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Cablegate: November 8 Mfa Press Briefing: Iran, Bible Ban,

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OO RUEHCN RUEHGH RUEHVC
DE RUEHBJ #7036/01 3121053
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 081053Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY BEIJING
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3346
INFO RUEHOO/CHINA POSTS COLLECTIVE
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 0226
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD 6625
RUEHJA/AMEMBASSY JAKARTA 1903
RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL 0363
RUEHGP/AMEMBASSY SINGAPORE 9238
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1892

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BEIJING 007036

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM CH KN KS PK IR AF ID VE SN
SUBJECT: NOVEMBER 8 MFA PRESS BRIEFING: IRAN, BIBLE BAN,
MEDIA FREEDOM, DPRK DISABLEMENT, VISITS, MORE

1. Key points at the November 8 MFA Press Briefing:

-- China requested that Iran "respond positively" and "attach
importance to" the concern of the international community.
(Note: some news organizations stated that China "demanded"
Iran respond positively. The word in Chinese was "yaoqiu"
which can be translated as either "demand" or "request." The
MFA interpreter said "request" when translating into English.)

-- Reports on China's alleged banning of Bibles during the
upcoming Olympic Games are "sheer rumors."

-- Journalists "must abide by laws" and must be "punished in
accordance with law" if they violate laws.

-- Visits: Venezuelan FM Nicolas Maduro will visit November
13-15.

China Requests that Iran "Respond Positively"
---------------------------------------------

2. At the November 8 regular MFA press briefing, MFA
Spokesman Liu Jianchao, responding to a question on the
Iranian President's reportedly calling Iran's nuclear program
"irreversible," said China has noticed the developments and
requested (yaoqiu) that Iran "respond positively" and "attach
importance to" the concern of the international community.
China hopes Iran will show flexibility in carrying out
dialogue and consultation with relevant parties and that
relevant parties pursue peaceful means, including dialogue
and consultation, to settle this issue peacefully. China
will continue to play "a constructive role in this regard"
and is willing to communicate with the UN and EU to push this
issue forward to a "proper result."

Reports of Olympic Bible Ban "Sheer Rumors"
-------------------------------------------

3. After taking note of reports on China's alleged banning of
Bibles during the upcoming Olympic Games, the spokesman
characterized such reports as "sheer rumors," and expressed
"dissatisfaction" with organizations spreading such rumors.
The Government has made no such "stipulations or remarks,"
Liu said, and "always respects the freedom of religious
beliefs of foreigners in China in accordance with the law."
Foreigners entering China can bring religious publications,
items or products for personal use, added Liu, and there will
be no "stipulations" regarding Bibles in the Olympic Village.


Group Calls for Release of Imprisoned Journalists
--------------------------------------------- ----

4. Asked about Reporters Without Borders' (RSF) call for the
release of China's 33 imprisoned journalists, Liu responded
that he did not know what facts the demand was based on, but
said journalists "must abide by laws" and must be "punished
in accordance with law" if they violate laws.

5. Responding to a reporter's suggestion of recent pressure
on foreign journalists from the Chinese police, Liu said he
fully understands the reporter's concerns and will have his
colleagues contact the public security departments for
specific information. Liu also suggested that either
individuals involved in an incident described by the reporter
were not aware of new regulations on foreign journalists or
there was an implementation problem. The MFA hopes it can
strengthen communication if it was a misunderstanding on the
journalists' side, and hopes foreign journalists can have
"happy and smooth reporting" in China.

Disablement Underway, Hope for Declaration
------------------------------------------

6. China has taken note of "relevant work" underway in the
DPRK and hopes that it will be smoothly implemented and
completed in accordance with the October 3 "joint document,"
Liu said when asked about DPRK disablement. On the question
of when North Korea's declaration will begin, Liu stated that
the October 3 "joint document" has clear wording on DPRK
declaration of nuclear programs which China hopes will be
implemented.

Afghanistan, Pakistan, Indonesia
--------------------------------

BEIJING 00007036 002 OF 002

7. China strongly condemns a recent suicide bombing in
Afghanistan and expresses its condolences to the victims'
families, Liu said in response to a reporter's question.
Asked about comments made by President Bush on his support
for Pakistani President Musharraf, Liu replied that U.S.
policy toward Pakistan is up to the United States. China's
position is that the Pakistani Government and people are
capable of settling their own problems and China hopes
Pakistan can maintain stability and development. The
spokesman had not seen any news on a defense agreement
between China and Indonesia and referred reporters to the
Ministry of Defense for further information.

Visits: Venezuelan FM Maduro, Lee Kuan Yew
------------------------------------------

8. Venezuelan FM Nicolas Maduro will visit November 13-15 at
the invitation of FM Yang. Former Singapore PM Lee Kuan Yew
has plans to visit China, but the details are still under
consultation.
Randt

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