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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei's Regular Press Conference on March 20, 2013


Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei held a press conference on March 20, 2013.

Q: Syria's official media reported on March 19 that Syrian rebels fired a rocket carrying chemical agents in Aleppo that killed 25 people and wounded dozens. The rebels denied it and said that the rocket was launched by the Syrian government forces. What is China's comment?

A: China always stands for complete prohibition and thorough destruction of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) including chemical weapons, and supports the purposes and principles of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). Use of chemical weapons violates the norms of international law that are widely accepted by the international community. We are firmly opposed to the use of chemical weapons, no matter by whom.

Q: It is reported that President Xi Jinping had a telephone conversation with President Park Geun-hye of the ROK today. Please brief us on the conversation.

A: Chinese President Xi Jinping had a telephone conversation with his ROK counterpart Park Geun-hye this morning.

President Park Geun-hye warmly congratulated Xi Jinping on his election as President of China. Park Geun-hye said she highly appreciates "the Chinese Dream" put forward by President Xi Jinping to achieve the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. The ROK is committed to promoting national development and people's wellbeing. Thus, the two countries share similar governing concepts and extensive common interests. The ROK is ready to work with China to promote high-level and people-to-people exchanges, constantly enrich bilateral cooperation, and push forward ROK-China relations on the current good foundation for new and greater progress to benefit the two peoples.

President Xi Jinping expressed thanks to President Park Geun-hye's congratulations. He stressed that since the establishment of diplomatic ties 20 years ago, the steady and rapid development of China-ROK relations has brought tangible benefits to the two countries and peoples and played a significant role in safeguarding regional peace and stability. China and the ROK share a lot in common in terms of their development tasks. Under the new situation, enhancing understanding, trust and cooperation between the two sides is of great importance to peace and development of the two countries as well as the region. China attaches great importance to its relations with the ROK and regards the ROK as an important strategic partner of cooperation. We stand ready to work with the ROK to build on past achievements and forge ahead into the future to push China-ROK relations to a new high.

President Xi Jinping said that peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula has a direct bearing on the interests of peoples on the Peninsula as well as the Chinese people. China is committed to safeguarding peace and stability and realizing denuclearization of the Peninsula. We stand for solving the issue through dialogue and negotiation. Under the current circumstances, China hopes relevant parties could make joint efforts to ease the tension and achieve a turnabout of the situation. The North and the South are compatriots and their relations are crucial to the future of the Peninsula. China is willing to provide necessary assistance for their reconciliation and cooperation.

President Park Geun-hye said that the ROK is ready to work with China to strengthen communication and cooperation and jointly push forward the denuclearization process of the Peninsula so as to safeguard peace, stability and prosperity of the Peninsula and Northeast Asia.

Q: Today is the 10th anniversary of the outbreak of the Iraq War. Yesterday a number of bomb attacks in Iraq caused heavy casualties. What is China's comment on the current situation in Iraq?

A: China condemns the recent bomb attacks in Iraq that caused heavy casualties. We oppose all violence against civilians, and hope that relevant parties in Iraq could strengthen solidarity, jointly safeguard and promote national stability and development.

China always supports the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq, and stands for observation of the purposes of the UN Charter and the basic norms of international relations in dealing with regional affairs. We support the political and economic reconstruction process of Iraq and stand ready to work with the international community to provide assistance within our capacity for realization of security, stability and development in Iraq.

Q: Is China ready to formulate the "Code of Conduct in the South China Sea" (COC)?

A: China has always maintained good communication with ASEAN countries on the issue of formulating the COC. Currently, relevant parties should comprehensively and effectively implement the "Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea" (DOC) so as to create conditions for formulating the COC and jointly safeguard peace and stability in the South China Sea.

Q: It is reported that the P5 plus one countries and Iran held an expert-level meeting in Istanbul on March 18. The P5 plus one countries suggested to adopt "meaningful steps" to enhance mutual trust and relax the international community's sanctions against Iran in exchange for Iran's concessions on developing nuclear programs. What is China's comment?

A: The P5 plus one countries and Iran had an in-depth exchange of views on resolution of the Iranian nuclear issue at the expert-level meeting in Istanbul. The meeting enhances mutual understanding and is helpful. For the next step, relevant parties should step up diplomatic efforts, seek common ground while resolving differences and enhance mutual trust so as to push forward dialogue and negotiation for an early progress.

Q: ROK banks, TV stations and communications companies are under large-scale cyber attacks today. What is China's comment?

A: This once again shows that cyber security is the common challenge faced by the international community. China always calls for establishing a peaceful, secure, open and cooperative cyberspace and formulating relevant rules to serve the common interests of the international community. We are ready to carry out constructive cooperation with all countries to safeguard peace and security of the cyberspace on the basis of mutual respect and trust.

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