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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson's Press Conference on 26 February, 2004

On February 26, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhang Qiyue held a regular press conference.

Zhang Qiyue: Ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon. I don't have any announcement to make today. The floor is open now.

Q: Have all the delegations to the second round of Six-Party Talks started their consultations on the final joint document? How possible would it be for the six parties to reach this joint document?

A: The Chinese side hopes that the Talks would go on smoothly, yield results and the mechanism of peace talks would be kept in the future. Before the Talks, all the parties have repeatedly consulted over the results to be achieved during the Talks. Whether there would be a joint document still depends on the efforts by all the parties during the Talks. The Chinese side hopes to lay down the reached consensus in written form through joint efforts with the other five parties. Today is the second day of the Talks. All the parties are making efforts towards this goal. It's hard to predict the final results of the Talks.

Q: During the Talks this morning, did the DPRK side express its willingness to abandon all its nuclear weapon programs in the future? Has the Chinese side prepared a draft joint document already? What's your general comment on the progress of the Talks?

A: This morning, the plenary session lasted for 4 hours from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. In-depth and substantive discussions were conducted on the specific steps towards the de-nuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Since the Talks are still under way, it's not convenient for me to comment on specific aspects.

As for the draft joint document, when preparing for the Talks, the Chinese side and all the other parties concerned have exchanged views on this matter. Whether a consensus in written form would be reached at last will be up to the progress of the Talks and the efforts by all the parties.

With regard to the developments of the Talks, so far it's fair to say that, due to prior substantial preparations, all the parties have a clear understanding of the goal of the Talks and major issues and principled framework to be discussed during the Talks. In their Talks, all the parties have showed sincerity and certain flexibility towards tackling the problem and also had a full estimation of the different views on specific issues.

The process of the Talks is featured by seeking the common ground while shelving the differences. As long as all the parties cherish political will and wisdom, they could achieve a consensus to some degree during the Talks.

Q: It's reported that the DPRK denied its possession of HEU (highly enriched uranium) plans. Could you confirm that? Some Asian and American diplomats claimed that the DPRK's returning to the Six-Party Talks resulted from its receiving a donated bottling plant from China. Would you please also confirm that? Will the Six-Party Talks continue tomorrow?

A: Your first question touches upon specific issues during the Talks. It's not convenient for me to tell you.

For many years, China has been providing the DPRK side assistance within its capacity through bilateral channels in order to help the DPRK people overcome temporary economic difficulties and resume the economic development. China commits itself to the policy of developing relations with its neighboring countries based on harmony, security and prosperity. As long as it can,  China will provide help to its neighboring countries within its capacity. The bilateral assistance has nothing to do with the DPRK's participation in the second round of Six-Party Talks.

The Talks will continue tomorrow. As for the length of the Talks, it will be decided by the specific situation of the Talks.

Q: It's said that, aside from whether the Talks would yield results, China has successfully acted as a mediator and enhanced its international image. What's your comment?

A: The Chinese side has always been actively mediating on the DPRK nuclear issue. As the host of this round of Six-Party Talks and previous rounds of talks, the Chinese side has made a great deal of hard work in preparing for and holding the talks. The Chinese side doesn't have any private interest in it. The point of departure on our side is to maintain peace and stability and de-nuclearization on Korean Peninsula.

Q: The US State Department has issued its Human Rights Report in 2003, criticizing Hong Kong not releasing its timetable for democratization.  Do you think that the US side has interfered in China's internal affairs?

A: The so-called country report on human rights issued by the US made groundless accusations against China's human rights record. The Chinese side expresses its strong indignation and firm opposition. China always commits itself to protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms of the Chinese people. In recent years, China has made universally recognizable achievements in the field of human rights. We hope that the US side could objectively and correctly treat the progress and achievements made by China in human rights, correct the wrongdoing of issuing the country report on human rights. This is the interference in the internal affairs of other countries.

Hong Kong affairs fall into categories of China's internal affairs and we oppose any interference by any countries in Hong Kong affairs.

Q: Recently, the Spanish Foreign Ministry issued a press statement on the so-called "referendum legislation" in Taiwan, stressing that this is a serious mistake. What's your comment?

A: We have taken note of the press statement issued by the Spanish Foreign Ministry. The Chinese side highly appreciates the One China Policy adhered by Spain and its public and clear opposition to Taiwan Authorities' carrying on Taiwan Independence by "referendum legislation". This is beneficial for both sides to deepen the mutual understanding and promote the bilateral friendly relations and cooperation in various fields.

Q: Still a question about the US country report on human rights. Will the Chinese side issue a human rights report on the US? The US official responsible for human rights said that the US would table an act against China at the UN human rights commission this year. What's your comment on that?

A: As for your first question, I believe that we have this kind of right.

The Chinese Government always advocates conducting dialogue and exchanges on human rights based on equality and mutual respect. In recent years, in the spirit of sincerity and openness, China and the US have conducted dialogues on human rights. Facts have proved that this way is beneficial for both sides to strengthen understanding, reduce misunderstanding and serves promoting the stable development of the Sino-Us relations. Therefore, we hope that both sides could address their differences on human rights through dialogue.

Q: At present, China has made certain progress in preventing and controlling bird flu and restrictions have been successively lifted from several epidemic regions. My question is that what international cooperation has China conducted with regard to preventing and controlling bird flu?

A: To my knowledge, restrictions have been lifted from 7 epidemic regions on the Chinese mainland. In successive 10 days, there have no new suspected or confirmed cases of highly pathogenic bird flu in China. However, the Chinese Government still attaches great importance to the prevention and controlling of bird flu and is actively conducting international exchanges and cooperation

The Chinese Ministry of Agriculture has established the effective daily reporting mechanism with such international organizations as the WHO and UNFAO. As for the international cooperation, the UNFAO has approved an emergency technical cooperation project to help China conduct expertise exchanges and personnel training with this regard. At the same time, China has promised to provide activated strain of bird flu to related international organizations. The first batch of the in-activated strain has been sent on February 24.

Besides sponsoring and actively attending international symposiums, China also provided emergency aids of USD 450,000 in cash to other flu-affected countries such as Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Laos, Cambodia and Pakistan. Furthermore, the Ministry of Agriculture also provided material aid worthy of RMB 200,000 to Vietnam, which mainly included protective clothing, gloves, disinfectant and packing bags.

Furthermore, as I have announced last time, the China-ASEAN Special Conference on the Prevention and Control of the Highly Pathogenic Bird Flu will be held in Beijing on March 2. I know many of you want to know how to apply for interviewing the Conference. Now I give you some related information. The Conference will be held in the Shangri-La Hotel. Those who are interested can contact and register with the Ministry of Agriculture. The telephone numbers are 64192462 and 64192672.

Q: The US country report on human rights not only criticized the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong and other countries, but also criticized Taiwan. What's your comment?

A: We oppose that the US makes groundless accusations against the human rights records in some countries and regions by issuing the human rights report.

Q: What does China think is crucial for the success of the second round of Talks?

A: The Chinese side believes that the dismantlement of nuclear programs and addressing reasonable concerns of related countries are two important aspects of solving the DPRK nuclear issue. What's more, during their talks, all the parties not only need to express their wishes and put forward their proposals, but also should consider concerns of the other parties. As long as all the parties actively participate in the Talks with constructive attitudes based on mutual respect and consultation on an equal footing, the Talks will yield some consensus and arrangements.

Q: Recently, the earthquake in Morocco resulted in great casualties. What aids has the Chinese side provided to Morocco?

A: On February 24, a strong earthquake in the northern part of Morocco resulted in heavy casualties and loss of property. The Chinese side attaches high attention to the disaster in Morocco. The Chinese President Hu Jintao has sent the telegram of condolence to the Moroccan King Mohammed VI. The Chinese Government has decided to provide Morocco the emergency humanitarian relief material and capital of 5 million RMB. Furthermore, the Red Cross Society of China has also provided humanitarian aids of 30,000USD to its Moroccan counterpart. After the earthquake, the Chinese medical team in Morocco immediately took part in the relief work at the moment.

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