|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei's Regular Press Conference on February 20, 2012|
Hong Lei started the press conference with the following announcement:
At the invitation of State Councillor Dai Bingguo, Indonesian Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Djoko Suyanto will pay a visit to China from February 27 to March 1 and co-chair with State Councillor Dai Bingguo the third meeting of bilateral dialogue mechanism at deputy prime ministerial level.
At present, China-Indonesia strategic partnership is in good shape. The two countries established the bilateral dialogue mechanism at deputy prime ministerial level in 2005 and held two meetings in 2006 and 2010 respectively. We hope during this third meeting, the two sides will have a broad exchange of views on bilateral relations and international and regional issues of common interest to deepen practical cooperation across the board and push for the sustained and in-depth development of China-Indonesia strategic partnership.
Q: How does China comment on the outcome of Vice President Xi Jinping's visit to the US? In particular, what consensus have the two sides reached in the political field?
A: From February 13 to 17, at the invitation of US Vice President Biden, Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping paid an official visit to the US. It is a major event in China-US relations aimed at further implementing the important consensus reached between President Hu Jintao and President Obama during President Hu's visit to the US in January last year and pushing forward China-US cooperative partnership based on mutual respect and mutual benefit. Vice President Xi's visit was an important one made at an important timing, during which he had multi-dimentional, multi-tiered and wide-ranging good interactions with the US side. This visit was a complete success in that it reached the goal of deepening mutual understanding, enhancing mutual trust, expanding cooperation and boosting friendship.
This visit deepened the important consensus of moving forward China-US cooperative partnership. Vice President Xi delivered to President Obama a reply letter from President Hu which expressed China's hope to enhance trust, solidify common ground, expand cooperation and constantly push forward bilateral relations in the right direction of building China-US cooperative partnership based on mutual respect and mutual benefit jointly identified by the two heads of state. President Obama and Vice President Biden agreed with the important opinions of President Hu and Vice President Xi, saying that US-China relations are among the most important bilateral relations in the world and the US is ready to work with China to press ahead with the building of US-China cooperative partnership. The two countries can have cooperation not only now, but also throughout the 21 century.
Both sides stressed the importance of enhancing strategic mutual trust through dialogue and communication. Vice President Xi pointed out that China is firmly committed to the path of peaceful development and is sincere in developing relations with the US. He expressed the hope that the US can view China objectively and rationally, take concrete actions that will promote mutual trust and work out with China a new road of peaceful co-existence, favorable interactions and win-win cooperation between big powers. The Pacific Ocean is wide enough to accommodate the two major countries of China and the US. President Obama and Vice President Biden expressed welcome to China's peaceful development and the belief that a strong, prosperous and stable China serves US interests and is conducive to the peace, stability and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region and the world as a whole. The US expressed the hope to see new success of China in the future and that it looked forward to advancing US-China relations on the cooperation track set up in the past three years.
Both sides agreed that it is imperative to prudently and properly handle sensitive issues. Vice President Xi pointed out that only by respecting each other's core interests and major concerns and not creating troubles to each other or overstepping each other's bottom line can their cooperative partnership be fundamentally guaranteed. President Obama and Vice President Biden attached great importance to the views and position of the Chinese side.
In addition, the visit has also broadened the two sides' mutually beneficial and practical cooperation in fields such as economy and trade, cultivated friendship between the two peoples, promoted local cooperation and enhanced their communication in international and regional affairs.
In sum, Vice President Xi's visit to the US fully demonstrated the great prospect of China-US win-win cooperation and vigorously boosted China-US cooperative partnership in the new era. We are ready to work with the US side to continue to earnestly implement the important consensus between the leaders of the two countries and constantly push forward China-US relations to the greater benefit of the two countries and two peoples.
Q: It is reported that US Special Representative for North Korea Policy Davies will hold talks with DPRK First Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan in Beijing from February 23. What is China's comment?
A: China welcomes the third high-level DPRK-US dialogue in Beijing. We hope that relevant dialogue will attain positive results and create conditions for the resumption of the Six-Party Talks. We are ready to continue our intensified communication and coordination with relevant parties in order to play a constructive role in boosting the Six-Party Talks process and maintaining peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia.
Q: It is reported that the ROK will stage military exercise in the western sea areas of the DPRK. The DPRK earlier said that if the exercise infringed upon its territorial waters, its military would retaliate. What is China's comment?
A: Upholding peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula serves the common interests of all parties concerned. We hope relevant parties will do more things that will contribute to the easing of tensions on the Peninsula and maintaining peace and stability of the region.
Q: The Japanese Coast Guard reportedly claimed that a Chinese marine surveillance ship issued a warning to a Japanese survey vessel operating in the waters of the East China Sea. Please confirm.
A: We have noted relevant reports. I would like to reiterate that China's position on the East China Sea is clear and consistent. We oppose any unilateral action taken by any party in the disputed areas of the East China Sea. We hope China and Japan can work together to properly handle relevant issues and take concrete measures to uphold the stability of the East China Sea and the larger interests of China-Japan relations.
Q: Iran's Ministry of Petroleum indicated that it had halted oil export to France and Britain. What is China's comment?
A: We have noted relevant reports. China always maintains that state-to-state disputes should be solved through dialogue and negotiation and does not agree to use pressure or confrontational means. We hope relevant parties will come back to the right track of dialogue as soon as possible.
Q: Leaders of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran recently held a meeting in Pakistan. How does China comment?
A: We have noted relevant reports. China believes that it serves the fundamental interests of regional countries and people from relevant countries in the region to have greater communication and cooperation aimed at ensuring regional peace and stability.
Q: Last week, Israel threatened to take military strikes against Iran. How does China comment?
A: We always oppose the use or threat of force in handling state-to-state relations. Military strikes against Iran will only exacerbate confrontation, and plunge the region into greater chaos. Dialogue and negotiation is the correct way out for disputes.
Q: Has China sent new peacekeepers to South Sudan recently? Separately, China issued a statement over the weekend supporting the Arab League's proposal on Syria, which was seen as contradictory to China's veto on the Security Council's draft resolution on Syria. Does it mean that China's stance has changed?
A: On the first question, China supports the UN sending the peace-keeping mission to the Republic of South Sudan and its continued role in the peace and stability of Sudan, South Sudan and the region as a whole. China rotated its peacekeepers recently. China is willing to work with the international community to continue contributing to peace and stability of the region.
On the second question, Special Envoy of the Chinese Government and Vice Foreign Minister Zhai Jun visited Syria from February 17 to 18, during which he met with Syrian President Bashar, held talks and meetings with Syrian Foreign Minister Mualem and other government officials, and met with leaders of Syrian National Coordination Body for Democratic Change and other opposition groups respectively. The two sides had an in-depth and candid exchange of views over the current situation in Syria.
Vice Foreign Minister Zhai Jun's visit was an important diplomatic mission by China to ease the tensions in Syria and push for a political solution to the Syrian issue. During the visit, the Chinese side strongly urged the Syrian Government and all political factions to immediately and fully end all acts of violence, launch the political dialogue process with no preconditions attached, and discuss a comprehensive political reform plan and mechanism. Vice Foreign Minister Zhai Jun called on the Syrian Government and various parties concerned to step up communication and coordination and jointly work for a peaceful and proper resolution of the Syrian crisis within the framework of the Arab League and based on relevant Arab League plan for a political settlement.
On the proposal of Arab states and the Arab League for mediating the Syrian issue, China's stance is consistent. We understand the Arab states and the Arab League's concerns on the Syrian issue, value their important role, appreciate their efforts for political settlement of the Syrian issue, and support the Arab states' proposal to halt any act of violence, effectively protect Syrian civilians, provide humanitarian aid to Syria and avoid external military intervention. We hope that the Syrian issue can be resolved through political dialogue and peace talks within the framework of the Arab League.
Q: Please brief us on the itinerary of the visit to China by Vice President Murillo of the Cuban Council of Ministers.
A: At the invitation of Vice Premier Hui Liangyu of the State Council, Vice President Murillo of the Cuban Council of Ministers is paying a working visit to China from February 19 to 25. Vice Premier Hui Liangyu will meet with Vice President Murillo this afternoon. Li Changchun, member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, will meet with him on the afternoon of February 22. The two sides will exchange views on bilateral relations, construction of socialism and other issues of common interest. To my knowledge, Chinese officials from the Ministry of Agriculture and the International Department of the CPC Central Committee will also meet with Vice President Murillo.
Cuba was the first Latin American country to establish diplomatic ties with China. China-Cuba relations have developed smoothly with frequent exchange of high-level visits, ever-deepening political mutual trust, extensive practical cooperation across the board, and broad cultural and people-to-people exchanges. China would like to work with the Cuban side to push for comprehensive and in-depth development of China-Cuba mutually beneficial and friendly relationship of cooperation.
Q: The Nagoya mayor of Japan recently denied that the Nanjing Massacre occurred. What is China's comment?
A: The Nanjing Massacre was an atrocity committed by the Japanese militarism in the war of aggression against China as proved by irrefutable evidence. The international community has long reached final conclusion on this matter. Some people in Japan should recognize that part of history correctly, face it squarely and draw a real lesson from it.