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FM: China Proposes Revisal to UN Human Rights Rules
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Speaking in Beijing Tuesday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said China's proposal to alter the threshold of resolutions critical of nation states' human rights records conforms to the UN Human Rights Council's (UNHRC) desire for justice.

Members of the UN's new human rights watchdog Tuesday agreed to compromise on the methodology of investigating other states' wrongdoings following China's proposal. 

After a year of gritty negotiation, the UNHRC has agreed on new rules which will guide human rights violations investigations. Qin said that Beijing had been cooperative fully in this project, aiming to preserve the UNHRC's justice and objectivity.

Objection to US report

China denounced the US annual report on human trafficking, once again urging Washington to regard Beijing's progress in the domain in an objective and just way.

The US State Department's annual Trafficking in Persons Report released last week put China on the Tier 2 Watch List, the second worst classification.

The report criticized China for its treatment of North Korean nationals, who illegally stream across the border.

Qin said the Chinese government attaches great importance to curbing human trafficking and has made "remarkable progress" with continuous efforts bringing down the number of domestic cases.

Talking about the North Koreans, Qin pointed out that they were not "refugees", having left their country for economic reasons. The Chinese government has toed a legal and humanitarian line in dealing with the issue, a fact hailed by much of the international community.

"We hope the US government would have an objective and fair review of all this," he said.

Taiwan UN Referendum

Qin attacked Taiwanese leader Chen Shui-bian's attempt to hold a referendum about getting UN membership for Taiwan.

Such a move would negatively impact on cross-Straits relations, and urged the international community to deal with the move, and understand the real political motivation of Taiwan authorities.

Reports say US State Department officials have swiftly indicated their rejection of such a referendum move, and called on Chen to abandon the idea.

Darfur Issue

Beijing has used every diplomatic means to convince Khartoum to cooperate fully with the United Nations and the African Union in bringing peace to Darfur, Qin said.

His remarks echoed those of Chinese special representative for African affairs Liu Guijin's comments who said that Beijing had directly recommended that the Sudanese government bring an end to the conflict in Darfur.

"In our own way and through various means, we have tried to advise the Sudanese government to be more flexible," Liu was quoted as saying. "Even on certain issues like (whether) to accept the Annan Plan (for a joint UN-African Union peacekeeping force) we used the strongest possible terms to push them towards flexibility."

However, Liu revealed China stood opposed to imposing further sanctions on Sudan, calling them "counter-productive".

Qin appealed to the Western media to take stock of the entirety of Liu's comments, saying China wished for a peaceful resolution to the Darfur crisis.

China hopes the international community will treat the Sudanese Government with respect in future dealings.

Against child labor

In response to criticism by foreign human rights groups of China's use of child labor, Qin said China stood opposed to the illegal employment of children. He added that those guilty of employing child labor would be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

"We will listen to constructive criticism from the world, but we should not confound criminal activities with the policy of the Chinese government," Qin said.

Progress heralded in N Korean funds issue

China welcomed the positive progress made in resolving the complicated situation of North Korea's frozen funds, adding the parties concerned are in close contact about a specific date for resuming the six-party nuclear talks.

Chinese chief nuclear envoy Wu Dawei met with his US counterpart Christopher Hill in Beijing on Monday. They discussed the current status of the nuclear talks and how to move the process forward, and agreed to take active measures to implement the initial steps, according to Qin.

Qin said he is unable to confirm whether North Korea has received the unfrozen funds since the money was not remitted via China.

"We hope that all the parties will continue to take positive steps, abide by their commitments and take comprehensive and balanced actions so that the six-party talks can make further progress," the spokesman said.

At the invitation of North Korea, an IAEA delegation will visit the country to discuss the shutdown of the Yongbyon nuclear facility. North Korea's invitation came after it confirmed its funds at the Macao bank were in the final phase of being unfrozen.

North Korea's ambassador to Russia, Kim Yong Che, said on Monday the funds had arrived at the Central Bank of Russia and will be transferred to North Korean foreign trade bank via a Russian bank in Khabarovsk.

Meanwhile, Hill expressed his optimism on Monday, adding the shutdown of the Yongbyon nuclear complex in North Korea would be completed in a matter of weeks.

According to the agreement reached on Feb. 13 at the six-party talks on Pyongyang's nuclear program, North Korea was supposed to shut down and seal the Yongbyon facilities within 60 days in exchange for 50,000 tons of heavy fuel oil or equivalent aid.

Improving ties with the Vatican

China said Tuesday it sincerely hopes to improve relations with the Vatican and asked for cooperation in this process. China wants to continue its constructive dialogue with Vatican on the basis of two principles, said Qin.

The first principle is that the Vatican must sever so-called "diplomatic relations" with the Taiwan authorities, and the second principle is that it must not interfere in China's internal affairs in the name of religion, Qin elaborated.

Relaxed controls for high-tech exports

China called for America to relax export controls on high-tech products to China so as to redress the trade imbalance between the two countries.

"Joint efforts are needed to enhance China-US trade cooperation and we hope the US makes positive and constructive efforts on the trade imbalance," Qin said.

"If the United States wants to redress the trade imbalance, it should take concrete actions on high-tech products export," he added.

According to the new US regulations, the United States will tighten controls on military-use high-tech exports but will loosen controls to certain "trusted customers" in China.

Criticism for Japan's controversial coral project

China on Tuesday criticized the Japanese government for planting coral around the uninhabited Pacific atoll of Okinotori, saying that the action runs counter to international conventions.

Japanese officials on Monday said they had begun planting coral on Okinotori in a US$4-million-project to defend its territory.

"Okinotori is not an island but a reef which is submerged at high tides," said Qin.

According to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLS), Okinotori --an uninhabited reef some 1,740 km south of Tokyo -- does not have an exclusive economic zone or continental shelf, Qin added.

"Japan hopes to expand its maritime territory around Okinotori by planting coral. This action does not accord with recognized international conventions and affects the interests of other countries," he said.

UN Assembly president visits China

Sheika Haya Rashed Al Khalifa, president of the 61st session of the United Nations General Assembly, arrived in Beijing on Tuesday to start her six-day official visit to China, Qin announced.

She will address the opening ceremony of the tenth meeting of the International Association of Economic and Social Councils and Similar Institutions on Wednesday.

Her schedule in Beijing also includes talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, a meeting with Premier Wen Jiabao, and a visit to the main Olympic "Bird's Nest" stadium, before heading to Shanghai, according to Qin.

Spanish King to visit China

Spanish King Juan Carlos I will pay a state visit to China from June 24 to 29 at the invitation of Chinese President Hu Jintao, Qin announced.

King Juan Carlos will meet with President Hu, top legislator Wu Bangguo, and Premier Wen Jiabao respectively during his stay in Beijing.

In addition, King Juan Carlos will also visit Shanghai in east China and Chengdu in southwest China.

China highly appreciates Spain's support on issues pertaining to China's sovereignty and territorial integrity as well as the Spanish government's positive efforts to promote China-Europe relations, he said.

"We expect that the Spanish King's visit will push forward bilateral relations and friendly cooperation to a new height," said Qin.

(China Daily, Xinhua News Agency June 20, 2007 )

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