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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Liu Jianchao's Regular Press Conference on July 17, 2008
2008/07/18

On July 17, 2008, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Liu Jianchao held a regular press conference and answered questions on Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi's attendance at the ARF meetings, the Darfur issue, the Iranian nuclear issue and etc.

Liu Jianchao: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. First of all, I have three announcements to make.

At the invitation of Singaporean Foreign Minister George Yeo, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi will attend the FMM of China-ASEAN (10+1), the FMM of the ASEAN-China, Japan and Korea (10+3), the unofficial consultation of FMs at East Asia Summit and the FMM of the ASEAN Regional Forum from July 22 to 30. At the invitation of Tajik Foreign Minister Zarifi, he will attend the FMM of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization to be held in Tajikistan and pay an official visit to Tajikistan. At the invitation of US Secretary of State Rice, he will pay a working visit to the United States.

The Assistant Foreign Minister Liu Jieyi will attend the meeting between Mr. Solana, the EU High Representative and Mr. Jalili, Secretary of Supreme National Security Council of Iran, together with Political Director-generals of Foreign Ministries from the US, Russia, Britain, France and Germany in Geneva on July 19.

China's Diplomacy (2008) is officially launched in Beijing today. The book gives an overview of China's opinions and positions on the international and regional situation and hot issues, introduces the important progress of China's diplomacy during the year of 2007 including promoting bilateral relations with all the countries with diplomatic ties, actively conducting multilateral diplomacy and seriously implementing the principle of "putting people first and conducting diplomacy for the people". The book is prefaced by Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi.

China's Diplomacy, as an authoritative official publication on China's diplomacy, is a white paper elaborating on China's foreign policy and China's view on the international situation and introducing the status of China's foreign relations in the previous year. The book is contributed by various departments under the Foreign Ministry, edited by the Department of Policy Planning of the Foreign Ministry, and translated by the Department of Translation and Interpretation of the Foreign Ministry. The book is publicly issued at home and abroad with both Chinese and English versions. It is the 22nd volume since the first annual volume was published in 1987.

Now, the floor is open.

Q: A UN panel approved China's legal import of ivory from Africa. Some environmental and animal protection groups claimed China as the biggest illegal ivory importer, that the UN's decision will simply fuel the illegal trading. Will China guarantee to the international community that Chinese traders will not abuse this approval? Besides, according to Kenyan media, two Chinese women were found of illegal carrying of ivory at the Nairobi international airport. How do you respond to that?

A: I have taken note of the statement released by some non-governmental groups, whose accusation I believe is unfair and not in line with the facts. The Chinese Government attaches great importance to the protection of wildlife including elephants. To tackle smuggling and illegal trade of wildlife and products including ivory, a series of laws and regulations have been promulgated, in particular, a management system of ivory carvings including processing, selling and labeling has also been adopted. Remarkable results have been made and illegal activities of smuggling and sales of ivory and its carvings plummeted. Many experts and people from various circles visiting China have made fair and objective assessment of China's efforts and achievements. We hope relevant groups could view the fact in an objective manner.

As to your second question, I just read the report and I have to further check the details. What I'd like to say is that the Chinese Government firmly cracks down on illegal ivory trade, meanwhile, the Chinese citizens should be treaded fairly.

Q: It is reported that the Six-party Talks will be continued on the sidelines of the ARF. Could you confirm?

A: As I said in the announcement, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi will attend the ARF foreign ministers' meeting. China has no difficulty on the proposal of a meeting among foreign ministers from the six parties on the sidelines of the ARF. We are coordinating with other parties. Relevant information will be released once it is confirmed.

Q: Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Machimura Nobutaka reportedly said that there was no requirement for the new version of Japanese textbook guideline to claim Diaoyu Island as part of Japanese territory. He also argued that there were no territorial disputes between Japan and China. Could you comment on that?

A: As I have solemnly reiterated on many occasions, China owns undisputable sovereignty over the Diaoyu Island and its affiliated islands which have been part of China's territory since ancient times. It cannot be denied that China and Japan have disputes over the sovereignty of Diaoyu Island. We maintain that the disputes should be settled through negotiations.

Q: The US Government has decided to send Vice Secretary of State Burns to attend the meeting between Solana and Jalili in Geneva. Do you have any comment on that? Another question is, Times of India reported on July 15 that China turned a cold shoulder to Indian Prime Minister Singh and his cabinet by merely inviting Sonia Gandhi, the Indian National Congress Party Chairman to the Beijing Olympics. How would you comment on that?

A: About your first question, we welcome the decision by the US. China upholds that the Iranian nuclear issue should be solved peacefully through diplomatic negotiations. We hope all parties concerned will seize the existing opportunities, step up efforts, demonstrate flexibility and resume dialogue and negotiations at an early date so as to solve the issue in a long-term, comprehensive and proper manner. Assistant Foreign Minister Liu Jieyi will also join the meeting. We believe he will have an in-depth exchange of views with the US and all other parties concerned over the issue to promote a peaceful solution.

About your second question, I would like to stress that China attaches great importance to its strategic partnership with India, and its exchanges with Indian leaders. The relevant report by the Times of India is totally inconsistent with truth, and is no good to the bilateral relations. I have clarified on many occasions the procedure for foreign leaders, including heads of countries and governments to be invited as registered distinguished guests. I believe this is a common sense that the Times of India is also aware of. I'd like to repeat, according to IOC rules and usual practice, it is at the invitation of their national Olympic committees that the head of a country or a government attend the Olympic activities as accredited dignitaries. China respects the decision of all national Olympic committees. As the host country of the 2008 Olympics, we welcome leaders from all countries including India to attend relevant activities.

Q:China and Russia vetoed the sanctions against Zimbabwe in the Security Council and the US expressed its dissatisfactions to that. Do you have any response?

A: China has already elaborated on its position during the consultation on the resolution concerning Zimbabwe. China and the US have different positions on the issue and the US is aware of China's position. It is very natural for countries to hold different views on international and regional issues.

Q: A ROK female tourist was shot dead by the DPRK soldiers in  Kumgangsan military restricted zone. The DPRK said they shot because the woman entered the military restricted zone disregarding the warnings of the DPRK solders. But the DPRK is not willing to provide any evidence to the ROK or allowing investigations by an independent group. The DPRK hope the international community could exert pressure on the DPRK to allow a independent group to investigate the issue. Does China support the position of the ROK side?

A: We have taken note of the situation and hope the North and the South of the Korean Peninsula can properly handle the issue through dialogue and not allow the issue to affect the improvement of their bilateral relations.

Q: The IAEA will shortly deliberate on the U.S.-India nuclear deal. Does China oppose the deal? Another report said that the UN Security Council is having consultation on the suspension of prosecution against Sudanese President Bashir by the International Criminal Court (ICC). Is China part of this consultation? Does China stand by this?

A: On your first question, China has repeatedly elaborated our position on this. We also take note of the latest contact between the U.S. and India, and relevant arrangement made by the IAEA. We believe different countries can cooperate on peaceful use of nuclear energy on the premise of observing international obligations. In the meantime, we hold that relevant cooperation should be consistent with the international nonproliferation regime and be conducive to strengthening the international nonproliferation efforts.

On ICC's prosecution against the Sudanese President, as I said on Tuesday's press conference, China is gravely concerned and worried about this. It will be undesirable if the situation of Darfur is further complicated by the move of relevant parties. Countries holding different views are holding discussions on this issue. China is ready to exchange views with relevant countries for the proper settlement of the issue and ultimate realization of peace, stability and development of Darfur.

Q: It's reported that the U.S. will suspend its arm sales to Taiwan. How do you comment on that?

A: We have reiterated our positions on the U.S. arms sales to Taiwan on many occasions. We follow closely the move of the U.S., and urge the U.S. to abide by the three joint communiqués between China and the U.S., especially August 17th Joint Communiqué, and refrain from doing things that could break its commitment

If there are no more questions, thank you for attendance! See you!

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