|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson's Press Conference on March 23|
Kong: Good afternoon. Before taking your questions, I have the following announcements to make.
At the invitation of Premier Wen Jiabao of the State Council, Prime Minister Bajammal of the Republic of Yemen will pay an official visit to China through March 28th to 31st.
Dr. Muhammed Bahrululoom, Rotating Chairman of the interim Governing Council of Iraq will be invited to visit China from March 25th to 27th. It's the first trip to China by the Chairman of the Governing Council. During his visit, leaders of China will exchange views with him on China-Iraqi relations and issues of common interest.
Q: Yesterday you expressed worries over the impact of the assassination of Yassin, the spiritual leader of Hamas, on the regional situation. How should the Arab world interpret China's position? Does China believe it's a terrorist act? Does China condemn it? What's your comment on Sharon's remarks that he himself led the assassination and Arafat was more dangerous than Yassin?
A: In terms of my yesterday's remarks, I can tell you in clear terms that the Chinese Government is opposed to and condemns Israeli's assassination of Yassin. We have stated on many occasions that the "targeted cleansing" adopted by Israel doesn't contribute to the settlement of the question. The Chinese Government believes that the conflicts in the Middle East have a prolonged history with complicated situation there. Trade of violence won't help address the problem. We sincerely appeal to relevant parties to exercise restraint and avoid taking any actions that could lead to further escalation of the tensions so that peace talks can be resumed at an early date. It's not only the common aspiration of the Arab countries including Palestine, of the Israeli people but also that of the international community.
Q: How do you comment on the downturn of the dialogue between China and the US on human rights under the broader context of China-US relations? What's the reason for the current downturn? When could the dialogue be resumed?
A: You may have noticed my remarks on the issue this noon. Before that, Assistant Foreign Minister Shen Guofang summoned US Ambassador Randt for a meeting, expounding comprehensively on the position of the Chinese Government on the US decision to propose a draft anti-China resolution on the UN Human Rights Commission Session and expressing our strong dissatisfaction and resolute opposition. The reason for the downturn of the dialogue is quite simple. On the one hand, the dialogue between the two sides has made some improvements in recent years. We have been having exchanges on the basis of equality, both expressing willingness to promote the development of international human rights cause. However, the US abruptly betrayed its commitment yesterday, turned an blind eye to the achievements made by China in promoting human rights and went obstinately on proposing an anti-China draft resolution on the UN Human Rights Commission Session in Geneva. We don't wish to see confrontations in the Geneva Human Rights Commission Session where states are supposed to participate and discuss the promotion of the international human rights cause on an equal footing. But if the US willfully wants to stage confrontations there, China is the least afraid of it. We will be their company to the finish. Experiences of the previous ten conferences have demonstrated that dialogue will win victory over confrontation.
Q: What should the US do to resume the human rights dialogue with China? Can you tell us more details of the meeting between Assistant Foreign Minister Shen Guofang and Ambassador Randt? What's the message being conveyed? How long did the meeting last?
A: I may answer your question from a different perspective. The Chinese people are the most qualified to speak about China's human rights status. In his Report on the Government's Work this year, Premier Wen Jiabao spoke in length about the efforts, measures and improvements the Chinese Government has made in promoting human rights. It's the first time in China's history to write "respect for and protection of human rights" into the Constitution on the Second Session of the Tenth Plenary NPC's meeting. China has also taken a series of measures to promote democracy and legal system, which you cannot fail to see since you're a resident correspondent here in Beijing. The decision made by the US is quite a shock to us when constant improvements have been made in China's human rights status as well as our dialogue with other countries in the world including the European states and the US on an equal footing. As I mentioned early that China fears no confrontation. Dozens of confrontations in the past stand only for a proof that confrontations get nowhere. But we do care how to join hands to promote world human rights cause in an atmosphere of equality. We have repeatedly stated our views to the US. But regrettably, the US failed to listen in real earnest to China's views because of its domestic politics.
Follow-up: Please give us more details about the meeting between Assistant Foreign Minister Shen Guofang and Ambassador Randt. If the US decided not to propose anti-China draft resolution, would China resume the dialogue with the US on human rights?
A: You can find the detailed information of the meeting between Assistant Foreign Minister Shen Guofang and Ambassador Randt on Foreign Ministry's website. I will not repeat the full text of it here so that friends from the press can have more opportunity to raise questions. To make it short, Assistant Foreign Minister Shen Guofang made representations with the US side, expressing our strong dissatisfaction and resolute opposition on behalf of the Chinese Government. The US willfully staged confrontation, damaging the basis for dialogue and exchanges between the two, which we have to cease. It's hard to imagine that one says wanting dialogue and exchanges but act to stage confrontation. We find it hard to accept that the US's words don't match its deeds. The US should be responsible for the current situation and the future damage it caused to the dialogue and exchanges between China and the US on human rights.
Q: The international community all condemns Israel's assassination of Yassin. Do you believe it's time now to send international troops to the Middle East to protect the Palestinian people? As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, will China support the endeavor in the UN? Secondly, who invited Chairman Bahrululoom to visit China? Whom will he be meeting with? The interim constitution of Iraq was widely criticized. Does China also believe the constitution should be revised?
A: I already expressed opposition and condemnation to the assassination of Yassin. As a permanent member of the Security Council, China shoulders important responsibility of world peace and stability. We are supportive of discussions in the Security Council on the matter and on relevant measures that can be taken. China has always supported a positive and important role of the UN in resolving conflicts.
In terms of Chairman Bahrululoom's visit to China, leaders of China will meet and have talks with him. It's our heartfelt hope that stability can be restored in the war-torn Iraq. There are different views concerning the interim constitution. But the step has come as an important one towards the restoration of stability in Iraq. We hope that Chairman Bahrululoom's visit will enable us to have in-depth exchange of views and help us to have full knowledge of the current situation in Iraq so that China will play a positive and important role in its reconstruction.
Follow-up: Will China support all the efforts of the UN, including sending troops to the Middle East?
A: The matter will probably be discussed in the Security Council. I don't have any details at the moment. We support an immediate discussion in the Security Council on the tension in the Middle East and stand ready to actively participate in the discussion and will drive for concrete measures to ease the current tensions.
Q: We heard that Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing had a phone conversation with Secretary Powell on 20th. Taiwan's election was one of the topics of their discussion. Can you tell us what was discussed?
A: On the night of March 21st, Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing called the US Secretary Powell and discussed with him the regional election in Taiwan. Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing urged that the US should adhere to the One China Policy and do more to contribute to peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits and to the development of cross-Strait relationship. Secretary Powell reiterated that the US would strictly abide by the One China principle.
Q: Whom will Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing meet with during his visit in the DPRK? What are the main topics for their discussions?
A: Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing left Beijing this morning for DPRK. During his stay in Pyongyang, he will exchange views with leaders in charge of foreign affairs and other DPRK leaders on bilateral ties and issues of common interest. As I briefed you last time here that it's the first trip of China's Foreign Minister to the DPRK in the past five years and undoubtedly an important contact between the two. After the second round of the six-party talks, relevant parties are having close contact in preparation for the establishment of the working group, concerning which I believe views will also be exchanged in an in-depth manner during the visit. Both China and the DPRK attach great importance to the visit, believing that it will surely achieve positive results.
Q: Could you comment on the reactions of some countries like the US to Taiwan's election? Is there something in the reactions that causes China's concern or satisfaction? Are you surprised that so far no country has sent congratulatory message to Chen Shuibian after he won reelection?
A: You put the US in the same category with other countries. But from what I have seen there have been more reports concerning the US's reaction. We have taken note of it, I have to point out the election of Taiwan is only a region election of China. No matter what result it will be, it won't change the fact that Taiwan is part of China. The US should strictly stick to the position repeatedly stated by its government and leaders, abiding by the One China Policy and the principles of the three Sino-US Joint communiqués. It should oppose Taiwan's independence as well as any unilateral words and attempts by the leaders of the Taiwan Authority to change its status quo and make Taiwan independent so that peace and stability and Sino-US relations can be free from damages. With respect to the last part of your question, Taiwan side claims to have received congratulatory messages from some countries, which is not the case after our verification. The international community stated opposition before the current situation across the Taiwan Straits. We hope that the international community can jointly commit to safeguard regional peace and stability. Yet the core here will definitely be the strict adherence to the One China Policy.
Q: You mentioned early that Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing urged the US to do more to support the One China Policy in his phone conversation with Secretary Powell. Can you be more specific? What should the US do in specific to adhere to the One China Policy?
A: I know that your paper has many readers in the US. I hope that the US readers will have chance to know through your pen that the Chinese Government doesn't have special demands upon the US Government. Our only demand is that the US should strictly abide by its already-made commitment, stick to the One China Policy and the three Joint Communiqués that it repeatedly promised to abide by, oppose to "Taiwan's independence" and any unilateral words or acts attempting to change Taiwan's status quo and make Taiwan independent, which is also a repeatedly stated stand of the US. That's what we demand from the US.