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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei's Regular Press Conference on October 22, 2012


Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei held a press conference on October 22, 2012.

Hong Lei started the press conference with the following announcement:

At the invitation of Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, Romanian Foreign Minister Titus Corlăţean will pay an official visit to China from October 24 to 26.

Hong Lei said that China and Romania are traditionally friendly. People of the two countries enjoy profound friendship. Since the establishment of diplomatic ties over 60 years ago, bilateral relations have been developing steadily. Recent years has witnessed frequent bilateral high-level exchanges, ever-growing political mutual trust, constantly expanding exchanges and cooperation in fields such as business, culture, science and technology, and close communication and coordination in international affairs.

The major purpose of Foreign Minister Corlăţean's visit is to cement China-Romania relations and push forward practical cooperation. Chinese leaders and Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi will meet and hold talks with Foreign Minister Corlăţean respectively. They will exchange views on bilateral relations as well as international and regional issues of common interest. We believe that Foreign Minister Corlăţean's visit will further advance China-Romania comprehensive partnership of friendship and cooperation.

Q: ROK civic groups did not send leaflets to the DPRK as planned due to police control. What is China's comment on the current situation of the Korean Peninsula? What actions does China think should be taken by the two sides to ease the tension?

A: As a close neighbour of the Korean Peninsula, China encourages the DPRK and the ROK to resolve their problems through dialogue and consultation and opposes any action that may rachet up tension. We are firmly opposed to armed conflicts on the Peninsula. We hope that parties concerned will keep calm, exercise restraint and refrain from taking provocative or radical actions so as to jointly maintain peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.

Q: It is reported that a car bomb in the Lebanese capital city Beirut killed eight people on October 19, including Lebanon's intelligence chief Hassan. What is China's comment?

A: China is firmly opposed to terrorism in all its manifestations. We strongly condemn the incident of terrorism and violence in Beirut. We hope that the truth of the incident will be brought to light as soon as possible. China pays high attention to the situation in Lebanon. We hope that relevant parties there will keep united, exercise restraint, resolve issues through dialogue and consultation and jointly maintain national stability and security.

Q: It is reported that a Chinese worker was shot dead in Nigeria on October 19. Please confirm and tell us what has China done for that?

A: Unknown local armed forces broke into gunfight in and near the construction site of a Chinese company in Nigeria on October 19. A Chinese worker was unfortunately shot dead by stray bullets when seeking shelter.

Paying high attention, the Foreign Ministry instructed the Chinese Embassy in Nigeria to deal with the incident immediately. The Embassy in Nigeria launched the contingency mechanism at once and lodged representations with the Nigerian side, requiring them to take concrete measures to ensure the safety of Chinese nationals and institutions in Nigeria. Upon instruction, chief of the Chinese company went to the scene which is about 700km away from the capital to deal with the aftermath. We remind Chinese nationals and institutions in Nigeria to be careful and enhance safety precautions.

Q: A Chinese cargo ship caught fire in waters near Okinawa on the night of October 20. All 64 crew members were saved by the Japanese coast guard. What is China's comment?

A: The Foreign Ministry was highly concerned after learning that a Chinese cargo ship caught fire in waters near Okinawa on the night of October 20. The Chinese Consulate-General in Fukuoka immediately launched the contingency mechanism and coordinated with the Japanese side to put out the fire on board, search and rescue crew members and ensure their safety. The Consulate-General also instructed relevant Chinese company to settle the aftermath as soon as possible and make sure that these crew members go home safely at an early date. On the early morning of October 21, all 64 crew members were rescued. Relevant Chinese company is now arranging for their home-bound trip. The Chinese Consulate-General in Fukuoka will continue to assist in dealing with the follow-up issues.

Q: It is reported that Japanese Deputy Prime Minister Katsuya Okada said on October 21 that there is no territorial issue concerning the Diaoyu Islands, but "dispute" does exist. What is China's comment?

A: The Diaoyu Island and its affiliated islands belong to China and have been China's inherent territory since ancient times. China has indisputable sovereignty over them. China always maintains that both sides should appropriately resolve and manage the dispute over the Diaoyu Islands through dialogue and negotiation.

Q: First, it is reported that a delegation made up of former US Deputy Secretary of State Armitage and others will visit China to "mediate" the issue of the Diaoyu Islands. Please brief us on the delegation's itinerary in China. What is China's attitude toward the US' mediation? Second, 1,500 tourists from Shanghai have arrived in Japan. How does China view the people-to-people exchanges between China and Japan?

A: On your first question, at the invitation of the Chinese People's Institute of Foreign Affairs, former US National Security Advisor Hadley and other former US politicians will visit China from October 22 to 24 to exchange with us views on China-US relations and issues of common interest. The delegation does not come for "mediation".

On your second question, the sound and stable development of China-Japan relations serves the common interests of both peoples. What is pressing now is that Japan should face up to the reality on the Diaoyu Islands issue, admit the dispute, correct mistakes and make concrete efforts for a negotiated settlement of the dispute.

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