|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei's Regular Press Conference on March 24, 2014|
Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei held a press conference on March 24, 2014.
Hong Lei started the press conference with the following announcement:
At the invitation of Olga Golodets, Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation and co-chair of the Organizing Committee for the China-Russia Youth Friendly Exchanges Year, Liu Yandong, Vice Premier of the State Council and co-chair of the Organizing Committee for the China-Russia Youth Friendly Exchanges Year, will travel to Russia to attend the opening ceremony of the China-Russia Youth Friendly Exchanges Year from March 27 to 29.
Hong Lei updated the press on China's search efforts for the missing Malaysian plane:
On March 24, two IL-76 transport planes from the Chinese Air Force set off from Perth towards the relevant waters in the southern Indian Ocean where suspected floating objects were sighted. Haixun 01 and South China Sea Rescue 101 are scouring the southern search area of us on their way towards the waters designated by the Australian side. In addition, Chinese naval vessels Kunlunshan, Qiandaohu and Haikou are also heading for the suspected waters. Haixun 31 and South China Sea 115 are sailing at full speed towards the southern search area.
Xuelong, the scientific research vessel and Zhonghai Shaohua are expected to arrive at the suspected waters on March 25. The Chinese Marine Search and Rescue Center (CMSRC) is coordinating commercial ships belonging to COSCO and China Shipping Company to change their course and sail towards the waters designated by the Australian side for search.
In the past few days, CMSRC has coordinated commercial ships passing by to assist the search efforts in the Bay of Bengal and waters to the west of Indonesia and Australia, covering an area of over 40,000 square kilometers. The Ministry of Agriculture has assembled 20 fishing vessels to assist the search efforts in the central Indian Ocean.
China has repeatedly called on the Australian and Malaysian sides to coordinate international efforts and carry out all-out search in the suspected areas. We also remain close communication with the two sides. China has informed relevant countries of the suspected floating objects found by our satellite at the earliest possible time.
We are racing against the clock. As long as there remains a gleam of hope, we will not cease our efforts.
Q: Foreign media reported that the National Security Agency of the United States have carried out large-scale cyber surveillance and spying activities on Huawei Technologies Co. in recent years. Its target also includes China's previous leaders, foreign and commercial ministries and banks. What is China's comment?
A: We are seriously concerned with relevant reports. The media has disclosed a lot about the eavesdropping, surveillance and spying activities that the US has carried out on other countries, including China. China has lodged representations with the American side on many occasions. We require the American side to give a clear explanation and stop such behaviours.
Q: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe paid a visit to the Anne Frank House Museum in the Netherlands. The Japanese side said that this visit was not contradictory to the leader's visit to the Yasukuni Shrine. What is China's comment?
A:We have noticed relevant reports. On historical issues, we listen to what the Japanese side is saying. But more importantly, we watch what they are doing. What is pressing for the Japanese leader is to face up to and deeply reflect on Japan's past of aggression, correct mistakes, change his course and win back the trust of Japan's neighbors and the international community with concrete actions.
Q: Chinese and ROK leaders met yesterday in the Netherlands. What is China's comment on this meeting?
A: We speak highly of the meeting between President Xi Jinping and President Park Geun-hye in the Hague of the Netherlands.
The two leaders reviewed the sound growth of China-ROK relationship since last year, and reaffirmed their commitment to deepening China-ROK strategic cooperation. Both sides agreed that strategic mutual trust between the two countries has deepened, practical cooperation has moved forward, and sound partnership has been forged in many fields over the past year. Going forward, China and the ROK need to enhance cooperation so as to bring more benefits to the two peoples, maintain close high-level exchanges, facilitate negotiations on the China-ROK Free Trade Agreement and strive for an early conclusion. At the same time, China and the ROK need to enhance coordination and cooperation on regional and international issues and jointly safeguard peace and stability of the region and beyond.
The two sides also exchanged views on the situation of the Korean Peninsula. Both are committed to safeguarding peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula, achieving denuclearization of the Peninsula and resolving relevant issues through peaceful means.
We believe that the meeting will give a boost to the development of China-ROK relations.
Q: A Chinese airplane has spotted white floating objects in the southern Indian Ocean. Can you provide more details about that? Have Chinese airplanes carried out search activities outside the waters designated by the Australian side in the southern Indian Ocean? What types of planes have China deployed? What role will they play? How will they cooperate with the Australian side and other countries?
A: On March 24, two IL-76 took off from the Australian Air Base and headed towards suspected waters. One of the planes photographed white, square-shaped objects. So far, it is yet to be confirmed that the objects are related to the missing airplane. China is working with relevant parties to analyse these photographs.
The two IL-76 transport planes from the Chinese Air Force search the area where the Australian side announced their discovery of floating objects possibly related to the missing airplane. They are well received by the Australian side upon their arrival in Perth. We commend the assistance and convenience provided by the Australian side for China's search operation.
Q: On March 20, the Council of States of the Federal Assembly of Switzerland approved the China-Switzerland Free Trade Agreement with an overwhelming majority of vote, and also decided that no referendum will be held on this agreement. This means that the legal procedures for approving the agreement by the Swiss side are completely over. What is China's comment on this?
A: China welcomes the approval by the Council of States of the Swiss Federal Assembly of the China-Switzerland Free Trade Agreement. As agreed by the two sides, the agreement will come into effect as early as the beginning of July.
This agreement is the first of its kind between China and a developed, industrialised, continental European country. It is one of the most advanced and comprehensive free trade agreements China has entered into in recent years. It reflects the common resolve of both sides to promote trade liberalization and investment facilitation, as well as the shared will to open up to each other and deepen economic cooperation and trade. The agreement will have important and positive impacts on the development of China-Switzerland relationship.
Q: Former Spanish Prime Minister Adolfo Suarez died at 81 on March 23. What is China's comment on this?
A: Mr. Suarez is a prominent statesman of Spain. We lament his passing away. Our sincere condolence goes to his family.
Q: The scientific research vessel Xuelong will arrive at relevant waters in the southern Indian Ocean tomorrow. Will any other ships arrive before that? Please brief us on that.
A: Xuelong, the scientific research vessel and Zhonghai Shaohua will arrive at relevant waters tomorrow. Three Chinese military vessels will arrive at relevant waters the day after tomorrow to join in the search efforts.
Q: Koichi Hagiuda, a special advisor to the Japanese Prime Minister, said on March 23 that if the Kono Statement were found inconsistent with the reality, the Japanese government would consider issuing a new statement. What is China's comment?
A: We pay close attention to what the Japanese government says and does on historical issues. We urge the Japanese side to earnestly honor its commitments on historical issues, rectify mistakes, change its course, honestly reflect on its past of aggression and win back the trust of its Asian neighbours and the international community with concrete actions.
Q: Special Representative Wu Dawei of the Chinese Government on the Korean Peninsular Affairs concluded his visit to the DPRK last week. Please brief us on that.
A: During his visit to the DPRK, both sides had in-depth discussions on the situation of the Korean Peninsula and the resumption of the Six-Party Talks.
After the press conference, a journalist asked " Igor Schwayka, Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine, reportedly said that China has filed a lawsuit to a London court asking Ukraine to give back the three billion dollars invested in the agricultural cooperation project between the two countries. Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Prime Minister of the Ukrainian government, said the other day that the whereabouts of the three billion dollars China provided to Ukraine was unknown. Please confirm that and give us more details."
Hong Lei: Relevant Chinese companies have made clarifications on this issue, and the spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry has also made remarks. So far, there has been no latest development. We hope the public will not readily believe some false reports.