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Cablegate: February 14 Mfa Press Briefing: Space Weapons Ban, Spy

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SUBJECT: February 14 MFA PRESS BRIEFING: SPACE WEAPONS BAN, SPY
ALLEGATIONS, SPIELBERG RESIGNATION, ATHLETE SPEECH, WTO, BURMA,
JAPAN DUMPLINGS, MORE

1. Key points at the February 14, 2008 MFA Press Briefing were:

-- China believes its joint proposal for a space weapons ban is in
the interests of the international community.

-- U.S. allegations of spying are "groundless" and China is "tired"
of such "fabrications."

-- China regrets Steven Spielberg's decision to withdraw as artistic
advisor to the Beijing Olympics and China has made efforts to
improve the situation in Darfur.

-- FM Yang Jiechi and VFM Wang Yi will meet with UN envoy Ibrahim
Gambari when he visits Beijing and China believes Burma has made
significant steps towards democracy.

Joint Proposal on Space Weapons Ban
-----------------------------------

2. During the February 14 regular MFA press briefing, spokesperson
Liu Jianchao announced the joint China-Russia proposal to ban
weapons in space. Liu said that the proposal was in the common
interests of the international community and would safeguard the
"peace and tranquility of outer space." China hopes relevant
countries will hold discussions on the proposal and "respond
positively."

U.S. Spying Allegations
-----------------------

3. Responding to repeated questions regarding recent U.S. arrests of
alleged spies, Liu said that China had taken note of the reports and
that the "so-called allegations are groundless." The accusations
result from the "Cold War mentality" of the United States and are
not helpful for the bilateral relationship, continued Liu. Liu said
that China is "tired" of these "fabrications" and noted that similar
accusations have been made in the past and have amounted to nothing.
China hopes that the United States will make efforts to improve
relations.

Spielberg's Resignation Regrettable
-----------------------------------

4. Spokesman Liu responded to questions regarding Steven Spielberg's
resignation as an artistic advisor to the 2008 Beijing Olympic
Games. The decision was regrettable, Liu said, noting that although
Spielberg had accepted an invitation from the Beijing Organizing
Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (BOCOG), he had not
signed an official contract.

5. Liu said that attempts to link the situation in Darfur to the
Olympics were not appropriate and that China is also concerned about
the situation there. Liu described a long list of actions which
China has taken to improve the humanitarian crisis in Darfur
including donating money, building power plants, digging wells and
dispatching engineers. Liu encouraged those worried about Darfur to
abandon "empty rhetoric"and be objective and pragmatic.

Olympic Athletes' Political Views
---------------------------------

6. When asked repeatedly whether China would guarantee to treat all
Olympic athletes equally regardless of whether they had expressed
controversial political views, Liu would only say that China
"welcomed all athletes with open arms." China believes that the
Olympics will be a "platform for the consolidation of friendship"
and that athletes will be "friendly."

WTO China Ruling
-----------------

7. When asked for China's comments on the recent WTO finding on
China's auto industry, Liu referred reporters to the expert report
delivered by the Ministry of Commerce. China respects the WTO
procedures for resolving disputes and has no comment while they are
ongoing, said Liu.

UN efforts in Burma
---------------------

8. Liu confirmed that FM Yang Jiechi spoke with UN Secretary General
Ban Ki-moon about Burma. FM Yang and VFM Wang Yi will meet with UN
envoy Ibrahim Gambari when he visits China. China support's
Gambari's efforts and believes Burma's government has taken steps in
the right direction toward democratization.

Dumpling Export Issue An Isolated Incident

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------------------------------------------

9. When asked about continued concern in Japan over the recent
discovery of tainted dumplings imported from China, Liu said that
China immediately began an investigation in cooperation with
Japanese authorities when it received word of the problem. Liu
emphasized that this is an individual case and that China attaches
great importance to the issue. Liu expressed confidence that the
two countries can work together to solve the issue and that it will
not influence bilateral relations.

India Border Dispute, IOC President, Kosovo, Corpse Trafficking
--------------------------------------------- -----

10. Liu confirmed that China had expressed its concern over Indian
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Arunachal Pradesh. The
spokesman refused to comment on reports that IOC head Jacques Rogge
signed a petition urging China to do more in Darfur. When asked
about China's position on Kosovo independence, Liu responded that
China believes all parties involved should continue their efforts to
find a resolution of the matter. In response to a question about
the trafficking of human corpses, Liu said that China takes
seriously any reports of such activities and will investigate such
allegations.

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