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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang's Regular Press Conference on November 11, 2008
2008/11/12

On November 11, 2008, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang held a regular press conference and answered questions on Sino-US relations, the Six-Party Talks and Indian Foreign Minister's comment on Sino-Indian border issue.

Qin Gang: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen! I have an announcement to make.

Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and Minister Chen Deming of Commerce will head the Chinese delegation to attend the 20th Ministerial Meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) to be held in Lima, Peru on November 19th and 20th in preparation for the 16th APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting.

With 21 members, APEC is a major forum for economic cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region. With the purpose of strengthening multilateral trade mechanism and eliminating regional trade barriers, APEC is an important force to promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, economic and technological cooperation and enhance economic development.

The upcoming ministerial meeting will focus on issues of international financial crisis, regional economics integration, support of multilateral trade system, economic restructuring, security of human beings, food and energy security, corporate social responsibilities, APEC reform, and etc.

Now I'm happy to take your questions.

Q: I have two questions. US President-elect Obama is to take office next January. Do you think the Obama Administration will put more importance on the Sino-US relations than the Bush Administration? My second question is, Ambassador Li Baodong of China's mission to the UN in Geneva testified yesterday in front of a human rights panel. He said that the Chinese Government has zero tolerance for torture, but refused to give detailed information on issues such as "forced disappearance" and prison abuse. Can you comment on this and why Ambassador Li refused to give that information?

A: With regard to US President-elect Obama and the China policy of the new administration, last week, President Hu Jintao talked and exchanged views with President-elect Obama on promoting Sino-US relations over the phone. Both China and the US value the development of bilateral ties. Mr. Obama said that in today's world, US-China relations are of vital importance. He said that promoting bilateral cooperation between the US and China benefits not only the two countries but also the whole world. He hoped that the two countries will strengthen cooperation and promote further development of US-China relations. He also said that the US hopes to enhance consultation and coordination with China on security, climate change and regional hot issues so as to address these issues. We are ready to work with the US to maintain our high-level exchanges and those at various levels, enhance bilateral dialogue mechanism, strengthen exchanges and cooperation, build up mutual trust and understanding, so as to properly handle sensitive issues and press ahead with the constructive and cooperative relationship between the two countries.

As for your second question, with respect to the review of China's execution of the Convention against Torture, I would like to stress that China is always against torture. The Chinese delegation has conducted earnest and constructive dialogue with the Committee against Torture on China's implementation of the Convention in a responsible manner. They have candid discussions with the Committee and answered its questions.

Q: Indian Foreign Minister Mukherjee noted publicly in the so-called "Arunachal Pradesh" that "Arunachal Pradesh" is an inalienable part of the territory of India. India will persuade China to open the border trade with the Pradesh. How do you comment on his statement?

A: We express deep regret for the overt remarks of the Indian side regardless of the historical facts. The border between China and India has never been officially delimited. China's position on the eastern part of the border between the two countries is consistent and clear. Not a single Chinese government recognizes the illegal "McMahon Line". The Indian side is well aware of this position. About the Sino-Indian border, China is willing to have peaceful and friendly negotiations with India in the spirit of mutual trust, understanding and mutual accommodation so as to find a fair and reasonable solution acceptable to both.

Q: I'd like to know about the schedule of the Six Party Talks. How's the negotiation going? When will the next Talks be held?

A: About the Six Party Talks, China hopes and stands ready to make joint efforts with all the related parties to fulfill their relevant commitments and finalize the second phase action in a comprehensive and balanced manner. We would also like to exchange views with parties on the next phase of the Talks. In accordance with this spirit, we are having contact and coordination with all the related parties. The date of the next meeting of heads of delegations needs to be decided by the six parties through negotiation. I can not give you any specific information at present.

Q: China announced a four trillion-yuan investment package plan to stimulate the market last Sunday, just one week ahead of the G20 financial summit to be held next Saturday. Some observers believe that by announcing such a package at such a juncture, China is sending out the following message - it wishes to keep the money within its territory rather than help other countries weather through the financial crisis. Do you have any comment on that? Do you think President Hu and his delegation will extend the same message during the summit?

A: The financial crisis keeps on expanding right now. From its very beginning, China has called for better cooperation and coordination among the international community. First of all, each country should sort things out at home, which means to maintain its own financial stability, capital market stability and economic growth. This is the guideline behind our new plans to stimulate domestic demand, which is China's most important and effective way to combat international financial crisis at this stage. They are helpful not only for maintaining steady and relatively rapid growth of the Chinese economy, but for maintaining international financial stability and the healthy, steady growth of the world economy.

We have always been adopting a constructive approach to international cooperation in combating financial crisis. We would like to work with the international community to enhance communication and cooperation, and contribute within our means.

China is still a developing country. Although we are the fourth largest economy in the world and our foreign currency reserves have increased in recent years, China remains a major developing country with a large population, facing many challenges ahead. Given the current situation, China, a major economy in the world with a population of 1.3 billion, makes the biggest contribution to the world by keeping its economy healthy, sustainable and steady.

At the forthcoming G20 summit, the Chinese leader and delegation will fully exchange views with the other parties on how to cope with international financial crisis, and will expound on China's positions.

Q: I have three questions. Firstly, it is reported that former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin is in China. Can you confirm? What is he doing here? Has he applied for a Chinese visa or any kind of residence permit? If he is to leave China, where will he go? Secondly, at the press conference on the Tibetan issue yesterday, Chinese officials said that nine rounds of talks had been held between the Central Government and the representatives of Dalai, but other reports I read all said that there had been only eight rounds. Can you clarify how many rounds of talks have been held after all? Thirdly, will China cooperate with Interpol to crack down on counterfeit drugs which might have been exported to Myanmar and other developing countries? Have any arrests been made?

A: According to my knowledge, Mr. Thaksin was in China on vacation. As to the specific questions you raised, I don't have any further information.

About your second question, I think you should have raised it to the officials of the competent authorities of the Central Government at yesterday's press conference. If you did not have the chance to ask them yesterday, I suggest you continue to direct it to them.

About your third question, I was wondering whether this is a hypothetical question or you have any specific details at hand. The Chinese Government takes product quality and drug safety very seriously and stands firm on cracking down on counterfeit and substandard commodities. Any breaches will be investigated and punished according to law as soon as they are found.

Q: I have two questions. Firstly, there are different reports on whether President Hu Jintao will meet with U.S. President-elect Obama when he is in Washington D.C. for the G-20 Summit on Financial Crisis. Is this in your plan to have such a meeting? My second question is about the Indian Foreign Minister's remarks on the border issue. Will you take any further actions, for example, making a representation with the Indian Embassy in China or with New Delhi?

A: On your first question, we are still coordinating with the U.S. side on the relevant bilateral arrangements for President Hu on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit on Financial Market and World Economy in Washington D.C.. I cannot provide you with the specifics at present. We will update you in due course.

On your second question, I have already made clear our position on this issue. We will definitely make our position known to the Indian side in a proper way.

If there are no more questions, thanks for coming. See you.

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