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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei's Regular Press Conference on January 16, 2014


Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei held a press conference on January 16, 2014.

Q: It is reported that representatives of China, Russia and India held a consultation on Afghanistan in Beijing today. Can you confirm that and give us more details?

A: The development of the situation in Afghanistan has a bearing on regional peace and stability. As a close neighbor of Afghanistan, China stands ready to work with countries in this region and the international community to support the peaceful reconstruction and reconciliation process of Afghanistan and jointly uphold Afghan and regional peace, stability and development. We will release in due course relevant information on the meeting you have mentioned.

Q: It is reported that the DPRK called the annual military drills scheduled for February and March by the US and the ROK a direct provocation. Is the Chinese side of the same view?

A: China's position on the Korean Peninsular issue is consistent and clear-cut. We maintain that peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula should be upheld and that the Korean nuclear issue should be resolved through dialogue. Upholding peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula is the shared responsibility of all parties. It also meets their common interests. The overall situation on the Peninsula is still fragile. We hope that relevant parties could exercise restraint, do not take actions that may rile each other and maintain and strengthen the current stable momentum.

Q: The Ministry of Gender Equality and Family of the ROK reportedly said on January 14 that it planned to partner with China and Southeast Asian countries in seeking to obtain UN world documentary heritage status for "comfort women" from the ROK, China and Southeast Asia. On January 15, the US House of Representatives passed a spending bill for the fiscal year 2014, in which a document was attached urging "the Secretary of State to encourage the Government of Japan to address the issues" raised in the "comfort women resolution" adopted by the House of Representatives in 2007. What is China's comment?

A: The forced recruitment of "comfort women" is a grave crime against humanity committed by the Japanese militarism during WWII against people of the invaded countries including China, the ROK and Southeast Asian countries.

Asian countries such as China and the ROK have similar experiences and common concerns on Japan-related historical issues. China is ready to work with victimized Asian countries including the ROK to jointly uphold historical justice and urge the Japanese side to adopt a correct understanding of and deeply reflect upon history and win the trust of its Asia neighbors and the international community with concrete actions.

Q: Today is the fourth day for the "Bangkok shutdown" launched by Thai opposition groups. Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said that the general election would not be postponed. What is China's comment?

A: China always follows closely the situation in Thailand. China supports relevant parties in Thailand in properly addressing current problems, restoring state stability and order as soon as possible and avoiding further unrest with the interests of the country and the well-being of the people in mind.

Q: The Chinese government appears to be stepping up publicity efforts to persuade western countries that Japan's words and deeds on historical issues are wrong. For example, the Chinese Ambassador in London wrote an editorial in a British newspaper and the Chinese government is taking foreign reporters to Shenyang to visit a prisoner-of-war camp where American and British nationals were detained during WWII by the Japanese. Is China trying to remind the US, Australia and other western countries that Japan also committed war crimes against them during WWII and that they should side with China?

A: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit to the Yasukuni Shrine in defiance of the victory of WWII is a trample on the conscience of the mankind and the generally acknowledged truth. The Chinese Foreign Ministry and overseas Chinese embassies have exposed the nature of Abe's visit to the Yasukuni Shrine to local media and communities, pointing out that Abe's act, which goes against the fundamental interests of people from all over the world, is an attempt to whitewash the war of aggression and colonial rule of the Japanese militarism, defend war criminals and deny the UN Charter. The Chinese Foreign Ministry and embassies have called on all countries to be soberly aware of the threat this visit has posed to world peace, be vigilant against Abe's actions, jointly uphold the victory of WWII won at the cost of tens of millions of lives, the post-WWII international order based on the just trial of Fascism and militarism and the UN Charter which is the foundation of peace and security in modern times and allow no backsliding on historical issues. The voice of justice resounding through the world has won the international community's attention.

Q: In addition to the China-Russia-India meeting on Afghanistan, China also has similar dialogues with relevant countries such as Russia and Pakistan on the Afghan issue. Is China preparing for days following the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan in 2014?

A: Relevant meetings with parties concerned are held with the purpose of jointly maintaining regional peace and stability. Since situation and stability of Afghanistan has a bearing on regional peace and security, we always respect the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Afghanistan, respect the development path chosen by the Afghan people based on their own national conditions and support Afghanistan in realizing steady transition and improving and growing relations with other countries in the region. We hope that substantive progress could be made in the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned reconciliation process at an early date. Relevant parties should honor their commitment to the peaceful reconstruction of Afghanistan, respect and accommodate the legitimate concerns of countries in the region on relevant issues.

This year China will hold the fourth Foreign Ministers' Conference of the Istanbul Process. China will continue to play a positive and constructive role in the reconstruction and reconciliation process of Afghanistan.

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