On the afternoon of March 19, 2009, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang held a regular press conference and answered questions on DPRK Premier's visit to China, Ambassador Wu Sike to succeed Ambassador Sun Bigan as China's Special Envoy on the Middle East issue, the acquisition deal of Huiyuan by Coca-Cola, and etc.
Qin Gang: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I have two announcements to start with.
At the invitation of Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, Foreign Minister Marat Tazhin of the Republic of Kazakhstan will pay an official visit to China from March 29 to 31.
The Chinese Government has decided that Ambassador Wu Sike will succeed Ambassador Sun Bigan as China's Special Envoy on the Middle East issue. Over the past three years, Special Envoy Sun Bigan has made unremitting efforts and positive contribution to promoting the peace process of the Middle East and developing China's relations with the Middle East countries. As a senior diplomat experienced in the Middle East affairs, Ambassador Wu Sike has served as Director General of the Department of West Asian and North African Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador to Saudi Arabia and Egypt and also the first Chinese plenipotentiary representative to the League of Arab States. He is now member of the 11th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. Special Envoy Wu will faithfully carry out the policies and propositions of the Chinese Government on the Middle East issue, continue to stay in close contact with parties concerned in various forms, and actively promote negotiations and reconciliation in an effort to push forward the Middle East peace process.
Now I am happy to take your questions.
Q: The G20 Summit will be held in London on March 2. Will the Coke-Huiyuan deal have a negative impact on China's long-standing proposition of anti-trade protectionism?
A：First, I'd like to point out a slip of tongue in your question. The G20 Summit is scheduled for April 2 instead of March 2.
Regarding your question, the Chinese Government's rejection of Coca- Cola's takeover of Huiyuan is an objective ruling based on the Anti-monopoly Law. I would like to reiterate here that the Chinese Government always firmly observes the opening-up policy featuring mutual benefit and win-win outcome, and there is no change in China's policy of opening up to the outside world and proactively utilizing foreign investment. You can see Coca-Cola's products everywhere in Chinese market, and you can also find Chinese products and those from countries around the world. Chinese consumers drink Huiyuan juice as well as coke.
Q: Last week, Japan Maritime Self Defense Force sent out vessels on convoy missions to the Gulf of Aden and seas off the Somali coast, how do you comment? Secondly, China's Defense Minister will have talks with his Japanese counterpart in Beijing tomorrow, could you share with us some information?
A: For your first question, China advocates that countries conduct cooperation in combating piracy off the Somali coast within the framework of relevant UN Security Council resolutions and international laws.
As to your second question, in accordance with the consensus reached between Japanese and Chinese leaders and the exchange plans of the two defense authorities, Japanese Minister of Defense is slated to visit China shortly. As far as I know, communications and consultations are underway between competent authorities. We believe that exchanges between China and Japan, including those between heads of defense ministries are conducive to enhancing mutual understanding and trust between the two armies and the two countries, hence beneficial for the long-term, sound and steady development of bilateral relations.
Q: Could you brief us on the visit of officials from Tibet Autonomous Region to the US? What's the purpose of the trip? Which US leaders have met with them?
A: A Tibetan delegation is on a visit to the US, with all members as delegates of the National People's Congress. During their stay, they've had exchanges and dialogues with figures from US political, academic circles and the press as well in a bid to enhance an objective understanding of the real situation in Tibet. You may check today's People's Daily for further information of this visit.
Q: The President-elect of El Salvador said that after taking office, he would mull links with China without cutting off relations with Taiwan. Do you think it possible to maintain “double recognition”? Is severing ties with Taiwan a precondition for Salvador to establish relations with China? Could you outline China's ties with Salvador?
A: No matter how the situation changes, the one-China principle will remain unchanged. The one-China principle, resolutely adhered to by the Chinese Government, is also universally-recognized by the international community. On the basis of this principle and following the spirit of the UN Charter and the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence, the Chinese Government is willing to conduct friendly exchanges with all other countries around the world. Despite the absence of diplomatic ties, the Chinese people have friendly feelings towards the Salvador people, and we are willing to carry out friendly exchanges and mutually-beneficial cooperation in various areas with Salvador in line with the principles mentioned.
Q: Can you give us any details about the discussions between DPRK Premier Kim Yong Il and Chinese officials on the Six-Party Talks and DPRK's planned satellite launch? What did China's leaders say about these issues?
A: DPRK Premier Kim Yong Il held talks with Premier Wen Jiabao yesterday. They had extensive and in-depth exchanges on China-DPRK relations and other issues of common interest. Both agreed that consolidating and developing bilateral friendship and cooperation as well as strengthening communication and coordination in various fields is beneficial to their respective development and regional peace and stability.
Q: Today's China Daily said that China would beef up its sea patrols around the Nansha Islands. Does that represent China's official standpoint? My second question is a follow-up question on Premier Kim Yong Il's visit. You just said the two sides exchanged views on bilateral relations yesterday. Did Premier Wen Jiabao mention the Six-Party Talks and the DPRK satellite launch?
A: I would like to answer your second question first. Premier Wen Jiabao stated in the talks yesterday that both China and the DPRK should actively press ahead with the Six-Party Talks and China will continue to play a constructive role in the denuclearization process of the Korean Peninsula.
As to your first question, we have made clear the Chinese Government's position on the Nansha Islands on many occasions, which is well-known to the world. China has indisputable sovereignty over the islands in the South China Sea and the adjacent waters, hence is entitled to exercise lawful sovereignty in this region.
Q: Would a meeting be possible between President Hu Jintao and President Sarkozy at the G20 Summit in London?
A: Both Premier Wen Jiabao and Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi have expounded on China's position on China-France relations. China always attaches great importance to relations with France and made major efforts in this regard. The reasons of the problems in the current bilateral relationship are known to all. France is very clear about the principled position and core concerns of China. We hope that France take positive actions to create conditions for the bilateral relations to return to the normal track.
Q: How soon does China want to see the Six-Party Talks resuming? Are there any signs that the DPRK will accept a new round of talks? How will China play a constructive role? Will it urge the DPRK to cancel the test launch? Besides, analysts say China's rejection of the Huiyuan deal with Coca Cola is to keep successful Chinese brands in Chinese hands while this comes at a time when Chinese state companies are pursuing large investments abroad. Does Beijing worry that its rejection might cause a backlash against China's overseas investments?
A: We certainly hope to push forward the Six-Party Talks and resume the talks at an early date. But this depends on two factors. First, ripe conditions. Second, a consensus on a specific timeframe. China will maintain close communication and coordination with relevant parties to promote peace talks and do things conducive to the further development of the Six-Party Talks, to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, as well as peace and stability on the Peninsula and Northeast Asia. China's attitude and position on the Six-Party Talks and the DPRK nuclear issue was, is and will always be responsible.
As for Coca Cola's bid for Huiyuan, you may refer to my early remarks, the case has nothing to do with trade protectionism. Relevant decision is made in order to ensure fair competition in Chinese market.
When you go shopping in China, you can find Huiyuan among a lot of other brands in an open market where consumers have bountiful choices. We will continue to pursue the policy of opening up market to introduce foreign investment. We uphold that the current financial crisis does not justify trade protectionism, and this position remains unchanged. The specific acquisition case you mentioned is different from the so-called trade and investment protectionism. Officials with the Ministry of Commerce have made elaborate explanation on this.
You see, this bottle of mineral water I'm about to drink is made by Nestle，which is a Swiss company.
Q: After the Impeccable incident between China and the US, both sides seem to be downplaying this while sending extra vessels to beef up patrols. Do you consider this incident over or escalated?
A: China has stated its position on the Impeccable incident on many occasions. We hope the US side could take effective measures to avoid recurrence of similar incidents. China places great importance on its relations with the US as well as their military relations. We hope our bilateral relations could maintain healthy and stable development, which requires joint efforts from both sides.
Q: The US Federal Reserve announced yesterday to purchase hundreds of billion dollars worth of treasury bonds and bonds of other kinds to stimulate spending and revitalize economy. Do you have any comment on this? Do you see it as an effective measure to boost US economy? How will this affect China's investment in the US?
A: We notice that the US Government has recently taken a series of measures in a bid to stimulate its economy. These measures are yet to be tested by practice. We certainly hope they can work promptly and rejuvenate the US economy at an early date, which is also good for China's economy and that of the world at large. We hope the security of China's asset investment in the US could be ensured.
Q: The Human Rights Watch issued a report yesterday, saying that China has strengthened control over foreign media organizations in the country by prohibiting their Chinese employees from covering news independently. Do you have any comment?
A: I remember making comment on the eyesight problem of the Human Rights Watch months ago.
You mentioned Chinese employees with foreign media organizations in China, the Regulations of the People's Republic of China on News Coverage by Permanent Offices of Foreign Media Organizations and Foreign Journalists explicitly provides that Chinese citizens hired by foreign media organizations cannot work independently as journalists, but are only allowed to do supporting work. Among other reasons, the conditions are just not there.
However, you should have seen that as China is picking up the pace in its reform and opening-up these years, our door opens wider to outside. We welcome foreign media and journalists to cover China and will continue to facilitate your work, which is a principle we always follow. Relevant accusation is thus not acceptable. We hope foreign media and journalists could respect China's laws and regulations so as to foster a sound relationship of interaction and cooperation, which shall make your work here easier.
If there are no more questions, thank you for coming. See you!