On the afternoon of May 19, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Kong Quan held a regular press conference.
Kong: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen!
I would like to begin with three statements of visits:
At the invitation of President Hu Jintao, King Albert Ⅱ of the Kingdom of Belgium will pay a state visit to China on June 4 to 11.
At the invitation of President Hu Jintao, President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov will pay a state visit to China on May 25 to 27.
At the invitation of Premier Wen Jiabao, Prime Minister of the Republic of Croatia Ivo Sanader will pay an official visit to China on May 26 to 30.
Now, I'm ready to take up questions.
Q: At a meeting yesterday, Japanese Ambassador to China Anami said that China wouldn't support Japan in its bid for the permanent seat at the UN Security Council, even if Prime Minister stopped his visit to the Yasukuni Shrine. What's China's comment? Koizumi said that he believed his visit to the Shrine had nothing to do with Japan's bid for the permanent seat at the Security Council. Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong also expressed his views on Koizumi's visit to the Shrine yesterday. What comment does China have?
A: I haven't come across the statement of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yet. Can you brief me a bit?
Reporter: He said that Koizumi's defending his annual visit to the Shrine called up the "unpleasant memory" of many countries once occupied by Japan. In the Shrine, not only the Japanese war dead, but also the Japanese war criminals in the World War Ⅱ are worshiped. So on and so forth.
A: At last press conference, I have expressed our view on the relevant issue. We maintain that the foremost difficulty for the current China-Japan political relations is that Japanese leaders pay homage to the Yasukuni Shrine, where the class A war criminals are worshiped. This issue involves the standpoint on history. Japanese leaders have expressed on many occasions their deep remorse for the period in history when the Asian people, including the Chinese people, suffered untold scourges. They should earnestly match their remorse with their deeds, and refrain from any further act that hurts the feeling of the Chinese people and the Asian people. Only in this way can a solid foundation be laid for the healthy and stable development of China-Japan friendly relations. You must have noticed that Chinese President Hu Jintao made a five-point proposal in Jakarta when meeting with Prime Minister Koizumi, one of which is to handle the history issue correctly, so as to genuinely "take history as a mirror, and look forward to the future."
Q: It is reported that the Japanese Government declared on 17th of this month that 18 Japanese nationals registered their domicile of origin at the Diaoyu Islands. What comment does China have?
A: The Chinese Government holds a clear and consistent position on the issue of the Diaoyu Island. Regarding your question, I feel necessary to reiterate that Diaoyu Island and its affiliated islands have been Chinese territory since the ancient time, and China has indisputable evidences in terms of history and law. Any unilateral action taken by the Japanese side towards the island constitutes grave violation of China's sovereignty over its territory, thus only to be illegal and null. China stands firmly against it and will by no means accept.
Q: Vice Premier Wu Yi began a six-day visit to Japan from this week. When will she meet with Prime Minister Koizumi? What topics will they discuss?
A: At last press conference, I introduced Vice Premier's visit to Japan at the request of journalists. Her agenda generally consists of two parts, with the main the activities over the past days to be those within the framework of Aichi World Exposition. Yesterday she met with Japanese Minister of Economy and the Minister of Transportation and made an in-depth exchange of views on the further development of mutually-beneficial trade and economic cooperation between the two countries. Besides, she will meet some people in charge of World Exposition. Later, she will visit Tokyo at the invitation of the Japanese Government. The most important arrangement on her agenda is the meeting with Prime Minister Koizumi; besides, she will also attend the international symposium entitled "the Future of Asia" hosted by Nihon Keizai Shimbun.
Follow-up: But what is the exact date of the meeting? This weekend?
A: It should be a couple of days later, at the latter half of Premier Wu Yi's stay in Japan. I don't have the exact date of meeting at hands now.
Q: Aichi World Exposition will hold its closing ceremony this September, when the next hosting city-Shanghai will be introduced. The Japanese Government has a high expectation for Premier Wen's presence at the closing ceremony. Will he attend? Besides, will Prime Minister Koizumi's May 16th remarks on his homage to the Yasukuni Shrine affect Premier Wen's presence at the closing ceremony of World Exposition?
A: Regarding the expectation of the Japanese side for Premier Wen's presence at the closing ceremony of the World Exposition, I have no information to share with you. As to the issue of Yasukuni Shrine, I have briefed you on the position of the Chinese Government on the issue. It is a matter of great importance, which bears on not only the political foundation of China-Japan relations, but also how people of Asian countries view the repeated oral commitment of Japanese leaders to deep remorse on history. We hope the Japanese leaders will take into full consideration the feeling of peoples of Asian countries including the Chinese people and correctly treat the history, so as to win the trust of Asian people including the Chinese people with real actions.
Q: It is reported that the US White House is studying the proposal of American air force to "militarize the outer space", which is a fairly big shifting from its previous position. What comment does China have?
A: I have noticed relevant reports. Meanwhile, I have also noticed that the White House Spokesperson made a clarification on the news today. We think that the outer-space is the wealth shared by the entire mankind. We always advocate a peaceful use of outer space to benefit mankind. We oppose any introduction of weapons into the outer space and support active preventive measures including formulating relevant international legal documents through negotiations, so as to ensure the outer space is used for peaceful purpose.
Q: You just mentioned Vice Premier Wu Yi will soon meet with Prime Minister Koizumi and voiced your hope that Prime Minister Koizumi will avoid hurting the feeling of Asian people on Yasukuni Shrine issue. Thus will Vice Premier Wu Yi and Prime Minister Koizumi talk about the issue of paying homage to the Yasukuni Shrine during their meeting?
A: The Japanese side is clear about China's position on the issue. During the latest meeting between leaders of the two countries, President Hu Jintao made a complete and all-round elaboration on China's view to Prime Minister Koizumi with unequivocal words.
Q: Mr. Abbas is visiting China. Does China offer economic assistance to the Palestinian side this time? If so, please introduce the content and amount of the assistance.
A: President of Palestine National Authority Abbas concluded his visit to China and left today. During his visit, Mr.Abbas met with Chinese leaders including President Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiabao and State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan. Foreign Ministers of the two sides also had a meeting. The meetings covered a wide range of in-depth topics. The consensus reached by the two sides includes further developing mutually-beneficial and friendly cooperative relations, making joint efforts to push forward the Middle-East peace process, and so on. As far as I know, China and Palestinian side signed five documents of cooperation during this visit, including China-Palestine agreement of economic and technological cooperation, agreement of economic, trade and technological cooperation. China agreed to offer 50 million-worth economic aids and gratis, some aids in kind such as medical equipment, mobile houses and cultural and sports utilities.
Q: The US side is going to set restrictions on the import of textiles from China. What's the comment of the Chinese side?
A: I have taken note of the news. The Ministry of Commerce is in charge of the affairs in this regard and will react to them. However, concerning the bilateral relations, I want to stress that the China-US economic and trade ties are mutually-beneficial. Its rapid development has proven that the ties have brought practical interests to the two countries. Therefore, we hold that the US side should not take arbitrary unilateral actions when problems and difficulties crop up during the development of the China-US economic and trade relations. We hope the US side to take a constructive attitude, and appropriately handle the relevant issues through consultation with China on an equal footing.
Q: Japanese leaders said that the Chinese people are not aware of the amount and the range of the ODA from Japan. Do you think the Chinese people know that? And how do they know that?
A: I don't agree to the view that China has given inadequate publicity to the ODA. In fact, since the establishment of the ODA plan, we have always been actively giving objective and comprehensive introduction to the positive role of the ODA in China's economic construction. The ODA covers an amount of 3 trillion Japanese yen and 232 programs since Japan began to offer it to China. These economic programs have played a positive role in China's economic construction and improved people's livelihood. On the other hand, a lot of ODA programs are preferential loans, which must be repaid by China. Therefore, the two sides should take an objective and positive attitude to review the effective cooperation in implementing the ODA programs, and continue to further strengthen the mutually-beneficial trade and economic cooperation with such a positive and constructive spirit.
Q: Some Japanese politician said that China would not support Japan's bid for the permanent membership of the Security Council even Prime Minister Koizumi stopped paying homage to the Yasukuni Shrine. If Koizumi publicly declared that he will no longer pay homage to the Yasukuni Shrine, will it be decisive to the shift of China's position on Japan's bid for the permanent membership of the Security Council?
A: I have just made clear our position on Japanese leaders' paying homage to the Yasukuni Shrine, which the Class A war criminals were worshiped. We hope Japanese leaders to honor their commitments to the international community in deed, face up the history of aggression, show deep remorse on their wrong conducts and the severe damage to the people of China and the rest of the Asia, refrain from any further moves that hurt the feelings of the people in China and Asian countries, and take practical actions to win their trust.
As to the issue of the UN and Security Council reform, I gave a complete elaboration on China's stance at the press conference last time. The Group of Four distributed the relevant draft. We think there is a big gap between the content of the draft resolution and the positions of many countries. What should we do in face of this gap? We hold that the current situation requires us to conduct extensive consultations, give full play to democracy, and heed the opinions of the member states in its large numbers, especially of the developing countries.
Q: The RMB issue has been politicalized. The US Congress will pass several acts to make trade retaliation against China if the RMB exchange rate is not raised. What's China's comment?
A: To politicalize economic and trade issues is exactly what we cannot agree to. Regarding the economic and trade ties between China and the US, I remember I said to you last time that during the past 26 years since the establishment of the diplomatic relations, the bilateral trade volume has grown by 60 times. It proves that there must be a mutually-beneficial and win-win foundation for the development of the China-US economic and trade ties, which must benefit both sides and conform to their interests. How can the process of the rapid development be free of problems and frictions? Only by resolving these frictions and problems through equal dialogues, can we further expand and deepen the China-US economic and trade relations on a healthy basis. And only this will really conform to the interest of both sides.
Q: Please brief whether there will be exchanges of high-level visits between China and the DPRK in the near future. Will President Hu Jintao possibly visit the DPRK?
A: What I can tell you is that China and the DPRK have maintained a tradition of high-level exchanges. If there is any news in this regard, we will release it promptly.
If there are no more questions, thank you for your presence. See you next time!