On the afternoon of April 1, 2010, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang held a regular press conference and answered questions.
Qin Gang: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I have four announcements to start with.
First, President Hu Jintao will be invited to attend the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington from April 12 to 13, attend the second official meeting of BRIC Summit in Brasilia and pay a state visit to Brazil from April 14 to 17, pay a state visit to Venezuela from 17 to 18 and pay a working visit to Chile on April 18.
Second, Vice Foreign Minister Wang Guangya will go to Seoul on April 5 for the Second China-ROK Foreign Ministry High-Level Strategic Dialogue with First Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Shin Kak-soo. They will have broad and in-depth exchange of views on bilateral relations and important international and regional issues of mutual interest.
Third, at the invitation of Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, Steven Vanackere, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Institutional Reform of Belgium, will pay an official visit to China from April 5 to 7.
Fourth, at the invitation of Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, Luis Amado, Minister of State and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Portugal will pay an official visit to China from April 8 to 10.
Now the floor is open.
Q: What are the main topics for discussion at the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington? What is China's expectation of the Summit? What initiatives or proposals will President Hu make at the Summit?
A: The Nuclear Security Summit will focus on the threat of nuclear terrorism and the corresponding measures of different countries and the international community. This important multilateral Summit has gained the attention of all parties. As far as I know, leaders or representatives of more than 40 countries and heads of the UN, the IAEA, the EU and other international and regional organizations will be invited to the summit.
China attaches importance to nuclear security, opposes nuclear proliferation and terrorism and supports international cooperation in this regard. We hope the summit will pool consensus on nuclear security among different countries and generate positive results.
Q: After the two bombings in the Moscow subway, does China have any plan to enhance anti-terrorism cooperation with Russia and other countries? What specific measures will China take to enhance the cooperation?
A: After the terrorist bombings in the Moscow subway, the Chinese Government immediately reacted to and strongly condemned the action. Chinese leaders have sent telegraphs of condolences to their Russian counterparts. China condemns terrorism of all forms and supports the efforts by the Russian Government and people to counter terrorism and maintain national security and social stability. China and Russia are strategic partners of coordination and anti-terrorism and security are important parts of the bilateral cooperation. In recent years, both in bilateral scope and within the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, our two countries have conducted fruitful cooperation in anti-terrorism and security fields, like the joint anti-terrorism exercises and regular consultation mechanism between security and law enforcement authorities. We would like to enhance cooperation with Russia in anti-terrorism and security to jointly counter the "three forces" and safeguard peace and tranquility of the two countries and the region.
Q: I have two questions. First, please brief us on the main topics at the BRIC Summit. What is China's expectation of President Hu's attendance to the Summit? How does China think to enhance cooperation among the four countries? What proposals will President Hu raise at the Summit? Second, would you please share with us the purpose, significance and your expectation of President Hu's visit to Brazil, Venezuela and Chile?
A: The second formal meeting of the BRIC leaders will focus on the world economic and financial situation, G20 related affairs, reform of international financial institutions, climate change and cooperation of the four countries. China attaches importance to the meeting and hopes it can focus on major global issues with a view to jointly promoting world economic recovery and sustainable growth, enhancing practical cooperation among the four countries and upholding common interest in the spirit of mutual benefit.
China has been participating in the cooperation among the four countries in a proactive, pragmatic, open and transparent way. We believe that exchanging views on major issues concerning international economy and development and boosting practical cooperation will be conducive to the enhancement of the overall voice and influence of the emerging markets and developing countries as well as the development of multilateralism.
In recent years, China and Latin American countries have enjoyed strengthened political mutual trust, expanding mutually-beneficial cooperation, frequent people-to-people and cultural exchanges, as well as close communication and coordination in international affairs. China-Latin America relations have maintained a sound momentum of comprehensive and rapid development. The purpose of President Hu's visit to Brazil, Venezuela and Chile is to deepen friendship, enhance mutual trust, expand cooperation and seek joint development. His visit will be of great significance in promoting friendship and mutually beneficial cooperation with the three countries and pushing forward the comprehensive development of China-Latin America relations. We believe the visit will be a great success.
Q: The US officials said that China had reluctantly agreed to discuss sanctions against Iran. Does that mean China has made concessions on imposing sanctions against Iran? If it is true, why? Besides, Saeed Jalili is visiting Beijing and he will meet with State Councilor Dai Bingguo. What will the Chinese side discuss with him? Will China continue to engage the Iranian side? If sanctions are to be discussed, what kind of cooperation will China and Iran have? Separately, will the DPRK leader Kim Jong-Il visit China soon?
A: On the Iranian nuclear issue, China stays committed to a peaceful settlement.
Saeed Jalili, Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council of Iran is visiting China today. State Councilor Dai Bingguo and Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi will meet with him respectively. About his visit, we will release relevant information in due course.
Q: Will President Hu Jintao meet with US President Obama on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington? Since the US is the host of this Summit, what will President Hu's attendance bring on China-US relations?
A: We will keep you updated on the relevant arrangement of President Hu Jintao's activities at the Nuclear Security Summit.
I have said just now that the Summit is an important multilateral international conference on nuclear terrorist threats and international efforts against these threats. China-US relations, as we have reiterated on many occasions, are very important and highly valued by China. We hope China-US relations can press ahead on the track of long-term, sound and stable development. The key to that is mutual respect, equal treatment, mutual benefit and full implementation of the consensus reached between leaders of the two countries. The spirit and principles of the three China-US joint communiqués and the China-US Joint Statement should be adhered to and sensitive issues be properly handled to push for the development of a positive, cooperative and comprehensive China-US relationship.
Q: Indian External Affairs Minister Krishna will begin to visit China from next Monday. Who will meet with him and what will be the main topics for discussion? This year marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of China-India diplomatic ties. How does China view its present relations with India and what is the biggest challenge confronting the bilateral relations?
A: China and India are important neighbors to each other and both are major emerging developing countries. Good-neighborly friendship, mutually beneficial cooperation and common development not only benefit both countries and peoples, but are of great significance to joint efforts on global issues and challenges as well as international peace, stability and development. We attach great importance to strengthening the comprehensive strategic partnership of cooperation with India.
Over these years, the China-India relationship has shown sound momentum of development. The two countries set up the comprehensive strategic partnership of cooperation for peace and prosperity and reached the "ten strategies" to further intensify mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields and published A Shared Vision for the 21st Century of China and India. As for the border issue, the two countries have reached political parameters and guiding principles. All of the above are the remarkable and important achievements in bilateral relationship over these years.
China and India enjoy a history of friendship for more than a thousand years. We hope that the two countries could deepen traditional friendship and properly manage issues and challenges from a strategic and overall perspective. We are ready to promote strategic mutual trust and mutually beneficial cooperation with India and to strengthen our communication and coordination in international affairs in order to push forward China-India relations. Based on that, we welcome and attach great importance to Foreign Minister Krishna's visit. During his visit, Premier Wen Jiabao will meet with him and Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi will hold talks with him. Foreign Minister Krishna will also deliver a speech in the China Institute of International Studies. We believe that both sides would take this opportunity to promote dialogue and cooperation, thus pushing forward China-India relations.
Q: Regarding the Iranian nuclear issue, your response on previous press conferences was that China leaned towards dialogue instead of sanctions. But just now you only mentioned "peaceful settlement of the issue". Does this imply that China is now more willing to impose sanctions on Iran? Could you elaborate on China's position on the issue?
A: We have reiterated many times China's position on the Iranian nuclear issue which is unequivocal and consistent. We will continue to push for a peaceful settlement of the issue and stay in communication and consultation of various forms with parties concerned.
Q: A famous American antivirus company issued its security report of March, in which it said recently most of the malicious emails in the US came from Zhejiang Province of China. How do you comment?
A: We have reiterated that the Chinese Government strictly prohibits and combats hacking and other cyber attack activities according to law. However, recently, some foreigners and organizations have kept making an issue of the so-called hacker attacks from China. In fact, China is also a victim of cyber attacks. Why do I say so? First, internet and computers in China are also subject to hacker attacks, which is a kind of cross-border crime in virtual space. The international community needs to intensify cooperation to combat it. Second, without investigation and solid proof, some people claim that their computers are attacked by hackers from China, even accusing or insinuating that the Chinese Government is behind the curtain. Such accusations are irresponsible or even have a hidden agenda. Isn't it also a kind of cyber attacks against China? Third, I think the correspondents present here today may be clearer than me that when surfing the internet, one can see groundless accusations and vicious distortions of China everyday. Aren't these cyber attacks against China? We resolutely oppose such kind of cyber attacks against China.
Q: Which Chinese official will attend the First Mekong River Commission Summit to be held in Thailand next week? Secondly, one hour after the trial of the Rio Tinto case, two employees of Chinese steel companies were also sentenced but the specifics haven't been made public yet. What are the exact charges? Third, the US expressed the hope to push for sanctions against Iran within the next few weeks. How does China comment? Does China share the same sense of urgency as the US regarding the Iranian nuclear issue?
A: The First Mekong River Commission Summit will be held in Thailand from April 4 to 5. Vice Foreign Minister Song Tao will lead the Chinese delegation to the Summit. Based on the spirit of "consultation on an equal footing, enhancing cooperation, mutual benefit and common development", China will step up communication and dialogue with other participating countries and strengthen cooperation with the Mekong River Commission and downstream countries to jointly push for sustainable economic and social development of the region.
On the Iranian nuclear issue, China is highly concerned about the current situation of the issue and has been in close communication with parties concerned. We are engaging other parties to promote a proper settlement of the issue by diplomatic means.
As for those involved in the Rio Tinto case, please refer to the judicial authorities. I believe the Chinese judicial authorities will continue to handle the case according to law.
Q: The US said yesterday that some common ground was reached on sanctions against Iran in the P5+1 conference call . Does this mean China is now supportive of sanctions against Iran or is considering such a possibility? Secondly, President Hu will attend the Nuclear Security Summit. What specific concerns does China have in terms of nuclear security?
A: On the night of March 31 Beijing time, the Political Director-Generals of China, the US, Russia, Britain, France and Germany held a teleconference on the Iranian nuclear issue. All parties agreed to stay in communication through various channels. China will continue to play a constructive role for the settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue by diplomatic means.
As for the Nuclear Security Summit, as I said just now, China attaches great importance to nuclear security and is highly concerned about the challenges of nuclear proliferation and terrorism faced by the international community. We hope to step up international consultation and cooperation in tackling the challenges. We hope the Summit will yield positive results.
Q: The P5+1 countries have decided to discuss sanctions against Iran. Does China support comprehensive sanctions against Iran or only partial sanctions against those involved in the Iranian nuclear program? Has China got any evidence to prove that Iran's nuclear program is not a peaceful one but a military one?
A: On the Iranian nuclear issue, China maintains that the international non-proliferation regime should be upheld and regional peace, security and stability maintained. We will always proceed from these two points in discussing the issue and play a responsible, positive and constructive role so that the issue can be properly addressed. We believe any solution or result should comply with the two goals.
As for the nature of the Iranian nuclear program, we uphold the international non-proliferation regime and oppose Iran possessing nuclear weapons. At the same time, we believe that as a sovereign state, Iran is entitled to peaceful use of nuclear energy. Any country's program for peaceful use of nuclear energy should be subject to IAEA supervision and make sure its peaceful purposes. We hope parties concerned will enhance communication and cooperation, further clarify and properly handle the pending issues so that the Iranian nuclear issue can be properly resolved through diplomatic negotiations.
Q: You said just now that the P5+1 held a teleconference yesterday and all parties stayed in contact on the Iranian nuclear issue. But it's reported that the six countries were discussing a draft resolution on sanctions against Iran. Please confirm.
A: China is committed to a diplomatic settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue and stays in communication with parties concerned.
Q: The recent Rio Tinto case and Google issue have added doubt to China's environment for foreign investment. And there is concern that the newly promulgated Measures for the Administration of the Accreditation of National Independent Innovation Products may lead to discriminatory treatment against foreign products. How do you comment?
A: I have to disagree. China unswervingly pursues the opening strategy of mutual benefit and win-win outcome and this policy remains unchanged. As always, we welcome foreign companies to make investment in China and will create an open, fair and transparent environment that provides opportunities. We are willing to heed opinions from foreign investors and protect their legitimate rights and interests.
Speaking of China's market environment, I'd like to make the following points:
First of all, China is a big market with a population of 1.3 billion, and the number is still growing. I don't think any entrepreneur with strategic vision would ignore such a big market.
Secondly, China abounds with well-educated, high quality and low-cost human resources. Every year, our universities produce millions of fresh graduates, which provides good and sufficient human resources for foreign investors.
Thirdly, China's infrastructure is constantly improving. Transport, highway, port and communications have all witnessed rapid development in recent years and are expected to be further ameliorated.
Now let's look at China's legal environment for investment. Since the reform and opening up, China has enacted over 200 laws and regulations over foreign investment and operation in China and signed more than 120 bilateral investment protection agreements with other countries. Implementing earnestly its WTO commitments since its accession in 2001, China has fully reviewed and sorted out domestic regulations inconsistent with WTO rules. As a result, over 2,300 laws and regulations have been either revised or abolished.
All in all, China's investment environment is getting better and better. In fact, China has attracted more foreign investment than any other country for many years. By the end of last year, there were altogether 680,000 foreign companies in China. Last year alone witnessed an increase of 25,000. The total volume of foreign investment has reached nearly one trillion US dollars. Over 480 companies out of the Fortune 500 have offices in China. Both the number of foreign companies and the volume of foreign investment are growing steadily.
Most foreign companies in China are in good shape in terms of profit. According to statistics by American Chamber of Commerce in China at the end of last year, there were over 58,400 US companies in China. Among the 338 companies polled, two thirds of them said they were making profits. Only 4% said they suffered from severe losses. Among the US companies with over 20 years of operation in China, 93% of them make profits and none of them suffer from serious losses.
Some reports and foreign companies recently complain about China's investment environment. I think they should regard the issue from a long-term and overall perspective. The Google issue and the Rio Tinto case you mentioned are just individual commercial cases involving individual companies. They can represent neither China's reform-and-opening-up policy and investment environment nor opinion of the foreign investment as a whole.
China is a country under the rule of law. While welcoming foreign investors, we urge them to abide by Chinese laws and regulations. Of course there will be punishment when there is violation. This is exactly to provide a level playing field for foreign companies.
Take Google Company as an example. Since its entry into China's market in 2007, Google has developed five solely-funded or joint venture companies within three years, covering a broad scope of business including search services, software and hardware development and advertisement. How do you explain such a fast growth if China doesn't have a favorable investment environment? Besides, none of Google's five companies have actually pulled out of China. Why do you think that is?
I'd like to stress that the Chinese Government grants equal treatment to domestic and foreign companies. There is no discrimination. Since our accession to the WTO, we have granted national treatment to foreign companies, treating them like our family members. This is also for the sake of a fair investment environment.
There is an issue of adaptation to the new environment in China. Since its entry into the WTO, China has granted national treatment to foreign companies. Meanwhile, we are committed to building an environment-friendly and resource-saving society by saving energy and reducing emissions. Some foreign companies may find that they are enjoying less preferential treatment than they were 30 years ago. In the meantime, more and more Chinese companies have grown stronger, bringing more competition to the market. However, China remains an ideal destination for foreign investors as Chinese market offers numerous opportunities. In Charles Darwin's words, "the fittest survives the natural selection". We hope foreign companies could adapt to changes, seize opportunities and face up to challenges in the spirit of entrepreneurship, adjust their development strategy and provide better technologies, products and services through scientific and technological innovation so as to survive, develop and thrive in China's market. Before China's WTO accession, Chinese companies were warned to be prepared for more fierce competition. Acknowledging the challenge, many Chinese companies have strived to become stronger, and managed to survive and thrive.
In conclusion, China firmly and unswervingly pursues the opening strategy of mutual benefit and win-win outcome. We welcome foreign investors. I would like to say to all the foreign business people in China, "Wish you great success in business!"
If there are no more questions, thank you.