Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang's Regular Press Conference on March 18, 2010

On the afternoon of March 18, 2010, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang held a regular press conference and answered questions.

Qin Gang: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I have no announcement to start with and I’m ready to take your questions.

Q: Earlier today, US Ambassador to China Huntsman said during his speech in Tsinghua University that he sees “blue skies” for future China-US relations. How does China view the future bilateral relations?

A: We hope there will always be blue skies full of sunshine for China-US relations. Therefore, we call for joint efforts to smooth away dark clouds and disturbances. It is imperative that the two sides value bilateral relations, take concrete measures to implement the principles set in the three Sino-US Joint Communiqués as well as the China-US Joint Statement, respect and care for each other’s core interests and major concerns and properly handle sensitive issues so as to push China-US relations back on the track of sound and stable development. We hope that the US side translate Ambassador Huntsman’s good wishes for future bilateral relations into concrete actions.

Q: Vice President Xi Jinping will visit four European countries this weekend. Please brief us on his itinerary and China’s expectations for the visits.

A: Vice President Xi Jinping will pay official visits to Russia, Belarus, Finland and Sweden from March 20 to 30, which is a significant diplomatic move.

At present, China and the four countries enjoy sound bilateral relations on a general basis. China-Russia strategic partnership of cooperation strides forward on a sound and rapid track with constantly advancing political mutual trust and deepening pragmatic cooperation in various fields. We believe the “Year of Chinese Language” to be held in Russia this year will further promote cultural and people-to-people exchanges, mutual understanding and friendship between the two peoples. China’s relations with the other three countries have also maintained a good momentum of development.

During his visits, Vice President Xi Jinping will meet and have talks with leaders of the four countries and have in-depth exchange of views on strengthening political exchanges, promoting bilateral relations, deepening mutually-beneficial cooperation in trade and economy, energy resources, finance and culture as well as international and regional issues of common interests. During his visit to Russia, Vice President Xi will attend the opening ceremonies of the “Year of Chinese Language” and the second dialogue meeting of ruling parties between China and Russia. Relevant information will be released in due course.

Q: The US Congress recently moves to pressure China’s exchange rate policy. How do you comment? What impact will it bring to China-US relations?

A: We have elaborated our position on this issue on many occasions. I won’t bother to repeat.

I would like to stress the following points. Firstly, the exchange rate is not the main cause for China-US trade imbalance. Many China exports have already been out of production in the US. Even if China stops exporting them, other countries will soon fill the market vacancy.

Secondly, China does not pursue trade surplus. We uphold balanced development of bilateral trade, which requires joint efforts. China has made positive efforts for that and we also hope the US take concrete measures towards that end, in particular, relax the restrictions over its export of high-tech products to China.

Thirdly, the two sides should handle trade frictions in a calm and rational manner so as to seek resolutions of mutual benefit and win-win outcome. It is unfair and harmful to devalue one’s own currency to expand export while demanding other countries to appreciate their currencies, or even set trade barriers to restrict other countries’ exports. This is harmful not only to China-US trade relations but also to world trade. This has set a bad example of protectionism in this critical juncture when signs of world economy recovery have just shown and will not contribute to the world economic recovery as well as its stable, balanced and sustainable development.

Q: In his speech this morning, US Ambassador Huntsman mentioned that President Obama had invited President Hu Jintao to visit the US. Is China making relevant preparation for that? Second, when will the China-US human rights dialogue be held?

A: On your first question, China and the US have stayed in contact on that and I have no information for you right now.

On your second question, the two sides have maintained working-level communication on the human rights dialogue.

Q: Spanish media reported that some Spanish people were planning to have organ transplants in China under the name of tourists. Does China allow such behavior? Has China taken any measures to prohibit human organ trade?

A: China has promulgated the Regulation on Human Organ Transplantation and the Chinese health authorities have explicit regulations on foreigners’ application for human organ transplants. The issue you raised should be handled according to relevant Chinese regulations. I want to stress that China’s laws strictly prohibit human organ trade and organ transplant surgeries for foreigners under the name of tourists. In China, organ donation must have the written consent of the donator.

Q: The Iranian Foreign Ministry recently said that British Foreign Secretary Miliband’s effort to promote sanctions against Iran during his visit to China proved to be “ineffective”. How does China comment? Has China had any contact or consultation with Iran on the Iranian nuclear issue? Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi also said in the joint press conference that China “has growing concerns” over the Iranian nuclear issue. Can you tell us more specifically what China’s concerns are?

A: China’s concern over the Iranian nuclear issue involves two aspects: on one hand, we are concerned about the integrity and authority of the international non-proliferation regime, the challenges facing it and the escalation of the current situation. On the other hand, we are concerned over the impact on the peace and stability of the region. In light of these concerns, we maintain that the issue should be settled properly through diplomatic means such as dialogue and negotiation. This is the best way out, which is in the interest of all parties and conducive to regional peace and stability. China, in close contact with other parties, has been engaging those involved and promoting peace and dialogue so that the issue can move towards peaceful settlement.

During Foreign Secretary Miliband’s visit to China, the two sides discussed the Iranian nuclear issue, which I believe is meaningful and conducive to enhancing the mutual understanding between the two sides on the issue and reaching the goal of a peaceful and proper resolution of the issue.

Q: China will begin the trial of the Rio Tinto case next Monday. Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said today that the Australian side will follow the trial closely. Why some sessions of the trial will not be open to the public and foreign diplomats? Australia and some other countries believe that this case has been “politicized” and the trial “lacks transparency”. How do you respond?

A: On the Rio Tinto case, competent Chinese authorities will handle it in accordance with China’s laws, legal procedures and the China-Australia Consular Agreement. During the trial of the case, the legitimate rights and interests of those involved will be protected. China and Australia have stayed in communication over this case. Since ancient times, the Chinese people have believed that silence should be kept in such a solemn place as the court. Pending a trial, there should be no noises so as not to disrupt the independent handling of the cases by China’s judicial authorities.

The Rio Tinto case is merely an individual business case, which will not and should not be politicized or bring adverse impact on China-Australia relations. We will not politicize it and we hope neither do others.

Q: Bangladesh Prime Minister Hasina is here for a visit. Could you brief us on her itinerary and meetings with Chinese leaders?

A: I answered this question at the last conference and I’d like to repeat that in brief. China puts great emphasis on Prime Minister Hasina’s visit and believes this visit is a good opportunity to promote our bilateral relations. This afternoon, Premier Wen Jiabao will have talks with Prime Minister Hasina. Tomorrow, President Hu Jintao and Chairman Wu Bangguo will meet with her respectively. We hope to enhance political mutual trust, boost mutually-beneficial cooperation in various areas through this visit so as to press ahead with China-Bangladesh relations in a steady manner.

Q: Today, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi held talks with the ROK Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan, exchanging views on the DPRK nuclear issue as well as the Six-Party Talks. Could you give us more details?

A: This morning, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi had talks with his ROK counterpart Yu Myung-hwan. Both expressed that they will make joint efforts to intensify exchanges and cooperation in all fields in a bid to further promote China-ROK relations. During the meeting, they also exchanged views on the Korean Peninsular nuclear issue, the Six-Party Talks as well as international and regional issues of common interest.

Q: Some reports said that the focus of the upcoming visit by Afghan President Karzai is on economic cooperation. Could you confirm and clarify on that and share with us the latest trade and economic figures between the two countries?

A: China attaches great importance to President Karzai’s visit. During his visit, China is ready to exchange views with President Karzai on furthering bilateral relations and economic cooperation. China hopes to see a peaceful and independent Afghanistan enjoying stability, development and good-neighborliness, and is willing to make efforts for the peaceful reconstruction there.

Since the year 2002, China has provided over RMB900 million in reconstruction assistance to Afghanistan. Last year, China announced another US$75 million in aid in the next five years to come. Apart from that, China has also trained some professional personnel for Afghanistan and is hoping that all this aid will contribute to the overall peaceful reconstruction there. It is believed that the two sides will discuss ways and approaches to further enhance cooperation in business, trade and other areas during President Karzai’s visit.

Q: Australian Government claimed that its consular officials have been denied access to the trial sessions dealing with the infringement of commercial secrets of the Rio Tinto case. Why? Australia said that is in violation of the China-Australia Consular Agreement, do you have any comment?

A: Please do not confuse a country’s sovereignty, judicial sovereignty in particular, with the China-Australia Consular Agreement. The China-Australia Consular Agreement should work on the premise of respect to China’s sovereignty and judicial sovereignty. China’s judicial authorities decide how to handle the case in light of Chinese laws and the nature of the case, and we should respect their decision. During the process, China and Australia have stayed in communication according to the consular agreement and Australia is clearly aware of the situation.

Q: Right after Foreign Secretary Miliband finished his visit to China, the UK issued its annual report on human rights, saying that China’s record on human rights is a cause for concern. The report also claims that the Chinese Government is using criminal charges to shut down the activities of “human rights defenders” and national sovereignty should not be an excuse to “shield states from scrutiny”. How do you comment?

A: China is dedicated to promoting and protecting its people’s human rights and fundamental freedom and the Chinese people of all ethnicity enjoy their fundamental rights endowed by the Constitution. The civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Chinese people have been greatly improved. While enjoying rapid development, China lays great store on rule of law and is devoted to building a fair, just and harmonious society. Anyone without prejudice will be able to see the constant progress in China’s human rights undertaking.

However, due to the differences in history, culture and development level, it is natural that countries have different opinions on human rights issues. China upholds dialogue and communication on the basis of equality and mutual respect so as to enhance mutual understanding and narrow the differences. We are opposed to pressure and confrontation as well as using human rights issues to interfere in other countries’ internal affairs or double standards over these issues. If you take a look at this report, all those countries singled out are developing countries. Why doesn’t it talk about the UK itself? Why doesn’t it talk about some Western countries with serious human rights violations? This political show based on ideology just reveals itself.

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

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