|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Ma Zhaoxu's Regular Press Conference on February 2, 2010|
On the afternoon of February 2, 2010, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Ma Zhaoxu held a regular press conference and answered questions.
Ma Zhaoxu: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to today's press conference. Let's start directly with your questions.
Q: I have two questions on the US arms sales to Taiwan. Could you share with us more details on China's sanctions against US companies, like which specific companies and what specific measures? Besides, China claims that the US arms sales to Taiwan will affect China-US cooperation on some international issues. Will the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue or Iranian nuclear issue be included?
A: The US blatantly announced its decision to sell arms to Taiwan in disregard of the resolute opposition of China. The action has severely undermined the core interests of China and China-US relations. China-US cooperation on some major international and regional issues will inevitably be affected. The responsibilities completely lie with the US side. In disregard of the strong opposition of China, relevant US companies insisted on selling arms to Taiwan. China will impose sanctions against those companies. We strongly urge the US companies involved to stop pushing and participating in arms sales to Taiwan.
Q: The first question, a yacht sank near the Aru Islands east of Indonesia. Most of the passengers are Chinese citizens working there. Have those people been rescued? Second, on February 1, the US Department of State publicized the latest issue of Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), claiming that the US military is drafting a new air-marine war plan in response to the continuing military buildup of China and the development of sophisticated weapons by Iran. How do you comment on that?
A: On the first question, we are very concerned about the incident and closely following the developments. I would like to share with you what the Foreign Ministry has known about the incident. On the afternoon of January 27, the yacht dolphin sank because of strong wind and high wave near the Aru Islands east of Indonesia. Among the 33 passengers, 24 are Chinese workers hired by the local fishery companies. The Chinese Government and leaders are highly concerned of the incident and gave instructions on the rescue work. The Chinese Embassy in Indonesia has requested the Indonesian navy and rescue team to make every effort to rescue the missing Chinese. Up to now, they have rescued one person and found eight bodies, and the others are still missing. The Chinese Foreign Ministry and Chinese Embassy in Indonesia have opened hot lines for inquiries. They maintain communications with relevant parties and inform the general public of the latest developments of the rescue efforts.
The China-related part of the Quadrennial Defense Review continues to be stuffed with cliché of irresponsible remarks on the legitimate and normal development of China's defense. It asserted that China is lack of military transparency. This is an interference with China's internal affairs and misleads the public opinion, at which China expresses its strong dissatisfaction.
China firmly follows the road of peaceful development and resolutely pursues the defense policy which is defensive in nature. In recent years, China has taken effective measures to increase military transparency, which is widely witnessed. We hope the US could see China's development and national defense in an objective and fair way, stop making irresponsible remarks and make more efforts conducive to the stable development of China-US relations and the mutual trust between the two countries and two militaries.
Q: Last Sunday, the joint study on history led by the Chinese and Japanese governments issued reports. Scholars of the two countries have different opinions regarding the number of victims during the Second World War. How do you comment? Second, reports on the modern history have been completed, but were not released at the request of the Chinese side. Why?
A: Officially launched in December 2006, the joint study on history was implemented by the Institute of Modern History of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and the Japanese Institute of International Affairs respectively. Please refer to the two institutes for authoritative and more specific answers. We have noted that the committee members of the two countries have had in-depth study and discussions on the history of China-Japan relations and reached some common ground, including recognition of the Japanese militarists' aggression of China, the enormous suffering inflicted on the Chinese people by Japanese aggression and such heinous crimes as Nanking Massacre. At the same time, some divergence of views remains. The papers published by the two sides respectively were written by individual committee members and represent the personal views of their authors.
Q: Former US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson reportedly claimed in his memoir that Russia once pushed China during the Beijing Olympic Games to dump bonds of US companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Please confirm.
A: I know you are interested in this issue. Though the Foreign Ministry is not in charge of it, we have contacted competent authorities immediately to learn the position of China. According to the competent authorities, they haven't seen Paulson's memoir, yet China has never discussed dumping the US bonds with any other country. As witnessed by the whole world, during the whole process of the international financial crisis, China adopts a responsible attitude and has made utmost efforts to maintain stability in the international financial market.
Q: Last Friday, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned that if China did not agree to participate in the sanctions against Iran, it will become increasingly isolated. How do you comment?
A: On the Iranian nuclear issue, China's position has been consistent and unequivocal. China always believes that dialogue and negotiation is the best way out for the Iranian nuclear issue as well as the common aspiration of the international community. There is still room for diplomatic efforts at this stage and the pressing task now is that all parties concerned proceed from the overall and long-term interests, adopt flexible, pragmatic and proactive measures to press for progress of dialogue and negotiation. I think the remarks you quoted just now are groundless.
Q: The Chinese Foreign Ministry once announced that China-US Human Rights dialogue would be held at the end of February. Can you update us on the latest arrangement? Reports say that Dalai Lama might visit the US later this month and meet with President Obama. Will this further dampen the exchanges and cooperation between China and the US?
A: On your first question, I have given you my response earlier. The US announcement of arms sales to Taiwan in disregard of China's firm opposition is going to further undermine China-US relations and bring serious adverse impact on the bilateral exchanges and cooperation in many important fields, causing repercussions that neither side wants to see.
On your second question, the Information Office of the State Council held a press conference this morning, where many of you were also present. At the press conference, officials from the United Front Work Department have expounded on China's position thoroughly and answered in detail questions you are interested in. I don't want to interpret what they have said. But one thing I want to reiterate is, China is firmly against any foreign political figures meeting with Dalai.
Q: Some people in the US said that China's reaction to the US arms sales to Taiwan is merely "empty talk". Can you give us more details about how China is going to impose sanctions on relevant companies?
A: I have made China's view and position clear when I answered your earlier question. The US insists on selling arms to Taiwan despite China's resolute opposition, which will inevitably severely undermine bilateral relations.
Q: You just mentioned that American companies involved in arms sales to Taiwan will be sanctioned. Does that mean every American company involved, including the Boeing, will face sanctions?
A: I know you want to raise the question from different perspectives, but there remains only one answer, China will execute relevant sanctions on US companies involved in arms sales to Taiwan.
Q: First, will the US arms sales to Taiwan affect China-US economic and trade relations? Second, you mentioned many times that it will "inevitably undermine China-US cooperation on major international and regional issues". Would you give us more details? Is the cooperation on Iranian nuclear issue included?
A: I made China's position clear when I answered questions raised by other journalists and don't have anything to add. China strongly opposes to the US insisting on its arms sales plan to Taiwan despite China's solemn representation, which constituting a grave violation of the three Sino-US joint communiqués, especially the "August 17" Communiqué and severely undermines China's national security as well as peaceful reunification. The erroneous practice of the US will inevitably damage the bilateral relations and bring grave negative impact to the exchange and cooperation between the two countries in various fields.
Q: Will the US arms sales to Taiwan affect the recently warming military exchanges between China and the US? Will the door of the bilateral military exchanges be shut?
A: The US actions have already affected the China-US military exchanges. Vice Foreign Minister He Yafei elaborated on China's position when he made representation to the US side. So did the spokesperson of the Ministry of Defense.
If there are no more questions, thanks for your presence. See you!