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Cablegate: December 4 Mfa Press Briefing: Dalai Lama and France, India

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SUBJECT: DECEMBER 4 MFA PRESS BRIEFING: DALAI LAMA AND FRANCE, INDIA
AND PAKISTAN, SIX-PARTY TALKS, SUDANESE PRESIDENT BASHIR

1. Key points at the December 4 MFA press briefing:

-- China hopes to "repair" its relationship with France, but urges
France to "take seriously the feelings of the Chinese people" with
regard to the planned meeting between French President Nicolas
Sarkozy and the Dalai Lama.

-- Both India and Pakistan are China's "friendly neighbors" and
China urges both countries to "step-up dialogue" in order to ensure
that stability returns to the region.

-- "Active preparation" for the upcoming round of Six-Party Talks is
taking place.

-- China hopes the relevant parties concerned with the International
Criminal Court (ICC) indictment of Sudanese President Bashir will
engage in "dialogue" in order to "properly handle the issue."

Dalai Lama and France
---------------------

2. China has repeatedly stated its position regarding French
President Nicolas Sarkozy's planned meeting with the Dalai Lama,
said MFA spokesperson Liu Jianchao at the December 4 MFA press
briefing when asked about the potential impact of the meeting on
Sino-French relations. Liu said China's position was "clear," and
that China has always viewed its relationship with France from a
"long-term and strategic perspective." Liu added that China hopes to
"repair" its relationship with France, but that France must "take
seriously the feelings of the Chinese people" on this issue. He
noted that the planned meeting had "raised strong dissatisfaction
amongst the Chinese public" and that China hopes France will "make
the right choice" and "create conditions" for an improvement of
relations. He added that the Chinese public must "remain calm"
despite its dissatisfaction.

3. When asked about the impact on Sino-French trade relations, Liu
responded that China "attaches great importance" to business
relations with France, and that these relations are "closely
related" to China's "strategic partnership" with France.

India and Pakistan
------------------

4. When asked whether China was in close contact with the Pakistani
government in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks, Liu responded
that both India and Pakistan are China's "friendly neighbors," and
that both countries should "step-up dialogue" in order to ensure
that stability returns to the region. Liu added that China "firmly
opposes" acts of terrorism such as those carried out in Mumbai.
When asked to respond to a comment made by the Indian Foreign
Minister Pranab Mukherjee that a country had the right to respond to
such a terror attack, Liu said that China "takes note" that Indian
leaders have made "remarks," but that it hoped the two countries
would diffuse the current situation through "dialogue and
consultation." Responding to question about Iranian President
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's comments regarding China's vulnerability to
similar attacks, Liu wondered why President Ahmadinejad would make
such comments, and said that China will do all it can to "step-up"
its international cooperation to combat terrorism.

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

5. When asked to comment on the upcoming round of Six-Party Talks,
Liu said that China has already proposed a date for the talks, and
that "active preparation" is taking place.

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir
---------------------------------

6. When asked about the possible International Criminal Court (ICC)
indictment of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, Liu noted that
China "attaches great importance" to Security Council resolutions,
but that it also "respects relevant principles" of "sovereignty and
territorial integrity." As for the ICC prosecution of President
Bashir, Liu said China hopes the relevant parties will engage in
"dialogue" in order to "properly handle the issue."

RMB exchange rate depreciation
------------------------------

7. When asked to comment on why the Renminbi (RMB) exchange rate
depreciated when it was expected to rise during the Strategic
Economic Dialogue (SED) now taking place in Beijing, Liu explained
that, since 2005 when China adjusted its exchange rate policy, the

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RMB exchange rate has become more "flexible and interactive," and
now depends on the market. He added that China will continue to
"adopt the floating exchange rate system" in the future.

Belgian journalist
------------------

8. When asked to comment on a Chinese Government report concluding a
Belgian journalist was not attacked in Henan province as he had
claimed, Liu said that the MFA and Henan provincial authorities are
continuing to investigate the issue, and that it was hoped the
situation would be "properly handled."

EU food ban
-----------

9. Commenting on a question about the recent EU ban on soy-based
infant food products from China due to melamine contamination, Liu
said that China "attaches great importance" to food safety, and that
it expects to undertake "effective communication" with relevant
countries on this issue.

EU anti-dumping ruling
----------------------

10. When asked whether the recent EU anti-dumping ruling might be
related to the ongoing Sino-EU tension over the Dalai Lama, Liu had
no substantive response but did indicate his hope that overall
relations with the EU would not be damaged. For more specific
information about the ruling, Liu referred journalists to the
Ministry of Commerce.

Presidential Appointment
------------------------

11. When asked to comment, Liu said that President-elect Obama's
choice of New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson for Secretary of
Commerce was an "internal affair" of the United States.

Doha Round
----------

12. When asked to speculate on whether there would be a breakthrough
in the Doha Round of trade liberalization talks before the end of
the year, Liu said that China's high-level participation at the
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and G-20 meetings last
month sends a "strong signal" that China "promotes" the Doha Round,
and that it is sincere about playing "an active and constructive
role" on this issue.

China-Japan-ROK Leaders' Meeting
--------------------------------

13. Liu announced that Premier Wen Jiaobao will attend the upcoming
China-Japan-ROK Leaders' Meeting to be held December 13 in Fukuoka,
Japan. During the meeting, it is expected that the three leaders
will exchange views on "cooperation" and discuss "regional and
international issues."

RANDT

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