China yesterday rejected reports that its troops were building up on its border with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).
The army's movement was part of a longstanding plan to unify border controls nationwide, Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan said.
"Chinese troops have not massed on the Sino-DPRK border," he said at a regular briefing yesterday.
Overseas media reported that China had stationed 150,000 troops on the Sino-DPRK border since last month to deter an escalation of the nuclear standoff on the Korean Peninsula.
Kong said the People's Liberation Army (PLA) had taken over guard duties along the border with the DPRK from the armed police. He said it had been decided years ago to turn over the job to the PLA's border guard unit to bring it into line with other parts of China's land border.
He said the PLA was also taking over guard duties from the armed police along the border between Myanmar and Southwest China's Yunnan Province.
The changes were "based on requirements of the law of the People's Republic of China to unify the form and streamline the system of national land border administration," he said. "It is a normal adjustment that has been carried out after many years of preparation by the relevant parties."
Chinese Foreign Minister to attend UN General Assembly
Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing will visit the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica and the United States from Sept. 18 to 23, Kong Quan announced.
Li had been invited by Knowlson Gift, Foreign Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Keith Knight, Foreign Minister of Jamaica and US Secretary of State Colin Powell, said Kong.
From Sept. 24, Li would head a Chinese delegation to the 58th Session of the UN General Assembly, Kong said.
Li would deliver a speech during the general debate, expounding the Chinese government's views and propositions on key international and regional issues.
He would also attend multilateral and bilateral activities during the session, said Kong.
The 58th Session of the UN General Assembly is the first of its kind since the Iraq war and would attract much attention from the international community, Kong said.
He said China was willing, along with the international community, to push forward multilateral cooperation to promote the role of the United Nations.
Turning to Li Zhaoxing's upcoming visit to the United States, Kong said it is aimed at strengthening mutual understanding and trust, and promoting smooth and sound cooperation.
Kong said that during the visit from Sept. 21 to 23, Li would exchange views with US Secretary of State Colin Powell on bilateral ties and international and regional issues. Li will also talk with US leaders and peoples from all walks of life.
Asked to comment on a military hotline between the United States and Taiwan, Kong expressed his belief that Li would reiterate China's stand on Taiwan.
China firmly opposed any military contacts between the United States and Taiwan, and demanded the US government strictly abide by the three joint communiques signed by the two countries, the "one-China" policy and its own promise to oppose the "independence” of Taiwan.
This would promote China-US relations in a healthy and stable way based on mutual respect, Kong said.
China appreciates Pakistan's anti-terrorism efforts
China appreciates Pakistan's efforts in fighting against terrorism and religious extremism and will continue to cooperate with Pakistan on this issue, Kong said.
Kong made the remarks in response to a question on reports that Pakistan had terrorist training camps, which offered aid to the terrorist group of "East Turkistan".
Kong said the Pakistani government had taken measures in recent years to fight against terrorism and religious extremism and Pakistan had actively participated in the international anti-terrorism collaboration, which China appreciated.
"China and Pakistan have good relations," Kong said. China was satisfied with Pakistan's help and coordination in cracking down on the "three forces" of terrorism, separatism and extremism, and in safeguarding territorial integrity and sovereignty.
"China will continue to cooperate with Pakistan," he said.
(Xinhua News Agency September 17, 2003)