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Foreign Ministry Spokesman Kong Quan's Regular Press Conference on 17 January 2006

On the afternoon of January 17, 2006, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Kong Quan held a regular press conference.

Kong: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen! Before taking up your questions, I would like to announce several visits.

At the invitation of President Hu Jintao, King of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Abdullah Bin Abdul-Aziz Al-Saud will pay a state visit to China from January 22nd to 24th.

At the invitation of Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Immigration of The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg Jean Asselbon will pay an official visit to China from January 22nd to 24th.

At the invitation of Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Public Service of The Commonwealth of the Bahamas Frederick Mitchell will pay an official visit to China from January 19th to 22nd.

Vice Premier of the State Council Zeng Peiyan will attend the 2006 Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum on invitation in Davos from January 25th to 29th. The theme of the meeting is the Creative Imperative and the meeting will discuss such issues as world economic situation and the creation of future employment.

Vice Premier Zeng will deliver a special speech upon invitation at the annual meeting, introducing China's policies and measures on its economic and social development. The Chinese delegation will also attend some special meetings during the annual meeting.

At the invitation of the Government of The Republic of Bolivia, Chinese Minister of Justice Wu Aiying will attend the Power Transfer Ceremony on Bolivian Presidency held in La Paz on January 22nd as the special envoy of the Chinese Government.

If you have any question, I'd be more than glad to answer.

Q: It is said that Kim Jong-il is visiting Beijing. Please share some information on his visit.

A: Your colleague raised a couple of questions on this issue at the two previous press conferences. I said sorry at that time because I was not authorized to announce anything to them. Today, I have say sorry again, because I have no authorized information to offer so far, though I understand your close interest in this.

Q: Does China support the referral of the Iranian nuclear issue to the Security Council? Ambassador Wang Guangya said in New York that referral to the Security Council would complicate the matter. Does that represent the position of China?

A: There are some difficulties in the process of negotiation on the Iranian nuclear issue, but China still thinks it is a good choice to solve the Iranian nuclear issue through peaceful negotiation and diplomatic channels, which serves the interest of all parties. We hope that all parties concerned can do their utmost to resume the negotiation, and China will make its own effort to help properly solve the Iranian nuclear issue, so as to bring this issue back to the track of negotiation as early as possible.

Q: It is reported that at the consultation in London, China stated Iran should give up its enriched uranium program. Please confirm. In addition, Russia proposed to set up a joint venture facility for uranium enriching in Russia. Iran welcomed the proposal. What position does China take on this?

A: On January 15, China attended the informal discussion on the current situation of Iranian nuclear issue in London upon invitation, together with the EU3-Germany, Britain and France, and the US and Russia. The parties to the meeting expressed concern over Iran's resumption of nuclear fuel research. All parties believe it crucial for Iran to return to diplomatic negotiation. And all the parties expressed willingness to continue their diplomatic effort to solve the Iranian nuclear issue. This is a clear message sent by the international community to Iran. We hope that Iran will be cooperative with the effort of international community and relaunch the diplomatic negotiation, so as to seek a proper solution to this issue.

Regarding the proposal by the Russian side, the crux for this stage is the restart of negotiation between Iran and the three EU countries. Different parties put forward suggestions and ideas to this end. We hope and believe that under the joint efforts of all parties, the Iranian nuclear issue can be brought back to the track of a peaceful solution through diplomatic negotiation. This is vitally important.

Q: My question is indirectly related to Kim Jong Il's visit to China. Does it help that a leader of state just comes to see the achievements of China's reform while he does not carry out economic reform?

A: You want to indirectly draw forth my confirmation on whether the visit is ongoing. I can not do that, because I am not authorized to provide you with authoritative information.

In a broad sense, China is willing to share and exchange useful experience with other countries around the world in exploring paths of national development. It applies to all countries in the world instead of any single one. We are fully convinced that other countries must have good experience and helpful lessons in their development that we can draw on. And we are also willing to share with other countries our successful experience and show the path of development we have been going through and difficulties we have encountered in our development. In short, we hope to achieve common development and prosperity of mankind through equal exchange and mutually beneficial cooperation.

Q: Do Ambassador Wang Guangya's remarks indicate that China supports bringing the Iranian nuclear issue to the U.N. Security Council?

A: I have noted Ambassador Wang Guangya's speech at the UN General Assembly. The international community is closely following the Iranian nuclear issue. There exist multiple choices on this issue. China believes that under the current circumstances it is a good option and in the interest of the relevant parties to peacefully resolve the Iranian nuclear issue through diplomatic negotiations. We think that the pressing task for all parties is to maintain patience and resume the negotiation between the EU three and Iran with the utmost effort. Ambassador Wang Guangya's remarks are no different from the consistent position of the Chinese Government.

Q: About Kim Jong-Il's visit to China, when will you release more information? Besides, is President Hu Jintao going to visit the US this April? Can you brief on his agenda and China's expectation?

A: As for your first question, I have no more information to tell you at present. Once I have, I will keep you updated promptly. I can assure you that this is the guideline and principle we have all along insisted on in our work.

As for your second question, China and the US have kept exchanges of high-level visits in recent years. When visiting China last year, President Bush again invited President Hu Jintao to visit the US in the early time this year. Now, the two sides are discussing the date of the visit through diplomatic channel. The agenda is also under discussion.

Q: I'm going to raise a question irrelative to North Korea. Will President Hu Jintao have a plan to meet leaders of other countries today or tomorrow? Can you confirm leaders of which countries President Hu will meet with?

A: To my knowledge, President Hu has the arrangement to meet foreign leaders today.

Follow up: Leaders of one country or several countries?

A: Every day, we receive many foreign friends and guests. I'd like to remind you that the Prime Minister of Greece and leaders of other countries are going to visit China recently. All of these visits are very important.

Q: Would you please brief on the itinerary of the upcoming visit of Saudi Arabian King? In particular what the two sides will talk about? Will the two sides discuss the security of energy?

A: An important background information is that this is the first visit to China of the King of Saudi Arabia since the establishment of diplomatic relations between our two countries in 1990, 15 years ago. And it is also the first official visit to China of the incumbent King of Saudi Arabia after his succession. The Chinese side attaches much importance to this visit. President Hu will hold an important political meeting with him. I can't tell you more details on the agenda of this meeting now. However, I believe since it's an important meeting between the heads of the two countries, they will review the development of bilateral relations over the past 15 years and exchange views on further developing bilateral ties and expanding cooperation on all fronts.

You mentioned issues of the energy security and oil. I am sure the two sides will touch upon the mutually beneficial cooperation in the field of energy. Besides President Hu, King Abdulahh will also meet with other leaders of China. His activities are mainly focused in Beijing. He won't visit other cities in China.

Q:Will the Energy Minister and other Ministers of Saudi Arabia accompany their King in his visit to China? Will any agreement be signed, especially on energy cooperation? We know that many oil companies of China want to make investment in foreign countries. Will you talk about something on this?

A: I am very sorry that now I don't have the list of the Cabinet members in the company of Saudi Arabian King in his visit to China. I am not quite clear about whether any agreement on energy cooperation will be signed, but I would like to make a double check for you. To make it up, I would like to share with you some information I have. From January to November, 2005, the bilateral trade between China and Saudi Arabia enjoyed very rapid development, amounting to around 14.5 billion US dollars, a striking growth of 59% compared with the same period of the year before last. You know in the same period, the foreign trade of China grew by around 23%, so you can see that the bilateral trade between China and Saudi Arabia overrun by a large margin the growth speed of China's overall foreign trade. We imported 20.01million tons of crude oil from Saudi Arabia last year. At the same time, China maintains very good exchanges and cooperation with Saudi Arabia in the fields of culture, health, science and technology and communication.

Q: Could you brief us on the current economic and trade cooperation between China and DPRK. Will any new progress be made on this currently?

A: From January to November, 2005, the total trade volume of import and export between China and DPRK reached 1.46 billion US dollars, a growth of 23.1% year on year with 990 million US dollars import and 470 million US dollars export on the Chinese side. Our major principle is that we hope the economic and trade cooperation between China and DPRK can be expanded and deepened in a larger scope and in diverse forms. This is also the proposal made my president Hu Jintao to the DPRK side when he was visiting DPRK last year which got the positive response from DPRK. We believe that with our joint efforts the economic and trade exchanges and cooperation of the two sides will be expanded and deepened on the basis of equality, mutual benefit and friendship.

Q: What's your comment on the question of the Delta Banco Macao? What measures have been taken? Another question, how is the preparation work for the Six-party talks?

A: On the question of the Delta Banco of Macao, I have reiterated our position many times here. According to the Basic Law and the principle of "one country, two systems", this question is dealt with by the Macao SAR government. The Macao SAR government has already started investigation on this issue in accordance with law. At present, the final result has not come out yet. The central government trusts and supports the investigation by the Macao SAR Administration in accordance with law and its handling of the suspected law offense by any organization. Our attitude is clear-cut, never changed, and unquestionable.

Now the six-party talks is confronted with some complicated factors. China has been maintaining close contact and communication with various parties. We hope various parties can make joint efforts in promoting the resumption of the second phase of the fifth round of the six-party talks as early as possible.

Q: Is there any contact between China and Iran recently for the solution of the Iranian nuclear issue crisis? If there is, what information and demand has China expressed?

A: About 10 days ago, Deputy Foreign Minister of Iran paid a visit to China. Besides bilateral trade, the main topic for the talks is the Iranian nuclear issue. Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing of China and other officials of Foreign Ministry introduced him the position and proposal of the Chinese government on this issue. At the same time, we expressed our concern on the current situation.

Follow up: Will there be any further contact in the future?

A: There are many channels for contact between us, now I am not quite sure about the specific arrangement after Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister's visit.

If there are no more questions, let's call it a day. Thank you.

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