6, 2008
On November 6, 2008, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang held a regular press conference and announced Kyrgyz Foreign Minister Ednan Karabaev's visit to China. He also answered questions on the U.S. Presidential election and China-U.S. relations, the Six-party Talks, the oil dispute between Bangladesh and Myanmar.
Qin Gang: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen! I have an announcement to make.
At the invitation of Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, Foreign Minister Ednan Karabaev of the Kyrgyz Republic will visit China from November 11 to 16.
Vice Foreign Minister He Yafei will hold a press briefing on President Hu Jintao's forthcoming attendance at the G-20 Summit on Financial Market and World Economy, the 16th APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting and his visits to Costa Rico, Cuba, Peru and Greece here in the press conference hall at 3:30 this afternoon.
Now I'm happy to take your questions.
Q: What kind of contact will there be between the Chinese Government and the next U.S. President, Obama's team in the run-up between now and his inauguration so as to have a smooth transition in Sino-U.S. relations? A second question, the U.S. Embassy in China will hold a round-table briefing on intellectual property rights. I was wondering if you could give us an update on the status of IPR improvement made by the Chinese Government. What do you wish to accomplish during this meeting?
A: On your first question, Chinese leaders have sent congratulatory messages to Mr. Obama and Mr. Biden. China attaches great importance to China-U.S. relations. We believe that our relationship should be viewed from a long-term perspective and handled from a strategic height. It should not be altered because of a certain incident at a certain time. The relationship between China and the U.S., the largest developing and developed country respectively, is so important that its healthy and stable development is not only in the interest of our two peoples, but also conducive to world peace and stability and people's well-being of the world. The Chinese Government stands ready to work together with the U.S, including the new U.S. Government to continuously strengthen dialogue and exchanges, enhance mutual understanding, trust and cooperation and properly handle the sensitive issues in our relations on the basis of the three Sino-US Joint Communiqués, with a view to promoting the development of our constructive and cooperative relationship. We are ready to enhance contact and exchanges with the U.S. at any time. As to whether there will be any contact with the Obama team in the near future, we are quite open-minded on this. We are ready to make positive efforts so long as it is conducive to the smooth transition of China-U.S. relations and the promotion of the healthy and stable development of our relations.
I'm not aware of the IPR round table meeting you mentioned. The Chinese Government attaches importance to and is committed to the protection of the intellectual property rights, which is also an important part in China-US communication and cooperation. We have been taking measures to improve legislation, law enforcement and the administration of justice so as to better protect IPR. We take seriously the concerns and interest of the US in this field and hope to strengthen cooperation and communication thereof.
Q: During his Presidential Election campaign, Obama urged the Chinese Government to stop manipulating its currency. Are you concerned that the new US Administration may push harder on the RMB exchange rate?
A: We have repeatedly elaborated our position and proposition on the RMB exchange rate. We aim to realize a managed floating mechanism based on market supply and demand. This is not only in the interest of China, but also favorable for the development of regional and world economy.
Some people in the US seem to suggest that the trade imbalance between China and the US is caused by RMB exchange rate, but they will think differently if they could have an objective understanding of the bilateral trade. Over the past three decades, the bilateral trade has been developing apace. In 1979 when the two countries established diplomatic relations, the bilateral trade volume was less than 2.5 billion dollars. By the end of 2007, it exceeded 300 billion dollars, which is over 120 times that of 1979. It is particularly impressive in the past few years when the volume in 2003 of over 100 billion dollars was almost doubled in five years till 2007. In general, the bilateral trade is in the interest of both countries, and has brought huge benefit to the US and its people.
It's true that China's export to the US has grown in recent years, and there is this issue of trade imbalance between the two countries. But it is not China or RMB exchange rate to blame, because the trade imbalance is actually the result of international industrial division against the background of globalization. The US imports from China commodities it does not produce itself. So even if it doesn't import from China, it will have to import from other countries. China's good-quality-yet-inexpensive products are well received among US consumers and also help the US keep a relatively low inflation rate.
The Chinese people believe that harmony generates profit. When problems arise, we should remain objective and calm, and properly handle them through equal and friendly consultation in the spirit of mutual respect, mutual benefit and cooperation, which is good for the bilateral trade and two countries. Besides, measures have already been taken in recent years to address the issue. For instance, the RMB exchange rate nowadays is no longer fixed but floating visibly. There are also measures to expand import from the US.
China takes full consideration of the US interest and concern. We hope the US will do so vice versa. We welcome the US to expand export to China and make more investment in China. After all, it takes two to tango. China would be happy to buy more US products, especially the high-tech ones. We hope the US will lift its export restriction on high-tech products and recognize China's market economy status sooner than later, which should contribute to stable and balanced development of China-US trade.
Q: Indian Foreign Minister made a speech the other day, saying that China poses a new strategic and geopolitical challenge to India, and that India would have to develop sophisticated ways to deal with it. Do you have any comment?
A: China's development is peaceful. It's an opportunity rather than challenge to countries in Asia and the rest of the world. Leaders of both countries agree that China and India are partners instead of competitors.
Q: Today, Ma Ying-jeou met with Chen Yunlin, chief of the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait. Do you recognize Ma Ying-jeou as the "President" of Taiwan?
A: There is only one China in the world. As for specific questions relating to cross-Strait relations, please refer to the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office.
Q: The new round of China-US Strategic Economic Dialogue will be held this December. Will China invite Obama or members from his team to join?
A: The China-US Strategic Economic Dialogue is a very important mechanism of dialogue and cooperation between the two countries. As its name suggests, China-US economic relations should be strategic. The Strategic Economic Dialogue aims at dealing with strategic, long-term and macro issues in the bilateral trade. So far, there have been four rounds of dialogue, through which the two countries had full communication, enhanced mutual understanding and trust and strengthened their cooperation. Both China and the US attach importance to this mechanism, believing it is conducive to the development of healthy and stable bilateral trade as well as the overall China-US relations. China hopes the mechanism could be institutionalized. We stand ready to work with the US to hold a successful dialogue this December.
Q: Does President Hu Jintao plan to meet with Barack Obama when he is in Washington for the G20 leaders' financial summit? Asian companies and business analysts have expressed concerns that Obama Administration might be more protectionist on trade, how do you comment on that?Are you worried that Washington will become more protectionist?
A:About the bilateral activities between China and the United States during President Hu Jintao's visit to Washington for the Summit on Financial Market and World Economy, the specific arrangements are still under discussion.
As for your second question, I have taken note of such concerns and worries. I have just elaborated China's position on Sino-US economic relations and trade. I prefer to stress again that China sticks to a win-win foreign policy and open-up strategy featuring mutual benefit, which will remain unchanged. We advocate and practice free trade, and believe that the United States do the same as us. We hope that the United States will continue to adopt a policy of free trade. While at the same time, we should be vigilant and guard against trade protectionism for its detrimental effect on all parties.
Q:Yesterday, Russian President Medvedev announced that Russia will deploy missiles in Kaliningrad. Do you have any comment on that issue?
A: China always believes that setting up global missile defense system, including deploying such system in some regions of the world or conducting cooperation in this field, is detrimental to global strategic balance and stability, undermines mutual trust among countries and affects regional stability. The recent development of situation makes it evident that relevant countries should take other countries' concerns seriously.
Q: In light of Obama's victory on the US President Election, will the Chinese Government be making any renewed calls for cessation or halt to the arms sales planned by President Bush to Taiwan?
A: China always firmly opposes to the US arms sales to Taiwan. This position is clear and remains unchanged. We demand that the US earnestly fulfill its commitment to adhering to One-China Policy, abiding by the three Sino-US Joint Communiqués and opposing "Taiwan independence", as well as put an end to its arms sales to Taiwan.
Q:How do you comment on the oil and gas exploration dispute between Bangladesh and Myanmar? Will China take any mediating actions?
A: We take note of the recent dispute between Bangladesh and Myanmar. Both Bangladesh and Myanmar are our friendly neighbors and major countries in this region. We hope to see a stable relationship between them and stability in the region. We encourage the two to work together to properly settle their disputes through friendly negotiations. As a friend to both of them, China would like to play its role in an appropriate way.
Q: Do you have any information about the talks between Dalai Lama's personal representatives and the Central Government?
A: Foreign Ministry is not in charge of the issue. I'll leave it to the competent authorities to release the related information.
Q: You mentioned earlier that China was willing to work with the Obama Administration to properly handle the sensitive issues in Sino-US relations, so what is the most sensitive problem to be addressed when the Obama is in place?
A: If you take a look at the history of Sino-US relationship, the Taiwan issue has been the most sensitive matter at the core of it. Adherence to the One China Principle and a proper handling of the Taiwan issue constitutes the political basis of Sino-US relations. We hope that the United States properly solve the issue, earnestly fulfill its commitment to adhering to the three Sino-US Joint Communiqués, the One China Principle and opposing the "Taiwan Independence", so as to ensure the healthy and stable development of the Sino-US relationship.
As for other disputes between China and the US, we believe they could be solved through dialogue on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit.
Q: What are the most important and pressing international issues on the agenda of the Chinese Government in its discussion with the new U.S. Administration?
A: As major countries in the world and permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, China and the U.S. share extensive interests and shoulder important responsibilities in safeguarding regional and international peace, security, stability and promoting common development of the human beings. Profound and complicated changes are taking place currently worldwide. Our world faces the opportunity of further development as well as many severe challenges, including international financial crisis, energy and food security, climate change, anti-terrorism and nuclear non-proliferation. China and the U.S. have maintained communication, dialogue and cooperation in recent years, which scored a series of major achievements, and promoted the development of bilateral relations. We hope our two countries continue to strengthen dialogue and cooperation in the future.
Q: During the 15th APEC Financial Ministers Meeting in Peru recently, an IMF official said that the G8 should incorporate the emerging markets such as China and India. How do you comment?
A: The IMF raised this initiative when the financial crisis keeps on expanding and aggravating. China has proposed that the international community should be united in the concerted efforts to face the challenge side by side. It is imperative to adopt effective measures to build up confidence, stabilize financial market and ensure healthy and stable economic development. From a long-term perspective, the current international financial system needs to be reformed in a comprehensive and effective manner, so that it can provide better supervision and oversight, enhance monitoring cooperation, and ensure the long-term healthy and stable development of international financial market and world economy. For the aims I just mentioned, all the stakeholders should conduct thorough consultation on an equal footing, and in particular, more representation and greater voice should be rendered to developing and emerging countries. Aid to developing countries should not be reduced due to financial crises. All in all, we shall work to build an international financial system that is fair, just, inclusive and orderly.
The G8 plays an important role in world politics and economy. We hope the group can listen carefully to the appeals of the developing countries and consider their interests. We believe that the relationship between G8 and the developing countries should be in the interest of balanced, healthy and orderly development of world politics and economy.
Q: While the US administration is in transition, how will China keep the momentum of the Six-Party Talks? Second question, Biden once said that the Obama will face challenges and tests in his early days of office. Will China be a test for the new Administration?
A: For you first question, it is in the common and long-term interests of all parties concerned, the US included, to keep the momentum of the Six-Party Talks and have a nuclear-free Korean Peninsular for the lasting peace and stability on the peninsular and in Northeast Asia. I believe that no matter which party rules or who takes the US presidency, they will share this view of the previous administration and the other parties of the Talks. We hope the Six-Party Talks can keep pressing ahead and generating positive results under the concerted efforts of all the concerned parties. We would like to stay in contact with the US and listen to their views and suggestions.
For your second question, I think it's up to the new US Administration to set its priorities. It should be emphasized here that China attaches great importance to building a constructive relationship of cooperation with the US. We would like to work with the US to promote this relationship. We would like to see more opportunities and cooperation instead of challenges or troubles between the two countries,
If there are no other questions, thank you for coming. You may stay here for the briefing at 3:30 pm. See you.