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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson's Press Conference on June 5, 2003
On 5 June Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhang Qiyue held a regular press conference.

Zhang Started by announcing a piece of news.

At the invitation of Mr. Hor. Namhong, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Cambodia, which takes up the current presidency of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), China’s Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing will attend the Foreign Ministers’ Meeting of the ASEAN, China, Japan and the Republic of Korea (10+3), the 10th Foreign Ministers’ Meeting of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), the ASEAN Post Ministerial Conference (PMC), the ASEAN-China (10+1) Dialogue, and the second informal meeting of the Foreign Ministers of China, Japan and the Republic of Korea, which will be held in Phnom Penh of Cambodia from June 17th to 19th. Minister Li Zhaoxing will also attend the Asian Cooperation Dialogue to be held in Chiang Mai, Thailand from June 21st to 22nd.

At the invitations of Foreign Minister Nguyen Dy Nien of Vietnam, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Hor Namhong of Cambodia, Foreign Minister Surakiart of Thailand, Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing will also visit the three countries before and after the meetings.

Q: What is your comment on the summit meeting held between the US and Arab countries and the meeting between US, Israel and Palestine?

A: The Chinese side appreciates the positive results of the two summits. We believe that it is an important step towards peace and stability in the Middle East. We hope the relevant parties could continue their efforts for the early realization of all-round and lasting peace in this region. China is also willing to make its own efforts towards this goal.

Q: You said just now that the Chinese side is willing to make its own efforts to peace and stability in the Middle East. Please specify what kind of efforts will China make? For example will you participate in the whole process of the implementation of the “Roadmap” and what kind of role will you play?

A: China has always made its positive efforts to the Middle East peace process. Not long ago China’s special envoy on the Middle East question
Ambassador Wang Shijie has just visited Israel and Palestine and exchanged views with some other major parties on the Middle East question. We hope that Israel and Palestine can make concrete measures in implementing the roadmap so as to actively coordinate the mediating efforts of the international community and solve the question at an early date. He has also put forward views and suggestions on how to solve it. In addition, the Chinese side has also made some detailed proposals including the early establishment of a just, authoritative and effective international supervision mechanism, the early convocation of an international conference on the Middle East question participated by the permanent members of the UN Security Council and the parties concerned. In a word, the Chinese side adopts a positive attitude and we are willing to keep close contact with all the parties concerned so as to make our contribution to the early realization of peace in the Middle East.

Q: The US has just appointed a special envoy on the Middle East question. The Chinese side has suggested the establishment of an international supervision mechanism on the implementation of the “Roadmap”. So will you invite him to this mechanism?

A: The US side said that the main task of its special envoy is to push for the implementation of the “Roadmap”. Both Palestine and Israel have formally accepted the “Roadmap” and it means that it will soon be implemented. As to how to implement it and when such a just and authoritative international supervision mechanism can be established, parties concerned will further consult it.

Q: How will you evaluate your relations with the Central Asian countries? Will President Hu Jintao’s successful visit to Kazakhstan facilitate peace between China and its Central Asian neighbors? Will it promote the bilateral relations between China and its Central Asian neighbors, e.g. economic relations and trade?

A: President Hu has just concluded his visit to Kazakhstan. This is a very successful visit and I have introduced it during the press conference last time. Both sides are satisfied with the smooth development of the bilateral relations. The bilateral relations have been further developed with the signing of the Sino-Kazakh Treaty of Good-Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation. The two sides signed a number of economic and technological cooperation agreements during the visit this time that will further promote the good-neighborly and friendly relations between China and Kazakhstan.

The relations between China and other Central Asian countries have been developing smoothly, not only in the sense of bilateral relations but also through the Shanghai Cooperation Organization to deepen the cooperation with these countries. To further strengthen relations and deepen exchange with China’s Asian neighbors is of major significance to peace and stability in the whole region.

Q: President Bush said at the US-Israel-Palestine summit that the security of Israel must be ensured. Do you think that he, in saying this, ignores the rights of the 5 million Palestinian refugees to return to their homeland and one million Palestinians living in Israel?

A: We appreciate the positive results of the summit and hope that both Palestine and Israel can seize this opportunity so as to implement the “Roadmap” in real earnest. We also hope that the parties concerned can make positive and constructive efforts to this end.

Follow-up: What is your attitude on the question of Palestinian refugees?

A: As to some specific questions between Israel and Palestine e.g. the question of Palestinian refugees, we hope that they can be solved through talks between the two sides.

Q: Is President Hu’s visit this time a success? What are the achievements?

A: President Hu will return to Beijing this afternoon. The visit to the four countries in Europe and Asia this time is his first visit to foreign countries since he assumed office as president of China. He also participated in international conferences and multi-lateral activities during the visit. This visit is a very successful one and has yielded important results. According to what I know, Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxin will introduce to the Chinese media the achievements of this visit and you will be able to read the report very soon.

Q: It is reported that the DPRK has told the US many times that it has nuclear weapons. The DPRK having nuclear weapons does not conform to the position of the Chinese side. If it does have nuclear weapons, what measures and actions will you take?

A: I note that you use “if” in your question. The Chinese side’s position on the DPRK nuclear question is very clear. We are opposed to nuclear weapons on the Korean peninsula, opposed to tension in the region and stand for dialog to solve the current DPRK nuclear question. We think that peaceful settlement of the current question conforms to interest of all sides and peace and stability in the whole region.  We hope that all the parties concerned can exercise restraint and keep calm so as to make positive efforts to the resumption of dialog.

Q: It is known that 18 Tibetans have been repatriated from Nepal recently. Please confirm. I heard that they went to Nepal illegally. How will you deal with them?

A: I can confirm it. The Nepalese police seized in Katmandu 21 illegal immigrants from Tibet. According to the normal practice in the world to handle illegal immigrants, 18 of them, after being verified to be Chinese citizens, were repatriated back to China according to law on 31 May.

On illegal immigration, I’d like to point out here that it has become an acute problem worldwide. The international community attaches great importance to it and has conducted a series international and regional cooperation to fight against it. China attaches great importance to countering illegal immigration and has taken an active part in the international and regional cooperation in the field. We maintain that the question should not be politicized. It will not help the settlement of the question. As to how to deal with these repatriated persons, I think it is China’s internal affairs.  

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