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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Liu Jianchao's Regular Press Conference on February 5, 2008

2008-02-05

On the afternoon of February 5, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Liu Jianchao held a regular press conference and answered questions on the dumplings incident happened in Japan, the DPRK nuclear issue, the Nansha Islands, the gas field in the East China Sea, the evacuation of the Chinese citizens out of Chad, the snow storm in South China and etc.

Liu Jianchao: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Tomorrow is the eve of the Lunar New Year in China. On behalf of all my colleagues in the Information Department of the Foreign Ministry, I'd like to extend our festival greetings to all of you, and wish you a happy Spring Festival.

Now the floor is open.

Q: The Organization "the Reports without Boarders" issued a report recently, criticizing China for setting restrictions on internet searching. What's your response?

A: The Chinese Government adopts open and positive policies on the development of internet. Now, China has 210 million internet subscribers ranking as the second largest of the world. The Chinese people have access to information through internet and enjoying its convenience. The Chinese Government has policies on administrating the internet to guarantee the public's access to information. Some people argue that there should be no administration over the internet at all, but it is impossible for any country to do so. Lots of harmful information finds its way around through internet. The government should take necessary measures to contain the spread of harmful information for the benefit of the general public. I hope that relevant organizations and individuals could have a correct understanding of this issue.

Q: Japan's prosecutors held a meeting on the poisoned dumpling incident this morning and decided to launch a joint transnational investigation with the Ministry of Public Security of China. Is China willing to jointly investigate this incident with Japan? Will China request Japan to provide relevant evidence for investigation?

A: The Chinese Government attaches great importance to the dumpling incident and takes actions immediately. We have taken measures to investigate this incident on the day being informed, and quickly released the result of investigations for each stage.

The Chinese expert team, headed by the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (GAQSIQ) and consists of officials from the Ministry of Commerce, Certification and Accreditation Administration, Chinese Academy of Inspection and Quarantine and Hebei Provincial Inspection and Quarantine Bureau, arrived in Japan on the afternoon of January 3 and held two rounds of consultations with their Japanese colleagues. They are scheduled to return to China tomorrow. They have briefed their Japanese counterparts on their investigations in China and made preliminary suggestions on the follow-up coordination and cooperation between the two countries for further investigation. The Japanese investigators also informed China the latest progress of their investigations on the incident of poisoned dumplings. Now China's expert team is working in Japan. Relevant consultations and talks are still going on.

Information released by the Hebei Provincial Inspection and Quarantine Bureau yesterday proves that no methamidophos was found in further tests of the left and recalled samples of dumplings and packages made during the 11 days before and after the two questionable batches were produced by Tianyang Food Plant in Hebei Province.

As agreed by China, the Japanese inspection team arrived in Beijing yesterday night and held consultations with officials of GAQSIQ. This afternoon, the inspection team has headed to Tianyang Food Plant to investigate there and they will hold talks and consultations with Hebei Provincial Inspection and Quarantine Bureau. Up to now, China has taken a series of measures including launching investigations as well as consulting and cooperating with the Japanese side.

China has decided to go down to the earth with the investigation and find out where and when the problem arises. We welcome Japan's new suggestions on how we can better cooperate. So long as they can help the invesiagtion, we are willing to consider. China's attitude is resolute in this regard.

I'd like to point out that we have taken note of the massive reports of the Japanese media. I understand their concern since it is a major incident that some Japanese consumer fell ill. However, on the other hand, we need to keep the following in mind in dealing with the issue. First of all, a scientific attitude is needed. It's not responsible to play up this incident based on speculation prior to the investigation. Secondly, we should have a normal and calm mentality. The calmness and cooperation of the two sides are needed in dealing with such incident. It is helpful to the investigation only when analyzing the whole incident calmly. Thirdly, we should adopt a responsible attitude for the consumers. We hope that the Japanese side, the Japanese media in particular, could treat relevant incident in a calm and scientific way.

Q: Some organizations seem to believe that China has participated the illegal fishing in coastal West Africa and the illegal export to Europe. Do you have any response to that?

A: China follows the international rule and practice in fishing. If there is any illegal fishing, please be more specific.

Q: It is only six months before the Beijing Olympics opens. Since 1984, it is the first time we have seen people trying to boycott the Olympics. What do you think is the reason?

A: You will have to see who are talking about boycotting the Beijing Olympics. I believe that the Beijing Olympics is not only an event for the Chinese people, but also for the whole world. In bidding and preparing for the Olmpics, we have won support of governments around the world and the vast majority of people worldwide. We are fully confident for the Beijing Olympic Games.

Q: The situation in Chad is worrisome. Could you update us on the evacuation of the Chinese citizens there?

A: China has closely followed the situation in Chad. We are deeply concerned over the great losses of life and properties there caused by the armed conflict. We sincerely hope to see an immediate ceasefire among relevant parties, who will endeavour to solve relevant problems through dialogue and consultation. We stand ready to work with the international community in playing a positive role for the restoration of peace and stability there.

Since armed conflict broke out in Chad, the Foreign Ministry and the Chinese Embassy there have made arduous efforts to ensure the safety of the Chinese citizens in N'djamena. We have evacuated most of them to the neighboring countries or to safe regions.

Currently, Ambassador Wang Yingwu and three staff members in the Chinese Embassy are still staying with over 30 Chinese citizens in N'djamena. They are working for the relocation of overseas Chinese when the Spring Festival is approaching. The Foreign Ministry and our colleagues here would like to convey our best regards and solicitude to them and wish them and the Chinese citizens in Chad safe.

I'd like to extend our gratitude to the governments of France and neiboring countries including Cameroon for their tremendous support and assistance during the evacuation.

Q: Chen Shuibian visited the Taiping Island of the Nansha Islands. Do you have any comment? Some US Democratic congressmen called for further pressure on China over trade protectionism. Do you view it as an tactic during the election year?

A: As to your first question, I expounded on our position at the briefing last Thursday. China has indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and adjacent waters. Taiwan is an inseparable part of the Chinese territory. China is willing to solve the South China Sea disputes through friendly consultation with relevant countries and work with them to safeguard peace and stability there.

As to your second question, we always believe that the trade and economic cooperation between China and the US brings enormous benefits to both countries. Trade problems should be settled through dialogue and consultation on the basis of mutual respect and equality. I suggest you referring your specific question to the Ministry of Commerce.

Q: Has China received any assistance from the international community for the snow storm in South China? Will China appeal for more international assistance?

A: Ever since the severe snow storm hit South China, the Chinese Government and people have made great efforts in the disaster relief work. During the fight against the storm, we have also received broad sympathy and support from the international community. Some national leaders have expressed their amiable sympathy to the Chinese Government and people on behalf of their governments and people. They are confident that the Chinese Government and people could win over this natural disaster. Quite a few countries have also provided emergency disaster relief assistance to China. We express our appreciation to these countries for their friendship and support to the Chinese Government and people.

Q: About the DPRK nuclear issue, how did the DPRK explain to China about the nuclear declaration? How does China interpret the DPRK's position? Russian media has reported that the DPRK thought that the next round of Six-party Talks is not likely to be held in March. Can you confirm?

A: On your first question, relevant parties have reached a consensus on their respective obligations and the timetable in the relevant common documents of the Six-party Talks. Because of some technical problems, the process of the relevant actions has been postponed to some extent, but the parties have all clearly reiterated their commitment to their obligations stipulated in the February 13 and October 3 Joint Documents. Their determination remains unchanged. During this process, we hope the relevant parties could solve relevant issues through constructive dialogue and consultation, so as to press ahead with the Six-party Talks in light of the roadmap agreed by all parties. China will also enhance consultation and coordination with all relevant parties. As for when the next round of Six-party Talks will be held, it is still under discussion among parties. No specific date has been decided yet.

Q: A "dissident" named Lu Gengsong got a life sentence yesterday despite China's commitment to better human rights during its bid for the Olympics. How do you comment on this?

A: I am not aware of the specific case. However, I want to emphasize here that, as the host of the Olympic Games, China will try its best to fulfill the commitment in the hardware construction as well as the software services, so as to make the Olympic Games a success. In the meantime, one should not forget that China is a country ruled by law. We have to handle relevant cases according to the Chinese law. It's the same as any other countries in the world. I don't know why some people always have to link these issues with the Olympic Games, which does not comply with the spirit and principles of law.

Q: One more question on the dumpling issue. Will it affect the China-Japan relations?

A: Firstly, the investigators have not drawn any conclusion on the nature of the dumpling incident. At present, the investigation is still underway. Secondly, I believe the incident is an individual case, which should not affect the China-Japan relations.

If there are no more questions, on behalf of my colleagues in the Information Department, I would like to once again express my best wishes to you for the coming holiday. Thank you.

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