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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson's Press Conference(26/09/2001)

Q: The Prime Minister of Japan is meeting with President Bush today to present Japan’s plan to support war against terrorism. I wish to know what is China’s position on Japan’s decision to revise the current law in order to be involved in this war?

A: We have taken notice of the relevant reports. The fight against terrorism is a common task for the international community. We understand that the relevant parties are conducting consultations and cooperation in the combat against international terrorism. We hope the relevant parties make their efforts in light of their practical situation and on the basis of the purposes and principles of the UN Charter.

At the same time, I wish to make one point. Due to historical reasons, the question involving Japan’s role in the military field is a very sensitive one. It is especially true for Japan’s neighbours. Thus, it is hoped that Japan would act in a prudent manner.

Q: Yesterday, Russian President Putin said that Russia would help Afghan’s Northern Alliance with Russian weapons. It is the Russian reaction to US’s future military action in the Afghanistan. What kind of actions will China take if the US take military actions in Afghanistan? Will China send its own weapons to the Northern Alliance?

A: We have noticed the relevant statements of President Putin. China always opposes and condemns all sorts of terrorism. We hold that the international community should make common efforts to fight international terrorism. China and Russia share common interests and positions in this field. The two sides have been in close contacts and consultations with each other since the September 11 Incident. China and Russia resolutely oppose all sorts of violent terrorist activities. Not long ago, President Jiang spoke over the phone with President Putin, during which the two further elaborated their position on this question. China will closely follow the development of the situation. We will continue to have contacts and coordination with the relevant parties, including Russia.

On your specific question, I wish to point it out that we have normal channels for contact with the Anti-Taliban Northern Alliance. However, I would not comment on actions to be taken after the outbreak of a war. Our position on the Afghanistan issue is clear-cut. We hope to see efforts of the international community on this question contribute to peace in Afghanistan and the stability of the region.

Q: President Bush announced a major international effort to crack down on the financing of international terrorists. What role can China play in helping the USA in this effort? In addition, you said in the past that China has some kind of unofficial, working-level contacts with the Taliban. Have those contacts been cut off since the September 11 Incident?

A: We have noticed the announcement by President Bush. The Chinese Government supports more cooperation with the international community to jointly combat all sorts of violent terrorist activities. This includes measures to prevent and stop the financing of violent terrorists. We are ready to strengthen our cooperation with the United States in this field.

On the second question, we do not have any contacts with the Taliban at the moment.

Q: There are reports or speculations that bin Laden may already be in China. What’s China’s position on that?

A: Britain’s Guardian newspaper carried an article on the speculation that you have just mentioned. However, the article did not specify the source. When answering the questions two days ago, I already put it explicitly that the Guardian’s report is totally groundless. Some correspondents raised similar questions before. My answer is that there is no such a possibility. We will certainly adopt the necessary measures. There is no such a possibility for bin Laden to come into China. As you just mentioned, your claim is based upon some speculations and guess, which are certainly not the truth. We hope that some media would not make unfounded speculations.

Q: Mr. Tang, when he was in the United States, agreed with Mr. Powell to have anti-terrorist expert exchanges. Could you please elaborate on that? When will it start? My second question: I wish to know if China has any visa restrictions on people from the Middle East?

A: During his visit to the States, Foreign Minister Tang held talks with Mr. Powell and agreed to have consultations and cooperation on a series of questions, including the fight against terrorism. This is an important visit in promoting mutual understanding and strengthening cooperation in various fields. There are already full coverage of the fruits of the visit. The two countries reached consensus on conducting consultations and cooperation in the fight against terrorism. Namely, the two stressed the importance of such consultations and cooperation. They agreed to hold anti-terrorist expert-level consultations in the near future. The two will also enhance their consultation and cooperation at the UN Security Council. So far, I have no more details to offer.

On the second question, China welcomes people of other countries  to come to China for normal activities. This is China’s consistent policy. There is no change to it. Needless to say, various countries may make appropriate adjustments to their visa regime or practice at different time due to technical reason.  It is quite understandable.

Q: Recently, the US Government lifted its sanctions against Pakistan and India, which were imposed for the nuclear non-proliferation issue. What is China’s comment? Not long ago, the US Government imposed sanctions on a Chinese company, which has business links with Pakistan for alleged nuclear proliferation. Does China also wish the United States to lift its sanction against China?

A: On the first question, China always stands for using dialogue and consultations, instead of sanctions, to seek solutions to the relevant issues.

On the second question, we have consistent held that Sino-US cooperation in the field of non-proliferation should be based on mutual trust, mutual respect and mutual accommodation. We call on the United States to immediately lift the relevant sanctions so as to create the necessary conditions for the restoration of consultations on the non-proliferation issue.

Q: If the United States launches attacks against Afghanistan, what kind of measures will China adopt to maintain the stability of its western Muslim region? In addition, China is not opposed to US armed attacks upon Afghanistan. Is it a violation of China’s consistent policy of non-interference in other country’s internal affairs?

A: As I mentioned in the last press conference, Xinjiang is enjoying social stability. Remarkable achievements have been made in Xinjiang’s economic development and social progress since the policy of reform and opening up was introduced. There is a marked improvement in people’s living standard. With the correct religious policy of the Chinese Government, the different ethnic groups of Xinjiang enjoy freedom of religious belief. There is remarkable progress in the human rights condition. The Chinese Government is implementing the strategy to develop its western region. This will provide a golden opportunity for the overall development of Xinjiang. The splittist and terrorist activities of a handful of people totally run against the will of the Chinese people, including people of various ethnic groups in Xinjiang. These activities will meet with the resolute opposition of the Chinese people. China is fully capable of handling the relevant issues.

On the second question, the Chinese Government resolutely opposes all sorts of terrorism. What China supports are the attacks on terrorism. The September 11 Incident in the United States has demonstrated that terrorism is a major threat to world peace and stability. It has become a serious danger to the world. The international community enjoys widespread consensus on the fight against international terrorism. We are willing to strengthen our dialogue and cooperation with the international community in the fight against all sorts of terrorism. At the same time, we hope that the relevant anti-terrorist activities could be conducted within the framework of the UN Charter and the international law.

Q: UN may hold a conference on terrorism in November. Will China, the United States and Russia come up with some concrete measures at the conference? Even if everyone calls for a greater role of the UN in the fight against terrorism, the UN has not play a full role in dealing with the September 11 Incident. What’s China’s comment?

A: The conference that you have just mentioned is not in session yet. So I can not make any predictions. However, many countries have indicated that cooperation should be strengthened within the framework of the United Nations to jointly combat terrorism. The fight is a consistent and arduous task. It cannot be done at a stroke. It calls upon the joint efforts of the international community to enhance their cooperation. The UN is an international institution with wide representation. It is also an important international organization in the maintenance of world peace and security. We hold that the UN and the Security Council should play a full role in the fight against terrorism, which is a major issue bearing upon international peace and security.

Q: Will the September 11 Incident have any impact on the agenda of the APEC meeting?

A: The violent terrorist attacks on the United States on 11 September have major impact on the international community. It has become an important issue in international relations. It has also influenced the economy of the world and the Asia-Pacific region. The APEC Economic Leaders Meeting to be held in Shanghai in October and its ministerial meeting are important international meetings. They will follow the relevant issues of the September 11 Incident. As the host of the meeting, China is consulting with the relevant parties on the concrete format for the discussion.

Q: You just mentioned that Foreign Minister Tang and Mr. Powell held consultations on the anti-terrorist issue. Could you please elaborate a little bit? Does China believe that the United States could launch military actions without the authorization of the UN Security Council?

A: I could brief you on Mr. Tang’s visit to the States. From 20 to 21 September, Foreign Minister Tang paid a visit to the US at the invitation of US Secretary of State Powell. The visit is a return visit to the one made by Mr. Powell to China in July. It also aims to prepare for President Bush’s visit to China and the summit meetings.

During the visit, Mr. Tang held talks with Mr. Powell. He also met with President Bush, Vice President Cheney, US National Security Advisor Rice and other US leaders. The two sides had an in-depth exchange of views on the bilateral relations, the fight against terrorism and other international and regional issues of common concern. The visit is a positive and fruitful one. It works to enhance the mutual understanding and promote the improvement and development of the bilateral relations.

During the visit, the two sides reached agreements on the following issues: First, China and the United States express their readiness to prepare for the Autumn summit meeting between President Jiang and President Bush, as well as President Bush’s visit to China. The two will jointly work for a successful meeting and visit. Secondly, the two stress the importance of conducting consultation and cooperation in the field of anti-terrorism. They agree to hold anti-terrorism expert-level talks in the near future. They will also increase their consultation and cooperation at the UN Security Council. Thirdly, the two sides believe that it is of major significance to the development of bilateral relations for the two foreign ministries to maintain regular dialogues. China’s Vice Foreign Ministers Li Zhaoxing and Wang Yi will visit the United States respectively early next year for the bilateral deputy foreign minister-level political consultations and the policy consultations on Asian and the international situation. Fourthly, the two sides agree that the spread of Aids has become a major threat to the mankind. The two agree to strengthen their cooperation in the prevention of Aids. Fifthly, The two sides will hold inter-governmental human rights dialogue in the near future.

On the second question, I wish to point it out that terrorism has become a major threat to world peace and stability. It is a serious danger to the international community. China resolutely opposes all sorts of terrorism. On this question, we stand by the Americans and the international community. At the  same time, we also support the multilateral cooperation within UNSC and other fora. We hold that all actions should contribute to the long-term objective of safeguarding world peace and development.

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