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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei's Regular Press Conference on January 25, 2013


Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei held a press conference on January 25, 2013.

Q: Please brief us on the meeting held today between General Secretary Xi Jinping and leader of the Japanese New Komeito party Natsuo Yamaguchi.

A: Xi Jinping, General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, met with Natsuo Yamaguchi, leader of the Japanese New Komeito party, at the Great Hall of the People on January 25.

Xi said that China and Japan are important neighbours to each other. Over the past four decades since normalization of relations, the breath and depth of China-Japan cooperation across the board have reached an unprecedented level, strongly boosting the respective development of the two countries. The Chinese government remains committed to the policy of developing its relations with Japan. Facts have proven that the four political documents between the two countries constitute the cornerstone of China-Japan relations and should be earnestly observed. Under the new circumstances, we should shoulder national and historical responsibilities and display political wisdom like the older generation of leaders, overcome difficulties in China-Japan relationship and push it forward.

Xi stressed that to maintain the long-term, healthy and stable development of China-Japan relations, we must look at the larger picture, steer in the right direction, and promptly and properly handle sensitive issues between the two countries. China's position on the Diaoyu Islands issue is consistent and clear. The Japanese side should face up to history and reality, take concrete measures and make joint efforts with China to seek effective methods for appropriate management and settlement of problems through dialogue and consultation. Only by taking history as a mirror can one look into the future. The Japanese side should respect the feelings of the Chinese people and appropriately address historical issues. China attaches importance to Yamaguchi's visit which was made at an unusual timing in bilateral relations, and hopes that the New Komeito party will continue to play a constructive role in pushing forward bilateral relations.

Yamaguchi said the New Komeito party has long been firmly committed to developing bilateral friendship and holds that both sides should follow the principles established in the four political documents between Japan and China. As a party of Japan's ruling coalition, the New Komeito party will inherit and carry forward the traditional friendship, enhance bilateral exchanges and cooperation, promote appropriate settlement of relevant issues through dialogue and make positive efforts for the improvement and development of Japan-China relations.

During the meeting, Yamaguchi delivered a letter to Xi from Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. In his letter, Abe wrote that Japan-China relations are among the most important bilateral relations, and the two countries share common responsibility of peace and development in the Asia-Pacific region and the world, adding that he is willing to proceed from the overall situation and push forward Japan-China strategic relationship of mutual benefit.

Q: The P5 plus one countries and Iran agreed to hold a new round of dialogue in the near term, but the place of dialogue is yet to be agreed upon. What is China's comment?

A: To hold a new round of dialogue on the Iranian nuclear issue at an early date helps to keep the momentum of diplomatic settlement and serves all parties' interests. China always believes that content is far more important than place. Therefore, we are always flexible and open in terms of the place of dialogue. We hope that relevant parties could show flexibility, hold a new round of dialogue as soon as possible and strive for substantive and early progress in the dialogue and cooperation on the Iranian nuclear issue. China will stay in communication with all parties in this regard.

Q: It is reported that the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (UNCLCS) will consider the submission by China of the outer limits of the continental shelf in the East China Sea in July or August. Does China worry that the outcome may affect its sovereignty over the Diaoyu Islands?

A: The Diaoyu Island and its affiliated islands are China's inherent territory, which is based on historical and jurisprudential evidence. China's stand on the East China Sea is clear and consistent. It is the Chinese government's right under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea as well as its obligation to submit the Partial Submission Concerning the Outer Limits of the Continental Shelf beyond 200 Nautical Miles in the East China Sea. The outcome of the UNCLCS' deliberation will not affect China's sovereignty over the Diaoyu Island and its affiliated islands due to the absence of such a mandate in the Commission.

Q: The DPRK has announced that it will carry out a higher-level nuclear test in the upcoming all-out decisive battle against the United States. What is China's expectation of the US Special Representative for North Korea Policy Glyn Davis' visit to China in this context? The DPRK also threatened a war with the ROK if the latter joined a new round of sanctions against the DPRK. What is China's comment?

A: The current situation on the Korean Peninsula is very complex and sensitive. We hope relevant parties will bear in mind the bigger picture, remain calm and exercise restraint, further maintain contact and dialogue, improve relations, and refrain from taking actions that may escalate the tension to jointly safeguard peace and stability on the Korean peninsula.

Q: Latin American countries have benefited a lot from their raw materials trade with China over the years, but some of them begin to worry that the influx of Chinese goods' will affect the local manufacturing industry. What is China's comment?

A: The economic and trade cooperation is an important part of China-Latin America cooperation. China and Latin American countries enjoy highly-complementary economies and huge potential for economic and trade cooperation. The two sides should oppose trade protectionism, expand market openness to each other and optimize the trade structure.

We advocate a trade volume of US$500 billion between China and Latin America in the next five years. China does not pursue a trade surplus. We not only import raw materials but also hope for more high value-added products and other manufactured goods from Latin America to realize trade balance and sustainable development. We stand for further strengthening of investment and financial cooperation and have initiated the China-Latin America cooperation fund for which Chinese financial institutions will initially allocate US$5 billion. We welcome Latin American countries' participation in the fund building and joint investment in cooperation projects in manufacturing, high and new technology, sustainable development and other fields. The China Development Bank has led to set up a special loan of US$10 billion to promote cooperation between China and Latin America in infrastructure construction, including construction of railways, highways, ports, power plants and other facilities which are closely associated with production and people's livelihood. We not only encourage more Chinese enterprises with strength and good reputation to invest in Latin America and strengthen industrial cooperation, but also would like to explore establishment of an industrial cooperation mechanism to promote further industrial connection and integration with Latin American countries and the Caribbean region. We are considering negotiation and signing of currency swap agreements with more Latin American countries to conduct local currency trade settlement and set up more bank offices in each other's country. The Chinese government will continue to provide economic aid within its capacity to Latin American countries and carry out more projects that benefit the people.

In sum, we hope to further enhance economic and trade cooperation with Latin American countries to realize common development and mutual benefit.

Q: It is reported that John Kerry, on track to be America's next Secretary of State, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during the confirmation hearing on January 24 that it was critical to strengthen relationship with China, hoping that China would recognize the need to broaden relationship with the US in return. He also suggested that the US should not overreact to China's military buildup in the Asia-Pacific region. What is China's comment?

A: We have noted Senator Kerry's relevant remarks. China highly values its relationship with the US and is willing to pull together with the US to advance China-US cooperative partnership and explore ways to build a new type of relations between major countries.

The Asia Pacific is the region where the interests of China and the US are most intertwined and interactions most frequent. Both countries should play a constructive role in maintaining peace, stability and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region. The two could keep communication, coordination and cooperation through mechanisms like Strategic and Economic Dialogues and Consultation on Asia-Pacific affairs so as to push for the realization of sound interactions between China and the US in the Asia Pacific.

After the press conference, a journalist asked for China's comment on reports saying that China was selling more weapons to the Kachin Independence Army of Myanmar.

Hong Lei remarked that relevant reports are completely untrue. We always maintain that both sides of the Myanmar conflict should peacefully resolve relevant dispute and difference through dialogue and consultation, and immediately cease fire to safeguard peace and tranquility of the China-Myanmar border. China has been playing a positive and constructive role in facilitating talks on the conflict in Northern Myanmar.

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