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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhang Qiyue's Press Conference on July 1, 2004

Zhang: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I shall start with one announcement.

At the invitation of Premier Wen Jiabao, Prime Minister Khin Nyunt of the Union of Myanmar will pay an official good-will visit to China from 11 to 17 July.

With that, I'm happy to take your questions.

Q: It's reported that the International Aids Conference will be held in Bangkok from July 11 to 16. Who will attend the conference on behalf of the Chinese government? Are there any non-official representatives from China? What's the purpose of the meeting? What's your expectation? We heard that the King of Jordan will visit China. Can you confirm it ?

A: International Aids Conference will be held in Bangkok. My understanding is that Vice Minister of Health Wang Longde will lead a delegation to attend the conference. Two days ago, Vice Minister Wang and other health officials briefed the press on tremendous efforts and specific measures the Chinese Government has been taking. AIDS is the common challenge to all the mankind. The international community needs to enhance cooperation to effectively address the problem and prevent it from deteriorating worldwide. It's in the spirit of seeking international cooperation that the Chinese delegation will attend the conference. We hope that we can find ways to handle the problem more effectively through exchanges of experience and practice with other participants.

So far we haven't got any information concerning the visit of the King of Jordan. I can make inquiries for you.

Q: Reports say that tens of thousands of people in Hong Kong took to the street today to protest Beijing's limitation on democracy and freedom. Britain and some countries have expressed concern over China's compliance with relevant agreements. What's your comment? German officials confirm that 4 Koreans entered German diplomatic facilities. And the ROK reports said that another North Korean woman was caught by the Chinese police. Will China allow the four North Koreans go to a third country? How is China going to deal with the woman?

A: Today marks the 7th anniversary of Hongkong's return to the motherland. Different sectors in Hongkong held solemn flag-raising ceremony and other celebrations this morning. After its return,

Hongkong is able to maintain political stability and economic progress in accordance with the principle of "one country, two systems", "Hongkong people governing Hongkong" and high degree of autonomy which were set by the Central Government. Hongkong people have been enjoying real and unprecedented democracy, which is witnessed by the international community. I'd like to stress here that the Chinese Government and people have the ability, confidence and wisdom to handle well the Hongkong affairs. We resolutely oppose unreasonable accusation of foreign forces, which interfere in China's internal affairs.

On your second question, we learnt from the German embassy in Beijing that four unidentified people broke into the German School in Beijing last night. Further investigation is still going on. The identities of these people are not clear at the moment.

Q: After the transfer of power from the US to Iraq, the Japanese self-defense troops will remain in Iraq. And its nature will be different from when it was part of the multi-national troops. What's your comment? The Japanese Prime Minister stated publicly that the Japanese Constitution needs to be revised, the peace clause of the 9th article in particular, so that Japan is entitled to collective defense. It's Japan's domestic affair but China fell victim of the Japanese militarist invasion. What's your comment?

A: I'd like to give you one answer to your two questions. Because of historic reasons, Asian states including China are very much concerned over Japan's movements or actions in military and security fields. We hope that Japan can proceed from the maintenance of peace and stability in the whole of Asia as well as from its own interests to stick to the path of peaceful development.

Q: ARF Foreign Minister's Meeting will be held in Jakarta tomorrow. What's your comment on the upcoming decision of the meeting to accept Pakistan as the ARF member?

A: ARF meeting will be held in Jakarta, Indonesia shortly. In fact many bilateral meetings are being held today. ARF is the most important official multi-national forum on political and security dialogue and cooperation. In the past dozens of years, ARF has played a positive role in further enhancing mutual trust and cooperation among member states as well as peace and stability in the whole region. China attaches great importance to the significant role of ARF in the Asia Pacific region. Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing will lead a delegation to attend the meeting. He had talks with Foreign Ministers of Indonesia and other countries and attended the foreign ministers' meeting with ASEAN countries on one side and China, Japan and ROK on the other side. Views were exchanged on the meeting concerning Asia's security situation and issues of common interest.

Pakistan's accession to ARF is a topic for discussion during the meeting. ARF members are positive towards it. I believe that Pakistan's accession will be a positive contribution to the whole region's peace and stability.

Q: The recent EU report expresses support to general suffrage in Hongkong in 2007 and 2008, saying that July 1 demonstrations are expression of Hongkong people's aspiration for democracy. There will be protest again today in Hongkong, what's your comment? Today Ministry of Health publicized a SARS report and five people would resign because of SARS poor management, arousing attention of Hongkong and international community, please comment.

A: As an answer to your first question, I think you know very clearly that as the spokesperson of the Foreign Ministry, I'm in no position to make comment on affairs relating to Hongkong itself. But on the EU report, I noted in my answer to the early question that Hongkong affairs are internal affairs of China. The Chinese Government and people have the full confidence, ability and wisdom to handle them well. After Hongkong's return, the Central Government has made achievements witnessed by all on implementing the principles of "one country, two systems", "Hongkong people governing Hongkong" and "Hongkong enjoying high degree of autonomy" as well as the Basic Law. I'd like to stress again that we resolutely oppose any unreasonable accusation of Hongkong by foreign forces, which interfere in China's internal affairs.

You are suggested to find the answer of your second question from the Ministry of Health.

Q: Could you please comment on the disputes between China and Japan on the exploration of the natural gas in the East China Sea? Will China refer the disputes to the international court for arbitration? Has China put forth a demarcation map as asked by Japan?

A: Disputes do exist between China and Japan concerning the demarcation in the East China Sea. We hope that Japan can proceed from the general interests of the bilateral relationship and refrain from taking any actions that may complicate the situation.

Q: Can you brief us on the new border agreement between China and the DPRK?

A: You may be talking about the agreement on border defence cooperation between China and the DPRK. From June 26 to 29, Assistant General Staff Li Yu visited the DPRK with a delegation. During the visit, he signed with the DPRK representatives an agreement of border defence cooperation between the two sides and met with military leaders of the DPRK.

The agreement was signed in the context where the Chinese Government decided to unify the land border management mode last September. Since then, the PLA border troops has replaced the public security border forces to take the charge of the management of the border between China and the DPRK.

The purpose is to further improve the contact mechanism between the two border representative authorities, to standardize the way to handle border affairs and promote exchanges between the two border authorities so that the border between the two can be better managed. It's of significance to further developing the traditional friendship between the two sides, promoting economic growth in the border areas of the two countries as well as guaranteeing normal exchanges between the two peoples.

Follow-up: What impact will it have on those North Koreans trespassing the border into China?

A: I have explained that the agreement is signed in accordance with the decision of the Chinese Government last year to let the PLA border troops replace public security border forces to be in charge of border management. The major purpose is to further standardize the management of border affairs, enhance contact between the two representing authorities and promote personnel exchanges.

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