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FM: Washington to Host China-US Strategic Economic Dialogue
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Chinese Vice-Premier Wu Yi, serving as a special envoy for Chinese President Hu Jintao, will attend the second round of the China-US Strategic Economic Dialogue in Washington on May 22 and 23.


Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu confirmed this in Beijing on Tuesday afternoon, adding that the dialogue would be co-chaired by Wu and US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.


After hoping that the dialogue would break new ground in Sino-US strategic cooperative relations, Jiang revealed that the topics addressed would center on services, investment transparency, energy and environment, balanced growth and innovation. Wu will head up a delegation including representatives from the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Commerce and the National Development and Reform Commission.


The May meeting will be the second strategic economic dialogue, following the inaugural one last December. Despite its short history, the dialogue mechanism has already cemented its position of importance as a platform for bilateral debate on long-term strategic and economic issues, Jiang said.


Jiang addressed recent tensions between the two sides by saying that trade cooperation remained an important issue for the US and China alike.


"When trade grows fast, some friction is inevitable but we hope the two sides will resolve their disputes in a spirit of rational and candid dialogue and consultation," Jiang stressed.


Statistics demonstrate real progress in two-way trade which surged to US$263 billion in 2006, comforting China and the US' positions as each other's second largest trading partners.


Responding to a question on a US Senate bill seeking to regulate China's exchange rate policy proposed by some US senators, Jiang hoped that the US would gain better understanding China's exchange rate management policies.


African Development Bank meetings


Jiang said that China viewed the African Development Bank (ADB) Group meetings in Shanghai as a way of fostering economic and trade cooperation with Africa, Jiang said.


Jiang said the Chinese government fully backed this event and will always seek to help reduce poverty and boost development in the African continent.


Last year, China's total investment in Africa topped US$11.7 billion, principally being poured into infrastructure construction. Further plans exist for China to help create 30 hospitals, 100 rural schools, 30 malaria prevention centers and 10 agricultural pilot centers across Africa within three years.


Turning to the issue of the China-funded Merowe dam in Sudan, Jiang said the project willl assist Sudan's social and economic development and improve the lot of local people.


Japan urged to stick to pacifist path


Jiang reiterated China's hopes that Japan will stick to peaceful development, responding to a bill in the Japanese Parliament that could lead to a referendum on changing the nation's pacifist constitution.


Due to historical reasons, Japan's pacifist ways are of great interest to its Asian neighbors, said Jiang, adding that "Japanese people have chosen the correct path of peaceful development after World War II, and we hope Japan will continue to move in that direction."


China, Japan, S Korea to Converge for Foreign Affairs Consultation 


Senior foreign affairs officials of China, Japan and South Korea will hold a first-ever consultation in Beijing on May 19.


The consultation is part of a consensus reached this January at the seventh trilateral leaders' meeting of China, Japan and South Korea when Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and leaders from Japan and South Korea agreed to establish a mechanism of regular consultations among senior foreign affairs officials of the three countries.


The three sides are expected to communicate on issues of common concern and properly handle the concerns of each country, according to a joint press statement of January's trilateral leaders' meeting in Philippines.


Chinese Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs Cui Tiankai, Japanese Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Mitoji Yabunaka and Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of South Korea Shim Yoon-jo will attend the consultation.


Taiwan's attempt to join WHO will never succeed


Jiang poured scorn on Taiwan's attempt to join the World Health Organization (WHO), labeling it doomed to failure.


"The Taiwan authorities' attempt to use the health card to promote 'de jure Taiwan independence' will never succeed," said spokeswoman Jiang.


The 60th World Health Assembly (WHA) on Monday rejected including a proposal to make Taiwan a "member state" of the WHO on its provisional agenda.


Jiang said Taiwan authorities had garnered support from a few countries but that the vast majority of WHO member states stood united against the proposal.


The WHO is only open to sovereign states, making Taiwan ineligible, she said, adding that this show of strength showed the resoluteness of the international community in supporting the one-China policy and in rejecting such a proposal for the 11th straight year.


China to carefully preserve Soviet Red Army graves


China will always preserve Soviet Red Army graves in China and asked Russia and Estonia to discover a proper solution to their dispute over the removal of a Soviet-era war memorial in Estonia, Jiang said.


She praised the Soviet Red Army for its contribution to the defeat of fascism in the world and said the Chinese people would never forget the help received by Red Army during the war against Japanese aggression.


On April 27, Estonia took down the statue of a Red Army soldier at Tynismyagi Square in the capital Tallinn, moving it to a military cemetery in the southern part of the capital.


The Bronze Soldier monument, dating back to 1947, stood as a symbol of Red Army soldiers who died during World War II and topped the graves of Red Army soldiers.


Russia's reaction was one of anger and disbelief as violent protests led by ethnic Russians erupted across the Baltic state.


World Bank in crisis


Jiang said that China hopes the crisis miring the World Bank due to its president Paul Wolfowitz will not adversely affect its running.


Jiang said China trusts the World Bank's executive board to clear up the problem in a spirit of equality, justice and effectiveness, to allow the Bank to restore normalcy to its services.


The World Bank executive board will meet with World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz on Tuesday to decide his future, said the bank in a statement released on Monday.


"The executive directors have this afternoon received the second report of the ad hoc group ... They will meet with Mr. Wolfowitz at 5: 00 PM (2200 GMT) on Tuesday as part of their deliberation on the report," said the statement.


Wolfowitz is under pressure for apparently signing off on a pay raise and promotion for his girlfriend, a bank employee. The bank president has admitted fault on both these counts upon receiving advice from the bank's ethics board.


China opposes German Parliament criticism of reeducation through labor system


China slammed a resolution passed by German parliament attacking China's reeducation through labor system.


"The German parliament ignores China's democratic and legal achievements, but seeks to interfere in China's internal affairs through distorted attacks on China's reeducation through labor system," Jiang said.


The system has been built upon laws and regulations approved by the Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress and the State Council, said Jiang, adding that it has proven effective in preventing and reducing crimes as well as maintaining public security.


According to Jiang, the reeducation center safeguards the legitimate rights and interests of those sent there whilst the inmates keep their rights of vote, the freedom of religious belief and communication.


Besides, Jiang insisted, they are treated with dignity and regard whilst not being subjected to torture or abuse, said Jiang.


China believes in international dialogue and cooperation on human rights based on equality and mutual respect, the spokesperson said, but China will always oppose any move to use human rights to pry into other states' internal affairs.


China praises visit by Top US Pacific commander


Jiang spoke positively of top US Pacific commander Timothy Keating's China tour, saying it would help promote China-US military ties.


Keating, Commander-in-Chief of the US Pacific Command, visited Beijing and eastern China's Nanjing City from May 10 to 14, representing his first visit to China since assuming his duties in late March.


Keating met with senior Chinese military leaders and foreign ministry officials and discussed bilateral military relations and regional issues with senior experts and scholars from the country's foremost military institutions.


This is the latest example of a series of military exchanges between the two countries. During Keating's stay here, a delegation from the US National Defense University Capstone Program, headed by retired general William Nyland, also visited Beijing to meet with Deputy Chief of General Staff of the Chinese People's Liberation Army Zhang Li.


Back in late March, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Peter Pace also paid his first visit to China.


N Korea funds issue solutions should be acceptable to all


China called for any settlement of the North Korea frozen funds issue to address all parties' concerns.


Jiang said China has maintained close contact with all parties as they strive to resolve the matter soon.


"It is hard to avoid obstacles in the process of six-party talks, which bears great responsibilities. We believe parties concerned are capable of overcoming these difficulties and pushing forward the talks," Jiang said.


After the February phase of the six-party talks, North Korea agreed to shut down and seal its Yongbyon nuclear facility upon the return of its US$25 million funds frozen in the Banco Delta Asia (BDA) in Macao.


The US blacklisted the BDA in September 2005, accusing it of being a money-laundering front for North Korea, a charge vigorously denied by the DPRK.


Panama medicine issue


Jiang said the Chinese government has launched an immediate investigation into the Panama medicine issue, after foreign media reported a Chinese company had manufactured and sold a fake drug component which caused dozens of deaths in Panama. Jiang promised full disclosure of any results found by the investigation.


Turning to the matter of a South Korean ship that sunk off the coast of East China's Shandong Province after colliding with another vessel on Saturday, Jiang announced the launch of a massive search and rescue operation for the 16 missing sailors and extended sympathies to their families.


"With the ships having collided in Bohai Bay, China is treating the issue with the utmost seriousness and is going all out to rescue the sailors," she said, adding that over 200 Chinese ships supported by aircraft have joined the search.


In other developments, Jiang said that South African Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma will pay an official visit to China from May 20-22 after being invited by Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi. New Zealand Foreign Minister Winston Peters will also visit the country from May 21-26.


(Xinhua News Agency, China Daily May 16, 2007)

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