Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing
talks as he meets the press on the sidelines of the ongoing National
People's Congress session in Beijing March 6, 2007.
China on Tuesday urged Japan to face up to history and handle properly the
issue of Japanese military's use of Asian women as sex slaves during World
"Japan should face up to history, take the responsibility, and seriously view
and properly handle the issue," said Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing as he
met the press on the sidelines of the ongoing session of the National People's
"The conscription of comfort women is one of the serious crimes committed by
the Japanese militarists during the second World War," said Li. "This is a
He said the Japanese government should take history as a mirror and looking
forward to the future to properly handle the China-Japanese relations amid the
opportunity of the 35th anniversary of the normalization of bilateral diplomatic
ties in 2007, Li said.
"History, in my view, is a strong progressive force," Li said. "It should not
become a burden to the progression of peace."
On Monday, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Japan will not apologise
again for forcing women to act as sex slaves for Japanese soldiers in World War
2 even if a U.S. House of Representatives resolution demanding an apology is
Abe's statement triggered international outrage and contradicted evidence in
Japanese documents unearthed in 1992 that showed that military authorities
worked with contractors to forcibly procure about 200,000 women - mostly from
Korea and China - for the brothels.
The remark also cast doubt on a 1993 Japanese government apology to the sex
slaves issued by then-Chief Cabinet Secretary Yohei Kono.
Kono's 1993 statement also acknowledged that many women were forced into
prostitution, and that the military government was involved in some cases.
The government followed Kono's statement in 1995 by setting up a fund to meet
victims' compensation demands. But the fund, which is due to expire on March 31,
is based on private donations and has been attacked as a government ruse to
avoid owning up to the abuse.
Last month, U.S. lawmakers introduced a nonbinding resolution urging Japan to
apologize formally. Japan objected to the resolution, and said its leaders have
Foreign minister Li Zhaoxing noted that Premier Wen Jiabao's April trip to
Japan, the first for a Chinese premier in seven years, is of vital importance to
promoting co-operation between the two countries in various fields.
Li said he believes the upcoming visit will be a complete success.
foreign minister expressed China's willingness to talk on the joint development
of the East China Sea to "seek a solution that both sides can accept, making the
East China Sea a sea of friendship, of co-cooperation and of peace."
The bilateral ties between the neighbors improved from last October thanks to
the joints efforts of the two sides, noted Li, saying China is willing to make
more efforts to promote the healthy and stable development of the ties.
Hu to visit Russia
Chinese President Hu Jintao's
visit to Russia will further boost the China-Russia strategic partnership of
coordination, Li said.
"At the invitation of Russian President
Vladimir Putin, President Hu Jintao will visit Russia once again," Li said at a
press conference on the sidelines of the fifth session of the Tenth National
This year marks the Year of China in Russia, and the
two countries will hold about 200 activities to promote bilateral exchanges,
deepen traditional friendship and further boost China- Russia strategic
partnership of coordination, Li said.
"To hold the Year of Russia in
China and the Year of China in Russia is an important step to implement the
Sino-Russian Good- Neighborly Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation," he said.
Top leaders, governments, relevant departments and the peoples of the
two countries are working "hand in hand" to deepen the traditional friendship,
raise the level of China-Russia strategic partnership of coordination so as to
boost the common development of the two countries and to make new contributions
to world peace and development, Li said.
Last year was the Year of
Russia in China and more than 300 activities were jointly held by the two
countries, according to the foreign minister.
Li said that mutual respect and non-interference
in each other's internal affairs between countries are the necessary conditions
for building a harmonious world.
He said that Chinese President Hu
Jintao and the Chinese government advocate building a harmonious society and a
harmonious world, and China sticks to peaceful development, harmonious
development, scientific development and sustainable development, which conform
to the trend of times and to the wish and interests of the people.
diplomacy, China is committed to promoting peaceful coexistence, equal treatment
to each other, cooperation of mutual benefits, and common development among
countries, Li said.
China is also committed to pursuing
good-neighborliness and mutual trust, solving disputes through dialogues and
other diplomatic means, seeking common security and lasting peace, he said.
Meanwhile, China is committed to boosting exchanges and learning from
each other, building a resource-saving and environment-friendly society and
enhancing cooperation in the fields, the minister said.
The Chinese government fully supports the consensus
reached by the United Nations, the African Union and the Sudanese government on
the Darfur issue, Li.
President Hu Jintao had clarified the Chinese
government's stance on the Darfur issue in Sudan, one of the eight African
countries he visited earlier this year, Li said.
The Chinese government
has always maintained that different countries can have friendly negotiations on
an equal footing, and China is willing to hold such dialogues with African
countries and all the other countries, he said.
The Chinese government
has kept offering humanitarian assistance to Sudan's Darfur area and hopes that
the international community tries its best to lend a hand to the area, he said.
China, apart from seeking self-development, has tried to assist other
countries to the best of its capability. "Our assistance is free of any
political pressure and helps resolve specific problems, a good demonstration of
China's peaceful development road and constructive role in the world," Li said.
While differentiating dialogue from interference, he cited the UN
charter, which clearly stipulates a principle of non- interference in other
countries' internal affairs.
"It's hard to imagine the world can
maintain harmony and peaceful development if any country or international
organization intends to interfere in other countries' internal affairs," the
Iran urged to cooperate with IAEA
Chinese FM Li called upon Iran to step up cooperation with the
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), saying China hopes to see the
resumption of diplomatic negotiations for regional peace and stability.
"We hope that Iran could cherish its negotiation channels with the
European Union, Russia and other countries," Li said.
"Nothing else on
earth is more precious than peace," he said, hoping that all the efforts from
the international community could help restore diplomatic negotiations, and all
the actions by the UN Security Council could boost regional peace and
China would faithfully fulfill its obligation as a member of
the Non-Proliferation Treaty and support peaceful resolution of the Iran nuclear
issue through diplomatic efforts as always, said the minister.
The United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany have kicked off
their series of informal talks on Iran's nuclear program to discuss the elements
of a new sanctions draft resolution aimed at pushing Iran back to negotiations,
according to a latest news report.
The UN Security Council passed a resolution on December 23, 2006, demanding
that Iran suspend uranium enrichment in 60 days. However, Iran has failed to do
so and claimed its nuclear program is for civilian purposes