|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang's Regular Press Conference on March 26, 2009|
On the afternoon of March 26, 2009, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang held a regular press conference and answered questions involving the US report on China's military power, situation on the Korean Peninsula, China-France relations, a so-called "Tibet riot video" disseminated by the Dalai Clique and etc.
Qin Gang: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Now I'm happy to take your questions.
Q: The Pentagon has recently released its 2009 report on China's military power. How do you respond to that?
A: This report issued by the US side continues to play up the fallacy of the so-called "China's military threat". It is a gross distortion of facts and interference in China's internal affairs. China resolutely opposes it, and has lodged a solemn representation to the US side.
China has always followed the path of peaceful development, pursued a national defense policy which is defensive in nature, and been committed to world peace and stability. We urge the US side to respect this fundamental fact, renounce the Cold War mentality and bias, refrain from issuing the so-called report on China's military power and stop making groundless accusation against China, so as not to further undermine bilateral and military relations.
Q: The SCO special international conference on Afghanistan is to be held tomorrow in Moscow. A second international meeting on the same issue will be held by the United Nations shortly after. Will China attend the UN meeting? Who will be present? What does China expect out of these two meetings? Secondly, it's reported that the Chinese Government has agreed to allow Taiwan to participate in the WHA in the name of "Chinese Taipei". Please confirm.
A: On your first question, as I announced at Tuesday's press conference, Vice Foreign Minister Song Tao will attend the SCO special international conference on Afghanistan in Moscow tomorrow. Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei will attend the international conference on Afghanistan in the Hague at the end of this month.
At present, the Afghanistan issue has drawn extensive attention from the international community. The SCO members and observers are all countries of impact in the region. China supports Afghanistan's effort in safeguarding independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity as well as realizing security, stability and economic reconstruction. China is open to any proposal and measure that serves this end. It is for this reason that China will attend both conferences. We hope that Afghanistan could achieve enduring peace, stability and development with the concerted efforts of the international community, including the SCO members and observers. China will continue to play its due role.
On your second question, General Secretary Hu Jintao has made it clear that reasonable arrangement could be made through practical consultation across the Strait to address Taiwan's participation in international organizations' activities under the precondition of not creating "two Chinas" or "one Taiwan, one China". We believe that so long as the two sides work together to create conditions, we can open up prospect for solution. The Chinese people across the Strait have the capability and wisdom to solve this issue.
Q: Last week, the "Tibetan Government in Exile" released a video showing Tibetans being beaten by armed police during last year's March 14 Lhasa riot. A Chinese official has said that the video is fake and staged. Is that your official position? China has long contended that foreign media organizations misunderstand the situation in Tibet, but you have a policy of not letting us go there to report freely. How much do you think this policy has contributed to our supposed misunderstanding?
A: I have also seen the video. The contents are obviously edited and doctored. Maybe the Dalai clique got some tips of image-editing from certain western media.
What I want to point out is that the March 14 incident is a grievous violent crime involving beating, smashing, looting and burning premeditated, organized and instigated by the Dalai clique, and perpetrated by the separatist forces for "Tibetan Independence" both in and outside China acting in collusion. It has led to grave losses of people's lives and property, and severely undermined the local social order. Eighteen innocent civilians lost their lives and over 380 were injured in the riot. Police casualties were as high as 242 and direct economic losses amounted to nearly RMB 300 million.
While dealing with the riot, local public security officers and armed police force had all along maintained the utmost restraint and performed their duties according to law and in a civilized manner, not carrying or using any lethal weapons.
The crimes committed by the Dalai Clique are irrefutable and pinned down by ironclad evidence. Even after a year, they haven't given up nor accepted their failure. On the contrary, they have intensified their activities to split the motherland and undermine the stability of Tibet. Their secessionist plot hasn't succeeded, and is doomed to failure in the future.
I have also noted that relevant government officials of the Tibet Autonomous Region had made remarks on the video. The purpose of the Dalai Clique to fabricate and release the video clip is obvious. A few of you are quite interested in some of the clips in the video. Nevertheless, I want to ask you, one year after the March 14 incident, have you ever cared about the innocent civilians who were burnt or hacked to death in the riot? Do you still remember the five young girls who were burnt to death in the Yishion store? Do you recall the heart-broken faces of the parents who lost their children? I hope the media can have an objective understanding of the criminal nature of the incident and cover the truth comprehensively and faithfully.
The exhibition "50 Years of Democratic Reform in Tibet" is currently being held in the Palace of Ethnic Cultures. I suggest you go and see the exhibition yourself, so that you can have a comprehensive, in-depth and objective view of the past, present and future of Tibet. In order to help you to be better informed of the March 14 incident, here I have for you a booklet and a disc on the truth of the incident. I have noted that some foreign media and websites have broadcasted the video produced by the Dalai clique. I encourage you to show your sense of justice and courage, playing our disc on your website.
Tibet is open to the outside world and foreign journalists are welcome to go and report there. However, as for when and how many of you can go there, it should be decided by the actual situation of Tibet and the receiving capacities of the localities. We have previously organized foreign correspondents to report in Tibet, we will continue to do so in the future.
Q: I had two questions. The first is I wondered if you could give us any insight into why the DPRK is being so provocative in its handling of the alleged satellite launch. And my second question is just a follow-up. I appreciate everything you said about Tibet. I've actually been to see the exhibition already. On the question of the footage, you said police didn't use lethal force, but that could have been that they used some force. Do you consider that footage is valid footage of police in Tibet?
A: Our position on the Korean Peninsular nuclear issue is consistent and explicit. We hope that all parties concerned can proceed from the overall interest, properly resolve relevant issues with a view to jointly maintaining and promoting the Six-Party Talks.
On your second question, officials from the Tibet Autonomous Region have already responded to it, and I answered related questions as well. It is a trick used quite often by the Dalai clique to distort facts and spread lies.
Q: I wanted to follow up with another question on the DPRK. The US has said that if the DPRK fires a rocket, that would be an act of provocation that goes against the Security Council rules. Will China consider being involved with other countries in sanctioning the DPRK if it does in effect violate the UN rules in this matter?
A: At the current stage, we hope all parties concerned would exercise restraint, stay calm, and do more to contribute to the Six-Party Talks as well as peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia. China stands ready to keep communication with all relevant parties.
Q: France is preparing several visits of former officials to China next month and in May. Can you tell us what is the current situation of China-France relations? What is China going to ask of the representatives of these delegations?
A: China has always attached great importance to the sound and smooth development of China-France relations, and made consistent and active efforts in this regard. As regards the upcoming visits to China by former French officials that you mentioned, I think you are referring to former French President Chirac, former Prime Minister Raffarin and others. They are all old friends of the Chinese people, and have long been dedicated to actively promoting the development of China-France relations. The Chinese people welcome them. China is ready to work with people from all circles in France who are committed to China-France friendly cooperation so as to promote the further development of bilateral relations.
Q: I have another question on the DPRK. There are reports that the DPRK has positioned a missile or a satellite rocket on a launch pad. Is China informed about that? Is China in contact with the DPRK over this issue?
A: We have noted the reports. The DPRK has informed relevant international organizations. We hope to see restraint and calmness from all parties concerned, who can take the overall interest into account, and do more to contribute to peace and stability on the Peninsula. China is ready to play a constructive role in this regard.
Q: China published U.S. human rights record in response to the U.S. report on China's human rights. Will China release a report on U.S. military as a response this time? The second question is, China expressed anger to the U.S. House of Representatives adopting the so-called Resolution to Recognize the 30th Anniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act. Will China take concrete measures to respond?
A: The U.S. military power and global military expansion is clear to the world. Is it still necessary for China to release any report?
What I would like to stress is that we resolutely oppose the groundless accusations and gross interference in Chinese internal affairs by the U.S.. We hope it can respect China's core interests and major concerns while taking into consideration the overall interest of relations between the two nations and militaries, make active contribution and take practical measures to maintain and promote those relations.
The Taiwan issue is the most sensitive and core issue in China-U.S. relations. We urge the U.S. side to strictly abide by the one China policy, the three China-U.S. Joint Communiqués and the promise of opposing "Taiwan Independence" and take concrete actions to support the peaceful development of cross-Strait relations.
Q: The U.S. annual report on Chinese military said Taiwan still feels threat of force from the mainland despite the easing cross-Strait relations. Does your opposition to the U.S. report mean that the threat is easing or even not existing?
A: As to questions relating to cross-Strait relations, please consult the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council.
Q: The US Defense Department report mentioned for the first time that China has built a naval base on Hainan Island to support its submarines including those with ballistic missiles. Do you have any comment on that? Can you confirm the base exist and what are the special purposes? Separately, the World Food Program said recently that the food situation in the DPRK is increasingly severe. Do you have any comment on that? Can you tell us that China has or plans to increase food aid in the DPRK?
A: It is a sacred mission of the Chinese armed force to defend national sovereignty, security and territorial integrity, including China's maritime rights and interests. As to your detailed question, I suggest you check with Ministry of National Defense.
The DPRK knows its real food situation. As a friendly neighbor of the DPRK, China has been providing aid including food within our capacity.
Q: French President Sarkozy was not on the list of leaders President Hu Jingtao intends to have bilateral meetings with at the G20. Does that mean there will be absolutely no contact of the two leaders at all or it's possible that something could be worked out ahead of the meeting?
A: As I just mentioned, China-France relations are important to China. The reasons of the problems in the current bilateral relationship are known to all and China is not responsible. We hope France can take into consideration China's principled position and respond positively and actively to China's core interests and concerns, thus creating conditions for the improvement and development of the bilateral relations.
If there are no more questions, thank you. See you!