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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei's Regular Press Conference on February 27, 2012


Q: Russian presidential candidate and Prime Minister Putin published an article on current international relations today, elaborating on his foreign policy platform and touching upon China-Russia relations. How do you comment on Putin's views and the development of China-Russia relations?

A: China has noted Prime Minister Putin's positive views on China-Russia relations in his policy article Russia and the Changing World.

China hopes that the Russian presidential election will be held smoothly and China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination will develop in a sustained, healthy and stable manner.

Q: First, how does China comment on the outcomes of the "Friends of Syria" Meeting? Second, US Secretary of State Clinton said during the "Friends of Syria" Meeting that China and Russia were setting themselves against the aspirations not only of the Syrian people but of the entire Arab Spring. How do you respond?

A: On your first question, the "Friends of Syria" Meeting was recently held in Tunis. China did not attend the meeting as it needs to further look into the purpose, role and mechanism of the meeting. As a friend of the Syrian and Arab people, China has long firmly supported the just cause of the Arab people. On the Syrian issue, China supports all efforts conducive to peacefully and appropriately resolving the Syrian crisis and upholding peace and stability in the Middle East. China is ready to work with all parties concerned including the Arab countries to continue to play an active and constructive role in this regard.

On your second question, we cannot accept the remarks by the US figure at all. On the Syrian issue, China upholds an objective, just and responsible attitude and bears in mind protecting the fundamental and long-term interests of the Syrian and Arab people and safeguarding peace and stability in Syria and the Middle East. We always stand for respecting the independent choice of the Syrian people and oppose forced intervention in Syria or imposing any so-called solution on the Syrian people.

Q: The Yemeni supreme elections committee announced Hadi as Yemen's new president on February 25. How do you comment?

A: China congratulates President Hadi on his election. We hope relevant parties in Yemen, under the leadership of President Hadi, will continue to earnestly implement the GCC initiative and its implementation mechanism, peacefully resolve differences through dialogue and consultation, restore social order at an early date and realize national stability and development.

Q: It is reported that the IAEA said in a quarterly report issued to its member states on February 24 that the Agency still has serious concerns regarding possible military dimensions of Iran's nuclear program and no further meetings between them are planned. How do you comment and view the prospect of dialogue on the Iranian nuclear issue?

A: China is studying the report.

We hold that the IAEA, as an international authority on the peaceful use of nuclear energy, plays an irreplaceable and important role in handling appropriately the Iranian nuclear issue. The Agency should uphold an objective and impartial attitude and stay actively committed to dialogue and cooperation with Iran. Iran should also further show flexibility and sincerity, continue to strengthen cooperation with the Agency and commit to resolve the international community's concerns about the Iranian nuclear program at an early date.

Positive momentum has emerged in the process of dialogue and cooperation on the Iranian nuclear issue. China hopes all parties will seize the opportunity, meet each other half way and resume dialogue as soon as possible in an effort to actively seek a comprehensive, long-term, appropriate and effective way to solve the Iranian nuclear issue. China will continue to play a constructive role in this regard.

Q: In his recent article in the Wall Street Journal, US Republican presidential candidate Romney criticized China over issues such as economy, trade, human rights and military security and pledged to take a tougher position against China if elected President. How do you respond?

A: It is the common interests and shared responsibility of China and the US to safeguard the healthy and stable development of bilateral relations. Responsible words and responsible actions make a responsible politician. Those irresponsible and groundless remarks are not worth refuting.

Q: How does China comment on Syria's referendum on the new draft constitution on February 26?

A: We hope the move is conducive to promoting the reform process in Syria, launching political dialogue and responding to the Syrian people's reasonable appeals for change and protection of their interests. We hope relevant parties in Syria work together to ease the tension at an early date.

Q: The third DPRK-US high-level dialogue was recently held in Beijing. The Chinese Government's Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Affairs Wu Dawei met with DPRK First Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan. Can you brief us on the meeting? How does China assess the outcomes of the dialogue and view the prospect of the Six-Party Talks? Separately on Syria, which solution does China think is helpful to the settlement of the Syrian issue and acceptable to all parties?

A: China stays in close communication with both the DPRK and the US on the Six-Party Talks. Following the third DPRK-US high-level dialogue, China exchanged views with both parties respectively on relevant issues. China welcomes the earnest and positive dialogue between them and stands ready to work with all relevant parties to continue to play a constructive role in pushing forward the Six-Party Talks and upholding peace and stability on the Peninsula and in Northeast Asia.

On your second question, in the process of resolving the Syrian crisis, China has all along urged the Syrian Government and relevant parties to immediately and fully stop all acts of violence, launch an inclusive political dialogue with no preconditions attached and negotiate a comprehensive political reform plan and mechanism. We hold that the international community should fully respect Syria's sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity and respect the Syrian people's independent choice. We support the Arab countries' proposal to halt violence immediately, earnestly protect Syrian civilians, provide humanitarian aid to Syria and avoid external military intervention.We also hope to resolve the Syrian issue through political dialogue within the Arab League's framework.

Q: Can you confirm the information that Vice Foreign Minister Fu Ying visited the DPRK last week? If true, please brief us on the outcomes of the visit.

A: The foreign ministries of China and the DPRK have stayed in contact and communication through various means. Leading officials from the two foreign ministries made contact last week and exchanged views on bilateral relations and international and regional issues of common interest. The two sides agreed to further develop China-DPRK traditional friendship and cooperation in a bid to jointly safeguard peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and push for the early resumption of the Six-Party Talks. The two sides also discussed China's food aid to the DPRK.

Q: Can you give us more details of China's assistance to the DPRK? Are there any strings attached?

A: China has been providing assistance to the DPRK within our capacity. We also welcome various forms of support and assistance from relevant parties and the international community to the DPRK, which will help the latter overcome temporary difficulties.

Q: With regard to China's marine research in relevant waters, Vietnamese officials recently said that they asked China to stop activities threatening Vietnam's territorial sovereignty over the Xisha and Nansha Islands. How does China respond?

A: China enjoys indisputable sovereignty over South China Sea islands and their adjacent waters. China's normal development and any activity on the Xisha Islands are completely within China's sovereignty. China cannot accept the Vietnamese remarks at all. We urge the Vietnamese side to earnestly respect China's sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction.

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