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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang's Regular Press Conference on November 12, 2013


Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang held a press conference on November 12, 2013.

Q: Typhoon Haiyan has caused huge casualties and severe property losses in the Philippines, Vietnam and China. Disaster prevention and mitigation has become a common challenge and task for countries in the region that is prone to natural disasters. What are China's consideration and measures in jointly building up the capacity to prevent and mitigate disasters with other countries in the region?

A: I want to emphasize that since the occurrence of the tsunami in the Indian Ocean in late 2004, regional countries' awareness of disaster prevention and mitigation has increased and their aspiration for cooperation has also grown stronger. Disaster prevention and mitigation has become an important area of cooperation between China and ASEAN countries. If you look back into recent years' China-ASEAN (10+1) Summits and the documents issued after these summits, you will find that disaster prevention and mitigation is a new highlight of the cooperation between China and ASEAN.

Over the past eight years and more, this region has witnessed various natural disasters. Countries in the region have been offering assistance and support to each other. For example, after Wenchuan of China was hit by a mega earthquake in 2008, ASEAN countries provided China with generous and sincere assistance, for which the Chinese government and people are truly grateful.

Over the years, China and ASEAN have sped up cooperation in disaster prevention and mitigation. For example, the two sides have conducted, under the 10+1 framework, a series of international conferences, seminars and emergency drills in this respect this year. The two sides have also decided to establish a maritime cooperation fund, with disaster prevention and mitigation as an important part. Last October, Premier Li Keqiang proposed on the sidelines of the East Asia leaders' meetings a host of significant initiatives on disaster prevention and mitigation, including "working out a China-ASEAN action plan on disaster mitigation cooperation" within the framework of 10+1 and conducting drills of maritime and earthquake search and rescue within the framework of the East Asia Summit.

Typhoon Haiyan has hit China, the Philippines and Vietnam, causing heavy casualties and severe property losses. It reminds us that natural disasters are common challenges that call for joint actions of the countries in this region. China will work with ASEAN countries to further strengthen cooperation in disaster prevention and mitigation.

Q: Former Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda reportedly delivered a speech on November 11, urging the Abe administration to amend relations with China and the ROK. Many Japanese historians and former diplomats established on the same day in Tokyo an organization to carry forward and develop the Murayama statement, with a view to making the Japanese government reflect on its history of aggression and colonialism and follow a path of peaceful development. What is China's view on the appeals of relevant personnel in Japan?

A: China-Japan relationship is faced with severe difficulties. Neither is this caused by China nor is it what China wants to see. We know that many insightful Japanese are worried as well. They have voiced their opinions and made suggestions to the Japanese government. Good medicine, though bitter to the mouth, cures the sickness, whereas honest advice, though harsh to the ear, benefits the conduct. We hope that such positive and constructive suggestions can reach not only the ears of the Japanese government but also their minds and be translated into concrete actions. China always advocates the improvement and development of China-Japan relationship on the basis of the four political documents and in the spirit of "taking history as a mirror and looking into the future". We stand ready to work with people from all walks of life in Japan who care about and support China-Japan friendship and make joint efforts in this regard.

Q: Please update us on the disaster relief assistance China provides for the Philippines after the typhoon. Will China consider increasing the amount of assistance in cash?

A: I have mentioned just now that China was also hit by Typhoon Haiyan. We express deep sympathy with the Philippines for their huge property losses and casualties and we have extended sincere solicitude. China suffered from the disaster as well. We understand the current circumstances the Philippine people are in and sympathize with them. We are willing to, in accordance with the further development of the situation, consider providing more humanitarian support and assistance to the Philippines within our capacity. We hope the Philippine people could overcome the current difficulty and rebuild their hometown at an early date.

Q: Syria's opposition the Syrian National Coalition reportedly issued a statement, agreeing to attend the Geneva II conference on certain conditions. What is China's comment?

A: China always believes that a political solution is the only way out for the Syrian issue. It is also a view shared by the international community. The top priority at present is that relevant parties of Syria should support and coordinate with the mediation efforts of the UN General Secretary and Joint Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi, and promote and attend the Geneva II without preconditions at an early date. Whatever positions, appeals and propositions they have, they can put them on the table for discussions. We hope that the Geneva II can chart the course for the political process in Syria so as to bring peace, stability and tranquility to Syria at an early date.

Q: According to the Japanese media, a Deputy Director-General of the Department of Asian Affairs of the Chinese Foreign Ministry paid a "secret" visit to Japan in late September and held consultations with the Japanese side on the issue of the Diaoyu Islands. Please confirm it.

A: China always maintains that the issue of the Diaoyu Islands should be properly managed and resolved through dialogues and consultations. China and Japan stay in touch on relevant issues. I want to reiterate that the Chinese government is unwavering in its resolve and will to safeguard national and territorial sovereignty and will by no means give ground on issues concerning sovereignty.

Q: Iran and the IAEA reportedly signed a joint statement for further cooperation on solving the remaining issues of the Iranian nuclear program. Iran will also allow inspectors to visit the Arak heavy water reactor and the Gachin uranium mine. What is China's comment?

A: China always believes that promoting dialogue and cooperation is the only correct approach to properly resolve the Iranian nuclear issue. There are new and important opportunities for dialogues and negotiations on the Iranian nuclear issue. We welcome the strengthened cooperation between Iran and the IAEA and believe that such cooperation will help create conditions for the comprehensive, long-term and proper settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue and push for a final peaceful settlement of this issue through political and diplomatic means.

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