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Foreign Ministry Spokesman Kong Quan's Press Conference on 31 May 2005

On the afternoon of May 31st, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Kong Quan held a regular press conference.

Kong: Good afternoon, my friends from the press. First of all I would like to express my great respect for your presence at today's regular press conference in such a weather of rain and hail. Your presence made me and my colleagues deeply moved. I hope that when the press conference is over the weather will be fine again and you will be able to go back to your office to finish your work under Beijing's lovely sunshine and azure sky.

Before taking questions, I'd like to start with several statements on visits.

At the invitation of Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing, Foreign Minister of the Rupublic of Bolivia Juan Ignacio Siles Del Valle will pay an official visit to China from June 10th to 16th.

At the invitation of Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing, Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and Francophone Affairs of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea Pastor Micha Ondo Bile will pay an official visit to China from June 6th to 10th.

On the 30th and 31st of May, the 2nd round of the consultation on the East China Sea was held in Beijing. Director-general of the Asian Department of Chinese Foreign Ministry Cui Tiankai and Head of the Asia and Oceania Bureau of Japanese Foreign Ministry Kenichiro Sasae presided over the consultation. Both sides elaborated on their own positions and expressed their concerns and exchanged in-depth views on matters such as starting the negotiation of the East China Sea demarcation and boosting joint exploration. Both sides agreed to handle and solve the East China Sea issue through dialogue and equal consultation in the light of the consensus reached by the leaders of China and Japan in Jakarta. Both sides have agreed to hold the third round of consultation in Tokyo soon.

Now I would like to take up your questions.

Q: The national referendum in France did not pass the Constitutional Treaty on Europe on last Sunday. What's your comment on this? Is it good or bad news to China?

A: The result of the French national referendum on Constitutional Treaty on Europe is known to you all. We have noted the remarks by French leaders, French Government, other EU countries and EU leaders on this event. What I can say is that China is consistently in favor of the process of EU integration. We would like to see more fruits in EU's political unification and hope to see EU to play a more important, active and constructive role in European and international affairs.

Q: The Foreign Ministers of China, Russia and India will hold an informal meeting in Vladivostok on June 2nd. What's China's position on this? What topics will China propose?

A: The meeting of the foreign ministers of China, Russia and India soon to be held in Vladivostok is a very important one. China and Russia, China and India, Russia and India have maintained good bilateral relations and their bilateral cooperation in various fields are developing smoothly. More importantly, the three countries share the same or, at least, similar viewpoints or positions and common concerns in promoting democratization in international relations, maintaining world peace and stability and boosting common developments. This is the fourth meeting of its kind. We believe this meeting will be helpful to promoting mutual understanding, enhancing communication and coordinating their viewpoints and stands and be significant in making joint efforts in maintaining world peace and stability and promoting common development. As to the topics, I think on one hand, the foreign ministers will exchange views on further promoting consultation, communication, coordination and cooperation in various fields. On the other hand, they will also exchange in-dept views on current important international affairs, including regional and international situation.

Q: On the consultation on The East China Sea issues, why didn't China meet Japanese demand of suspending exploration and providing relevant data?

A: Are you talking about Chunxiao gas field? China stands for acting according to relevant international laws and conventions. How does the international convention prescribe? The article 77 of United Nations Convention on The Law of the Sea states, "The coastal State exercises over the continental shelf sovereign rights for the purpose of exploring it and exploiting its natural resources." The exploration of Chinese gas fields including Chunxiao is completely in waters close to Chinese coast which is outside the disputed area between China and Japan. Therefore the exploration is an activity exercising its own sovereign rights by China. China further elaborated its position on this issue in the consultation and made the necessary explanation on related matters.

Q: What is your comment on the result of the two-day consultation about the East China Sea issues? Have the two sides reached any agreement or made any declaration? What is the detailed content of them?

A: The consultation on the East China Sea issues was conducive and the atmosphere was pragmatic. The two sides exchanged views on matters of common interest, expressed their own concerns and made necessary explanation on the matters of the other side's concern. As what I had said recently on a regular press conference, the most important thing is to solve properly the disputes between China and Japan through dialogue and equal consultation, actively probe into the ways of dispute-solving so as to avoid new disturbance and negative impact on the overall interest of China-Japan friendship in accordance with the fourth point of the Five-Points Proposal on further improvement and development of China-Japan relations made by President Hu Jintao when he met with Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi in Jakarta. We hope that on the basis of this consultation, Japan will make joint efforts with China to narrow disputes and solve questions through equal dialogue and consultation in accordance with the consensus reached by the leaders of our two countries.

Q: Did the Japanese side request China to stop exploring gas fields in the East China Sea? Has China rejected the request? Does China plan to jointly explore with Japan? China wants to shorten the duration of the peace-keeping involvement. Is that because Haiti has "diplomatic relations" with Taiwan?

A: As regard to your first question, I have made clear our position when I offered information about the consultation to you. The exploration of Chunxiao Gas field is a specific way of China's exercising her own sovereign rights. In the consultation China expressed its position and made necessary explanation on relevant matters.

China put forward the principle of "shelving the differences and seeking joint development" and further elaborated our position in the meeting. We hope the Japanese side will seriously consider and study China's position and proposals.

As to the peace keeping in Haiti, the UN Security Council is currently discussing the postponement of the MINUSTAH? China thinks that the postponement of the stabilizing corps is helpful to the reinforcement of the Security Council's political guidance. Besides we think the authorization and emphasis should be adjusted in time especially according to the development of the situation in Haiti with the final purpose of better promoting the peace process in Haiti. The Chinese delegation is in close contact and consultation with relevant parties in the discussion of the issue.

Q: The US Vice President Dick Cheney said in an interview that US encouraged China in making greater efforts in bringing the DPRK back to the negotiation table. What's your comment on this?

A: The six-party talks is now facing some difficulties. Despite the difficulties, we are glad to see relevant parties to take some positive steps including the contact on May 13th in New York between the DPRK and the United States. We welcome the efforts of both parties. Under the current situation, we hope that the relevant parties will further show sincerity and are looking forward to all sides of the Six-party Talks making joint efforts and creating favorable conditions for resuming the talks.

Q: How much gas resource has china detected in the East China Sea?

A: China's exploration in the East China Sea is conducted within the area of China's sovereignty in accordance with the relevant regulations of United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. China completely has its right to do so. I have no more information to offer.


Q: The Foreign Ministers' Meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) will be held on June 4th. What will be the topics of this meeting? What kind of new propositions is the Chinese side going to bring forward, such as effective cooperation in anti-terrorism?

A: Foreign ministers of the member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) will hold the meeting in Kazakhstan, in which they will exchange views on regional and international situation. The meeting will also make preparation for the upcoming SCO summit, the topics of which to be determined through discussions between the SCO foreign ministers and country coordinators. It has been the SCO's two most dominating tasks in recent years to work together to fight the three forces of terrorism, separatism and extremism and to strengthen their cooperation in economy and other fields. I believe that during the SCO Summit and the preceding Foreign Ministers' meeting, they will exchange in-depth views focusing on these two issues. They will also explore specific measures the concerned parties would take to accomplish the above-mentioned tasks.

Q: It is reported that a spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China has said that China is considering sending troops to Kyrgyzstan. Can you confirm that?

A: I do not think there are things like that. China never has any military base abroad, nor have we sent any troop to foreign countries.

Q: Masahiro Morioka, Parliamentary Secretary for Health, Labor and Welfare recently released an article on his personal website, which is entitled My Intention of the Remarks Concerning Class A War Criminals and Their Influence, in which he continued to publicize absurd ideas such as "Class A War Criminals are no longer criminals", "the Tokyo Trial violated international laws" and etc.. What's China's comment on this?

A: Some Japanese senior officials, in defiance of the strong condemnation of the people from Asia and the world at large, insisted on their wrong stance of denying the verdicts by International Military Tribunal for the Far-east and voiced grievances for the Class A criminals. That will only make the peoples all over the world have a clearer insight into the political reality that Japanese leaders can not treat history properly and its severe consequences.

At my previous press conferences, I have fully elaborated on China's attitude on the issue. The Japanese militarism has caused enormous damage to the world and the Asian countries in particular. The Japanese people also suffered profoundly from militarism. At a time when the world is celebrating the 60th Anniversary of the Victory of the Counter-Fascism War, politicians exculpating for the militarism unscrupulously prevail in Japan. People cannot but raise the question: what a role on earth does Japan wish to play in the international community?

Q: Just now you said that the Bolivian Foreign Minister will visit China soon. Please brief us on the specific agenda of his visit. Which Chinese leaders is he going to meet? Are the two sides going to sign any agreements?

A: Foreign Minister Siles will visit China from June 10th to 16th, at the invitation of Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing. Foreign Minister Li will hold a talk with him and Chinese leaders will also meet with him. Their topics will include bilateral relations and international and regional issues of common interest. As to what cooperative documents the two sides will sign, I have no information in this regard. But I can tell you that during his visit, China and Bolivia will hold the 8th Mix Committee of Economy and Trade. We believe that in this meeting, the two sides would discuss the ways and means for both parties to further strengthening their economic and trade cooperation. Aside from Beijing, Foreign Minister Siles will also visit Shanghai and Xi'an.

Q: Will the Japanese delegation, who have been here holding consultations with the Chinese side on the issue of East China Sea, meet other Chinese officials, including officials in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs before they leave Beijing?

A: Just at this moment, Deputy Foreign Minister Wu Dawei is meeting with the Japanese consultation group.

Q: Dick Cheney accused the North Korean leader as "irresponsible". Will that exert any negative impact on the resumption of the Six-Party Talks?

A: At such a time when the international community, including countries in the region still hold expectation for the resumption of the Six-Party Talks, we hope that all concerned parties will do more that is conducive to the resumption of the Six-Party Talks and help all parties to enhance mutual understanding and trust between all parties.

Q: Some Indian leaders indicated that they will visit Pakistan and hope to talk about the Kashmir Issue. What's your opinion and comment?

A: Both Pakistan and India are very friendly countries to China. For the Kashmir Issue between them, we always hold that the two friends should resolve this complicated history issue peacefully through equal and friendly consultation and negotiation. We welcome and praise the efforts of the Pakistani and Indian sides for the peaceful settlement of the issue.

Q: Yesterday Premier Clark of New Zealand met with Premier Wen Jiabao and Foreign Minister Li. After the meeting, she said that the Chinese side hopes to accelerate the process of the talks on the free trade area. What's China's view? Will the FTA agreement be reached during the APEC this year? Does China support New Zealand to join the East Asia Summit?

A: I know you are the journalist from New Zealand coming to China with Premier Clark. Let me extend my welcome to your presence at today's press conference. Both the two questions you raised are very important. But first, I hope you will introduce the great importance the Chinese side attaches to Premier Clark's visit through your newspaper. During recent years, the China-New Zealand relations have developed well and the cooperation between the two countries are expanding continuously. We are looking forward to a greater development of the bilateral relations on a new basis. I hope you can tell this to your people.

Now come to the two questions you asked. China and New Zealand have had three rounds of negotiations on free trade area, which were on the whole smooth, with progress made steadily. Certainly, founding a free trade area is a complicated issue. We have been all along carrying on our negotiation with a positive attitude. We are deeply confident that New Zealand share the same attitude. This is also a important driving force for the progress that has been made in the past three rounds of talks. We hope that our two sides can overcome difficulties and make steady progress through negotiation and friendly consultation, so as to reach an agreement at an early date and rapidly develop our trade and economic relations on a brand new basis.

Now, a couple of countries show their interest in the East Asia Summit. The Summit is an important meeting of leaders in the region aimed to strengthen regional cooperation. China has no problem with New Zealand's participation in the Summit. But this question has to be decided by the leading countries of the Summit, namely, ASEAN through discussions in June or July. China respects any decision and consensus reached among ASEAN as a whole. We also welcome a stronger mutually beneficial cooperation between New Zealand and East Asian countries, including the cooperation under the mechanisms of 10+1 and 10+3. Thank you for your question, and wish you a nice journey in China!

If no more questions are to be raised, let's call it a day.

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