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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang's Press Conference on 13 September 2005

On the afternoon of September 13, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang presided over a regular press conference.

Qin: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. First, I have three announcements:

At the invitation of Vice Prime Minister Wong Kan Seng of the Republic of Singapore, Vice Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak of the Kingdom of Thailand, His Royal Highness Prince Haji Mohamed Bolkiah, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Brunei Darussalam, Vice Premier Wu Yi visit Singapore, Thailand and Brunei from September 19th to 25th, during which she will chair the second meeting of China-Singapore Joint Committee of Bilateral Cooperation and the second meeting of China-Thailand Joint Committee of Economy and Trade .

Ambassador Wang Shijie will pay visits to Palestine, Israel, Jordan, Egypt and Morocco from September 14th, during which he will exchange views with relevant parties on the current Middle East situation, promoting the peace process and other issues.

At the invitation of Premier Wen Jiabao, Prime Minister of the Republic of Djibouti Dileita Mohanmed Dileita will pay an official visit to China from September 19th to 25th.

Now I would like to take up your questions.

Q: Last weekend, Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi was reelected as Japanese Prime Minister. Did China express congratulations to him?

A: The just concluded election of Japanese lower house is Japan's internal affairs. I'm not in a right position to make any comment. What I want to stress is that, the Chinese Government's principle of developing friendly relations with Japan remains unchanged. We will continue to adhere to the principle of three important political documents between the two countries and make active efforts for the improvement and development of our bilateral relations in the spirit of "taking history as a mirror and facing towards the future".

Q: The overwhelming victory of Japanese Liberal Democratic Party in this parliamentary election indicates that many Japanese people support Prime Minister Koizumi. How does the Chinese side look at the result?

A: The election of Japanese lower house is Japan's internal affair. It is left to Japanese people to decide for themselves which party or leader to vote. We hope that no matter which Japanese party or leader takes office, China-Japan relations can be improved and developed.

Q: Japanese Prime Minister was much criticized for his handling of China-Japan relations. Now he is reelected. How do you think about the prospect of China-Japan relations? Does China plan to send a congratulatory telegraph to Prime Minister Koizumi?

A: China's position on improving and developing China-Japan relations has always been consistent and clear. We hope the two sides can make joint efforts on the basis of three important political documents to improve and develop our bilateral relations in the spirit of "taking history as a mirror and facing towards the future". We also notice that Prime Minister Koizumi, on different occasions, expressed regret and remorse for the war waged by the Japanese militarism. We hope the Japanese side can translate these statements into actions, for how to treat and handle the historical issues and Taiwan question is an important political basis for the improvement and development of China-Japan relations, and bears on the feelings of the people of victimized countries in Asia, including the Chinese people. So we hope the Japanese Government and its leaders can make active efforts for enhancing mutual understanding and friendship between the peoples of China and Japan and for advancing the improvement and development of bilateral relations. The Chinese President Hu Jintao put forward five proposals on development of China-Japan relations during his meeting with Prime Minister Koizumi at Jarkata this April. Our position on developing China-Japan relations remains unchanged.

Q: Does the Chinese side think that the second phase of the fourth round Six-Party Talks will possibly gain any breakthrough? What measures will the Chinese side take to push all parties to get breakthrough? President Hu Jintao will meet with US President Bush at the UN tomorrow, can you tell us the specific time and place of the meeting? What topics will they possibly touch upon?

A: The second phase of the fourth round of Six-Party Talks will be held this afternoon. We take a very serious attitude towards the talk. During the first phase, relevant parties held in-depth, pragmatic and helpful discussions on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and how to achieve a nuclear-free Peninsula in the spirit of mutual respect and equal consultations. We can say that the consensus of all parties are accumulating and growing. We hope relevant parties can continue to take a pragmatic and candid attitude on the basis of the previous rounds of Six-Party Talks and the first phase of the fourth round of Six-Party Talks, and fully display flexibility to promote the Talks to yield positive results. This requires joint efforts of the six parties, especially more mutual trust between relevant parties.

As for the New York meeting between President Hu Jintao and President Bush, I can't disclose the specifics before the arrangement is finalized. The meeting is a very important one between the two heads of state, held at a very crucial stage of bilateral relations. China and the US are two influential countries in the world. Despite some differences, the two countries share broad and important common interests. Facts have borne out that a healthy and steady development of China-US relations is not only in the fundamental interest of the two countries, but also conducive to regional and world peace, stability and development. We are ready to join hands with the US to treat and handle China-US relations in a strategic and long-term view, respect each other, seek common grounds while shelving differences, enhance dialogues and cooperation, take care of our respective concerns and promote a healthy development of China-US constructive and cooperative relations. China and US have many common interests and concern on a wide range of issues, so the meeting between the two heads of state will cover a broad range of topics, including bilateral and multilateral cooperation.

Q: Does the Chinese side have a general timetable for the second phase of Talks? What meetings will be held among the six parties? What measures will China take to push the Talks to yield achievement? What activities will the Chinese side hold to commemorate the anniversary of "September 18th"?

A: I only know the starting date of the second phase, but I don't have the ending date. I think even the heads of delegations of the Six-Party Talks can't tell you now when the second phase will conclude. This should be decided by the six parties through consultation according to the progress of Talks.

The Chinese side will, as always, participate in the meeting with a positive, serious and pragmatic attitude, conduct close and in-depth consultations with all parties. We will take full consideration of the interests and concerns of relevant parties and promote all parties to reach more consensuses on relevant issues in the Talks. Meanwhile, as the host, we will continue to provide good service and facilitate the meeting, including facilitating the work of all journalists here.

As for the commemoration to mark the "September 18th" anniversary, we have held a series of activities to commemorate the 60th anniversary of China's Victory against the Japanese Aggression. Chinese leaders have repeatedly voiced our position on different occasions. The aim of our commemoration of the 60th anniversary of China's Victory against Japanese Aggression, including activities in memory of "September 18th", is to remember rather than forget the history, cherish peace and creat the future. We will lead all ethnic groups of China to work hard in solidarity, build our own country well, and at the same time get a deeper understanding of the value of peace, firmly pursue the road of peaceful development and make contribution for world peace and development. The anniversary of "September 18th" is also an important date for us to look back at China-Japan relations. We hope the peoples of China and Japan can learn from historical experience and lessons in our exchanges, work hard to create a beautiful future of peaceful coexistence, friendship for all generations, mutually-beneficial cooperation and common development, in the spirit of "taking the past, if not forgotten, as a guide for the future" and "taking history as a mirror and facing towards the future".

Q: Right now what is the major obstacle in the way of the Six-Party Talks? Is it DPRK's right to peaceful use of nuclear energy? As we know, during the recess of Six-Party Talks, all parties held a great number of diplomatic mutual visits. Is there any progress for all parties to narrow differences and reach an agreement? Do you think that one party or two parties will reach a compromise during this meeting? What positions does the Chinese side and other parties take on this issue?

A: On what issue?

Q: On the issue of permitting DPRK's peaceful use of nuclear energy.

A: As for the major suspending issue in the Six-Party Talks, I think all relevant parties have expressed their own concerns very clearly both during the previous phase of meeting and the recess period. All relevant parties have fully exchanged views over issues of their respective concerns during their contacts. On the issue of how to achieve a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula, all parties still have some differences. As for the gap between the positions of all parties, this isn't a question for me to answer. We hope all parties can continue to conduct serious and pragmatic consultations with an attitude of mutual respect and equal consultations and jointly find a way to realize a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula. Although the fourth round of Six-Party Talks still can't adopt a joint document as some may expect, all parties have enhanced mutual understanding and accumulate more consensus during the process of discussing relevant issues. This is also positive progress and result. Please keep patient. I believe relevant positions of all parties will gradually emerge as the meeting continues.

As for the DPRK's right to peaceful use of nuclear energy, we need to do a lot on the way to realize a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula. We hope all parties can find a solution accepted by all parties through dialogues and consultations in a spirit of mutual respect and mutual accommodation.

Q: It is learned that Deputy Foreign Minister Wu Dawei will meet with Christopher Hill this afternoon. Please brief us on the meeting. What are they going to discuss?

A: Parties concerned will conduct contacts and consultations this afternoon. As you see, I am now standing here on this platform. As a result, I have no idea on the consultation between Deputy Foreign Minister Wu Dawei and Christopher Hill, Head of the US delegation, whether it has been held, is being held or will be held. As to the issues they would touch upon, it goes without saying that they would of course discuss issues relating to the realization of the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

Q: It is learned that Deputy Foreign Minister Wu Dawei will pay a visit abroad on 19th this month. Please confirm this. Some experts think that Prime Minister Koizumi will adopt an even tougher policy on the Yasukuni Shrine and other issues. Does the Chinese Government have such worries?

A: What I can tell you now is this: Deputy Foreign Minister Wu Dawei is right now devoting himself to the Six-Party Talks.

On historical issues involving the political basis of the Sino-Japanese relations, such as the Yasukuni Shrine and history textbooks, the Chinese position is very clear. We are firmly against Japanese leaders' visits to the Yasukuni Shrine and attempts by some of the Japanese right-wing forces to revise textbooks and distort history. As to future development of the Sino-Japanese relations and the way Japanese leaders would handle them, we would, as an ancient Chinese saying goes, listen to what he says and watch what he does.

Q: Yesterday there was discussion on the reform of the Commission on Human Rights. The U. S. delegates said that China and other countries were trying to block this reform. What's China's response to that accusation?

A: On the question of the Human Rights Council reform, we hold an open attitude towards relevant proposals by Secretary General Annan. The UN Commission on Human Rights is a place for international exchange and cooperation. However, for a long time, such problems as politicizing human rights issues and adopting double standards on human rights issues have been rather outstanding. This has led to the declination of the Commission's reputation. The Chinese side is ready to work together with other parties, on the basis of thorough consultation, to conduct a necessary and reasonable reform on the Commission so as to push forward the healthy development of the international human rights cause.

Q: Please provide us more details on Vice Premier Wu Yi's visit to Singapore. What officials will she meet there? Will there be any conference held on trade issues? Will there be any agreements?

A: Singapore is a friendly neighbor of China and an important member of the ASEAN. At present, the bilateral relations between China and Singapore are gaining a sound momentum for development. There are frequent high-level contacts, and the exchange and cooperation between both countries in the fields of economy, trade, science, technology, education and culture are continuously being expanded. The two countries have also maintained good cooperation in international affairs, especially in pushing forward the development of the China-ASEAN relations. The economic and trade relations between China and Singapore has been developing rapidly, resulting in remarkable achievements. Singapore is China's biggest trading partner in ASEAN. The bilateral trade volume of last year amounted to nearly US$26.7 billions, and the figure for the first 7 months this year is US$17.8 billion, a 25 percent increase from the same period last year. Up to last June, the actual investment from Singapore to China has acuminated to US$36.2 billion. Singapore thus became the 7th largest trading partner and 8th investment source country for China.

As I briefed you just now, one of the main purposes of Vice Premier Wu Yi's visit to Singapore is to co-host, with Singaporean leaders, the second meeting of the China-Singapore Joint Committee of Bilateral Cooperation. During her visit, she would also meet with Singaporean leaders, and exchange views on the development of the bilateral relations, especially the deepening and expanding of future economic and trade relations between both countries.

Q: The United States said that the DPRK's energy need could be met by other counties such as the Republic of Korea or the US and the DPRK did not have to have its own civilian nuclear program. What's China's stance on this? Does China agree with the US on this? Does China plan to state its stance on this issue in the Six-Party Talks? Will China apply pressure on either side on this?

A: The six parties need to sit down and have in-depth and thorough discussions on the US proposals and the DPRK's concern on peaceful use of nuclear energy in order to find a solution acceptable to all parties. China considers, studies and promotes to solve problems related to denuclearization, always bearing in mind the target of maintaining peace and stability of Korean peninsula and realizing denuclearization on Korean peninsula. We are willing to continue consultations with relevant parties. As to the question of pressing on some party, the key reason why the Six-Party Talks keeps advancing and the discussions get more and more to substance is that the relevant parties have discussions in the spirit of mutual respect and equal consultations. We hope the relevant parties take part in the upcoming talks with the same attitude.

Q: At a recent press conference held by the Information Office of the State Council, a Chinese official said that if the DPRK returns to the Non-proliferation Treaty, it can develop its plans on the peaceful use of nuclear energy, including light water nuclear reactors. What's China's position on it? Does China believe that the DPRK can peacefully use nuclear energy if it returns to the NPT?

A: We hope all relevant parties find a solution through dialogue which conforms to their respective interest and takes account of their concerns. China will spare no efforts for it.

Q: The US set forth seven priorities on the reform of UN. What's China's reaction?

A: As one of the original members of the UN and a permanent member state of the Security Council, China has always been supporting the UN's important role in safeguarding world peace and promoting common development. A strong and powerful UN conforms to the common interest of the international community. China is ready to make efforts together with all other member states to facilitate the summit for progress. The main points include: 1. Reaffirm the commitments to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and principles, and promote the development of various undertakings of the UN, so as to enable the UN to play a bigger role in international affairs. 2. Promote a resolution to the question of development by making important decisions on increasing development aid, implementing the Millennium Development Goals and promoting international development cooperation. 3. Enhance the capability of the UN in handling threats and challenges of all sorts through active and steady reforms. 4. Further strengthen multilateralism, promote solidarity and cooperation among member states, facilitate the healthy and harmonious development of international relations.

At the UN Summit, President Hu Jintao will give a comprehensive elaboration on China's position on international situation and important issues, put forward concrete propositions on how to push forward the healthy and harmonious development of international relations, strengthen the role of the UN, and facilitate the UN reform, and announce the important measures China is going to take for promoting and developing economic cooperation between developing countries. As to the details, I will wait and see with you.

If there are no more questions, thank you for attending today's press conference.

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