|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Liu Weimin's Regular Press Conference on November 14, 2011|
Liu Weimin started the press conference with the following announcement:
As agreed between China and the US, the 22nd Session of the China-US Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) will be held in Chengdu from November 20 to 21. Vice Premier Wang Qishan and US Commerce Secretary Bryson and Trade Representative Kirk will co-chair the meeting.
Chinese government agencies such as the Ministry of Commerce, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the National Development and Reform Commission, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the Ministry of Agriculture and the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine will send delegates to attend the meeting.
During the JCCT Meeting, the two sides will have in-depth exchange of views on issues such as trade and investment, agricultural products and quality inspection and quarantine, technology and standards, intellectual property rights as well as bilateral exchanges and cooperation. The Meeting will play an important role in expanding bilateral mutually beneficial cooperation, ensuring the sound and steady development of China-US business ties and promoting China-US relations on a higher level.
Q: China said last week that it was looking into the IAEA report on the Iranian nuclear issue. Could you update us on it?
A: Like other countries, China is studying the report. The upcoming IAEA Board of Governors Meeting will also discuss it.
We have expounded on China's position on this report here many times. First, China opposes the proliferation of nuclear weapons and disapproves of the development of nuclear weapons by any Middle East country, including Iran. As a member to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, Iran undertakes the international obligation of nuclear non-proliferation. Second, China always maintains that the Iranian nuclear issue should be settled through dialogue and cooperation, which includes both P5+1 countries' dialogue with Iran and the IAEA's dialogue with Iran. We hope the concerns of all parties will be addressed by means of dialogue and consultation and that Iran will work with the IAEA to clarify the concerns of the international community.
In a nutshell, preventing new turbulence in the Middle East security situation serves the common interests of the Middle East countries and the international community. All parties concerned should do more that will facilitate dialogue and cooperation.
Q: It is reported that US Secretary of State Clinton recently delivered a speech titled "America's Pacific Century", indicating greater American strategic, economic and diplomatic input into this region. How does China comment?
A: Against increasing complexities and uncertainties in the world political and economic landscapes, the Asia-Pacific region is on the whole stable and its economy keeps growing at a relatively fast pace. As countries that carry great weight in the Asia Pacific, China and the US have the most concentrated convergence of interests in this region and share common interests and responsibilities in maintaining stability in the Asia Pacific, promoting economic development, addressing security challenges and advancing regional cooperation. It is necessary for the two countries to step up coordination, communication and cooperation and jointly work for a peaceful, stable and prosperous Asia Pacific. This is also the consensus between the two sides.
On the sidelines of the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting, the two sides made close contact with each other. President Hu Jintao met with President Obama. State Councillor Dai Bingguo and Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi met with Secretary of State Clinton respectively. The two sides stressed their willingness to advance cooperation in the region. The Chinese side respects rightful US interests in the Asia Pacific and welcomes the US' constructive role in Asia-Pacific affairs. The US side also expressed its respect for China's rightful interests in the Asia Pacific. Stronger cooperation between the two countries in the Asia Pacific not only serves the interests of the two sides, but also the common interests of the countries in this region.
Q: It is reported that a Philippine official said that China protested against the Philippines' invitation of foreign companies to develop oil in disputed areas of the South China Sea. How does China comment?
A: China's position is clear on foreign companies' investment or participation in development activities in waters under China's jurisdiction. We hope relevant foreign companies do not take part in the activities of a few countries that undermine China's sovereignty, rights and interests and do not get involved in the South China Sea dispute.
Q: It is reported that the Foreign Ministers' Meeting of the Arab League has just decided to suspend the Syrian delegation's participation in the organization's activities. How does China comment? Separately, the Israeli military continued its air raid in the Gaza Strip, leading to a large number of civilian casualties. How does China respond?
A: The Chinese side supports the Arab League's efforts to end the Syrian crisis. The pressing task now is to earnestly and appropriately implement the Arab League initiative as soon as possible, which calls for further joint efforts of all parties concerned in Syria and enabling conditions to be created by the international community continuously. The Chinese side once again calls on the Syrian government and other parties concerned to immediately stop violence, launch an inclusive and balanced political process at an early date and work unremittingly toward the goals of the Arab League initiative.
On your second question, China is always against any violence against innocent civilians. We call on parties concerned to exercise maximum restraint and prevent escalation of tension. We hope Israel and Palestine can start peace talks as soon as possible and relaunch the Middle East peace process, which is also the hope of the international community.
Q: First, President Obama recently said that the US side is getting impatient with the sluggish progress China made in increasing RMB flexibility and IPR protection. How does China comment? Second, it is reported that following the US decision to delay a Canadian oil pipeline project to export oil to the US, Canadian Prime Minister Harper discussed with President Hu Jintao the issue of Canadian oil export to China in Hawaii. Could you give us more details?
A: On your first question, during his meeting with President Obama in Hawaii, President Hu Jintao stated that China's exchange rate policy is responsible with the target of building a market-based, managed floating exchange rate regime with a reference to a basket of currencies. The reform of the RMB exchange rate regime will press ahead in a steady manner. Meanwhile, US trade deficit, unemployment and other structural problems are not caused by the RMB exchange rate. Even if the RMB appreciates by a large margin, the problems faced by the US cannot be solved. The US should take quick and credible measures to relax its restraints on export of high-tech products to China and provide convenience to Chinese companies investing in the US.
China is ready to expand import from the US to push for the balance of bilateral trade, but the US is listing many products as controlled. According to statistics from the Chinese side, this act alone has cut nearly one hundred billion US dollars in US exports to China. Chinese investment in the US can create many job opportunities for the American people. Politicizing investment and trade issues will not help the US to attract investment and create jobs. In terms of IPR protection, China has also done a lot of work such as building a full-fledged legal system and stepping up law enforcement.
On President Hu Jintao's meeting with Prime Minister Harper, the Chinese side has released detailed information. China is ready to strengthen practical cooperation in a broad range of areas including trade and investment, energy resources and infrastructure building, which is in the common interests of the two sides.
Q: Does China believe that the forming of new governments in Greece and Italy will help Europe deal with the current sovereign debt crisis?
A: I have noted relevant media reports. Change of government is the internal affair of a country. China supports the efforts by the EU, Eurozone and the IMF to deal with the European sovereign debt crisis and hopes relevant countries and the EU will overcome the current difficulties at an early date, restore market confidence and promote economic recovery and growth.
The EU and Eurozone Summits worked out a series of policy measures not long ago and the G20 Summit reached consensus on relevant issues as well. All parties hope the EU will come up with detailed measures and implement them as soon as possible so as to overcome the difficulties through their own efforts. The international community is ready to provide necessary help and support.
Q: China has emphasized resolving the Iranian nuclear issue through dialogue and cooperation. What is China's attitude on sanctions against Iran?
A: We always hold that dialogue and cooperation is the best way to seek a comprehensive, long-term and appropriate settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue and neither pressure nor sanctions can fundamentally solve the problem. There is still room for Iran and the international community to further strengthen dialogue and cooperation. We should not give up our efforts, but rather increase input in this regard.
Q: Please confirm the report that China pledged to help Pakistan build two nuclear power plants in Karachi. Separately, can you brief us on the preparations for the meeting of special representatives on the China-India boundary issue?
A: On your first question, I am not aware of the report. I would like to reiterate that China and Pakistan have engaged in some cooperation in the civil nuclear energy field in recent years, which is in line with their respective international obligations, completely for a peaceful purpose and subjected to IAEA safeguards.
The two sides are in close consultation regarding the 15th meeting of Chinese and Indian special representatives on the boundary issue.
As for China-India relations, the two countries are important neighbors to each other and bilateral ties have kept sound momentum of healthy and stable development. Both China and India have strong aspirations and consensus on further strengthening bilateral strategic cooperative partnership. I would like to stress that as this year marks the Year of Exchanges between China and India, the two sides have held a series of activities to further enhance mutual understanding and mutually beneficial cooperation. Exchanges in the cultural and people-to-people field are of particular importance, as they help consolidate the social and public opinion foundation of bilateral cooperation.
On the boundary issue left over from history, the two sides are seeking a fair and reasonable solution acceptable to both through friendly consultation. Pending the final settlement of the boundary issue, the two sides should be committed to safeguarding peace and tranquility in the border area to ensure the dispute will not affect the overall development of bilateral ties.
Q: What is China's position on arms trade with Syria?
A: The Chinese Government adopts a prudent and responsible attitude on military export and exercises strict management over all military exports in keeping with China's international obligations and domestic laws and regulations.
Q: How do you comment on the report that the US leader said during the APEC that China has become a "grown-up" economy and should play a more responsible role. Separately, does China consider joining the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement (TPP)?
A: On your first question, China pursues unswervingly the path of peaceful development and as a major country, plays a responsible, constructive and active role in its foreign policy. We uphold this policy not only in the Asia-Pacific region but also in every corner of the world. China has published a white paper on peaceful development, which expounds in great detail how we play our role in international affairs to the best of our capacity. China's peaceful development has become the national commitment, which continues to guide China's foreign policy. Whether China has played a responsible role or not should be judged by the international community, not a few countries or individuals. We are confident in this regard.
On your second question, at the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting in Yokohama, Japan last year, the parties agreed that existing or planned free trade arrangements such as the East Asia Free Trade Area (10+3), the East Asia Comprehensive Economic Partnership (10+6) and the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement (TPP) can all be feasible channels to realize a Free Trade Area in the Asia Pacific.
China holds that regional economic cooperation should be based on equality and inclusiveness, openness and fairness, sustainable development and mutual benefits. Efforts should be made to build a Free Trade Area in the Asia Pacific in a step-by-step manner on the basis of ASEAN 10+3, 10+6, the TPP and others under the principle of incremental progress, with a view to gradually realizing regional economic integration in the Asia Pacific. Being open to all the above mechanisms, China has followed the progress on the TPP negotiations and is ready to keep communication with relevant members.
Liu Weimin ended the press conference with the following announcement.
We will invite Assistant Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin and officials of relevant ministries to give a briefing on Premier Wen Jiabao's attendance at the upcoming East Asian leaders' meetings and visit to Brunei at 10:30 am in this room.
The regular press conference tomorrow afternoon will be adjourned.