Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Jiang Yu's Regular Press Conference on September 21, 2010

On the afternoon of September 21, 2010, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Jiang Yu held a regular press conference and answered questions.

Jiang Yu: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I have two announcements to start with.

Li Yizhong, Special Envoy of President Hu Jintao and Minister of Industry and Information Technology will attend at invitation the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of Independence of Nigeria in Abuja from September 30 to October 2.

At the invitation of the Chinese Government, Vice President Ricardo Cabrisas Ruiz of the Council of Ministers of Cuba will pay an official visit to China from September 25 to October 1.

Now, the floor is open.

Q: The Philippine Government has submitted a report on the Hong Kong hostage incident to the Chinese Government and Hong Kong SAR Government. How does the Chinese Government comment on the report? Second, the Chinese captain is still under illegal detention by Japan. Will China take further countermeasures? Third, Premier Wen Jiabao will go to New York today to attend the UN meetings. Will he meet with Japanese leaders there?

A: The Chinese Embassy in the Philippines received the first report on the "August 23 hostage incident" by the Philippine investigation committee on September 20 and handed it over to Hong Kong SAR Government. The report is long and it takes time to study earnestly. At this stage, the report shows that the seriousness and sincerity of the Philippine side in investigating and handling the incident, and China is affirmative of that. We hope the Philippines properly deal with follow-up matters as a comfort to the Hong Kong victims, the bereaved families and those injured, and meanwhile take effective measures to protect Chinese nationals in the Philippines to avoid recurrence of such tragedy. China will work with the Philippine side to press ahead with bilateral ties in a healthy and stable manner.

On your second question, the incident has severely damaged bilateral relations between China and Japan. To avoid further deterioration, it is crucial that Japan immediately let the captain return unconditionally. We hope Japan have a clear picture of the situation and take concrete measures to let the captain return immediately and unconditionally.

On your third question, obviously, the current atmosphere is unsuitable for such a meeting.

Q: Japanese media reported that China sent two naval vessels to the waters near the Chunxiao Oil and Gas Field for patrol missions. Please confirm. Also, it is reported that the Philippine Vice President will lead a delegation to China to provide further clarification on the investigation report. Please confirm.

A: On your first question, I don't have any information in this regard. I would like to emphasize that China enjoys complete sovereign rights and jurisdiction over the Chunxiao Oil and Gas Field. China's activities there are completely reasonable and lawful.

On your second question, China and the Philippines will stay in communication over relevant matters.

Q: China has always expressed its willingness to work with Japan to jointly develop fishery as well as oil and gas resources in the waters off the Diaoyu Islands. If the collision incident keeps simmering, is it possible that China may change the policy to unilaterally develop relevant resources?

A: I think you have confused some important concepts. China has complete sovereign rights and jurisdiction over the Chunxiao Oil and Gas Field. China's activities there are completely reasonable and lawful.

Japan provoked the situation and doubled its mistakes, causing further escalation. The key to solving the problem lies with Japan. It is imperative that Japan take concrete actions. I would like to emphasize that China's position is absolutely unswerving on matters concerning territorial sovereignty. Japan should understand the situation clearly and let the captain return immediately.

Q: US President Obama said yesterday that China was not doing enough to allow the RMB to appreciate. How do you comment? Will the issue affect the overall China-US relations?

A: On the issue of RMB exchange rate, competent Chinese authorities have repeatedly expounded on our position recently. It is China's policy to establish a managed floating exchange rate regime. It is the continuation of this policy that China decided to further the reform of the RMB exchange rate regime this June. Since the reform of the RMB exchange rate regime in 2005, the yuan has appreciated by 23.5% in cumulative terms against the US dollar. Furthering the reform of the RMB exchange rate regime is based on market demand and supply with reference to a basket of currencies. Since June 19 this year, the RMB exchange rate has moved in both ways with improved flexibility, which has been received calmly without strong appreciation pressures. China's efforts are sincere and effective in expanding domestic demand and restructuring the economy.

Recently, there have been some disharmonious voices in the US criticizing the RMB exchange rate and proposing to use all possible means to push for its appreciation, which is unwise and short-sighted. The fluctuation of the RMB exchange rate cannot solve bilateral trade imbalance with specific country. The trade imbalance between China and the US is a result of international division of labor rather than exchange rate. The appreciation of the RMB cannot solve the issue of US trade deficit, which is widely agreed to in the US. China, always concerned about increasing import from the US, hopes the US can make more concrete progress in relaxing export controls to China.

At present, both China and the US should focus mainly on the core concern of promoting a solid economic recovery. As reserve currency issuer, the US should continue to implement responsible fiscal and monetary policies to keep major international currencies stable and make due contribution to world economic recovery.

China-US relations are faced with important opportunities for further development. We hope the US can work with China to conscientiously implement the important consensus reached by the two heads of state, enhance bilateral exchanges at the high and all other levels, deepen dialogue, exchanges and cooperation in various fields and handle differences and sensitive issues cautiously and properly, with a view to promoting the sound and stable development of bilateral relations. Premier Wen is going to New York to attend UN meetings. According to the current schedule, he will meet with President Obama.

Q: China has suspended bilateral exchanges between China and Japan at and above ministerial level. Will it affect future development of bilateral relations?

A: It takes concrete efforts to maintain sound and stable development of China-Japan relations which has been severely damaged by the recent incident. The key to solving the issue lies with Japan. Japan should understand the situation clearly and immediately let the Chinese captain return unconditionally.

Q: Some Chinese schools in Japan came under threat from right-wing forces lately. Will China strengthen security measures?

A: We pay great attention to relevant reports. Japan has the responsibility to take concrete measures to ensure the safety of Chinese agencies and personnel in Japan.

Q: Is China willing to accept any US involvement in the Diaoyu Island collision incident? Or does China believe it is none of the business of the US?

A:This is an issue between China and Japan. Japan should immediately let the Chinese captain return unconditionally.

Q: Since China announced that it has suspended exchanges at and above ministerial-level with Japan, when does China hope to resume that? Recently we read some reports on China-Pakistan nuclear energy cooperation, could you brief us on China's policy in helping Pakistan to develop nuclear energy?

A: As I just said, this issue has severely impacted China-Japan relations as well as bilateral exchanges at all levels. The responsibility completely lies in the Japanese side. It is Japan that provoked the issue and made mistakes one after another that led to the escalation. If Japan obstinately clings to the wrong path, it has to bear all the ensuing consequences. I'd like to stress again that the pressing task for now is that Japan immediately let the Chinese captain return unconditionally.

On your second question, over the past years, China and Pakistan have conducted some cooperation in civil nuclear energy development. Such cooperation is consistent with the respective international obligations of the two countries, completely for peaceful purposes, and subject to IAEA safeguard. The Chashma Project III & IV mentioned in recent media reports are carried out according to the cooperative agreement in nuclear power signed by China and Pakistan in 2003. China has already notified the IAEA of relevant information and asked for its safeguard and supervision.

Q: According to reports, China has taken countermeasures such as urging travel agencies to restrict Chinese citizens' trips to Japan, dispatching naval vessels to relevant waters, among others. What further measures will the Foreign Ministry adopt?

A: I believe Chinese tourists will choose safe and comfortable places to spend their vacation.

The Chinese Government's will and resolve in safeguarding state sovereignty and territorial integrity is unswerving. If Japan obstinately clings to its course, it must shoulder all the responsibilities.

Q: Some Japanese officials believe that China did not tell the public the truth of the collision incident and they are now urging the Japanese Maritime Safety Agency to disclose the video tape of the incident. According to Japanese media, the Japanese Ministry of Defense is considering expanding the troops on Okinawa in 10 years. Do you have any comment?

A: I don't know if the Japanese side will release the bare truth of the whole incident. You can imagine what could happen when a small fishing boat confronted with giant vessels. As far as I am concerned, the Chinese fishing boat was illegally encircled and damaged by several Japanese patrol vessels during its regular fishing activities in the Diaoyu Island waters. We strongly protest that. The pressing task is that Japan let the Chinese captain return immediately and unconditionally.

On the second question, we have noted relevant report and hope Japan do more things conducive to regional peace and stability.

Q: The Chinese Government has decided to send four helicopters to help Pakistan with its flood relief work. Where will they perform their duties?

A: We empathize with Pakistan for its severe natural disaster and have provided humanitarian aid through various channels, with 320 million RMB of emergency goods from the Chinese Government and other aid from local regions and companies. China has sent several rescue and medical teams to the hardest-hit areas to set up field hospitals and ambulances so as to help and serve the victims. Recently, China's PLA has also sent a medical team and a helicopter team to the hardest-hit regions. We will continue to provide necessary, timely and sincere assistance according to the need of the Pakistani side and help its people to rebuild their homes.

Q: It is reported that the US and ASEAN will hold talks this Friday, discussing issues including disputes over the South China Sea between China and the ASEAN countries as well as freedom of navigation in the Sea. How do you comment?

A: The US is one of the Dialogue Partners of ASEAN. We hope its cooperation with the organization will promote not only their relations but also regional peace and stability.

We express grave concern over the possible statement on the South China Sea adopted by the US and ASEAN. The current situation of the South China Sea region is generally stable and the relations between China and the ASEAN countries keep expanding, deepening and comprehensively developing with ever-intensifying political mutual trust. China enjoys undisputable sovereignty over the South China Sea Islands and their adjacent waters. We always hold that the South China Sea issue should be settled through friendly consultations among parties concerned in a peaceful manner. We are against any intervention in the disputes by countries irrelevant to the issue or bringing this issue to international and multilateral arena. This will only complicate rather than solve this issue.

As for the freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, I would like to emphasize that China always safeguard the freedom of navigation and the air in the South China Sea enjoyed by countries according to international law and we will continue to do so. Any word or deed exaggerating regional tension, creating confrontation or even rift between relevant countries goes against the common aspiration of regional countries to seek peace, cooperation and common development.

Q: US officials said China once expressed that the South China Sea is its core interest. Please confirm. Second, will Premier Wen Jiabao and President Obama talk about the RMB exchange rate issue in New York?

A: Each country has its own core interests. Issues concerning state sovereignty, territorial integrity and major development interests are significant to all countries. China believes the South China Sea issue is only the dispute of territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests between relevant countries rather than an issue between China and ASEAN, let alone a regional or international issue. It can only and must be settled through friendly consultations between both parties in a peaceful manner. Adhering to "putting aside disputes and seeking common development", we are always committed to proper settlement through bilateral consultations with relevant countries. The channel of communication is smooth.

On your second question, relevant information will be released in due course.

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

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