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Foreign Ministry Spokesman's Press Conference(28/09/2001)

Q: Kazakstan and some other Asian countries have indicated their support to US military action against Afghanistan. What is your comment? Will the leaders of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization hold a consultation on the situation in Afghanistan?

A: The Chinese Government resolutely opposes all sorts of terrorism and supports attacks on terrorism. The September 11 Incident in the United States has shown that terrorism is a major threat to world peace and stability. We understand and support the efforts of the international community to strengthen cooperation in the fight against terrorism. China enjoys sound relations of good-neighbourliness, friendship and mutual trust with the Central Asian countries We have been in constant contact with them on the anti-terrorism issue so as to coordinate our position and make our efforts for regional peace, security and stability.

On the second question, as I just mentioned, the international community should enhance their cooperation in the common fight against terrorism. One of the most important tasks facing the Shanghai Cooperation Organization at the moment is the fight against the “three forces”, including terrorism. The Organization has a unique role to play in this field. At the moment, we are pushing forward and actively participating in the anti-terrorist cooperation within the Organization’s framework. The member countries of the Organization are now ratifying the Shanghai Convention on the Fight against Terrorism, Splittism and Extremism, which was approved by the six leaders of the Organization early this year. We hope that the Shanghai Convention could help the international community’s cooperation against terrorism. On your specific question of whether the leaders of the Organization will exchange views and positions on some concrete issues within the framework of the Organization, we are ready to hold consultations on the matter.

Q: It is reported that the United States is seeking a new UN Security Council resolution authorizing or supporting US military actions against terrorism. Does China hold that the United Nations should adopt such a resolution prior to the US military action?

A: The fight against terrorism calls for international cooperation. Over the years, the UN and its Security Council have played an irreplaceable role by adopting a series of resolution and convention guiding the international cooperation against terrorism. The international community believes that UN and its Security Council should continue to play a leading role. China has been conducting consultations on this with many countries. It has also put forward a position paper. We are ready to actively participate in the relevant discussions at the UNSC concerning any proposals conducive to the fight against terrorism.

Q: President Bush has announced that he would not come to Beijing next month. What is your comment? Even if President Bush said that he would come to the APEC meeting, it looks likely that he may not be able to come to the APEC meeting, since the United States is facing the most serious foreign policy crisis since the end of the WWII. Does China still hope he come to the APEC meeting? Will China be disappointed if he could not make it?

A: We were informed by the United States on the evening of 25th September that, due to the current situation, President Bush will postpone his scheduled visit to the three Asian nations. We could understand this decision. As agreed between China and the United States, President Jiang and President Bush will hold meetings in Shanghai, which has been arranged for quite some time. During the meeting, the two sides will exchange views on bilateral relations, and international and regional issues of common interest.

At the moment, the various preparation work for the APEC meeting in Shanghai is going on smoothly. The meeting will be held as scheduled. As the host, we hope all APEC leaders would be able to come.  

Q: The APEC meeting will be held in Shanghai in October. However, so far, Taiwan has not received the invitation from the host. Is it true that all the APEC members have not received the invitation? Or are there any other problems?

A: On the participation of Chinese Taipei in APEC meetings, the relevant APEC MOUs have clear provisions, on the basis of which has formed the existing practices. We will deal with Chinese Taipei’s participation in the APEC meeting in light of these provisions and existing practices.

We have transmitted the notice for the meeting to Chinese Taipei through appropriate channels. When the Chinese Taipei comes up with specific list for the meeting, we will issue the formal invitations.

Q: It is reported by HK press today that China has closed its border with Pakistan. China has also increased troop deployment along the border. Please confirm. Besides, President Jiang talked to President Mubarak yesterday. Could you please tell us some details?

A: On the first question, I already answered the question during the previous press conferences. I wish to repeat it once again. China will make its decision as to whether it will close its border or when to adopt emergency measures in light of the development of the situation.

On the second question, there are already reports on the phone conversation between President Jiang and President Mubarak yesterday evening. The two exchanged views on the fight against terrorism and the Middle East peace process. I wish to give you a briefing. President Mubarak stated Egypt’s position and views on terrorism and the Middle East peace process. He stressed that the international community should make all efforts to fight terrorism. He stated that the world should urge Israel and Palestine to come back to the negotiation table and push forward the Middle East peace process.

President Jiang reiterated China’s basic position on terrorism.

President Jiang pointed it out that both China and Egypt call for enhanced international cooperation against terrorism in order to safeguard world peace. The role of the United Nations should be given full play. Both China and Egypt oppose linking terrorism with religious or ethnical issues. We appreciate the positive role of the Arabian countries, in particular Egypt, in fighting terrorism and safeguarding regional peace and stability.

On the Middle East peace process, President Jiang stressed the importance of the Middle East question, believing that it bears directly upon world and regional peace and stability. China has always supported the legitimate rights of the Palestine people and the just struggle of the Arabian people. We always hold that peace talks are the only correct choice for the settlement of the Middle East question. Under the current situation, it is extremely necessary for the international community to adopt a more positive attitude to push forth the Middle East peace process. China supports the positive role of Egypt in the Middle East region.  

Q: Over the past 10 days or so, the Israelis could not obtain visas to come to China. You mentioned about some technical adjustments to some visa regime. Could you please tell us what kind of technical adjustments has China taken, leading to the refusal by the Chinese Embassy in Israel to the application for visas by Israeli businessmen or tourists? How long will the measures last?

A: It is not true that Israelis could not obtain visas to China over the past ten days. Last time, I already mentioned that China welcomes people from various countries come to China for normal activities. It has been our consistent policy. Naturally, at different period, and due to technical reasons, various countries may make appropriate adjustments to the visa regimes or practices.

Today I can go further to say that, at different period, China would make appropriate adjustments to its visa practices not only for technical reasons, but also for the personnel safety of those foreigners coming to China. These kind of technical adjustments are not directed against any specific country. Normal activities of people coming to China will not be affected. All those who are invited by China and have got the confirmation can obtain their visas and engage in corresponding activities.

Q: What is China’s comment on President Mubarak’s call for an international conference on terrorism? Do you link terrorism with the tension in the Middle East?

A: On the first question, the UN is an inter-governmental international organization with the widest representation. It has a unique role to play in the international cooperation against terrorism. I have made it clear on many occasions. We support increasing multilateral cooperation against terrorism at the UN, its Security Council and other fora. UN’s actions within its capacity will enjoy our support so long as it is conducive to the fight against terrorism and help safeguard world peace and stability.

The second question touches upon the root cause of international terrorism. We believe that many factors have contributed to the rise and existence of international terrorism. It calls upon the effort of the international community to thoroughly eradicate terrorism. China always attaches importance to the Middle East question. President Jiang yesterday talked to President Mubarak over the phone, stressing the importance of the Middle East question. We believe that the Middle East question directly bears upon international and regional peace and stability. Under the current situation, the international community should adopt a more positive attitude to push forward the Middle East peace process.

I wish to use this opportunity to express our welcome to the  agreement on the restoration of bilateral security cooperation and the implementation of the cease-fire accord between the leaders of Israel and Palestine. We appreciate the positive efforts made by various parties to reduce the tension. We hope both Israel and Palestine continue to adopt effective measures to earnestly achieve cease-fire and restore peace talks at an early date.

Q: Is there a refugee problem along China’s border with Afghanistan? If yes, how many?

A: I have no information on that. The Afghan refugee problem is a long-term issue yet to be resolved. I believe that the international community does not wish to see another Afghan refugee crisis due to the further deterioration of the regional situation. Over the years, China has provided, within its capability, assistance to Afghan refugees. China has closely watched the development of the Afghan refugee situation. We are ready to work with the international community for a proper solution to the Afghan refugee question.

Q: It is reported that China’s anti-terrorist experts have been to the United States. The two sides agreed to hold more talks in the future. Could you please tell us some more details? If there are further talks, when will they be? What will be the agenda?

A: In accordance with the agreement between Foreign Minister Tang and Mr. Powell, Sino-US Anti-terrorism Expert Group held consultations in Washington on 25 September. They explored ways to enhance cooperation in the fight against terrorism. The two sides will continue to increase their consultations and exchanges in the anti-terrorist cooperation. That is all I can offer.

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