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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson's Press Conference On 20 January, 2004

On 20 January Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Kong Quan held a regular press conference.

Kong: Good afternoon. I have a piece of news to announce before I start to take your questions.

The Second Ministerial Meeting of the Forum for East Asia ? Latin America Cooperation will be held in Manila, the capital of Philippine, from 30 to 31 January. Vice Foreign Minister Wang Yi will head the Chinese delegation to attend the meeting. The Forum is the only official multilateral cooperation mechanism across East Asia and Latin America at the moment. During the meeting, members of the Forum will have extensive exchange of views on economy and development, political and security situation and other issues in East Asia and Latin America.

The floor is now open.

Q: First let me wish you a happy New Year in advance of the Chinese Spring Festival. Three questions: First, pertains to the 6th Round of China-Bangladesh Bilateral Consultation that recently ended with their Foreign Secretary in Beijing. What is your trade surplus with Bangladesh and how do you plan to help this developing country reduce the size of trade deficit between you two countries? Were there any downstream river agreements on the river that becomes the Gangis in Bangladesh? Does China have any plan for dams in Tibet which will impact Bangladesh? Third, Xinhua reported yesterday that some diplomatic archives between 1945 and 1955 were open to the public. But according to China's Archive Law in 1987, historical files should be opened after 30 years. Why did it take another 20 years to open your archives?

A: Thanks for wishing me happy Spring Festival. I also wish you happy Spring Festival. I don't know whether you were born in the Year of Monkey. But let me wish you swift and smooth in your work like a monkey.  (laughter)

I don't have specific information of the river you mentioned. But on the whole, we have always adopted a responsible and prudent attitude on question of water resources with our neighboring countries. We combine development and exploitation with preservation of soil and water resources and take into full consideration the concerns of all sides.

We attach importance to the trade deficit between China and Bangladesh. You know that China's total trade volume stood at 851.2 billion USD and China's surplus was 25 billion, which was not a big proportion. We might have large trade deficit with certain countries but surplus with others. China does not seek long-term and large-scaled surplus in its foreign trade. We hope to actively develop friendly, mutually beneficial and equal economic cooperation and trade. As to certain questions arising in development, we all hope that it can be solved in development, be it trade deficit that the other side concerns  or other issues.

As to the opening of diplomatic archives, many countries have similar practice. We have made a useful attempt according to practice of the international community as well as China's Archive Law and the Method on the Implementation of the Archive Law, and by combining China's specific conditions. According to my knowledge, there are over 10,000 files during this period. And as the first step, 3,000 of them will be opened to the public after screening and declassification. Though 30% of the files opened to the public may not be a lot, it is an important and positive first step. We will further open relevant files in the future according to China's Archive Law and the Method on the Implementation of the Archive Law. The aim is to enable the Chinese people and the international community to understand fully China's diplomatic history and the efforts that it has made in safeguarding world peace and stability and promoting common development.

Q: Minister Wang Jiarui of the Department of Liaison of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China visited the DPRK recently and met with Kim Jong-il. Why did he visit the DPRK at the moment? What did he discuss with Kim Jong-il? Was the topic of six-party talks included?

A: The Communist Party of China has kept friendly relations and exchange with parties in many other countries, including the DPRK. Our two parties have frequent exchange of visits. Mr. Wang Jiarui, Minister of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, headed a delegation to the DPRK within this framework. It is quite normal to conduct party-to-party exchange. Yesterday Chairman Kim Jong-il met with him. According to my knowledge they exchanged views on bilateral relations and the exchange between the parties in particular. They also introduced situation in their respective countries and exchanged views on regional situation.

Q: Recently, some countries have unilaterally delimited  areas in the disputed South China Sea to carry out international bidding for oil and gas exploitation. What is your comment?

A: It is known to all that China has indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and its adjacent waters. We are seriously concerned with the unilateral bidding for oil and gas exploitation by some countries in the disputed South China Sea. We urge and hope that this erroneous act could be corrected so as not to further complicate the situation in the South China Sea.

Q: Will the second round of the six-party talks be held in February? The Self-Defense Force of Japan conducted activities in Iraq yesterday. What is your comment? What should Japan do to relieve the vigilance of Asian countries including China?

A: As to the second round of six party talks, we have always made positive mediation. I have introduced the contact between Director General Fu Yin and Ambassador Ning Fukui with the US side. We are conducting close contact with the DPRK, Russia, Japan and the ROK. The Chinese side has always made positive efforts to promote the early convocation of the second round. I cannot tell the specific time of the second round but I believe that all sides have consensus on the early convocation of the second round of six-party talks.

As to Japan sending troops to Iraq, we are concerned with this move. The Japanese side should abide by the policy of "exclusive defense" and adhere to the road of peaceful development. This not only confirms with Japan's interest and conduces to peace and stability of the region and the world at large. As to the second part of your question, the Japanese side has expressed on many occasions that it will stick to the road of peaceful development. We hope that it can truly win trust from the international community and the people in Asia and truly honor its commitments in deeds.

Q: Is the major difference between China and the US the Taiwan Relations Act? Why does China oppose it?

A: The Chinese government's position on the US so-called Taiwan Relations Act is clear-cut. We don't accept and strongly opposes it. After China and the US established the diplomatic relations, successive US governments have reaffirmed on many occasions that it adhered to the one-China policy and abide by the three China-US Joint Communiques. President Bush has recently expressed his opposition to "Taiwan's independence" and any act or word of the Taiwan side to unilaterally change the status quo. We urge the US side to honor its commitments and continue to clearly oppose "Taiwan's independence " and the act of Taiwan side in seeking its independence by using "referendum" so that the China-US relations can develop further in a sound, stable and smooth manner.

If you have no other question, let me wish you happy Spring Festival. The next press conference will be held on 29 January. If you have questions during this time, contact us through our mobile and we will try our best to answer your questions as soon as possible.

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