China and Japan should resort to dialogue to solve their differences surrounding the disputed area of the East China Sea, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Kong Quan said at Thursday's regular press conference.
The two countries are scheduled to hold a new round of talks on the disputed area in the near future, he said.
The talks have become the new focus of attention since Sino-Japanese relations began to sour because of the Japanese leader's remarks on his visits to the Yasukuni Shrine.
Kong said that China does not want current differences to hamper the upcoming talks.
He also criticized Japan for giving oil and gas exploration rights in the disputed area to Japanese companies.
"We think Japan's practices constitute a provocation to China's rights and norms of international relations," Kong said. "We have lodged a protest with Japan and reserve the right to take further action."
Commenting on the visit of Uzbek President Islam Karimov, Kong said that the two countries are friendly neighbors and all countries in the Central Asian region face the challenges of the "three evil forces" of terrorism, separatism and extremism.
He urged all states in the region to strengthen cooperation in fighting terrorism.
Both China and Uzbekistan are members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which also includes Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.
Kong said Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing would attend the SCO Foreign Ministers' Meeting due to be held in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, on June 4. Li will also attend the informal meeting of foreign ministers from China, Russia and India, scheduled for June 2 in Vladivostok, Russia.
When asked whether the universal application principle in new international health regulations will be applied to Taiwan, Kong said that the principle is not a legal basis for Taiwan's entry into the World Health Organization (WHO).
The 58th annual World Health Assembly, held in Geneva on May 23, announced a new set of regulations on national and international responses to disease outbreaks. The new regulations contain four principles, including respecting human rights, respecting the sovereignty of member states, observing the UN Charter and the WHO Constitution, and universal application. The four principles are equally important and interconnected.
Kong stressed the regulations stipulate that provisions will only be applied to sovereign member states.
"China is delighted to see new regulations get through and hopes all parties will strengthen cooperation for their full and effective implementation," Kong said. He also praised the regulations for pushing for the establishment of a global health system, and playing an important role in protecting the lives and health of people all over the world.
Turning to China-India ties, Kong said that Liang Guanglie, chief of the General Staff of the People's Liberation Army, started his six-day visit to India on Monday.
The exchanges between high-level officers of the two militaries will be good for increasing mutual trust and understanding, he said.
Still on the subject of visits, Kong announced that Premier Wen Jiabao will attend the Greater Mekong Summit, a meeting aimed at boosting economic cooperation of countries that share borders along the Mekong River. Wen will preside over the meeting, due to be held between July 4 and 5 in Kunming, capital of southwest China's Yunnan Province.
Heads of state from Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam will attend the meeting, Kong said.
The meeting will review the cooperation in the past in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS), and outline major steps for strengthening future cooperation, he said, adding that a declaration will be adopted and some relevant documents on regional cooperation will be signed at the meeting.
The GMS, also known as the Lancang-Mekong Subregion, refers to an area of 2.33 million square km that covers China's Yunnan Province, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.
With a population of 230 million, the area boasts abundant natural resources and huge growth potential. Yunnan has cooperated for a long time with its neighbors in the areas of transportation, energy, agriculture, tourism, trade, investment, environment and human resources.
The economic cooperation mechanism of the GMS, initiated by the Asia Development Bank in 1992, attracted six countries, including China, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.
Since the mechanism was launched, it has mobilized nearly US$3.5 billion for beefing up socio-economic development in the area.
Kong also announced that Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo will visit from June 2 to 6.
Toledo's upcoming visit is expected to push forward the mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries, Kong said.
During his China tour, Toledo is scheduled to meet with President Hu Jintao, Chairman of the National People's Congress Standing Committee Wu Bangguo and Premier Wen, Kong said.
In addition to Beijing, Toledo will visit Shanghai, Xi'an, capital of northwestern Shaanxi Province, and Guangzhou, capital of southern Guangdong Province, he said.
Peru is among the first countries in South America to have established diplomatic relations with China. China-Peru relations have witnessed a smooth development over the past 34 years, Kong said.
The two-way trade between China and Peru in 2004 was valued at US$1.94 billion, he said.
China and Peru announced that they would form a comprehensive and cooperative partnership in January 2005. "President Toledo's visit will definitely step up the bilateral cooperation on such a new basis," Kong said.
In related news, Chilean Foreign Minister Ignacio Walker will be in China from May 29 to 31.
(China Daily, Xinhua News Agency May 27, 2005)