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

2013/03/26

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

Hong Lei started the press conference with the following announcements:

First, upon invitation, President Xi Jinping will attend the opening ceremony of the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2013 and deliver a keynote speech.

Foreign leaders and heads of international organizations that will come to China to attend the Annual Conference include: Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei, President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan, President U Thein Sein of Myanmar, President Ollanta Humala of Peru, President Michael Sata of Zambia, President Sauli Niinisto of Finland, President Peña Nieto of Mexico, Prime Minister Hun Sen of Cambodia, Prime Minister John Key of New Zealand, Prime Minister Julia Gillard of Australia, Speaker Abdelkader Bensalah of the Algerian Council of Nation, Chairman Zandaakhuu Enkhbold of the State Great Khural of Mongolia and President Vuk Jeremic of the 67th Session of the UN General Assembly.

This year, the Boao Forum for Asia will be held from April 6 to 8. As pointed out by State Councillor Yang Jiechi at the press conference during the two sessions, this conference's level and scale will exceed those of all the previous conferences and will be a grand gathering for the promotion of common development of Asia and the world.

Second, at the invitation of President Xi Jinping, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei, President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan, President U Thein Sein of Myanmar, President Ollanta Humala of Peru, President Michael Sata of Zambia, President Sauli Niinisto of Finland, President Peña Nieto of Mexico will pay state visits to China before or after the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2013.

At the invitation of Premier Li Keqiang, Prime Minister Hun Sen of Cambodia, Prime Minister John Key of New Zealand and Prime Minister Julia Gillard of Australia will pay official visits to China after the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2013.

Third, Chinese Special Envoy on the Middle East issue Wu Sike will visit Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar from March 28 to April 6 to exchange views with relevant countries on bilateral relations and the current situation in the region.

Q: It is reported that Ministries of Petroleum of Sudan and South Sudan have recently given directives to start oil production and export in South Sudan. What is China's comment?

A: China welcomes announcements by Sudan and South Sudan to restore bilateral oil cooperation, and believes that it is a positive step taken by the two sides to further improve relations and strengthen political mutual trust. We hope the two could earnestly fulfill the commitment, and on top of that, properly solve other outstanding issues through negotiation at an early date.

Q: The "Seleka" rebel coalition in Central Africa reportedly seized control of the capital city Bangui on March 24. What is China's comment on the current situation in Central Africa? What measures has China taken to protect Chinese nationals and institutions?

A: China follows closely the situation in Central Africa and is deeply worried about the relapse of the political and security situation in Central Africa. We call on relevant parties in Central Africa to bear in mind the fundamental interests of the country and the people, restore the order of the country as soon as possible and safeguard national unity and stability. China is ready to work with the international community to play a positive role in restoring peace and stability in Central Africa.

Military conflicts broke out in the vicinity of Bangui, capital of the Central African Republic on March 22, and the security situation has worsened since then. The Foreign Ministry and the Chinese Embassy in Central Africa attach great importantce to the security of Chinese nationals in Central Africa and have immediately launched the emergency mechanism to handle the situation. The Embassy reached Chinese nationals in the area in time, briefed them on the security situation, organized them to take shelter in the Embassy, and tried its best to evacuate those who were willing to leave the country. Up to now, 67 out of the 90 or so Chinese nationals in Central Africa have been safely evacuated, while the rest of them preferred to stay. The Chinese Embassy in Central Africa will maintain close communication with them and offer help at any time.

Q: President Xi Jinping started visiting Africa yesterday. Please brief us on the significance of this visit.

A: President Xi Jinping has started state visits to Tanzania, South Africa and the Republic of Congo. China and Africa enjoy profound traditional friendship as well as impressive cooperation achievements across the board. Both sides regard each other's development as an important opportunity for its self-development and have a strong willingness to further strengthen cooperation. President Xi Jinping's visit to Africa will be of great significance to comprehensively deepening China's relations with relevant countries, enhancing unity and cooperation between developing countries and taking China-Africa relations to a new high.

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