The Foreign Ministry yesterday refuted remarks by Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso on China's military development and questioned the motives behind them.
"As a foreign minister, to incite such groundless rhetoric about China is extremely irresponsible, what is the real purpose?" ministry spokesperson Qin Gang told a press conference in Beijing.
Qin said it is generally acknowledged that China insists on a path of peaceful development, and that this has contributed to world peace and stability, bringing East Asian countries, including Japan, great development opportunities.
Qin was responding to Aso calling China a "considerable threat" due to its military development.
"It's a neighboring country with nuclear bombs, and its military expenditure has been on the rise for 17 years. It's beginning to pose a considerable threat," Kyodo News Agency quoted Aso as saying.
Taiwan, Sino-Japanese relations
Qin said people from both the mainland and Taiwan hope that Japan will take a "correct attitude" over historical issues to break the stalemate in Sino-Japanese relations.
He said people from both the mainland and Taiwan have a clear understanding of the Japanese government's current wrong words and actions, and hope it can face history and take concrete measures to fulfill its commitments when normalizing its relationship with China.
Talking about the modern history of Taiwan, Qin said Taiwan has been China's territory since ancient times but was ceded to Japan in 1895 under the Treaty of Shimonoseki.
Following Japan's World War II defeat in 1945, Taiwan was returned to China under the Potsdam Proclamation and the Cairo Declaration, Qin said.
Cheney's Asian tour
The concerns and interests of countries included in US Vice-President Dick Cheney's Asian tour should be taken into consideration, Qin said, and China hopes to see peace, stability, common development and prosperity in the Middle East and South Asia.
Earlier this week, Cheney paid a five-day tour to the Middle East and South Asia aimed at rallying support for the US "war on terror."
Cheney had visited Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Oman before he called off a planned visit to Egypt and Saudi Arabia due to pressing domestic affairs.
When asked to comment on a possible trade battle between China and the US, Qin said they are important trade partners.
China's foreign trade volume has grown rapidly and economic and trade cooperation between China and other countries in the world has expanded in recent years.
In dealing with problems cropping up in the development process, we should take a long-term perspective, said Qin, and trade disputes should be handled through negotiation on the basis of equality and mutual benefit.
Qin said China is willing to develop mutually beneficial cooperation with other countries in the world including the US so as to achieve "win-win" progress through cooperation.
The white paper titled "China's Peaceful Development Road" issued by the government will give the international community a better understanding of China, Qin said.
"The goal of the government is to develop greater trust with other countries, and help the world learn about China's development and its stance on major international affairs," he said.
The 32-page white paper published by the State Council's Information Office on Thursday aims to explain why the only course the country can take is to pursue peaceful development.
"China is in a period of development and developing the country is a long-term task," said Qin.
International cooperation on oil price surge
China will step up cooperation with the international community on energy issue, including the surge in oil prices, Qin said.
"China, as both an energy producer and consumer, is always pursuing international cooperation in tackling energy issue based on equality and mutual benefits," said Qin.
N Korean government delegation's upcoming visit
A delegation of North Korean government led by Cabinet Vice-Premier Ro Tu Chol will visit from December 24 to 27 at the invitation of Vice-Premier Zeng Peiyan, said Qin.
(Xinhua News Agency December 23, 2005)