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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei's Regular Press Conference on June 6, 2013


Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei held a press conference on June 6, 2013.

Q: President of the Pakistan Muslim League-N party Nawaz Sharif is formally elected as Pakistani Prime Minister for the third term. He told the Parliament that Pakistan had agreed to build a road and rail network connecting the Chinese city of Kashgar to Gwadar, adding that this plan would bring great economic benefit to Pakistan. What is China's comment on Sharif's re-election as Pakistani Prime Minister? How will China press ahead with the China-Pakistan economic corridor project?

A: China extends warm congratulations to Mr. Sharif on his re-election as Pakistani Prime Minister. Premier Li Keqiang has already sent a congratulatory message to him. As a close and friendly neighbour, China will continue to carry out mutually beneficial cooperation in all fields with Pakistan and support its efforts to realize national stability and promote economic and social development. China and Pakistan reached important agreement on building the economic corridor during Premier Li Keqiang's visit to Pakistan. China will work with Pakistan to speed up the planning and the building of the economic corridor and make it a new highlight of bilateral cooperation.

Q: The DPRK proposed inter-governmental talks with the ROK on reopening the Kaesong industrial park, resuming cross-border tours to Mount Kumgang resort and restarting reunions of families divided since the Korean War. The ROK made a positive response to the proposal. What is China's comment?

A: China is glad to see and welcomes the DPRK and the ROK's agreement on resuming contact and dialogue. China encourages the two sides to solve problems and improve relations through dialogue and consultation. We hope that all parties could cherish this hard-won momentum of dialogue and strive to turn around the situation as soon as possible so as to jointly maintain peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula.

Q: What is China's expectation for the upcoming meeting between President Xi Jinping and US President Barack Obama?

A: The meeting between President Xi Jinping and US President Obama marks the first face-to-face contact between top leaders of the two countries following their leadership changes. It attracts worldwide attention and is of far-reaching historic and strategic significance.

China-US relations have maintained the momentum of sound and steady development over the past four years and got off to a good start this year, embracing important opportunities for further development. Leaders of the two countries will have an in-depth and strategic exchange of views on major and strategic issues concerning the development of bilateral relations as well as important international and regional issues in a bid to enhance strategic mutual trust, promote mutually beneficial cooperation, build cooperative partnership and a new type of major-country relations between China and the US, sustain and reinforce the momentum of the vigorous development of bilateral relations and carry the relations forward in a sound and steady manner. It serves the common interests of the two countries and peoples and contributes to peace, stability and development of the world.

Q: US Acting Assistant Secretary of State Joseph Yun reportedly said on June 5 that China and ASEAN made apparent progress during a working-level meeting last week in Bangkok, and they might announce the beginning of negotiations on a code of conduct in the South China Sea (COC) sometime this year. Please confirm. Have China and ASEAN set out a timetable for negotiations of the COC?

A: The eighth joint working group meeting on the implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) was held in Bangkok, Thailand on May 29. Representatives from China and ASEAN countries attended the meeting and had an in-depth, candid and friendly exchange of views on the implementation of the DOC.

The meeting spoke highly of the landmark significance of the DOC and fully appreciated the progress in 2012 on implementing the DOC, including disaster prevention and reduction as well as cooperation in marine ecology. All parties agreed to continue the comprehensive and effective implementation of the DOC, discussed key areas in the implementation of the DOC and institutional building and mapped out a working plan for 2013 and 2014. China, Thailand, Indonesia and Cambodia laid out around 10 cooperation proposals such as setting up a China-ASEAN hotline on maritime emergency rescue.

Participants held discussions about how to press ahead with the COC, enhanced mutual understanding and expressed the willingness to steadily push forward the COC based on existing consensus in the course of the comprehensive and effective implementation of the DOC.

The meeting agreed to keep the momentum of dialogue and consultation and hold the ninth joint working group meeting in Beijing in the latter half of this year.

Q: What measures has China taken to protect the lawful rights and interests of the Chinese in Ghana during the Ghanaian government's clean-up actions against illegal gold mining?

A: The Chinese Foreign Ministry and Embassy in Ghana are highly concerned about the detention of 124 Chinese during the Ghanaian government's clean-up actions against illegal gold mining. The Chinese Embassy has lodged urgent representations with senior officials of Ghana's presidential office, calling for their strong discipline in law enforcement, and asking the authorities to stop looting by local residents and protect the Chinese's safety as well as lawful rights and interests. Officials from the Embassy have paid consular visits to the detained Chinese, brought to them daily necessities and arranged health check and medical treatment for them. It is verified that there are no casualties among those in custody. The Embassy has also sent staff to some of the mines to get more information.

The Foreign Ministry reminds once again Chinese citizens in Ghana to strictly abide by local laws and regulations and not engage in any illegal activities. The Foreign Ministry and the Chinese Embassy in Ghana will continue to provide consular protection and assistance to Chinese citizens there to protect their personal safety as well as their legitimate rights and interests.

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