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Foreign Ministry Spokesman Liu Jianchao's Press Conference on 21 February 2006
2006-02-22

On the afternoon of February 21, 2006, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Liu Jianchao held a regular press conference.

Liu: Good afternoon, everyone. I'd like to begin with an announcement.

At the invitation of Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan Kassymzhomart Tokayev will pay an official visit to China from February 26th to March 1st.

Now, the floor is open.

Q: When Chairman of the Policy Research Council of Japanese Liberal Democratic Party Hidenao Nakagawa visited China, he said that China had not lodged any protest against the visits to the Yasukuni Shrine by several prime ministers in their private capacity until the official visit paid by Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone in 1985. Do you think this statement is true? When did China start to oppose Japanese leaders' private visit to the Shrine? And on what ground?

A: Whether in the past or now, China has taken a clear and firm position on the history issue. China and Japan had reached consensus on the history issue, and the three political documents between the two countries have made clear prescription thereon. Currently, the history issue is mainly reflected in the Yasukuni Shrine issue. It was Japanese leader's visit to the Yasukuni Shrine that heated up this issue again. The repeated visits to the shrine by Japanese leader landed China-Japan relations into great hardships. China requires Japan to take a correct attitude on the history issue, including the Yasukuni Shrine issue, which constitutes a crucial political foundation of our bilateral relations. Should this political foundation be undermined, China-Japan relations will be severely undermined as well, just like what we are seeing today. Therefore, Japan should not have any illusion or look for any excuse to gloss over what happened, or even try to find fault with China. This will do no good to the improvement and development of China-Japan relations. In the current circumstances, Japan should take an earnest and sincere attitude towards its wrong practice on the history issue, so as to create conditions for the improvement and development of China-Japan relations.

Q: It is reported by the Xinhua News Agency that China has banned all the import of live poultry from the bird flu-affected regions. Is China worried that these countries will take same measures against China? Can you offer the statistics on how the bird flu affects China's poultry husbandry? The EU is considering anti-dumping measures against the footwear imports from China and Vietnam. How will China react?

A: I noticed the two pieces of news in your question. At present, the bird flu continues to spread in the world. Some countries free of bird flu in the past, including some African countries, are hit by the disease now. The worldwide spread of the bird flu is causing increasingly significant attention and concern. We believe that the prevention and control of bird flu requires cooperation of the international community, and the effort of a single country does not suffice. The measures are understandable that various countries take to prevent the bird flu spread. These are important and effective to the bird flu control. In my opinion, all countries have the right to take necessary measures in line with the development of disease.

Regarding your second question, China and the EU have scored considerable achievements in trade and economic cooperation, bringing about huge benefits to both sides. Certainly, there are some frictions. Last year, China and the EU held negotiations on a number of issues, leading to the successful solution of some problems. New problems will continue to crop up when China-EU trade and economic relations keep expanding and deepening. The two sides should handle the issues through consultation in line with the principle of equality, mutual benefit and mutual respect and the WTO rules. Regarding your specific question, please refer to Chinese Ministry of Commerce.

Q: Please tell us what topics will be discussed during the visit of Kazakh

Foreign Minister Tokayev.

A: With regard to the visit of Kazakh Foreign Minister to China, Mr. Tokayev will pay an official visit to China from February 26 to March 1. During his visit, he will hold talks with Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing and meet with Premier Wen Jiabao and State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan. Kazakhstan is an important friendly neighbor of China, and the two countries share good cooperation in various fields, including the political area, trade, economy, anti-terrorism, joint strike against the terrorist, extremist and separatist forces and the cooperation within the SCO framework. The two-way trade volume has been steadily rising, and the cooperation in various fields strengthening, including the field of energy. During the visit of Foreign Minister Tokayev, the two sides will exchange views on a number of issues concerning bilateral relations. I will keep you updated during his visit. All in all, we set high store by his visit and expect it to further promote the good-neighborly and friendly relations and cooperation. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization will convene a summit this year in Shanghai, with how to enhance cooperation among member states as a major topic during the talks of the foreign ministers.

Q: Please update us on the visit of Pakistani President Musharraf and the agreements signed by the two countries, in particular, that on energy. In addition, President Musharraf met with SCO Secretary General Zhang Deguang yesterday, when President Musharraf hoped that Pakistan could become a full member of SCO as soon as possible. What position does China take on Pakistan's request?

A: As for President Musharraf's visit to China, my colleague briefed the media on his talks with President Hu Jintao yesterday. Today, President Musharraf will meet with Premier Wen Jiabao. As far as I am concerned, the meeting will take place this afternoon. China and Pakistan signed 13 agreements altogether, covering a wide range of issues, including trade and economic cooperation as well as cooperation on energy, transportation, agriculture, health, population, seismology and meteorology. Therefore, the visit of President Musharraf is much fruitful. You asked about the content of the energy framework agreement. This agreement was concluded by the competent authorities of China and Pakistan. I have not seen the content, but I can help you get some information.

You can refer to Secretary General Zhang Deguang and the SCO Secretariat on the meeting between President Musharraf and the Secretary General. They will tell you more. On Pakistan's expectation for full membership of the SCO, the SCO pursues a principle of opening to the outside world. For the current stage, the consensus among member states is to focus on boosting internal development and deepening practical cooperation of member states in various fields. The SCO members are making positive study on how to effectively substantiate the observer status of the four observing countries, including Pakistan, so as to enable their better participation in the cooperation within the SCO framework. Consensus among the member states is required on the affiliation of new member. China will convey the wish of Pakistan to other member states.

Q: It is reported that Japanese Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Toshihiro Nikai will visit China in the upcoming days and President Hu Jintao may meet with him. Please confirm. Does this mean a breakthrough for economic and trade relations between China and Japan?

A: At the invitation of Minister of Commerce Bo Xilai, Mr. Toshihiro Nikai will pay a visit to China from February 21st to 23rd. He will arrive later today. During the visit, both sides will exchange views on Sino-Japan economic and trade relations. As far as I know, Premier Wen Jiabao and State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan will meet with him. I haven't heard that President Hu Jintao will meet with him. At present, the overall Sino-Japan economic and trade cooperation is good. We hope that Japan will take an earnest,effective and sincere attitude towards the difficulties in bilateral ties, which is conducive to the development of bilateral economic and trade ties as well.

Q: Iran and Russia held meetings on the Iranian nuclear issue recently. Iran said it would not transfer its uranium enrichment activities to Russian territory. Is there any change in China's position? Second question, according to a report, Minister in chare of the National Development and Reform Commission Ma Kai will visit Iran next week. Please confirm.

A:We have noticed that Iran and Russia began consultation on the nuclear issue yesterday. China supports their negotiation and hope they can achieve positive results. Under the current circumstances, China hopes Iran can resume its moratorium on all activities related to uranium enrichment to the effect of creating conditions for a proper solution to the Iranian nuclear issue. Despite the difficulties in the course of negotiation, China will all along maintain contact and communication with all parties and continue our diplomatic efforts for an early solution within the framework of IAEA.

As to your second question, I advise you to refer it to the National Development and Reform Commission.

Q: It is reported that Mr. Toshihiro Nikai will discuss the issue of developing the East China Sea. Please confirm. Is this visit one of the achievements of the last round of China-Japan strategic dialogue?

A: During the visit, both sides will make an exchange on important issues concerning the Sino-Japan relations. So I think it is natural if the East China Sea issue is involved in the talks.

Q: You said that China hopes for Iran's suspension of all its activities related to uranium enrichment. If Iran fails to do so, what will happen? My second question is that, during the visit to China by Chairman of Policy Research Council of the Liberal Democratic Party Hidenao Nakagawa, what message has China conveyed to him?

A: The international community is all exerting efforts to urge Iran to resume its suspension of activities concerning uranium enrichment. On the Iranian nuclear issue, we believe, the international non-proliferation regime should be upheld. As a signatory party to the NPT, Iran is under the obligation to honor its commitments. At the same time, Iran is entitled to the right to peaceful use of nuclear energy. The key at present time is that the international community should work on all parties and come to a solution by way of negotiation.

There have been some Japanese officials visiting China recently. China has always been committed to promoting the Sino-Japan relations in a healthy and steady way in line with President Hu Jintao's "five-point proposal" on how to develop China-Japan relations and in the spirit of "take history as a mirror and be forward-looking". But now the key is that Japan should take concrete steps and abide by the important principles set in the three political documents between China and Japan in real earnest and change its wrong attitude and practice on the history issue.

Q: According to Russian report, President Putin will pay a visit to China in March. Please brief us on his agenda. Who will he meet with and what will be discussed?

A: Both sides have agreed that early this year, Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit China, which occurs at an important time and in an important year. This year is "Russia Year" in China and Putin's visit is thus of significance for both Russia Year in China and China Year in Russia. During the visit, he will together with Chinese leaders, attend the opening ceremony of "Country Year" events and hold important talks with President Hu Jintao. Both China and Russia are countries of important influence in the world. Their talks will cover a variety of issues, including both bilateral and international ones. Both sides will exchange views to an extensive extent and play due roles in maintaining world peace and promoting common development.

Q: Can you tell us the specific date of President Putin's visit?

A: Both sides are considering the specific time through diplomatic channels. After the time is agreed upon, I will tell you.

Follow-up: Definitely in March?

A: Early this year. Since he will attend the opening ceremony of "Russia year" in China, it won't be too late. It is very likely to be in March.

If there is no further question, thanks for attending today's press conference.

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