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Chinese Foreign Minister: China Rising Peacefully

A peacefully rising China will bring opportunities to other countries instead of threats, Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing said on the weekend.  

China advocates a new concept of security, which favors mutual trust, mutual benefit and equal consultation, Li said on Saturday during a two-hour press conference on the sidelines of the Second Session of the 10th National People's Congress.


The veteran diplomat also said that China does not welcome, nor need any foreign intervention in Hong Kong affairs.


"Hong Kong is China's Hong Kong and China has the resolve, capability and wisdom to maintain stability and prosperity in Hong Kong," Li said when commenting on Hong Kong legislator Martin Lee and two others participating in a US Senate hearing on the issue of democracy in the special administrative region.


"It is futile to beg foreign forces to intervene in Hong Kong's affairs."


Turning to the question of Taiwan, the foreign minister said China will never allow any external forces to meddle in the peaceful reunification process.


He reiterated China's intention of resolving the question peacefully with "the utmost sincerity and greatest efforts." He said no one will be permitted "to use any means to split Taiwan from the rest of China."


Li made the remarks when asked to comment on the election of Taiwan leaders and the upcoming "referendum," which is seen as a provocative move toward independence.


Li commented on a raft of issues related to China's foreign policy, including the country's relationships with big powers and neighbors like the United States, Japan, Russia, the Republic of Korea and Pakistan.


He criticized the notion that China has made little progress on human rights, dismissing foreign critics as people who "see the trees but not the forest."


"The Chinese government and the Chinese leadership are the ones who care about human rights the most," Li said.


He said China is committed to multilateral cooperation.


The facts show that multi-lateralism is an effective way to meet the common challenges of all and also an important way of solving international conflicts.


Li, who served as the Chinese ambassador to the United States in Washington from 1998 to 2001, said he is a strong supporter of the friendly cooperation between the two countries.


They enjoy increasing common interests, which has led to bilateral cooperation in the fight against terrorism and proliferation of nuclear weapons, as well as closer economic and trade ties.


Li admitted that the two countries also have differences -- the biggest being the Taiwan question.


"But there is an agreement between us, that is, the United States recognizes that there is only one China in the world and Taiwan is an inseparable part of China," he said. As long as the two sides abide by the principles of the three Sino-US joint communiqu├ęs, China-US relations will move forward healthily, he added.


On Sino-Japanese relations, Li urged Japan's leaders to take history as mirror and show their sincerity.


He said Japanese leader's visit to the Yasukuni Shrine, which honors 14 Class-A World War II criminals, has deeply hurt the feelings of the people of China and other Asian countries.


(China Daily March 8, 2004)

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