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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Ma Zhaoxu's Regular Press Conference on October 13, 2009

On October 13, 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 Korean Peninsular Nuclear Issue, etc.

Ma Zhaoxu: Good Afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen. I am happy to see you again after the happy and busy National Day Holiday. First of all, I want to welcome friends on the training course of National School of Administration. I have no announcements to make. Now the floor is open.

Q: Yesterday, the DPRK launched five short-range missiles, which has drawn world-wide attention. What's China's comment?

A: We have taken note that the DPRK launched short-range missiles. I believe this will not affect the easing of tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

Q: Prachanda, leader of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), is on a visit to China and meeting with CPC officials. What's China's comment on the political situation of Nepal? Is China concerned about the domestic instability of Nepal?

A: I have noticed relevant report. Mr. Prachanda is invited to visit China by the CPC International Department. I suggest that you check with the International Department.

As for Nepal's internal affairs, I am not in a position to comment.

Q: Reports in Britain say that the British side has recently made representations with China on the death penalty to the British citizen Akmal Shaikh who was convicted of drug trafficking, requesting relevant examination to be done on the ground that he suffers from mental illness. What's China going to do next? Will you accept Britain's proposal?

A: According to relevant authorities, Akmal Shaikh, a British citizen, was involved in drug trafficking. On 29 October 2008, he was sentenced to death at the first trial of the Urumqi Intermediate People's Court. The case is now under review at the Supreme People's Court. Relevant trial procedures are in line with laws and regulations. During the trial, the defendant and his attorney fully exercised their right to defense. The court also hired an interpreter for the defendant, protecting his litigation rights in full according to the law. I suggest you refer to relevant authorities for the specifics of the case.

Q: As an observer of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, What role can Iran play and what can it contribute?

A: The 8th Meeting of the Council of Heads of Government of the SCO Member States will be held in Beijing. First Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi of Iran will attend the meeting and meet with Premier Wen Jiabao. Iran is an observer of the SCO. I believe it will play its due role as other observer states.

Q: A follow-up question on the British citizen case. Will the confirmation of mental illness exempt one from death penalty despite a serious crime such as drug trafficking based on the Chinese law?

A: You raised a question of legal issue. Maybe you have looked into the issue, but I am not a legal expert. Since you have raised the question, I can provide you with more information. As far as I know, the British Embassy in China and a British organization have suggested a psychiatric examination of Akmal Shaikh through his entrusted lawyer, but failed to provide any proof. The defendant himself says that he and his family members have no history of mental illnesses. The case is undergoing relevant procedures and I am not in a position to make more comment. If you are interested, please refer to relevant legal authorities.

Q: I have a couple of questions. First, Assistant Secretary of State Campbell is now in town. Which Chinese officials is he going to meet? And what will they discuss? Second question is about President Obama winning the Nobel Peace Prize. How does China see this? The last one is China's protest against Indian Prime Minister's visit to the Arunachal Pradesh. Apart from what you have stated, do you have anything to add?

A: On your first question, Assistant Secretary of State Campbell of Asia-Pacific affairs is visiting China from October 12 to 14. Vice Foreign Ministers Wu Dawei and He Yafei are going to meet with him respectively. Officials from the Education, Defense and Commerce Ministries will also meet with him. They will exchange views on bilateral relations, President Obama's visit to China as well as international and regional issues of mutual interest.

We have taken note of President Obama winning this year's Nobel Peace Prize for his "efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples". We congratulate him on the award.

On your third question, you may have seen my statement and I have nothing more to add.

Q: On Assistant Secretary Campbell's visit to China, will he discuss the Korean Nuclear Issue with China?

A: I have said just now that the assistant secretary will have discussions and consultations with Chinese officials such as high-level foreign ministry officials. They will talk about regional issues. As for whether they will touch upon the situation on the Korean Peninsula, we will know after their meetings.

Q: Can you reiterate China's position on Indian Prime Minister's visit to the disputed border region?

A: China-India border has never been officially demarcated. The Chinese Government's position on the disputed area has been consistent and clear. China expresses its strong dissatisfaction on the visit by the Indian leader to the disputed area in disregard of China's grave concerns. We urge the Indian side to take China's solemn concerns seriously and do not stir up trouble at the disputed area with a view to ensuring the sound development of China-India relations.

Q: Pakistani Prime Minister will visit China from today. Does his visit have anything to do with the recent threat of Al-Qaeda to initiate jihad against China?

A: As friendly neighbors to each other, the two countries maintain regular high-level exchange of visits. Prime Minister Syed Gilani is invited by Premier Wen Jiabao to visit China and attend the 8th Meeting of the Council of Heads of Government of the SCO Member States. Premier Wen Jiabao and CPPCC Chairman Jia Qinglin will meet with him respectively.

This is Prime Minister Gilani's first visit to China since taking office. Leaders of the two countries will exchange views on bilateral relations as well as international and regional issues of mutual interest. I believe his visit will further promote China-Pakistan relations.

Q: About the DPRK's short-range missile launch, just now you said you believe it will not affect the easing of tensions on the Korean Peninsula, why so? Secondly about Prime Minister Putin's visit to China, can you elaborate on his activities today? In particular, what economic and commercial agreements will he sign with the Chinese side?

A: The itinerary for Prime Minister Putin's visit to China has already been released. During the visit, he will have talks with Premier Wen Jiabao and they will jointly attend the event celebrating the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Russia and the closing ceremony of the "Year of the Russian Language" in China. President Hu Jintao and NPC Chairman Wu Bangguo will meet with him respectively. Premier Wen and Prime Minister Putin will sign and release the Joint Communiqué of the 14th Regular Prime Ministers' Talks between China and Russia, as well as series of documents on bilateral cooperation in various fields. As for the specifics, since the visit is still underway, please note the relevant information to be released in due course.

On your first question, I have already made our position clear. We hope relevant parties can exercise calmness and restraint, jointly safeguard regional peace and stability and make constructive effort for the denuclearization of the Peninsula and the resumption of the Six-party Talks.

Q: Can you brief us on the latest program of the SCO Prime Ministers' meeting?

A: This afternoon, Premier Wen will have talks with Prime Minister Putin. They will then attend the signing ceremony and meet the press afterwards. This evening, they will also meet with entrepreneurs from both sides and attend the event celebrating the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Russia and the closing ceremony of the "Year of the Russian Language" in China.

Tomorrow morning, Premier Wen will meet and talk with Prime Ministers of the SCO member states. They will attend the signing ceremony and meet the press jointly tomorrow noon.

On Thursday morning, Premier Wen will meet with Prime Minister Masimov of Kazakhstan, Prime Minister Oqilov of Tajikistan, First Vice President Rahimi of Iran, Vice President Khalili of Afghanistan and Prime Minister Gilani of Pakistan respectively. In the afternoon, Premier Wen will have talks with Prime Minister Chudinov of Kyrgyzstan and attend the signing ceremony.

Q: What expectations do you have for this year's SCO Prime Ministers' meeting?

A: It is the second time for China to host the SCO Prime Ministers' meeting since 2003, which is also a major international multilateral event under the background of the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. China attaches great importance to this meeting and the preparation is underway in an orderly manner. I am convinced that the meeting will produce significant results in implementing the consensus reached at the Ekaterinburg Summit of the SCO, deepening pragmatic cooperation between the member states and contributing to their joint efforts to cope with the international financial crisis. I believe the meeting will be a great success.

Q: If the British citizen Akmal Shaikh is proven to have mental illness, will you consider lenity to him? Prime Minister Brown brought up this case with President Hu Jintao during the G20 Summit. Will this factor affect China's judgment of the case?

A: I have nothing more to add on this case, since it is a legal issue. I think you will understand.

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


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