China is concerned about Japan sending troops to Iraq. Chinese
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue made the remarks at a
regular press conference in Beijing Tuesday.
As Japan's neighbor, Zhang said, China hopes Japan will
seriously draw lessons from history, be cautious in making moves in
the area of military security and adhere to the path of peaceful
This is the only way that is in Japan's fundamental interests
and conducive to the maintenance of regional peace and stability,
Japan's military maneuvers have always been a sensitive issue
for people of neighboring Asian countries for well-known historical
reasons, she said.
In recent years, Japan has adopted a number of measures in the
area of military security, arousing serious concerns in Japan and
its neighboring countries about the direction of its military
policy, she said.
The troop dispatch to Iraq is another major step which is sure
to arouse further misgivings and worries from people, Zhang
According to reports, the first batch of Japanese Ground
Self-Defense Forces (GSDF) left for Iraq Tuesday. Observers say it
is the first time that the GSDF went to another country's territory
in a state of war and also the first time that the GSDF was
empowered with the right of self-defense to use armed force.
Also at yesterday's briefing, the spokeswoman said the second
round of the six-party talks on the nuclear issue of the Korean
Peninsula will begin in Beijing on Feb. 25.
Zhang said she was entrusted to make the announcement and the
date was fixed on the basis of consultations between all concerned
The Chinese side is currently in discussions with other parties
on the details of how to ensure a smooth progress of the talks,
Zhang said that the Chinese side has kept contacts and close
consultations with concerned parties for a period of time and
gradually expanded their consensus in order to continue the
peaceful talks process and keep the momentum of solving the issue
peacefully through dialogues.
All concerned parties agreed that conditions for the opening of
the second round of the six-party talks have been in place, said
She expressed her belief that all concerned parties will, in the
spirit of mutual respect and equal consultation, push for
substantial progress in the second round of the six-party talks by
showing sincerity and flexibility to the utmost for
The fixing of the date was a crucial step toward peacefully
resolving the Korean nuclear issue through dialogue, said Zhang,
adding that all parties concerned would contribute to resolving the
issue as long as they showed sincerity and mutual respect, and
conducted consultation on an equal footing.
China aimed to have a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula and maintain
peace and stability on the peninsula, said Zhang. China hopes
practical results would be achieved during the second round of the
six-party talks, she said.
Zhang said the parties concerned expected to fix the consensus
reached so far in written form, and the consultations in this
regard had made much progress.
Zhang said the level of the second six-party talks would be the
same as the first round talks, which were held in Beijing from Aug.
27 to 29, 2003.
In another development, the spokeswoman said no single person
has been infected by the bird flu in the Chinese mainland so
Zhang refuted a report that there were people infected with the
widespread avian influenza in the Chinese mainland, and said the
report was "groundless."
Zhang said China was making full efforts to fight against the
bird flu, and the international community should enhance
cooperation in the campaign.
Zhang expressed her hope that journalists would contribute to an
early resolution of the issue, instead of propagating some false
and irresponsible information.
Journalists should take a scientific attitude towards the
epidemic, and make objective and all-around reports on China's
efforts to fight against the disease, she added.
The Chinese government has attached great importance to curbing
the outbreak of bird flu in some regions of China, and President Hu
Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao have made instructions on the issue,
Zhang said, adding that Premier Wen even personally inspected bird
flu-hit regions in central China's provinces of Anhui
China treats the bird flu not only as an issue concerning
people's health but also as a challenge to China's economic and
social development, and all related departments are working hard to
fight the epidemic with the spirit of being responsible for the
When asked to comment on US Deputy Secretary of State Richard
Lee Armitage's remarks on Taiwan made during his recent Beijing
visit, the spokeswoman said they were a clear statement of the US
stance on Taiwan.
She said Armitage's statement reiterated the recent US stance on
the Taiwan issue including adhering to the one-China policy,
abiding by the three Sino-US joint communiqués, opposing Taiwan
independence and any word or activity of the Taiwan authority to
change the status quo of Taiwan.
Armitage said at a press conference on Jan. 30 in Beijing that
the referendum "does raise some questions and make people doubt the
motive of those who set forth the referendum." Armitage also said
the US is still studying Chen Shui-bian's proposal.
"As I understand it, referenda are generally reserved for items
or issues which are either very divisive or very difficult," he
said. "And the wording I've seen of the referendum seems to be
neither divisive nor difficult."
Meanwhile, he said the US has dealt with the Taiwan issue
sensitively and sensibly since the normalization of relations
between the United States and China 25 years ago.
(Xinhua News Agency February 4, 2004)