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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei's Regular Press Conference on May 31, 2013


Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei held a press conference on May 31, 2013.

Q: The 10th Senior Officials Meeting of the China-Arab Cooperation Forum was successfully held in Beijing. Please give us more details. What are the outcomes of the meeting?

A: The 10th Senior Officials Meeting of the China-Arab Cooperation Forum was held in Beijing on May 29 and 30. Senior officials from the foreign ministries of 21 Arab countries and the Secretariat of the Arab League as well as Arab diplomatic envoys in China participated in the meeting. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with heads of delegations of Arab countries and the Arab League. Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhai Jun attended and addressed the opening ceremony of the meeting.

The meeting reviewed the progress made since the fifth ministerial meeting of the forum, set out steps for implementing the forum's action plan from 2012 to 2014, held political consultation on regional hotspot issues of common interest and adopted an outcome document. The meeting played a significant and positive role in the building of the forum and the promotion of China-Arab strategic cooperative relations and practical cooperation across the board.

Q: US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel will meet with the Chinese delegation on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue this weekend. Will the two sides discuss the issue of cyber security?

A: The spokesperson of the National Defence Ministry released information about China's attendance at the Shangri-La Dialogue yesterday.

We have stated time and again China's position on the issue of cyber security. We stand for even-tempered discussions between China the US on this issue to make it a new highlight of bilateral cooperation and mutual trust so that we could jointly tackle cyber threats and uphold a peaceful, secure, open and cooperative cyber space.

Q: US Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Francisco Sánchez said during his visit to Japan that China was welcome to join the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement (TPP). What is China's comment?

A: China is open to all the proposals, including the TPP and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) that could foster economic integration and common prosperity of Asia. We are of the view that regional economic integration should move forward step by step in an open, inclusive and transparent manner based on a comprehensive understanding of the diversity and differences of economic growth in the Asia-Pacific region. We hope that all parties could set suitable standards by bearing in mind the realities of international trade and conditions of different countries so that developing economies would not be kept out by impossibly high standards which would in turn weaken the effectiveness of relevant arrangement and impair all parties' interests. China has been following the developments of the TPP negotiation and is willing to keep in touch with all parties concerned. We also hope that the TPP negotiation could be more transparent.

Q: It is reported that during Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa's visit to China, the two sides signed a series of cooperation agreements. Please brief us on their cooperation in defense and the construction of the Port of Colombo. Some people in India are a little bit worried about this cooperation. How does China respond?

A: At the invitation of President Xi Jinping, President Mahinda Rajapaksa of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka paid a state visit to China from May 27 to 30. The two countries signed a joint communiqué during the visit.

In terms of infrastructure construction, Sri Lanka said in the communiqué that China has played an important role in recent years as its major partner for development. Sri Lanka was grateful for the Chinese government's support in its infrastructure construction as well as social and economic development, especially in ports, aviation, energy, roads and highways, irrigation and other fields. The Chinese government will continue to help Sri Lanka as its capacity allows and encourage Chinese financial institutions to provide financing support to infrastructure construction in Sri Lanka.

In terms of defense cooperation, the communiqué stated that both sides agreed to further deepen defense cooperation, maintain exchanges between the two defense ministries and militaries at all levels and strengthen cooperation in military training, personnel training, defense-related science and technology, military institutes and logistical support. Both sides believed that terrorism, separatism and extremism had posed a grave threat to regional stability and security and reaffirmed practical cooperation against the three forces within bilateral and multilateral frameworks.

During President Rajapaksa's visit, the two sides decided to elevate bilateral relations to a strategic and cooperative partnership in order to further enhance political mutual trust, promote common development and jointly maintain peace, stability and prosperity of the region. This kind of cooperation is not targeted at a third country.

Premier Li Keqiang recently paid successful visits to India and Pakistan, which fully demonstrates the importance the new Chinese leadership attaches to the friendly cooperation with South Asian countries. Such cooperation will contribute to peace, stability and development of the region and benefit people of both China and South Asia.

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