|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson's Press Conference on June 3, 2003|
On June 3rd, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhang Qiyue held the regular press conference. Zhang: Good afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen. Today I have no announcement to make. Now I am ready for your questions.
Q: President Hu Jintao met with President Bush on June 1st. But on the same day, the US House Majority leader indicated that many congressmen were resolutely opposed to Bush’s One China policy. What is your comment on his remarks?
A: You question is related to the US policy towards China and should be interpreted by the spokesperson of the US Government. During the meeting between President Hu Jintao and President Bush, the two sides had an extensive and in-depth exchange of views on the Sino-US relations and major international issues. On the Taiwan issue, President Hu made clear that the Taiwan issue remains to be the most crucial and sensitive issue among the Sino-US relations. It is our hope that the US side will adhere to the one China policy, abide by the principles enshrined in the three Joint Communiqués, and promote the healthy development of the Sino-US relations. During the meeting, President Bush also clearly stated that the US Government pursues the one China policy, abides by the three Joint Communiqués, and is against the Taiwan independence.
I would like to stress that the proper settlement of the Taiwan issue and the smooth development of the Sino-US relations conform to the fundamental interests of the two peoples, and are of major significance to the peace of the two countries, and the world at large.
Q: It is learned that Xu Wei was sentenced for subversion and was tortured and maltreated in jail. Could you confirm that?
A: As the Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, I am not aware of the specific case you mentioned. However, I would like to emphasize that China is a country ruled by law and everything is handled in accordance with law.
Q: Could you brief us on Prime Minister Vajpayee’s visit to China? When will he visit? Who will he meet with? What documents will be signed?
A: We will release the news of the Indian Prime Minister’s visit in due course. But what I can tell you here is that the Indian Prime Minister will visit China late this month. President Hu Jintao just met with Prime Minister Vajpayee in St. Petersburg and exchanged views on the Sino-Indian relations and issues of common concern. Both sides are satisfied with the recent development of the bilateral ties, and stand ready to work together, enhance cooperation, and promote the continuous development of the bilateral ties.
During the meeting, President Hu Jintao also appreciated and welcomed Prime Minister Vajpayee’s gesture for the improvement of Indian-Pakistani relations. As was stressed by President Hu, China supports all endeavors conducive to the relaxation of the situation in South Asia, and hopes India and Pakistan will resolve their differences peacefully through dialogue. The Chinese side is now busy preparing for the upcoming visit by Prime Minister Vajpayee. The specific arrangement is being worked out.
Q: When will be the next round of talks on the Korean nuclear issue among China, the US, and the DPRK? Will it be held soon in Beijing or in Malaysia? Besides, the US Deputy Secretary of Defense Wolfowitz recently called on China, Japan and some other neighbors of the DPRK to impose pressure on the DPRK to settle the Korean nuclear crisis. Will China consider stopping its assistance to the DPRK if the DPRK fails to abandon its nuclear program?
A: China stands for a peaceful, stable and nuclear-free Korean Peninsular. In the meantime, the security concerns of the DPRK should also be cared for. The tripartite talks of China, the US, and the DPRK in Beijing this April constitute a good beginning, and we hope the process will move on. The Beijing talks have not come easily. The various parties believe that such talks are very helpful. Therefore it is our hope that the Beijing talks will proceed. I have no new information on further talks.
Regarding the second question, we stand for the settlement of the DPRK nuclear issue through dialogue. We are not in favor of the willful use of pressure or sanctions in international relations, which will only escalate the current situation and impede the solution to the issue.
Q: Today the US and the Arab countries held a meeting in Egypt. After that, Palestine and Israel will have another meeting in Jordan. But these meetings did not invite Syria and Lebanon. What is the comment of China? Does China believe it will not conduce to the Middle East peace process? Besides, the US announced that it would not grant diplomatic privileges to the foreign diplomats in Iraq. Is China concerned about it? Before China’s ambassador to Iraq returns, will China make representation with the US side?
A: On June 3rd, the US, Egypt and other Arab countries held a meeting in Sharm El-sheikh, Egypt. On June 4th, the US, Palestine, and Israel will meet with each other in Jordan. These meetings are carried out to implement the Middle East road map peace plan. China hopes to see positive progress from these two meetings so that the overall and lasting peace in the Middle East will be realized at an early date.
Recently Palestine and Israel have adopted a series of active measures to push forward the Middle East peace process, for which China expresses appreciation and support. At present the Middle East peace process has entered into a crucial period and is facing new opportunities. We hope that Israel and Palestine may actively get along with the international efforts and restore peace talks at an early date so that the Palestinian issue and the Middle East issue could be settled as soon as possible.
During his recent trip to Palestine and Israel, Ambassador Wang Shijie, China’s Special Envoy for the Middle East, put forward China’s five-point proposals on the Middle East issue. One is to restore negotiations between Israel and Syria and Lebanon at an early date so that a solution acceptable to all the parties concerned could be achieved for the eventual realization of the overall and lasting peace of the Middle East.
As for the diplomatic personnel in Iraq, we have taken note of the announcement made by the US. We hope that Iraq will restore stability at an early date so that the Iraqi people will enjoy a tranquil and stable life, and the reconstruction of Iraq could be launched as soon as possible. Not long ago, the UN Security Council has passed the resolution 1483. This new resolution should serve as the basis for the reconstruction of Iraq. We hope that the relevant parties could push for the comprehensive and proper solution to the Iraqi issue to safeguard the peace and stability of the Middle East.
Q: Could you brief us on the meetings between President Hu Jintao and Egyptian President Mubarak. Have they touched upon China’s proposal on the Middle East peace process?
A: According to my knowledge, President Hu Jintao and Egyptian President Mubarak only had a brief conversation. Maybe the time is not enough to make an overall introduction on China’s proposal on the Middle East issue. China always actively supports the Middle East peace process and is ready to make its own efforts and contribution to this end.
Q: Yesterday China reported no new SARS cases. Does China believe that now it is time for the WHO to lift the travel warning against Beijing, Tianjin and some other places? Will China lobby the WHO to lift the travel warning against Beijing and some other places?
A: As the Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, I am not in the position to answer that. However, as a Beijing citizen, I am very delighted to see the recent development in the control of SARS in Beijing. Concerning the ease of the epidemic, the Chinese leaders and governments at all levels repeatedly stressed that we should remain alert and no negligence is permitted. Effective measures should be maintained until we win the final victory against SARS. We believe that the top priority is that we should continue to take these effective measures.
Q: What is the stand of China towards the development of nuclear weapons in Iran? Has President Hu Jintao mentioned this issue during his meeting with President Bush?
A: As for the meeting between President Hu and President Bush and the specific issues discussed during their meeting, the spokesperson of the Chinese delegation has given the details. Concerning the Iran’s nuclear issue as you mentioned, our stand is that it is the consensus of the international community to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Iran is a signatory to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) and the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). It undertakes not to develop weapons of mass destruction. We have taken note that Iran has clearly denied the development or possession of weapons of mass destruction. Therefore, any doubts and questions on this issue should be settled by the relevant organizations through negotiations, consultations and dialogue between the countries concerned. The non-proliferation should not hinder the peaceful use of the relevant technology.
Q: Taro Aso, an official of Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) in Japan recently claimed that Japan should not have the similar view of history with its neighbors. What is the comment of China on his remarks?
A: I have not seen the remarks made by this Japanese official. The Japanese Government should have a clear understanding on the issue of history. I would like to brief about the meeting between President Hu Jintao and Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi. This is the first contact between the two leaders since the Chinese new leadership took office. The two sides reached important consensus on further enhancing the friendly cooperation between China and Japan. We hope that the two sides will take the opportunity of this meeting, and work on the healthy development of the Sino-Japanese relations. This should be based upon observing the three political documents including the Sino-Japanese Joint Statement and adhering to the principle of “taking history as lessons, and looking into the future”. During his meeting with Prime Minister Koizumi, President Hu expressed his hope that Japan should properly handle the question of history. It is our hope that the two sides will make joint efforts to push forward the bilateral relations in the new century.
Q: The President of China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) is now with President Hu Jintao in Kazakhstan. Will China and Kazakhstan sign an energy agreement? What are the details of the agreement?
A: President Hu Jintao and his delegation are now paying an official visit to Kazakhstan. Today he had talks with President Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan, and then signed the joint statement. Besides, the two sides also signed five agreements, namely, the framework of cooperation from 2003 to 2008 between the PRC and the Republic of Kazakhstan, the agreement on the educational cooperation between the Education Ministry of the PRC and the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the exchange of letters on the assistance gratis from the PRC Government to the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the agreement on further investment of CNPC in the oilfields of Kazakhstan, and the agreement on the feasibility studies of the joint construction of the oil pipeline projects at different stages between Kazakhstan and China. The two countries also exchanged two instruments of ratification, namely, the instrument of ratification on the treaty of good-neighborliness and friendly cooperation between the PRC and the Republic of Kazakhstan, and the note of ratification on the agreement of cooperation against terrorism, separatism and extremism between the PRC and the Republic of Kazakhstan.
This is a fruitful visit. In recent years, the good-neighborliness and friendly cooperation between China and Kazakhstan have been developing smoothly. The two countries signed the treaty of good-neighborliness and friendly cooperation, and the boundary issues have been settled. The two leaders also agreed to enhance cooperation in fields of economy, trade, energy, transportation, science, technology, and culture etc. President Hu Jintao’s visit to Kazakhstan will further promote the overall development of the bilateral ties. I refer you to the relevant departments for the details.
Q: It is learned that the US and a certain countries are taking measures to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, mainly against the DPRK, for instance, to inspect the ships on the sea. Is China opposed to this move?
A: At present the DPRK nuclear issue remains very sensitive. All the parties concerned should create favorable atmosphere and condition for the peaceful settlement of the DPRK nuclear issue through dialogue, and refrain from making any move or remarks that may further escalate the situation.