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Cablegate: July 17 Mfa Press Briefing: Sudan, Diaoyu Islands, Ivory

VZCZCXRO0272
OO RUEHCN RUEHGH RUEHVC
DE RUEHBJ #2795/01 1992254
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 172254Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY BEIJING
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8652
INFO RUEHOO/CHINA POSTS COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BEIJING 002795

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV KOLY PHUM CH
SUBJECT: JULY 17 MFA PRESS BRIEFING: SUDAN, DIAOYU ISLANDS, IVORY
IMPORTS, TAIWAN ARMS SALES, IRAN

1. Key points at the July 17 afternoon MFA press briefing were:

-- China is willing to exchange views with "relevant countries" who
seek to avoid the indictment of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir if
Sudan hands over other war criminals.

-- China holds that it has "indisputable sovereignty" over the
Diaoyu islands, and seeks to work with Japan to solve the dispute
over the islands.

-- Asked to comment on NGO condemnation regarding a recent report
that a UN panel will allow China to import African ivory, the
spokesman said that China has implemented strict laws against
illegal smuggling and sales of animal products, including ivory.

-- Asked about reports that the U.S. will suspend arms sales to
Taiwan, the spokesman urged the U.S. to "honor the principles of the
three joint communiqus and not do anything to undermine China-US
military relations."

-- China welcomes the U.S. decision to send U/S Burns to the meeting
between the EU High Representative Javier Solana and Iranian Chief
Nuclear Negotiator Saeed Jalili in Geneva July 19.

Darfur
------

2. Asked whether China will support members of the UN Security
Council seeking to avoid the indictment of Sudanese President Omar
al-Bashir if Sudan hands over other war criminals, spokesman Liu
Jianchao said that China is concerned about the situation in Darfur
and that the situation "should not be complicated by this move."
Countries have differing views on this topic and "relevant
countries" are discussing how to move ahead. China is willing to
exchange views on this issue and has one purpose, "to safeguard
peace and stability in Sudan and realize peace, stability and
development of the Darfur region."

China - Japan Dispute over Diaoyu Islands
-----------------------------------------

3. China holds that it has "indisputable sovereignty" over the
Diaoyu islands, said Liu. China wants to work with Japan to solve
the dispute over the islands and negotiate to find a resolution. In
response to questions regarding reports that at least four Japanese
textbooks claim the islands are Japanese territory, Liu said he had
not seen any of the textbooks, but if they claim that the Diaoyu
islands belong to Japan then it demonstrates that "Japan and China
have differing positions on this issue."

UN Panel agrees to allow China to import Africa ivory
--------------------------------------------- --------

4. Asked about the condemnation coming from NGOs regarding a recent
report that a UN panel will allow China to import African ivory, Liu
said that NGOs should report the truth and not incorrectly accuse
China of wrongdoing. The Chinese government wants to protect
wildlife, including elephants, and has released a series of laws and
regulations to stop illegal smuggling and the sale of illegal
wildlife products. These laws have had "obvious results" and sales
have "plummeted remarkably," Liu said.

5. Asked about a report that two Chinese women were detained and
questioned in the Nairobi airport with over 30 pieces of illegal
ivory, the spokesman said he had just read the relevant report and
would have to check the details before making a statement. It is
the position of the Chinese government to crack down on the illegal
smuggling and sale of ivory.

Arms Sales to Taiwan
--------------------

6. Asked about reports that the U.S. will suspend arms sales to
Taiwan, Liu said China has reiterated its position many times on
U.S. arms sales to Taiwan and will closely follow the developments.
China urges the U.S. to "honor the principles of the three joint
communiqus, in particular the August 27 joint communiqu, and not
do anything to undermine China-US military relations."

Iranian Nuclear Issue
---------------------

7. Asked to comment on the U.S. decision to send U/S Burns to the
meeting between the EU High Representative Javier Solana and Iranian
Chief Nuclear Negotiator Saeed Jalili in Geneva July 19, Liu said
that China welcomes the U.S. decision. China has always wanted a
peaceful resolution of the Iranian nuclear issue through diplomatic
negotiation and hopes that relevant parties will "resume
negotiations, enhance efforts and show flexibility" toward the
long-term resolution of the issue.

Veto against Sanctions for Zimbabwe

BEIJING 00002795 002 OF 002


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

8. Regarding U.S. displeasure with China's veto against sanctions
for Zimbabwe, the spokesman said that China has clarified its
position on the issue and the U.S. is clearly aware of China's
position. It is "natural that we have different positions," the
spokesman said.


Six-Party Talks
---------------

9. Asked about the possibility of the continuation of Xix-Party
Talks in the coming week, the spokesman said that some countries
have proposed holding a Six-Party Ministerial meeting on the
sidelines of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF). China and the relevant
parties are consulting with one another on those proposals, but no
details have been finalized.

Dialogue with the Dalai Lama Envoy
----------------------------------

10. Asked about reports that the Dalai Lama envoy sees no point in
continuing dialogue with Beijing, the spokesman told reporters to
refer the question to the relevant authorities of the Central
Government. The government, Liu said, is sincere in its attempts to
negotiate with the Dalai side and he wondered "the reason why" the
Dalai envoy would make such comments.

ROK Tourist shot in DPRK
------------------------

11. Asked to comment on a report that a South Korean tourist was
shot dead in the DPRK and whether China would support the ROK in
asking for international support for an independent investigation of
the incident, Liu said that he had read the relevant reports and
hopes that the ROK and DPRK will seek a proper resolution through
dialogue that will not affect the improvement of their bilateral
relationship.

Terrorism in China
------------------

12. Asked whether weapons or plots were discovered when authorities
broke up 12 terrorist cells this year in China, Liu said he did not
have specific details of the incidents and those questions should be
referred to the relevant authorities. China's position remains that
those engaged in terrorist activities shall be punished by law.

Chinese FM Yang to visit Singapore, Tajikistan and U.S.
--------------------------------------------- ---------

13. Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi will attend a Minister's
meeting of ASEAN plus China at the invitation of Singapore's Prime
Minister Lee Hsien Loong from July 22 - 30. Asked who will
accompany Yang to the ASEAN meeting, Liu said that the decision has
not been made, but usually the officials responsible for the
relevant departments of regional affairs accompany Yang.

14. Yang will also attend a meeting and pay an official visit to
Tajikistan at the invitation of Tajik Foreign Minister Hamrokhon
Zarifi. Following those meetings, Yang will visit the United States,
at the invitation of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. When asked
the exact date of the visit to the United States, the spokesman said
he did not have the specific agenda, but "believed" Yang would be in
the U.S. around July 28.

Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Liu to visit Geneva
--------------------------------------------- ---------

15. Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Liu Jieyi, together with the
political Director Generals of the U.S., Russia, UK, Germany and
France, will attend a meeting between the EU High Representative
Javier Solana and Iranian Chief Nuclear Negotiator Saeed Jalili in
Geneva July 19.


RANDT

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