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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Ma Zhaoxu's Regular Press Conference on October 15, 2009


On October 15, 2009, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Ma Zhaoxu held a regular press conference and answered questions on the 8th Meeting of the Council of Heads of Government of the SCO Member States and the 4th Ministerial Meeting of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, etc.

Ma Zhaoxu: Good Afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen. I have no announcements to make today. The floor is open.

Q: I have two questions on Afghanistan. First, at yesterday's Meeting of the Council of Heads of Government of the SCO Member States, what discussions did they have on the Afghanistan issue? Second, recently, Taliban terrorist activities have become increasingly rampant. What's China's comment?

A: Afghanistan is an important neighbor of China in this region. The SCO member states including China have followed closely the developments there and have been contributing to Afghanistan's peaceful reconstruction in different ways. We hope that with the help of the international community, Afghanistan can achieve peace and stability at an early date.

As for the situation in Afghanistan, different forms of discussions were made at the meeting and in bilateral talks in particular.

Q: I have two questions. First, Premier Wen Jiabao met with First Vice President of Iran Mohammad Reza Rahimi today. Can you give us some details of the meeting? Second, the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) will be held in Egypt in November. Do you have the specific arrangement of the meeting, such as the date and which Chinese leader is going to attend?

A: On your first question, Premier Wen Jiabao of the State Council met with First Vice President of Iran Rahimi who came for the 8th Meeting of the Council of Heads of Government of the SCO Member States. During the meeting, Premier Wen said that in recent years, China-Iran relations have seen rapid development as evidenced by frequent exchange of high-level visits and expanding and deepening cooperation in such fields as business and energy. China values its relations with Iran and is ready to maintain high-level contact with it for further mutual understanding, trust, practical cooperation and closer coordination in international affairs. China is ready to continue to play a constructive role in pushing for a peaceful resolution of the Iranian nuclear issue.

First Vice President Rahimi congratulated China on the success of the 8th Meeting of the Council of Heads of Government of the SCO Member States. He said that Iran and China are friendly countries and Iran values its relations with China. To further develop Iran-China friendly relations is the aspiration of the Iranian leaders and people. Iran hopes to continue to expand its business and energy cooperation with China and strengthen coordination in international affairs with China so as to promote the steady development of bilateral relations.

On your second question, the 4th Ministerial Meeting of the Forum on China-Africa cooperation will be held in Egypt in early November. The meeting is to assess the implementation of the follow-up action of the FOCAC Beijing Summit and map out China-Africa cooperation in the next three years. The meeting is of great significance to advancing China-Africa relations and strengthening their cooperation across the board under the new circumstances. Egypt is the chair and China is the co-chair of the meeting. At present, Egypt and China are working with other members of the forum to make good preparation for the event. I want to point out that China is ready to strengthen communication and collaboration with African countries to implement the outcome of Beijing Summit, make the Ministerial Meeting a success and lift China-Africa cooperation onto a new level. As for which Chinese leader will attend, we will keep you updated.

Q: Yesterday, Assistant Secretary of State Campbell who is now in China said that the U.S. has invited Chinese officials to discuss the Afghanistan issue in Washington and seeks China's assistance on it. Will China accept the invitation? What help can China provide on the issue?

A: I have briefed you on Assistant Secretary's visit at the last press conference. I don't have the specifics on the question you just mentioned. As for China's policy toward Afghanistan, I have elaborated on it in my response just now and have nothing more to add.

Q: Today we got the news that a Chinese corporate fund is having commercial negotiations with Guinea on a mining infrastructure investment of $7 to $9 billion in the country in the next five years. Please confirm it.

A: I have taken note of relevant report which said that relevant company is negotiating cooperation with Guinea. As far as we know, this is the corporate behavior of an international company registered in Hong Kong. I want to point out here that Guinea and China have longstanding friendship. For years, our cooperation in business and other areas has developed smoothly. China has assisted Guinea in its economic development and improvement of people's well-being within our capacity. As a developing country, China has South-South Cooperation with Guinea based on equality, mutual benefit, international norms and market rules. It serves the fundamental interest of both peoples.

Q: U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Campbell said in Beijing yesterday that America will promote the building of the East Asian Community, which has been recognized by the Chinese side. What's your comment?

A: Asia-Pacific regional cooperation is a natural outcome of economic globalization and regional integration. The diversity in the Asia-Pacific region determines the nature and characteristics of the multilateral mechanisms in the region. In the foreseeable future, countries in the Asia-Pacific region will continue to have multi-tiered cooperation through multiple mechanisms at various speeds. The cooperation will also remain mutually complementary for common development. China is happy to see the constructive role of the U.S. in regional peace, stability and development and is ready to step up coordination and cooperation with the U.S. in Asia-Pacific affairs.

Q: I have two questions. First, the U.S. Department of Defense stated yesterday that Xu Caihou, Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission, will visit the U.S. this month, please confirm and introduce the itinerary and meeting arrangement of the visit. Second, it is recently reported that Akmal Shaikh, a British citizen, was sentenced to death for drug trafficking. Can you tell us the latest developments? When will the reviewing result of the Supreme People's Court be released? Will he be executed? When and how will he be executed, by shooting or injection? Has the judiciary carried out relevant psychiatric examination and if so, what is the result? Will the case become a problem of the Sino-British relations? Will the two sides have any high-level contact on it?

A: First, about CMC Vice Chairman Xu Caihou's visit to the U.S., I suggest you refer to the spokesperson of the Ministry of Defense.

Second, the Akmal case is a judicial issue. The judiciary authorities of China are handling it according to law. I have answered that question Tuesday. Please check the MFA website for related information.

Q: Iran attended the Meeting of the Council of Heads of Government of the SCO Member States as an observer yesterday. What role can it play and what can it contribute in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization as an observer?

A: I remember you asked the same question at the last press conference and got my answer. I have nothing more to add. If you still have questions on it, please contact the Office of the Spokesperson after the conference and we will try our best to meet your needs.

Q: A follow-up question on the agreement with Guinea. I want to know if you have confirmed the existence of such an agreement since previous media reports said that China was yet to verify it. You stated just now that this agreement would benefit peoples of both countries. However, opposition in Guinea claims that the agreement is illegal, immoral and anti-democracy. What is your comment?

A: I don't think your interpretation is correct. I would like to reiterate my previous response. As far as we know, this is a corporate behavior of an international company registered in Hong Kong. I am neither confirming nor denying, and I do not think I have the obligation to do so.

Q: We learned that China and Venezuela will hold a ministerial meeting in Caracas next week. Can you brief us on the details of this meeting, such as the specific date, which official from the Chinese Foreign Ministry will attend and what other ministries will also attend? During the meeting, what commercial agreements do you think will be reached between China and Venezuela?

A: I have taken note of your question. I do not have any information to provide at present, but the Spokesperson's Office will follow up this question and keep you updated.

Q: I noticed that you repeatedly stressed that the cooperation with Guinea is conducted by a private company registered in Hong Kong. Nevertheless, from a broader perspective, are you concerned about Chinese enterprises doing business with African countries being criticized by the international community? How does China see it?

A: In recent years, the broadening and deepening mutually beneficial cooperation between Chinese and African enterprises has boosted international investment in Africa and its cooperation with other countries. The cooperation strongly promoted African economic and social development, and is widely welcomed by African countries. Facts have shown that China-Africa cooperation has not only accelerated their common development and enhanced the capability of independent development of African countries, but also led to more international attention to and investment in Africa. You mentioned some remarks internationally on the activities of Chinese enterprises in Africa. I think the Chinese people and African people have the best say in how to evaluate China-Africa cooperation and activities of Chinese enterprises in Africa. I believe China-Africa friendly and cooperative relations have withstood the test of the times and international vicissitudes and serve the long-term and fundamental interests of people in both China and Africa. We will continue to advance China-Africa cooperation for the benefit of both peoples.

If there are no more questions, the press conference is over. Thanks for coming!

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