|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang's Regular Press Conference on June 10, 2010|
Qin Gang: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I have no announcement to make. Now the floor is open.
Q: With the adoption of a new resolution on sanctions against Iran by the UN Security Council, is any Chinese official planning to hold talks with Iranian President Ahmadinejad during his visit to China?
A: I have already made it clear at the previous press conference that Iranian President Ahmadinejad will come to China for activities of the Iranian Pavilion Day at the Shanghai World Expo.
Q: The UN Security Council voted on sanctions against Iran yesterday evening. Today, the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization said China is gradually losing its respectable status in the Islamic world and by the time it wakes up, it will be too late. Is China concerned that voting along with other permanent members of the Security Council in favor of new sanctions against Iran will compromise China's status in the Islamic world?
A: I have several points to make. First, China handles the Iranian nuclear issue with a view to maintaining the authority of the international nuclear non-proliferation regime as well as peace and stability in the Middle East, especially the Gulf region. Resolution 1929 just adopted by the Security Council reflects not only China's position, but also the concerns of the international community over the Iranian nuclear issue and the expectation of the international community for a peaceful settlement of the issue through dialogue and negotiations.
Second, China' attitude to and position on resolving the Iranian nuclear issue are responsible and constructive, and its efforts are widely recognized. This is also well-known to Iran. China has repeatedly stressed that the Security Council's adoption of the resolution does not mean the door to diplomatic solution of the Iranian nuclear issue is closed. We call upon all parties to continue their efforts to push for a long-term, comprehensive and proper settlement of the issue. Resolution 1929 also reflects this point. The adoption of the Resolution and the actions by the Security Council are aimed to bring the issue back to the track of negotiations instead of only imposing sanctions. China will work along with all parties concerned and continue to make its contribution to the proper settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue through diplomatic efforts.
Third, China has maintained close and sound communication with all parties, Iran included, in handling the Iranian nuclear issue over the years. We will continue to do so in future. I would like to emphasize that China values its relations with Iran. The development of China-Iran relations is not only in the interest of the two sides, but also conducive to regional peace, stability and development. We are also of the view that the relationship between China and the Islamic world based on solidarity, mutual trust and cooperation can stand the test and will keep moving forward with concerted efforts of the two sides.
Q: Michael Mullen, Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff has said he is "dismayed" by China's lack of support for efforts to pressure the DPRK over the Cheonan incident. How do you comment?
A: Regarding the Cheonan incident, China has taken a fair and responsible attitude, made its own judgment fairly and objectively and decided on its position according to the merits of the issue. Our purpose to handle this issue is to maintain peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and all our efforts are based on this position. Therefore we hope parties concerned can understand it and join us to properly handle the incident. Under the current circumstances, all parties concerned need particularly to stay calm and exercise restraint, refrain from escalating the tensions and make joint efforts to maintain the hard-won peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.
Q: Firstly, the statement by the E3+3 foreign ministers after the adoption of the UN Security Council Resolution 1929 ignored efforts of Brazil and Turkey. Does that mean diplomatic efforts can only be made by permanent members of the Security Council? Secondly, Envoy Wu Sike is now visiting in the Middle East. Will China change its policy on Hamas? Will he meet with Hamas leaders?
A: On your first question, we value the efforts made by Brazil and Turkey in promoting peaceful settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue as well as their agreement with Iran on the Tehran research reactor fuel swap deal, which is part of the efforts of the international community to seek a peaceful settlement of the issue through diplomatic means. The just adopted resolution by the Council and the statement issued by E3+3 foreign ministers both affirmed the efforts of Brazil and Turkey. We hope all parties continue to make efforts and strengthen cooperation so as to push for a peaceful settlement of the issue.
On your second question, Mr. Wu Sike, China's Special Envoy on Middle East issues has visited Palestine and met with Tayeb, Secretary General of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) as well as Palestinian Foreign Minister Shaath. China's principled stance on the Palestine issue remains unchanged.
Q: Firstly, China always believes in resolving the Iranian nuclear issue through dialogues and negotiations but supports new sanctions over Iran. Will this new round of sanctions help settle the issue or just complicate it? Secondly, Israel refused an international investigation on its attacking against the Turkish humanitarian aid fleet to Gaza and insisted on investigating by itself. How do you comment?
A: I'd like to reiterate that the Security Council resolution reflects the attitude of the international community on the Iranian nuclear issue, including concerns over the issue and its settlement through peaceful means. The adoption of the resolution does not mean the end of diplomatic efforts. The resolution and actions by the Council are not only for the purpose of sanctions, but to continue pushing for progress through dialogues and negotiations. Sanctions can not resolve the issue fundamentally and dialogues and negotiations are the only way out. We hope relevant parties bear this in mind and make joint efforts for a peaceful settlement of the issue through diplomatic means.
On Israel's attack against the Turkish humanitarian aid fleet, we have condemned it and hope this incident can be investigated and handled in a just manner.
Q: Yesterday the US Senate decided to ask the Treasury report annually on the risk to US economy brought by it national debts and said that as the largest US national debt owner, China may manipulate US domestic and foreign policies or undermine its economic stability. How do you comment?
A: I suggest you refer this to competent authorities. I'd like to stress that the economic and trade cooperation between China and the US is mutually-beneficial and gains win-win outcome. We hope some persons in the US not be so paranoid. Since you are selling bonds, things need to be handled according to market rules and should not be politicized.
Q: Why does China change its mind to agree on a new round of sanctions against Iran? Is it because of any pressure from any parties?
A: I need to clarify that there is no so-called change of mind of China on the issue. China's attitude on the Iranian nuclear issue is consistent and clear-cut. Our position is that the international nuclear nonproliferation regime need to be maintained and peace and stability of the Middle East especially the Gulf region should be safeguarded. The concerns of related parties need to be addressed in the process of handling the issue.
Q: Yesterday and today, senior officials of the Foreign Ministry met with Chun Yung-woo, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of the ROK. Please share with us more details on their talks.
A: During Deputy Minister Chun Yung-woo's stay here as the guest of the Embassy of the ROK in China, he talked with senior officials of the Chinese Foreign Ministry on the considerations of the ROK side on submitting the Cheonan Incident to the Security Council. We reiterated China's principled position on the incident and stressed that relevant parties need to safeguard peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula, keep calm and exercise restraint, and be prudent in handling the involvement of the Security Council in the incident.
Follow-up: Which senior officials of the Foreign Ministry met with him?
A: Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun, Vice Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai and Assistant Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin met with him respectively.
Q: There are strikes in some foreign-investment factories in different places in China which have affected normal operation of those foreign enterprises. Are you concerned that this may affect foreign investment in China?
A: You may refer your questions to the competent authorities of China. I would like to stress that the Chinese Government pursues the opening-up strategy of mutual-benefit and win-win result. As always, we welcome foreign investment in China and will create sound environment for their operation here according to law.
Q: At the last press conference, you mentioned that China has made solemn representations with the DPRK on the shooting incident on the border of China and the DPRK. Have you got any response from the DPRK side up to now?
A: According to my knowledge, the competent department of Liaoning Province has already released information on the incident. You may have a review on that. At present, the border control authorities of the two sides are further investigating and handling the incident.
Q: Yesterday, Michael Mullen, the US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in his speech that the US follows closely China's military intentions. Do you have any comment on that?
A: China firmly follows the road of peaceful development and pursues national defense policy of defensive in nature. The maintenance and development of China's national defense strength is to safeguard China's sovereignty, territorial integrity and security. China's development will not threat any country or person. We don't threat or invade others. We oppose hegemony. China is a developing country, even if China becomes developed in future, we will still follow the road of peaceful development and never seek hegemony. This is a solemn pledge made by the Chinese Government.
We hope the US can view China's national defense policy and military development in an objective, fair and rational way and do more things that are conducive to the enhancement of mutual trust between the militaries, to the increase of exchanges and cooperation between the countries and conducive to peace, stability, and security of the region.
Q: It is reported that according to the initial investigation, the shooting incident on the border of China and the DPRK is an accidental one. The responsible persons will be severely punished. Can you confirm? Do you have any more details to share with us? Has the DPRK side made formal apology to China?
A: I have also taken note of the report as you did. As I said just now, the border control departments of the two sides are further investigating and handling the case.
Q: China always opposes double standard in dealing with international affairs. Now, why is China standing by those countries taking double standard on the Iranian nuclear issue?
A: China always pursues an independent foreign policy of peace in handling international relations. China never adopts double standard, but rather a victim of it. On the Iranian nuclear issue, China has been dealing with it in a responsible and constructive manner. Our efforts are widely recognized.
Q: Several Chinese journalists were robbed when they were covering the World Cup in South Africa. How much is China concerned about the security in South Africa?
A: We express concern over the case and hope competent authorities in South Africa could properly handle it and take measures to ensure the personal and property safety of Chinese citizens there. The Foreign Ministry has already released security alert for Chinese citizens who plan to watch the World Cup in South Africa. We wish the World Cup in South Africa a safe, smooth and successful one.
Q: When will China and Japan start the intergovernmental note negotiation on implementing the principled consensus on the East China Sea issue as agreed between the two governments during Premier Wen Jiabao's recent visit to Japan?
A: In his recent visit to Japan, Premier Wen Jiabao reached consensus with Japanese leaders on launching the intergovernmental negotiation to implement the principled consensus on the East China Sea issue. This is an important step towards a proper settlement of the issue. As for when will the negotiation start, it depends on further communication between the two sides at the working level.
If there are no more questions, thanks for coming! See you!