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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei's Regular Press Conference on September 13, 2013

2013/09/13

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei held a press conference on September 13, 2013.

Hong Lei started the press conference with the following announcement:

At the invitation of Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Foreign Minister Georges Chikoti of the Republic of Angola will pay an official visit to China from September 15 to 18.

Q: Vice Foreign Minister Zhai Jun met with the visiting delegation of "the Syrian national dialogue forum" yesterday. Please give us more details.

A: On September 12, Vice Foreign Minister Zhai Jun met with the delegation of "the Syrian national dialogue forum", who was visiting China at the invitation of the Chinese People's Institute of Foreign Affairs.

Vice Minister Zhai Jun elaborated on China's position and proposition on the current situation in Syria, saying that China extends sympathy to the Syrian people for their sufferings and respects their will and choice. China opposes the use of chemical weapons and external military intervention in Syria, supports and welcomes the proposal recently put forward by Russia. Vice Minister Zhai emphasized that political resolution is the only practical way out for the Syrian issue. It is hoped that "the Syrian national dialogue forum" will bring into full play its advantages, working harder on the Syrian government and opposition forces to hold the second Geneva international meeting, and creating conditions for the launch of an inclusive political dialogue in Syria.

Delegation members of "the Syrian national dialogue forum" highly appreciated China's objective and impartial position as well as constructive role on the Syrian issue, pledging to make further efforts to reject external military intervention and push forward a national dialogue.

Q: First, after US Secretary of State Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov met in Geneva yesterday, the latter said that putting Syria's chemical weapons under international control would render military strikes unnecessary. US Secretary of State Kerry said that Syria's chemical weapons should be destroyed in a comprehensive, verifiable and credible manner. What is China's comment on the progress in the meeting? Second, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said yesterday that his government will start submitting data on its chemical weapons stockpile a month after signing the Chemical Weapons Convention. However, the Russian proposal can work only if the US stops threats of military action and arming the opposition forces. What is China's comment?

A: On your first question, China has taken note of the meeting between the US Secretary of State and the Russian Foreign Minister in Geneva. China supports a proper settlement of the issue of chemical weapons in Syria through political and diplomatic means, so as to give peace a chance.

On your second question, China hopes that all relevant parties will seize the current important opportunities and stay committed to solving relevant issue through political and diplomatic means in a joint effort to uphold peace and stability in Syria and the region as a whole. It serves the common interests of the international community.

Q: It is reported that the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) invited the Civil Aeronautics Administration of Chinese Taipei to attend the 38th Assembly of the ICAO as a guest of the Council's President. What is China's comment?

A: We take seriously the Taiwan compatriots' wishes to participate in international organization activities and maintain that reasonable arrangements can be made for relevant issue through cross-Strait practical consultations on the one-China principle without creating "two Chinas" and "one China, one Taiwan". The arrangement demonstrates the Chinese mainland's goodwill towards the Taiwan compatriots and the one-China principle widely upheld by the international community.

Q: Syria said that it would pursue to join the Chemical Weapons Convention. What is China's comment?

A: We welcome the Syrian government's proposal of joining the Chemical Weapons Convention. It is an important gesture offered and a key step taken by the Syrian government. We hope that all relevant parties will seize the opportunity presented by Russia's proposal, work to solve the issue of Syria's chemical weapons through political and diplomatic means and create opportunities for peace in Syria and the Middle East region.

Q: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that discussions should be held over exercising the right to collective defence to pursue an international standing commensurate with the 21st century global landscape. Among a panel of experts, Shinzo Abe yesterday called for discussions on the national security strategy based on "active pacifism" which would be incorporated into the new defence guidelines. What is China's comment?

A: Due to historical reasons, where Japan is heading for in terms of politics and security always holds its Asian neighbours' attention. We hope that Japan will follow the path of peaceful development, take history as a mirror, respect the concerns of countries in the region, make contributions to regional peace and stability, rather than stir up and play up tensions and make excuses for military buildup and adjustment to military policies.

Q: First, would China support any UN Security Council resolution that would spell out consequences if Syria reneges on its promise to give up chemical weapons? Second, does China support investigations by the International Criminal Court in the Hague into atrocities committed in Syria?

A: On your first question, 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 after full consultations among all relevant parties, contribute to easing current tension, upholding peace and stability in Syria and the region at large and politically solving the Syrian issue. In other words, we should adhere to both the international norm of prohibiting the use of chemical weapons and the political settlement. We must move ahead along the two tracks.

On your second question, what is pressing now is for all parties in Syria to stop violence for a ceasefire, convene the second Geneva conference over the Syrian issue as soon as possible and resolve differences through dialogue and negotiation. Only when reconciliation, security and stability are achieved in Syria can the human rights of Syrian people be fundamentally protected and the humanitarian situation be safeguarded.

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