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Foreign Ministry Regular Press Conference by Spokesman Zhu Bangzao(19/09/2001)

Q: Could you please brief us on the latest development of China’s entry into the WTO?

A: On 17th September, the 18th Session of the Working Party on China’s entry into the WTO approved the legal documents on China’s entry into the WTO, namely the protocol, the report of the Working Party and the annex of the protocol, which include concession lists of commodity trade and service trade. The meeting decided to present these documents to the General Council of the WTO. Thus, the Working Group of the WTO on China’s entry finally finished its 15-year long historical mission. The negotiations on China’s entry into the WTO were completely concluded.

The legal documents on China’s entry into the WTO will be examined and passed at the 4th ministerial conference of the WTO to be held from 9 to 13 November 2001. The representative of the Chinese Government will officially sign the protocol of accession. After ratification by the NPC, the instruments of ratification will be formally presented to the WTO. Thirty days after the deposit of the instruments of ratification, China will become a member of the WTO.

Entry into the WTO is a strategic decision of the Chinese Government under the background of economic globalization. It is in conformity with the objective of China’s reform, opening up and socialist market economy. Membership of the WTO will not only benefit China’s economic development, but also benefit other members of the WTO. At the moment, the Chinese Government is speeding up its preparations for the membership, so as to ensure the fulfillment of various commitments.

After becoming a member of the WTO, China will follow the principles of the WTO and further improve the socialist market economy that follows the international rules. China will also follow the WTO principle of mutual openness of markets and strengthen her economic and technological cooperation with all WTO members, including the vast number of developing nations. This will surely greatly push forward China’s modernization drive and the ability to participate in economic globalization.

Q: During his phone conversation with President Bush, President Jiang expressed China’s willingness to cooperate with the United States in the fight against terrorism. What kind of concrete measures will China adopt to fulfill her commitment? Once the United Stated retaliates, will China open her airspace, share information with the United States, or provide logistic assistance to the United States? Will China participate in the US-led multi-nation forces?

A: As you said, President Jiang talked over the phone with President Bush on 12th September. During the phone call, President Jiang made it clear our position on this incident and the principled stand against terrorism. China and the United States have been in close contact with each other in this field. Both China and the United States are members of a series of international treaties against terrorism. China will earnestly honour its obligations and will be ready to enhance her cooperation with the United States in this area. As President Jiang stressed, we are ready to enhance our dialogue and cooperation with the United States and the international community in the common struggle against all sorts of terrorism. I have not heard of specific requests from the United States. The two sides are discussing about cooperation in the specific fields. I wish to point out that terrorists are common enemies against the international community. They must be punished by law. At the same time, we hold that anti-terrorism measures should be based upon the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and other norms governing international relations.

Q: Do you have any further information on the Chinese casualties in the terrorist attacks on the United States?

A: In recent days, diplomats from China’s Embassy in the United States, Consulate Generals in New York and other US cities had visited US hospitals and universities and kept in close contacts with American institutions and overseas Chinese communities to follow the latest development. So far, we have not received new reports on Chinese causalities. In addition, Tan Xuelei, a friend of Mr. Chen Xiaobing, who was reported dead by his family earlier on, informed us that the September 13th report of Chen’s death was a misinformation. Mr. Chen himself made a phone call on September 16th, reporting that he is now safe. He was stuck in the basement of the office, before being rescued.

The Chinese Government and China’s Embassy and Consulate Generals in the United States deeply care for the safety of our compatriots from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan during the attacks in the United States. At the request of Foreign Ministry Commissioner’s Office in Hong Kong, China’s Consulate General in New York has offered assistance in tracking down the plight of HK compatriots. It has been found that, in the list of names provided by the Hong Kong SAR Government, three compatriots from Hong Kong are missing, namely Huang Shaoxiang, Dong Zhengping and Shen Shihuang (pinyin spelling). We have been in touch with the families of Huang and Dong. The Chinese Embassy and Consulate Generals in the United States are also ready to offer necessary assistance to our compatriots from Taiwan in the United States.

Q: If the United States and the NATO use forces against Afghanistan without the approval of the UN or the vote of support by its Security Council, will China support such an act?

A: On this question, I wish to make three points: First, China opposes all sorts of terrorism and supports attacks on terrorists. Secondly, the attacks on terrorists should be built upon valid evidence. The action should have clear targets, without harming the innocent civilians. Thirdly, it should follow the UN Charter and help strengthen the role of the UN and its Security Council. China is ready to discuss any proposals at the Security Council that will be conducive to the fight against terrorism.

Q: What’s China’s comment of the restoration of ministerial talks between the DPRK and ROK?

A: We welcome the restoration of ministerial talks between the DPRK and ROK. The North and South sides of Korea are the main parties to the Korean question. The Korean question should ultimately be resolved through dialogue and cooperation between the North and the South.  China supports the positive efforts of the North and the South to promote North-South dialogue and ease the tension on the Korean Peninsular. We support the efforts of the North and the South to ultimately achieve independent peaceful reunification.

Q: Is there a refugee crisis along China’s border with Afghanistan? Japan has discovered terrorists. Has China found any?

A: The Afghan refugee problem is a problem long waiting for a solution. At the moment, there is no refugee wave along China’s border with Afghanistan. I believe that the international community does not wish to see further deterioration of the situation in the region, leading to a new refugee crisis.

On your question of terrorists in China, I have made it clear during my last press conference that we are totally capable of dealing with terrorism. I wish to use this opportunity to brief you on the ongoing Symposium on ASEM Law Enforcement Organs Cooperation in Combating Transnational Crime. The agenda of the meeting is related to your question.

The First Session of the Symposium on ASEM Law Enforcement Organs Cooperation in Combating Transnational Crime is being held from 17 to 19 September in Beijing. Nearly 200 delegates from 25 member countries of the Asia Europe Meeting (ASEM) and the EU attended the meeting. The Symposium aims at enhancing cooperation among law enforcement agencies from Asia and Europe to effectively crack down on increasing rampant transnational crime and maintain regional and international peace and stability. The meeting will mainly seek ways to prevent and fight transnational economic crimes, international terrorism, illegal smuggling and trafficking. The meeting will also explore effective mechanism and measures of cooperation against transnational crimes and seek better coordination among the law enforcement agencies among the member states.

International terrorism endangers international peace and security, threatens social stability, economic development and the safety of life and property. Countries of the world have come to realize that international terrorism is a transnational crime in disregard of its objectives.

The Chinese Government resolutely opposes and strongly condemns all sorts of international terrorism. China has become a member of a series of anti-terrorist conventions, such as the Tokyo Convention, Hague Convention, Montreal Convention and the Convention on Prevention and Punishment against Crimes of Infringement to Internationally Protected Personnel and Diplomatic Representatives. On the basis of these conventions, China is conducting effective anti-terrorist cooperation. After becoming a member of the Interpol, China has made full use of this channel to exchange information and conduct international cooperation in the prevention and investigation of clues for international terrorist cases and the issuing of notices against violent criminals and hijackers.

Domestically, China has taken a series of measure against terrorism. Legislation is enhanced to provided legal assurance in preventing and combating international terrorist activities. At the same time, effective measures have been adopted in preventing the entry of terrorists and enhancing safety protection of the aviation. China has also improved its consultation and cooperation with neighbouring countries to effectively prevent and combat transnational terrorist activities.

Q: There are anti-US sentiments in China, especially on China's Internet. They claim that the terrorist attacks on the United States are a tragedy, but the United States deserves it. Does it represent the attitude of the Chinese Government?

A: The remarks by some individuals on China's Internet obviously do not represent the attitude of the Chinese Government. The attitude of the Chinese Government is reflected in the telegram from President Jiang to President Bush. It is reflected in the phone conversation between President Jiang and President Bush on the evening of 12 September. It is reflected in the phone conversation between Vice Premier Qian and US Secretary of State Powell. It is also reflected in the letter from Foreign Minister Tang to Mr. Powell. The attitude of the Chinese Government is clear-cut. As the spokesman of the Foreign Ministry, I myself have also elaborated on many occasions the position and attitude of the Chinese Government. What represent the attitude of the Chinese Government and people? What represent the views of some individuals? It is quite clear from here. There should not be any misinterpretations.

Q: It is reported that Sino-Pakistani border has been closed. Could you please confirm. The United States calls for anti-terrorist cooperation. I wish to know if China is satisfied with US policies towards terrorist acts in Tibet and Xinjiang?

A: On the first question, I have no information on it.

On the second question, the September 11th Incident has demonstrated that terrorism has become a common challenge to the international community. China, like other members of the international community, opposes all sorts of terrorism. In this field, there should be no double standards. All terrorism should be cracked down. International cooperation should be enhanced. As Vice Premier Qian made it clear during the phone conversation with Mr. Powell, we always oppose all sorts of terrorism. We call for international cooperation against terrorism.

Q: Does China believe that the Taliban or bin Laden has links with the splittists in Xinjiang? Have they provided any assistance to the splittists?

A: We have noticed the relevant reports. The Taliban indicated that it never allows the Xinjiang splittists to use Afghan territory to engage in anti-China activities. The position of the Chinese Government is very clear. We resolutely safeguard national unity and territorial integrity, oppose national separatist, religious extremist and violent terrorist activities. We are also opposed to any outside interference in China’s internal affairs.

Q: Have you indicated that the Taliban has not trained the Xinjiang splitists in Afghanistan? Under what circumstances did Taliban make such a commitment?

A: On 15 September, I issued a statement on the false media report on China’s relations with the Taliban. You can go back and read it through. I wish to add something here: At the request of the Taliban, China had some contacts with it at the working level. China explained to the Taliban our principled position. Some other countries have also done likewise. We wish to stress that we have no official relations of any form with the Taliban. This is very clear and should not be misinterpreted.

Q: Does China wish the US to soften its position on China’s handling of the Xinjiang splittism after the terrorist attacks on the United States?

A: The United States asks for China’s support and assistance in the fight against terrorism. China, in the same token, has reason to ask the Untied States to give its understanding and support in China’s fight against national splittism and terrorism.

Q: As an exchange for support to the United States, does China wish the United States to stop its support to China’s splitism, such as stopping or reducing its arms sales to Taiwan?

A: We have always opposed to US arms sales to Taiwan. There are three joint communiqués between China and the United States. We ask the Untied States to honour the three communiqués, act prudently on the Taiwan issue and follow its relevant commitments by stopping arms sales to Taiwan. This is our consistent position. We are not doing any bargains on the issue of anti-terrorism. As I just mentioned, terrorism has become a common challenge to the international community in the 21st century. We should strengthen our international cooperation in the common fight to eradicate this major threat.

Q: You indicated that China has asked the United States to offer its understanding and support to China’s fight against national splittism. Does it include China’s fight against the forces for Taiwan independence?

A: The most serious threat to peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits comes from the forces for the independence of Taiwan. The forces have not only brought out major threat to the cross-Straits relations and the stability of the Taiwan Straits, but also endangered Sino-US relations and the self interests of the United States. So, in this field, China and the United States also have common interests. We should deter the development of the forces for Taiwan independence.

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