The Japanese government announced on Tuesday that 18 Japanese
citizens have registered permanent addresses on the Diaoyu Islands,
a group of islets in the East China Sea.
When asked to comment on the issue, Foreign Ministry spokesman
Kong Quan said China's stance on the Diaoyu Islands was "clear and
consistent." He said this at a regular press conference yesterday
"I reiterate that the Diaoyu and surrounding islands have been
part of the Chinese territory since ancient times. China holds
indisputable historical and legal evidence on the issue," he
He said any unilateral move by Japan in relation to the Diaoyu
Islands is a serious infringement on China's territorial
sovereignty and is "unlawful and invalid."
"China firmly opposes such moves and will never accept them,"
Kong also urged Japan "to face up honestly to its wartime
He was responding to a comment made by the Japanese Ambassador
to China Koreshige Anami who said that he believed China would
probably not support Japan's bid for a permanent seat on the United
Nations Security Council (UNSC) even if Prime Minister Junichiro
Koizumi stops his visits to Yasukuni Shrine, a shrine that honors
Japan's war dead, including Class-A war criminals.
Kong said he hoped the Japanese leaders translate "their apology
and remorse into practical actions to convince the Asian people and
the world" of their sincerity.
Koizumi indicated on Monday that he will visit the shrine again
this year, despite protests by other Asian countries. He has paid
four visits to the shrine since he took office in 2001, the most
recent visit being New Year's Day 2004.
Kong cited the shrine visits by Japanese leaders as one of the
thorny issues in current China-Japan political relations, saying
that it reflects what the Japanese government thinks about Japan's
history of aggression against other Asian countries.
He said Japanese leaders have admitted that that part of Japan's
history deeply hurt its Asian neighbors, including the Chinese
people, and have expressed "deep remorse."
"In this case, China feels that the Japanese leaders should put
their words into real actions and refrain from doing things that
will hurt the Chinese and other Asians," Kong added.
"Only through this can we lay a favorable foundation for
developing a healthy, stable, and friendly relationship between
China and Japan," he said.
Moving on to the topic of putting weapons in space, Kong
objected to this because "space should be utilized for peace."
The New York Times reported on Tuesday that the US Air
Force is seeking President George W. Bush's approval of a national
security directive that could move the United States closer to
fielding both offensive and defensive space weapons.
While White House spokesman Scott McClellan said on Wednesday
that the Bush administration is preparing to update its space
policy to allow for protection of satellites from attack, it is not
considering putting weapons into space.
"Space belongs to the commonwealth of all humanity. China has
always held the opinion that space should be utilized for peace to
benefit humankind," Kong said.
"China deems that active and precautionary measures -- carrying
out negotiations or drawing up relevant international laws and
decrees if necessary -- should be taken to ensure that space
will be utilized for the purpose of peace," he said.
On the reform of the UNSC, Kong said the draft resolution of the
"Group of Four" had revealed differences in position.
"It is necessary to conduct thorough and democratic discussions
and to listen to the voices from member countries, especially the
developing countries," he said.
A draft resolution circulated by India, Brazil, Germany and
Japan -- known as the G-4 -- calling for an expansion of the UNSC
from 15 to 25 members was distributed on Tuesday.
Turning to Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas' visit to China,
which concluded on Thursday, Kong said China will offer Palestine
assistance worth 50 million yuan (about US$6 million), in the forms
of mobile housing, medical, recreational and sports-related
During Abbas' three-day visit, China and Palestine signed five
agreements on economy, trade and technology.
President Hu Jintao
held talks with Abbas, and Premier Wen
Jiabao and State Councilor Tang
Jiaxuan met with him on separate occasions, said Kong. "The two
sides reached a consensus on how to further promote friendly
cooperation, and jointly push forward the Middle East peace
On the subject of state visits, Kong announced that King Albert
II of Belgium will visit from June 4 to 11, Uzbekistan President
Islam Karimov from May 25 to 27, and Croatian Prime Minister Ivo
Sanader from May 26 to 30.
(China Daily, Xinhua News Agency, CRI.com May 20,