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Cablegate: July 15 Mfa Press Briefing: Sudan and International

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OO RUEHCN RUEHGH RUEHVC
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ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 152255Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY BEIJING
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8604
INFO RUEHOO/CHINA POSTS COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BEIJING 002753

SIPDIS

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TAGS: PREL PGOV KOLY PHUM KS KN JP RS SU
SUBJECT: JULY 15 MFA PRESS BRIEFING: SUDAN AND INTERNATIONAL
CRIMINAL COURT, XINJIANG AND TIBET, OLYMIC SECURITY, MEDIA FREEDOM

1. Key points at the July 15 afternoon MFA press briefing were:

-- China is "gravely concerned" over the charges filed in the
International Criminal Court (ICC) against Sudan's president Omar
al-Bashir.

-- China is in consultations with other nations regarding a
potential U.N. resolution protesting the ICC's actions.

-- Asked to comment on President Bush's recent comments on Tibet and
Xinjiang, the spokesman said that "relevant countries" should stop
interfering in China's internal affairs.

-- The spokesman did not have statistics on how many world leaders
would be attending the Beijing Olympics.

-- The spokesman said that he "fully understood" the difficulties
foreign journalists were facing in reporting from Beijing and would
forward complaints on to relevant authorities.

-- China repatriates North Korean refugees in accordance with
domestic and international law as well as the spirit of
humanitarianism.

Charges against Sudan President
-------------------------------

2. At the July 15 regular press conference, spokesman Liu Jianchao
expressed China's "grave concern" over the filing of criminal
charges against Sudan's president Omar al-Bashir in the
International Criminal Court (ICC). The ICC should be a force for
"stability" in the region, said Liu. Asked whether China would
protest the charges at the United Nations, Liu responded that China
was in consultation with other countries and it is too early to
speculate as to the outcome of those discussions. Liu said reports
indicating the Sudanese government could no longer guarantee the
safety of peacekeepers should be further confirmed, pointing to the
multiple occasions when Sudan has said it will do its utmost to
protect peacekeepers. The final contingent of Chinese military
engineers will depart from Zhengzhou for Sudan on July 16. China
will maintain normal relations with Sudan, but Liu did not know
whether or not Omar al-Bashir will attend the Beijing Olympics.
When asked, Liu said that a BBC report that China is breaking the
arms embargo on Sudan is "incorrect." Liu said that the BBC likely
has ulterior motives and China has never broken a resolution of the
Security Council.

Xinjiang and Tibet
------------------

3. China will not brook any threats to its security, said Liu in
response to a question regarding President Bush's comments regarding
the Dalai Lama and the Xinjiang region. China hopes that "relevant
countries" will stop using "relevant issues" to interfere in China's
internal affairs. China is a country of law which protects its
citizens' freedoms including religious freedom, said Liu. Liu had
no information on reports that two Uighurs were put to death in
China.

Olympics Security
-----------------

4. The security threat to the Olympics is coming from many different
sources, but China is doing its best to ensure the safety of Olympic
spectators and athletes, said Liu. Liu did not have the statistics
on how many foreign leaders would attend the Olympics but suggested
that it was in the dozens. Regarding reports that Beijing tourism
is suffering due to increased visa restrictions, Liu said that he
was not a tourism official, but connecting China's visa policy with
the level of tourism was "not correct."

Freedom of Speech in Beijing
----------------------------

5. Asked whether China would create a "free speech corner" for
citizens to air their complaints, Liu said that China has laws
governing demonstrations and that they should be abided by. In
response to a complaint from an Al-Jazeera journalist regarding
"very rude" security personnel and the difficulty reporting in
Beijing due to tight security, Liu said that he "fully understood"
the concerns and would forward them on to the relevant authorities.

North Korea Refugee Repatriation
--------------------------------

6. Asked about criticism of China's policy of repatriating North
Korean refugees, Liu said that China is a "victim" of illegal border
crossing from North Korea and that China follows domestic and
international laws as well as the spirit of humanitarianism in its
repatriation of North Koreans.

ASEAN Regional Forum

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

7. Liu was unsure whether VFM Wu Dawei would attend the ASEAN
Regional Forum (ARF) to be held this month in Singapore. China
attaches great importance to the ARF and will send a senior
official. As to whether a Six-Party Talks head of delegation
meeting would take place at the ARF, Liu said that the previous
round of Six-Party Talks had reached a consensus on holding a
ministerial conference, but the date and place are yet to be
determined. Liu said that the ARF should not be used as a platform
to discuss domestic issues such as China's Tibet and Xinjiang
regions.

Ma Ying-jeou International Visits
---------------------------------

8. China objects to the United States conducting exchanges with
Taiwan officials, said Liu in response to a question about a
possible trip by Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou to the United States.
The One China Policy should not change, added Liu.

China-Japan Human Rights Dialogue
---------------------------------

9. The China-Japan Human Rights Dialogue will be conducted on the
basis of equality and mutual respect, said Liu. In response to the
same question, Liu said that China does not restrict the movements
of victims of leprosy or their relations. China does not, however,
allow foreigners suffering from leprosy to enter China.

Taiwan Citizens Missing in Madagascar
-------------------------------------

10. The Chinese Embassies in Madagascar and Mauritius both actively
assisted in the search for missing Mainland and Taiwan citizens
after a July 11 fishing accident. Liu said that accusations by some
Taiwan politicians that the China was using the incident for
propaganda were "unfair" and due to "political motives."

Russian Foreign Minister China Visit
------------------------------------

11. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will visit China from
July 21 - 22. Lavrov will meet with Hu Jintao, Wen Jiabao and Yang
Jiechi and will exchange views on the Russia-China border and issues
of mutual concern, said Liu.

RANDT

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