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Foreign Ministry Spokesman's Press Conference (22/11/2001)

Q: It is reported that a Russian advance group arrived at Kabul on November 18. Does China also have any plan to send people to Afghanistan recently for consultations with the parties concerned there?

A: As the permanent member of the UN Security Council and the neighbor of Afghanistan, we support UN’s leading role in the solution of the Afghan issue and the efforts within this framework of all the parties concerned contributing to the restoration of peace of Afghanistan within this framework. We also stand for the establishment of a broadly-based coalition government in Afghanistan that represents the interests of all ethnic groups in Afghanistan and live in harmony with the other countries especially its neighbors.

Q: Taliban is now collapsing in Afghanistan and the political situation there is moving towards stability. Therefore the trade and economic opportunities also increase. Has the Chinese government set any restriction on Chinese corporations in handling business in Afghanistan? Are there any regulations in this regard? Are Chinese corporations free to conduct business there?

A: At present the top priority is to push forward an early establishment of a transitional authority in Afghanistan that is broadly-based and represents the interests of all ethnic groups. As the permanent member of the UN Security Council and the neighbor of Afghanistan, over a long period of time, China, together with the international community, has made unremitting efforts for an early restoration of peace in Afghanistan. In light of the current situation, we also support all efforts conducive to the realization of peace in Afghanistan. Once peace and stability is restored there, China is also ready to join the international community in participating the rebuilding of Afghanistan.

Q: It is reported that during President Putin’s phone call with President Jiang Zemin yesterday, the two sides agreed to conduct the expert-level consultations on terrorism. How do you evaluate the prospect of China-Russian cooperation on anti-terrorism?

A: I am quite willing to brief you on the relevant situation. Yesterday President Jiang Zemin touched upon this issue in his phone call with President Putin. I should say that the issue of terrorism has become a common issue facing the international community. The Chinese side is willing to enhance the cooperation with all countries in the world in fighting terrorism. During the APEC meeting, China and Russia agreed to establish an anti-terror working group between the two sides to exchange views and expand cooperation in the fields of combating terrorism. In yesterday’s phone call, the two sides also agreed that the first meeting of the China-Russia working group against terrorism will be held in Beijing at the end of this month. This is of great significance to strengthening the strategic cooperation between the two countries. The two delegations are both headed by the deputy foreign ministers of the two countries. At the forthcoming meeting, the two sides will have a wide-ranging exchange of views on the current situation in the fight against terror, consolidating the cooperation on combating terrorism and some other issues.

Q: Recently, the leaders of the African countries have visited China frequently and brought about a great development of China-Africa relations. What has China done in developing its relations with the African countries?

A: The Chinese government has all along attached importance to Africa. Strengthening and developing the friendly relations and cooperation with the vast developing countries including the African countries has always been a major component of China’s independent foreign policy of peace. The traditional friendship between China and Africa has enjoyed a long history, well established in the hearts of the people, and withstood the test of time and changes in the world. China is the biggest developing country and Africa, the continent with the largest number of developing countries. At the start of the new century, both sides share the keen aspiration of further developing their friendly relations and cooperation and jointly pushing forward the establishment of a new international economic and political order. For this purpose, the China-Africa Cooperation Forum-Beijing Ministerial Meeting 2000 was held last year to press ahead the mechanism of the cooperation for the establishment of a long-term stable partnership based upon equality and mutual benefit.

After the end of the cooperation forum, the friendly relations and cooperation between China and Africa has got further development by implementing the follow-up activities. The major measures taken by the Chinese side include: Firstly, China has maintained frequent exchange of high-level visits and strengthened its political consultations and cooperation with the African countries. The two sides also enhanced consultations and mutual support in international affairs to jointly safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of the developing countries. Secondly, China has carried out its promises at the forum. China efficiently handled the procedures of debt reduction with the relevant countries and has signed the protocols on the debt exemption with 21 African countries. Meanwhile, China expanded the scale of the human resources training in Africa and increased the assistance to Africa within its capacity. Thirdly, China stepped up its economic and trade cooperation with Africa. The trade between the two sides set a record by hitting 10 billion dollars in 2000. Since October last year, China has set up 58 corporations in Africa. This year, the newly-contracted projects reached 1.672 billion dollars. Fourthly, China improved the follow-up mechanism after the forum. China has held the first high-level consultations with Africa on the follow-up activities, during which the two sides approved in principle the procedures on the follow-up mechanism of the forum. The above-mentioned procedures have enriched and added fresh impetus to the friendly relations and cooperation between China and Africa. It is our belief that with the further implementation of the follow-up work, the friendly relations and cooperation between our two sides will undoubtedly get further consolidated and improved.

Q: It is reported that seven corporations in the US have agreed to sell diesel submarines to Taiwan. What is your comment on that?

A: We are firmly opposed to US arms sales to Taiwan, especially sales of submarines, and made solemn representations on this issue to the US side on many occasions. We urge the US side to be aware of the serious danger of the its arms sales to Taiwan, strictly abide by the three China-US Joint Communiqués, especially the provisions of the August 17th Joint Communiqué, stop its arms sales to Taiwan including the submarines and refrain from further damaging the Sino-US relations.

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