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Foreign Ministry Spokesman Liu Jianchao's Press Conference on 4 April 2006

Liu:Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I will start with two announcements.

At the invitation of President Hu Jintao, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili will pay a state visit to China from April 10th to 15th.

At the invitation of Deputy Prime Minister Gilowska of the Republic of Poland, Deputy Prime Minister Havel of the Czech Republic, Deputy Prime Minister Rusmajli of the Republic of Albania and the Government of The Republic of France, Vice Premier of State Council Hui Liangyu will pay official visits to the above four countries from April 12th to 25th.

With that, I am happy to take your questions.


Q: The US Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff is in town. He met with Luo Gan, Ministers of Public Security, Justice, and the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), and Vice Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi. Could you give us more details about his visit and agenda for discussion? I heard that the two sides talked about the repatriation of illegal immigrants. What is China's position in this regard?


A: At the invitation of State Councilor and Minister of Public Security Zhou Yongkang, a delegation headed by the US Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff visited China from April 2 to 4. During the visit, Luo Gan, member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee met with Mr. Chertoff. Zhou Yongkang, State Councilor and Minister of Public Security held talks with him. In addition, Vice Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, CAAC Director Yang Yuanyuan and Minister of Justice Wu Aiying met with him respectively. The two sides exchanged views on the issues of common interest and reached important consensus in the fields such as the anti-terrorism cooperation, the crackdown upon East Turkistan terrorist forces, the arrest and repatriation of criminal suspects, the strike on illegal immigrants, security cooperation during the Olympic Games, air police cooperation and law enforcement training.

On the issue of illegal immigration, the Chinese government firmly opposes and cracks down on illegal immigration of any form. The Chinese government has a resolute attitude in this regard. On the repatriation of illegal immigrants, we are ready to have illegal immigrants of Chinese nationality repatriated from relevant countries once their identities are confirmed. At the same time, the issue of illegal immigration is relevantly complicated with various factors involved. Some countries grant some people the so-called "political asylum", which is not conducive to anti-illegal immigration. We hope relevant countries refrain from politicizing the issue.


Q: It is said that during Chertoff's visit to China, officials from China and U.S. discussed the issuance of US visas to Chinese citizens. Does China hope the U.S. to make some improvement in this regard? For example, to increase visa issuance to China. Would you like to share with us some details?


A: In recent years, both sides have taken steps to facilitate two-way trips for study, working or business, including issuing multiple-entry visas. At the same time, there are still a lot more to do for further facilitation. Both sides agreed to continue to strengthen cooperation so as to provide more convenience for the normal personnel exchanges.


Q:It has been one year since anti-Japan Demonstration last April. Would you like to comment? What is your expectation for future China-Japan relations? Last week President Hu Jintao said so long as the Japanese leaders stop visiting the Yasukuni Shrine, high-level talks between China and Japan can be resumed. The Japanese side said this kind of talks shall not have preconditions, what is your comment?


A: On your first question, we have made our position clear on what happened last April, of which you should be well aware. It is nearly one year since then, regrettably, we find no effective improvement and development in China-Japan political relations. The responsibility for the current situation is neither on the Chinese side, nor on the Japanese people, but on Japanese leaders' erroneous attitudes towards history and repeated visits to the Yasukuni Shrine. It hurts the feelings of both peoples and undermines the political basis for bilateral relations. Not long ago, President Hu Jintao met with the seven Japan-China friendship groups and expressed clearly the attitude to improve China-Japan relations. President Hu's remarks fully demonstrate the sincerity of the Chinese government to improve and develop China-Japan relations, which should get positive response from the Japanese side. Japanese leaders' visit to the Yasukuni Shrine is a major event bearing on the political basis of China-Japan relations and the feelings of our two peoples. The persistence in adopting a wrong attitude and paying homage to the Yasukuni Shrine where class-A criminals are worshiped is not conducive to the improvement and development of China-Japan relations. We urge once again the Japanese side to correct its wrongdoings and create conditions for the improvement and development of China-Japan relations.


Q: Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Summit will be held in Shanghai this year and China will be the host. Could you update us on the preparation work for this Summit? Which leaders are going to attend the Summit?


A: This year marks the 5th anniversary of the establishment of SCO. According to the consensus reached among the member state leaders, the Summit will be held in Shanghai this year. All the heads of states of SCO members will attend the summit. It is an important meeting for history and future. It is of great significance for SCO's future development and for a better role in safeguarding regional security and stability, promoting regional trade and economic cooperation, and strengthening exchanges in humanism field. Besides the heads of states of SCO members, we have also invited leaders of SCO observers. About the specific arrangement and participants of the Summit, I will update you once relevant details are fixed. Now the Chinese government and Shanghai Municipality are making preparations for this Summit. We will create good working and living conditions for our guests and be a good host.


Q: The Chinese Defense Minister is visiting the DPRK, and could you tell us more about that?


A: At the invitation of Kim Il Chol, Minister of People's Armed Forces of the DPRK, Pham Van Tra, Vietnamese Defense Minister, Najib Tun Razak, Malaysia Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister, Teo Chee Hean, Singaporean Defense Minister, and Yoon Kwang-ung, ROK Defense Minister, Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission and State Councilor Cao Gangchuan will pay official and good-will visits to the five countries from April 4 to 19. During his visit, Cao will exchange views with his counterparts on international and regional issues, bilateral relations and the issues of common interest. I will share more information with you as the visit goes on.


Q: On the visit by the President of Turkmenistan. Yesterday China and Turkmenistan signed a series of agreements. Would you please share with us some details about that, especially the agreements on energy? As to Premier Wen's visit to Australia, China and Australia signed agreements on uranium cooperation. Will these agreements affect the sales of uranium to Taiwan by Australia? What is China's position on this?


A: Energy cooperation is an important part of China-Turkmenistan trade and economic cooperation. Both sides hold a positive attitude towards the mutually-beneficial and reciprocal energy cooperation. After the meeting between President Hu and the President of Turkmenistan, both sides signed a series of agreements, including energy agreements. Since the agreements are signed by relevant companies, I don't know much about the details. But I believe practical energy cooperation is included. As for the specifics, you'd better check with relevant parties.

On your second question, I came across relevant reports today. About the uranium cooperation between Australia and China's Taiwan, the Chinese government and IAEA have already had relevant arrangement on the safeguards and supervision of the nuclear activities of China's Taiwan. The IAEA has been safeguarding and supervising relevant activities of Taiwan on the non-governmental basis to ensure they will be peaceful.

Premier Wen paid a very successful visit to Australia. He has exchanges of views with Prime Minister Howard and other leaders on a broad range of topics. Both sides are satisfied with the present development of China-Australia relations and hold a positive attitude to the cooperation in energy and resources. Both sides believe that cooperation in this field enjoys a promising prospect and it serves the interest of both to strengthen uranium cooperation.


Q: About Cao Gangchuan's visit to DPRK. Chinese Defense Minister's previous visit to DPRK seemed to be in 2000. He was able to meet with Kim Jong Il then. Will Cao Gangchuan meet with Kim this time?


A: This visit arranged by China's Defense Ministry begins today. I do not have with me the details of his itinerary. As the visit goes on, I will share more information with you. China and DPRK have normal friendly relations and our two military forces maintain friendly exchanges. The strengthening of contact, exchanges and communication between our two military forces are conducive to the development of our relations and to regional peace and stability.


Q: Recently, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe said that although Chinese and Japanese leaders do not see eye to eye on the Yasukuni Shrine, China should not set preconditions for the meeting and he hopes both sides can continue dialogue. What is your comment?


A: I want to reiterate that a correct understanding of history and handling of the visits to the Yasukuni Shrine constitute the political basis for China-Japan relations. China has made unremitting efforts for solving the issue. If you recall the development of China-Japan relations in the past several years, there were not without meetings between our two leaders. China has repeatedly expounded our position on the history issue. I do not believe that we should meet merely for the sake of meeting itself. The aim is to solve the problem. Japan shall exert sincerity. China has expressed clearly that China attaches great importance to China-Japan relations and is committed to the improvement and development of China-Japan relations. Regrettably, China hasn't got the positive response from Japanese leaders on this matter of grave nature, which led to the abnormal state of China-Japan relations in the past 4 to 5 years and difficulties. We hope that Japanese leaders can proceed from the overall interest of China-Japan relations and the development of Asia, take a correct attitude towards history to ensure the improvement and development of China-Japan relations.


Q: Just now you said that Chinese people took to the street last year to protest Japanese leaders' paying homage to the Yasukuni Shrine and that the demonstration was not "anti-Japanese". Yet at the same time we should differentiate violence from demonstration in the general sense. It was an objective fact that during last year's demonstration, some restaurants and enterprises irrelevant with the Japanese government were attacked. China arrested some criminals because of that. Am I right?


A: History itself and the issues arising thereof are of different nature. Japanese leaders' paying homage to the Yasukuni Shrine where Class A criminals are worshiped was the main reason causing the indignation of the Chinese people. It was also the main reason leading to the current grave difficulties of the Sino-Japanese relations to suffer. As to the demonstration last year, we have stated our stance time and again. We opposed the extreme acts which occurred during the demonstration. Many Japanese correspondents are quite interested in this issue and might write some reviewing articles. It is my view that no matter how one writes about it, it is essential to have a clear understanding on the substance and sticking point of the problems in Sino-Japanese relations and to do more to analyze on how to take correct measures to solve the existing issue between Sino-Japanese relations.

Let me reiterate again that China's attitude on the issue of Yasukuni Shrine is resolute. We demand that the Japanese leaders stop paying homage to the Yasukuni Shrine where Class A criminals are worshipped and create conditions for the improvement and development of the Sino-Japanese relations. Chinese leaders also emphasize that as long as Japanese leaders express explicitly that they will stop paying homage to the Yasukuni Shrine where Class A criminals are worshipped, summit meeting will be resumed. This is a clear and resolute message to Japan. We hope that Japan can positively respond to our sincerity and good-will as well as our commitment to the improvement and development of the Sino-Japanese relations.  


Q: The railway linking Lhasa and Beijng will begin operation this year. Will foreign journalists be allowed to cover the event?


A: We understand your interest, but many people would like to travel with the first train. The Information Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is working vigorously on it.


Q: Is President Hu Jintao's upcoming visit to the US a state visit?


A: President Hu Jintao's visit to the US will be officially announced shortly. Please be more patient for a few more days.


If there are no further questions, I'll leave it there. Thank you.

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