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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei's Regular Press Conference on September 11, 2013


Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei held a press conference on September 11, 2013.

Hong Lei started the press conference with the following announcement.

Wang Zhengwei, Vice Chairman of the National Committee of the CPPCC and Director of the State Ethnic Affairs Commission will go to Mali at invitation for the inauguration ceremony of the newly-elected President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita on September 19 as the Special Envoy of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Q: The French delegation has submitted on September 11 a draft UN Security Council Resolution, which would demand that Syria make a complete declaration of its chemical weapons within 15 days and open all of its sites to UN inspectors or face possible punitive measures. What is China's position?

A: China supports the UN Security Council in playing its due and important role in issues concerning peace and security and stands ready to stay in communication with all relevant parties on the Security Council's next possible move on the Syrian issue. We maintain that the Security Council's action should be based on consensus reached after full discussions by all parties and contribute to easing the current tension, upholding peace and stability in Syria and the region as well as the political settlement of the Syrian issue.

Q: First, US President Obama said today in his televised remarks on the Syrian issue that the US is willing to offer a chance for diplomatic mediation, but the US will not stand by since the facts about the Syrian government's use of chemical weapons cannot be denied. What is China's comment? Second, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said yesterday that Russia is now working with Syria to prepare a detailed plan of action which will then be finalized together with the UN and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. However, the Russian side said that the plan will only work if the US and other countries agree not to use force. Have Russia and Syria informed China of relevant situation? What role will China play in this process?

A: On your first question, we have noted relevant remarks by President Obama. Our position on the issue of chemical weapons is consistent. We are firmly opposed to the use of chemical weapons by anyone. In the meantime, China objects to the use or threat of force in international relations. To bypass the Security Council and take unilateral military actions goes against the international law and basic norms governing international relations and will add to turbulences in Syria and the region as a whole. Relevant proposal by Russia offers important opportunities to ease the current tension and properly address the international community's concerns about the issue of chemical weapons in Syria. We hope relevant parties could stay commited to political and diplomatic solutions to relevant issue.

On your second question, China welcomes and supports relevant proposal by Russia. China stays in communication and contact with Russia, Syria and other relevant parties on the Syrian issue.

On the Syrian issue, we stand for both the international norms on prohibiting the use of chemical weapons and the political settlement. We must move ahead on both tracks. China will adhere to its objective and impartial position, keep communication and coordination with all relevant parties, encourage peace talks and play a positive and constructive role in properly resolving the Syrian issue through political and diplomatic means.

Q: The DPRK and the ROK reached an agreement yesterday on restarting the Kaesong Industrial Complex after a trial operation on September 16. What is China's comment?

A: China welcomes the DPRK-ROK agreement on reopening the Kaesong Industrial Park after a trial run and supports the two sides in keeping the momentum of dialogue and contact, further improving relations and making active efforts to ease the tension of the Korean Peninsula and the whole region.

Q: Japanese Defense Minister ordered the Self-Defense Forces to strengthen daily monitoring in response to China's air and sea operations targeting Japan one year after the Japanese government's "purchase" of the Diaoyu Islands. What is China's comment?

A: One year after the Japanese government's illegal "purchase" of the Diaoyu Islands, Japan does not seriously reflect on its mistakes. Rather, it is making irresponsible remarks on China's normal air and sea operations. China is strongly dissatisfied about that. China will continue to take necessary measures to firmly defend sovereignty over the Diaoyu Islands. We urge Japan to correct mistakes, stop all activities detrimental to China's territorial sovereignty and make real efforts to remove obstacles in the improvement of bilateral relations.

Q: Both the Syrian Prime Minister and Foreign Minister said yesterday that Syria accepted Russia's proposal of placing its chemical weapons under international control, adding that Syria is ready to open its sites of chemical weapons, halt the production of chemical weapons and consider joining the Chemical Weapons Convention. What is China's comment?

A: China welcomes the latest statements from the Syrian government. This is an important step by Syria to ease tension. We hope all relevant parties will seize this opportunity, make positive response and press ahead with proper settlement of the Syrian chemical weapons issue through political and diplomatic means.

Q: Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif convened on September 9 a conference attended by Pakistan's ruling and opposition parties, reaching an agreement on holding dialogue with the Taliban militants. What is China's comment?

A: We have noted the afore-mentioned reports. China appreciates the commitments of the Pakistani government and all political parties to improving domestic security environment. As a friendly neighbour of Pakistan, China supports Pakistan in devising and implementing counter-terrorism security strategies in light of its national conditions and sincerely hopes to see social stability and economic development there.

Q: The Philippine Vice Admiral Jose Luis Alano reportedly said yesterday that discussions were under way about how to address the block-laying issue on the Huangyan Island and said that whether to remove the blocks would be finally decided by the Philippine government. What is China's comment?

A: China has indisputable sovereignty over the Huangyan Island and its adjacent waters. No one knows the situation on the Huangyan Island better than China. What the Philippines said was completed fabricated. I would like to underline that China's activities on the Huangyan Island and in its adjacent waters fall entirely within the scope of China's sovereignty. China urges the Philippines to stop stirring up new troubles and work together with China to uphold peace and stability in the South China Sea and restore bilateral relations.

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