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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang's Regular Press Conference on March 30, 2010

On the afternoon of March 30, 2010, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang held a regular press conference and answered questions.

Qin Gang: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I have two announcements to start with.

First, at the invitation of the Chinese Government, Princess Sirindhorn of the Kingdom of Thailand will visit China from April 3 to 9.

Second, at the invitation of Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, Foreign Minister Krishna of the Republic of India will pay an official visit to China from April 5 to 8.

Now, I’m ready to take your questions.

Q: The news of US President Obama accepting the letter of credence of Ambassador Zhang Yesui was posted on the Foreign Ministry website this morning. US Deputy Secretary of State Steinberg also held a press briefing on China-US relations in Washington D.C. Are you satisfied with their remarks? How do you react?

A: China appreciates the positive remarks on China-US relations made by President Obama and Deputy Secretary of State Steinberg and values the US side's reiteration of its principled commitment on issues concerning Taiwan and Tibet.

Since the Obama administration took office, China-US relations have witnessed positive development thanks to joint efforts of both sides. Not long ago, China-US relations suffered undue disruption, which is in the interest of neither side. Both China and the US are countries of major influence around the world and a sound China-US relationship serves the fundamental interest of the two countries and their people and contributes to peace, stability and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region and the world at large. The Chinese Government, always attaching great importance to its relations with the US, has been endeavoring to develop long-term, sound and stable China-US relations. China hopes to see two countries earnestly implement the consensus reached by leaders of the two countries, enhance dialogue and exchanges and boost mutual-trust and cooperation on the basis of the principles and spirit of the three Sino-US joint communiqués as well as the China-US Joint Statement, and properly handle the sensitive issues so as to press ahead with building a positive, cooperative and comprehensive China-US relations in the 21st century.

Q: It is known that the Third China-Japan Finance Ministers’ Dialogue will be held by Ministries of Finance of China and Japan. Please give us more details. Will Chinese leaders meet with Japanese delegates on the sidelines of the Dialogue?

A: Ministries of Finance of China and Japan will hold the Third China-Japan Finance Ministers’ Dialogue in Beijing on April 3. Chinese Finance Minister Xie Xuren will have talks with his Japanese counterpart Naoto Kan and exchange views with him on world and regional economy, economies of China and Japan and their growth strategies as well as strengthening communication and cooperation between the two Ministries. China’s State Council leader will meet with Naoto Kan. Senior officials from the two Ministries will also attend the Dialogue.

Q: Australian Foreign Minister said yesterday that China has missed an opportunity to demonstrate transparency and justice to the world in its trial of the Rio Tinto case. How do you comment?

A: China expresses serious concern over the remarks made by the Australian side on the Rio Tinto case. This is an individual criminal case and the verdict of its first trial has already been issued. Australia should respect the result and stop making such irresponsible remarks.

Q: The Nuclear Security Summit will be held in the US next month. Who will lead the Chinese delegation to attend the Summit? US Secretary of State Clinton said China has agreed that Iran should not possess nuclear weapons. Can you confirm? How will China prevent Iran from possessing nuclear weapons? Does China consider supporting new sanctions on Iran?

A: On the Nuclear Security Summit, China, attaching great importance to nuclear security, is against nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism. As a result, China has taken an active part in the preparation for the Summit. We hope the Summit pool international consensus and strengthen cooperation among countries in nuclear security. As for who will lead the Chinese delegation, I don’t have any information yet.

On your second question, China opposes proliferation of nuclear weapons and we believe that regional peace and security should be maintained. Under the current circumstances, we hope relevant parties display flexibility and make efforts to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue by diplomatic means. China will continue to stay in close contact with relevant parties, work for peace and facilitate talks in order to seek a peaceful settlement of the issue by diplomatic means.

Q: Do you regard President Obama’s reiteration of the US side’s adherence to the One China policy as some sort of a soft apology from the US side? Could this put an end to the tension in China-US relations which started at the beginning of this year?

A: I’d like to reiterate that the undue disruption which China-US relations endured not long ago is in the interest of neither country and is not what we would like to see. Bearing in mind the significance of China-US relations, China is dedicated to the long-term, sound and stable development of the relations. The key to maintaining such a development is mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit. China hopes to see the two countries earnestly implement the major consensus reached by leaders of the two countries, enhance dialogue and exchanges and boost mutual-trust and cooperation on the basis of the principles and spirit of the three Sino-US joint communiqués as well as the China-US Joint Statement and properly handle the sensitive issues so as to press ahead with the bilateral relations for the well-being of the two peoples and the world at large.

Q: Will Chinese authorities further investigate the involvement of Rio Tinto or any other companies in the case? Secondly, are there other foreigners under investigation concerning the bribery accusation?

A: Anyone involved in the Rio Tinto case will be handled by Chinese judicial authorities according to law, no matter what their nationalities are.

Q: Do you have any idea about when the Chinese Government will ratify the prisoner exchange agreement with Australia that would potentially allow Stern Hu to serve his sentence in Australia?

A: Chinese judicial authorities have already issued its verdict on the case and will continue to deal with it according to law. The agreement you mentioned is up to discussions between competent authorities from both sides. But I think it is illogical and misleading to say that the two governments should discuss such an agreement to transfer someone who committed a crime and is now convicted.

Q: Which Chinese official will attend the UN International Donors’ Conference for Haiti to be held in New York tomorrow?

A: Ambassador Li Baodong, Permanent Representative of China to the United Nations is going to be at the Conference on behalf of the Chinese Government. Up till now, China has provided 93-million-yuan worth of relief assistance to Haiti. We will consider offering more.

Q: It’s reported that the first Mekong River Commission Summit will be held this April. Which Chinese official will be present? Separately, Thai media reports that Premier Wen Jiabao is going to visit Myanmar shortly. Could you confirm and tell us the purpose of the visit?

A: About the Mekong River Commission Summit, Vice Foreign Minister Song Tao will lead the Chinese delegation there. Being a friendly neighbor with the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) countries, China attaches great importance to developing good-neighborly, friendly and cooperative relations with these countries in its commitment to dialogue, communication and cooperation.

I noted some media reports about the water drawdown of the Mekong River. Some people say this is caused by China’s building dams and hydropower projects on Lancang River, the upstream of the Mekong River. This is not the fact. First of all, China’s southwest provinces are also suffering from this once-in-a-century disaster, which I believe you have learnt from the media. It is the drought that has caused water scarcity in the Mekong sub-region. Secondly, the Lancang River only accounts for 13.5% of Mekong River’s water inflow, thus the hydroelectric projects barely have any impact on downstream water supply. I’d like to stress that China pursues a policy of friendly neighborhood and would not seek interest at the expense of its neighboring countries. On the upper reach of Mekong River, China makes reasonable and sustainable exploitation of the water resources in a responsible way and gives full consideration to the reasonable concerns of downstream countries. Over the past years, we have kept close communication and cooperation with GMS countries and have provided them with hydrologic data of upstream water on a regular basis. I want to make clear that it is groundless to say water scarcity or dropping water level in relevant countries is caused by China’s building dams and hydropower projects on Lancang River.

On your second question, attaching importance to its neighboring countries, China is actively committed to developing good neighborly, friendly and cooperative relations with them and will maintain regular high-level exchanges and cooperation in various fields.

As for Premier Wen Jiabao’s outgoing visit, we will release information in due course.

QYou just said that China was against Iran possessing nuclear weapons, does that mean China has evidence of Iran’s capability of developing such weapons? Secondly, about the Rio Tinto case, does China believe Rio Tinto has nothing to do with what is employees did?

A: On the Iranian nuclear issue, China opposes Iran possessing nuclear weapons. Meanwhile, we also believe Iran, as a sovereign state, is entitled to peaceful use of nuclear energy. China’s position on that is persistent and unequivocal. At present, we hope relevant parties make concrete efforts to exert flexibility, shed light on relevant issues and enhance cooperation towards a proper and peaceful settlement of this issue.

On your second question, China welcomes enterprises from all over the world to invest and do business in China on the premise of compliance with law and honesty.

Q: The DPRK has announced its decision to attend the Shanghai World Expo, which would be its first Expo appearance. Premier Wen Jiabao once said that the World Expo was aimed to let the world understand China as well as let China embrace the world. What’s your expectation of the DPRK’s participation? Secondly, Mr. Qin Gang, as the Ambassador of Water Conservation, how do you view the current drought in Central and West China?

A: The Shanghai World Expo is a great event for countries to boost exchanges and cooperation and enhance mutual-trust. We welcome participation of every country including the DPRK and are ready to provide support and facilitation to them.

On the second question, some southwestern provinces of China are suffering severe drought. Just as many of you present here and all the Chinese compatriots, I am greatly concerned and worried about that. Water is a precious resource. While saving on water to the best I can in my daily life, I’d also like to call upon every one to do no less because it will be too late when the drought occurs. I hope the whole society could raise its awareness of water conservation and scientific use of water, thus creating a favorable environment for not only the survival of mankind, but also the sustainable development of China, of this region and of the world at large.

Q: It was past 11 p.m. last Friday when the Chinese Foreign Ministry notified the Japanese embassy of the solving of the poisonous dumpling case. Why did China do that so late? Is that planned or it just happened that way?

A: Before the case was solved, you kept asking why was it unsolved? Now, it is solved and we informed Japan just in time, you are asking why we did that so late. Is it even the case that you care about?

Q: I’ve been listening to China’s position on the Iranian nuclear issue carefully. Previously, China would always call for consultation and dialogue with Iran. But what you said today seems a bit different. You just called for a proper and peaceful resolution. Does that indicate some changes in China’s position? Will China continue to promote consultation and dialogue or support a fresh round of sanctions against Iran?

A: China’s principled stance on the Iranian nuclear issue remains unchanged. We uphold the seriousness and authority of the international nuclear non-proliferation regime as well as regional peace, security and stability. We will make joint efforts with other parties to peacefully resolve this issue by diplomatic means.

Q: Will China send delegates to attend the P5+1 meeting in New York this week?

A: China has played its role in promoting peaceful talks on the Iranian nuclear issue. We have stayed in communication with and engaged other parties.

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

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