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Terrorism and Illegal Immigration - A Joint Fight
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Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao told yesterday's regular press conference that China and the US have reached an important consensus on combating terrorism and illegal immigration.

US Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff visited China from April 2 to 4. He told reporters yesterday at the US Embassy in Beijing that tackling illegal immigration and cracking down on smuggling organizations were in the best interests of both countries and described his visit to China as "very productive."

As the first US secretary of homeland security to visit China, Chertoff met a number of senior Chinese leaders including Minister of Public Security Zhou Yongkang, Minister of Justice Wu Aiying, Vice Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, and Yang Yuanyuan, director of General Administration of Civil Aviation of China, Liu said.

He also held talks yesterday with Luo Gan, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China's Central Committee.

The two sides exchanged views on anti-terrorism cooperation, fighting "East Turkistan" terrorist forces, the campaign against illegal immigration, arresting and repatriating suspects, security cooperation for the Olympic Games, air police cooperation and law enforcement training, Liu said.

China and the US will severely punish organizers of illegal immigration, and speed up the repatriation of illegal immigrants. The two sides will also cooperate on border management and on combating fake visas and passports, Liu said.

Chertoff returned to Washington yesterday afternoon.

Turning to China-Japan relations, Liu said: "China has made unswerving efforts to make a summit meeting possible but regretfully China fails to get a positive response from Japan."

President Hu Jintao last Friday told heads of seven Japan-China friendship organizations on a goodwill visit that he is ready to hold a summit with Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, if he stops visiting the Yasukuni Shrine that honours WWII war criminals.

Hu last met Koizumi in last April on the sidelines of a regional conference in Jakarta, Indonesia.  

China attaches great importance to repairing Sino-Japanese ties, Liu said, and urged Japan to change its attitude on historical issues.

"The (shrine) visits undermine the political basis for bilateral relations," he said.

Turning to the Korean Peninsular nuclear issue, Liu said China hopes that all parties concerned will make continuous efforts to resume the six-party talks as soon as possible.

He said several months had passed but the talks had not resumed. The reason for the stalemate still lies in the mutual distrust between the US and North Korea.

He said China holds that the goals of denuclearization in the Korean Peninsula must be insisted upon and that peace through dialogue was the way to progress.   

"China is playing its role but the progress of the talks does not completely depend on our efforts," Liu said. "The key to resolving the issue is in the hands of North Korea and the US who are the two main parties concerned." 

He said China has noted that related parties are keeping contacts in various forms and hopes such contacts would assist in achieving progress. 

The six parties adopted a joint statement in September 2005 at the end of the fourth round of talks. Discussions had been stalled since the first phase of the fifth round ended in November 2005.

Yesterday was International Mine Action Day. Liu said China has been actively involved in assisting with international mine sweeping operations and will continue to do so. 

He said although China did not sign the Ottawa convention against land mines, it agreed with the aims of the convention.

"China has signed the Amended Landmine Protocol [to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons] and will strictly abide by the restrictions on landmine production and use," Liu said.

He said in order to help mine-affected countries sweep for land mines, China has actively launched related aid activities in recent yeas including donations to the UN mine sweeping fund, mine sweeping equipment and holding training classes on international mine sweeping techniques. 

"China has also sent experts to mine-affected countries to give on-the-spot guidance and training on mine sweeping," said Liu. He added that China will continue to strengthen exchanges and cooperation with related countries and make continuous contributions to international mine retrieval operations.

In another development, Liu said China is preparing to host the Shanghai Cooperation Organization's (SCO) sixth summit, which is scheduled for June in Shanghai. 

This year marks the fifth anniversary of the establishment of the SCO and member nation leaders will be attending the summit including Hu and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Dubbed a new model for regional cooperation, the SCO was founded in Shanghai on June 15, 2001. Its main focus is regional security and anti-terrorism.

The permanent members of the SCO are China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Its four observer states are Mongolia, Pakistan, India and Iran.

The observer countries will send high-ranking officials and some other countries in the region have been invited to attend the summit, Liu said.

He explained the coming summit will set out a plan on the future development of the organization and provide a summary of its work over the past five years.

The Shanghai summit will further expand the organization's influence within the international community, Liu said.

He said China, which currently holds the presidency, has begun full-scale preparations for the summit and commemoration events.

"The Chinese government and the Shanghai municipal government will try their best to provide a good environment for the delegates," he said.

On state visits, Liu announced that Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili will visit China from April 10 to 15, and Vice Premier Hui Liangyu will visit Poland, Czech Republic, Albania and France from April 12 to 25.

(China Daily, Xinhua News Agency April 5, 2006)

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