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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson's Press Conference on 30 March, 2004

Kong: Good afternoon, before taking any questions, I'd like to make an announcement first.

At the invitation of Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing, Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan will pay an official visit to China from April 6th to 9th.

With that, I'm happy to take your questions.

Q: Seven new members have joined NATO lately. What's your comment on that? Secondly, what was discussed during ROK Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon's visit to China? Is there any progress of the third round of the Six-party Talks?

A: With respect to the expansion of NATO, we have taken note that under the new circumstances, NATO is undergoing drastic changes and realized a new round of expansion. We hope that it could take into full consideration changes of the security situation in Europe as well as the interests and concerns of all the European countries when it seeks its own development. We have expressed our views on various occasions that China deems it most important to adopt the new security concept featuring mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and coordination under the current international situation.

ROK Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon was in China for a short visit yet with full program. During his stay, the two sides had an in-depth exchange of views on bilateral ties and reached consensus on furthering the cooperation in various fields in the future. Both agreed to early launch the working team on the Six-party Talks so as to make preparation for the third round of the talks.

Q: Could you tell us some details of Vice President Cheney's visit to China? Whom will he meet with? Where will he go? What will be discussed? Why did it take so long to make the visit? Secondly, why do you think the US seeks an anti-China resolution in the UN Human Rights Commission Session? How does China react to the accusation that China's human rights status is backsliding? Will China take any measures against the US in the human rights conference?

A: Vice President Zeng Qinghong welcomes the working visit by US Vice President Cheney to China the coming April. The two sides are having active consultation and coordination on his agenda, schedule and cities he will be going. I hope I can give you further information next press conference or early next week. With respect to why it took so long to make the visit, it's mainly because that we need to discuss and decide a suitable date for both sides. Since Vice President Hu Jintao sent invitation to Vice President Cheney in 2002, there have been frequent exchanges of high level visits between the two sides with various forms. We welcome Vice President Cheney's April visit to China, hoping it will help to enhance mutual understanding, building common consensus, narrowing differences and expanding cooperation.

With regard to the human rights conference at Geneva, you'd better ask the US for their reason to propose an anti-China resolution, which we also feel very confused and opposed to. China and the US have had dialogue on human rights on the basis of equality in recent years. On the other hand, China has been making progress in human rights status. This morning, the Information Office of the State Council released a report on the Progress in China's Human Rights Cause in 2003 with a view to helping the international community get a full picture of China's human rights status. The report has preface followed by eight chapters, giving full account on China's achievement in improving human rights status and honestly recognized room for improvement. The report also noted that China stands ready to press ahead in making earnest efforts to raise the standards of human rights the whole of Chinese people can enjoy. Under the circumstances, we feel very confused to see the US obstinately proposed a confrontational human rights resolution at the Geneva Human Rights Commission Session. China fears no confrontation and we will be their company till the finish although we firmly believe that the UN Human Rights Commission Session should be a place where states should calmly exchange views on human rights on the basis of equality so as to join hands to promote the development of international human rights cause.

With respect to whether China plans to take counter-measures, I believe you have already read the paper issued by the Information Office of the State Council not long ago on US human rights status, which enables the US to have a better look at numerous violations of human rights in its own country.

Q: Sources say that China plans to hold new rounds of human rights dialogue with Britain, Germany and Australia. Can you confirm?

A: Thank you very much for the question, which helps me say more on China's position on human rights issues. I noted before that there are differences in culture, history and level of development among near 200 states in the world. Accordingly, they have different feelings and propositions on many issues including human rights. In the meantime, no single country in the world is perfect in its human rights status. No single country can accuse others human rights status to be in a total mess while boasting of its own perfection. Therefore, the Chinese Government has always held to conduct human rights dialogue on the basis of equality and mutual respect as so to bridge differences, expand common consensus, learn from each other and make progress together. To that end, China has been having extensive human rights dialogue and exchanges with many countries including the developing and developed ones in recent years. China has built up consensus with these countries and made positive contributions to the promotion of international human rights cause.

In the future, China will continue to have human rights dialogue and exchanges with other countries. The 11th human rights dialogue with UK will be held in London between May 13th and 14th, the 4th with Germany in Berlin somewhere between May 24th and 28th and the 8th with Australia in Canberra in July. Besides, China has also invited the Evaluation Mission of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to visit China from May 17th to 25th to discuss with China on how to cooperation. To make it short, China stands ready to work with relevant parties to obtain more active results out of the dialogue and exchanges with a view to promoting the progress of the international human rights cause.

Q: The Commonwealth of Dominica established diplomatic ties with China on 29th. In the meantime, Taiwan declared to sever its ties with Dominica because it refused to conduct money diplomacy with the latter. What's your comment on that?

A: The establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Dominica was announced this morning. Taiwan's accusation is totally ridiculous. Both China and Dominica are developing states. The Chinese Government attaches importance to develop friendly relations and cooperation with the latter in political ties, commerce, trade, culture and education on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit. China will provide assistance to Dominica within our capacity. I need to stress that the cooperation between us is based on mutual respect and mutual benefit, the kind between the developing countries to face the global challenges together.

Q: What's your comment on the terrorist attack in Tashkent? What impact do you think it will have upon China's security situation?

A: The international community has a common consensus on combating terrorism. The point of departure for the founding of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization is to fight against terrorism, extremism and separatism through mutually beneficiary cooperation. China strongly condemns the terrorist bombing in Tashkent yesterday. Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing sent a condolence telegram to his counterpart in Uzbekistan. My information is that other leaders of China will also send condolence telegrams. Both China and Uzbekistan fall victims of terrorism. We firmly support the efforts of Central Asian countries including Uzbekistan and the rest of the other countries in the world to combat terrorism. We stand ready to strengthen international cooperation to deal with the severe challenge mankind is facing.

Q: The US Consul General in Hong Kong expressed yesterday that he was very concerned about NPC's interpretation of the Basic Law of Hong Kong. He also claimed that the US supports the process of realization of democracy in Hong Kong through general election. Do you regard his remarks as interference in China's internal affairs? Do you believe NPC's interpretation of the Basic Law will undermine the One Country, Two Systems?

A: Questions relating to issues inside Hong Kong will be bettered referred to the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council. They'll be happy to give you a comprehensive answer.

But I need to react to remarks of the US on Hong Kong. I have taken note of the remarks, including those of the gentlemen you mentioned and the senior official in Washington. I don't think they have the least understanding of the Basic Law, which clearly provides, "the method for selecting the Chief Executive shall be specified in the light of the actual situation in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and in accordance with the principle of gradual and orderly progress. The ultimate aim is the selection of the Chief Executive by universal suffrage upon nomination by a broadly representative nominating committee in accordance with democratic procedures."

Hong Kong is China's Hong Kong. Hong Kong affairs are China's internal affairs. The Chinese Government is unswervingly determined to fully implement the Basic Law in Hong Kong.

Q: The Taiwan's Affairs Office of the State Council cancelled tomorrow's regular conference. Maybe you can answer my question relating to Taiwan. In the interview with the Washington Post, Chen Shuibian said that there has been consensus on the sovereignty status of Taiwan. He rejected the One China principle, saying that Hong Kong's situation demonstrates that the principle of One China, Two Systems is a failure. What's your reaction to his remarks?

A: My answer is negative. I cannot be in the place of the Taiwan Affairs Office to answer your question. The Spokesperson of the Foreign Ministry is authorized to answer questions relating to China's diplomatic matters while every friend present here is clear that Taiwan is part of China and Taiwan affairs are internal affairs of China. You'd better refer it to the Taiwan Affairs Office. But I need to point out that there's but one China in the world with Taiwan part of it. It's become the prevailing consensus of more and more countries in the world to adhere to the One China Policy.

Q: China's Defense Minister Cao Gangchuan visited India recently and had talks with Indian leaders, what's your comment?

A: State Councilor and Defense Minister Cao Gangchuan is in India for an official visit. He traveled to Pakistan before that and will be going to Thailand. I believe that it's an important visit. He will have in-depth exchanges of views with leaders of the military and Government of these countries on bilateral ties, including specific measures to promote military relationship. You mentioned Cao Gangchuan's visit to India, I also recall Defense Minister Chi Haotian's visit to India ten years ago and Indian Defense Minister Fernandes' successful visit to China during the outbreak of SARS last year. I need to note that, first, China and India are having expanding exchanges in military and defense; secondly, China-Indian relations are developing in all fields. It fully matches the purposes laid out in the declaration on principles guiding Sino-Indian relations and on all-round cooperation signed between Premier Wen Jiaobao and Prime Minister Vajpayee during the latter's visit to China. Both sides make clear the firm determination to strengthen mutually beneficiary cooperation between the two sides in all fields. I believe that Mr. Cao's visit will further strengthen mutual trust and cooperation in military field and positively promote the development of overall relationship between the two countries.

Q: Can you tell us the difference between the notion of human rights in the UN Human Rights Convention, which China has signed and that in China's Constitution?

A: The Chinese Government has participated 21 international human rights in recent years, the most important of which are the covenant on economic, social and cultural rights and Covenant on civil and political rights. China submitted the implementation report on economic, social and cultural rights to UN's special committee for examination. The result will be there the end of this year or early next year. By the way, the country to which your agency belongs hasn't joined the covenant on economic, social and cultural rights. Since China has signed the other covenant, definitely it will approve it. What I can tell you is that China has set up a working team on the approval of the convention. The team is working very hard. I believe that the pace of approval will be accelerated with the advancement of the policy to rule the country in accordance with law and with the deepening of the judicial reform.

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