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China Hopes Japan Not to Hurt Chinese People Again

China hopes that Japan will "take history as a mirror, look forward to the future and not do anything that hurts Chinese people's feelings again," said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan in Beijing Thursday at a regular press conference.

With the September 18 anniversary approaching, Kong also urged Japan to take practical actions to work together with China to push exchanges and cooperation in all fields.

On September 18, 1931, invasive Japanese troops raided Chinese troops stationed in Shenyang City, which has become known as the "September 18 Incident", and subsequently occupied the whole of northeast China and then much of the rest of the country until Japan's unconditional surrender in 1945.

"September 18 is a painful day for all Chinese people," Kong said. "It reminds us all that China is a peace-loving nation and that we must constantly strive for national rejuvenation."

Since China and Japan forged diplomatic ties, the relationship has seen fast development, with both the governmental and non-governmental exchanges achieving solid progress, he said. In terms of trade relationship, Japan is China's biggest trade partner and has a lot of joint ventures in China.

The spokesman said that China hopes the China-Japan relationship can continue to forge ahead on a healthy basis, observing political documents between the two countries.

Commenting on the International Religious Freedom Report 2004 released by the US State Department, Kong Quan said the report defied the facts, posed unreasonable criticism of China's religious policies, trampled the norms of international relations and interfered in China's internal affairs.

China rejected the US State Department's annual report on religious freedom with "strong displeasure" and "resolute objection," said Kong Quan.

Kong stressed that China protects its citizens' religious rights in accordance with its law. All ethnic groups and people across the country enjoy religious freedom.

"This fact is obvious to all," Kong said.

It is groundless for the United States to make irresponsible remarks or criticize other countries' internal affairs with the excuse of religion, said Kong.

Kong urged the US side to correct its wrongdoing and stop its intervention in China's internal affairs in regards to religion or the issue will overshadow Sino-US relations. 

In response to a question about a report released by a Japanese advisory panel describing China as a military threat, Kong said the report represents a minority viewpoint and will not be supported by most Japanese people.

China will do no harm to its neighbors, but will instead seek common prosperity in the region through cooperation, Kong said.

The Nihon Keizai newspaper reported on Wednesday that a 10-member private advisory panel to Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi called China "a military threat" in a defence review to be compiled by the end of September.

China's national defense budget last year stood at about US$21.5 billion, while Japan's was more than 60 billion, Kong said.

China has reiterated many times that it pursues a policy of "treating its neighbors as friends and partners," he said. "Under no circumstances will China harm the interest of any neighboring countries."

Kong said healthy and mutually beneficial Sino-Japanese relations would be beneficial to the two peoples and conducive to regional peace and stability.

Also on Thursday's press conference, Kong Quan announced that Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing will head a Chinese delegation to the 59th Session of the United Nations General Assembly from September 26 to 30.

Kong said Li would deliver a speech during the general debate, expounding the Chinese government's views and propositions on major international and regional issues.

Li would also attend multilateral and bilateral activities, including meeting with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan as well as leaders and foreign ministers from some countries, and consultations with foreign ministers from the Rio Group and Gulf Cooperation Council, Kong added.

In another international issue, Kong Quan said China urges the United States to revise the UN draft on Darfur crisis and said that it will vote according to the revision.

The draft resolution is now under discussion and China hopes that the United States will listen to suggestions from all sides and make the revision, said Kong.

"We will make a final decision on our voting stance according to the revising of the draft," Kong said, when asked to comment on reports that China will veto the draft.

The Darfur crisis is a complicated issue, said Kong. Sudan has made progress and should be given more time for a proper settlement; sanctions will only complicate the situation.

Kong said the US should hear from the UN Security Council members, African Union and League of Arab States and revise its draft.

Also on Thursday, Kong said that difficulties exist for the holding of the fourth round of the six-party talks before the end of September.

He said that all parties should make efforts to hold the new round of six-party talks before the end of September.

"Even if the new round could not be held before the end of September, it should be held at an early date," he said.

The six-party talks, aiming at resolving the nuclear issue of the Korean Peninsula, involve China, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), the United States, the Republic of Korea, Japan and Russia. The six parties agreed to meet again before the end of September during the third-round meeting this June.

China has carried out mediation actively and done much constructive work, leading to much progress, said Kong. However, whether the talks could be held as scheduled is mainly up to the DPRK and the United States instead of China, Kong added.

The six-party talks have turned out to be a mechanism for peaceful resolution of the Korean nuclear issue. China hopes the parties concerned continue to follow the process so as to achieve the goal of peaceful solution and ensure peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, Kong said.

China has not given up its efforts to keep in close touch with the other parties for the sake of earlier convening of the fourth-round talks although the working-level talks have not been held since June when the third-round talks were held.

(Sources including China Daily and Xinhua News Agency, September 17, 2004)


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