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Cablegate: December 29, 2009 Mfa Press Briefing: Amcit in North Korea,

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SUBJECT: DECEMBER 29, 2009 MFA PRESS BRIEFING: AMCIT IN NORTH KOREA,
UK CITIZEN EXECUTED, RESCUE OF DE XIN HAI SHIP AND CREW, LIU XIAOBO,
AIRLINE SECURITY

1. Key points at the December 29 MFA press briefing were:

-- China hopes the U.S. will uphold the larger issue of stability on
the Korean Peninsula when addressing US citizen Robert Park's
detention in North Korea.

-- The execution of UK citizen Akmal Shaikh for drug smuggling,
despite claims that he suffers from mental disorders, was handled in
strict accordance with the rule of law.

-- China looks to enhance the ability of its naval fleet to protect
its citizens overseas and its legitimate rights and interests
abroad, following the recovery of a Chinese ship and crewmembers
from Somali pirates.

-- China handled the case of Liu Xiaobo publicly and in strict
accordance to the law.

-- China in response to NW 253 was coordinating with the U.S. to
strengthen flight security in line with "international
conventions."

North Korea's Detention of a US Citizen
---------------------------------------

2. At the December 29 regularly scheduled Foreign Ministry press
briefing, Spokesperson Jiang Yu commented on North Korea's detention
of U.S. citizen Robert Park, stating that China hoped the United
States, when addressing this issue, would uphold the larger issue of
stability on the Korean Peninsula. She referred journalists asking
for additional information on China's position to the "relevant
authorities."

Execution of UK Citizen
-----------------------

3. Jiang refused to confirm details of the December 29 execution of
UK citizen Akmal Shaikh for drug smuggling, despite claims that he
suffered from mental disorders. China is a country governed by the
rule of law, Jiang said. Judicial authorities are independent of
the government and handled the situation in strict accordance with
the law. Asked why the government did not delay or stop the
execution given reports of the prisoner's mental condition, Jiang
responded that "China does not have the conditions to renounce the
sentence (handed down by judicial authorities) but will mete out the
sentence." China noted British Prime Minister Gordon Brown's
reaction to the execution with strong dissatisfaction. China hoped
the UK would squarely face what was an individual case not connected
to broader issues, and Jiang expressed hope that this incident would
not impair UK-PRC relations.

4. Responding to repeated questions on the number of foreigners
China had executed in the last 30 years and the number of foreigners
that had faced criminal prosecution in China, Jiang asserted that
the MFA had no such numbers and again referred journalists to
"competent authorities" such as the Ministry of Justice and the
Xinjiang Autonomous Region Foreign Affairs and Legal Affairs Office
for further information. Jiang asserted that this matter was
outside the mandate of the MFA.

Rescue of De Xin Hai Ship and Sailors
-------------------------------------

5. The Chinese-flagged De Xin Hai vessel, with its 25 crew members,
was now under the protection of China's naval fleet and was on its
way home, Jiang confirmed. China places great importance on the
safety of its citizens overseas. China would look to enhance the
naval fleet's ability to duly protect Chinese based overseas and its
legitimate rights and interests abroad.

Liu Xiaobo
----------

6. China is handling the case of Liu Xiaobo publicly and in strict
accordance to the law, Jiang asserted, when asked to comment on the
U.S. government's response to the December 25 sentencing of Liu.
Others should respect China's judicial system and judicial
independence, Jiang said.

Airline Security in Wake of NW 253
----------------------------------

7. China had taken note of the December 25 attempted bombing of US
Northwest Airlines flight 253 and opposed any form of terrorism,
Jiang declared. In response, China was carrying out high level
security checks on domestic and international flights, and was
coordinating with the U.S. to strengthen security on flights in

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accordance with "international conventions."

Burma's Release of Sailors
--------------------------

8. Burma agreed to release one Mainland and four Taiwan sailors "at
an early date" after fines were paid and at the behest of the
Chinese government, Jiang confirmed in response to a question.
Chinese officials have met with the fishermen and have asked Burmese
authorities to provide appropriate medical treatment. (Note: On
November 18, Burma's navy detained 10 ships carrying 128 fishermen
for illegal fishing.)

Opposition to New Settlements in East Jerusalem
---------------------------- ------------------

9. China opposed plans to build new Jewish settlements in annexed
Arab East Jerusalem, Jiang affirmed, noting that this issue could
only be resolved through negotiations between the Palestinian and
Israeli sides. China hoped Israel will squarely face "international
requirements" and carry out policies in accordance with these
requirements.

GOLDBERG

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