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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang's Regular Press Conference on August 26, 2008

On the afternoon of August 26, 2008, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang held a regular press conference and answered questions on President Hu Jintao's visit to the ROK, the Beijing Olympics, the SCO Dushanbe Summit, and the Six-Party Talks.

Qin Gang: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I have an announcement to start with.

At the invitation of Vice Premier Wang Qishan of the State Council, Mr. Wong Kan Seng, Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore, will be in China from September 2 to 6, 2008. He will join Vice Premier Wang Qishan to co-chair the 5th Meeting of Chia-Singapore Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation, the 10th Meeting of China-Singapore Joint Steering Council for Suzhou Industrial Park, and the 1st Meeting of China-Singapore Joint Steering Committee for Tianjin Eco-City.

Now, the floor is open.

Q: I have three questions. First, is China concerned that winning the largest number of gold medals might intimidate other countries? According to Chinese media, the Beijing Olympics have won more respect for China. How do you comment? Do you believe the Games will change the international status of China? Second, the Russian Federation Commission and State Duma approved a resolution recently, calling upon the government to recognize South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states. Do you have any comment? Third, Dalai said in an interview in France that Chinese police shot dead hundreds of protesters in Ganzi, Sichuan Province. Could you confirm?

A: On your first questions, Chinese athletes made outstanding achievements and won glory for the Chinese people during the Olympics, which should be attributed to their long-term training, tenacity and support from all the Chinese people. We'd like to congratulate them.

Meanwhile, athletes from other countries and regions, following the Olympic motto of faster, higher, stronger, also fight hard to exceed themselves and challenge the limit. We'd also like to extend our congratulations to them on their great performance and sportsmanship.

Thanks to the efforts of athletes from China and the rest of the world, the level of the Olympic Games have been further raised and the Olympic spirit been promoted. Whether they win a medal or not, they all have made important contribution to the Olympic spirit and the Games, which is worthy of our respect.

There is something more important than winning a gold medal, which is to carry forward the Olympic spirit of unity, friendship and cooperation by holding the Games. We hope to enhance mutual understanding, friendship and cooperation between people, to further develop sports in China and to build up our people's fitness through the Beijing Olympics.

The Beijing Games is indeed a huge success, which is impossible without the leadership of the Chinese government and the efforts of the Chinese people, as well as the joint endeavors of the international community and the hard work of athletes around the world. The success has not only enhanced mutual understanding and friendship between China and the rest of the world, but also given the world a fresh opportunity to fully understand China.

China remains a developing country and it remains a long-term and arduous task for China to develop itself. Compared with developed countries, China still lags behind in many areas. To achieve better development, we will safeguard national stability and territorial integrity, speed up economic construction, while building up a harmonious society. We will adhere to the path of peaceful development, unswervingly adopt the opening-up strategy featuring mutual benefit and win-win outcome, and continue our friendly exchanges and cooperation with other countries on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit, so as to work together with the world people and make our due contribution to world peace, stability, development and shared prosperity.

As to your second question, we have noted the latest developments of the situation, and we hope relevant parties find a proper resolution of the issue through dialogue.

For your third question, there are always full of contradictions and loopholes in Dalai's words. You may ask him what evidence he has for such remarks. We hope he stop his separatist activities and do things beneficial to the development of Tibet and his motherland in his lifetime.

Q: During President Hu Jintao's visit to the ROK, the latter hoped China to stop expatriating border-crossers from the DPRK. How did China respond to that?

A: For the illegal DPRK border-crossers, we have been following domestic and international laws and humanitarian principle. The issue has been properly addressed on a case-by-case basis. We will continue to do that in the future.

Q: President Hu Jintao will attend the SCO Dushanbe Summit, could you brief us the topics and what results China hope to achieve? Does China see the Summit an appropriate venue to discuss the situation in South Ossetia? Will China support the Summit to release a statement concerning the South Ossetia issue?

A: The main mandate of the SCO Dushanbe Summit is to consolidate mutual trust, enhance solidarity, deepen cooperation and promote development. The heads of state will exchange views on the SCO development and current major international and regional issues. While summarizing the work since the Bishkek Summit, leaders will chart the course for future security, economic and people-to-people cooperation within the SCO and its external exchanges. As usual, during the Summit, heads of state will sign and issue the Dushanbe Declaration and a Joint Communique on the results, as well as a series of documents in security and exchanges. At the Summit, leaders will expound their shared position on issues of interest within the framework of the agenda, and the South Ossetia issue will be no exception. We believe this Summit will further promote SCO's development and contribute to safeguarding regional peace and stability and promoting common development of SCO members.

Q: First, congratulations on the success of Beijing Olympic Games. During the closing ceremony, we saw a map marking what the ROK claimed to be "the East Sea" as "the Sea of Japan". And the ROK has expressed strong dissatisfaction with it. Is it a mistake by BOCOG or it represents the official position of the Chinese Government? It is reported that the ROK has requested China to make corrections. What is China's response?

A: Thank you for your congratulation. We would also like to congratulate the ROK athletes on their excellent performance during the Games.

As to the question of different names, "the Sea of Japan" has been widely used internationally. I believe when the relevant departments used this name at the closing ceremony, they were just following the practice adopted by most countries. We also have noted that the ROK has different views and considerations, and hope that countries concerned can resolve this issue through consultation.

Q: A White House official just said that China missed the opportunity of the Olympic Games to show progress on human rights and failed to handle demonstrations properly and respect human rights. How do you comment?

A: The Chinese Government has been consistently dedicated to safeguarding and improving human rights of the Chinese people. Our effort to improve human rights did not just start when we hosted the Olympic Games, nor will it stop after the Games. The Chinese Constitution explicitly specifies the need to safeguard and improve human rights. China will remain committed to this lofty mission. We express our dissatisfaction with the remarks by the US official.

We have noted that the US official and his colleagues have mentioned several foreigners in Beijing who engaged in separatist activities for "Tibet Independence" during the Olympics. By engaging in such activities, they broke Chinese laws, and it is only natural and proper that relevant Chinese authorities investigated and handled the incidents according to law. We also hope that to avoid similar incident, the US side can educate its citizens abroad to obey the law of the host countries.

I'm not sure whether the US official had US dollar bills in his pocket when he made the remarks. Printed on the back of five-dollar bill is the portrait of President Abraham Lincoln who is deeply revered by the Americans. He stated in his inaugural address in 1861 that "in view of the Constitution and the laws the Union is unbroken." If the official can take a closer look at what President Lincoln said in this address, he will be able to better understand the resolve and efforts of the Chinese Government and people to maintain national unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity. Please stop applying double standards here.

Q: The DPRK claimed that it would halt the disablement process of its nuclear facilities, and might restore the function of the Yongbyon facilities. Has China been notified? How do you comment on this? If the DPRK refuses to deliver its commitments during the second phase, what new measures will China adopt to push forward the Six-Party Talks?

A: Recently some positive progress has been made in the Six-Party Talks process. The Head of Delegation Meeting and the informal meeting of the Foreign Ministers have been held consecutively, with much important consensus reached. At present, the Six-Party Talks faces important opportunities. Meanwhile, it is also a complicated process, involving interest and concerns of various parties, thus it will not be a flat sail. Whenever there is a turn for the better or difficulty, we have to bear in mind the denuclearization of the Peninsula and peace and stability in Northeast Asia, as well as our respective solemn commitments, enhance mutual trust, endeavor to meet each other half way, and take common actions to press ahead with the Six-Party Talks in the spirit of mutual respect.

China has kept close communication and coordination with other parties on relevant issues. It is the same case between other parties. We hope to overcome the difficulties and ramifications, implement the remaining second-phase actions in a comprehensive and balanced way and push forward the Talks to a new stage.

China will continue to play a constructive role in this regard. We are open to any plan or measure conductive to promoting the denuclearization process of the Peninsula and safeguarding regional peace and stability. We will take an active part in the process.

If there are no more questions, thank you for coming. See you.

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