Nation Protects Rights of Investors

Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji has pledged the government will protect the rights and interests of Japanese investors according to the law.

During a visit to Kobe Monday, Zhu promised to look into the case of a Chinese trust firm that had failed to pay interest on Japanese Samurai bonds on time.

He said the Chinese government would ensure foreign creditors and Chinese leasing and trust firms consult each other about debt payments.

"If Chinese companies cannot afford to pay their debts, they must apply to the People's Bank of China and court to be made bankrupt," Zhu said. "The Chinese government will protect the rights and interests of foreign creditors according to the law."

Zhu said this particular case, where the Hainan International Trust and Investment Corporation has delayed paying interest, is a serious problem because it concerns ordinary Japanese people.

"We will press the company to work on the problem, at least to pay attention to the Samurai bond holders in a responsible manner," Zhu said at a press conference held at the Japanese National Press Club in Tokyo.

He said China's investment environment is on the whole quite good, which make it possible for the country to absorb more than US$ 40 billion annually, and that the nation was making every effort to improve the investment climate. Zhu also asked Japanese companies to be prudent in choosing business partners.

Debt payments and such problems have caught much public attention in Japan during the premier's visit.

Zhu also answered questions ranging from history to potential co-operation with Japan in developing a CDMA mobile phone network.

He said that demanding an apology from Japan for its aggression against China during the 1930s and 1940s is not his government's objective.

"Our objective is that (both sides) draw lessons from history to develop a far-sighted attitude towards the future," he said. "We hope that by using history we can develop a lasting friendship."

He said both sides have agreed on the principle, which he described as a foundation for mutual understanding and trust, although he warned that history should not be taken lightly, nor should it be concealed or distorted.

"(Japan should) confront history squarely, and only by doing so can it develop the right perspective for the future and avoid repeating historical mistakes," Zhu said.

The premier said both sides agreed that mainstream bilateral relations are good, although there are mutual worries and suspicions. Both have put forward ideas to build trust and dispel doubts, and have reached consensus on many issues.

Zhu said he has invited Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori to visit China next year, and said the Chinese government fully supports exchanges between young people of the two nations. He encourages students to go to each other's countries to study.

After the press conference, the Chinese premier took the Shinkansen, a new express railway the Japanese have taken great pride in.

At noon yesterday, he met the Japanese Emperor, Akihito, and Empress Michiko, and attended a banquet held in his honour by the royal couple in their home.

In the morning, Zhu visited Yamanashi prefecture, where he saw an experimental railway line which has been designed for a "magnetic suspended train."

(China Daily 10/17/2000)

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