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Japan's Freezing of Loans Harms China-Japan Relations
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Japan's decision to freeze loans to China is detrimental to China-Japan relations, Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Qin Gang, said at a press conference in Beijing Thursday.


According to Kyodo News, Japanese Vice Foreign Minister, Yasuhisa Shiozaki, told a ruling Liberal Democratic Party panel meeting Thursday that the loans to China would be temporarily frozen and the decision on the sum of the loans would be assessed at a meeting of the Japanese cabinet.


Qin said the loans not only had some positive effects on China's economic and social development but had also provided benefits to Japan in recent years.


"It is in the interests of the two countries to end the loans based on the current agreement between the countries," Qin said. "Japan's unilateral freezing of loans will not help repair Sino-Japanese ties.


"China's position on this issue remains unchanged," he said. "The two sides should properly resolve this issue through consultation." He added that the two countries now faced a complex situation with the potential for difficulties ahead.


"China has made important suggestions and taken positive steps to improve relations with Japan," Qin said. "We hope Japan will respond and resolve differences and problems through consultation."


China says no to Japan's proposal on UN dues


Qin said China "firmly" opposed Japan's proposal to revise UN payments and set a minimum rate for permanent members of the Security Council.


Japan presented a proposal to the UN General Assembly budget committee on March 10 indicating that each of the five permanent council members -- the US, Russia, Britain, China and France -- should contribute at least 3 percent or 5 percent of the UN budget.


Under the proposal China and Russia, whose dues currently account for 2.1 percent and 1.1 percent of the total, would pay much more each year. Qin said Japan's proposal attempted to replace the established principle of capacity to pay with the concept of responsibility to pay.


"The Chinese government firmly opposes it," Qin said. He said the crux of Japan's proposal was to connect power to UN payments thus enabling countries to buy power.


"This would undermine the basic principle of sovereign equality in the UN Charter and severely infringe the interests of developing countries," he said.


Qin said the principle of capacity to pay was the basis for deciding the level of UN payments and had proved to be effective. "It also reflects the consensus of all countries and should not be changed."


He added that China still had a low per capita income despite its rapid economic development. "Even so the percentage of China's UN dues ranked ninth among the UN members and China has always faithfully fulfilled its financial obligation to the UN."


China had always paid its UN fees on time and it also shouldered its share of the cost of UN peace keeping as well as payments deducted from other countries.


"As China's economy grows China is willing to make a greater contribution," he said.


Qin said the UN financial assessment had a direct bearing on the body’s capacity to fulfill its responsibilities.


"We hope a fair and rational scheme, consistent with the UN Charter, will be reached based on broad consultation," he said.


The scale of financial contributions to the UN is reviewed every three years and the General Assembly budget committee--all 191 UN member states are represented--is due to determine the level of the 2007-2009 payments by the end of December.


China to improve legal system to solve refugee problems


China would continue to improve its legal system to further contribute to the resolution of refugee problems, said Qin.


UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, has just finished a five-day visit to China during which he met with State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan and officials from the Foreign Ministry, Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of Public Security.


The two sides increased their understanding of each other through these meetings and reached consensus on cooperating further on refugee affairs, said Qin, He said the visit had been "successful."


Qin said China valued its cooperation with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).


China joined the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol and has relocated 300,000 Indo-Chinese refugees. This was the biggest action ever undertaken in the history of the UN. China continued to make an active contribution to the resolution of refugee problems, Qin said.


Putin's China tour fruitful


Russian President Putin's visit had been "fruitful" and could further strengthen the Sino-Russian strategic partnership of cooperation, said Qin.


"During Putin's two-day state visit China and Russia signed 22 agreements covering politics, diplomacy, energy, investment, finance and communications," Qin said.


Qin noted that the two countries also proposed some new ideas on bilateral cooperation. These included pledging to coordinate economic strategies, actively guiding and supporting local companies of the two countries to seek new opportunities for cooperation in each other's economic and regional development strategies.


Qin said Putin's visit to China was significant as this year marked the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the China-Russia strategic partnership of cooperation and the fifth anniversary of the Sino-Russian treaty of friendship and cooperation.


During his visit Putin held talks and exchanged views with President Hu Jintao on bilateral relations and major international and regional issues of common concern. The two presidents also signed a China-Russia joint statement, attended the opening ceremony of the Year of Russia in China and addressed the high-level China-Russia economic forum. Putin also held meetings with top legislator Wu Bangguo and Premier Wen Jiabao.


Qin said that during Putin's visit a series of activities for the Year of Russia in China. This  pioneering project had great significance for improving mutual understanding and promoting cooperation.     


China, US to hold 1st consultation on Latin American affairs


US Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Thomas Shannon, will visit China in mid-April to discuss Latin American affairs, Qin said .


Shannon comes to China at the invitation of Zeng Gang, head of the department of Latin American affairs under the Foreign Ministry, Qin said at a routine press briefing on Thursday. This will be the first consultation between the two countries on Latin American affairs.


The two sides will exchange views on their respective relations with Latin American countries, their policies in that part of the world and the levels of cooperation they have. .


The consultation, part of the China-US strategic dialogue, will help improve understanding and trust between the two countries, Qin said.


In recent years, Qin said, China and the Latin American countries had witnessed a rapid growth in relations because they were all developing countries with a common interest in peace and development.


The development of China-Latin America relations accorded with the world trend of seeking peace, development and cooperation which is in the best interests of all countries. It didn’t target any third party and would not infringe upon the interests of any other countries, explained Qin. It would promote world peace, stability and common development, he added.


China was willing to exchange views with the US on the Latin American situation and cooperation with Latin American nations, he said.


President Hu to visit US in April


President Hu Jintao will make a state visit to the United States in April. "At the invitation of US President George W. Bush, Hu will pay a state visit to the US in mid or late April," Qin said.


During his visit Hu will exchange views with Bush on Sino-US relations and important international and regional issues of common concern, explained Qin. China and the US were making preparations for the visit and China would release official details of Hu’s visit at the appropriate time, Qin said.


Hu's visit was agreed upon on the basis of a consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries last year, Qin said. "The purpose is to enhance mutual trust, expand common understanding and advance the development of Sino-US constructive cooperation in 21st century."


Bruneian princess to visit China


Bruneian Princess Hajah Masna will pay a visit to China from April 3 to 9 at the invitation of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Qin announced.


Masna visits China in the capacity of Ambassador-at-Large of Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Brunei Darussalam.


(Xinhua News Agency March 24, 2006)

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