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Foreign Ministry Press Conference(23/10/2001)

Q: October 25th marks the 30th anniversary of the restoration of China’s legitimate seat in the United Nations. Could you please comment on the role China played in the UN and international affairs in recent years in particular?

A: Thanks to the strong support of the vast numbers of developing countries and other friendly nations, the 26th session of the UN General Assembly held 30 years ago adopted the historic Resolution 2758 by an overwhelming majority, restoring all legitimate rights of the People’s Republic of China in the UN.  As a founding member of the UN and a permanent member to its Security Council, China has since then made unremitting efforts and due contribution to strengthening the role of the UN, safeguarding world peace and promoting world development.  China will, in the future, adopt a more active and open attitude in participating in the UN affairs and promoting global cooperation so as to work together with all peace loving nations and people to create a world with lasting peace and common prosperity.

Q: President Jiang met with President Putin last Saturday in Shanghai. What is your comment? Besides, what kind of role could Russia play in the APEC?

A: The media has already given full coverage to the meetings with leaders of various countries during the APEC meeting. The leaders of China and Russia have met on a regular basis. It is of vital importance to the development of bilateral ties. China has established a strategic partnership of coordination with Russia. There is great development in the bilateral cooperation. The meeting this time, like previous meetings, will further promote the development of bilateral ties. Since becoming a member of APEC, Russia has made positive contribution to the development of APEC. It has contributed to regional peace, security and cooperation. We hope to see an even more active role of Russia in APEC.

Q: APEC is an economic organization. Why has it touched upon political questions this time and issued an anti-terrorist statement? How does China see as the differences between engaging in terrorist activities and protecting one’s occupied homeland?

A: The APEC meeting has been a crowning success, with many fruitful results. The September 11th Incident has not only brought disasters to the American people, but also adversely affected the stable development of the world economy and that in the Asia Pacific. The APEC economic leaders held discussions upon the question during the current APEC meeting and issued a statement, indicating their common determination to jointly take effective measures to do away with the negative impact of the incident. The APEC foreign ministers held extensive consultations and exchanged views outside the meeting. The agreement that they reached on the common stand of the leaders paved the way for the discussion on this issue by the leaders meeting. APEC is an important economic forum in the Asia Pacific. It will remain to be APEC’s theme to promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation and enhance economic and technical cooperation. This point has not changed.

On the second question, China always stands for the handling of state-to-state relations in accordance with the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, including the principles of respecting sovereignty and territorial integrity and non-interference in each other’s internal affairs. We hold that the Five Principles serve as the basis for normal international relations. They should be abided by. China’s opposition to terrorism is consistent. We resolutely oppose all sorts of terrorism and support actions against terrorism. These are two different issues. There are not any contradictions.

Q: The APEC issued an anti-terrorist statement. There should be a strict definition on terrorist. What do you see as a terrorist?

A: As the foreign spokesman, I mainly explain the basic position of the Chinese Government. At the moment, there are extensive discussions on the definition of terrorism among the academics. I will not go into the details.

Q: A few days ago, there was a report out of Britain that a Chinese businessman had paid bin Laden several million US dollars for access to unexploded US cruise missiles.  I wonder if you could confirm whether this report is true?

A: The so-called report that China obtained US cruise missiles from Afghanistan is totally groundless.  Since the September 11th incident, some people with ulterior motives have been spreading various rumours in an attempt to tarnish China’s image.  Their political attempt will not succeed.

Q: We learned that American citizen Fang Fuming went to court yesterday. Could you please tell us the latest development? Has the trial ended? What are the evidences?      Last week you told us that China had found two letters that it suspected were contaminated with anthrax.  Can you tell us the results of the investigation and whether it was anthrax?

A: On the Fang Fuming case, I have given you a briefing. The case is being dealt with in court in accordance with law. I have no more to offer you at the moment. If there are further information after the end of the trial, I will tell you the new development.

On the suspected letters, it was found then that the suspected letters contained white powder. It was suspected to have anthrax virus. After strict examination, it is now found that there is no anthrax virus in the letters. The relevant companies asked us not to disclose more details. We respect their wishes. I can responsibly tell you that, anthrax virus has not been found in China.

Q: It is reported that a student from the Zhongshan University of Guangdong received a letter from the United States that contained some white powder. Could you please confirm?

A: At the moment, there are all sorts of rumors, especially on the internet. I can tell you in a responsible manner that, after investigation nationwide by the public security, health and local departments, China has so far not found any people infected by the anthrax virus. On the specific case, I could not go into each and every one, since there are numerous reports of all kinds on the unofficial newspapers and the internet.

Q: During the APEC meeting, the ban on websites, such as the Washington Post and the New York Times, were lifted. I wish to know if these websites will remain available after the APEC meeting?

A: The Chinese Government attaches great importance to the development of the internet, believing that the internet will promote national economic development  and social progress. We have actively used the internet to help China’s efforts of reform, opening up and modernization. Governments at all levels have worked to create sound conditions for the development of internet. However, we have also noticed that internet is used by some to advocate for evil cults, violence or pornography. It is not in the interest in the healthy development of the society. In light of this, we adopt a selective approach on the internet. We hope to create a healthy environment for China’s internet development. Other countries have also taken note of the negative impact of unlimited spread of information over the internet. Some Western countries have adopted measures to look into the issue.

Q: You just mentioned that some countries, including some Western countries, have restriction upon the internet. Why has China re-imposed its bans after lifting them during the APEC?

A: It is not something for the Foreign Ministry to comment on the specific measures to manage the internet. I am not aware of the specific measures. The management is aimed at giving play to the positive role of the internet and reducing its negative impact.

Q: It is reported that, in the fight against terrorism, apart from providing intelligence to the United States, China also plans to provide some humanitarian assistance to US ground troops. What is your comment?

A: Both China and the United States come under the threat of terrorism. Cooperation between the two in this field is in our mutual interest. China is ready to step up its consultation and cooperation with the United States in this area. We have already briefed you on some information regarding the exchange of intelligence. If there is further cooperation, I will brief you in due course.

Q: Some Taliban leaders claimed that China is helping the Taliban to fight the USA. What is your comment?

A: China’s opposition against terrorism is steadfast and clear-cut. The above report is totally groundless. China has no relations of any kind with the Taliban.

Q: Does China have any concrete proposals on the future government in Afghanistan? Does China hold that the future Afghan Government should include members of the Taliban?

A: We already stand for the establishment of a widely based government in Afghanistan that is acceptable to the various parties and that could live in harmony with other countries, especially its neighbours. The early peaceful settlement of the Afghan issue not only serves the fundamental interest of the Afghans, but also contributes to regional peace and stability.

Q: It is reported that US President Bush has reached an agreement with President Putin on the amendments to the ABM Treaty. What is China’s position?

A: Most countries hold that the ABM Treaty remains to be the basis for global strategic stability. It should be safeguarded and abided by. China is in favour of this view.

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