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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei's Regular Press Conference on November 1, 2012


Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei held a press conference on November 1, 2012.

Hong Lei started the press conference by introducing the specific content of China's four-point proposal on the political resolution of the Syrian issue raised during Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi's talks with UN-AL Joint Special Representative on the Syrian issue Lakhdar Brahimi on October 31:

First, relevant parties in Syria should make every effort to stop fighting and violence, and cooperate actively with the mediation efforts of UN-AL Joint Special Representative Brahimi, in this context. Relevant parties should implement effective steps towards a ceasefire, for example region by region or phase by phase, expand the areas of ceasefire, realize disengagement, and eventually bring an end to all armed conflict and violence.

Second, relevant parties in Syria should appoint empowered interlocutors as soon as possible so that, assisted by Joint Special Representative Brahimi and the international community, they can formulate through consultations a roadmap of political transition, establish a transitional governing body of broad representation, and implement political transition so as to end the Syrian crisis at an early date. To ensure a safe, stable and calm transition, the continuity and effectiveness of Syria's governmental institutions must be maintained.

Third, the international community should work with greater urgency and responsibility to fully cooperate with and support Joint Special Representative Brahimi's mediation efforts, and make real progress in implementing the communiqué of the Geneva foreign ministers' meeting of the Action Group for Syria, Mr. Annan's six-point plan and relevant Security Council resolutions. The positive efforts of the Arab League and countries in the region in search of a political settlement should be valued.

Fourth, relevant parties should take concrete steps to ease the humanitarian crisis in Syria. The international community should increase humanitarian assistance to the Syrian people and ensure proper resettlement of refugees beyond the Syrian border and timely aid for those in need within Syria. The Syrian government and various parties should render full cooperation to the work of the United Nations and relevant neutral institutions to provide humanitarian assistance in all conflict-affected regions and ensure the safety of their personnel. At the same time, humanitarian issues should not be politicized and humanitarian assistance should not be militarized.

Hong Lei remarked that China's position on the Syrian issue has been consistent. These new proposals are an extension of China's longstanding efforts to promote the political settlement of the Syrian issue. There are constructive advice and suggestions in the proposals such as a ceasefire region by region or phase by phase, and the establishment of a transitional governing body, which were raised by China based on the latest development of the situation and Mr. Annan's six-point plan, relevant Security Council resolutions and the communiqué of the Geneva foreign ministers' meeting of the Action Group for Syria.

Hong Lei also said that the current situation in Syria remains serious and the process of political settlement is facing many difficulties. We feel sorry for the ineffective implementation of the Eid al-Adha ceasefire proposal. At the same time, we also noticed that more and more countries come to realize that military resolution is no way out and the call for political settlement is on the rise. The UN-AL Joint Special Representative on the Syrian issue Brahimi is also actively carrying out mediation efforts. China put forward the proposals with the aim of building international consensus and supporting the mediation efforts of Joint Special Representative Brahimi so as to maintain and promote the momentum of the political settlement process of the Syrian issue, push relevant parties in Syria to stop fighting and violence at an early date and launch the political transition process led by the Syrian people.

Q: First, how does China comment on the ROK's recent detention of Chinese fishing boats? Second, it is reported that the new Japanese Ambassador to the US Kenichiro Sasae said in an interview that the US couldn't be neutral on the issue of the Diaoyu Islands. The US State Department Spokesperson responded by saying that the US does not take a position on the sovereignty of the Islands. How does China comment on the remarks made by the Japanese and US sides?

A: On your first question, China has noticed relevant situation. We have demanded the ROK side to handle it fairly according to law, and concretely protect the safety and legitimate rights and interests of Chinese fishermen.

Since the signing and coming into effect of the China-ROK Fishery Agreement, China has attached great importance to fishery management. Competent authorities at all levels and local governments have stepped up management over fishing boats and fishermen, and dealt with serious irregularities in a strict manner.

China-ROK fishery cooperation enjoys broad prospects. We hope competent departments of both countries will properly handle problems and disputes in the spirit of mutual benefit so as to constantly deepen China-ROK fishery cooperation. China once again reiterates that the ROK side should eliminate violent law-enforcement and ensure that no incidents of Chinese casualties caused by its violent law-enforcement will happen again.

On your second question, the Diaoyu Islands have always been China's sacred territory since ancient times. China is confident and capable of defending national sovereignty and territorial integrity. Japan's attempt to bring in other countries to confront China over the Diaoyu Islands issue is in vain.

Q: It is reported that Chinese maritime surveillance ships expelled Japanese ships in waters off the Diaoyu Islands. Have these patrols in relevant waters become regular?

A: It is a normal performance of duty for Chinese maritime surveillance ships to conduct routine rights protection patrol and exercise jurisdiction in waters off the Diaoyu Islands.

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