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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang's Regular Press Conference on December 25, 2007

2007-12-26

On the afternoon of December 25, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Qin Gang held a regular press conference and answered questions on Japanese Prime Minister Fukuda's visit to China, the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue and etc.

Qin: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I have no announcement to start with, so I'd like to take your questions.

Q: Could you please brief us on Japanese Prime Minister Fukuda's visit to China?

A: We have already made the announcement that Japanese Prime Minister Fukuda Yasuo is invited by Premier Wen Jiabao to visit China from 27 to 30 this month. I could brief you on the frame itinerary of the visit. Prime Minister Fukuda will arrive in Beijing on the 27th. Premier Wen Jiabao will meet with him in the morning of the 28th. President Hu Jintao and Chairman Wu Bangguo of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress will also meet with him respectively in the afternoon. Prime Minister Fukuda will then deliver a speech in the Peking University. On the 29th, Premier Wen and Prime Minister Fukuda will jointly attend the breakfast meeting held by the civil friendship organizations of China and Japan. Prime Minister Fukuda will then pay a visit to a primary school in Beijing. After that, he will also visit Tianjin and Qufu in Shandong Province.

Q: What are China's expectations for Prime Minister Fukuda's visit? Will there be any joint documents, such as a joint communiqué or a press communiqué? What does China wish Mr. Fukuda to say over the issue of Taiwan's referendum on the so-called "UN membership"?

A: Prime Minister Fukuda's visit is another important measure for the two countries to further improve and develop the bilateral relationship after the Ice-breaking and Ice-melting Trips made by the leaders of two countries, which will have a significant impact on the promotion of the healthy and stable development of China-Japan relations. During the visit, the leaders of the two countries will exchange in-depth views on China-Japan relations as well as international and regional issues of common interest.

China attaches great importance to Prime Minister Fukuda's visit to China and wishes to work together with Japan to enhance political mutual trust, expand common interest, deepen cooperation in all fields and promote the development of the bilateral relationship through this visit. Specific results and the agreements to be signed are still under discussion and coordination.

When it comes to Taiwan, the Taiwan issue bares on the core interest of China. We attach great importance to the fact that Japan has on many occasions stated that it adheres to the One China principle, does not support "Taiwan independence", nor Taiwan authorities' attempt to hold the referendum on "UN membership". We hope Japan will proceed from the overall interest of regional peace and stability as well as China-Japan relations and handle the Taiwan-related issues cautiously.

Q:A local media in Malawi reports that China has promised to provide billions of dollars' aid to Malawi. Two Malawian cabinet members will come to China to discuss the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries. Can you confirm?

A: I am not aware of this information. There is but one China in the world and Taiwan is a part of China. The government of the People's Republic of China is the sole legitimate government representing the whole of China. The "One China" principle is universally recognized by the international community. We are ready to develop friendly cooperation with all countries on the basis of the "One China" principle. China never buys diplomatic recognition.

Q: It is reported that recently UNHCR's office in China has sent two DPRK "defectors" to the US, please confirm. Does this mean that China has recognized "DPRK defectors" as refugees?

A: In the first place, I have to correct a term in your question. These illegal immigrants from the DPRK are neither "defectors" nor "refugees". They came to China for economic reasons. China has been dealing with them properly in accordance with the domestic law, the international law and humanitarian spirit.

Q: The year 2007 is coming to an end. Is there any possibility for the DPRK to complete the disablement of the Yongbyon nuclear facilities and comprehensively declare its nuclear program as scheduled?

A: Thanks to the joint efforts of all parties concerned, the Six-Party Talks is making constant progress. The Yongbyon nuclear facilities are now undergoing disablement after the shutdown. The majority of the work will be completed by the end of the year. The commitments of the other parties are also being delivered step by step. As the host country of the Six-Party Talks, China will continue to maintain close communication and consultation with all parties concerned so that the second-phase actions will be translated into reality in a comprehensive and balanced manner at an early date.

Q: Next year marks the 30th anniversary of China's adoption of the reform and opening-up policy, and will witness the Beijing Olympic Games. China is always saying that it is opening wider to the outside world. However, the Chinese policemen often knock at foreign journalists' doors to check their identities. Also, there's now a new regulation requiring foreigners including foreign journalists to renew their registration within 24 hours after they come back from abroad. This can take hours. I wonder why would China promulgate such a regulation when it is opening wider?

A: It seems that you take this issue seriously, linking it with China's opening-up policy. I can reaffirm and assure you that China would unswervingly follow the basic state policy of opening-up.

Since you've been in China for many years, you must have known a lot about China. As you see, the legitimate rights and interests of foreigners including foreign journalists are protected by law here in China. Chinese governments and authorities at all levels are doing their best to provide various services and facilities to foreign journalists in China. And we will continue to keep up with times by improving our regulations and doing a better job. Foreign journalists and other foreigners are welcome to make comments and suggestions in this regard. Meanwhile, we hope that foreigners in China will abide by Chinese laws and regulations, and cooperate with our law enforcement authorities. The reason for our public security bureaus and policemen to conduct population registration and check identities is to safeguard social security and order. It is not a policy against foreigners. Rather, this is a common practice in all countries. Therefore, we hope that you can understand their work and cooperate with them.

Q: It is reported that it would be difficult for China and Japan to reach agreement on the East China Sea issue during Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda's visit to China. Can you comment on that?

A: China and Japan have disputes over the East China Sea issue and have encountered some difficulties during the process of negotiations. China has always adopted an active and pragmatic approach to the negotiations on the East China Sea issue. In light of the principle of "putting aside the disputes for joint development" and the five-point consensus reached between leaders of the two countries, China would continue to negotiate with Japan on an equal footing to seek a solution acceptable to both. We hope that Japan would work together and meet half way with China for the early proper settlement of the issue.

Q: I would like to know China's position on the joint development of the East China Sea. First, China claims that there is no dispute over the waters where Chunxiao gas field is located, thus the waters are not to be listed for joint development. I wonder how you define "disputed" and "undisputed" waters. Second, for China, the waters where Diaoyu Islands are located are disputed or undisputed ones? Is China willing to develop the waters jointly with Japan?

A: Your questions concern the East China Sea delimitation and Chunxiao gas field. It is true that there are disputes between China and Japan over the delimitation of the East China Sea. Both parties have different claims. China has sufficient legal evidence supporting its claim. Chunxiao gas field is located in China's offshore continental shelf over which China has no dispute with Japan. The exploration by China in the area, including the Chunxiao gas field, is an excise of its sovereignty rights, hence normal activities. I hope you can view this issue fairly and objectively.

As for the issue of the Diaoyu Islands, the Diaoyu Islands and adjacent islets have been Chinese territories since ancient times. China has undisputed sovereignty over the islands. It is true that China and Japan have disputes over this issue. It is China's consistent position to settle the issue through consultation on the basis of respecting fact. Before the dispute is settled, the two sides should shelve the disputes for joint development, and refrain from taking any unilateral action.

If there are no other questions, thank you for coming and see you next time.

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