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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying's Regular Press Conference on May 9, 2013


Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying held a press conference on May 9, 2013.

Q: Vice President Li Yuanchao is visiting Argentina and Venezuela. What is China's expectation of the visit? How does China assess its relations with the two countries?

A: At the invitation of Argentine Vice President and Speaker of the Senate Amado Boudou, Vice President Li Yuanchao will pay an official visit to Argentina from May 9 to 12. During the visit, Vice President Li Yuanchao will hold talks with Vice President and Speaker of the Senate Boudou and meet with President Cristina Fernandez De Kirchner and President of the Chamber of Deputies Julian Dominguez. The two sides will have an in-depth exchange of views over China-Argentina relations and issues of common interest and sign cooperation documents in fields of justice and quality inspection.

China-Argentina relations have been developing smoothly since the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1972. President Hu Jintao and President Néstor Kirchner paid visits to each other's country and established strategic partnership in 2004. President Cristina visited China in 2010 and Premier Wen Jiabao and CPPCC Chairman Jia Qinglin visited Argentina successively last year, which elevated China-Argentina relations to a new high. The two sides enjoy increasing political mutual trust and give each other firm support on issues concerning their major core interests. Bilateral business cooperation and trade is growing in scale and cooperation in energy, agriculture, finance, infrastructure and other fields is steadily forging ahead. Vice President Li Yuanchao's visit is the new Chinese leadership's first visit to Latin America as well as Chinese Vice President's first visit to Argentina since the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Argentina. It is of great significance to pushing forward China-Argentina strategic partnership under the new circumstances.

At the invitation of Venezuelan Vice President Jorge Arreaza, Vice President Li Yuanchao will pay an official visit to Venezuela from May 12 to 16.

During the visit, Vice President Li Yuanchao will hold talks with Vice President Arreaza and meet with President Nicolas Maduro and President of the National Assembly Diosdado Cabello respectively. The two sides will have an in-depth exchange of views on bilateral relations as well as international and regional issues of common interest. Cooperation documents on intergovernmental cooperation, energy, mining, consular affairs and others will also be signed.

Since China and Venezuela established diplomatic ties in 1974, especially since the two established strategic partnership for common development in 2001, bilateral relations have made substantial progress. With the personal care and support of leaders of the two countries, China and Venezuela have maintained frequent high-level exchanges, enjoyed deepening political mutual trust and given each other support on issues concerning their core interests. Cooperation in energy, finance, agriculture, infrastructure, high-tech and other fields has yielded fruitful results. Communication and cooperation in international and regional affairs are going well. Vice President Li Yuanchao's visit is important as both countries have just completed a transition of leadership. China hopes that this visit could further promote China-Venezuela relations.

Q: It is reported that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe tried to justify his previous statement that the term "aggression" was yet to be defined on May 8 during a Diet session. He said that the definition of aggression was widely debated in the academic field where politicians should not step in, adding that like his predecessors, he recognized the great loss and suffering caused by Japan to many other countries, Asian countries in particular. Japanese media take this as a signal that Abe is inclined to correct what he said on historical issues. What is China's comment?

A: We have noted the Japanese leader's statement on historical issues. There is ironclad and irrefutable evidence for Japanese militarism's aggression, on which the international community has long reached a conclusion. It is not an academic issue at all. I would like to reiterate that only by honestly facing the past can Japan embrace the future. We will continue to watch and see what Japan says and does. We hope that the Japanese side could take history as a mirror and take concrete actions to win trust from its Asian neighbors and the whole international community.

Q: Indian Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid arrived in China for a visit today. Will the two sides talk about the boundary issue? Please brief us on the recent confrontation incident along the China-India border. How will the two sides prevent recurrence of similar incidents?

A: At the invitation of Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Indian Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid arrived in China today for a visit. Premier Li Keqiang and other Chinese leaders will meet with him. Foreign Minister Wang Yi will hold talks with him. The two sides will have an in-depth exchange of views on further developing China-India relations as well as other issues of common interest.

We have repeatedly expounded our position on the recent confrontation incident in the western section of the China-India border. The incident has been settled in a timely and proper way with the concerted efforts of both sides, which meets the aspiration and interests of the two countries. There are a host of border-related mechanisms between China and India, such as the special representatives' meeting mechanism on the China-India boundary question and the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on China-India Border Affairs. We are willing to make full use of existing mechanisms in a constructive and cooperative manner for communication and consultation on border issues in a joint effort to safeguard peace and tranquility in the border areas, and seek for a fair, reasonable and mutually-acceptable solution to border issues at an early date.

Q: First, China recently played host to Palestinian and Israeli leaders, making efforts for the Middle East Peace Process. Has China done the same on the Syrian issue? What is China's response to the proposal made by the US and Russia of holding an international meeting on the Syrian issue? Second, did Premier Li Keqiang talk about the Middle East issue with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu?

A: On your first question, bearing in mind regional peace and stability, China has been in close communication with all parties. China firmly supports, actively participates in and pushes hard for the political settlement of the Syrian issue. China has also tabled several proposals and suggestions for the political settlement of the Syrian issue and actively supported UN-AL Joint Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi's impartial mediation.

We have noted that consensus was reached between Russia and the US on pushing for the political settlement of the Syrian issue. We welcome that. Together with the international community, China will continue to work on all relevant parties in Syria to start dialogue and political transition based on the communiqué of Geneva foreign ministers' meeting of the Action Group on Syria, so as to solve the Syrian issue fairly, peacefully and properly at an early date.

On your second question, Premier Li Keqiang held talks with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu yesterday afternoon. Relevant information has been released. Premier Li Keqiang pointed out that the Palestinian issue is the key to peace and stability in the Middle East region. A peaceful settlement through dialogue and negotiation is the only effective way out. China hopes that Palestine and Israel could make joint efforts and take concrete steps to remove obstacles and create conditions for the resumption of peace talks and substantive progress. It not only serves the interests of both Palestine and Israel, but is also conducive to peace and stability of the region and the world as a whole. As a friend to both Israel and Palestine, China has always been objective and just, and stands ready to work with all parties to advance the Middle East Peace Process. The Israeli side applauded China's constructive role in the Middle East Peace Process.

Q: The EU is going to impose penalty duties on China's solar products. Will China retaliate?

A: China and the EU are each other's most important trading partner. The development of mutually beneficial economic cooperation serves the interests of both sides and is conducive to economic growth of the two. We hope that both sides could properly address friction and problems in trade through dialogue and consultation in a constructive and cooperative attitude. We also hope that the EU could refrain from resorting to trade protectionism measures.

Q: It is reported that Brazilian Ambassador to the WTO Roberto Azevedo has won the race to head the WTO. What is China's comment and expectation of the WTO under the leadership of Mr. Azevedo?

A: The outcome of consultations concerning the selection of the next WTO Director-General was released on May 8. Mr. Azevedo, Brazilian candidate and ambassador to the WTO was selected to be the next Director-General of the WTO based on consensus through consultation. China welcomes the result and congratulates Mr. Azevedo.

China will continue to support the Director-General's work and play a constructive role in multilateral trade affairs.

Q: An op-ed about Ryukyu recently published in the People's Daily has aroused attention. Does China question Japan's sovereignty over Ryukyu? What's the Chinese government's position?

A: The Chinese government's position on relevant issue remains unchanged. History about Okinawa and Ryukyu has long been followed by the academia. The subject has recently gained new attention in the context of Japan's repeated provocations on the Diaoyu Islands issue which infringed on China's territorial sovereignty. The op-ed by relevant scholars reflects the Chinese public and academia's attention to and study on the Diaoyu Islands and other relevant historical issues.

Q: Is China meant to play a bigger role in the Middle East Peace Process by playing host to Palestinian and Israeli leaders in succession?

A: China always places high importance on and makes active efforts to promote the Middle East Peace Process. Ambassador Wu Sike, China's Special Envoy on the Middle East Issue recently visited Palestine and Israel. Palestinian and Israeli leaders also came to China for visits these days. All the above are part of China's efforts for an early resumption and substantive progress of the Middle East Peace Talks.

Q: UK Prime Minister David Cameron reportedly told the parliament on May 8 that the UK recognizes Tibet as part of China, does not support "Tibetan independence" and respects China's sovereignty, adding that the UK wants to "have a strong and positive relationship with China". What is China's comment?

A: Tibet is an inalienable part of China and Tibet-related issues are China's internal affairs. The Dalai Lama is a political exile who has long been engaged in anti-China separatist activities in the name of religion. China is firmly opposed to foreign leaders' meeting with the Dalai Lama in whatever form as well as foreign countries' intervention in China's internal affairs under whatever pretext. China always hopes that the UK could respect China's major concerns and take concrete measures to bring bilateral relations back to the track of sound development. We have noted Prime Minister Cameron's remarks and hope that the UK would continue to respect China's major concerns, deal with relevant issue in a correct and prudent way and send a coherent message to the outside world.

Q: Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga reportedly told the press that Japan has lodged protest with China on May 8 against the article in the People's Daily which questioned the ownership of Okinawa. What is China's comment?

A: I have made clear China's position on relevant issue. China does not accept Japan's so-called "protest".

Q: What is your comment on the meeting between ROK and US leaders in Washington?

A: We have noted ROK President Park Geun-hye's recent visit to the US as well as her proposals on peace and cooperation in Northeast Asia. China supports relevant parties in making more efforts to defuse tension and improve relations. China hopes that all parties could work together to maintain regional peace, stability and development.

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