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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Ma Zhaoxu's Regular Press Conference on October 20, 2009


On October 20, 2009, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Ma Zhaoxu held a regular press conference and answered questions on the hijacked Chinese cargo ship "De Xin Hai" and the China-Russia-India Foreign Ministers' Meeting, etc.

Ma Zhaoxu: Good Afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen. First of all, I'd like to welcome friends from the Nankai District of Tianjin present here today. As you all know, public diplomacy is an important part of China's diplomacy. We hope you can have a better understanding of China's foreign policy and that we can also learn from you valuable experience so as to jointly contribute to China's diplomatic efforts as well as world peace and development.

Now, I have three announcements to make.

The 20th China-US Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade will be held in Hangzhou on October 29. Vice Premier Wang Qishan of the State Council, US Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke and US Trade Representative Ron Kirk will co-chair the meeting.

At the invitation of Ukrainian Vice Prime Minister Hryhoriy Nemyrya, Albanian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ilir Meta and Estonian Prime Minister Andrus Ansip, Vice Premier of the State Council Zhang Dejiang will pay official visits to the above-mentioned three countries from October 26 to November 3.

At the invitation of Foreign Minister S. M. Krishna of the Republic of India, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi will attend the Foreign Ministers' Meeting of China, Russia and India to be held in Bangalore, India on October 27.

At the invitation of Foreign Minister Alberto Romulo of the Republic of the Philippines, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi will pay an official visit to the Philippines from October 28 to 29.

Now the floor is open for questions.

Q: Just now you said that Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi will attend the China-Russia-India Foreign Ministers' Meeting. How does China comment on the current China-India relations? During the meeting, will China discuss with India the recent frictions and disputes in China-India relations?

A: During the Foreign Ministers' Meeting, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi will have a bilateral meeting with Indian Foreign Minister Krishna. They will engage in extensive and in-depth exchange of views on China-India relations and international and regional issues of common interest.

I wish to point out that the current China-India relations have maintained a sound momentum of growth as evidenced by frequent high-level exchanges of visits and contacts, boosting economic and trade cooperation, smooth progress in cooperation on such areas as cultural and youth exchanges as well as close coordination and collaboration on major international and regional issues. Next year marks the 60th anniversary of China-India diplomatic relations. Both sides agreed to take this opportunity to host a series of commemorative events including "national festivals" with a view to pushing forward their strategic partnership.

Q: Recently, people in India including government officials expressed concerns over China's cooperation with neighboring countries in areas such as port construction and oil and gas development. They feel that China is overtaking India in securing energy supply and has diminished the presence of India in this region. What is China's purpose to have those cooperation projects with neighboring countries and what is China's comment on the presence of India in this region?

A: The win-win economic and trade cooperation between China and its friendly neighbors is normal state-to-state business relations. China is committed to developing friendly and cooperative relations with all countries on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, which not only benefits both sides, but also is conducive to regional peace and stability, and other countries will also gain from such cooperation.

Q: It is reported that a Chinese cargo ship was hijacked by pirates in the Indian Ocean and the Chinese convoy fleet has rushed to the rescue. What actions will China take to rescue the hijacked ship and sailors? What's more, the EU navy was reportedly to be the first to have issued the news. Will China have contact with the EU on this case?

A: On October 19, the Chinese ship "De Xin Hai" was hijacked by armed pirates in the Indian Ocean.

The Chinese Government attaches great importance to it. Immediately after the incident, the Foreign Ministry and relevant agencies launched the contingency mechanism for active rescue by asking Chinese foreign missions to verify the information and notifying relevant countries. The Foreign Ministry has issued a special travel alert, warning Chinese vessels and citizens not to get close to the dangerous waters.

We will follow the developments of the case closely and make all-out efforts to rescue the hijacked ship and sailors.

Q: We learnt that the sea area where the hijacking took place is not within the scope of patrol of the Chinese convoy fleet. Will China consider expanding the fleet's patrol area or sending more warships? Second question, altogether how many people in Xinjiang have been detained for the July 5 incident?

A: On the question of the hijacked ship "De Xin Hai", we are making every effort for the rescue. As for the specifics, please refer to relevant authorities.

On your second question, I suggest you refer to the authorities of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

Q: I have a couple of questions. First, according to Xinhua News Agency, efforts to rescue the "De Xin Hai" cargo ship are underway. Can you give us more details? Second, it's reported that the 12th China-EU Leaders' Meeting will be held in Nanjing in November and the two sides will discuss such issues as climate change, can you confirm? Third, Ambassador Goldberg, coordinator of the US on UN Security Council resolutions of sanctions against the DPRK is visiting China. Can you tell us the agenda of the meeting?

A: On your first question, since the rescue effort is still underway, I am sure you can understand that I'd rather not go into more detail.

On your second question, according to the agreement between Premier Wen Jiabao and EU leaders, the two sides have been actively preparing for the 12th China-EU Leaders' Meeting. We will keep you updated.

On your third question, Ambassador Goldberg will be in China from October 19 to 20 as head of the delegation and exchange views with relevant Chinese authorities on the implementation of the Security Council resolutions. I want to reiterate that China is ready to work with all other parties concerned to make continuous contribution to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the peace and stability on the Peninsula and in Northeast Asia. We will maintain close contact and consultation with other parties for this purpose.

Q: The management of the Old Summer Palace said that it will soon begin its first search of looted relics overseas, but it is not about recovering the relics. Why doesn't China ask relevant countries to return the relics?

A: I think you may have noted that the authorities of the Old Summer Palace have made remarks on the issue you mentioned. Since it's the activity of the Palace, I suggest you refer to its officials.

Q: In the upcoming meeting between the foreign ministers of China and India, will China consider reassessing the Political Parameters and Guiding Principles for the Settlement of the India-China Boundary Question. Secondly, Indian Foreign Ministry recently made a statement protesting China's cooperation with Pakistan in the Pakistan-controlled Kashmir region. What's China's reaction?

A: On your first question, I have provided sufficient information in my previous response. On the sidelines of the China-Russia-India Foreign Ministers' Meeting, Foreign Minister Yang and the Indian Foreign Minister will have extensive exchange of views in their bilateral talks on bilateral relations and international and regional issues of common interest. As mentioned earlier, China-India relations have maintained good momentum of growth and both sides have agreed to push forward their strategic partnership.

On your second question, the question of Kashmir is an issue left over from history, which should be properly handled by India and Pakistan through friendly negotiation and dialogue. We hope to see peace and stability in South Asia.

Q: During Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to the DPRK, the DPRK pledged to create conditions for the resumption of the Six-party Talks. Under the current circumstances, does China still think it necessary to impose sanctions on the DPRK? Second question, a British official said that Prime Minister Gordon Brown has appealed to the Chinese side to give leniency to the British citizen sentenced to death for drug trafficking. What's China's reaction?

A: On your second question, it is a judicial case which is taken over by Chinese judicial authorities according to law.

On your first question, pushing forward the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, upholding peace and stability in Northeast Asia, and resuming the Six-party Talks in particular are in the common interest of all parties. China is ready to work with other parties concerned to make continuous efforts toward this end.

Q: I have two questions. First, Inez Tenenbaum, Chairman of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, claimed that China should compensate the affected American users for its problematic drywall exports. What's China's comment? Secondly, which Chinese officials will accompany Premier Wen to the series of East Asia Summit Meetings? Will there be any press briefings?

A: On your second question, we have released information. From October 23 to 25, Premier Wen Jiabao will attend the 12th China-ASEAN Leaders' Meeting, the 12th ASEAN+China, Japan, ROK Meeting and the 4th East Asian Summit in Hua Hin, Thailand. China will share its views and propositions with participants on such issues as strengthening China-ASEAN partnership, deepening East Asian cooperation, jointly countering the international financial crisis and promoting East Asian sustainable development. We look forward to the success and positive outcomes of the meetings. As for which Chinese officials will accompany Premier Wen, you will be updated shortly.

During the meetings, the spokesperson of the Chinese delegation will update Chinese and foreign journalists on the visit and the position and propositions of China stated by Premier Wen Jiabao. If you are interested, please contact the press officers of the delegation.

On your first question, I don't want to comment on the specific remarks made by an individual. I want to emphasize that China-US relations, especially economic and trade relations are mutually beneficial not only to the two countries but their consumers in particular.

Q: It is reported that Rebiya Kadeer will visit Japan shortly. What is China's comment? What ramifications will the visit have on China-Japan relations?

A: China has made representations with Japan about her visit. Some forces in Japan attempt to facilitate her visit to Japan for engagement in anti-China activities. We express our strong dissatisfaction over Japan's permission of her visit in disregard of our firm opposition. I want to emphasize that the Chinese Government is resolute in fighting against national separatism and upholding national unity, and any scheme to split China is doomed to failure.

Q: The Indian Foreign Ministry recently stated that the Dalai Lama can visit any parts of India, including the "Arunachal Pradesh". What is China's comment? The second question is why China lodged a protest 10 days after India Prime Minister Singh's visit to the "Arunachal Pradesh" and not earlier. Thirdly, recent reports in India said that China will build a dam on the upstream of Yalu Tsangpo River. What is China's reaction to that?

A: On your third question, as far as I know, the reports of Indian media are inconsistent with facts.

As for Dalai's visit to the so-called "Arunachal Pradesh", we express our grave concerns. We think that has further exposed the anti-China and separatist nature of the Dalai clique. It is known to all that China's position is consistent on the issue of the so-called "Arunachal Pradesh". We are resolutely against Dalai's visit to the so-called "Arunachal Pradesh".

Q: Sadakazu Tanigaki, the newly elected president of Japan's Liberal Democratic Party, visited the Yasukuni Shrine recently. What is China's comment?

A: China's position on the issue of the Yasukuni Shrine remains unchanged. We hope that the Japanese side can properly handle relevant issues.

Q: Can you provide more information about the hijacked Chinese cargo ship? Secondly, just now you said that you hope India and Pakistan will properly settle the Kashmir issue. Do you think China investing in this region will help the proper settlement of the issue?

A: I have nothing more to add about the hijacked cargo ship. I think all of you can understand, since a Chinese cargo ship is hijacked by armed pirates, I'd rather not disclose more specifics. The Chinese Government attaches great importance to the issue and is making all-out rescue efforts.

On your second question, I have stated clearly the position of the Chinese Government just now. We believe the Kashmir issue is a question left over from history which should be properly handled by India and Pakistan through dialogue and consultation. China's position on the issue remains intact.

Q: Will the issue of the South China Sea be discussed in the East Asia Summit Meetings this time?

A: I understand that you are very interested in the meetings. I can give you a piece of information. There will be a briefing on the meeting for Chinese and foreign media here tomorrow afternoon, especially about events Premier Wen will be involved. You are welcome to raise questions then.

As for the South China Sea issue, I think you are well aware of China's position. That position remains the same.

Q: During the East Asia Summit Meetings, will Premier Wen have a bilateral meeting with Indian Prime Minister Singh?

A: I hope you will get your question answered tomorrow afternoon.

If there are no more questions, the press conference concludes here. Thanks for coming!

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