Press Conference with Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhang Qiyue on Chinese Relations with Iran (Excerpts)

November 9, 2004

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Q: Could you brief us on what Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing has achieved during his visit to Iran and what about the Iranian nuclear program has Mr. Li discussed in his telephone conversation with his Russian counterpart? The Chinese side hopes Iranian nuclear issue can be resolved within the framework of IAEA. What specific regulations does China expect Iran to fulfill within the framework?

A: I'm ready to brief you on Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing's just-concluded official visit to Iran. This visit, actually a return visit to Iranian Foreign Minister's visit to China last year, is very important. The Iranian side attaches great importance to Mr. Li's visit. Iranian President Khatemi met with Mr. Li and his delegation. Mr. Li also met separately with Iran's Supreme National Security Council Chief Rohami and the head of the Islamic Republic's Expediency Discernment Council, Iran's former President Rafsanjani. Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing also held talks with his Iranian counterpart. The two sides exchanged views over China-Iran bilateral relations and other issues of common interest and attended a joint press conference after the meeting.

As for the Iranian nuclear issue, we think it should be discussed within the framework of IAEA. Now some countries want to put this issue on the table of UN Security Council. We think this issue should be resolved within the framework of IAEA. This is China's clear position.

Recently, some countries including EU are conducting diplomatic activities over this issue. China and EU have been keeping consultations over this issue. When Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing recently made phone conservations with his Russian counterpart, US Secretary of State Powell and National Security Advisor Rice, all parties exchanged views over this issue.

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Q: As for the Middle-East issue, the American troop stationed in Iraq has begun massive attack to Falluja. How does China comment the current situation and these actions of American troops in Iraq? The second question is, what's your comment on Palestine leader Arafat's recent health problem? Can you provide some information on the meeting between Israeli Foreign minister and Chinese leaders? Have they touched upon Arafat's health problem and his burial site?

A: As for your first question, we feel much concern about innocent civilian casualties caused by the protracted turbulence in Iraq. We hope the Iraqi side can restore stability as soon as possible, hold election as scheduled and smoothly carry out reconstruction at the earliest date so as to enable the Iraqi people to live in peace and stability.

The Palestine President Arafat is an old friend of the Chinese people. The Chinese government and leaders care much for his health and illness, have conveyed their care through various channels, sending him a basket of flowers through the Chinese embassy to France. The Chinese government and leaders have much concern over his illness.

As for your second question, at the invitation of Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing, Israeli Vice Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Shalom paid an official visit to China. During his visit, Mr Shalom met with Premier Wen Jiabao and talked with Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing. The two sides exchanged views on further enhancing China-Israel bilateral relations and issues concerning the Middle-East situation. Both sides think that China-Israel relationship has overall progressed smoothly and are ready to further develop bilateral relations on the basis of equality, mutual respect and benefits.

Foreign Minister Shalom introduced Israeli views on the current Middle-East situations, expressed appreciation of China's positive role in propelling the peace process of Middle-East and hoped China can continue to play a constructive role. The Chinese side hopes that Palestine and Israeli sides can stop conflicts as soon as possible and resume peace talks, which serve the interests of both Palestine and Israeli sides.

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Q: The IAEA will submit the Iranian nuclear issue to the UN Security Council. What's China's position on this issue?

A: I have made clear China's attitude when answering the similar question of another reporter just now. We express much concern over the huge civilian casualties caused by protracted turbulence in Iraq.

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