On the afternoon of February 1, 2011, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei held a regular press conference.
Hong lei started with an announcement.
At the invitation of Mumbengegwi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Toungui, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Cooperation, la Francophonie and Regional Integration of the Republic of Gabon, Faki, Minister for Foreign Affairs, African Integration and International Cooperation of the Republic of Chad, Lama, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Overseas Guineans of the Republic of Guinea, Ohin, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of the Togolese Republic, and Foreign Minister Abdullah of the United Arab Emirates, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi will pay official visits to the six countries from February 9 to 17.
Q: Please update us on the Chinese nationals who are still in Egypt. And how do you view the preliminary result of the Southern Sudan Referendum. Do you think it will affect China's interests in Sudan?
A: Since the start of demonstrations in Egypt, the Chinese Government has attached great importance to the safety of Chinese nationals in Egypt. The Foreign Ministry and the Chinese Embassy in Egypt took various emergent measures immediately, issued several travel advisories, operated a 24-hour hotline and provided consular protection and assistance for Chinese nationals. A working group made up of officials from the Foreign Ministry, National Tourism Administration, Ministry of Public Security and Civil Aviation Administration has arrived in Egypt. At present the working group is working with the Chinese Embassy there to further learn and verify relevant information and seek to provide assistance for Chinese nationals in Egypt.
With the concerted efforts of the North and South of Sudan and the international community, the Southern Sudan Referendum was held smoothly, which is an important step towards the comprehensive implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and welcomed by the Chinese side. The Southern Sudan Referendum is not the end of implementing the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. Rather, to realize lasting peace, stability and development in Sudan is the ultimate goal. China is ready to work with the international community and relevant parties to continue its positive and constructive role in realizing long-term peace, stability and development in Sudan.
Q: Will China take measures to protect its investments in Egypt?
A: We will continue to closely follow the developments in the situation there and strengthen coordination with relevant departments to concretely safeguard the safety of Chinese institutions and personnel in Egypt.
Q: How do you comment on the new Cabinet of Egypt?
A: Egypt is a friendly country of China. We hope Egypt will restore social stability and normal order as soon as possible.
Q: Can you brief us on the Chinese nationals being taken back from Egypt?
A: The Chinese Government attaches great importance to the safety of Chinese nationals in Egypt and has coordinated with relevant airlines to send additional flights to Egypt to take back Chinese personnel there. The first two flights of Air China and Hainan Airlines took off from the Cairo Airport on the early morning of February 1, local time, with 480 Chinese nationals on board. They will arrive home this evening. In addition, the second two flights sent by the Chinese Government left Beijing on the early morning of February 1, Beijing time. More flights are on the way.
The working group made up of the Foreign Ministry, National Tourism Administration, Ministry of Public Security and Civil Aviation Administration is working with the Chinese Embassy in Egypt to seek to provide assistance for Chinese nationals who are still there and arrange for their immediate return.
Q: It is reported that the Vietnamese Foreign Ministry issued a statement lately, urging China to remove from the Map World service the marks on the maritime boundary between China and Vietnam in the South China Sea. How do you comment?
A: China enjoys indisputable sovereignty over the South China Sea islands and their adjacent waters. China's position on this is consistent and clear.
Hong Lei finally said that during the Spring Festival, the Foreign Ministry press conferences for February 3 (Thursday) and February 8 (Tuesday) would be canceled, and the first press conference after the holidays will be held on February 10 (Thursday). During the break, the Foreign Ministry Spokesperson's Office will still take phone inquiries from the press.
The day after tomorrow will be the most important traditional festival in China, the Spring Festival. We will bid farewell to the Year of the Tiger and usher in the Year of the Rabbit. I would like to thank friends from the media for your focus on and coverage of China's diplomacy over the past year. On behalf of my colleagues Director-General Ma Zhaoxu and Deputy Director-General Jiang Yu, I hereby extend to you New Year's greetings. Wish you all the best in the coming year.