Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang's Regular Press Conference on June 29, 2010

On the afternoon of June 29, 2010, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang held a regular press conference and answered questions.

Qin Gang: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I have two announcements to start with.

At the invitation of President Hu Jintao, President Zardari of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan will pay a working visit to China from July 6 to 11.

At the invitation of the Russian Chairman of the China-Russia Committee of Friendship, Peace and Development, Hua Jianmin, the Chinese Chairman of the Committee and Vice Chairman of the NPC Standing Committee, will visit Russia from July 3 to 9. Besides Moscow, Vice Chairman Hua will also visit Irkutsk and Saint Petersburg. During his stay, he will have extensive exchange of views with Russian state and local leaders on bilateral relations as well as local and cultural cooperation.

Now, the floor is open.

Q: The G8 issued a joint statement, condemning the DPRK on the Cheonan incident. It is also reported that US President Obama urged China to take a tougher position on the issue when he met with President Hu Jintao. How do you comment?

A: China's position over the Cheonan incident remains unchanged. We are willing to continue communicating with relevant parties in pursuit of a proper settlement of the issue so as to avoid escalation of tension and maintain peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula.

Q: Please give us more details of President Zardari's visit to China. Which cities will he visit and who will he meet with?

A: We warmly welcome President Zardari's working visit to China. As far as I know, President Hu Jintao will have talks with him in Beijing, Premier Wen Jiabao, Chairman Jia Qinglin and other Chinese leaders will meet with him. President Zardari will also attend the Shanghai World Expo. Leaders of the two countries will exchange views on further deepening traditional friendship, promoting mutually-beneficial cooperation as well as international and regional issues of common interest. We hope this visit will further advance China-Pakistan strategic partnership of cooperation.

Q: A Singaporean cargo ship with 19 Chinese crew on board was kidnapped by Somali pirates. Do you have more details? How's the rescue work going?

A: We express concern over the news. We are now following the situation closely and carrying out the rescue work.

Q: Do you believe the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement signed between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan is a step towards political re-unification or a mere economic agreement?

A: Your question is about cross-Strait relations and I suggest you refer to competent authorities.

Q: President Obama criticized China's "turning a blind eye" to the DPRK's provocative actions in the Cheonan incident at the G8 Summit. How do you respond to that?

A: China's principle on the Cheonan incident is very clear. We condemn any act that undermines peace and stability of the Peninsula. We do not take sides and we make our judgments based on the merits of issues. What we should do at present is to proceed from the overall interests of peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula, call on and work with all parties to exercise calmness and restraint so as to prevent escalation of tension and in particular, avoid conflicts. Escalation of the tension and conflicts serve the interests of none. China's position and efforts on this issue are just and brook no accusation. We will never add fuel to the flames or plunder a burning house.

Q: A follow-up question on Pakistani President Zardari's visit to China and China-Pakistan relations. Will leaders of the two countries talk about nuclear energy cooperation? What's more, China used to express concern over the connections between terrorist organizations in Xinjiang and those in Pakistan. Is China satisfied with the Pakistani Government's efforts to crack down on terrorism?

A: On President Zardari's visit to China, the two sides will exchange views on promoting their friendly cooperation in various fields and international and regional issues of mutual interest. The "three forces" have posed common threat and done harm to both countries and others in the region. China appreciates the firm efforts of the Pakistani Government to fight the "three forces" including terrorism and we are ready to continue to maintain close communication and cooperation with Pakistan in this regard.

Q: The Chinese official media reported today that the PLA will stage a live ammunition exercise in the East China Sea. Can you give us more specifics? Is it a response to the US-ROK joint military exercise to be held in the Yellow Sea? Will it ratchet up tension on the Korean Peninsula that China has been working hard to ease?

A: As far as I know, this is a regular military exercise. The PLA navy will release a notice prior to its annual regular military exercise to ensure the safety of passing ships and planes. This has nothing to do with the situation of the Peninsula. If you are interested in the specifics, please refer to the Ministry of Defense.

Q: Will President Zardari discuss its civilian nuclear energy cooperation with the Chinese side during his visit? Will the two sides sign a new agreement on the expansion of Chashma nuclear power plant? Second, yesterday the DPRK said it will step up its nuclear deterrence. Does China think such a statement will help the situation on the Korean Peninsula?

A: On China-Pakistan relations, I am not able to tell you what specific issues will be discussed and what agreements will be signed during President Zardari's visit. The two sides will have broad and in-depth exchange of views on further promoting friendly cooperation in all fields. But I want to point out here that China-Pakistan civilian nuclear energy cooperation is completely in line with their respective obligations of international non-proliferation totally for peaceful purposes and subject to the safeguard and supervision of the IAEA.

On the Korean Peninsula, China's position on this issue is unequivocal. We believe it is in the common interest of all countries of this region to maintain peace and stability of the Peninsula and Northeast Asia. Under the current circumstances, we should take into consideration both the immediate and long-term interests and address both the symptoms and root causes when handling affairs of the Korean Peninsula. The pressing task now is to properly handle the Cheonan incident through dialogue and consultation of all parties so as to ease tension and prevent conflicts in this region. In the long-run, it is fundamental for the Korean Peninsula to realize denuclearization before attaining lasting peace and stability. we are ready to continue our joint efforts with other parties concerned to push forward the Six-Party Talks so as to realize denuclearization as well as lasting peace and stability of the Peninsula.

Q: On China-Pakistan nuclear energy cooperation, last week at the Nuclear Suppliers Group Meeting in New Zealand, several member states asked China to provide details of the cooperation project and said that China should obtain the organization's waiver before going ahead with relevant plans. Does China think it should submit the details and obtain a waiver from the Group?

A: I don't have the information about the NSG Meeting in New Zealand. But on non-proliferation and China-Pakistan civilian nuclear energy cooperation, I have already made our principle and position clear.

Q: Google issued a statement just now that it would stop redirecting its Chinese users to its site in Hong Kong because Chinese officials found the reroute unacceptable. Is that true? Why is the Chinese Government against the redirect? Will China consider renewing Google's Internet Content Provider license?

A: I haven't read the latest statement of Google you just mentioned. I'd like to stress that the Chinese Government encourages the development of the Internet while administering the Internet according to law. Foreign Internet companies should abide by China's laws and regulations during operation in China, and China's competent authorities will handle relevant issues according to law.

The annual renewal of Google's license is not in the purview of the Foreign Ministry, thus I'll leave it to relevant authorities.

Q: Still on China-Pakistan nuclear energy cooperation. Is China worried that its cooperation with Pakistan might affect China-India relations? Has China communicated with India to allay the latter's concerns?

A: I've repeatedly made our position clear on the civilian nuclear energy cooperation between China and Pakistan. One more thing to add, the civilian nuclear energy cooperation between China and Pakistan, as a bilateral cooperation of mutual benefit, is subject to IAEA safeguard and supervision and does not target any third party.

Q: At the G20 Summit, US President Obama criticized China's "willful blindness" over North Korea's involvement in the Cheonan incident. Do you have any comment?

A: I have just expounded on our position explicitly. If you would like to hear further comments, I have one more point to add. China, being a close neighbor to the Korean Peninsula, has completely different feelings over issues bearing on peace and stability of the Peninsula from a country located thousands of miles away. We have more direct and serious concerns.

Q: After the China-Pakistan nuclear energy deal, India and Japan also reached a civilian nuclear pact yesterday. How do you comment?

A: China always believes that sovereign countries are entitled to the rights of peaceful use of nuclear energy while complying with their international obligations of nuclear non-proliferation. Development of nuclear energy and relevant international cooperation should be conducive to strengthening the authority and integrity of the international nuclear non-proliferation regime.

Q: The Foreign Ministry organized some foreign journalists to visit Tibet recently. Why Tibet is off-limits for foreign journalists? Will you consider lifting the ban in the future?

A: You may be fresh in China and I think many of your colleagues present today can answer your questions. I'll give you a concise one. We welcome foreign friends to visit Tibet. However, factors such as natural conditions have restricted our receiving capacity. So, now foreigners visiting Tibet, including foreign journalists' reporting activities there have to win the approval of relevant local authorities. I would like to correct the word "off-limits" you were using. Over the past years, many foreign friends, including your colleagues, have worked, visited and reported in Tibet. I believe with the development of various undertakings and improvement of various conditions in Tibet, we will see more and more foreigners there. I am aware that foreign journalists are very interested in the recent trip organized by the Information Department. But given the reasons above, we could not satisfy everyone and I hope you can understand and cooperate with us.

If there are no more questions, thanks for coming! See you!

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