Foreign Ministry Spokesman Qin Gang answers questions on the regular press conference, Dec. 27, 2005. [Photo: FMPRC.gov.cn]
On the afternoon of December 27, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Qin Gang held a regular press conference.
Qin: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen! I'm ready to take up question now.
Q: China and Japan held talks on the UN reform yesterday. What progress has been made? Please offer some details.
A: Deputy Vice-Minister for Foreign Policy of Japanese Foreign Ministry Kono Masaharu paid a working visit to China as a guest of Japanese Embassy in China. Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Qiao Zonghuai held a courtesy meeting with him at the request of the Japanese side. During the meeting, the two sides briefed each other on their views on the UN reform, including on the reform of the Security Council. China reaffirmed that the foremost urgent task for the time being is to promptly implement the outcome document adopted at the summit on the UN 60th anniversary by pushing for progress of the UN reform in the fields where considerable consensus has been formed. The issue of development should be taken as a key issue and a priority. Regarding the reform of the Security Council, Qiao pointed out that the reform should give priority to the increase of the representation of developing countries, in particular, African countries. Any decision on the reform should be made on the basis of broad consensus via democratic consultation and full discussion. China opposes any forced voting on any plan that still faces strongly divided opinions. This position remains unchanged. It has to be pointed out that this meeting is not the first one between our two sides, and neither is it part of a regular consultation. The two sides don't have any timetable for such arrangements in the future.
Q: Japan has always been longing for a permanent seat in the Security Council and hopes to carry on consultation with China on this issue. Does China consider holding more such dialogues? Second question. The cabinet of Koizumi did not include building a separate memorial facility into the 2006 budget. What comment does China have? Third, a recent public poll shows that the percentage of Japanese people feeling affinity for China slid down to 32.4%, a record low in history. What do you think caused the year-on-year sliding of Japanese people's sentiment for China?
A: On the issue of the UN reform, including the reform of the Security Council, China has held a consistent position that any decision on the reform should be made on the basis of broad consensus via democratic consultation and full discussion. China is willing to stay in dialogue and consultation with other UN member states on this issue.
On your second question, we have taken note of the report. China's position on the Yasukuni Shrine remains unchanged.
On your third question, we noticed the report. The sentiment of our two peoples for each other does slide down, and a host of factors contribute to this reality. Among them, the root cause is the continual wrong remarks and practices of the Japanese side on the history, Taiwan and other questions. We hope that Japan will do more in the benefit of better mutual understanding and stronger friendship between our people, because China-Japan friendship is, in the final analysis, the friendship between the people of the two countries. We expect Japan to take earnest measures to redress the current situation.
Q: According to the website of Foreign Ministry, China and Japan discussed other issues in their talks yesterday. Please brief us on that. The DPRK Vice Premier visited China yesterday. How does China comment on his visit? What agreement did the two sides reach on the oil exploration cooperation?
A: On your first question, when Deputy Vice-Minister for Foreign Policy Masaharu met with Vice Foreign Minister Qiao, the two sides mainly exchanged views on the UN reform and other issues of common interest.
Chinese media has made thorough coverage on the visit of DPRK Vice Premier Ro Tu Chol's visit to China. During his visit, Premier Wen Jiabao, Vice Premier Zeng Peiyan and State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan met with him respectively. The two sides exchanged views on China-DPRK relations. Through equal and friendly consultation, China and the DPRK reached agreement on the joint development of petroleum in adjacent waters.
Q: China has repeatedly said there was no suitable atmosphere for a meeting between China and Japan. Why does China now approve of such a contact with Japan? Do you receive Masaharu's visit only out of diplomatic courtesy? Has the atmosphere between China and Japan changed now? Does China plan to handle the issues at the vice ministerial level?
A: China has consistently maintained that China and Japan should have dialogue and exchange. But such exchange and dialogue, in particular the high-level exchange, should be conducted in a good atmosphere and condition. We hope that Japan could create more favorable condition to this end.
Just now, I told about Deputy Vice-Minister for Foreign Policy Masaharu's visit to China. He paid a working visit to China as a guest of the Japanese embassy, and the meeting was held at the request of Japan. Certainly, we think China and Japan should have dialogue and cooperation on regional and international affairs, so as to enhance mutual understanding.
Foreign Ministry Spokesman Qin Gang answers questions on the regular press conference, Dec. 27, 2005. [Photo: FMPRC.gov.cn]
Q: Mr. Wu Dawei said this week that the fifth round of Six-Party Talks would be resumed in January. Please confirm. Can you tell us the exact date of resumption?
A: Very sorry to tell you that I can not offer you an exact date, because this has to be decided through consultation among all parties concerned. Now, China is making contacts and consultation with other five parties, in order to fix a date of the next session of the Talks at an early date and honor the commitment made by all parties in the Chairman's Statement at last session. That is to say, all parties should make joint effort to bring about the next session as soon as possible.
Q: The GDP announced by China last week makes China the sixth largest economy in the world. Some people say China is no longer a developing country and should play a greater role in international affairs. What's your comment on this? How do you view China's global role?
A: Indeed, there are many reports on China's economic strength and GDP growth. But I want to point out that China is still a developing country. One should take into account a country's GDP per capita instead of only the GDP when measuring its strength. I said at last press conference that China's GDP per capita still ranks behind 100th in the world. In addition, one should look beyond Beijing, Shanghai and other developed cities along the east coast. Instead, one should make a trip to the vast central and western China, to see the underdeveloped regions there. Through years of reform and opening up, we have reduced over 200 million poverty-stricken people in China. However, we still have nearly 30 million people below the poverty line and 70 million disabled people. Development is still a foremost and central task for the Chinese government and people. China's development is a peaceful development, which means we pursue a better development by striving for a peaceful international environment and try to better safeguard world peace through our development. China's development will not undermine the interest of or threaten any other countries. We are ready to conduct cooperation with the rest of world on the basis of mutual benefit and equality, so as to achieve common prosperity.
As to what role China will play in the world, to put it in a simple way, China was, is and will forever be an adamant and active force that maintains world peace and promotes common development.
Q: According to Russian media, some DPRK diplomat said that if the US did not remove its financial sanction, the DPRK might refuse to attend the Six-Party Talks in the future. What comment does China have as the host country?
A: It serves the interest of all parties to finally realize the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and maintain the peace and stability of the Peninsula through the process of the Six-Party Talks. We hope that all parties will bear in mind the final goal, consolidate mutual trust and understanding through consultation, fully consider the concern and the interest of each other, properly handle the questions and jointly create conditions to push forward the Six-Party Talks.
Q: Does China plan to use the green GDP as a measurement for its economic growth? Second question, it is reported that Chinese scientists have developed a vaccine similar to Tamiflu to prevent and cure avian influenza. How do you comment on that? How will this help China in fighting against bird flu epidemic? WHO officials said that China should cooperate more with the international community, for example, to share sample of virus and other information. How will China react to these remarks? Third question, Chief Executive of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Donald Zeng is visiting the mainland. What is the expectation of the central government? Will the central government support his democratic reform in Hong Kong?
A: The green GDP is heatedly discussed in the world. What I want to emphasize is China will not only follow a path of peaceful development, but also pursue the road of sustainable development and guide China's economic and social development with a concept of scientific development, which demands internal development and harmony. By harmony, we refer to harmony between man and nature, as well as that between man and environment. China should not develop itself at the expense of our shared environment. It is our responsibility to build a good environment for our future generations. The Chinese government, all its departments and relevant enterprises attach great importance to the environment protection at the time of promoting economic development to this end. We have adopted measures in real earnest to better our environment. If my friends from the press have worked long enough in Beijing, you will find the sky over Beijing increasingly blue. This is only a minor example. We will stick to the concept of scientific development and fulfill the sustainable economic growth.
We have noticed the report in your second question. If we can develop a vaccine or medicine to prevent the avian influenza pandemic, that is a piece of encouraging news and worth congratulation.
China is always in favor of active international cooperation, and supports coping with the bird flu challenge hand in hand. We have raised suggestion to strengthen the regional cooperation in bird flu prevention through such international mechanism as 10+1, 10+3 and APEC. Meanwhile, the Chinese government stands for stronger international cooperation in bird flu epidemiologic research, laboratory examination and building networks of nation-grade laboratories. We also call for stronger technical cooperation and information exchanges according to the practical need in bird flu control and prevention, so as to develop new technology for control and prevention. China will strengthen cooperation with the international community on the basis of what we have done.
Your third question is beyond the portfolio of the Foreign Ministry Spokesperson. I suggest you should raise your question to the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office of the State Council.
Q: It's said that the President of Bolivia will visit China next January. Will China accept his visit?
A: China and Bolivia are friendly states. We attach great importance to the relationship with Bolivia. We want to maintain friendly exchange and cooperation with Bolivia on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence, and jointly press ahead with long-term, health and stable bilateral relations.
Q: Besides the issue of the UN reform, what other issues did China and Japan touch upon? Has China changed its position on Japan's bidding for the permanent membership of the UN Security Council? A question on the conclusion of the agreement on oil development between China and DPRK. Is this the first time for the two sides to sign such an agreement? Why did China sign it?
A: China's position on the reform of the UN, especially the reform of the Security Council remains unchanged. I have nothing more to add.
About your second question, as far as I know, the two sides have never signed such an agreement before. The purpose of the agreement is to promote bilateral cooperation of mutual benefit.
Q: You just mentioned that the essential obstacle to the Sino-Japanese relations was Japan's wrong remarks and practices on the Taiwan and history questions. Can you list out Japan's wrong practices on the Taiwan question?
A: You have been posted in Beijing for quite some time and closely followed the Taiwan question and the Sino-Japanese relations. You must be quite clear about recent Japan's remarks and practices on the fundamental questions in the Sino-Japanese relations, including the Taiwan question. I don't want list them out. At the turn of year, all of us will have a good retrospect. I hope you might as well make a retrospect on this.
Q: How do you describe the style of China's diplomacy, especially on the global stage?
A: It seemed you had begun the retrospect of the past year. As for China's diplomacy style, I would like to summarize the big question in simple words. China adheres to its independent foreign policy of peace. We steadily develop friendly relations and cooperation with all other countries in the world on the basis of the five principles of peaceful coexistence, the UN Charter and the international law. We hope to make more friends and start more cooperation in the world. On handling state-to-state relations, we stand for respect for the international law and norms governing international relations, make our own judgment of each on its own merit and adopt policies accordingly. We call for the respect for the diversity of the world. Countries with different cultures and systems should live together in peace, emulate each other, help each other make progress and jointly maintain peace, stability and security of the world. China is an active force that helps maintain the peace and stability of the world and promote common development.
If there are no more questions, thank you for your presence. See you.