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Cablegate: May 22 Mfa Press Briefing: Sichuan Earthquake, Ban Ki-Moon

VZCZCXRO0748
OO RUEHCN RUEHGH RUEHVC
DE RUEHBJ #1991/01 1431013
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 221013Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY BEIJING
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7461
INFO RUEHOO/CHINA POSTS COLLECTIVE
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 1934
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 0666
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW 9001

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BEIJING 001991

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV KOLY PTER TSPA KS IR TW VM ZI
SUBJECT: MAY 22 MFA PRESS BRIEFING: SICHUAN EARTHQUAKE, BAN KI-MOON
CHINA VISIT, OLYMPIC SECURITY, ZIMBABWE WEAPONS, SOUTH CHINA SEA,
IRAN NUCLEAR PROPOSALS, SPACE WEAPONS, OTHER


1. Key points at the May 22 MFA press briefing were:

-- Only 400,000 of 3.3 million tents needed in the disaster areas of
Sichuan have been delivered.

-- Consultations are ongoing for a possible visit to China by Ban
Ki-moon.

-- Spokesperson had no information about a potential dirty bomb
threat to the Olympics.

-- Reports that Chinese weapons were delivered to Zimbabwe are
"groundless and complete fabrications."

-- Spokesperson had no information about reported oil platforms
being towed into the South China Sea with navy escorts.

-- China is still considering Iran's nuclear proposals.

-- China has never and will never participate in an "arms race in
outer space."


International Assistance for Earthquake
---------------------------------------

2. At the May 22, 2008 regular MFA press briefing, MFA Spokesman Qin
Gang said China is "in urgent need" of tents and shelters for those
displaced by the Sichuan earthquake of May 12. Qin said that 3.3
million tents were required, but that only 400,000 have been sent so
far. Blankets, clothing, food, medicine and medical and rescue
equipment are also needed. Qin also listed total donations so far
including 492 million RMB delivered, and 615 million RMB promised
through diplomatic channels.

Ban Ki-moon Possible Visit to China
-----------------------------------

3. In response to a question about UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
possibly visiting China after his visit to Burma, Qin said that he
was not in a position to release information but that
"consultations" were ongoing. Qin said that China was very grateful
for the expressions of condolences by the UN Security Council and
Ban. Qin said that these comments show that the international
community stands with the Chinese government and people.

No Information on Dirty Bomb Threat
----------------------------------

4. Asked to respond to comments from an International Atomic Energy
Association (IAEA) spokesperson regarding the possibility of a
"dirty bomb" attack on the Beijing Olympics, Qin said he had no
specific information about the threat. Qin also said that China
attaches great importance to the safety of those visiting for the
Olympics.

Arms Not Delivered to Zimbabwe
------------------------------

5. Responding to a question about China's reported arms shipment to
Zimbabwe, Qin said that the military goods "will return to China"
and that the An Yue Jiang is currently on its way back to China.
Qin called reports to the contrary "groundless and complete
fabrications." Pressed on whether China had spoken to the
Zimbabwean government about the issue, Qin would only say that
"because the reports are groundless, there is nothing to discuss."

Oil Platform in South China Sea
-------------------------------

6. Asked about reports that a Chinese oil platform had been towed
into the South China Sea escorted by Chinese naval vessels, Qin said
that he had not heard of related information. Qin went on to say
that China has indisputable sovereignty over the South China Sea and
its islands. China would like to solve disputes over the sea
peacefully.

Ian Nuclear Proposals
----------------------
7. Qin had no response to Iran's nuclear propoal, saying that
relevant Chinese authorities were still studying the document.
China would like to see the issue resolved diplomatically and all
parties should show flexibility, said Qin. China would like to see
the talks resume at an early date.

Arms Race in Outer Space

BEIJING 00001991 002 OF 002


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

8. Asked to respond to recent comments by Army Brigadier General
Jeffrey Horne regarding China's efforts to build space weapons, Qin
said China "cannot accept such remarks." Qin said that China has
never and will never participate in an "arms race in outer space."
China supports the peaceful development of space and opposes an arms
race in outer space, said Qin. China hopes that U.S. officials will
contribute to the mutual trust between the two countries.

Six-Party Talks Positive Momentum
---------------------------------

9. Qin said he had no information about a date for the next round of
Six-Party Talks, but had heard the momentum of the consultations has
been "positive." China will continue to communicate and consult
with relevant parties to promote the talks.

Lee Myung-bak Visit
-------------------

10. Qin announced that South Korean President Lee Myung-bak will
visit China from May 27-30. Lee will meet with Hu Jintao on the
afternoon of May 27 and then hold a joint press conference. On May
28, Lee will meet with Wu Bangguo, CPPCC National Committee Chairman
Jia Qinglin and Wen Jiabao.

Dalai Lama Olympics Attendance
------------------------------

11. Qin said he had heard the Dalai Lama's remarks saying that he
would be willing to attend the Beijing Olympics. Qin said, "if the
Dalai Lama wants to make contributions to his motherland" he should
stop his separatist activities, plotting and provoking violence and
disrupting the Olympics. Qin said that the specific time table for
the next round of talks is under discussion and noted that China is
focused on disaster relief at this time.

China Finance Minister G-8 Invitation
-------------------------------------

12. Qin said he had "no idea" whether the G-8 had invited the
Chinese Finance Minister to its upcoming meeting in Japan. Any
invitation would be given "serious consideration." China has been
active in strengthening its cooperation with the G-8, said Qin.

Taiwan Talks
------------

13. Asked about Chen Yunlin's comments on restarting talks with
Taiwan, Qin said that as the Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, he could
not address this issue.

RANDT

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