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Foreign Ministry Spokesman Qin Gang's Press Conference on 6 December 2005

Qin: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen! I would like to begin with three statements.

At the invitation of President Hu Jintao, H.M. King Abdullah II of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan will pay a visit to China from December 10th to 13th.

On December 4, Premier Wen Jiabao wrote to Russian Prime Minister Fradkov on the pollution of Songhua River. Premier Wen emphasized in his letter that the Chinese and Russian people drink the water of the same river. To protect the cross-border water resources is crucial for the health and safety of the people in the two countries. Premier Wen briefed on the measures China has taken and is going to take, expressed China's responsible attitude towards the pollution and reaffirmed that China was willing to step up its cooperation with Russia, so as to remove the impact of this disaster.

At the invitation of Madam Wu Yi, Vice Premier of the State Council, Chair of the Chinese Organizational Committee of the Sino-Russian State Year, Mr. D.A. Medvedev, First Vice Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, Chair of the Russian Organizational Committee of the Sino-Russian State Year will pay an official visit to China from December 8th to 9th for talks on activities related to the State Year and bilateral relations.

Now, I'm ready to take up questions.

Q: In the past, China did not refuse to attend the Summit between China, Japan and ROK because of Prime Minister Koizumi's visit to the Yasukuni Shrine. Why did you postpone the tripartite summit this year? Will this affect the relations between China, Japan and the ROK? If Prime Minister Koizumi continues to visit the Yasukuni Shrine, will the tripartite summit be further postponed? Premier Wen Jiabao will attend the "10+3" meeting, where he will definitely meet Prime Minister Koizumi. Will Premier Wen attend multilateral meetings together with Prime Minister Koizumi in the future?

A: China attaches great importance to the tripartite cooperation between China, Japan and the ROK. We believe it is an important field of the bilateral relations between the three parties and part and parcel of East Asia cooperation. Owing to the reasons known to all, through consultation with the parties concerned, the summit meeting between China, Japan and the ROK has to be appropriately postponed this year. This is not what we wish to see. We hope the country in the question will create proper atmosphere and condition for stronger tripartite cooperation.

We always think that stronger tripartite cooperation not only serves the shared interest of the three countries, but also helps promote East Asia cooperation and the peace and development of the region. We are willing to continue to perform our duty as the coordinating country for the tripartite cooperation, and make our own effort to promote the tripartite cooperation.

Q: What position does the Chinese Government have on the victory of Kuomintang in the regional election of Taiwan? Do you think it will help improve Taiwan's relations with China?

A: First of all, I have to correct one mistake in your question. You put Taiwan and China together. Yet Taiwan is a part of China and I hope you can use correct wording when you raise questions next time. Your question goes beyond the portfolio of Foreign Ministry spokesman. Please refer your question to the Taiwan Affairs Office.

Q: When will the front of  polluted water reach Russia? Did the Chinese Government hear the comment made by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture?

A: According to the latest monitoring data, the front of pollution slick approached the upper section in Jiamusi, Heilongjiang Province(Da Lai, 54 kilometers from Jiamusi, 298 kilometers from Tongjiang). The nitrobenzene density was 0.004mg/L at 4 o'clock this morning, lower than the national standards of both China and Russia. No benzene was found.

Nitrobenzene density in the Dalian River in Yilan county (388 kilometers from Tongjiang) is gradually falling down. Until 4 o'clock on the 6 th of December, nitrobenzene density was 0.154mg/L, below the Russian national standard, but was 8.1 times higher than national standard of China. Nitrobenzene density was 0.0058mg/L, almost the same as that on the day of 5 th, lower than the national standards of both China and Russia. At Tonghe Section (455 kilometers from Tongjiang), nitrobenzene density was 0.022mg/L at 20 o'clock on the day of 5 th, lower than Russian national standard. Though benzene was detected there, the density was lower than the national standards of both China and Russia.

For the sake of better breifing you on the pollution incident, I got the above information from State Environmental Protection Administration. If you still have problem concerning the pollution incident itself, please contact the State Environmental Protection Administration.

At the invitation of Chinese Foreign Ministry, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nowak paid a 12-day visit to China form November 21 st to December 2 nd. It is the first time for UN Special Rapporteur on Torture to visit China. Special Rapporteur on Torture is an important special mechanism of UN Human Rights Commission. China attached great importance to this visit. In the spirit of mutual respect, trust and understanding, the two sides determined the agenda after consultation. China readjusted the agenda several times according to Nowak's suggestions after he had arrived in Beijing. The Rapporteur visited Beijing, Lhasa and Urumchi in accordance with the new agenda.

The principal officials of Chinese Foreign Ministry, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Public Security and Supreme People's Procuratorate met with Mr. Nowak and briefed him on China's position and policies to oppose and prohibit torture. Principal officials of the above departments talked with him and gave a detailed introduction of different departments' responsibilities, tasks, practices and implementation of Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. The leaders in Lhasa, Urumchi, Tibet and the Xingjian Autonomous Region held meetings with him. During Mr. Nowak's visit to Lhasa and Urumchi, officials of both cities met with him. Chiefs of local departments such as public security bureau, justice bureau and procuratorate held talks with him and introduced local laws, regulations and specific measures for promoting and safeguarding detainees' rights and preventing and punishing torture as well as answered relevant questions. He also contacted extensively with nongovernmental organizations, academic circle, lawyers and media. Mr. Nowak visited prisons, center for reeducation through Labor and detention places and chose to talk with some detainees alone without notice before hand.

Through the visit, the special rapporteur and China made comprehensive exchanges, enhanced mutual trust and created favorable conditions for later cooperation We hope that the rapporteur could report the reality objectively and impartially. China is willing to continue its cooperation with the rapporteur with open and sincere attitude.

China cannot accept the conclusion that "torture is widespread". As a signatory party to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, a legal systems with a package of laws on prevention, supervision, punishment and compensation, has been set up to prevent torture. China has made great and effective efforts to prevent torture, and handle specific torture cases according to law. We understand that the rapporteur's work is to find out problems and to give criticism, but within short two weeks and a trip to only three cities, the rapporteur jumped into a conclusion, which is ill-grounded on the part of facts and does not conform to reality. We have expressed our position to the Rapporteur and hope that Mr. Nowak can correct the wrong conclusion in his report.

Follow-up: Does China plan to arrange another visit for the rapporteur in order to help him get more comprehensive knowledge of China?

A: I have already mentioned that China is willing to cooperate with the rapporteur with an open and sincere attitude. The detailed question should be worked out through consultation between China and UN Human Rights Commissions.

Q: A question on the Six-Party Talks. The US refused to negotiate with the DPRK on financial sanction. This morning, the DPRK said that it would not take part in the Six-Party Talks in such circumstances. Do you think the US should hold direct talks with the DPRK? What's your comment on the statement of the DPRK? In addition, the ROK proposed to have an informal meeting in Jeju. Did China get any response from the US or the DPRK? You said Premier Wen wrote to Russia. Did the letter talk about apology?

A: It serves the interest of the six parties to peacefully resolve the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula through dialogue and the mechanism of Six-Party Talks and to realize the goal of a nuclear-weapon-free Peninsula. We hope all the parties to the Six-Party Talks will bear in mind the overall interest of the Talks and make full contact and consultation on the relevant questions, so as to find out a proper solution as soon as possible and avoid affecting the process of the Six-Party Talks.

On your second question, I have touched upon it at last press conference. We are open to all the ideas and suggestions that will help promote the Six-Party Talks and realize the goal of the denuclearization of the Peninsula. Now, China is communicating and consulting with the other parties on the suggestion of the ROK.

Over the past days, China has expressed apology for the possible impact of the Songhua incident on Russia. Premier Wen Jiabao emphasized in his letter that China would continue to take a responsible attitude and follow the spirit of China-Russia friendship. We will strengthen our cooperation with Russia to jointly overcome difficulties and remove the impact of the disaster.

Q: The US State Department required the Chinese Government to set a timetable for the general election in Hong Kong. They believe that the Sunday procession in Hong Kong tells the readiness of Hong Kong people for democracy. What China's view on this? The visiting Malaysian Home Affairs Minister met with the officials of Chinese Foreign Ministry and other departments in Beijing. Can you tell us what was going on in the meetings? Did China require the Malaysian side to apologize? If Malaysia has apologized, did China accept?

A: The affairs of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region are the internal affairs of China and brook no interference by any foreign country. The US has made improper comment on the affairs of Hong Kong on many occasions. This is very inappropriate and we express our firm opposition.

Malaysian Home Affairs Minister Azmi Khalid came to Beijing Yesterday and held talks with the relevant departments of China. Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Shen Guofang, Vice Minister of Public Security Liu Jinguo and Director of National Tourism Administration Shao Qiwei met with him. During the meeting, Shen Guofang reaffirmed the principled position of the Chinese Government on handling the case of infringing upon the rights of Chinese citizens. He emphasized that the Chinese Government attached great importance to the protection of the dignity and personal safety of Chinese citizens. Recently, incidents of insulting or hurting Chinese citizens successively occurred in Malaysia. The Chinese Government is gravely concerned over the incidents. We hope the Malaysian side continue its thorough investigation in the cases with a serious and responsible attitude, and resolutely punish the criminals and perpetrators in accordance with law at an early date. China also hopes Malaysia will take effective measures to guarantee the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens in Malaysia, so as to prevent the recurrence of similar incidents.

Azmi Khalid said that China and Malaysia were very important friendly nations. The Malaysian Government attaches great importance to China-Malaysia relations and express deep regret and apology for the recent incidents of insulting Chinese citizens. Malaysia sets high store by handling the cases and will work on them with all seriousness. They will strive to inform China of and publicize the investigation result and how they handle the cases as soon as possible. Khalid also said that the Malaysian Government is taking effective measures to ensure such incidents won't happen again.

Q: Apart from ASEAN countries, which countries else, in China's opinion, should be included in the East Asia community? If India, New Zealand and Australia, which will attend the East Asia Summit, wish to join the East Asia community, will China take a welcoming attitude? Which of the East Asia Summit and the 10+3 Summit does China think should be the framework for establishing East Asia community? Why? Malaysian Prime Minister has clearly said that the establishment of East Asia community should be discussed within the framework of 10+3. Malaysia is the host country of this East Asia Summit. How does China view his statement?

A: The East Asia summit sets up a new platform for dialogue and cooperation between the countries concerned. East Asia Summit should help promote the existent cooperation in East Asia and the common development of East Asia and the rest of the world. China sticks to the principle of openness and transparency. We oppose the exclusive cooperation targeting any third party. China welcomes the attendance of Australia, India and New Zealand at the first East Asia Summit. We are wiling to maintain contact and coordination with these countries through the summit, bring the friendly cooperation between us closer and jointly promote the peace, development and cooperation in this region. We believe the various mechanisms can work in parallel and promote each other.

On the question of East Asia Summit and the cooperation between ASEAN and other countries, ASEAN has been playing a leading role. China thinks that we should respect the consensus of ASEAN and support its leading role.

Q: Khabarovsk in eastern Russia has called on China to take measures to keep the region free from pollution. What assistance will China offer to Russia? The state governor of Russia claimed this was a long-term problem. Does China have any plan to jointly resolve this problem through bilateral channel?

A: China and Russia are strategic partners of cooperation. Our two countries share good-neighborly and friendly relations and cooperation. After the incident took place, China has been much concerned over the possible impact on the people of our friendly neighbor Russia. We have also taken a number of measures to reduce the impact on the people in Russian Far East region as much as possible. For example, the departments concerned of both sides, including foreign ministries, departments of environment protection and resources, have set up communication mechanisms. The environment protection departments of our two countries formed a hotline connection. China has informed Russia of water monitoring data on daily basis. Russian experts are making inspection tours in Heilongjiang. The experts from two countries jointly monitored the water quality and forwarded a solution. At the request of Russia, China offered Russia equipment of water monitoring and active carbon. We got the material in place in short time and immediately dispatched to Russia. Russia appreciated our effort. China will continue to follow the spirit of strategic partnership of cooperation and take a serious and responsible attitude. We will enhance our cooperation and communication with Russia and properly handle the incident.

Q: Did Chinese embassy in Malaysia require the investigation in the incident of insulting Chinese citizens? Has the investigation confirmed that the woman in the mobile phone video is Chinese?

A: Since incident happened, China has made representations to the Malaysian side on many occasions and expressed our attitude. Malaysia has repeatedly said it would handle the incident in accordance with law. Now, the investigation is still ongoing. We hope Malaysia will find out truth as soon as possible, punish the people involved according to law and properly handle the issue.

Q: Do you know when the pollutants of Songhua River will arrive in Russia? Can you tell us the goal of China on WTO ministerial meeting in Hong Kong? Since China is an industrial nation as well as a developing country, what's China's position on Doha round negotiation?

A: As for specific development of pollution, I advise you to refer your question to State Environmental Protection Administration, who will provide you with more exact answer. As far as I know, the pollutant mass is still within China's territory. What we do now is to take any necessary measures to minimize the pollution within the Chinese territory.

As for your second question, several days before, President Hu Jintao elaborated on China's position on questions related with Doha round of Hong Kong meeting when he attened the APEC meeting in Pusan of ROK. The Doha round of negotiations, with development on its agenda, should take development as its theme, concretely promote the process of more trade freedom, substantively improve opportunities of developing countries and take into account of develop members' difficulty in the process of trade freedom, thus offering them concrete and effective special and differential treatment. China expects Dohua round of WTO negotiations to conclude in 2006 with a blanket of balanced achievement. To achieve this goal, we need to reach a consensus on all core issues at the Hong Kong meeting, so as to laid a foundation for concluding Doha round of negotiations in 2006. The Chinese side will continue to play an active and constructive role and make joint efforts with other members to promote Hong Kong meeting to achieve success, so as to enable Doha negotiations to gain a result at an early date.

Q: How long will Malaysian Interior Minister visit China and whom will he meet with? Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi said that whether he pays homage to Yasukuni Shrine should not become a diplomatic issue. What reaction does China have on his remarks?

A: Malaysian Home Affairs Minister arrived at Beijing yesterday. He will also visit Shanghai and Guangzhou. As for how long he will stay, I can check it for you.

As for the issue of Yasukuni Shrine, Japanese leaders, regardless of feelings and strong opposition of neighboring countries, repeatedly pays homage to Yasukuni Shrine which worships Class A criminals of WWII, its severe consequences are known to all. We urge him to get down to the political foundation of China-Japan relations, get down to the three political documents between China and Japan and get down to the spirit of "taking history as a mirror and facing towards the future", thus taking concrete actions to fulfill Japanese side's commitment to remorse on its aggression history.

Q: Belarusian President, who are visiting China, today said that Belarus intends to become an observer of Shanghai Operation Organization. What comment does China have on it? Will China support Belarus' plan?

A: Belarusian President Lukashenko is visiting China now. Yesterday he made an in-depth and fruitful talk with Chinese President Hu Jintao. This afternoon, he will meet with Chairman of Standing Committee of Chinese People's Congress Wu Bangguo and Vice Premier Huang Ju. We hope President Lukashenko's visit this time can promote further development of China-Belarus' friendly and cooperative relations. On the issue of absorbing observers, SCO always takes an open principle. I haven't heard that Belarus' proposal to become SCO observer. If some countries put forward such applications in the future, member states of SCO will make decisions after concerted consultations on the basis of comprehensive consideration of all-round factors for the sake of SCO's development.

Q: Myanmar is now moving its capital. Will China move its embassy in Myanmar?

A: I haven't got any further information to offer you for this question.

Q: Yesterday a report issued by American Foreign Relations Committee alleged that the US is facing fierce competition from China for energy supply in Africa. Does the Chinese side think so? In addition, please introduce details of China-US strategic dialogues, including topics and meeting agenda.

A: Take up your second question first. Second China-US strategic dialogue will be held from December 7th and 8th in Washington, America's capital. China's Vice Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo will talk with American Deputy Secretary of State Zoellick. The two sides will conduct consultations and hold an in-depth exchange of views over a series of major issues concerning China-US relations on the basis of the first strategic dialogue in this August. As for Vice Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo's meeting agenda, I haven't got further information to offer you.

As for your first question, I have taken note of relevant reports. The Chinese Government always attaches great important to Africa, which has traditional friendship with China. The Chinese and African peoples support each other, help each other and cooperate with the other. Stronger solidarity and cooperation with Africa is always an important part of China's independent foreign policy of peace. Such mutually beneficial cooperation, conducive to long-term stable relations between China and Africa and conductive to peace, stability and development in African region, is in the fundamental interests of both sides, thus promoting the development of China-Africa relations without directing to any third party. Some people play up China is posing threat to America's interests in Africa. It is groundless without any evidence. Several days ago, US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Frazer visited China and talked with her Chinese counterparts over African issues. The two sides held an in-depth exchange of views over African situations and agreed that the two countries have common interests and concern on African affairs, so they can strengthen cooperation in this regard.

Q: The report of American Foreign Relations Committee also criticized China's relations with some African countries undermined local efforts to combat corruptions. Besides, China should be responsible for environmental degradation in Zimbabwe and other African countries. What comment do you have on it?

A: China firmly pursues the road of peaceful development. We don't threat anyone, nor will we undermine any country's interests. China's relations with other countries are conducted on the basis of basic norms governing the international relations with the principle of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit. China's cooperation with relevant countries is to achieve mutual benefit and win-win and promote common development.

Q: After the election for mayors and county chiefs in Taiwan,word comes that the US will invite Ma Yingjiu to visit US. What's China's opinion on it?

A: The US is very clear about China's principle and position on the Taiwan question.

Q: You just now mentioned the Malaysian side has apologized for the incident of Chinese citizens being insulted. Does the Chinese side accept Malaysia's apology?

A: As for this issue, we urge the Malaysian side to make investigation as soon as possible, punish relevant outlaws and criminals in accordance with law and inform the Chinese side of the investigation results. We hope the Malaysian side can take effective measures, prevent such incidents from reoccurring, and guarantee the personal safety and property security of Chinese citizens working, traveling and studying in Malaysia, keep their dignity unharmed.

If there are no other questions, thanks for your presence. See you next time!

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