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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang's Regular Press Conference on November 20, 2008
2008-11-21 15:01

On November 20, 2008, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang held a regular press conference and answered questions on President Hu Jintao attending the 16th APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting, China-U.S. Strategic Economic Dialogue and food safety cooperation.

Qin Gang: Welcome to today's press conference. I have no announcement to start with. I'd be happy to take your questions now.

Q: Please give us some information about the arrangement of President Hu Jintao's meeting with Lien Chan during the APEC meeting. When and how they are going to meet?

A: I understand Taiwan media's interest in this issue. Yet up to now, I have no information to share. Please be patient.

Q: China will embrace the 30th anniversary of the Reform and Opening Up. In China's opinion, what is the date in particular that marks the beginning of the Reform and Opening Up? Is it December 18 or some other day?

A: This year marks the 30th anniversary of China's adoption of the Reform and Opening Up policy. In my view, what really matters is not the exact date of the launch of this policy, but the fact that China will continue to resolutely adhere to it.

Q: The second China-Japan Economic High-level Dialogue was scheduled to be held in Japan this December. However, it is said that it has been postponed. What is the reason for that?

A: The China-Japan Economic High-level Dialogue is an important platform for the two countries to communicate on their macroeconomic policy and to promote their economic relations and trade. China attaches great importance to this mechanism. The two parties have been taking an active part in coordinating with each other on the date of the next round of dialogue. We expect the next meeting to convene at an early date convenient to both and look forward to positive results out of it.

Q: From the mainland's perspective, in what capacity Taiwan participates in the APEC meeting? Why the so-called "Taiwan's Foreign Minister" can not attend the ministerial meeting?

A: With regard to Taiwan's participation in the APEC meetings, there are explicit stipulations in APEC's Memorandum of Understanding, which has been followed by the organization in its practice for years. All its sovereign members recognize the One China principle. We believe in light of that principle, parties concerned will follow the MoU and the existing practice in dealing with this issue.

Follow up: You have mentioned about the established position. Have you taken into consideration the current relaxation of tensions between the two sides across the Taiwan Straits? Will you change your current position in the future?

A: No matter when and how the cross-Strait relations and situations change, there is only one China in the world. This fact remains intact.

Q: When will the next China-US Strategic Economic Dialogue be held? Please give us some details.

A: We are having intensive coordination with the US on the schedule of the Fifth China-US Strategic Economic Dialogue. We will keep you updated when things are fixed.

Q: The China-US Strategic Economic Dialogue last year was at vice-premier level. Will it be the same this year? How do you comment on the result of the meeting between the two countries' health ministers and FDA? Does China approve the third party inspection over food safety?

A: The China-US Strategic Economic Dialogue (SED) is held between special representatives of the two countries' Presidents. At present, Vice Premier Wang Qishan represents China, while on the US part, it is Treasury Secretary Paulson. This has not changed so far. As for your second question, the US recently revised its Consumer Product Safety Act which introduced "the third party inspection" system. As a matter of fact, China has already established a full-fledged inspection system for export commodities according to its national conditions. Commodities that fall into the Catalogue of Entry-exit Commodities to Be Inspected and Quarantined by Competent Entry-exit Inspection and Quarantine Authorities will undergo mandatory inspection prior to export. Sub-standard commodities will be denied of export permission. Besides, most laboratories of Chinese quality inspection authorities are independent legal persons, with advanced equipment and management system, which can ensure the independence and fairness of the third party inspection, and thus satisfy the demand of the US. Given that the Chinese inspection authorities have special inspection system for Chinese export to the US, we hope the US side will recognize the AQSIQ's certification so as to facilitate clearances and ensure the quality of export products to the US.

China takes product quality and food safety very seriously. Over the past years, China and the US have kept close communication and cooperation in this regard. One of the most important achievements of the previous SED meetings is that the two countries decided to step up cooperation in this regard and signed documents of cooperation. We hope the two countries could respect each other, accommodate the other side's interest and concern, and properly handle relevant issues through consultation on an equal footing.

Q: Taiwan "President" Ma Ying-jeou said that part of his policy to improve relations with the Mainland was to see China not poaching countries having diplomatic ties with Taiwan. What is your view on that? Will the Chinese Government consider his proposal?

A: First of all, I have to correct your improper choice of words. There is only one China in the world. When it comes to cross-Straits relations, please be careful with your diction.

I believe you meant to ask Taiwan's "international space". We understand our Taiwan compatriots' aspiration to participate in international activities. People on both sides of the Straits are Chinese. One important mission of China's diplomacy is to serve all Chinese people around the world. We will earnestly study issues bearing the well-being and immediate interest of people in Taiwan under the consensus of the One China principle. We are ready to create conditions and seek for proper settlement of relevant issues through consultation and joint efforts across the Straits. Nevertheless, we resolutely oppose attempts to create "two Chinas" or "one China one Taiwan" internationally. Our policy is based on the One China principle.

If there are no more questions, thank you for your attendance. See you next time!

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