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FM: Attempts to Link Olympics, Darfur Utterly Condemned
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The Foreign Ministry yesterday slammed attempts to link the Darfur issue with the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.


"We think it wholly inappropriate to connect the Darfur issue with the Olympic Games," ministry spokesman Qin Gang said in response to a Wall Street Journal editorial published on Wednesday that called for a boycott of the Beijing Olympics over China's support of the Sudanese government.


"People who try to connect the Darfur issue with the Olympics in an attempt to win ballots or increase their reputation are totally wrong on that scheme," he said, asserting that "We are confident we will hold a successful and high-quality Olympic Games."


On the Darfur issue, Qin reiterated China's hopes that international efforts will bring about long-term peace and stability in the region.


RMB issue


Turning to the RMB exchange rate, Qin asked the US to halt its ongoing pressure and to replace it by a medium of effective communication with China, whose attitude in this regard has always been highly responsible.


"We maintain a reasonable level of foreign exchange rate, and take a policy that fits with China's economic and social situation," he said, responding to a statement made by two US senators that blamed the US's trade deficit with China on the RMB's low exchange rate.


On July 21, 2005, China ended the RMB's peg to the US dollar and replaced it with a floating exchange rate mechanism varying with market supply and demand, and linked to a basket of currencies.


"It is unfair and unreasonable to lay the blame entirely on China for the US economic problems," Qin said.


He reaffirmed that China would maintain its current RMB exchange rate mechanism that will help keep the exchange rate at an optimum level as such action would serve the interests of China and the world.


War shrine issue


In a blow to Tokyo's affirmation of separation of church and state, new documents have emerged that point to the Japanese government secretly planning to honor major war criminals at a Tokyo war shrine.


Yasukuni Shrine, which honors 14 class-A WWII war criminals among Japan's 2.5 million war dead, has long been decried by Japan's neighbors as a painful reminder of the country's militaristic past.


Qin said China "remains unchanged" in its position on the Yasukuni problem, noting that the two nations have already reached agreement on removing political barriers in developing bilateral relations.


Overseas Chinese companies


The Chinese government has consistently ordered its overseas enterprises to respect the laws and regulations of their countries of operation, Qin said.


In response to a report that the Chinese enterprises violated the local labor laws in Papua New Guinea, Qin said overseas Chinese enterprises attach importance to safeguarding the legitimate rights and interests of local workers in accordance with the international labor standards.


"We have given priority to this report and have conducted serious investigation into this case, but facts showed that the report does not hold water," he said.


China will pursue further avenues to ensure relevant projects promote economic and social development as well as facilitate bilateral cooperation, he added.


Vice Premier Zeng Peiyan is currently touring four Oceanian nations including Papua New Guinea with the latter visit aiming to encourage friendly exchanges and bilateral cooperation in various fields.


Sri Lanka issue


Addressing the air strike at a Sri Lankan air base, which killed three people and injured 16 more, Qin said China hopes for an early realization of national reconciliation and social stability in the island country in the Indian Ocean.


"China has always been opposed to terrorist acts of all forms. We sincerely hope that Sri Lanka can achieve national reconciliation and social stability at an early date," he said.


Principled one-China policy


Turning to another issue, Qin said China wishes to help bilateral relations blossom with countries that have no diplomatic ties with China.


China hopes for normal diplomatic relations with these countries based on the one-China principle and mutual respect, equality and reciprocity, he noted.


Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega made recent claims that the mainland and Taiwan could enjoy early reunification, but without stating the wish to resume diplomatic relations with China.


Commenting on Ortega's remarks, Qin reaffirmed that the one-China principle was a precondition for China in forging relations with other nations.


"China hopes that this principle can be observed by relevant countries including those without diplomatic relations," he added.


State visits


Qin also announced that:


l         Han Qide, President Hu Jintao's special envoy and vice chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), will travel to Senegal to attend an inaugural ceremony for Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade and all activities relating to the 47th anniversary of Senegal's independence from April 3 to 4;


l         Guenter Verheugen, vice president of the EU Commission, will visit China from April 1 to 4;


l         Alexander Downer, Australian foreign minister, will visit from April 2 to 5;


l         Thai Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn will visit from April 2 to 13.


(Xinhua News Agency, China Daily March 30, 2007)

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