|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson's Press Conference on May 27, 2003|
On May 27th, the Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhang Qiyue held the regular press conference.
Zhang: Good afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen. Today I have no announcement to make. I’m happy to take your questions.
Q: The WTO recently put forward a series of requests to Taiwan, including to replace “the permanent mission” with “office”and to ban the use of diplomatic titles like “ambassador” and “councilor” and so on. Is it because the mainland imposed pressure on the WTO? Have you considered that this may hurt the feelings of the people in Taiwan by doing so? Secondly, it is said that yesterday a Taiwan plane flew to Fujian. Could you confirm that?
A: After the accession to the WTO, Chinese Taipei has violated the council chairman’s statement of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) passed in 1992 by creating “two Chinas” and “one China, one Taiwan” on a series of issues including the title of its representatives at the WTO. We believe that these moves have disturbed the normal activities of the WTO. As is known to all, the WTO is now working on a couple of crucial trade issues including a new round of trade negotiations. The various parties also opposed the disturbing of WTO’s normal functions. It is our hope that Chinese Taipei will correct its erroneous act and participate in the WTO activities in strict accordance with the spirit of the chairman’s statement.
The handling of this question is not an issue of harming the feelings of our Taiwan compatriots. As is known to all, Chinese Taipei acceded to the WTO as “a Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kimmen and Matsu”, which status is quite clear.
As for the second question, I haven’t heard of the information.
Q: Do you have further comment on the US sanction against Norinco? Will President Hu Jintao touch upon this issue during his meetings with President Bush?
A: China promulgated the Regulations on Export Control of Missiles and Missile-related Items and Technologies last August, which has been implemented strictly and effectively. According to the investigation of the Chinese side, the relevant company in China has not offered help to the relevant projects of Iran. In our view, the US is imposing its own national policy on others by willfully imposing sanctions in some fields for no good reason.
The Chinese government has consistently pursued a policy of non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their carriers, and explicitly opposed to the engagement of the proliferation activities of such weapons and their related items by anybody in whatever form.
We have already expressed strong dissatisfaction and resolute opposition to the US side.
Q: Before and after this Spring Festival, the two sides across the Straits have scored new progress in solving the Taiwan issue. But due to the SARS outbreak, the relations across the Straits once again deteriorated. What will the Central Government do in this regard?
A: I believe that you may all have noticed the statement made by an official of China's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) and the concern of many mainland organizations about the SARS epidemic in Taiwan. The official of ARATS expressed regret for Taiwan’s refusal of the donation of health care materials from the mainland compatriots. It is our hope that the Taiwan authorities will earnestly proceed from the well being of our Taiwan compatriots, work hand in hand with the mainland to jointly curb the spread of SARS and to win an early victory against it, so that the health and life of our Taiwan compatriots will be safeguarded.
Regarding the policy of the Central Government towards the cross-straits relations, as far as I know, the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council will host a press conference in a few days. You should refer to the officials of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council for further information.
Q: What is your expectation of the forthcoming summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Moscow? Will the summit discuss anti-terrorism and the regional issues?
A: In a few days, on May 29, the third summit of the SCO will be held in Moscow. President Hu Jintao will also attend this summit. We believe that the summit will serve as a milestone for the SCO, since it will discuss wide-ranging issues related to the development of SCO. A series of documents will be signed concerning the institutional construction of the SCO, and crucial decisions will be made on the development and construction of the SCO. One of the important tasks of the SCO is to jointly combat terrorism. Besides, the summit will also touch upon some other issues, for instance, to strengthen the economic cooperation among the member states, which are of great significance to the preserving of peace, development and stability of this region. During the summit, the heads of state of the six countries will also exchange views on the regional and international issues of common concern. Therefore the summit is very important and we hope it will be a complete success.
Q: Will the SCO summit discuss the US military existence in the Central Asia?
A: I would like to remind you of SCO’s feature as a regional organization. At the very beginning, the various parties characterized this organization as non-alliance, non-confrontation, and not targeted at any third country. During the summit, the relevant parties will exchange views on the regional cooperation and international issues of common interest.
Q: A Yak-42 airplane of Ukraine crashed in Turkey a couple of days ago. The Ukrainian crew and Spanish peacekeepers were all killed. What's your comment?
A:We have learnt with deep grief that a Yak-42 airplane of Ukrainian-Mediterranean Airlines crashed in Turkey, sending all the people on board to death. Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing has sent telegrams to his counterparts of Ukraine and Spain to convey our condolences.
Q: North Korea has insisted to solve the nuclear issue through direct talks with the US. But recently it has expressed its willingness to accept multi-lateral talks, especially those within the framework of five countries. What’s China’s comment on that? When and how will next round of Beijing talks be held?
A: China maintains that the DPRK nuclear question should be solved through dialogue. In the way of seeking for a settlement through dialogue, we welcome proposals from various parties so long as they will facilitate peace talks. We hope that various parties can work on to solve the question along the track of peace talks.
With respect to when to hold the next round of Beijing talks, the talks held in Beijing in the later half of April on the nuclear issue is a good start. Each party involved hopes to push forward the process. Our fundamental position is that at the moment parties concerned should continue to endeavor to promote the three parties of China, DPRK and US to have the next round of talks in Beijing.
Q: The US named an Attorney and a Prosecutor to try those detained in the Guantanamo Bay of the US army. How many Chinese are there among the 675 detainees? If there were Chinese there, what’s the position of China towards the trial?
A: I think you’d better refer your question to the US Army. They are in a better position since those people are in their hands. If there are some Chinese citizens in those detained or tried there, we hope that they can be turned over to China to deal with.
Q: The Chinese Ambassador Zhang Weiqiu to Iraq has come back to Beijing recently. When will he return to Baghdad?
A: It’s true that Ambassador Zhang has already been back here in Beijing. The Chinese media has been very quick to interview him via TV or other means. As about when to resume the work of the Chinese Embassy in Iraq, we hope to do so at an early date. But judging from various factors including security conditions at the moment, it’s not the time yet.
Q: Does China have any proof that Norinco has provided missile technologies to Iran? According to what we know, one, Norinco did export prohibited weapons to other countries in the past; two, China hasn’t signed to MTCR and its related documents; three, the US has very reliable source of information.
A: I’ve just briefed you the position of China. First of all, after serious investigation, we haven’t found relevant company provided assistance to the related program of Iran. Secondly, you mentioned that China is not a formal signatory of Missile and Technology Control Regime (MTCR). What I’d like to point out is, the Regulations on Export Control of Missile and Missile-related Items and Technologies issued by China last August has very strict provisions which not only match the requirements of the international community on missile and related items but even more strict than normal international ones in some areas. Since the passage of the Regulation, China has strictly and effectively implemented it. Thirdly, you said that the US has got very reliable intelligence, I’d like to note in clear terms that the Chinese Government is a responsible government. We have always adopted the policy of non-proliferation of weapons of massive destruction and its carriers and opposed to any proliferation activity by anybody in whatever form.
Q: It’s reported that the Chinese spokesperson noted that China didn’t have the plan to extend the tripartite talks to multi-lateral ones. Can you confirm? If it’s true, why?
A: I’ve talked about China’s position on the Korean nuclear question on various occasions here. The general position of China is to solve the question through dialogue. But we remain to be flexible in terms of the specific mechanism and the number of participants. What’s important is to have dialogue in the first place. Beijing talks in April were successfully held. The tripartite meeting of China, DPRK and the US, deemed by each party as a good start and helpful, should continue. Since it’s a helpful framework, the top priority is to press ahead with the tripartite talks.