|Foreign Ministry Spokesman Liu Jianchao's Regular Press Conference on 17 October 2006|
On the afternoon of October 17, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Liu Jianchao held a regular press conference.
Liu: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I would like to start with two announcements.
At the invitation of President Hu Jintao, President Jacques Chirac of the French Republic will pay a state visit to China from October 25 to 28.
At the invitation of Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing, US Secretary of State Rice will pay a visit to China from October 20 to 21.Both sides will exchange views on China-US relations and the situation on the Korean Peninsula. Other major international and regional issues of common interest will also be discussed.
With that, I am happy to take your questions.
Q: My questions are about sanctions against the DPRK. It is reported that Chinese banks in Dandong region have halted foreign exchange business with the DPRK. Can you confirm? Besides, has China strengthened examination on trucks heading towards the DPRK?
A: We all know that the UN Security Council has adopted Resolution 1718. As a permanent member of the Security Council, China has always been earnest and responsible in implementing relevant resolutions of the Security Council. There is no exception this time. China will deal with relevant issues in compliance with the Resolution.
Q: It is reported that China has built a wall along the border with the DPRK. What's the purpose? Could you give us some details about it, such as its length, height, and materials? Is it a concrete wall or wire fences?
A: In fact, China already started building facilities including wire fences and patrol roads on its land borders in a planned manner back in the 1990s. The purpose is to improve the management and control of the borders and maintain a good border order. It is normal construction and has no necessary link with the current situation.
Q: You just said that the wall was aimed at improving management and control of the border, so what is the current situation there and what needs to be improved there?
A: As far as I know, up to now, everything is normal along the border between China and the DPRK.
Q: Will China's banks prevent Chinese businessmen from remitting to the DPRK?
A: Resolution 1718 of the UN Security Council has explicitly stipulated on the scope of the financial sanctions against the DPRK. I suggest you read through that part. All countries should fulfill their obligations in compliance with the Resolution. You may consult with competent financial authorities of China about our normal financial and business exchanges with the DPRK.
Q: Could you share with us the details of Rice's visit to China?
A: Rice's visit to China is very important. She will have talks with Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing. Chinese leaders will also meet with her. Other details of the visit are still under discussion. I believe you will get more information soon.
Q: The DPRK called the Resolution of the UN Security Council as "the declaration of war", what's your comment?
A: We have taken note of the DPRK's response to the Resolution 1718. We believe that under current circumstances, it's crucial that the parties concerned shall take no actions that might deteriorate the situation, deal with the current situation in a calm manner, and make efforts to resume the Six-Party Talks, so as to solve the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula through dialogue and consultation, and jointly safeguard peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia.
Q: According to the statistics of the World Food Program, China cut its food aid to the DPRK by 2/3 over the past year. Is this figure accurate? If it is true, how do you explain?
A: I am not aware of the basis of the WFP's statistics. In order to help the DPRK overcome its economic difficulties and improve the DPRK people's livelihood, China has been providing the DPRK with economic and humanitarian assistance. We believe it is a right policy.
Q: Latest reports all suggest that the DPRK may conduct a second nuclear test, what's your comment? Besides, what's the purpose of President Chirac's visit to China? Will the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula be talked about?
A: China is firmly against the nuclear test by the DPRK. We adhere to the goal of the denuclearization on the Peninsula, and oppose proliferation of nuclear weapons. We support the solution of the issue through dialogue and consultation and maintenance of peace and stability on the Peninsula and in Northeast Asia and it is also the common aspiration of the international community. The UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1718 and sent an important message to the DPRK and international community, that is, the international community is unanimously opposed to DPRK's nuclear test, requesting the DPRK to take a responsible attitude, honor its commitment for denuclearization, and stop all actions that may deteriorate the situation. China believes the consensus of the international community should get positive response from the DPRK.
China and France are permanent members of the Security Council and shoulder important responsibilities in safeguarding peace and promoting development. At present, the nuclear issue of the Korean Peninsula is an important issue of close concern to the international community, including China and France. I believe this issue will come up during the discussions.
Q:Can you confirm that China's Health Minister Gao Qiang is visiting the DPRK? Are there any other official exchanges between China and the DPRK last week?
A: I am not aware whether Minister Gao Qiang is in DPRK, please refer your question to the Ministry of Health. China will spare no efforts to resume the Six-Party Talks and resolve the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue through dialogue and consultation. We will decide how to proceed according to the development of situation and the need of our work.
Q: Early this week, a senior official of the Japanese ruling party said that Japan should discuss the development of nuclear weapons. Is China worried about possible nuclear arms race in Asia because of the nuclear test by the DPRK? Besides, today the DPRK warned that the implementation of the UN Security Council Resolution on sanctions against the DPRK would lead to serious consequences. What is your comment on that?
A: We hope Japan, as a signatory to Non-Proliferation Treaty, strictly implement its obligations and abide by its three nuclear-free principles, namely, not to make, possess, or import nuclear weapons. Japan should take a responsible attitude in the maintenance of regional peace and stability.
As for DPRK's response to Resolution 1718, we believe that the Resolution has sent a clear and important signal to DPRK. We hope DPRK earnestly respond to the appeal of the international community, take a responsible attitude in implementing its important commitment to the denuclearization of the Peninsula, go back on the right track of resolving the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue through dialogue and consultation, and not take any action that might deteriorate the situation.
Q: Yesterday, Chinese ambassador to the UN said that China would implement Resolution 1718, but it would not intercept or search the cargo ship to the DPRK, why? How will China conduct inspection? Can you confirm that the DPRK did make a nuclear test on October 9?
A: On your first question, from the consultation of the Security Council and the attitude of the international community on the DPRK nuclear test, it is true that we have an important consensus. On the one hand, international community shall convey a strong message to the DPRK that the international community will not accept and firmly oppose DPRK's nuclear test. On the other hand, under the current circumstances, all parties concerned hope the situation on the Peninsula be eased and develop towards the solution to the issue through dialogue and consultation. No one would like to see the situation on the Peninsula deteriorate or even go out of control, which will pose a grave challenge to all and run counter to our common interests.
China holds that the Korean Peninsular nuclear issue shall continue to be solved in a peaceful way through dialogue and consultation. Sanction is not the purpose. Instead, the final goal is to realize the denuclearization of the Peninsula. At the critical moment, the parties concerned shall stay calm and cautious, take well-measured actions, and create favorable conditions for the settlement of the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue and the resumption of the Six-party Talks. Any action that might worsen the situation should be avoided. China will continue to make positive efforts for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the maintenance of peace and stability in Northeast Asia.
On the second question, the stance China made on October 9 is based on the important information that the DPRK did conduct a nuclear test.
If there are no more questions, we conclude here. Thank you for your presence!