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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei's Regular Press Conference on September 5, 2012


Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei held a press conference on September 5, 2012.

Q: Beijing Police yesterday announced its investigation and handling of the incident in which the national flag on the Japanese Embassy's car was ripped off. What is China's comment?

A: Relevant Chinese department has solved the case and handled it in accordance with law. The Chinese Government has always earnestly observed the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and Chinese laws to guaranteee the safety of foreign diplomatic missions and staff in China.

Q: It is reported that the Japanese government reached an agreement with the "landowners" of the Diaoyu Islands on September 5 to "buy the Islands" for 2.05 billion yen. What is China's comment?

A: The Diaoyu Island and its affiliated islands have been China's inherent territory since ancient times, for which China has plentiful historical and jurisprudential evidence. The Diaoyu Islands were first discovered, named and used by the Chinese. They have been under the jurisdiction of China's coastal defense at least since the Ming Dynasty. Japan didn't claim sovereignty over the Diaoyu Islands until the Sino-Japanese war in 1895, and it stole these islands through illegal means. It is obvious that the claim that the Diaoyu Islands are Japan's inherent territory is totally untenable.

Regardless of China's repeated solemn representations and turning a deaf ear to China's requirement, the Japanese side wilfully presses ahead with the so-called "island procurement", which severely harms China's territorial sovereignty and hurts the national feelings of the Chinese people. We cannot help asking where the Japanese side is directing the Diaoyu Islands issue to?

I would like to reiterate that any unilateral action taken by the Japanese side against the Diaoyu Island and its affiliated islands is illegal and invalid. The Chinese Government is resolute and determined in defending its territorial sovereignty over the Diaoyu Islands. China is following closely the developments and will take necessary measures to safeguard national territorial sovereignty.

Q: It is reported that an iron ore project invested by China's Xiyang Group in the DPRK was suspended. What is your comment on that?

A: China always encourages Chinese companies to invest and do business in the DPRK and make contributions to China-DPRK economic cooperation and trade. We hope that both sides can properly deal with the problems emerging amid business cooperation.

Q: It is said that China is one of the major consumers of poached ivory from Africa. A lot of ivory has been transported to China for sale. What is China's comment? Has China taken measures to prevent ivory smuggling?

A: The Chinese Government attaches great importance to the protection of wild animals including elephants. It has enacted a series of laws and regulations and established a joint law-enforcement mechanism which includes the customs and the public security. It has also played an active role in international law-enforcement cooperation to crack down on smuggling and trafficking of wild animals and related products such as ivory, which effectively curbs ivory smuggling. China's unremitting efforts have paid off, as the number of illegal and criminal activities related to ivory smuggling and trafficking has declined remarkably over recent years.

We hope that others will look at China's efforts from an objective perspective instead of through colored spectacles.

Q: China said that like many other countries, it supported an early launch of political transitional process in Syria. What does the process specifically mean?

A: China always believes that all parties concerned in Syria should give priority to the fundamental interests of the country and the nation. Under the impartial mediation of the UN-AL Joint Special Representative on the Syrian issue, an inclusive political dialogue should be immediately launched with no preconditions attached and no results preconceived in accordance with the consensus reached by the Geneva foreign ministers' meeting of the Action Group on Syria. A holistic and detailed reform roadmap and timetable should be nailed down through consultation and put into practice as soon as possible so as to restore national stability and social order. China is positive and open toward any resolution that is in the fundamental interests of the Syrian people and acceptable to all parties in Syria. The political transitional process in Syria should be led by the Syrian people instead of being imposed by external forces.

All relevant parties in the international community should truly respect Syria's independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity as well as the Syrian people's rights of independently choosing the political system and the development path. They should create conditions for dialogue among different political factions in Syria, provide necessary constructive assistance and respect the dialogue result. China disapproves of military intervention in Syria or forced "regime change". We believe that the use or threat of sanctions is counterproductive to the proper settlement of the issue.

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