Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao Thursday dismissed speculation that
the detention of a ship from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) by
Hong Kong authorities was the result of UN sanctions.
Liu said the local marine department was making a regular inspection of Kang
Nam I, a 2,035-ton general cargo ship, which entered the Hong Kong Special
Administrative Region on Sunday.
The department found the ship had violated safety regulations, Liu said in a
weekly briefing yesterday.
Liu said the ship was being held for breaching local shipping regulations,
rather than the UN sanctions imposed on the DPRK following its nuclear test on
Ships can be detained if they do not have life-saving or fire-fighting
appliances, or if their navigation equipment, including charts, is outdated or
Tan Bole, an official with the Hong Kong marine authority was quoted as
saying Kang Nam I was the ninth DPRK ship that his office has inspected this
year and six of them had been similarly stopped.
Tan said Hong Kong's checking of the DPRK ships was routine, adding that Hong
Kong authorities were carrying out their duties according to international
maritime regulations designed to guarantee ships' safety.
The ship had traveled to Hong Kong from Shanghai and was due to return home
to Nampo, near Pyongyang, via Taiwan.
Liu reiterated that China would implement UN resolution 1718 that imposed
sanctions on the DPRK in an earnest and responsible manner.
Iran nuclear standoff
Liu also used the briefing to restate China's stance on resolving the Iranian
nuclear issue through political and diplomatic means.
The spokesman's remarks came as Britain, France and Germany proposed a draft
UN resolution on Iran this week, which was circulated among the permanent
Security Council members.
US China policy
Liu also urged the United States to strictly abide by its commitment to
maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits and in the overall
situation of Sino-US relations.
He made the statement in response to US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's
remarks on Wednesday that the US policy on Taiwan is comprised of an inseparable
"package" which includes a commitment to help Taiwan defend itself.
Liu said there is only one China in the world, Taiwan is an integral part of
China's territory and "we are committed to the basic principle of 'peaceful
reunification' and 'one country, two systems."
"We are resolutely opposed to 'Taiwan independence' and will never allow any
one to separate Taiwan from China through any means," said