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Foreign Ministry Spokesman Sun Yuxi Gives a Press Conference(09/10/2001)

Q: Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi said yesterday that he thought he had won Beijing's understanding for Japan's military role in the US-led war against terrorism. Does this actually reflect China's position? Does China think that the US has swept the UN aside in deciding to launch air strikes against Afghanistan and this was done despite calls for such a decision to be made by a broad coalition?

A: On the issue of Japan, it is our view that combating terrorism is a task facing the whole international community. We hope that relevant parties will make their due efforts in light of the actual conditions and the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. Due to historical factors, what kind of role Japan plays in the military field is very sensitive. We have kept reminding the Japanese side to act prudently.

Last night, President Jiang Zemin had a phone conversation with President Bush, during which he elaborated on China's consistent position. The Chinese government has all along opposed all forms of terrorism. We support the relevant resolutions of the UN General Assembly and the UN Security Council. We support anti-terrorism activities. We have noted that President Bush has indicated on many occasions that the relevant military actions are only aimed at specific terrorist targets, rather than Muslims or Afghan people and the US will take measures to avoid injuring innocent civilians. We believe that adhering to the above-mentioned principles is conducive to combating terrorism effectively.

Q: Following Prime Minister Koizumi's visit to China, are there definite plans for China and Japan to meet to discuss trade disputes or do you plan to discuss that issue at the APEC conference?

A: Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi paid a one-day working visit to China on October 8, during which he visited the Chinese People's Memorial Hall for the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression at Marco Polo Bridge. When meeting with Chinese leaders, Koizumi once again expressed apology and mourning towards those Chinese people who died in the war against Japanese aggression. He also expressed remorse for Japan's history of aggression against China. Prime Minister Koizumi expressed the hope that the 30th anniversary of the normalization of China-Japan relations which falls next year can be used as an opportunity for bilateral friendly relations and cooperation to register further development. We welcome his move and statements. Besides, China and Japan also exchanged views on the issue of terrorism. Due to time constraint, the two sides did not have time to cover other issues.

Q: Does China consider Prime Minister Koizumi's apology yesterday enough appeasement or enough to end the problems between China and Japan concerning history?

A: As I mentioned before, Prime Minister Koizumi first visited the Chinese People's Memorial Hall for the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression at Marco Polo Bridge. Koizumi once again expressed apology and mourning towards those Chinese people who died in the war against Japanese aggression. He also expressed remorse for Japan's history of aggression against China. We welcome his move and statements.

Whether Japan handles the issue of history correctly bears on the political foundation for maintaining and developing China-Japan relations. In recent years, on the issue of history, negative factors have cropped up from time to time which have disrupted the normal development of bilateral ties such as visits to Yasukuni Shrine and the issue of history textbook. China's position on these issues is consistent. In order for China-Japan relations to develop in a sound and stable manner, the two sides should earnestly adhere to the Sino-Japanese Joint Statement, Sino-Japanese Treaty of Peace and Friendship, Sino-Japanese Joint Declaration and the consensus reached by the two sides about using history as a guide and looking to the future. The key to all these issues is that the Japanese side should have a correct attitude.

Q: Is China concerned that APEC meetings will only be focussed on American military action against Afghanistan and relevant anti-terrorism issues? Are there any other issues on the APEC agenda?

A: Though in the wake of the September 11 Incident, there are some new developments in the international situations, the APEC meetings will be held in Shanghai as scheduled. During the meetings, the leaders of the APEC member economies will discuss economic cooperation in the Asia-Pacific and the development of APEC. This is going to be the first major international meeting after the September 11 Incident and the US military action. The relevant members will take this opportunity to exchange views on relevant questions and make clear their common position.

Q: In the phone conversation, did President Bush ask President Jiang to make any contribution to the American war against Afghanistan?

A: During the phone conversation last night, the two sides talked about China-US relations and China-US cooperation against terrorism. President Jiang stressed that being two countries carrying considerable weight in the world, China and the US shoulder common responsibilities for the maintenance of peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific and the world at large. The Chinese side stands ready to work together with the US side to strengthen exchanges and cooperation and contribute to world peace, stability and development.

Q: On October 3, members of the US Embassy briefed the officials from the Ministry of Foreign Ministry on the evidence that the US has gathered to show that Bin Laden was behind the September 11 Incident. Could you provide details on that briefing? Does China consider the evidence gathered by the US and explained to China sufficient to warrant the attacks the US has now launched in retaliation?

A: On the issue of combating terrorism, China and the US have begun their cooperation and consultation. The Chinese government has consistently reiterated that China firmly opposes and condemns all kinds of terrorism and stands ready to cooperate with all countries in the world in the anti-terrorism field, particularly those countries that are directly attacked or threatened by terrorism. After the September 11 Incident, the judicial departments of the US briefed the Chinese side about their investigations into the Incident. The public security departments of China have taken measures and assisted in the investigations. Once Chinese police gather important clues or intelligence, they will brief the US side in a timely manner. On the question of evidence you mentioned, we oppose all forms of terrorism and support the relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council. It is our view that these resolutions should be implemented earnestly.

Q: Does China believe that the evidence being presented to you by the US sufficient to show that Bin Laden has some sort of role in the September 11 Incident? The Chinese side told us that for our own safety, we can't go to the China-Pakistan, China-Afghanistan border. Is the border closed to only journalists or to travelers and traders as well?

A: On your first question, I have already made clear our basic position. On your second question, China's border with neighboring countries has all along been effectively managed, controlled and patrolled. In light of the fact that the US has launched military attacks against certain targets inside Afghanistan, in order to ensure the safety and stability in China's border areas, the Chinese government has decided to close its border with Afghanistan on a temporary basis, starting from October 8, 2001. It is against this backdrop and out of concern for the safety of foreign journalists that we informed that the border is not open to foreign journalists for the time being. As for when the border will be open again, we would notify you should there be new developments.

Q: You just mentioned that China has closed its border with Afghanistan. What about the China- Pakistan border? Is the Kara-Koram highway also closed?

A: As I just mentioned, the Tash-Kurgan region borders several countries and has been closed on a temporary basis. I did not say that Khunjerab Pass is closed.

Q: Has the Chinese side received notice who will represent Taiwan on the upcoming APEC informal leadership meeting? There have been complaints from Taiwan that there has been no formal invitation from the host country. Is it true and why?

A: The relevant APEC MOU has explicitly provided for the participation of Chinese Taipei in the APEC informal leadership meeting. Over the years, APEC has formed established practice, which has been strictly abided by all member economies. As long as the candidate proposed by Chinese Taipei conforms to the MOU and relevant established practice, we hold no objection.

Chinese Taipei has already decided to dispatch Dr. Chen Bozhi and Mr. Lin Xinyi to participate in the APEC ministerial meeting. We have already issued a formal invitation letter to Chinese Taipei.

Q: US Assistant Secretary of State Kelly is here in Beijing now. Please brief us about his visit. Does China hope to know the US position on the question of Afghanistan in more detail? Would China be seeking to find out how long this campaign is going to last? What other issues will be discussed?

A: This morning, Assistant Foreign Minister Zhou Wenzhong held talks with visiting Assistant Secretary of State Kelly at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The two sides had an in-depth exchange of views on the current China-US relations, the upcoming summit meeting between the two countries to be held in Shanghai, anti-terrorism and other issues of mutual concern. The talks are both positive and constructive. The two sides are of the consensus that efforts must be pressed ahead to prepare for the summit meeting in Shanghai to ensure the success of the meeting as an impetus for further improvement and development of China-US relations. As far as I know, during Kelly's stay in Beijing, Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan and Vice Foreign Minister Wang Yi will also meet with him. Since the meetings are yet to take place, we will brief you about them in the future.

Q: The Chinese police are conducting investigation in cooperation with American efforts against terrorism. Is this investigation concerning Chinese Muslims or other Muslims inside China?

A: First, I would like to make one correction. Fighting terrorism is never targeted against certain section of the population, let alone against Muslims. We are opposed to terrorist activities by anyone regardless of his religious background. Just now I have already briefed you about details of China-US cooperation in fighting terrorism. These efforts are targeted at terrorists, not at Muslims.

Q: Israelis who have Chinese visa are no longer able to get into China. They are also subject to questioning. What is your comment?

A: I have taken note of the report you just mentioned and have made inquiries to relevant departments. I have learned from them that such things have never happened.

Q: Has there been any measure taken with any nationality with Chinese visas? Is there change at all in China's visa practice? In the run-up to APEC, will you restrict the type of people who come to China in order to ensure the security of the meeting?

A: The Chinese side has made due adjustments to its visa practice at different periods of time on technical grounds and for the safety of foreigners who come to China. These technical adjustments are by no means targeted against any specific country and will not affect normal activities by foreigners who come to China. Anyone who has China's invitation and confirmation can acquire Chinese visa and come to China to pursue their corresponding activities. For those who will come to China for APEC or relevant purposes, such problems do not exist.

Q: After the US began military action, a lot of countries have put their army on alert. Has China done the same?

A: At present, against the backdrop that the international community is making concerted efforts to fight against terrorism, it is only natural and understandable that China has tightened security in certain areas.

Q: How will China deal with the visa applications of thousands of Arabs? Are they welcome to take part in the trade fair?

A: China welcomes people from all over the world including those from Arab countries to come to China to take part in the trade fair. For those business people who have been invited and confirmed by the host of the trade fair, the visa authorities of China will issue them visas in a timely manner and in accordance with regulations.

Q: There have been complaints lately that Arab passengers on Chinese airlines are treated harshly by Chinese security. What is your comment?

A: Just now I already made clear that at present, Chinese airlines are adhering to their usual practice, which is not affected. It is understandable that all airlines in the world have stepped up their safety measures against the current backdrop.

Q: Is the border between China and Afghanistan closed to all foreigners or just journalists?

A: In light of the present situations, the Tash-Kurgan region was closed from October 6. We will let you know when it is open again. This covers all personnel, including journalists and travelers.

Q: Indian Foreign Minister Singh postponed his visit to China. What is your comment?

A: Due to Indian internal affairs, Indian Foreign Minister Singh postponed his scheduled visit to China. We understand this. Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan welcomes him to visit China at his convenience.

Q: What is China's comment on the result of the Bangladesh general election?

A: We congratulate Khaleda Zia on her election as Bangladesh Prime Minister. As friendly neighbors, China and Bangladesh have conducted fruitful and mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields over the years. China stands ready to work with the new Bangladesh government to promote the development of bilateral good-neighborly and friendly relations and mutually beneficial cooperation.

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