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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei's Regular Press Conference on April 12, 2013


Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei held a press conference on April 12, 2013.

Q: It is reported that the US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) recently assessed the DPRK's capability of developing nuclear weapons. What is China's comment?

A: China's position on the Korean nuclear issue is clear. China stands for safeguarding peace and stability of the Peninsula, pushing forward denuclearization of the Peninsula and solving relevant issue through dialogue and negotiation. No matter how the situation changes, we should work towards this goal.

Q: Please brief us on the schedule of US Secretary of State John Kerry's visit to China.

A: During US Secretary of State John Kerry's visit to China, Chinese leaders will meet with him and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will hold talks with him. We will release relevant information in due course.

Q: A 6.1-magnitude earthquake hit the Bushehr province in Southwestern Iran on April 9, causing heavy casualties and property losses. What is China's comment?

A: The Chinese government laments the death of the victims and expresses condolences to the bereaved families and the injured. We will follow closely the situation and stand ready to provide help if necessary.

Q: Relevant organizations of Japan and Taiwan signed a fishing agreement on April 10. Will it impair China's sovereignty and relevant rights and interests?

A: We have made clear our position on this issue. I would like to stress that the Diaoyu Island and its affiliated islands are China's inherent territory. As for the fishery issue between China and Japan, the two countries signed a fishery agreement as early as in 1997. China opposes Japan's unilateral actions in relevant waters and urges Japan to properly deal with Taiwan-related issues in strict accordance with the principles and spirit of the China-Japan Joint Statement.

Q: Please brief us on the details of the China-India Anti-Terrorism Dialogue.

A: China and India held the 6th Anti-Terrorism Consultation in Beijing on April 11. The consultation was joined by interagency delegations of the two countries headed by Director-General Qiu Guohong of the Department of External Security Affairs of the Chinese Foreign Ministry and Additional Secretary Navtej Sarna of India's Ministry of External Affairs respectively. The two sides had an in-depth exchange of views on issues such as international and regional anti-terrorism situation and bilateral anti-terrorism cooperation.

Q: First, it is reported that US Secretary of State John Kerry will ask China to step up pressure on the DPRK during his visit to China. How will China respond? Second, please confirm that China has reportedly asked for a special meeting with foreign ministers of ASEAN countries to discuss formulating a code of conduct in the South China Sea (COC). Does this mean that China's position on the South China Sea issue has changed?

A: On your first question, it serves the common interests and is the shared responsibility of all relevant parties including China and the US to safeguard peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia, push forward denuclearization of the Peninsula and solve relevant issue through dialogue. China stands ready to work with all parties concerned towards this goal.

On your second question, this year marks the 10th anniversary of China-ASEAN strategic partnership. The two sides are deliberating celebrations to review the past, plan the future, and upgrade China-ASEAN strategic partnership. Relevant arrangements are still under discussion. China's position on the South China Sea issue remains unchanged. We are always committed to settling disputes with countries concerned through friendly consultations and negotiations, which is also the consensus reached between China and ASEAN countries in the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC). The South China Sea issue is not an issue between China and ASEAN.

As for the COC, at the 19th China-ASEAN Senior Officials' Consultation, all parties agreed to continue comprehensively implementing the DOC, promoting cooperation within the framework of the DOC, maintaining dialogue and negotiation, enhancing mutual trust and working towards agreement on the COC based on consensus through consultation. All parties are ready to continue exchange of views on the issue.

Q: Which Chinese official will attend the funeral of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher?

A: China has expressed condolences in different ways on the death of Thatcher. We will make arrangement according to the convention and Britan's plans of the funeral.

Q: Will China send a special envoy to the DPRK in the near future for communication on the situation of the Korean Peninsula?

A: Tensions have been high on the Korean Peninsula recently. China is committed to easing the tension and solving relevant issue through dialogue and maintains communication with all parties concerned including the DPRK. Under the current circumstances, we call on all relevant parties to remain calm, exercise restraint, avoid provocative actions or things that may escalate the tension. All parties should bear in mind the long-term and overall interests, do more that is conducive to peace and stability of the Peninsula, push for the turnaround of the situation and bring relevant issue onto the track of dialogue including resuming the Six-Party Talks.

Q: China, Russia and Pakistan recently held a trilateral dialogue on the Afghanistan issue. Senior security representatives of China, Russia and India also held a meeting on the Afghanistan issue early this year. Will China make a joint strategy with all relevant parties on the Afghanistan issue?

A: In February this year, senior security representatives of China, Russia and India held a meeting on the Afghanistan issue. In early April, China, Russia and Pakistan also held a trilateral dialogue on the Afghanistan issue.

Relevant parties exchanged views on the Afghanistan issue, regional situation and international and regional cooperation regarding the Afghanistan issue. They believe that the situation in Afghanistan is closely related to regional security and stability. Relevant parties' dialogues on the Afghanistan issue help enhance understanding, trust and coordination. They agreed to jointly safeguard peace, stability and security of Afghanistan and the region, and support the reconciliation process owned and led by the Afghan people. They also agreed to support the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in playing a bigger role on the Afghanistan issue and discussed strengthening cooperation in anti-terrorism, counter-narcotics and other fields within the framework of the Istanbul Process.

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