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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei's Regular Press Conference on December 6, 2013


Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei held a press conference on December 6, 2013.

Q: What activities has the Chinese government held to mourn for former South African President Nelson Mandela?

A: China deeply laments the passing of former South African President Mandela. President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang have respectively sent messages of condolence to South African President Jacob Zuma to express sincere sympathy. Chinese leaders will attend relevant condolence activities in accordance with the funeral arrangement by the South African side. Vice President Li Yuanchao went to the South African Embassy in China this afternoon to express condolences. The Chinese Embassy in South Africa flies its flag at half-mast today.

Q: It is reported that the ROK is considering expanding its Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) to cover larger area of waters. Does China accept that? If not, how will China respond?

A: The ADIZ is not the territorial airspace. It is established by a country in the public airspace outside its territorial airspace for identification and early-warning. It has nothing to do with maritime and air jurisdiction. The ROK's expansion of its ADIZ should comply with international laws and conventions. China is ready to stay in communication with the ROK based on the principle of equality and mutual respect.

Q: On December 5, a terrorist attack targeting Yemen's National Defense Ministry took place in Sana'a, the capital of Yemen, causing huge casualties. What is China's comment?

A: China opposes terrorism in all manifestations and condemns the terrorist attack targeting Yemen's National Defense Ministry in Sana'a. Yemen is at a critical juncture of political transition. We hope that relevant parties in Yemen can work with concerted efforts for an early realization of national stability and development.

Q: It is reported that the emergency medical assistance team of the Chinese government and the international rescue team of the Red Cross Society of China have completed their rescue mission in the disaster-hit areas in the Philippines. Could you brief us on their work and the work of the hospital ship "Peace Ark" in the Philippines?

A: After Typhoon Haiyan struck many areas in the central Philippines, China sent a government emergency medical assistance team, a international rescue team of the Red Cross Society of China and the naval hospital ship "Peace Ark" to the severely-hit areas.

The three teams treated altogether 5,000 and more patients in Abuyog, Palo and Tacloban of the central Philippine province Leyte. The emergency medical assistance team of the Chinese government cured and saved 1,831 people in Abuyog, provided clinic and emergency medical service to 2,144 people and conducted hundreds of assistant medical examinations. The international rescue team of the Red Cross Society of China treated over 1,800 people by setting up fixed medical station in Tacloban and sending two teams to remote villages and towns. What's more, the rescue team also conducted anti-epidemic and research and rescue work. Their professional medical skills and spirit of healing the wounded and saving the dying have brought relief to people suffered from the typhoon in the disaster-hit areas. They passed the friendliness of the Chinese government and people to the Philippine people. Their work was warmly welcomed and highly commended by the local people and government.

At present, the "Peace Ark" is staying in the disaster-hit area for further rescue mission. The emergency medical assistance team of the Chinese government and the first batch of international rescue team of the Red Cross Society of China have completed their mission and are preparing for return. A second batch of international rescue team of the Red Cross Society of China is leaving for the Philippines. We will continue to provide humanitarian support and assistance to the disaster-hit areas according to the development of the situation and the needs of the Philippine people.

Q: Please brief us on the talks between Chinese leaders and Ukrainian President Yanukovych.

A: On December 5, President Xi Jinping held talks with President Yanukovych. President Xi Jinping said, since the establishment of strategic partnership in 2011, bilateral relationship has entered into a fast track of long-term, healthy and steady growth. Cooperation in various fields is moving forward smoothly with a promising prospect. China is ready to work with Ukraine, to adopt a strategic and long-term perspective, uphold mutual respect, equality and win-win results, enhance cooperation in all fields to ensure that bilateral relationship will move forward steadily along the right course and bring benefits to both peoples.

President Xi Jinping made a four-point proposal in further deepening China-Ukraine relationship. First is to strengthen high-level exchanges and increase strategic mutual trust; to deliver firm support to each other in major issues concerning national sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity; to support each other in independently choosing its development path and working for development and revitalization. The proposal also calls for progress in practical cooperation, expansion of people-to-people and cultural exchanges and close coordination in international and regional affairs.

President Yanukovych fully agrees with President Xi Jinping's proposal for deepening bilateral relationship. He said that people from Ukraine and China enjoy fraternal friendship. The two countries trust and respect each other and have produced notable results in mutually beneficial cooperation. To deepen Ukraine-China strategic partnership serves the fundamental interests of both countries and peoples.

Besides, the two leaders signed the Treaty of Friendly Cooperation Between China and Ukraine and the Joint Statement on Deepening China-Ukraine Strategic Partnership and announced the approval of the Development Plan for China-Ukraine Strategic Partnership(2014-2018). Leaders of the two countries also bore witness to the signing of eight cooperation documents.

China and Ukraine both agree that President Yanukovych's visit to China is a complete success with fruitful results. This visit has elevated China-Ukraine relationship, enriched the strategic partnership and opened a broad prospect for deeper cooperation in a wide range of areas between the two countries.

Q: What is China's comment on the former South African President Mandela?

A: Mr. Mandela was a famous anti-apartheid leader in South Africa, the founder of the new South Africa and an eminent statesman with international prestige. He was not only revered as "the father of the nation" by the South African people but also won the respect and admiration of people from around the world. Mr. Mandela was the Chinese people's old friend who made historic contribution to the establishment and development of China-South Africa relations. We deeply lament the passing of Mr. Mandela and express sincere sympathy with the government and people of South Africa as well as Mr. Mandela's family.

Q: The Lower House of the Japanese Diet adopted a resolution urging China to rescind its East China Sea ADIZ. What is China's response?

A: China's establishment of the East China Sea ADIZ is legitimate and justifiable, which complies with international laws and conventions. The Japanese side has no right to make irresponsible remarks on this issue and China firmly opposes it. What the Japanese side should do now is to stop erroneous practices, stop pestering and provoking, and make real efforts to develop China-Japan relationship and maintain order and security in the related airspace.

Q: To ease the tension between China and Japan, is China open to any kind of bilateral talks with Japan?

A: China and Japan are in communication on bilateral relationship and related sensitive issues. The point is, Japan does not face up to history and reality and fails to adopt correct approaches in relevant issues. We once again call on the Japanese side to face history and reality squarely, meet China halfway and explore effective ways to manage and resolve issues such as the Diaoyu islands and the history.

As for the establishment of the East China Sea ADIZ, I have elaborated on our position.

Hong Lei announced at the end of the press conference:

The information department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and the Foreign Affairs Office of the Beijing Municipal Government will jointly hold the 2014 New Year Reception for Foreign Journalists in China and the Exhibition on the 30th Anniversary of the MFA Spokesperson's Mechanism from 18:30 to 20:30 on Thursday, December 12, 2013 at the Dadu Museum of Art, Dongcheng District. Welcome to attend.

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