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Foreign Ministry Spokesman's Press Conference(18/10/2001)

Q: When will China hand over assistance to Pakistan?

A: As an expression of sympathy and support to the Pakistani Government, the Chinese Government recently decided to provide to the Pakistani Government 10 million RMB yuan worth of emergency commodity assistance. The Chinese Government has also decided to provide two batches of commodities to the Afghan refugees in Pakistan each worth 2 million RMB yuan respectively through the Pakistani Government and the UNHCR’s office in Pakistan. All the above commodities will be handed over to the Pakistan lately.

Q: Egyptian President warned long ago that the United States and other western countries harbour the terrorists. The Algerian President said yesterday in South Africa that the Western nations are themselves harbouring terrorist. Now China is enthusiastically supporting the fight against terrorism. Why did China not support the fight before? What is the difference of an attack on the United States and an attack on the developing countries like Egypt and Algeria?

A: We have reiterated again and again that we are opposed to all sorts of terrorism. We are opposed to terrorism, wherever it is, or whoever commits it. We hold that terrorism is a common threat to the international community.

In China’s foreign policy, we always stand that countries, large or small, are all equals. We are against any acts that discriminate against the weak and the small.

Q: It seems that the mainland has set up some criteria for Taiwan’s participation in the APEC meeting. How will you solve this question? Vice Foreign Trade Minister Long Yongtu said that China is planning to enter the WTO this year. How does the NPC plan to ratify the decision?

A: On Taiwan’s participation in the APCE meeting, we will deal with it in the spirit of the APEC MOUs and the existing practices.

On China’s entry into the WTO, China has made efforts for the membership over the years. The final date of membership will depend upon when all the work and procedures will be finished. Personally, I believe that it is not that far off for China’s entry into the WTO. On the domestic ratification process, we will deal with it according to the relevant procedures.

Q: China, Russia and the United States will support the establishment of a coalition government in Afghanistan. However, there are some differences on whether the Taliban should be included. What is China’s position? What form should it take? When should it be formed?

A: China is ready to actively participate in the rebuilding of Afghanistan after the restoration of peace. As its neighbour, China has closely followed the Afghan situation. We had contact with the various parties of Afghanistan with the aim of urging them to go for peace as soon as possible. On the future government, we always stand for the establishment of a widely based coalition government in Afghanistan that can be accepted by the various parties and live in harmony with the other countries, especially its neighbours. The early peaceful settlement of the Afghan issue bears not only upon the fundamental interests of the Afghans, but also peace and stability of the region.

Q: It is reported that some Chinese airlines have refused the boarding of Arabians and Muslims. Some Arabian and Muslims also meet with difficulties in visa applications to China. What is your comment?

A: According to some media reports and complaints from some individual countries, some Chinese airlines have adopted restrictive measures against citizens of Arab and Muslim countries who plan to board Chinese airlines. These citizens also face difficulties in visa applications to China. After learning the issue, the Chinese Government attaches great importance to it and immediately carried out an investigation. Here, I wish to make several clarifications:

Firstly, the Foreign Ministry of China and the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) have never issued a notice which asked for stopping ticket sales to passengers of the relevant countries. It is learnt that some individual airlines exercised improper ticket restrictions after the 11 September Incident. This is the act of these individual companies, never representing the Chinese Government. China’s aviation authorities have ordered them to correct the practice.

Secondly, on the visa question, China has made some technical adjustment around the APEC meeting. It is only temporary. It is not discriminatory, nor targeted at any certain country. China, as always, welcome people from various countries, including the Arabian countries, to come to China for normal economic and trade activities. After the APEC meeting, the relevant visa practices will return to normal.

Q: Will China ease its restriction upon the Middle East and Arab citizens after the end of the APEC meeting?

A: Some technical adjustments are made around the APEC meeting. These adjustments are not directed towards any country. I learned that you have come across some difficulties and problems in planning for the visit to Shanghai. However, I wish to emphasize that, whether it is the hotels or the airlines, or the behavior of some people, it is only the act of some individuals or companies. It does not represent the Chinese Government. We have maintained friendly relations and cooperation with the Arab and Muslim countries. Normal contacts are conducted. We will continue to develop friendly ties with these countries.

Q: After the restoration of peace in Afghanistan, does China hold that the future coalition government should include the Taliban? Some critics claim that China is increasing its fight against the Xinjiang splittists under the name of the international fight against terrorism. What is your comment?

A: On the Afghanistan question, I have made clear our basic position. We stand for a coalition government in Afghanistan that is broadly based and acceptable to the various parties.

On the Xinjiang question, firstly there are some East Turkistan violent activists in Xinjiang. Their terrorist activities have not only threatened China, but also peace and stability of the whole region. We will work with the international community to jointly oppose all sorts of terrorist activities, including the East Turkistan terrorist forces, so as to safeguard world peace and stability.

Q: It is reported that the US Government will not lift its military sanctions against China. Does China believe that the lifting of the sanctions is conducive to the international fight against terrorism?

A: First, I wish to state that we are always opposed to imposing sanctions upon us by any country. As for what you have said, I have not got any information from the official channel.

Q: In a few days time, China will celebrate the 30 anniversary of the return to the UN. The restoration of China’s seat at the UN was achieved thanks to the support of many developing and poor countries. How will China improve its ties with these countries? Does China still view them as friends and partners?

A: China won the sympathy and support of the developing countries in its restoration of legitimate seat at the UN. China always highly stresses the development of friendly cooperation with the developing countries. This policy will be carried through.

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