The Foreign Ministry made it clear once again yesterday that Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's visits to the Yasukuni Shrine are totally unacceptable.
Koizumi on Wednesday defended his repeated visits to the shrine where 14 WWII Class-A war criminals are honored along with some 2 million other war dead but said he was committed to developing friendly ties with China.
The ministry's spokesperson Qin Gang reiterated at a regular press conference that China is not responsible for the current stalemate and is always in favor of dialogue. However, communication and cooperation between the two countries require the proper political conditions and atmosphere.
Qin expressed condolences over the death of Japanese war veteran Shiro Azuma, hailing him as a role model for his countrymen.
He said Azuma was one man who dared to acknowledge the truth of history and wanted to improve relations between the two nations.
He said Azuma's conscience, courage and righteousness had won the respect of the Chinese people.
"I believe there are more people in Japan like Azuma, who are making unremitting efforts to maintain the friendship between the two countries in line with the spirit of 'taking history as a mirror and looking forward to the future'," he said.
Azuma died of cancer Tuesday in a hospital in Kyoto.
Qin also refuted some Japanese reports that Japan is investing in Chinese gas exploration projects in the East China Sea and that the two countries agreed to share the interests according to a certain proportion.
He said the two countries agreed on joint exploration during the third round of gas talks in Tokyo in October. "But details such as the capital and the distribution of the interests haven't been touched upon yet."
Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe earlier on Thursday associated the suicide of a Japanese diplomat in Shanghai with the Chinese agents' actions that allegedly "violated" international conventions in his words.
China has always abided by international conventions including the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations to protect the lawful rights and interests of foreign diplomatic personnel, Qin said, adding that "Japan's claim is unfounded, and is an intentional attempt to instigate trouble."
Turning to the Korean Peninsular nuclear issue, Qin said China hopes the six-party talks will resume at an early date and achieve new progress in the new year.
He said the nuclear issue is confronted with some new and complicated factors. All parties concerned should take the whole situation into account and properly handle relevant issues through full communication and consultation.
Regarding the claimed purchase of Chinese nuclear reactor by Pakistan, which has been denied by a spokesperson for Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Qin said the nuclear energy cooperation between the two nations is "absolutely for peaceful purpose."
He said that China-Pakistan nuclear energy cooperation is supervised by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and is not against China's obligation to the international community.
In response to a question about potential China-Bolivia energy projects during Bolivian President-elect Evo Morales' upcoming visit, Qin said China is ready to expand friendly cooperation with the Latin American country in various fields, including energy cooperation.
China and Bolivia have enjoyed sound cooperation and China hopes to maintain mutually beneficial cooperation and exchanges with Bolivia at different levels, he said.
Bolivia is the second largest natural gas producer in South America. Its known natural gas reserves total 1.38 trillion cubic meters.
Qin said Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing will visit six African nations including Cape Verde, Senegal, Mali, Liberia, Nigeria and Libya from January 11 to 19.
He said that the traditional friendship between China and African countries is based on mutual respect for each other's sovereignty and territorial integrity. Chinese foreign ministers traditionally start New Year diplomacy by making Africa their first overseas destination.
He noted that China has been active in developing mutually beneficial cooperation with Africa, adding that through bilateral channels or the multilateral China-Africa Cooperation Forum, cooperation will be extended to wider areas including energy cooperation.
He acknowledged China-Africa cooperation is in the interests of both sides and conducive to the development of African countries.
Further development of the friendly cooperation between China and Africa reflects a global trend to seek peace, cooperation and growth, he said.
China is optimistic that China and African countries are bound to see further progress in their friendship and cooperation on the basis of the one-China principle, he added.
Qin said Vice President Zeng Qinghong will visit Kazakhstan from January 9 to 12 and attend the inaugural ceremony of President Nursultan Nazarbayev, and Hua Jianmin, state councilor and secretary-general of the State Council, will visit Australia and New Zealand from January 10 to 17, and attend the inaugural ministerial meeting of the Asian-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate in Sydney from January 11 to 12.
To cope with climate change is a long-term and complex task of the international community, and China supports various flexible and pragmatic methods in this regard, Qin said, noting that the partnership is a good attempt.
The partnership is a supplement rather than a substitute for the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol, and it will not affect the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol, he said.
China hopes the partnership will enhance cooperation on the research, transfer and popularization of technologies on climate change.
"We hope it will carve out a new way on which we can effectively deal with climate change and promote economic progress," Qin said.
China, the US, India, Australia, South Korea and Japan jointly announced to launch the partnership last July, which was aimed at promoting international energy cooperation and coping with climate change and environmental problems caused by economic development.
(Xinhua News Agency, China Daily January 6, 2006)