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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei's Regular Press Conference on December 2, 2013


Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei held a press conference on December 2, 2013.

Hong Lei started the press conference with the following announcements:

At the invitation of Siyabonga Cwele, State Security Minister of South Africa and the government of Iran, State Councilor Yang Jiechi will go to Cape Town, South Africa to attend the Fourth Meeting of BRICS High Representatives for Security Issues and pay a visit to Iran from December 5 to 9.

Ambassador Wu Sike, China's Special Envoy on the Middle East Issue, will visit Egypt and go to Bahrain to attend the Ninth Manama Dialogue from December 3 to 9. He will exchange views with relevant parties on China-Egypt relations, Middle East Peace Process, Security in the Gulf region and other issues.

Q: It is reported that the unrest in Bangkok, Thailand has escalated and cauesed casualties. What is China's comment on the current situation in Thailand?

A: China follows the current situation in Thailand and hopes that Thailand will restore stability and order at an early date. We call on all parties in Thailand to bear in mind the development of the nation and the well-being of the people, exercise restraint, avoid recourse to violence and properly resolve differences through dialogue and consultation.

Q: The US government reportedly suggests US civil airlines to submit their flight plans to China while the Japanese government asks Japanese civil airlines not to do so. What is China's respond to that?

A: The submission of flight plans to the competent Chinese authorities by airlines of relevant countries including the US shows their constructive attitude and cooperative will in upholding aviation order and security in the airspace above the East China Sea together with China. We appreciate that.

On the other hand, the Japanese side deliberately politicizes the relevant issue, which does no good to the normal cooperation in civil aviation between the two countries. We urge the Japanese side to stop malicious hype, correct erroneous actions, take a responsible attitude, actively cooperate with China and jointly uphold the flight order and security in relevant airspace above the East China Sea.

Q: ROK media report that the ROK is planning to expand its Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ). What is China's comment on that?

A: China has noted the relevant report and will stay in communication with the ROK on that. I want to point out that the ADIZ is established by a country in the public airspace beyond its territorial airspace for identification and early-warning. The relevant country's expansion of the ADIZ should comply with international laws and practices.

Q: Japanese Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera said on November 29 that the ADIZ China establishes includes the Diaoyu islands as China's territory, which Japan will not recognize and accept as a prerequisite for dialogue and consultation. What is China's comment on that?

A: The Diaoyu Island and its affiliated islands have been integral parts of China's territory since ancient times. It is fully reasonable and justifiable for China's ADIZ in the East China Sea to cover this area. The Japanese side has no right to make irresponsible remarks. The ADIZ set up by Japan in late 1960s illegally included China's Diaoyu islands and China has always been firmly opposed to that.

I want to reiterate that the purpose of the Chinese government's establishment of the ADIZ in the East China Sea is to protect its national sovereignty and security of territorial land and airspace and uphold the flight order. It complies with international laws and practices and it is not against any particular country or target. To maintain the flight security in the overlapping ADIZ area of China and Japan, China calls for strengthened dialogue and communication, which fully demonstrates China's goodwill.

Japan keeps saying that its door for dialogue is always open but shuts it down when it truly comes to dialogue. This has once again revealed the hypocrisy of the Japanese side who is making empty calls for dialogue. We urge the Japanese side to stop playing on this issue, creating frictions and undermining regional stability, and to make concrete efforts for regional peace and stability.

Q: Will China hold multilateral consultation or bilateral communication with Japan, the US and the ROK on issues concerning the East China Sea ADIZ?

A: We have repeatedly expounded on China's position on the East China Sea ADIZ. We are in communication with countries you just mentioned. We have been stressing that China's establishment of the ADIZ in the East China Sea is to protect its national sovereignty and security of territorial land and airspace and uphold the flight order and security in the airspace above the East China Sea. It complies with international laws and practices. It is not against any particular country or target nor does it affect the freedom of overflight above the East China Sea. China is a late-comer in establishing the ADIZ. Some countries already had their own ADIZs over 40 years ago. We hope that relevant countries can show understanding to China's legitimate security concerns and self-defence right and cooperate with us.

Q: A Canadian-Chinese male was arrested by the Canadian police on suspicion of providing confidential information of Canadian ships for the Chinese government. What is China's response?

A: The remarks saying that a Canadian-Chinese male provided the Chinese government with confidential information is totally groundless.

Q: Chief of the Japan-China Cultural Exchanges Association Mr. Takashi Tsujii died of illness on November 25. How does China comment on his role in promoting China-Japan friendship? Has China expressed condolences?

A: Mr. Takashi has been committed to China-Japan friendship in his lifetime. He has made important contribution to promoting cultural exchanges and bilateral relations between China and Japan. China highly commends that.

We deeply lament over his passing away. Foreign Minister Wang Yi has sent a message of condolences to his family on behalf of the Chinese government.

Q: The Australian government has reportedly blocked a US company from taking over one of its biggest grain companies, called the GrainCorp. Is China concerned about Australia's restrictions on investment in the agricultural sector?

A: In recent years, China and Australia have engaged in many substantive business cooperations. The development of China brings important opportunities to Australia and promotes the growth of bilateral relationship, which serves the common interests of both sides. It is our constant position to resist protectionism in global trade and promote trade liberalization and facilitation. It is the same in the field of investment where mutual investment should be further facilitated so as to benefit the economic growth of China, Australia and other regions and countries around the world.

Q: First, a Chinese citizen died in an aircraft crash in Mozambique. Please brief us on the latest development of the incident. Second, a Chinese-owned clothing factory in Italy caught fire on December 1. Seven people were killed and two were hospitalized. Is China informed about the incident and what has China done so far?

A: On the first incident, on November 29, a plane of the Mozambique Airline flying to Angola crashed in Northern Namibia. All passengers and crew members onboard including one Chinese citizen were killed. After the incident, Chinese embassies in Mozambique and Angola immediately contacted relevant parties for information and verification. The Chinese Embassy in Namibia has sent a working team to the spot to deal with the aftermath.

The Foreign Ministry and relevant Chinese diplomatic missions will continue to follow closely the handling of the incident and provide necessary assistance to the bereaved family.

On the second incident, a Chinese-owned clothing factory in the industrial zone of Prato, Italy caught fire on December 1, causing seven deathes and two injuries. According to the preliminary information provided by the Chinese Consulate General in Florence, all those killed and injured are Chinese.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry and Consulate General in Florence responded immediately upon learning the incident. The Consulate General sent personnel to the spot in the first place to verify and deal with relevant issues. The Consul-General has visited and consoled the injured at the local hospital. She asked the Italian side to make all-out efforts to cure the injured, find out the cause of the fire and properly handle follow-up matters.

The Foreign Ministry and Consulate General in Florence will continue to follow closely the development of the incident and provide assistance to the involved Chinese citizens and their families.

Q: British Prime Minister David Cameron is in China for an official visit. What is China's comment?

A: At the invitation of Premier Li Keqiang of the State Council, British Prime Minister David Cameron has started his official visit to China. Premier Li Keqiang has held talks with Prime Minister Cameron and President Xi Jinping and Chairman Zhang Dejiang will meet with him respectively.

Both China and the UK are countries with great influence. The growth of China-UK relationship not only benefits both countries and peoples, but also world peace and prosperity. The two countries should promote mutually beneficial cooperation in all fields and grow their comprehensive strategic partnership based on mutual respect, equality and mutual accommodation to each other's concerns.

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