Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Liu Jianchao's Regular Press Conference on 23 January, 2007

On the afternoon of January 23, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Liu Jianchao held a regular press conference. Liu answered questions related to President Hu Jintao's visit to Africa, Chinese leaders' visit to Japan, the six-party talks, China-Vatican relationship, and China's outer space test.

Liu: Good afternoon! I shall begin with an announcement.

At the invitation of President Paul Biya of Cameroon, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, President Omar Hassan Ahmed Al-Bashir of Sudan, President Levy Patrick Mwanawasa of Zambia, President Hifikepunye Pohamba of Namibia, President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, President Armando Emilio Guebuza and President James Alix Michel of Seychelles, President Hu Jintao will pay state visits to the eight countries from January 30 to February 10.

President Hu's this visit to Africa is an important diplomatic move after the successful opening of the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation. The visit is aimed to further deepen the China-Africa traditional friendship, take follow-up action on the outcome of the Beijing Summit, expand bilateral practical cooperation, promote common development, and carry out the eight policy measures declared by President Hu at the Beijing Summit. During his visit, President Hu will hold conversations and meetings with leaders of the eight countries, and exchange views on further strengthening the friendly cooperative ties and issues of common interest. I believe that President Hu's visit will surely further consolidate the China-Africa traditional friendship, enhance practical cooperation in every field, and promote the development of the new type of strategic partnership between China and Africa.

For your better knowledge of this visit, the IPC has invited Mr. Zhai Jun, the Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs to hold a briefing at 9:30, January 24, at the Press Hall. Your presence is welcomed. Relevant notice will also be released at the IPC website.

Now, the floor is open.

Q: It is reported that the six-party talks will be resumed around February 5. Could you confirm this?

A: As far as I know, all parties agree to resume the six-party talks as soon as possible. China is making preparation for the resumption. I will inform you of the exact date after consultation with other relevant parties.

Q: According to some Japanese media, it is unlikely for President Hu Jintao to visit Japan this year. Could you confirm? There is another report saying that Premier Wen Jiabao will deliver a speech at the Japanese Congress. Please confirm and introduce the schedule of Premier Wen's visit.

A: We've noted that there are speculations on China-Japan high-level exchanges and some of them are groundless. China is glad that China and Japan has resumed high-level exchanges, and both sides hold a positive view towards that. As to what exchanges and visits to be arranged, it is determined according to the demand of the development of bilateral relations, schedules of the two countries, and common aspiration through diplomatic channels.

Premier Wen Jiabao will pay an official visit to Japan this spring. This visit is aimed to further improve and develop the China-Japan good-neighborly friendship, keep the momentum of improvement and development of the China-Japan ties, and deepen mutually-beneficial cooperation in all fields. I believe Premier Wen Jiabao will make comprehensive contact with Japanese people from various circles during his visit. Detailed arrangement will be discussed through diplomatic channels.

Q: It is reported that China has informed the US Assistant Secretary Hill of its outer space test. Could you confirm? Why didn't China inform other countries before the test? Why did it take so long before China respond to other countries' concern after the test?

A: China has informed relevant parties, including the U.S., on the recent test in the outer space. I'd like to emphasize that China consistently advocates peaceful utilization of the outer space, and opposes to weaponization of arms race in the outer space. Neither has China has participated, nor will it participate in arms race of the outer space in any form.

Q: Vatican held a meeting on the catholic issue in China. What's your comment? The Prime Minister of Vietnam will visit Rome on January 25 and meet with the Vatican side to establish diplomatic relations as soon as possible. What's China's comment?

A: We have noted that Vatican held a meeting recently on the catholic issue in China and issued a communiqué. China has all along attached importance to the improvement of China-Vatican relations, and made unremitting efforts to this end. We are ready to keep contact and dialogue with Vatican on the basis of the two principles of China-Vatican relations, and search for means to improve our relations actively. We appreciate Vatican's efforts to make constructive dialogue with China so as to realize normalization of our bilateral relations. We hope that Vatican can face up to the fact of China's freedom of religious belief and the development of the Catholicism in China, and create conditions to normalize China-Vatican relations by its concrete actions.

I have no comment on the contact and dialogue conducted between Vietnam and Vatican.

Q: Who are going to accompany President Hu to visit Africa? Are the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Commerce included on the list? What energy deals will be signed then?

A: On President Hu's visit to Africa, the relevant departments are busy with preparing for this and making active communications with relevant parties. I believe that the officials in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Commerce will be included in the Chinese delegation, which is determined by the purpose of this visit. We are now keeping contact with relevant parties. I will keep you updated if the relevant contracts are signed.

Q: Who will the DPRK head of delegation of the Six-Party Talks Kim Kye-Gwan meet during his stay in China? What topics will be discussed? What about China's expectation? The ROK Minister of Foreign Affairs and Communications Song Min-Soon will visit China in the days to come. What's the purpose? Will the two visits help resume the Six-Party Talks at an early date?

A: As you mentioned about the Six-Party Talks, I'd like to brief you comprehensively on the recent development of the Talks. The heads of the U.S. and the DPRK of the delegations to the Six-Party Talks Hill and Kim Kye-Gwan visit China and respectively briefed China on their meeting in Berlin. Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei met with head of the ROK delegation Chun Yung-woo this morning, and will meet with Sasae tomorrow afternoon. In addition, at the invitation of Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing, ROK Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Song Min-Soon will visit China from January 25 to 27. Both sides will exchange views extensively on the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula, the Six-Party Talks, China-ROK relations and regional and international issues of mutual interest.

Since last session of the Six-Party Talks, the parties concerned made continual and extensive contacts. We believe these contacts are useful for the next stage of the Talks. Now, the parties have reached some consensus. For example, first, all parties hope that the Six-Party Talks can be resumed soon. Second, all parties hope the Talks will make progress in two aspects. One is the consensus on specific action to be taken by the six parties to implement the September 19 Joint Statement. The other is to discuss how to establish and improve the mechanism for implementing the Joint Statement and work out a rough timeframe, in order to ensure the materialization of the Joint Statement. We hope the parties concerned will maintain the current constructive and cooperative attitude, so as to resume the Talks as soon as possible and take firm stride on the way of implementing the Joint Statement.

Q: Doesn't China's outer space experiment contradict its principle of opposing weaponization of outer space? Why hadn't the Chinese government explained to foreign governments and media until long after the experiment?

A: China has nothing to conceal on this matter. Actually, China briefed the parties concerned on the outer space experiment soon after they expressed their concern. I emphasized just now that China's principled position of opposing weaponization and arms race of outer space remains unchanged. Meanwhile, I'd like to emphasize that this experiment is not targeted at any country, nor will it pose threat to any country.

Q:Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Shiozaki said at today's press conference that China does not make full explanation to the test in outer space and Japan will demand further clarification from China. Will China conduct more test?

A: Actually we have informed Japan. I don't know what else information Japan needs. If Japan wants to have an exchange with China, we welcome it.

On the second question, I have not heard about the plan for another test.

Q: Is the Chinese government worried that it will trigger arms race in outer space?

A: The position of China to oppose weaponization and arms race in outer space has not changed. China will continue to promote de-weaponization and prevent arms race in outer space. We uphold peaceful use of outer space.

Q: What countries have been informed by China? Before or after the test? Will China attend the international conference to aid Lebanon? How much will China donate?

A: After the test, China has informed some countries including the US and Japan. It shows again China's responsible attitude on the issue.

On the second question, China attaches great importance to the international conference to aid Lebanon in Paris. We will send the Special Envoy to Middle East Sun Bigan to the conference and provide assistance to the settlement of Lebanon question to the best of our capacity.

Q: Pakistani President Musharraf is visiting 5 Arab countries recently with an aim to explore the possibility for a peaceful solution to the Middle East issue. What is your comment?

A: As a good friend of Pakistan, China welcomes and supports the development of harmonious relations between Pakistan and relevant countries. We are glad to see the diplomatic achievements of Pakistan and play a greater role in international affairs.

Q: Five Chinese citizens hijacked in Nigeria returned to China. Could you tell us more about that? Were they released by the hijackers or rescued by the outside?

A: We are very pleased that they returned to the motherland safely. The officials from the Foreign Ministry and Commerce Ministry and people from their hometown and company arrived at the airport to welcome them yesterday. To ensure the security of relevant people and less such incident, we will not release more details in rescue work and hope you can understand.

Q: China says Taiwan question is the main obstacle for the normalization of China-Vatican relations. If Vatican severs its relations with Taiwan, will China invite Pope for a visit?

A: I think your understanding on the two principles of the Chinese side to improve and develop China-Vatican relations is incomplete. I just mentioned one principle that is to properly solve Taiwan question. That is to say Vatican shall sever the so-called diplomatic relations with Taiwan, adhere to one China policy, and recognize the government of PRC is the sole legal government representing whole China. Besides, we request Vatican to stop the interference in China's internal affairs in the name of religion. If the two conditions are satisfied, it will be conducive to the normalization of China-Vatican relations. As for the form for exchanges in future, it is the arrangement after the normalization of China-Vatican relations.

Q: What proposals will President Hu make during his visit to Africa?

A: China has maintained effective communication with relevant parties including Sudan and UN on the Darfur issue and positively promoted the solution of the issue. China is ready to continue a constructive role on the issue. I believe President Hu will exchange views with Sudanese leaders during his state visit to Sudan.

Q: Today the Taiwan authorities expressed their concerns on the test in outer space by the mainland and said the mainland is seeking hegemony in outer space. What is your comment? China recently unveiled Jian-10 fighter jet. The Taiwan authorities made remarks on the military development of China. What is your response?

A: I don't want to link the test in outer space with Taiwan question.

You asked me about the development of fighter in China. I think it shall not worry the people who stick to one China principle and oppose Taiwan independence and the separation from the motherland.

Q: According to the report from the ROK on Jan.22, in July, 1978 China and the DPRK signed a cooperation agreement to safeguard security and social order in border area. The main content is that when there is illegal border-cross between China and the DPRK, the two sides must provide the name and photograph of the border crossers. Can you confirm?

A: China has a long boundary and is connected with many countries. The necessary arrangements between China and relevant countries in safeguarding peace, tranquility and stability in border areas are in the common interest of China and its neighbours. For the illegal border crossers from the DPRK to China, our position has no change. We have dealt with the cases in accordance with China's domestic law, international law and humanitarian spirit. The international community has got clearer understanding on the issue. We will continue to pursue the policy.

Q: The Six-party Talks representatives of the DPRK and the ROK have arrived in Beijing. Is there any meeting between them? What is the content of their meeting?

A: Whether there is any meeting between the DPRK and the ROK, please refer your question to the two parties. We believe the contact and consultation between the parties are helpful to the resumption of the Talks and the substantive progress in the Talks.

Q: The US and the DPRK may hold financial talks in Beijing on Jan.24. Will the meeting be held this week or next week? The former US representative to the UN Bolton said last week in Tokyo that the Six-Party Talks have failed. The Korean Peninsula nuclear issue only can be solved with the collapse of the DPRK regime. What is your comment?

A: I have not heard about the financial consultation between the US and the DPRK. We welcome their consultation on the issue and hope they can solve the issue at an early date.

On the second question, at present the relevant parties shall take a constructive attitude for the resumption of the Talks and especially for the implementation of the Sep.19 Joint Statement. The parties concerned shall create favorable atmosphere for the solution of the issue through peaceful talks and other diplomatic efforts. It is in the interest of all parties. We hope the relevant personnel be prudent in their words and actions.

Q: Can you brief us the specific itinerary of Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing's visit to India and Japan next month?

A: China is having contact with relevant parties on it, and I will brief you on that after the date is fixed.

Q: At present, the foreign religion can not act freely in China. Does it belong to China's internal affairs? I am not very clear about the meaning of stopping the interference in China's internal affairs in the two principles.

A: You may read China's Constitution and religious regulations and legal documents. After that, you will find the question is not hard to answer. We will not talk about that here.

If there are no other questions, thank you.

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