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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei's Regular Press Conference on February 22, 2013


Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei held a press conference on February 22, 2013.

Hong Lei started the press conference with the following announcements:

Wang Qishan, Vice Premier of the State Council and Chinese Chairman of the China-Russia Energy Cooperation Committee (CRECC), will co-chair the meeting between chairmen of CRECC with his Russian counterpart Arkady Dvorkovich, Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, in Beijing on February 25.

At the invitation of Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, Foreign Minister of the Republic of Peru Rafael Roncagliolo Orbegoso will pay an official visit to China from February 23 to 27.

Q: In his interview with an American media before his visit to the United States, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made tough remarks against China, slandering China's political system and foreign policy, claiming that he would stop China from plundering other country's territories. How does China comment?

A: China is strongly dissatisfied with the Japanese leader's remarks that brazenly distorted facts, attacked and smeared China and instigated antagonism between China and Japan. We have made stern representations with the Japanese side. I would like to reiterate the following:

First, China has indisputable sovereignty over the Diaoyu Island and its affiliated islands which have been China's inherent territory since ancient times. The Japanese government's illegal "purchase" of the Diaoyu Islands have grossly violated China's territorial sovereignty. Japan must correct mistakes and undo the damage. Chinese government ships' patrol and law enforcement in waters off the Islands were performance of its innate rights according to law. Japan's so-called "actual control" over the Islands, which are illegal and ineffective, has never been acknowledged nor accepted by China. The Chinese side always stands for proper settlement of the issue through dialogue and consultation and has made enormous efforts toward this end. Japan should face up to the history and reality, immediately stop illegal activities in waters off the Islands and make concrete efforts for the appropriate resolution of the current situation.

Second, China has been carrying out normal maritime activities according to international and domestic laws. The freedom and safety of navigation in the East and South China Seas has never been affected in any way. Japan's actions to deliberately play up "China threat", mislead international opinion and create regional tension are driven by ulterior motives. Japan should do more for political and security mutual trust between the two countries and regional peace and stability, rather than the contrary.

Third, the Chinese people have been strongly dissatisfied and indignant with Japan's erroneous measures time and again on major sensitive issues such as history and the Diaoyu Islands. Japan should take full responsibility for the current difficulty in bilateral relations. It should also have deep soul-searching on its history of aggression and seriously reflect on what it has done.

Fourth, the people of a country are the best qualified to judge whether the country's political system and development path are suitable or not. Only those with political bias or ulterior motives will maliciously interpret and groundlessly accuse the outstanding and world-renowned achievements made by the Chinese people in national development. China will continue to go along the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics and the Chinese nation's great revitalization is unstoppable.

Fifth, China is willing to develop its relations with Japan based on the principles and spirit of the four political documents between the two countries. We hope the Japanese government and leaders could correctly understand and view China and China's development, adopt a positive policy toward China, exhibit sincerity and actions, and work for the improvement and development of bilateral relations.

Q: Mines Minister of Zambia reportedly said on February 20 that the Zambian government had decided to seize control of a Chinese-owned coal company Collum Coal Mine due to its long-time poor compliance with safety and environmental standards and had cancelled its other three small-scale mining licenses. Please brief us on the situation. What is China's comment?

A: Collum Coal Mine is a registered enterprise in Zambia and relevant issue should be handled in accordance with Zambian laws. The Chinese government hopes and believes that the Zambian government will act in accordance with law, properly deal with relevant issue and protect the legitimate rights and interests of the enterprise. I would like to stress that China-Zambia economic and trade cooperation have developed rapidly in recent years with a steady growth of Chinese enterprises' investment in Zambia, which has created many job opportunities in Zambia and strongly promoted local economic development. The Chinese government is committed to the win-win foreign cooperation policy and requires Chinese enterprises and personnel investing overseas to be honest, law-abiding and attentive to their social responsibilities for more contribution to local economic and social development and the improvement of people's livelihood. Only in this way can it be conducive to their long-time existence and sustainable development overseas.

Q: Please confirm that the P5 plus one countries and Iran will hold a new round of talks. Will China send a delegation and what is China's expectation of the talks?

A: Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu will lead a delegation to the new round of talks between the P5 plus one countries and Iran to be held in Alma-Ata of Kazakhstan on February 26.

The P5 plus one countries, the EU and Iran held three rounds of talks and an expert-level meeting in the first half of last year, in which they had an in-depth exchange of views on the Iranian nuclear issue and stabilized the Iranian nuclear situation. China is pleased to see a new round of talks between the P5 plus one countries and Iran to be held nearly eight months later.

The dialogue on the Iranian nuclear issue is now in a new crucial period. This is the first round of talks in 2013 which attracts high attention from the international community. It needs the common efforts of all parties to push for positive outcomes of the talks for consolidating the positive momentum of dialogue and cooperation and safeguarding regional peace and stability.

China always believes that dialogue and negotiation is the only correct way to properly resolve the Iranian nuclear issue, which is complex and sensitive. It calls for confidence in a peaceful resolution through dialogue as well as an objective and practical attitude. We hope all parties will seize the opportunity of the new round of talks, step up diplomatic efforts, show further flexibility and sincerity, seek common ground and resolve differences so as to push forward the negotiation process on the basis of last year's talks. China has made great efforts and played a positive and constructive role in keeping the Iranian nuclear issue on the track of dialogue and pushing for progress. We stand ready with other parties concerned to peacefully resolve the Iranian nuclear issue through diplomatic means.

Q: Please brief us on the itinerary and China's expectation of Peruvian Foreign Minister's visit to China.

A: During Foreign Minister Roncagliolo's visit to China, Chinese leaders and Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi will meet and hold talks with him respectively to have an extensive and in-depth exchange of views on bilateral relations and other issues of common interest.

Peru was one of the first Latin American countries to establish diplomatic relations with the PRC. The past 42 years have seen the smooth development of China-Peru relations with constant high-level visits, diverse cultural and people-to-people exchanges, fruitful practical cooperation across the board and close coordination and cooperation in international and regional affairs. China always attaches importance to developing relations with Peru from a strategic height and stands ready to work with the Peruvian side to expand friendly exchanges and deepen practical cooperation to promote a comprehensive and in-depth development of China-Peru strategic partnership.

Q: It is reported that a suicide car bomb explosion in the center of Damascus, capital of Syria, on February 21 killed 72 people, injured nearly 300 and damaged Russia's Embassy in Syria. What is China's comment?

A: China strongly condemns terrorism of all forms. We lament the huge casualties of innocent civilians in the bomb attack in Damascus and express serious concern over the safety of foreign diplomatic missions in Syria. China once again urges relevant parties in Syria to cease fire, stop violence, launch the political dialogue and push forward the political transition as soon as possible for an early restoration of national peace and stability.

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