On the afternoon December 16, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Liu Jianchao presided over a regular press conference.
Liu Jianchao: Good afternoon, every one!
Today, it is a great pleasure for me to have Mr. Esin, Deputy Director-General of the Information Department of Belarus' Foreign Ministry, join us in our conference. I wish to extend my welcome to him and look forward to the consultation with him.
First, I have a statement to make:
At the invitation of Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing, Foreign Minister of the Iraqi Interim Government Hoshiyar Al-Zibari will start his visit to China on December 22ndand exchange views with the Chinese side on Sino-Iraqi relations,the situation in Iraq and other issues.
Now, the floor is open.
Q: Energy security has become a part of China's diplomacy. Can you talk about the background of China's energy security? Does China handle its energy security policy distinctively within its energy security policy?
A: China's diplomacy is all-dimensional, so are its foreign exchanges and cooperation, including politics, economy, culture and security. Energy is as well an important field in China's exchanges and cooperation with other countries, with oil cooperation conducted in its framework. China takes a positive attitude towards energy cooperation with other countries, with oil cooperation included. We are a major energy producer as well as a major consumer. We are willing to cooperate with other countries in the energy field, which should be based on mutual benefit. We are going to further strengthen our cooperation with the rest of the world and make efforts to realize energy security.
Q: Lee Teng-hui will make a visit to Japan in an unofficial name at the end of this year. The Japanese Government said it had issued a visa to Li. What's China's comment on this?
A: Lee Teng-hui is the top representative of the drastic "Taiwan independence". He racked his brains to find his way to Japan, just in order to seek his backing there and create favorable external conditions for the pro-"independence" and splittist activities in Taiwan. Regardless of China-Japan relations, the Japanese Government gave a green light to Li's visit. It constitutes a connivance at and support for the splittist activities of the pro-"independence" forces in Taiwan, thus making a provocation at the great cause of China's peaceful reunification. The Chinese Government has made solemn representations to the Japanese side through the diplomatic channel, strongly requiring the Japanese Government to immediately annul its permission for Li's activities in Japan.
Q: Iran and the EU resumed their dialogue on the nuclear issue from Monday. What comment does China have on this? What's your position on El Baradei's intention for another term of IAEA's Director-General?
A: China appreciates the diplomatic efforts made by Britain, France and Germany to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue and welcomes the agreement reached between Iran and the three countries. China expects the two sides to continue their equal consultations and reach agreement on the long-term solution of the issue at an early date.
Since Mr. El Baradei's assumption of his office, he has led the IAEA in doing substantial fruitful work, which has maintained the agency's role and credit in international non-proliferation and promoted the development of peaceful use of nuclear energy. His work has been universally recognized in the international community. China appreciates Mr. El Baradei's work and supports his reelection as the agency's director-general.
Q: I want to know some details of Venezuelan President Chaves' visit to China. Why will President Chaves go to Shandong Province? What agreements will China and Chaves sign? Will there be any agreements on purchase of oil? Will any agreements be signed on Authorized Destination Status?
A: Regarding President Chaves' visit to China, I introduced some information to all of you at the press conference the day before yesterday. Since this visit is yet to come, I have no more information to offer. President Chaves' upcoming visit to Shandong is a decision made by the two sides after consultations through diplomatic channels.
Regarding bilateral cooperation in the energy field, I can provide you some information: in the recent years, China and Venezuela have conducted fruitful cooperation in the oil field. China National Petroleum Corporation participated in the third round international bidding for oil projects in Venezuela in 1997 and won the bid to explore the Interampo oilfield on the Maracaibo Lake and Caracoles oilfield in the basin of East Venezuela.To date, the cooperation projects of the two oil fields have made smooth progress and gained favorable economic returns. The Chinese side is ready to further develop energy cooperation in line with the principle of mutual benefit.
I will provide more detailed information on President Chaves' visit after he comes to China.
Q: Can you introduce the talks between Grenadian Prime Minister Mitchell and Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing this Tuesday? Has Mitchell left Beijing? In addition, can you brief on the work of Ambassador Wang Guangya, China's Representative to the UN, in Haiti and the arrangement of his meetings with Haitian leaders there?
A: As for your first question, Grenadian Prime Minister Mitchell visited China from 12th to 16th this month. The two sides exchanged views over bilateral relations and issues of common interest. This visit helps the two sides enhance their mutual understanding.
As for your second question, after the turbulence broke out in Haiti this year, the UN Security Council passed the Resolution 1542 to dispatch a special stabilizing mission to Haiti, which has played a positive role in restoring political stability in Haiti. As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China dispatched 125 peace-keeping policemen to Haiti at the UN request. The recent visit of China's Permanent Representative to UN Wang Guangya to Haiti is mainly aimed to visit Chinese peace-keeping police working there.
Q: The Russia's Foreign Ministry made a statement the day before yesterday, saying that the peace agreement between Russia and Japan is the business of their two parties, and any third parties is not welcome to intervene in the process. What's your comment on this? Besides, do you have any good news regarding the Six-Party Talks?
A: This is a matter between Japan and Russia. Both Japan and Russia are China's important neighboring countries. We hope to see the improvement and development of Japan-Russia relations. It is conducive to the peace, stability and development of this region.
As to the Six-Party Talks, the good news is that all parties concerned agree that the Talks is the best approach to solution of the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula, and hope that the process of the Talks can carry on. The bad news is that divergences among relevant parties are still wide, which hindered the next round of the Talks from opening on schedule. The six parties once agreed to hold the fourth round of the Talks by the end of September. However, it has been greatly postponed now. China will continue to play its role as the main hosting party of the Six-Party Talks and the mediator that plays good offices to broke peace and encourage talks. We hope other parties, especially the DPRK and the United States, to demonstrate sincerity and flexibility in a practical manner. All parties should work to increase mutual understanding, build up common ground and break the current impasse, so as to move on the Six-Party Talks towards further progress.
Q: During the visit of Russian Defense Minister to China last week, what arms deals were made with the Chinese side? There have been a lot of rumors about the leader of the DPRK in recent weeks. Where did they come from?
A: As for your first question, during the visit of Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov, President Hu Jintao and the leaders of the Central Military Commission met with him. The two sides exchanged views on the international and regional situation the issues of common interest, and our bilateral cooperation in all fields including the military sector. Broad consensus has been reached. His visit is a successful one. It should be stressed that China and Russia have built a strategic partnership and maintained good cooperation in the political, economic and military fields. The cooperation in the military field between China and Russia is conducive to safeguarding peace and stability in this region, and the world as a whole. Chinese army's weapons are mainly developed and produced by relying on China's own capability. The arms import by China is very limited. The military communication and cooperation is a part of normal exchanges between the two sides. As to the specific agreements, I don't have information available here.
As for the rumors you mentioned in the second question, now that they are rumors, I see no need to comment on them.
Q: The Tokyo High Court rejected an appeal for damages from four former Chinese "comfort women" on December 15th, claiming the Japanese Government has no responsibility to pay compensation. What comments does the Chinese government have on this issue?
A: We have taken note of relevant reports. The forced conscription of "comfort women" is one of the severe crimes committed by Japanese militarist forces during World War II against the people of Asian victimized countries, including China. The Chinese side has always been demanding the Japanese side to take a responsible attitude towards history, seriously treat and properly handle the problems left over from history, including the issue of "comfort women".
Q: Does Lee Teng-hui's visit to Japan have some political motives or a mere "sightseeing activity" as he himself claimed?
A: It is clear to all who Lee Teng-hui is. His upcoming visit to Japan obviously harbors a very strong political motive. He has always been eager to push forward the splittist activities of "Taiwan Independence". The purpose of his visit is nothing but to seek a backing and create an favorable external environment for his increasingly vigorous splittist and "pro-independence" activities in Taiwan. We believe the Japanese side is clear about it. We require the Japanese side to immediately annul its permission for Lee Teng-hui's activities in Japan.
Q: Just now you said Lee Teng-hui is the top representative of the drastic "Taiwan independence". But from the perspective of the Japanese side, Lee is an 81-year-old man who retired many years ago and once lived in Japan in his early years. Out of the respect for him and in a humanitarian spirit, the Japanese Government decided to grant him the visa. Does the Japanese Government's act have any negative impact on China-Japan relations?
A: We have explicitly expressed China's position. Lee Teng-hui is the mastermind behind forces for "Taiwan Independence". His activity in Japan can by no means be a so-called "private and personal" or "nostalgic" visit. Japan's consent to Lee's visit constitutes a provocation against the great cause of China's national reunification and also the support and connivances for "Taiwan Independence". We are firmly opposed to such act. The Chinese side requires Japan to immediately retract this decision. Otherwise, it will inevitably harm China-Japan relations.
Q: This October, China and Iran signed an agreement of energy cooperation worth $ 70 billion. Does it indicate that China and Iran have become partners on energy cooperation? My second question is, the US criticizes China's inadequate cooperation on Iran's nuclear issue. What comment does China have? My third question is, if Iran violates relevant treaties on non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, will China oppose to the referral of the Iranian nuclear issue to the UN Security Council?
A: Regarding the specific agreement in your first question, I have to make a double-check. But what I can tell you is China and Iran are conducting effective cooperation in energy fields including oil and gas.
Regarding your second question, China's position is both firm and responsible on non-proliferation of WMDs and nuclear weapons. Such position is based on not only the need of safeguarding world peace and stability, but also China's own interests. China doesn't pursue nuclear proliferation, and opposes any form of nuclear proliferation. The groundless criticisms of China on this issue made by some people in the US are completely irresponsible with an ulterior motive. We express strong dissatisfaction and opposition.
As for your third question on whether to refer the Iranian nuclear issue to the discussion of UN Security Council, we think this issue can be resolved completely within the framework of the IAEA. Relevant negotiations and consultations within this framework have achieved some positive progress. We believe this issue can be properly resolved through active diplomatic efforts of all parties concerned. The Chinese side hopes relevant parties to continue their efforts and reach a consensus at an early date.
Q: The DPRK announced recently that if Japan imposes economic sanction against it, the DPRK will view it as a declaration of war, and respond in an effective response with forces. Meanwhile it will reconsider the Six-Party Talks. Does China think that the difference between the DPRK and Japan may jeopardize the resumption of the Six-Party Talks? If so, what message will China send to the DPRK and Japanese side?
A: I have briefed on China's position on this issue at the press conference on Tuesday. We hold that the relevant parties' decisions and moves should not compromise the peace and stability of the region, nor the progress of the Six-Party Talks. China hopes the relevant parties to act prudently on this issue.
As to the question between Japan and the DPRK, China hopes that it will be properly resolved through dialogue by the two sides.
Q: The top story in 2004 is China's rise as an economic superpower. Can you tell me if China is an economic superpower or a developing country? If China is still a developing country, how can it afford the space plan?
A: Since the founding of the PRC, especially since the start of its reform and opening up program, China has made significant achievements in its economic development and all social undertakings. This is a fact. Another fact is that China is still a developing country. China's economy and overall national strength have yet to be further developed. But it will not hinder China's exploration efforts in the high technology fields, including the outer space. China's engagement in space exploration is conducive to the peaceful use of the outer space by the world, and to the common interest of mankind. Despite of the relatively big expense, China is still actively participating in international space exploration and has made important contributions. In the future, China will continue its space exploration in a more positive manner, and strengthen the cooperation with other countries in this regard.
If there are no more questions