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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Jiang Yu's Regular Press Conference on September 23, 2008

On September 23, 2008, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Jiang Yu held a regular press conference and answered questions on China-Japan relations, President Chavez' visit to China, the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula and etc.

Jiang Yu: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. First of all, I would like to welcome diplomats from South Asian countries to our Conference today. Now I have an announcement to make.

The Seventh Asia-Europe Meeting will be held in Beijing from October 24 to 25. Leaders and representatives of the 45 ASEM members will be attending the meeting. The theme of this meeting is "Vision and Action: Towards a Win-win Solution". The participating leaders will conduct in-depth discussions on major issues in political, economic, social and cultural fields in the two continents and the world at large. The meeting will focus on expanding and deepening dialogues on an equal footing and mutually-beneficial cooperation between Asia and Europe to ensure win-win progress for the benefit of people of the two continents.

Now the floor is open for your questions.

Q: Mr. Taro Aso was elected the President of Japanese Liberal Democratic Party on September 22. Should he become the next Japanese Prime Minister, how will China deal with the new Japanese cabinet? Would there be any changes to your policy toward Japan?

A: The Japanese LDP election is Japan's internal affairs. To maintain a healthy and stable China-Japan relationship is in the fundamental interest of the two countries and two peoples. We would like to work together with Japan to materialize the consensus reached by the two countries' leaders, advance and deepen our strategic relationship of mutual benefit on the basis of the principles set in the four political documents between the two countries.

Q: Venezuelan President Chavez has started his visit to China. It's reported that China will sell 24 jet fighters to Venezuela. Could you confirm? Another report says that the two countries will establish a 6-billion-dollar worth of investment fund. Do you have any comment?

A: President Chavez arrived at Beijing this noon to start a state visit to China. Tomorrow morning, he will meet with Vice Premier Li Keqiang before the two leaders jointly attend the closing ceremony of the Seventh China-Venezuela High-level Mixed Committee. In the afternoon, after meeting with State Councilor Wu Bangguo, he will talk with President Hu Jintao and the two leaders will jointly attend the signing ceremony. The joint pool of foreign resident journalists in Beijing will have opportunity to cover relevant events.

China-Venezuela relations are based on the principle of equality, mutual benefit and joint development. Venezuela is China's sixth largest trade partner in Latin America and an important investment destination. Bilateral trade volume hit 5.857 billion US dollars last year and reached 6.235 billion US dollars from January to July this year.

I have no information on military cooperation between the two countries. As for the documents to be signed, it will be announced at tomorrow's signing ceremony.

Q: Do you know the exact amount of exported tainted milk powder or dairy products? Has any country asked China for assistance to solve the problem?

A: We fully understand the concern of some countries and regions over this issue. Competent Chinese authorities are ready to strengthen cooperation with their foreign counterparts and properly handle the issue in a scientific, objective and realistic manner.

After the Sanlu milk powder incident, the Chinese Government took a highly responsible attitude and immediately made major arrangements. Relevant authorities took urgent actions, carried out a series of effective measures and handled the case strictly according to law. Comprehensive, orderly and in-depth work is underway.

Competent Chinese authorities have informed the WHO and foreign governments of the issue, conducted a thorough investigation over the exportation of the tainted milk powder, and ordered all relevant companies to recall their products. They will maintain communication with their counterparts and release updated information.

Q: "Made-in-China" products seem to be stuck with quality problems in the recent couple of years. Are you concerned that this may affect China's international image?

A: The Chinese Government takes product quality and food safety very seriously. Supervision mechanism has been set up, and will be improved gradually. When it comes to product quality and food safety, governments of all countries face with the same challenge. We are ready to strengthen international cooperation to protect consumers' interest, and safeguard public health and safety.

Q: Just now you said you didn't have specific information about China's possible military trade deal with Venezuela while the latter said it planned to buy radar and 24 training planes from China. The question is, do you want to expand military cooperation with Venezuela or not? Some US analysts believe that Chavez made a package of visit to Cuba, Russia, Belarus and China with the intention of upsetting the US Government. What will China do to appease the US Government?

A: China and Venezuela have normal state-to-state relations. China is ready to continue its friendly cooperation with all Latin American countries including Venezuela on the basis of equality and mutual benefit. China-Venezuela relationship is not based on ideology, nor is it against any third party, thus it will not affect Venezuela's relations with other countries.

As for Venezuela's relations with the US, we maintain that different countries should respect each other, treat each other on an equal footing, and do not interfere into each other's internal affairs. We hope the US and Venezuela could improve their relations, which is good for peace and stability in Latin America.

Q: It's reported that the DPRK has asked the IAEA to unseal the Nyongbyon nuclear reactors. Are you concerned that the DPRK may actually restart its nuclear reactors?

A: We have taken note of relevant reports. Under the current circumstance, we hope relevant parties will be jointly committed to an early resolution of the issue by intensifying contact, displaying flexibility and fulfilling the remaining tasks of the second-phase action in a comprehensive and balanced manner to push forward the Six-Party Talks.

Q: Did President Bush, during his phone conversation with President Hu Jintao yesterday, ask China for help with its financial crisis? Does China believe it can be of any help?

A: President Hu Jintao and President Bush talked over the phone yesterday, and relevant information has been released. To my understanding, they did not touch upon the issue you mentioned. Competent Chinese authorities are closely following the US subprime crisis and its development, and meanwhile, strengthening communication with financial agencies and market, analyzing the deep impact of the crisis on the global economic system and financial market, so as to issue risk warning, strengthen surveillance and prevention.

Q: I have two questions. Firstly, ROK media reports that melamine was found in a kind of fish food imported from China. Have you made any investigation? Separately, pesticide residue was found in Chinese bean paste sold in Japan. Do you have any information to share?

A: We learn the following from the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (GAQSIQ). After learning the relevant information on September 19, competent Chinese authorities conducted immediate investigation over China's exported squid viscera powder. Initial investigation found no officially-registered producers ever exported such products to the ROK. At present, the ROK is still trying to trace the source of pollution. In fact, China has strengthened inspection mechanism for export feed products since May, 2007. And there's no report of any quality problems with export feed products approved by relevant authorities. Competent authorities will follow the case closely, and we hope the ROK will keep China updated about its relevant investigation.

About the bean paste issue, the GAQSIQ, after learning relevant information, carried out immediate investigation. The product was produced by a China-Japan joint venture company in Qingdao at the request of the Japanese side, and was exported to Japan in July. Japanese police has reportedly released its examination result, saying it did not find any organic pesticide. Nagano Prefecture also examined the product in 27 items, and found nothing wrong. On September 20, the GAQSIQ re-checked the same batch of product, and still, no poisonous material was found.

Q: Could you comment on the launch of Shenzhou VII? What does it mean to China's reputation and international status?

A: We always believe that the outer space is the shared asset of the entire humankind, and should be used only for peaceful purpose. China's manned spacecraft program is an important part of humankind's efforts to make peaceful exploration and use of the outer space.

Thank you for your attendance. See you.

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