|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Liu Jianchao's Regular Press Conference on February 14, 2008|
On the afternoon of February 14, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Liu Jianchao held a regular press conference and answered questions on the Beijing Olympic Games, Darfur, Myanmar, the dumplings incident happened in Japan, and etc.
Liu Jianchao: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I believe that you have enjoyed a pleasant Spring Festival. I am happy to meet you again here after the holiday.
I would like to begin with one announcement.
Mr. Gambari, Special Adviser for the UN Secretary-General on the Myanmar issue will visit China from February 18 to 19. During his stay in Beijing, he will exchange views with China on the current situation in Myanmar and the mediation efforts of the Secretary-General.
Now the floor is open.
Q: Not long ago, Russia and China jointly submitted the draft treaty on the prevention of arms race in outer space. The US voiced opposition to it. Do you have any comment?
A: On February 12, China and Russia jointly submitted to the plenary session of the Geneva Disarmament Conference the draft of the Treaty on the Prevention of the Placement of Weapons in Outer Space, the Threat or Use of Force against Outer Space Objects. They proposed to make a new international legal document through negotiation so as to prevent weaponization and arms race, and maintain peace and tranquility in outer space.
Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said in his written address that to prevent weaponization and arms race, and maintain peace and tranquility in outer space is in the common interest of all countries. It is necessary for the international community to make a new legal document to enhance the existing outer space law system. Based on that, China and Russia jointly drafted the Treaty on the Prevention of the Placement of Weapons in Outer Space, the Threat or Use of Force against Outer Space Objects. China hopes the Disarmament Conference to begin the substantial discussion on the draft and reach consensus at an early date.
We believe the draft is of great significance to all countries, world peace and stability, and peaceful use of outer space. We hope it will be positively echoed by relevant countries.
Q: Spielberg decided to quit as the artistic advisor to the Beijing Olympics. Some Nobel Peace Laureates urge China to play a larger role on the Darfur issue. Do you have any response?
A: We have taken note that recently there have been some discussions and actions involving China's position on the Darfur issue. Some may be out of the concerns on the situation in Darfur. China also follows closely the humanitarian situation there and has been promoting the peace process in Darfur constructively. Still, some try to link this issue with China's African policy and Sudan policy, or even with the Beijing Olympics. It is understandable if they are not familiar with China's policy and for that we can enhance communication. But if it is out of some political motives, we cannot accept it.
You may be interested in what on earth China has done on the Darfur issue. I would like to give a brief update. China attaches great importance on the Darfur issue and has played a positive and constructive role in the properly solution of the issue. China has worked on relevant parities by various means. We helped to facilitate the hard-won consensus among the Sudanese government, AU and UN on the deployment of hybrid action. China's important role in the process is widely applauded by the international community. China has provided 80 million RMB material assistance to Darfur and 1.8 million US dollars aid to AU. China also promised to send a 315-member multi-functional engineering unit to Darfur, with 140 of them already in Darfur and the rest to phase in. China will donate 500,000 US dollar to the UN trust fund that supports the mediation efforts of the two special envoys of the UN and AU on the Darfur issue. These are some of the efforts made by the Chinese Government.
In recent years, Chinese companies in Darfur also have provided many aids to Darfur and participated in construction projects to improve local people's livelihood. Chinese companies have dug 46 wells, and built 20 small-scale power plants, 18 of which have been completed. They also built water supply projects in southern Darfur state by using 50 million US dollars China's governmental preferential loans, including well-digging, water purification, and the laying of 85km-long water pipeline. Some companies use 10 million US dollars of China's preferential loans for the water supply project from Al-Qadārif state to Al-Fashir of Northern Darfur state. At present, the project is in preparation for construction. Chinese companies have also provided dozens of sets of computers and other teaching equipments to schools in Darfur.
I shall point out that empty rhetoric and slogans will not help resolve the humanitarian issue in Darfur. It is imperative to promote the peace process and alleviate the humanitarian crisis there by constructive and substantial actions. That is exactly what China is doing now! I hope relevant people can view China's position and constructive role on the Darfur issue from an objective and just perspective, and do something real for the people there.
Q: Not long ago, the US alleged that they had arrested four Chinese spies. Do you have any response? What is China's position on the espionage issue?
A: We have taken note of the report. The so-called accusation against China on the issue of espionage is utterly groundless and out of ulterior motives. We urge the US to abandon its Cold War mentality and put end to the groundless accusations and do more to contribute to mutual trust and friendship between our two peoples.
Q: I think the dumpling issue has affected Japan-China economic relations and the Japanese people's opinions about the safety of Chinese food. How do you evaluate the impact of this incident?
A: I would like to make the following comments. Firstly, the Chinese Government has adopted a highly responsible attitude and started investigation immediately on the day being informed of the incident. We have not only carried out our own investigation, but also cooperated with the Japanese side. The responsible attitude of the Chinese Government and the relevant enterprises should be understood by the Japanese government and consumers. Secondly, from the initial findings of the Chinese General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, the incident is not a systematic issue of food safety, but an individual case. We hope the quality supervision and public security authorities of our two countries will form a joint team for further investigation. This is a serious issue. It is essential to sort things out in order to rebuild the confidence of Japanese consumers in Chinese food and develop normal economic cooperation between the two countries. As I have mentioned at the previous press conference, we will go down to the earth with the investigation and hope the Japanese will cooperate with us actively.
Q: Several days ago, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visited "Arunachal Pradesh". Has the Chinese Government made representation with India on that?
A: We are concerned about Indian leader's visit to the so-called "Arunachal Pradesh". Our position on the boundary dispute is well known to relevant parties. We believe it is mutual beneficial for the two countries to press ahead with negotiations in accordance with the existing political principles. The Indian Government is well aware of our position.
Q: Is the Chinese Government worried that Spielberg's very public disassociation from the Beijing Olympic Games will encourage other leading lights in the entertainment and business world to also join him in boycotting the Olympics?
A: Mr. Spielberg once contacted the Beijing Olympic Organization Committee (BOCOG), saying that he would like to contribute to the Beijing Olympics. We understand his will and sent him the letter to employ his as the artistic adviser to the game. Mr. Spielberg accepted the letter. But as far as I know, he has never signed any contract with BOCOG. We regret over his recent statement and his explanations for the decision.
The preparation for the Beijing Olympic Game, including the opening ceremony is now proceeding smoothly. I believe that people in China and the rest of the world have sufficient wisdom to hold a successful Olympic Game. China will work together with all the talented and intelligent artists and scientists to display a wonderful Olympic Game opening ceremony to the world. Beijing Olympic Game will be a success.
Q: I would like to go back to the spy case. You say that the allegation is groundless, but in recent years, dozens of Chinese nationals or American born Chinese have been arrested in the United Sates, accused as spy, and some of them have been convicted. So how do you respond to that? And also to allegation from FBI, China are sending an amount of agents hidden among hundreds of thousands of Chinese students and businessmen who visit the U.S. every year, to steal industrial and military intelligence and taking this up to what the FBI call "a cold war level" of espionage. How do you comment on this?
A: We have already dismissed this kind of allegation on various occasions. The allegation against China from the U.S. again this time is groundless and out of ulterior motive. It is a reflection of the cold war mentality the U.S. continues to cling to. The groundless allegations are not helpful for the mutual trust, bilateral relations nor friendship. So we hope and urge the U.S. to abandon the erroneous practice immediately and do more things beneficial for mutual trust and friendship of the two countries. Such farce has been repeatedly staged for a period of time. People are getting tired of it. It is time to put an end to it.
Q: Olympic committees of some countries and some athletes have expressed worries over the pollution in Beijing. Some committees have decided to have their athletes trained in neighboring countries instead of in Beijing before the Olympics. Do you have any comment? On the other hand, some athletes comment on China's human rights situation publicly. Will they face some restrictions when they enter China or during their stay in China?
A: On your first question, China attaches great importance to Beijing's environment, air quality and traffic issues during the Olympics, and makes unremitting efforts to resolve these problems. As we can see from the recent situation in Beijing, environment and traffic have been effectively improved. We will continue to intensify our efforts to provide a sound and comfortable environment to coaches, athletes and audience who are to participate or watch the Olympics during their stay in Beijing. China will fulfill its commitment to a wonderful, green and high-tech Olympics.
On your second question, the Chinese people and Beijing citizens will warmly welcome coaches, athletes and visitors from all countries with open arms and friendly service. The Olympics is a very good platform and opportunity for the Chinese people and people all around the world to strengthen communication and develop friendship. I hope and believe that athletes and visitors from the world will take this opportunity to build mutual understanding and friendship, and participate in the Olympics in a friendly, active and fair attitude.
Q: On the Olympics. It's reported that Mr. Rogge, Chairman of the International Olympic Committee may have signed with some Noble Laureates and athletes in the letter to China's leader on the issue of Darfur. What's China's position? The second question, has China got a clear position on Kosovo's independence?
A: On the first question, I do not comment on the unconfirmed news. I want to emphasis that the cooperation between the Beijing Olympic Committee and the International Olympic Committee in the preparation for the Beijing Olympic Game has been fruitful. I believe their cooperation will continue.
On the second question, we believe that a solution acceptable to both the Serbian government and the interim self-Government of Kosovo through dialogue and negotiation is the correct way to resolve the Kosovo issue, and should also be the direction for the efforts of the international community.
Q: The WTO decided this Wednesday that China violates its rules by taxing imports of auto parts at the same rate as the foreign-made finished cars. Do you agree with this decision? Is China going to appeal? On another separated issue, Foreign Minister Yang and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon talked about the special envoy of the UN Secretary-General on the Myanmar issue, Mr. Gambari's visit to China. Can you confirm the date of his visit? What's your expectation?
A: On the first question, I have checked with my colleague of the Ministry of Commerce. He asks me to tell you that the WTO Dispute-Settlement Panel has submitted its mid-term report on the US-Canada dispute with China over auto parts on February 13. China is now studying this report and to submit suggestion to the panel. China respects the dispute-settlement process of the WTO, and won't comment on the report before the panel makes its final ruling.
On the second question, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi had a phone conversation with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon last night. They discussed China-UN relations, the situation in Myanmar, and the visit to China by Mr. Gambari, with whom Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and Vice Foreign Minister Wang Yi will meet. Both Foreign Minister Yang and the Secretary-General believe that UN Secretary-General should continue to play a mediation role in resolving the Myanmar issue and Mr. Gambari's mediation efforts should be supported. China notices that the Myanmar government has made constant new progress in promoting democracy process. We hope that Myanmar can continue to press ahead with reconciliation in domestic politics, and realize democracy and development.
Q: Eight Ministries of China promulgated the Regulation for Administration the Entry and Exit of Cadaver and Disposal of Cadaver in August 2006, prohibiting the import and export of cadaver for commercial use. Are there any breaches of the regulation? Has the Government investigated the cases?
A: You are right about the regulation. In order to protect public goods and social ethics as well as to prevent the spread of infectious disease, eight ministries including the Ministry of Health jointly promulgated the Regulation for Administration the Entry and Exit of Cadaver and Disposal of Cadaver, which entered into force on August 1, 2006. We have taken note on reports about corpses being transported abroad, which has drawn attention of relevant authorities. The Ministry of Health is also following the reports and will cooperate with relevant ministries in the investigations.
Q: Can China guarantee that those athletes who have criticized China on the Darfur and other issues will not be treated differently when they come to China for the Olympics?
A: We will open our arms to warmly welcome all the athletes from all over the world. We hope they will have the opportunity not only to play fairly in China but also have friendly interactions with their counterparts and Chinese people. We wish them a pleasant stay in Beijing.
Q: The dumpling issue is yet to be solved. In Japan, it is still a topic of concern. Will it affect the preparation for President Hu Jingtao's upcoming visit to Japan this spring?
A: I believe that both China and Japan possess sufficient wisdom to properly address the issue. I don't think it will affect the upcoming high-level visit between the two countries.
If there are no further questions, thank you for coming.