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Government Responds to US Criticism
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Beijing urged Washington yesterday not to politicize the trade frictions between the two countries and hit back at a White House security report which criticized China's military build-up and trade policies.


In talks with the visiting US senators Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat and Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing said trade frictions should be resolved through negotiations.


"We hope the US side will not politicize these issues and magnify them," Li was quoted by Foreign Ministry spokesperson Qin Gang as saying at a regular news briefing yesterday.


According to Qin, Li briefed the US lawmakers on China's trade, exchange rate policies and said both sides should hold a strategic perspective in handling bilateral relations. The two senators accompanied by Oklahoma Republican, Tom Coburn, arrived in Beijing on Monday to push China to revalue its currency.


They were reported to have arrived with a warning that Beijing should undertake decisive reform of its currency regime to avoid the hefty tariff of 27.5 percent on its US-bound exports which could be set by a US Congress vote on March 31.


However, Premier Wen Jiabao has previously appeared to rule out any more reforms to the yuan exchange rate.


"It’s no longer necessary for us to take one-off administrative measures to affect the fluctuation of the Renminbi exchange rate either up or downwards," Wen told a news conference last week. "There will be no more surprises."


China revalued the yuan by 2.1 percent against the US dollar in July last year scrapping its 11-year-old peg of about 8.28 yuan to the dollar in favor of a link to a basket of currencies.


In responding to Washington's criticism on China's increase in military spending outlined in a National Security Strategy report released last week, Qin said the remarks were "irresponsible and harmed bilateral relations."


"We ask the US to stop releasing statements that are harmful to the healthy development of the Sino-US relations, to mutual understanding and to regional peace, stability and development," Qin said.


The White House report said China was expanding its military without transparency but Qin characterized Beijing's military policy as "defensive in nature."


The US report also expressed concern about China's trade tactics saying Beijing was seeking to direct markets rather than opening them up. Qin said China conducts economic and energy cooperation with other countries on the basis of equality and mutual benefit.


China reiterates one-China principle regarding Taiwan's external exchanges


Qin reiterated the one-China principle regarding Taiwan's external exchange activities.


The Chinese government does not object to Taiwan's non-governmental exchanges with other countries but firmly opposes ‘Taiwan independence’ and secessionist activities that suggest there could be "two Chinas" or "one China, one Taiwan," said Qin Gang.


He said the Chinese government deals with Taiwan's external exchange activities in light of the one-China principle. Qin made the remarks when commenting on the US visit by the Kuomintang (KMT) Party Chairman Ma Ying-jeou.


China hopes to strengthen cooperation with UNHCR


China hopes to strengthen cooperation with the Office of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Qin said.


Speaking of the ongoing visit to China by the High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Oliveira Guterres, Qin said, "We are confident that his visit will help promote mutual trust between China and the UNHCR."


Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing met with Guterres on Tuesday and the High Commissioner expressed a hope that exchanges and cooperation with China on how to deal with refugee-related issues could be discussed.


Responding to question about the so-called North Korean refugees in China it was pointed out by Qin that they were not refugees as they had entered China illegally. China always dealt with this kind of problem in accordance with Chinese and international laws and humanitarian principles, Qin emphasized. "We will continue to do so in the future," he said.


Hope remains over Iranian nuclear issue


There still remains hope for solving the Iranian nuclear standoff through negotiations, Qin said.

All parties concerned should continue to exercise "restraint and flexibility" so as to create favorable conditions for the solution of the issue, Qin said.


It was China's constant stance to properly resolve the issue through political negotiations and diplomatic efforts which accorded with the common interests of all permanent and non-permanent members of the UN Security Council.


China hoped that more time could be given to political negotiations and diplomatic efforts and urged all parties concerned to accelerate the pace of negotiations, he said.


Speaking of the efforts made by China and Russia in solving the issue, Qin said both countries participated with a constructive attitude on the solution of the nuclear-related issues in Iran and the Korean peninsula. "Our aim is to eventually solve the issues through peaceful negotiations," he said.


"This not only accords with the interests of both countries," but is also conducive to the peace and stability of the world and region as well, he said.


Coordination between China, Russia, India conforms to countries' interests


Coordination between China, Russia and India is in the best interests of the three countries and benefits regional and global peace and stability, Qin said. Qin made his remarks in reply to a question concerning the meeting of foreign ministers from the three countries. 


He said, as the three big powers, they had common interests in safeguarding regional security and stability, economic development and strengthening cooperation.


"Regular meetings allow all three parties to exchange their views on issues of common concern and strengthen their coordination which conforms to their interests and is in favor of the peace and stability of the region and the world," he said.


The foreign ministers from these three countries have conducted four rounds of informal meetings. A joint communiqué was issued at the end of the last round of meetings in the June last year.


Reconstruction, stability priorities for Iraq


Reconstruction and the resumption of stability as soon as possible were the priorities for Iraq and its people, Qin said. China always adheres to the principle of resolving conflicts between countries through peaceful negotiations, Qin said.


Romanian president to visit China


Qin announced that Romanian President Traian Basescu will pay a state visit to China from March 27 to 29 at the invitation of President Hu Jintao.


Polish Foreign Minister Stefan Meller will pay an official visit to China from March 28 to 30 at the invitation of Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing.


Algerian Minister of State of Foreign Affairs Mohamed Bedjaoui will pay an official visit to China from March 27 to 29 at the invitation of Li.


(China Daily, Xinhua News Agency March 22, 2006)

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