Attempting to minimize the financial repercussions felt by the
Macao Special Administrative Region (MSAR), China yesterday called
for consultations between the US and the Macao government to seek
to reduce the latter's concerns over the financial isolation of
Banco Delta Asia (BDA), a Macao-based bank.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao made these remarks at a
regular press conference addressing the North Korea frozen funds
held at BDA.
The small privately-owned bank BDA was thrust into the limelight
after the US Treasury Department severed all American business ties
to the bank in September 2005, accusing it of being a
money-laundering channel for North Korea.
North Korea has denied the charges and has ordered the sanctions
lifted by the US before returning to the six-party talks.
US Deputy Assistant Treasury Secretary Daniel Glaser announced
on March 19 that the US would release the North Korean funds and
transfer them to Bank of China in Beijing.
Liu hailed this consensus, saying that resolving the BDA issue
would help move the six-party talks along. However, he called for
negotiations between the US and the MSAR government to help avoid
any untoward repercussions to Macao's financial and social
Iran nuclear issue
Turning to the Iranian nuclear issue, Liu reiterated that all
negotiations concerning the affair would help international
diplomatic efforts progress.
He maintained that China's opposition to nuclear proliferation
remained constant and that it wished to see the nuclear issue
solved through peaceful negotiation.
He addressed China's consistent participation in the UN Security
Council's negotiations on the issue and confirmed that China will
maintain diplomatic consultations with all parties concerned as
they move toward a permanent solution.
Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the US agreed on a
draft UN Security Council resolution on March 15, meting out
tougher sanctions to Iran for its unwavering defiance.
Two Chinese workers kidnapped in Nigeria
Turning to Africa, Liu confirmed the kidnapping of two Chinese
workers in Nigeria.
"They were abducted on Saturday in the southern Nigerian State
of Anambra by unidentified kidnappers carrying weapons," he said.
"The Chinese government has urged Nigeria to make all efforts to
rescue the two workers. The Nigerian side has said it would do its
best to secure their release."
This is the third such incident in 2007 in Nigeria. On January
5, five Chinese working for Teleken Engineering were kidnapped in
Rivers State while upgrading rural telephone services. They were
released on January 17.
Twenty days later, nine Chinese workers were taken at gunpoint
from the office of China National Petroleum Corp in an attack that
saw one of the attackers killed. They were part of a team
conducting seismic research in the Sagbama area of Bayelsa State in
The workers were freed after an 11-day ordeal, returning to
Beijing on February 7.
The Foreign Ministry has posted regular online warnings keeping
Chinese travelers informed of shifting dangers overseas. Liu
further urged Chinese companies, workers and students overseas to
take all possible care in avoiding these situations.
At the invitation of Russian President Vladimir Putin, President
Hu Jintao will visit Russia from March 26 to
28, Liu announced.
During the three-day trip, President Hu will attend the opening
ceremony of the "Year of China in Russia," he said.
Liu further announced that Norwegian Prime Minister Jens
Stoltenberg would come to China from March 25 to 28 at the
invitation of Premier Wen Jiabao.
(Xinhua News Agency, China Daily March 21, 2007)