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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Kong Quan's Press Conference on April 6,2004

Kong: Good afternoon everybody. I'll begin with three announcements.

At the invitation of President Hu Jintao, President Vaira Vike-Freiberga of the Republic of Latvia will pay a state visit to China from April 11th to 18th.

At the invitation of the Chinese Government, President Romano Prodi of the European Commission will pay an official visit to China from April 13th to 16th.

At the invitation of Vice President Zeng Qinghong, Vice President Dick Cheney of the United States will pay a working visit to China from April 13th to 15th.

With that, I'd be happy to take your questions.

Q: The Japanese Government has reduced its Official Development Assistance (ODA) to China for consecutively three years. What's your comment on that?

A: The assistance of the Japanese Government to China and its amount are an issue to be decided by the Japanese side. But from our perspective, it's an important symbol of Japan's friendly policy towards China. Although we have to pay back the principals and interests of the loans, we still made positive remarks of the assistance. It's because of the preferential loans that both sides could conduct lots of mutually beneficiary cooperation and the Japanese enterprises find it easier to enter the Chinese market. On the whole, we believe that Japan's preferential loans to China have played a positive role for years in promoting the economic and trade cooperation between the two on the basis of equality and mutual benefit.

But we have also taken note of various interpretations and remarks inside Japan after the Japanese Government made the decision, which we find totally unacceptable. Some mentioned "China Threat" because of its rapid development in recent years or lack of transparency of China's military expense. These accusations are baseless and totally untrue. We cannot accept linking these remarks with the decision made by the Japanese Government.

Q: Will the Taiwan question and the US arms sale to Taiwan in particular, be discussed during Cheney's visit to China? Which Chinese leader will attend the Bo'ao Asia Forum to be held at the end of this month?

A: Vice President Cheney's visit to China is of importance. It's helpful for the two sides to maintain the momentum of high-level exchanges of visits if we want to enhance mutual understanding, promote cooperation, build consensus and narrow differences. Taiwan question will definitely be discussed since it's the most sensitive and important question in the Sino-US relationship. The current situation across the Taiwan Straits is very sensitive and special. We have always urged the US to strictly adhere to its commitment, implement the One China Policy and abide by the principles in the three Sino-US Joint Communiqués. The US should live up to its commitment.

With respect to the arms sale to Taiwan, we have stated on many occasions our solemn position. We firmly oppose the US sales of advanced weapons to Taiwan, which not only violates commitment made by the US itself on various occasions but also undermines peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits. During Vice President Cheney's visit to China, leaders of China will reiterate the position to him. By the way, given your interest in this visit, I have invited Mr. He Yafei, Director General of the Department of North American and Oceania Affairs to brief you on related information of the visit at two o'clock tomorrow afternoon. You are welcome to attend.

In an answer to the question concerning the Bo'ao Asia Forum, many former statesmen, ministers, business figures from many countries and senior officials from China will attend the annual meeting. Up to the moment, we've witnessed enthusiastic responses. If you want to get the accurate information, I suggest you to take a look at the forum's website, where you can find a four-page-long name list of the participants. If I have any information relating to which leader of the state or government will attend, I'll let you know in due course. The Chinese leaders attach great importance to the forum, hoping that it can serve as a platform to exchange views with former leaders as well as figures from the business and other circles on Asia's joint prosperity.

Q: Is there any specific progress with respect to the working group of the Six-Party Talks on the Korean nuclear question?

A: The working group should be set up at an early date in accordance with the consensus reached among various parties in the second round of the talks. China has handed out the concept paper to the other five parties, which was well-received by them. None has made any dissent. We stand ready to work with the rest five parties, launch the working group and start up its work so as to make preparation for the third round of the Six-Party Talks.

Follow-up: What will be discussed by the working group in specific? Will China make any proposal?

A: The major task of the working group is to make preparation for the specific topics of the third round of the Six-Party Talks at the technical level. Various parties have different views and considerations of the topics and on coordinated steps and specific implementation. The working group is supposed to seek a principled agreement on these matters at the technical level so as to enable the third round of talks to make further progress on a solid foundation. I don't have any other details at the moment, but I can assure you that China has stayed in close contact with the other five parties.

If there's no other question, thank you for your participation.

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