|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang's Regular Press Conference on March 31, 2009|
On the afternoon of March 31, 2009, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang held a regular press conference and answered questions involving the situation on the Korean Peninsula, China-France relations, China-India relations, the Afghanistan issue and etc.
Qin Gang: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I have several announcements to start with.
Firstly, at the invitation of Thai Prime Minister Abhisit, Premier Wen Jiabao will attend meetings to be held in Pattaya, Thailand from April 10 to 12, including the 12th China-ASEAN Summit, the 12th ASEAN plus 3 Summit, the 4th East Asia Summit and China-Japan-ROK Breakfast Meeting.
Secondly, at the invitation of Premier Wen Jiabao, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key will pay an official visit to China from April 14 to 18.
Thirdly, at the invitation of Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, Mr. Upendra Yadav, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, will pay an official visit to China from April 4 to 10.
Now the floor is open.
Q: Kim Jong Nem, son of DPRK leader Kim Jong Il, said yesterday that the rocket launch was closely related to the Six-Party Talks and DPRK-US dialogue. How do you comment on that?
A: I am not aware of the information. We hope relevant parties stay calm and exercise restraint under the current circumstances and do things conducive to peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia.
Q: About the DPRK missile launch. The US, Japan and the ROK are relatively softened than last week, saying that they won't intercept the missile. Is China involved in this?
A: China is closely following relevant developments. Under the current circumstances, relevant parties should exert restraint, stay calm, take caution and avoid any action that could further complicate the situation. We hope each party contributes to peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia as well as the Six-Party Talks. China will stay in close contact with relevant parties.
Q: Reports said that Venezuelan President Chavez will visit China this weekend. Can you confirm? Another question, many western media reported a cyber-spy ring in China attacked more than 1000 computers in more than 100 countries. How do you comment?
A: President Chavez is welcome to visit China. We need to further discuss with Venezuela on the date and agenda of the visit.
I have noted before that the Chinese Government has always taken cyber-safety very seriously. We resolutely oppose any crime including hacking that destroys the internet or computer network, which is stipulated in relevant Chinese laws and regulations. The current problem is, some people overseas are indulged in fabricating the sheer lies of the so-called cyber-spies in China. What I have seen is a ghost of "Cold War" and a virus of "the China Threat" mentality. The China Threat virus on those haunted by the Cold War ghost strikes from time to time. Their attempt to defame China will get nowhere.
Q: Hindustan Times reported on March 26 that the Indian military had a secret drill targeting China and predicted a war between the two countries within a decade, which is very likely to be started by China. Do you have any comment?
A: We are surprised at the report. Both Chinese and Indian leaders have already reached consensus on their relationship as cooperative partners instead of constituting threat to each other. We would like to work together with India to promote durable, healthy and stable China-India relations.
Q: I have two questions on Afghanistan. Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei is going to attend the international conference on Afghanistan in the Hague today. What kind of proposal is he going to make? My second question is, China signed an MOU with Afghanistan last week about the cooperation of mining when the Afghan Minister of Mining was here in Beijing? What kind of natural resources are you looking for in Afghanistan?
A: Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei will attend the international conference on Afghanistan to be held in the Hague today. At present, the situation in Afghanistan is at a critical crossroad. The international community should make concerted and coordinated efforts and take comprehensive measures to tackle both the root cause and symptoms, with a view to contributing to stability and economic development in Afghanistan as well as promoting new progress in its peace process and economic reconstruction. China will explain its principled position and policies on the above mentioned issues at the conference, call upon the international community to strengthen cooperation and work together in that direction.
As friendly close neighbors, China and Afghanistan have conducted a series of economic and trade cooperation. Moreover, China has provided assistance to Afghanistan within its capacity. You asked what kind of resources China was looking for in Afghanistan. I can tell you that a peaceful, stable and developing Afghanistan is the largest resources for China.
Q: The Treaty on a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone in Central Asia came into force on March 21. How do you comment on that?
A: The Chinese Government's position on the nuclear-weapon-free zone issue is consistent and clear. We support the efforts by those Central Asian countries to establish a nuclear free zone and hope to see lasting peace, security and stability in the region.
Q: Two questions. Last week the Australian Government rejected a proposal for a Chinese company Minmetals to buy an Australian company OZ Minerals on the grounds that some of the assets were strategically sensitive. Does China have any response to this decision? Does China consider this any form of discrimination? The second question is also about the DPRK. This year is the Year of Friendship between China and the DPRK. Can you tell us what other activities the two countries have planned for the rest of the year?
A: You mentioned the cooperation between China Minmetals and OZ Minerals. There is an intent of cooperation between the two resources companies, which is an independent commercial operation between them based upon their development needs and following market economic rules. The Chinese Government supports Chinese companies conducting mutually beneficial and win-win cooperation with their Australian counterparts in economic, trade, resources and other fields, which serves not only the interest of China, but also that of Australia.
This year marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the DPRK. Both countries attach great importance to it, and will hold a number of commemorative activities. During DPRK Premier Kim Yong Il's visit to China, the Year of Friendship between China and the DPRK was launched. There will be contacts at all levels and a number of cultural exchanges this year, with a view to promoting mutual understanding between the two peoples and contributing to the further development of China-DPRK good-neighborly and friendly relations.
Q: I have another question about this electronic spying ring that the researchers in Toronto say that they uncovered earlier this week. They said the electronic spying system was being implemented almost exclusively from computers inside China. So if the Chinese Government isn't involved in this ring, does this knowledge concern you that these computers are located in China? Are Chinese officials going to do anything to try to track down the people involved in this electronic spying ring?
A: I gave a complete answer to this question a moment ago, which I prefer not to repeat. I think it is time to track down the "ghost" and the "virus" I talked about earlier.
Q: In recent weeks, the Panchen Lama appointed by the Central Government has been very busy. Can you tell us his exact role when it comes to China's diplomacy in terms of Tibet? And does China have any plans to send him on missions abroad?
A: I am not in a position to answer this question. As a leader of Tibetan Buddhism, the Panchen Lama loves his motherland, hometown and religion. We hope that he makes due contribution to carrying on the remarkable traditions of Tibetan Buddhism, promoting the development of Tibet in various fields, as well as maintaining national sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity.
Q: If the DPRK does go through with this rocket launch, will China support any reaction or any response in the Security Council?
A: I will not comment on what has not happened so far. The priority now is that all parties concerned should stay calm, exercise restraint and maintain the overall interest of peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.
Q: Is reconciliation still possible between China and France before the G20 Summit the day after tomorrow? Is there diplomatic work to allow a meeting between President Hu Jintao and President Sarkozy during the Summit?
A: I would like to answer your question from the perspective of the development of China-France relations. The development of China-France relations is the trend of the times, the common aspiration of the people of the two countries, as well as a choice of certainty. The Chinese Government has always attached great importance to the development of bilateral relations. We stand ready to work together with people from all circles in France who support and are committed to bilateral friendly cooperation so as to push forward this important bilateral relationship. The problem now is that we hope France can take concrete actions to explicitly, actively and positively respond to China's major concerns so as to create necessary conditions to bring bilateral relations back to the track of normal development as soon as possible.
Both being important countries, China and France should join their hands under the circumstances of the escalating international financial crisis.
Q: YouTube was blocked at one point last week and was available again from China, and now it seems to be blocked again. There are speculations that it links to the release of video from the "Tibetan Government in Exile". Do you have any comment on that? Is there any particular offensive material on YouTube right now that causes it to be blocked again?
A: I answered this question at the last regular press conference and here I'd like to reiterate my answer briefly. The Internet in China is fully open and the Chinese Government manages the Internet according to the law. You may browse whatever you can and forget about the others.
Q: I have a couple of follow-up questions about the DPRK. The DPRK has already said it plans to launch its rocket. Is this plan covered by any present UN Security Council resolutions? Secondly, this year marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the DPRK, will Premier Wen Jiabao be making a visit later in the year?
A: It is in the overall interest to exercise restraint, stay calm and do more to promote the Six-Party Talks as well as ensure peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula. We don't want to see the situation get further complicated.
With regard to your second question, as friendly neighbours, China and the DPRK have the tradition of exchanging high-level visits. As for the schedule of Chinese leaders' visits to the DPRK, it needs to be decided by the two sides. I don't have a specific timetable right now.
Q: Reports say that Tibet will reopen to foreign tourists in early April. Can you confirm that? Has Tibet been formally closed to foreign tourists?
A: This is an issue to be decided by the Government of the Tibet Autonomous Region. If foreigners want to visit Tibet, they need to comply with certain formalities and lodge applications to the relevant departments there according to the regulations of the Tibet Autonomous Region.
If there are no more questions, thank you. See you!