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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei's Regular Press Conference on September 4, 2012


Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei held a press conference on September 4, 2012.

Hong Lei started with the following announcement:

Premier Wen Jiabao will attend the opening ceremony of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting of New Champions 2012 (Summer Davos) to be held in Tianjin on September 11 and deliver a speech.

On the sidelines of the Forum, Premier Wen will meet with foreign political leaders and Executive Chairman Schwab of the World Economic Forum. He will also have talks with representatives of the business community.

Political leaders to be present at the Forum are as follows: Rwandan President Kagame, Pakistani Prime Minister Ashraf, Lithuanian Prime Minister Kubilius, Latvian Prime Minister Dombrovskis, Danish Prime Minister Schmidt, Vice President Liberman of Costa Rica, Zimbabwean Deputy Prime Minister Mutambara.

The Forum is held at a time when there is still heavy downward pressure on the world econmy, many uncertainties and instabilities, a still turbulent international financial market, slidding international trade and sluggish recovery of the world economy. The theme of the forum is "shaping the future economy".

China hopes that acute problems in the current world economy will be fully discussed during the Forum and positive message conveyed so as to build confidence and strength for world economic recovery.

Q: UN-AL Joint Special Representative on the Syrian issue Brahimi reportedly said in an interview on September 3 that it was nearly impossible to solve the Syrian issue through diplomatic means. Up until now, the international community has adopted very limited actions to curb violent conflicts in Syria. What is China's comment?

A: China always believes that political dialogue is the only right approach to solving the Syrian crisis. The situation in Syria is deteriorating. However, the severer the situation is, the more resolute and united the international community should be. We should stick to the general direction of political resolution. It is imperative for all parties to steam up their support to the diplomatic mediation efforts of Special Representative Brahimi, urge parties concerned in Syria to immediately cease fire and stop violence, implement relevant UN Security Council resolutions, Annan's "six-point proposal" as well as the communique of the foreign ministers' meeting of the Action Group on the Syrian issue, and initiate a political transition led by the Syrian people as soon as possible so as to create conditions for a peaceful, just and proper settlement of the Syrian issue.

Q: China once said that it would consider discussing the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC) when conditions allowed. According to US Secretary of State Clinton, the time is ripe and hopefully the formulation of the COC will be discussed before the East Asia Summit this November. Does China agree?

A: This year has seen two senior officials' meetings on the implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) between China and ASEAN countries. All parties agreed to fully and effectively carry out the DOC. We hope all relevant parties can observe earnestly the consensus, enhance mutual trust, promote cooperation, refrain from taking actions that may magnify and complicate the situation and jointly maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea. Meanwhile, we should proceed toward the formulation of the COC in accordance with the principle and spirit of the DOC based on consensus through consultation. China hopes that other countries will respect and support the efforts made by China and ASEAN countries to this end and do more to promote mutual trust and stability.

Q: With regard to the South China Sea issue, did you mean that the US has not done enough to help build trust among countries directly related to the South China Sea dispute? Some Chinese media, including the People's Daily said that the South China Sea issue touched upon China's core interests. Does that reflect the Chinese government's position?

A: On your first question, we noted that the US stated on different occasions that it would not take a position on the sovereignty dispute over the South China Sea. We hope that the US will live up to its words and make more contributions to regional peace and stability, instead of the other way around.

On your second question, the South China Sea issue is complex. Different parties have different understandings and focuses of attention, which automatically lead to different definitions of interests. As for China, the essence of the South China Sea issue is the territorial sovereignty dispute caused by others' invasion of some islands of China's Nansha Islands and overlapping claims to maritime rights and interests in relevant waters . China has the right to defend its territorial and maritime rights and interests as other countries do.

Q: Chinese Defence Minister Liang Guanglie is visiting India. Please update us on his meetings and talks. Separately, it is reported that a Chinese company is considering taking over the operation of Gwadar Port. Would you please confirm?

A:On your first question, State Councillor and Defence Minister General Liang Guanglie is visiting India. This visit is to boost military mutual trust between China and India and enhance military-to-military practical cooperation and exchanges. China puts a premium on China-India defence cooperation and stands ready to further the sound and stable military-to-military relations together with India.

On your second question, China and Pakistan are neighbours of traditional friendship. The two sides have long been engaged in extensive cooperation in various areas including infrastructure construction, with the aim of improving the Pakistani people's livelihood and promoting economic and social development. It is also conducive to regional stability and development.

Q: French Foreign Minister Fabius reportedly said on September 3 that if the Syrian government deployed chemical or biological weapons, the response from France, the UK and the US would be massive and blistering, and that Russia and China were of the same position. What is China's comment?

A: China is firmly opposed to the development, production and use of chemical weapons by any country. This position is consistent and clear. China disapproves of military intervention in Syria. This position is also consistent and clear. The international community should uphold the political resolution of the Syrian issue in a responsible manner.

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