|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson's Press Conference on June 26, 2003|
Kong Quan: Good afternoon. First I have three pieces of announcement to make.
At the invitation of President Hu Jintao of the People's Republic of China, President Roh Moo Hyun of the Republic of Korea will pay a state visit to China from July 7th to July 10th.
At the invitation of Premier Wen Jiabao, Prime Minister Hon. Nipake Edward Natapei of Vanuatu will pay a working visit to China from June 30th to July 6th.
At the invitation of Vice Prime Minister Korn. Dabaransi of Thailand, Madame Wu Yi, Vice Premier and Minister of Health, will attend the APEC Health Ministers' Meeting in Bangkok, Thailand on June 28th. The focus of the meeting is to discuss strengthening cooperation within APEC on fighting against SARS, removing its impact on economy and promoting regional economic growth. Vice Premier Wu Yi will also make a speech on the meeting and make clear China's stand and proposals.
Now the floor is open.
Q: Could you brief us about the outcome of Prime Minister Vajpayee's visit to China? What achievements has it made? Secondly, It is reported by the Xinhua News Agency that there are fraudulences in two China's banks. How will China handle it? Is China ready to cooperate with the international financial institutions to reclaim the lost funds? Thirdly, Secretary General Hu Jintao will make an important speech at the 82nd anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China on July 1st. Will he expound China's foreign diplomacy in his speech?
A: You did not attend the press conference Tuesday, where the friends from the media raised a series of questions concerning Prime Minister Vajpayee's visit. We have also provided many details on that. Prime Minister Vajpayee's visit to China is the first visit made by an Indian Prime Minister over the past decade. Now the visit is still under way. According to the schedule, Prime Minister Vajpayee will visit the Pudong District of Shanghai this morning and then make a speech at a symposium. The topic of the symposium is the challenges and opportunities facing China and India in the IT field.
We believe Prime Minister Vajpayee's visit is successful and fruitful. During his stay in Beijing, the Chinese leaders had meetings and talks with Prime Minister Vajpayee. What is most important is the Declaration on Principles for Relations and Comprehensive Cooperation Between the People's Republic of China and the Republic of India jointly signed by Premier Wen Jiabao and Prime Minister Vajpayee on 23rd. Besides, the two sides also signed ten other documents in the fields of science and technology, maritime, jurisdiction, culture, education and visa cooperation etc. Through all the meetings and talks and documents signed, the two countries enhanced the mutual understanding and expanded cooperation. This visit will be of a major significance to the overall development of China-India relations.
I have not read the Xinhua news that you mentioned. As a matter of fact, the issue related to China's financial institutions is beyond the responsibility of the Foreign Ministry Spokesperson. In general, China's financial supervision has been enhanced. This also serves as a major step taken by China to deepen its reform, which has to pave the way for the standardization, institutionalization, and sound development of its financial sector.
It is totally possible for the Secretary General of the Party to deliver a speech at the 82nd anniversary of the founding of the CPC. Undoubtedly it will be a very important speech and we may all learn the content of it in due course.
Q: When China and India signed the border trade agreement, China actually has indirectly recognized Sikkim as a pradesh of India. To be more exact, what is China's specific stand on the issue of Sikkim? Secondly, is there any change on India's stand on the issue of Tibet? Because India never indicated that Tibet is an inalienable part of China's territory before, but in the China-India joint declaration this time, India recognizes that the Tibet Autonomous Region is part of China's territory. However, the declaration did not use the word "inalienable". Could you comment on that?
A: During Prime Minister Vajpayee's visit to China, China and India have reached consensus on opening new border trade market and sign the memorandum. This memorandum touches upon the question you raised. I would like to stress that this is a border trade agreement with an aim to expand the trade cooperation and exchanges between China and India. As you know, the issue of Sikkim is a historical issue and has been there for a long time. We should both respect the history and take into consideration the reality. This issue cannot be settled overnight. But we hope that it will be resolved on a gradual basis.
In the joint declaration signed by the two Prime Ministers, the Indian side recognized the Tibet Autonomous Region as part of China's territory, reaffirm that it will not allow some Tibetans to carry out anti-China political activities in India. China expresses its appreciation to the stand of India. We deem this position a major step, which is conducive and beneficial for the two countries to increase trust and remove doubts, and to develop the bilateral relations in an all-round manner.
Q: During President Roh Moo Hyun's visit to China, what will he mainly discuss with President Hu Jintao? Will they discuss the ways and methods to resolve the DPRK nuclear question? Do they plan to issue a joint declaration? Besides, it is reported that the second round of Beijing talks of China, US and the DPRK are now under preparation. Will the talks be held soon?
A: The upcoming visit of President Roh Moo Hyun is undoubtedly an important visit, and the very first contact between the leaders of the two countries since the new governments of China and the ROK were formed. I believe that during the meetings of the leaders of the two countries, the two sides will first have an in-depth exchange of views on further enhancing the bilateral relations. The China-ROK relations have witnessed steady progress in recent years. The exchanges of high-level visits have been maintained in the political field. A distinctive feature in the economic and trade cooperation is that it started late but is developing fast with huge potential. In 2002, the bilateral trade volume accounted for 44 billion US dollars, with an increase of 22%. From January to April this year, the bilateral trade volume reached around 18 billion US dollars, with a growth rate of 46.9%. The relations between the two countries in the fields of science, technology, education and culture etc are in smooth development.
Now there are over 20,000 ROK students in China, and many Chinese students in the ROK. The two heads of state will also discuss the DPRK nuclear issue and the regional situation. It is our hope that this visit will help to enhance mutual understanding and promote the friendly and mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries in various fields. As for whether the two sides will sign some documents of cooperation, according to my knowledge, this visit is now under busy preparation.
Concerning the DPRK nuclear question, I have no further information to share with you today. I would like to reiterate the basic stand of the Chinese Government on the DPRK nuclear question. That is, we stand for a nuclear-free Korean Peninsular. This is of vital importance to the maintenance of peace and stability of the Korean Peninsular. Through the joint efforts of the various parties, the Beijing Talks of China, the US and the DPRK were held in Beijing in April. The international community believes that it is a good start to settle the DPRK nuclear question through peaceful and diplomatic means. We hope that the Beijing Talks will continue. China is making its own efforts to this end.
Q: Although the international community strives to ease the tension between Israel and Palestine, the Israeli side still carries out assassinations against the Palestinian people and destroys their houses, so that it brings negative impact on the implementation of the "road map". What is China's comment on the recent escalation of the tension between Israel and Palestine? Besides, the UN Secretary General Annan yesterday indicated that the UN would not send peacekeeping troops to Iraq. What is your comment on that?
A: China and the international community are very concerned about the situation in the Middle East. Not long ago there were some activities intensifying and complicating the situation. There have been some positive signs in the past one or two days. In general, China supports the "road map". We also hope that Israel and Palestine will get more involved in the international peace-making efforts, put an immediate stop to the trade of violence and revenge, so that it will lay the foundation of the restoration of peace talks and the reaching of the agreement. China recently sent its Special Envoy to the Middle East. We have always been calling upon the international community to pay more attention to the Middle East issue, and to give a greater role to the United Nations. Therefore China had proposed in the five-point proposal that an international conference on the Middle East issue including the five Permanent Members of the UN Security Council and the relevant parties should be held as soon as possible. The Chinese Government will continue to take an active part in the international peace-making efforts in the Middle East.
Regarding the issue of Iraq, not long ago the UN Security Council passed the Resolution 1483. We believe that this resolution constitutes the basis of the solution of the Iraqi issue. We believe that all the parties concerned will take the resolution as the basis, make joint efforts to handle well the Iraqi issue, and in particular to promote the overall settlement of the Iraqi issue, and to preserve the long-term peace and stability of the gulf region and the Middle East.
Q: Russian President Putin indicated in a recent interview by the BBC that the DPRK did not pose the genuine threat to the region and the world. What is the comment of the Chinese side on that? How does China comment on the so-called DPRK threat?
A: All the countries in this region and some other neighboring countries hope to preserve the peace and stability of the Korean Peninsular. There is no doubt about it. I myself have not seen the details of President Putin's interview by the BBC. During President Hu Jintao's visit to Russia in May, the leaders of China and Russia had an in-depth and comprehensive exchange of views on the bilateral relations, regional issues and the international situation. The two sides have reached basic consensus on the situation of the Korean Peninsular: First, the DPRK nuclear question should be settled through peaceful and diplomatic means. Second, to preserve a nuclear-free Korean Peninsular serves the peace and stability of the peninsular. The two sides will make joint efforts to this end.
Q: During the talks and meetings between Prime Minister Vajpayee and Premier Wen Jiabao and other Chinese leaders, did the two sides touch upon the issue of Myanmar? If it was discussed, could you give us more details on that? Some countries imposed pressure on the Government of Myanmar for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi. What is the comment of China?
A: According to my impression, during the talks between Premier Wen Jiabao and Prime Minister Vajpayee, the two sides did not discuss in details the issue of Myanmar. However, the two heads of the Governments agreed to make joint efforts to safeguard the peace and stability of South Asia, and Asia at large, which is a basic point of departure. On the issue of Aung San Suu Kyi, we believe that it is basically an issue between the government and opposition of Myanmar, and the internal affairs of Myanmar. We believe that the government and people in Myanmar will handle this issue properly.
Regarding the norms governing international relations, China is against the use of pressure. The use of pressure and willful use of sanctions will not help settle this issue. Instead, it will further complicate this issue.
Q: The US President Bush yesterday urged Iran to carry out cooperation, or it will face serious consequences. What is the comment of China? Does China believe that this position of the US is somewhat similar to its remarks before the Iraqi war?
A: The IAEA has just issued a presidential statement on the nuclear issue of Iran. Iran has made some positive remarks on signing the additional protocol, which should be encouraged. We believe that this move will help to remove the suspicion and concerns of the international community. From a long-term perspective, the international cooperation conducive to the peaceful use of nuclear energy in Iran conforms to Iran's own interests.
As for the remarks of certain countries on this issue, the Chinese Government always maintains that in handling the state-to-state relations, disputes and conflicts, the UN Charter should be observed and the relevant issues should be handled in accordance with the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence and other universally recognized international norms. In general, the disputes should be settled and trust should be enhanced through dialogue.
Q ：Will China and the ROK sign some document like joint statement during President Roh Moo-hyun's visit?
A: I have introduced information I know about this visit. As to whether the two sides will issue or sign some document of cooperation, relevant preparation is actively being made. I cannot confirm which document will be signed.
Q: Has China exchanged with India the map of the line of actual control between the two countries? When will the second round of tripartite talks between China, the US and the ROK be held? What is your position on the participation of Japan and the ROK? Do you have a timetable of the tripartite talks? Next month or when? Do you welcome Japan and the ROK to it?
A: In the joint statement signed this time between the heads of governments of the two countries, the two sides reaffirmed their willingness to seek a fair and reasonable solution to solve their border disputes acceptable to both sides. The two sides also agreed to work together to safeguard peace and tranquility in the border areas pending the settlement of the question and reaffirmed that they would work to implement relevant agreement signed to this end, including clarifying the line of actual control. In this regard I think it is very important that the two heads of governments appoint their respective special representatives to explore the framework of the border issue from the political point of view.
To solve the DPRK nuclear question peacefully through diplomatic means is of crucial importance to peace and stability the Korean peninsula and Asia as a whole. We adopt an open attitude toward formality of the next talks. The result is the most important, that is, to achieve the goal of denuclearization of the peninsula, conduce to peace and stability on the peninsula in the end and to peace and stability in Asia so that countries can devote to their own development.
It has been quite sometime since the DPRK nuclear question propped up in 1992. There are twists and difficulties. We think that it is important that relevant parties and the international community should be patient and make joint efforts. We welcome the participation of relevant parties to solve the question peacefully through diplomatic means. The fundamental goal is to solve it through diplomatic means peacefully and to achieve the denuclearization of the peninsula so as to ensure peace and stability there.
Q: You said that the goal of denuclearization should be achieved on the peninsula. Do you mean that the Chinese side believes the DPRK possesses nuclear weapons?
A: It is perplexing for you to draw such a conclusion from my answer. When the DPRK nuclear question first propped up in 1992, the US and the DPRK reached a framework agreement and in a period of time afterwards, it seemed that the question had been somewhat solved. We of course follow closely and are very concerned with the propping up once again of the question. Frankly, we are unaware of what happens. But we and the international community hope to achieve the denuclearization of the peninsula. We are not in favor of nuclear weapons on the peninsula by any party and of course the security concern of the DPRK side should be solved.
Q: The DPRK side admitted during the talks between leaders of Japan and the ROK that there were cases involving kidnapped Japanese. There had been a number of ROK citizens kidnapped by the DPRK. What is your view of such tragedy?
A: I personally have no knowledge of the past incidents. I have taken note that when Prime Minister Koizumi visited the DPRK, the countries reached some consensus on this. But something happened afterwards. Still we hope that Japan and the ROK can solve the question through dialog. If such question concerning the ROK is true as you said just now, we also hope that relevant countries can solve those questions left over from history through dialog.
After the press conference, the spokesperson was asked to confirm news that the ordinary passport holders from Singapore and Brunei will enjoy visa-free access to China for up to 15 days as of July 1. The spokesperson replied that: In order to meet the necessity of China's economic development and opening-up process and to further boost personnel exchanges between China and Singapore and Brunei, the Chinese Government has decided to drop the visa requirement for ordinary passport holders from Singapore and Brunei for a short stay in China, effective July 1, 2003. As of July 1, ordinary passport holders from Singapore and Brunei will enjoy visa-free access to China for up to 15 days for business, sightseeing, visiting relatives and friends or transit. They can enter and exit from the ports that are open to foreigners.