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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei's Regular Press Conference on January 15, 2013


Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei held a press conference on January 15, 2013.

Q: Former Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama is visiting China today. Which Chinese leaders will meet with him? What is China's expectation of the visit?

A: China has maintained long-term and normal exchanges with Japan's ruling and opposition parties and friendship groups, which helps the two sides enhance communication, properly solve problems and push for the healthy development of bilateral relations. Please consult the Chinese People's Institute of Foreign Affairs for the specifics of this visit.

Q: It is reported that the government of the Central African Republic and rebels recently reached a ceasefire deal, agreeing on the formation of a national unity government. What is China's comment on the situation in Central Africa?

A: China follows closely the developments in Central Africa. We have noted that under the mediation of the African Union, the Economic Community of Central African States and relevant countries in the region, parties concerned in Central Africa have made progress in the negotiations held in Libreville, Gabon. China welcomes the signing of the Ceasefire Agreement, the Declaration of Principles and the Political Agreement, which lay a foundation for the resolution of the Central African crisis. We hope relevant parties in Central Africa can earnestly observe and follow through on the agreements reached among them and bring the country back to the track of stability and development at an early date. China is ready to work with the international community and continue to help Central Africa realize lasting peace and stability.

Q: It is reported that on January 14, a Chinese fishing boat "Luyingyu 57099" in distress near the ROK's Jeollanam-do was rescued by the ROK coast guard after sending out a distress signal. Please brief us on the details.

A: On the early morning of January 14, the ROK coast guard carried out two rescue operations for the Chinese fishing boat "Luyingyu 57099" which flooded in waters near the ROK's Jeollanam-do. The fishing boat and 14 fishermen on board have been properly taken care of and all the fishermen will return home soon after the boat is repaired. China appreciates the ROK's help to the Chinese fishermen. The Chinese diplomatic missions in the ROK will keep in contact with the ROK side and provide necessary assistance to the fishermen.

Q: It is reported that China plans to survey the Diaoyu Islands. What is the purpose of this act?

A: The Diaoyu Island and its affiliated islands are China's inherent territory. China's surveying of the Diaoyu Islands is to safeguard China's maritime rights and interests.

Q: The fifth China-India Defense and Security Consultation has concluded. Please brief us on the consultation and its outcome.

A: Lieutenant General Qi Jianguo, Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Chinese People's Liberation Army, and the visiting Indian Defense Secretary Shashi Kant Sharma co-chaired the fifth China-India Defense and Security Consultation on January 14.

Qi Jianguo said that the China-India relationship is one of China's most important external relations. China sincerely hopes to forge a strategic partnership with India featuring equality, mutual trust, tolerance, mutual learning, and win-win cooperation. The development of China-India military-to-military relations is an important hallmark of the depth of bilateral relations. It is hoped that the two sides can make joint efforts to constantly enhance security mutual trust, strengthen mutually beneficial cooperation, maintain peace and tranquility in the border areas, promote peace and stability in South Asia, and build a new type of military-to-military relations featuring long-term stability and friendly cooperation.

Sharma said that there have been frequent high-level exchanges between the two countries and steady progress in cooperation across the board over the years, laying a solid foundation for the development of the bilateral relations. The Indian side is willing to constantly strengthen dialogue and exchanges between the two militaries in order to enhance mutual trust and promote bilateral cooperation .

Defense Secretary Sharma also met with the Vice Chairman Xu Qiliangof the Central Military Commission.

After the press conference, a journalist asked the following question: Vice Foreign Minister Fu Ying reportedly met with Japan's Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) senator and former Education Minister Kenji Kosaka on January 14 and the two sides agreed on the importance of developing China-Japan strategic relationship of mutual benefit, please confirm. How does China consider improving China-Japan relations amidst the dispute over the Diaoyu Islands?

Hong Lei remarked that China and Japan have maintained diplomatic communication on how to properly handle the dispute. At the same time, China has also been listening to voices from different sectors of Japan so as to better steer the development of bilateral relations.

On January 14, Vice Foreign Minister Fu Ying met with Japanese senator Mr. Kenji Kosaka who was visiting China in private capacity. She listened to Kosaka's views on how the Japanese people view China and China-Japan relations, briefed him on the Chinese public view of Japan and reiterated China's policies and principles on the development of bilateral relations. She said that China-Japan relations are at a critical juncture and in a difficult situation. China welcomes all sectors of the Japanese society to make efforts for the promotion of China-Japan cooperation and prevent negative factors from troubling and affecting the development of China-Japan relations in the long-term.

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