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China Won't Withdraw Engineers from Pakistan
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China has announced that it will not evacuate engineers and technicians from Pakistan after an incident where three Chinese engineers were shot dead on Wednesday.

"I don't think all Chinese people in Pakistan should leave the country because of this," Foreign Ministry' spokesperson Qin Gang said at a regular press conference in Beijing on Thursday.

However, he advised Chinese people living there to be alert and to protect themselves.

Qin stressed, however, that China is very concerned and has urged Pakistan to take measures to step up the protection of resident Chinese.

"We have consulted Pakistan on the issue many times and they are dealing with the matter," Qin added.

The Foreign Ministry and the Ministry of Commerce have also sent task forces to deal with the issue.

Three Chinese engineers and their Pakistani driver were killed on Wednesday when their car was attacked by gunmen in the town of Hub, some 700 km southeast of Quetta, provincial capital of Balochistan. Three other Chinese people who were also in the car at the time escaped unhurt.

The victims, Long Hongbao, Wei Jianpin and Zhao Bin were shot.

The engineers were working for a Chinese company contracted to construct a local cement factory that is to be completed in the first half of this year.

Dalai Lama's Middle East visit     

When asked to comment on the Dalai Lama's recent visit to the Middle East, Qin Gang said that the Chinese government firmly opposes the Dalai Lama's attempt to split the country.

Qin said the aim of the Dalai Lama's visit was to promote the "so-called internationalization" of the Tibet question to achieve his goal of splitting the motherland.

Iranian nuclear issue     

The Iranian nuclear issue should be resolved through diplomatic negotiations, Qin said.

Qin called for sober-mindedness, restraint and patience to settle the issue.

He told reporters that China is very concerned with the latest developments of the Iranian nuclear issue and China's position is always consistent and clear: China is in opposition to any proliferation of nuclear weapons.

China-US relations      

Qin called for efforts to handle China-US relations from "long-term" and "strategic" perspectives.
Qin emphasized bilateral trade relations, highlighting that the trade cooperation between the two countries is win-win and mutually beneficial.

Qin acknowledged that there trade disputes do exist, but stressed that these should be resolved through dialogue.

"Pressure in any form or sanctions will not only hamper China-US trade relations, but also undermine the US' vested interests," Qin said.

Pakistani president's China visit  

Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf's upcoming visit to China will help push forward the Sino-Pakistan strategic partnership of cooperation, Qin said.

At the invitation of President Hu, Musharraf will pay a state visit to China from February 19 to 23.

Qin said that during the president's stay in China, Musharraf and Chinese leaders will exchange in-depth views on promoting bilateral ties and on international and regional issues of common concern. The related departments from the two countries will sign some documents of cooperation.

China and Pakistan are friendly neighbors who share good friendship and cooperation, Qin said, noting that the cooperation between them includes combating the "three evil forces" of terrorism, separatism and extremism.

Qin added that their cooperation to this end will contribute to the peace and stability of the two nations and the region.

Pakistan is an observer country of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which was established to safeguard regional peace, security and stability. "We expect more and increased cooperation with Pakistan in this respect," Qin said.

Noting that Sino-Pakistan relations have witnessed stable and healthy development in recent years, Qin said this year is the 55th anniversary of the establishment of China-Pakistan diplomatic ties, and Musharraf's visit is the first in a series of events marking the anniversary.

"I am convinced that Musharraf's visit to China will be a success," he said. 

Internet development

China commits itself to creating a "healthy, sound and orderly" environment for Internet development, Qin said.

Qin added that China regulates the Internet in accordance with the law, a common practice around the world.

UK Deputy PM to visit China

John Prescott, UK deputy prime minister and First Secretary of State will pay an official visit to China from February 19 to 26 at the invitation of the Chinese government, Qin announced. 

Micronesian FM to visit China

Qin also announced that Sebastian Anefal, Secretary of the Department of External Affairs of the Federated States of Micronesia will visit China from February 22 to 28 at the invitation of Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing.

(Xinhua News Agency February 17, 2006)


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