Foreign Ministry Spokesman Kong Quan's Regular Press Conference on 26 January 2006

On the afternoon of January 26, Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan held a regular press conference.

Kong: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen! Today, I don't have announcement to make. If you have any questions, I'd be glad to answer. Who wants to raise the first question?

Q: Secretary of Supreme National Security Council Larijani is visiting China and met with Li Zhaoxing, and he will meet with State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan. Please offer some details of the meeting. What position does China hold on Iran's uranium enriching?

A: Your information is accurate. Iranian Secretary of Supreme National Security Council Larijani arrived in Beijing this morning. He visits China at the invitation of Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing. Around this noon, Li Zhaoxing held talks with him, mainly focusing on China-Iran relations. Meanwhile, they touched upon the current Iranian nuclear issue and other issues of common interest. Ten minutes later, State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan will meet with Mr. Larijani. We will release the news briefing promptly after the meeting.

On Chinese Government's position on the Iranian nuclear issue, we feel concerned about the latest development of this issue, and hope the parties concerned to take concrete measures to ease the situation. Meanwhile, we also emphasize that it serves the interest of all parties concerned under the current circumstances to solve this issue through negotiation.

Follow-up: What position on earth does China have on Iran's uranium enriching?

A: What you talked about is part of the Iranian nuclear issue. I have told the general position of the Chinese Government on Iranian nuclear issue, which comprises our position on that issue.

Q: Before Larijani visited China, Russia put forward a proposal to conduct the uranium enriching on Russian territory. Does China support the proposal? Yesterday, when meeting the foreign press in Sichuan, US Deputy Secretary of State Zoellick said that he had told China during consultation that if Iran were permitted to develop nuclear program, the crude oil supply to China would face a major threat. Do you think Iran's nuclear development will have impact on the crude oil supply to China?

A: Actually, the proposal on enriching uranium in Russia has been there for some time. We believe this proposal, after all, is a helpful try to break the impasse. Now, it requires joint efforts of all parties to find a way out of the impasse. The Chinese Government has consistently maintained tha the issue should be properly resolved through peaceful negotiation. We welcome all constructive proposals that seek proper solution of the issue through diplomatic means.

On your second question, we have not seen the remarks of Mr. Zoellick yet. But I have clearly explained China's general position and attitude on the Iranian nuclear issue.

Q: Recently, did Chinese official, especially Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing, make telephone conversation with relevant officials of other countries? What did they say? You said you hoped all parties could take concrete moves to ease the crisis. What concrete move do you expect from these countries, in particular Iran?

A: As to whether Minister Li made telephone conversations with his foreign colleagues, our usual practice is to release information once such conversation is made. Over the past three days, I have not got any information on Minister Li's telephone conversation with his foreign colleagues.

On your second question, on the one hand, we take an open attitude towards any constructive proposal forwarded by any that helps break the impasse. On the other hand, we also think the parties concerned should take concrete moves. You asked me what concrete moves should be taken. I think I can summarize it in this way: all the moves are the concretes moves to be taken as long as they help ease the current situation.

Follow-up : Yesterday, Zoellick claimed that the US and China shared basically identical position on the Iranian nuclear issue. Do you agree?

A: The international community is much concerned about the Iranian nuclear issue. We have also clearly expressed the position of the Chinese Government on this issue. We still believe that we should stick to the diplomatic means to properly solve the issue, and in particular, step up diplomatic efforts before the special meeting of IAEA Board of Directors in February, so as to create conditions for resuming the talks. This is what China says and how we practice. On the one hand, China maintains contact and consultation with other parties, including the US. Meanwhile, we receive an Iranian senior official in charge today. We hope our effort can promote greater diplomatic effort by all parties concerned, so as to resume talks at an early date and properly solve the Iranian nuclear issue.

Follow-up: Do China and the US share basically identical position?

A: You should compare on your own.

Q: As a permanent member of the Security Council and an important Asian country, what role can China play? What strategy does China work out to promote the solution the Iranian nuclear issue?

A: The Iranian nuclear issue is a very complicated matter. Over a period of time, there have been some ups and downs. We hope to solve this issue through diplomatic negotiation. Now, diplomatic negotiation is caught in impasse. In order to break the impasse, on the one hand, the parties concerned should take concrete action to ease the tension. On the other hand, it requires other parties to step up diplomatic mediation and other effort. We keep open-minded toward all constructive proposals that help break impasse, and we are making vigorous effort to promote stronger consultation and dialogue between the parties concerned.

Q: Yesterday, Larijani appreciated Russia's proposal on enriching uranium within Russia, and said other countries should take part in the proposal, so as to realize an all-round constructive cooperation. Is China willing to participate in the cooperation? If yes, what role will China play? Second question, Russia forwarded a proposal on the Iranian nuclear issue. Will China forward its own diplomatic proposal? China hosted the Six-Party Talks on the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula. Will China propose talks on the Iranian nuclear issue in the similar form?

A: We think Russia proposal to Iran is a nice try to break the impasse. We also hope all parties can further exert their wisdom and put forward new proposals, so as to create favorable conditions for resuming the negotiation.

As far as I know, the Chinese Government has not received so far any formal invitation from the Iranian side to take part in the proposal on enriching uranium in Russia. In the past, the Iranian nuclear issue has been all along handled through negotiation within the IAEA framework. The key at this stage is to break the impasse, and this requires joint efforts of all parties.

Q: It is reported that China is discussing with other Security Council members on the sanction against Iran. What's your comment?

A: I don't think your information is accurate. The Chinese Government has a clear position on handling similar complicated international disputes. We oppose arbitrary use or threat of sanction in solving these issues. Such practice may complicate the issues sometimes. On the one hand, we stay in contact with other permanent members of the Security Council and other parties. On the other hand, we urge the parties concerned to enhance diplomatic effort and create favorable condition for the resumption of negotiation.

Q: You said Russia's proposal was a nice try. Does China think it can serve as a foundation for easing the impasse?

A: We think as a nice try, it is worthy of serious discussion, so that we can see whether the impasse will be broken through this try and subsequently necessary conditions will be created for the resumption of negotiation on the Iranian nuclear issue.

Q: What's China's position on Iran's possession of nuclear weapons? Are you firmly opposed to it?

A: On your first question, I don't want to single out any country. But we think all signatory parties to the Non-proliferation Treaty should have their legitimate rights to the peaceful use of nuclear energy respected. But meanwhile we have to stress that we are firmly opposed to any nuclear proliferation activity. These countries should strictly abide by the provisions and obligations in the treaty.

Q: The Foreign Ministry issued a China's Africa Policy Paper recently. How will China implement its Africa policy? For example, holding China-Africa Forum on Cooperation, new assistances plan, energy cooperation, etc. Second, China hopes to hold a China-Africa Summit this fall. Which countries will attend? What's the agenda? How's the preparation work going? Will you invite surrounding countries in Asia to attend as observers?

A:The Forum on China-Africa Cooperation has been established for years. This Forum provides a platform between China and Africa for collective dialogue and mutually-beneficial cooperation so as to promote mutual understanding and friendly and mutually-beneficial cooperation. China now is considering the third ministerial meeting of the Forum in Beijing this autumn as well as the China-Africa Summit at the same time. The relevant preparation work is in full swing. As to whether the surrounding countries will be invited as observers, I don't know yet, and I will have a double-check for you.

China and Africa enjoy extensive cooperation in diverse fields. First, from the political perspective, the Chinese Government will continue to strengthen the exchanges of high level visits and personnel exchanges at different levels and in various fields with African countries this year. Second, China will further enhance its cooperation, enrich the cooperation forms, and deepen the content in trade and economic fields with African countries. Third, China will further intensify China-Africa cooperation in education, culture, science and technology and other fields. As the largest developing country, China shares a lot of common development tasks with African countries, including education. Many African countries have overseas students in China majoring in various fields. Our two sides have broad cooperation prospect in this area. Fourth, China share identical or similar views with African countries on many important international and regional issues. China will reinforce its coordination and cooperation with African countries in international affairs so as to jointly safeguard the rights and interests of developing countries.

Q: We know from the National Bureau of Statistics of China yesterday that China has become the fourth largest economy in the world. What's your comment on this? Will China attend the G-8 financial minister's meeting? The World Economic Forum annual meeting is going on, China becomes one of the main topics of today's meeting. What is China's goal in this meeting?

A: Yesterday, the news released by Mr. Li Deshui, Commissioner of National Bureau of Statistics on his press conference got strong reverberation not only in China but also in the international community. According to the initial statistics, China's GDP last year reached 18 trillion RMB Yuan, an equivalent to 2.2 trillion US dollars. All the Chinese people and people who care about China will feel proud of China's great achievements in the 20 odd years after its reform and opening up. On the other hand, the Chinese Government, the leaders and the general public maintain calmness in the face of the big achievement. From one perspective, this is only a gross figure, and we shall not forget China's population of 1.3 billion. In per capita terms, we rank behind 100th in the world with only 1700 US dollars. From the other perspective, there are still some problems which the Chinese government is trying to solve, such as the pattern of economic growth, the problems in the current economic operation process, and the weak agriculture foundation. In short, the Chinese Government and people will continue to make efforts and devote ourselves to development so as to make contributions for the consistent development of our country and for the development and prosperity of the human beings.

We attach importance to the role of G-8 in the current world economic affairs, and its dialogue with developing countries on different occasions. Up to now, I myself haven't read any official news on how this time the G-8 meeting will be held.

The Chinese Vice Premier Zeng Peiyan attended the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos. Yesterday, he made a speech to introduce to the international community about China's current economic and social development. At the same time, he stressed that the rapid development of China brought broad business and cooperation opportunities to other countries. We are looking forward that our economic development can boost common development and our wish for cooperation can bring about tangible benefits to various parties.

Apart from the plenary session, there are some meetings for special issues, maybe including China's financial issue. Because Mr. Zhou Xiaochuan is in the delegation, he will have full exchanges of ideas with the people who are interested in China's economy, especially the personage from the financial and bank circles.

If there are no more questions, I have a brief announcement to make: The Ministry's regular press conference will be suspended for the Chinese Lunar New Year Holiday on January 31st (Tuesday) and February 2nd (Thursday), 2006 and resumed on February 7th (Tuesday). During the break, the Spokesperson's Office can still be contacted via mobile phone.

Wish you a very happy and prosperous Chinese Lunar New Year! Thank you!

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