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Foreign Ministry Spokesman Liu Jianchao's Press Conference on March 16

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen! I have a few announcements to make.

First, at the invitation of Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing, Foreign Minister Celso Amorim of the Federative Republic of Brazil will pay an official visit to China from March 21st to 24th.

Second, at the invitation of Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing, Minister Rodolphe Adada of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and French-speaking Country Affairs of the Republic of Congo will pay an official visit to China from March 25th.

Third, I would like to make a statement on the Russian election. President Putin won a second term in Russia's Presidential Election on March 14th. President Hu Jintao has addressed a telegram and expressed his sincere congratulations on his reelection to President Putin in a telephone call. We wish Russia prosperity and its people well-being. I believe that with the joint efforts of the two sides, the China-Russia strategic and cooperative cooperation will, directly facilitated by the two heads of state, enjoy constant development and benefit the two countries and the two peoples.

Fourthly, I wish to brief you on the meeting between Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing and Mr. Solana, Secretary-General of the Council of the European Union and the High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy. The meeting was held in the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse this morning. Foreign Minister Li stated that China was willing to further enhance political mutual trust, and expand and deepen cooperation in all fields with the European Union. In his statement, he also expressed China's support for the EU's integration and its willingness to see an active role of the EU in international affairs.

Li Zhaoxing also stated that the Chinese Government condemned the terrorist bombings in Madrid in strong terms. He said that China opposed to all forms of terrorism, and stood ready to strengthen its cooperation with the international community including the EU in the campaign against terrorism.

Mr. Solana suggested that the current EU-China relationship was very solid and smooth, with a series of upcoming exchanges of high level visits. The European Union cherishes its relations with China, and was ready to enhance the strategic cooperation on bilateral and multilateral occasions. The EU will continue to support the one-China principle, and hopes to see the continuous stability in the Taiwan Straits.

The two sides have also exchanged views on EU integration, non-proliferation, counter terrorism and other international and regional issues of common concern.

After the meeting, they met the press together and Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing held a lunch in honor of Mr. Solana.

Now I am ready to take up your questions.

Q: Taiwan will have its "Presidential Election" on March 20th. What are the main aims of the China-France joint military exercises today? Are you sending any signals to Taiwan through military exercises at this moment?

A: First of all, I cannot agree with you on your wording of the "Taiwan Presidential Election", nor on your linkage of the joint naval exercises of China and France with the so-called election. Yet I can brief you on the naval exercises. The French fleet which includes an anti-submarine-warfare destroyer Latouche-Treville and a light frigate Commandant Birot arrived at the Qingdao Port on the morning of 12th March and conducted joint exercises related to non-conventional security field in the waters of Yellow Sea near Qingdao with Chinese guided missile destroyer Harbin and shipboard helicopter Dolphin.

In recent years, China and France have enjoyed smooth development of bilateral ties and relations between the two militaries, with frequent exchanges between the two navies. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and France. Chinese President Hu Jintao paid a successful visit to France not long ago. The naval exercises this time will bring closer the relationship between the two countries and the two militaries.

Q: We have heard that the Chinese special envoy on the Middle East issue will visit the region. Can you confirm it? What is the time and aim of his visit this time? Leaders from which countries will he meet? Is he going to meet the Palestinian leader Arafat?

A: The Chinese special envoy on the Middle East issue Wang Shijie will pay another visit to the region at an appropriate time, and he will meet relevant state leaders and other personages as he did in the previous trips. Date of his trip has not been finalized yet, and we are having consultations with countries concerned.

Q: Lee Soo-Hyuck, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of ROK arrives in Beijing today to discuss the matters related to the working group of Six-Party Talks. Can you brief us on that? How is the preparation work of the working group? Have you made any progress in finalizing the organizational form of the working group? And also, have China and France started their joint naval exercises?

A: On your first question, Mr. Lee Soo-Hyuck, head of the ROK delegation to the Six-Party Talks and the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of ROK arrived in Beijing this morning. During his stay in Beijing, he will have discussions with the Chinese side on matters concerning the Six-Party Talks, and exchange views with the Chinese side on launching the working group of the Six-Party Talks and facilitating the Six-Party Talks process. Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wang Yi will have talks with him and Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing will also meet him. In line with the consensus reached at the second round of Six-Party Talks, the Chinese side has just formulated the draft of the Concept Paper on working Group of Six-Party Talks, and has submitted it to the other five parties for consideration.

As for your second question, I suggest you raise the question to the Chinese Defense Ministry.

Q: It has been reported that Ambassador for Korean Peninsular Affairs Ning Fukui visited DPRK on 13th. Would you please brief us on that?

A: Ambassador for Korean Peninsular Affairs Ning Fukui started his visit to DPRK on 13th and was back to Beijing this morning. He had an in-depth exchange of views with the DPRK side on launching the working group of the Six-Party Talks and facilitating the Six-Party Talks process. This is part of China's consultation with all the other parties. The Chinese side will also have consultations with other parties that attended the talks.

Q: It has been reported that the Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing addressed a letter to the Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Morshed Khan in request of closing down the Taiwan "Representative Office" in Bangladesh. What is your comment? How do you see the US Secretary General Powell's visit to India, Pakistan and Afghanistan?

A: China and Bangladesh often exchange views on further developing friendly and cooperative relations. Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing addressed a letter to his Bangladeshi counterpart Morshed Khan recently for communications on bilateral ties and issues of common concern. This shows the great importance China attaches to the China-Bangladesh relationship.

We have asked for clarification from the Bangladeshi side on the issue of Taiwan "Representative Office". The Bangladeshi side has stated in explicit terms that it adheres to the one-China principle, and refrains from developing official relations with Taiwan. The Chinese side opposes to the establishment of official relations or conducting exchanges in official nature with Taiwan by any country that has diplomatic relations with China. We hope and believe that as a friendly neighbor, Bangladesh will continue to adhere to the one-China principle.

On U.S. State Secretary Powell's visit to South Asia. We welcome the upgrading of bilateral relations of cooperation between the U.S. and South Asian countries, and we hope that the U.S. will play a constructive role in the development and stability of the region.

Q: Please brief us on the programme of the Brazilian Foreign Minister's visit to China. Apart from the Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing, which Chinese leaders is he going to meet?

A: During the Brazilian Foreign Minister Amorim's visit to China, the two sides will exchange views on bilateral ties and international and regional issues of common concern. The Chinese side attaches great importance to this visit. He will call on Premier Wen Jiabao and State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan, and Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing will also have talks with him.

Here I would like to say a few more words on China-Brazil relationship. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Brazil. The bilateral ties have enjoyed sound momentum of development. The two sides have enhanced their political mutual trust and further substantiated the strategic partnership between the two countries. China and Brazil are each other's biggest trading partner in their respective regions. The trade volume grew by a wide margin in 2003, reaching almost USD 8 billion. The satellite cooperation project has made smooth progress. Last year, the two countries successfully launched and put into use the second earth resource satellite through joint R&D. The satellite data has been extensively used in agriculture, environmental protection, urban planning and other fields, achieving very good results. The first sub line plane jointly manufactured by the two countries rolled off the production line and had a successful test flight. The two sides maintained close consultation and came to each other's aid in international affairs, and made positive contribution to safeguarding the overall interest of the developing countries. We believe that the visit of the Brazilian Foreign Minister will further facilitate the growth of China-Brazil relations.

(The End)

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