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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei's Regular Press Conference on September 18, 2013


Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei held a press conference on September 18, 2013.

Q: The five permanent members of the UN Security Council began talks yesterday on a western-drafted resolution to eliminate Syria's chemical weapons. The current draft includes the possibility of using force in the event of non-compliance by Syria to give up its chemical weapons. Would China support the draft?

A: China takes the view that the UN Security Council should play a due and important role on issues concerning peace and security. China always stands for a political settlement of the issue of Syria's chemical weapons and supports the elimination of Syria's chemical weapons within the UN framework, which should go hand in hand with seeking a political resolution to the Syrian issue. We would like to stay in communication and consultation with all relevant parties.

Q: King Abdullah II of Jordan, in his meeting with Chinese leaders today, has asked China to use its power as a member of the UN Security Council to help resolve the Syrian conflict. Do you have any comment on that?

A: Since the outbreak of the Syrian crisis, China has been bearing in mind purposes and principles of the UN Charter and the fundamental interests of the Syrian people, working strenuously on both the government and opposition forces of Syria in a balanced way for peace talks, reduced tension and a political settlement of the Syrian issue. Since the issue of Syria's chemical weapons came up, China has been calling for discussions within the Security Council to give full play to the Security Council's due and important role on issues concerning world peace and security. Together with the international community, China will continue to play a constructive role in pushing for a political settlement of the Syrian issue.

Q: It is reported that the International Criminal Court (ICC) is planning to try the president and deputy president of Kenya. Quite a few African countries have questioned that. What is China's comment?

A: China has noted that there is a different voice in Kenya regarding the ICC's trial against its president and deputy president. Quite a few African countries have also strongly questioned that. A resolution adopted by the African Union Summit last May required the ICC to hand over relevant case to the domestic court of Kenya. Both President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto are national leaders chosen by the Kenyans by vote. We hope that the international community will respect the Kenyans' choice, and that the ICC will listen attentively to the opinions of African countries and the African Union.

Q: The Japanese media reported that US Deputy Secretary of State Burns reiterated "a reaffirmed US backing with Japan in its dispute with China over the Diaoyu Islands" in his meeting with Japan's New Komeito Party Chief Natsuo Yamaguchi. US State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki, when answering a Chinese journalist's question relating to the above report, said that the US policy on the Diaoyu Islands is longstanding and has not changed, the US does not take a position on the ultimate question of sovereignty, and she is certain that the message has been conveyed both privately and publicly. What's your comment?

A: We have taken notice of what the US said.

I'd like to reiterate that the Diaoyu Island and its affiliated islands are China's inherent territory. China's position on the Diaoyu Islands issue is clear and consistent. We hope the US side will honor its commitment of not taking sides on the sovereignty of the Diaoyu Islands, be discreet in word and deed, and take concrete actions to uphold regional peace and stability as well as overall China-US relations.

Q: Large-scale protests against Japan broke out in different parts of China last September. However, similar things did not happen this year. What does China think is the reason for that?

A: Japan's illegal "purchase" of the Diaoyu Islands on September 11 last year grossly violates China's territorial sovereignty, challenges the post-WWII international order, ignites indignation among the Chinese people and is condemned by them with one voice. We urge the Japanese side to face up to history and reality on the Diaoyu Islands issue, stop infringing upon China's territorial sovereignty and take concrete steps to manage and resolve relevant issue so as to remove obstacles in China-Japan relations.

Q: First Vice Foreign Minister of the DPRK Kim Kye Gwan called for resumption of the Six-Party Talks but without preconditions at today's international seminar marking the tenth anniversary of the Six-Party Talks in Beijing. What is China's comment?

A: Over sixty experts, scholars and officials from China, the DPRK, the US, Russia, Japan and the ROK attended the international seminar held by the China Institute of International Studies today to mark the tenth anniversary of the Six-Party Talks. Foreign Minister Wang Yi delivered an important speech at the seminar.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi pointed out that to realize the denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula is the shared responsibility of all parties. With major strategic concerns on the Korean nuclear issue, China is serious about safeguarding non-proliferation system and pushing forward denuclearization on the Peninsula. In the meantime, upholding peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula is an essential dimension in the process of denuclearization.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that recently we have seen positive changes to the situation of the Korean Peninsula, which is hard-won and would not be possible without the concerted efforts of all parties, including China. We should seize the current opportunity to ensure that the situation will go from good to better.

A four-point proposal was made in this regard. First, all relevant parties should work for a shared goal, exercise restraint, keep and build up the momentum of relaxation on the Peninsula. Second, relevant parties should jointly shoulder the responsibility, come back to the position enshrined in the September 19 Joint Statement, take constructive actions, set a reasonable threshold for dialogues and restart the Six-Party Talks at an early date. Third, a holistic approach which accommodates all parties' reasonable concerns should be adopted so that we can make steady headway when moving towards the various goals set by the September 19 Joint Statement. Fourth, improvement should be made to the mechanism of the Six-Party Talks to make it a feasible and realistic multilateral security mechanism for peace and stability of Northeast Asia.

The second and third points made by Foreign Minister Wang Yi can serve as the answer to your question.

Hong Lei announced at the end that the regular press conference will be suspended on September 19 (Thursday) and September 20 (Friday) for the Mid-Autumn Festival and resumed on September 23 (Monday). During the adjournment, correspondents may raise questions to the Spokesperson's Office by telephone. Wish all the journalists a happy holiday!

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