Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said yesterday that
China is shocked by the shooting rampage
at a Virginia university and spoke out in strongest terms against
In two shooting sprees at a two-hour interval, 33 people,
including the shooter, were killed at the university on Monday in
the worst mass shooting incident ever in modern US history.
In a statement issued last night, US police officially named the
shooter, who committed suicide after the attacks, as 23-year-old
Cho Seung-hui, a fourth-year exchange student from South Korea.
Earlier yesterday, Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing dispatched a letter of condolence
to US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, extending his "deepest
condolences" to the victims and their families and "sincere
solicitude" to the US government and its people.
China hopes for early settlement of North Korea issue
Turning to the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, Liu said China
wished to see a swift resolution to the North Korean frozen funds
issue so that the denuclearization process could continue.
He said that differences about this technical issue are being
ironed out, but that some specifics needed further clarification.
"We hope such a process is reached soon," Liu commented, two
days after Pyongyang missed its deadline to shut down the Yongbyon
On Friday, North Korea said it was awaiting confirmation that
the US$25-million had been released from a Macao bank before taking
the next step, despite assurances from Washington and Macao
authorities that the money was free to be withdrawn.
China was elated to hear of the consensus reached by the UN, the
African Union (AU) and the Sudanese government on Monday, which
will allow the second phase of a UN support plan for Darfur to go
ahead, Liu said.
The support plan was formulated by former UN Secretary-General
Kofi Annan and first nominally accepted by the AU and Sudan during
a November 16 meeting in Addis-Ababa last year.
Also known as the "Annan Plan," it would allow the UN to
gradually increase its logistical, technical and human resources
support to the 7,800-strong African peacekeeping force in Darfur
until a joint UN-AU force is formed.
Call for developed nations to give more aid to Africa
Liu said China always encouraged active participation by
developed nations in giving aid to Africa.
"While China engages in economic, trade and cultural cooperation
with Africa, we urge any other countries, especially developed
countries, to do the same in Africa and thus achieve development
for the whole continent," he said after Italian Prime Minister
Romano Prodi called on Europe and Japan to coordinate aid to curb
China's growing influence in Africa.
"If other countries in the world want to collaborate in helping
Africa, this is a positive step, but no side may exclude the
other," he added.
Illegal timber imports
Liu defended China's timber and forestry import control
measures, saying that the country abides by strict procedures and
does its utmost to combat illegal trade activities.
This statement came on the heels of an accusation by Greenpeace
that China imported thousands of cubic meters of illegally felled
tropical hardwood from Papua New Guinea and Indonesia last year to
supply its furniture industry.
Greenpeace further commented that China's timber demands were
causing irreparable damage to forests in these countries.
Recognizing that the timber trade was an important element of
global trade, Liu said that the legal timber trade was not
responsible for the destruction of forests in certain parts of the
He stressed the Chinese State Forestry Administration, the
Ministry of Commerce and the General Administration of Customs were
all involved in supervising timber imports to curb any illegal
trade activities. He noted that as a major player in terms of
timber imports and exports, China sought to forge close cooperation
with timber-producing nations.
The government will always advocate mutually-beneficial actions
in exploiting forest resources and will ensure that Chinese
enterprises not only work with long-term sustainable goals in mind
but also abide by local laws while conducting logging, renewal and
Liu also announced the following:
Senior officials of China and the Association of Southeast Asian
Nations (ASEAN) will hold their annual consultation in Anhui Province from April 23 to 25, with
China's Assistant Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai and deputy foreign
ministers from ASEAN countries in attendance to decide on the
follow-up actions of the implementation of the Declaration on the
Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea.
Singapore's Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong will visit China from
April 23 to 26. During his stay, Goh will attend the Second
Investment and Trade Fair of Central China, to be held in
Zhengzhou, capital city of Henan Province.
At the invitation of President Hu Jintao, Prince Albert II, head of state of
Monaco, will also visit from April 24 to 27.
(Xinhua News Agency, China Daily April 18, 2007)