Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang's Regular Press Conference on June 9, 2009
On the afternoon of June 9, 2009, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang held a regular press conference and answered questions.
Qin Gang: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the press conference. I have several announcements to start with.
At the invitation of President Medvedev of the Russian Federation, President Hu Jintao will attend the 9th Meeting of the Council of Heads of States of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and the BRIC Summit to be held in Yekaterinburg, Russia, and pay a state visit to Russia from June 14 to 18.
At the invitation of President Gasparovic of the Slovak Republic and President Mesic of the Republic of Croatia, President Hu Jintao will pay state visits to the two countries from June 18 to 20.
We have the honor to invite Vice Foreign Minister Li Hui and Vice Minister He Yafei to give a background briefing here in the press hall at 3:30 pm this afternoon. Your presence will be welcome.
At the invitation of Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, Mr. Kasit Priomya, Foreign Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand, will pay an official visit to China from June 10 to 11.
Now, I'd like to take your questions.
Q: Gabonese President Bongo passed away yesterday. Do you have any comment? Secondly, it is reported that Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoë met with Dalai and granted him "honorary citizenship" on June 7. How do you respond to that? Do you think that France has violated its commitment in the China-France Press Communiqué? Will China lodge representation with the French side? Will this affect the China-France relations?
A: We have got the sad news that the Gabonese President Bongo passed away. As an excellent leader of Gabon and a prestigious politician of Africa, President Bongo had made significant contribution to African peace and stability and promoting China-Gabon relations. His passing away is not only a great loss for Gabon but also cost China a respectable good friend. We extend our deep condolences to President Bongo as well as heartfelt solicitude to his family, the Gabonese Government and its people. China, highly valuing its friendly relationship and cooperation with Gabon, will join hands with Gabon to cement and further traditional friendship as well as pragmatic cooperation so as to continuously advance bilateral relations.
China's position over Tibet-related issues is clear, consistent and firm. Those issues involve China's core interests, constitute major political concern of China and bear on China's sovereignty and territorial integrity as well as the national feelings of 1.3 billion Chinese people. We express strong dissatisfaction and resolute opposition against Paris obstinately granting Dalai the so-called "honorary citizenship" regardless of China's opposition. Such move by the Parisian municipal government is another gross provocation against the Chinese people after the city council passed the resolution last year to give Dalai the so-called title. Such act has already aroused strong indignation among the Chinese people and will inevitably cause severe damage to the cooperation between Paris and relevant Chinese cities as well as China-France relations.
Not long ago, the China-France relationship encountered with severe difficulties because of Tibet-related issues. Through the joint efforts of visionary people in both countries, the relationship is coming back on the track of sound development. We hope France would join China to value the hard-won results in bilateral ties, earnestly implement the consensus reached and remove all the obstacles so as to press ahead with the China-France relations in a sound and stable manner. We urge Paris to stop moves interfering in China's internal affairs, take effective measures to correct its wrongdoing and refrain from going too far on the wrong track.
Q: According to a poll held by huanqiu.com affiliated to the Global Times, more than 87% of respondents are firmly opposed to such move by the municipal government of Paris. Some even suggest Beijing canceling its sister-city relationship with Paris. How do you comment?
A: The act by the city of Paris was a farce plotted by a handful of politicians, which cannot represent all Parisian citizens. However, the move severely stains the image of Paris among the Chinese people. It's not China but the city of Paris who should shoulder all the responsibilities for that. We urge Paris to face up to the public opinion of the Chinese people, heed their voices and take concrete actions to correct the wrongdoing. It should stop all moves interfering in China's internal affairs and affronting the Chinese people, thus creating necessary conditions and atmosphere for the exchanges and cooperation between Paris and Chinese cities.
Q: According to Wall Street Journal, since July 1, the Chinese Government will require all PCs produced and sold in China to pre-install software which might block some websites. Could you confirm?
A: Could you answer my questions first? Do you have any idea what this software is?
(Reporter: I am just repeating the reports. I think I am the one asking questions, not answering them.)
The software, named "Green Dam Youth Escort", aims to block and filter pornographic and violent content on the Internet.
Another question for you, do you have any children?
If you have any children or you are expecting some, you can understand the concern of the parents over the harmful Internet content.
The Internet in China is open and the Chinese Government endeavors to promote sound development of the Internet. However, the Government also regulates the Internet according to law so as to safeguard the interests of the public and prevent the spread of harmful content.
Q: The US climate change envoy is in Beijing for a visit. Whom did he meet with and what has been discussed? The ROK chief negotiator to the Six-Party Talks is also visiting. Could you share some information on his itinerary? Besides, the two US female journalists were sentenced to 12 years of labor in the DPRK, does China condemn the DPRK for that? Given the DPRK's recent moves, will China consider exerting pressure on the DPRK?
A: The US climate change envoy Todd Stern is visiting China from June 8 to 9. Yesterday, Vice Premier Li Keqiang met with him and relevant information has been released for your reference.
Besides, Vice-Director Xie Zhenhua of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) had talks with the delegation. They exchanged information on the latest developments in tackling climate change respectively. They also discussed ways to enhance policy exchanges and pragmatic cooperation in climate change, energy and environment within the Strategic And Economic Dialogue framework as well as the preparation for the summit of the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate.
The two sides believed that strengthened dialogue and pragmatic cooperation between China and the US in climate change will benefit bilateral relations as well as international cooperation and actions in this regard. They agreed to enhance China-US partnership on clean energy and climate change based on the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities". The two sides also agreed to work for results out of the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference and carry out pragmatic cooperation in fields set by the China-US 10-year environment and energy cooperation framework. They also concurred in establishing a joint technological R&D center to promote technological cooperation and setting up a joint expert team on technological cooperation and transfer at an early date.
Mr. Wi Sung Lac, chief of the ROK delegation to the Six-Party Talks came to visit China today. During his visit, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi will meet with him and Vice Minister Wu Dawei will hold talks with him. They will exchange views on the Korean nuclear issue and other issues of common interest.
On your question about the two US journalists, we hope the US and the DPRK properly handle relevant issue.
On your last question, China firmly opposes the DPRK's nuclear test, a position which we have made clear repeatedly. Under the current circumstances, all parties should depart from the overall situation of denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula, non-proliferation and peace and stability on the Peninsula, adhere to negotiations and dialogue to peacefully solve the issues and refrain from acts further escalating the situation. We urge and call upon the DPRK to honor its commitments of denuclearization, urge all parties to maintain calmness and restraint and to take moves benefiting the overall interest and the Six-Party Talks. China will stay in close contact with other parties and make unremitting efforts for its due contribution.
Q: Since the two US journalists entered into the DPRK from China, did the DPRK share some information with China? Will China take measures to help secure their release?
A: I reiterate that we hope the US and the DPRK properly settle this issue.
Q: The US is considering reinstating the DPRK in the list of state sponsors of terrorism, do you think that will help? Some believe the DPRK crossed its border with China to arrest the two journalists. Did you make any investigation into that?
A: On your first question, we hope the parties concerned resolve relevant issues through dialogue and consultation.
On the second question, your remarks don't square with the fact concerning how this incident took place. The DPRK once released a statement on that, and I suggest you read through that. I have nothing more to add to my previous answer to this question.
Q: China and the DPRK signed the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance in 1961. Is this Treaty still viable after the DPRK's nuclear test?
A: I'd like to stress that it serves the common interest of all parties to properly handle the issue through negotiations and dialogue, adhere to denuclearization on the Peninsula, safeguard peace and stability of the Peninsula and Northeast Asia and prevent the situation from escalating or getting out of control. Relevant countries should make unwavering efforts to that effect, and China will continue to play a constructive role in that area.
Q: Given the collapse of the Chinalco-Rio Tinto agreement, will the Chinese Government continue to support Chinese companies to merger with foreign ones? Will this affect China-Australia relations?
A: The Chinese Government has always supported Chinese companies to conduct overseas investment and cooperation in line with market rules and international practice. This February, Chinalco and Rio Tinto reached an agreement which boosted steady operation of relevant enterprise and injected new vigor in economic cooperation between China and relevant country. Thus this serves as mutually-beneficial cooperation. Now, the unilateral move by Rio Tinto not only greatly disappointed its Chinese partner, but also drew huge repercussion among the Chinese industry and people. However, we still believe that Chinese enterprises will continue to carry out international cooperation under the principles of equality, mutual-benefit, friendship and honesty.
Q: How does the Chinese Government comment on the merger between Rio Tinto and BHP?
A: We do not have any comment on the business cooperation between the two. We hope the prices at the international market of mining resources keep stable and that market should remain fully open.
Q: First question, there were nine Chinese citizens on the crashed Air France plane. Could you tell us something about the aftermath? What measures have been adopted by relevant Chinese embassies and consulate? Secondly, it is reported that several Chinese citizens were kidnapped to casinos along the Myanmar border, and then held in custody and blackmailed. Has the Foreign Ministry held any probe into that?
A: After verifying the identities of the nine Chinese citizens, the Foreign Ministry of China and relevant embassies and consulate immediately contacted their families and companies and provided support and assistance for their trip to France or Brazil. China's Ambassador to France, Mr. Kong Quan, urged France to manage the aftermath and compensation-related matters in a fair and reasonable way to safeguard the lawful rights and interests of the Chinese citizens. Ambassador Kong Quan, together with other diplomats, visited the families and representatives from the companies. Officials from the Consulate General in Rio de Janeiro also visited and took care of the bereaved families who went there. Now, most of the families and representatives have arrived in France or Brazil.
The Foreign Ministry and China's embassies and consulate will continue to follow closely the search and rescue operation and the developments and provide necessary and effective assistance to the families to facilitate their handling of the aftermath.
According to reports, a dozen of people from Shanxi were kidnapped to casinos along the Myanmar border, then held in custody and blackmailed for ransom. The Foreign Ministry has instructed the embassy and consulate in Myanmar to verify the information, urge Myanmar to investigate the case immediately and take measures to guarantee the freedom and safety of Chinese citizens there.
The Chinese Government places great importance to Chinese citizens gambling beyond border, and hopes relevant parties take joint measures to strengthen administration over the border areas, clamp down on the casinos and punish the outlaws. We also hope people from both countries abide by law to safeguard order and stability in border areas.
Q: Mayor Nagin of New Orleans and several others have been quarantined because one of the passengers on their plane was confirmed to be infected with H1N1 Influenza. How long will the quarantine take? How is his health situation at present?
A: US Mayor Nagin of New Orleans arrived at Shanghai for a visit. Unfortunately, one of the passengers on his plane was a confirmed case of H1N1 Influenza. The Nagin couple and their assistant were in close contact with that patient. According to relevant regulations of China and the request of the prevention and control of the disease, relevant Chinese authorities have put the Nagin couple and their company in medical observation to ensure the health of our US guests and others. Now, the Nagin couple and the assistant are in stable mood and no abnormalities have been found in their condition. We are in close contact with the local authorities in Shanghai for the timely update of the developments. Here, I'd like to extend our warmly regards to Mayor Nagin and his traveling party, and wish them sound and healthy.
Q: If the DPRK nuclear test lead to war on the Korean Peninsula, will China automatically join in the war according to the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance signed in 1961?
A: You seem to have asked this question earlier, and I remember I have already answered that.
If there are no more questions, thanks for coming! See you!