On the afternoon of February 24, 2011, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Ma Zhaoxu held a regular press conference.
Ma Zhaoxu started the conference with the following announcements:
The 11th China-Japan Strategic Dialogue will be held in Tokyo on February 28. Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun and his Japanese counterpart Kenichiro Sasae will lead delegations to the dialogue and exchange views on bilateral relations as well as international and regional issues.
The China-Japanese Strategic Dialogue is an important channel for the two governments to strengthen strategic communication. We expect the dialogue to further enhance our mutual understanding and political mutual trust with a view to promoting sound and stable development of bilateral relations.
At the invitation of Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota will pay an official visit to China from March 2 to 4.
Q: About the recent earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand, has China offered sympathy and assistance? Also, we'd like to know how the Chinese citizens are doing there.
A: The Chinese Government pays great attention to the recent earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand. Premier Wen Jiabao and Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi have sent telegraphs of condolences to their New Zealand counterparts respectively, expressing China's will to provide assistance within its capability whenever New Zealand needs it. The Red Cross Society of China and the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries have offered their New Zealand counterparts assistance of 50,000 US dollars and 100,000 yuan respectively. At the invitation of the New Zealand Government, the Chinese Government has dispatched a rescue team to help with relief work.
After the quake, the Chinese Embassy in New Zealand immediately launched emergency mechanism and opened three telephone lines for emergency calls around the clock so as to provide Chinese citizens assistance and service. Ambassador Xu Jianguo led a working group to the scene to coordinate with the New Zealand side in helping trapped Chinese citizens with no efforts spared.
Given the current circumstances, our Department of Consular Affairs and the Chinese Embassy in New Zealand have cautioned Chinese citizens against heading to the affected areas and Chinese citizens already there to raise security awareness to ensure the safety of lives and property.
We are highly concerned about the reports that some Chinese students are trapped in the quake. The Chinese Embassy in New Zealand is trying to verify the information and urges all-out rescue efforts from the New Zealand side. Should any new information come in, we'll keep you updated.
Q: Could you update us on your latest efforts to evacuate Chinese nationals from Libya? How many Chinese citizens have been moved out?
A: Given the major changes in the security situation in Libya, the Chinese Government pays great attention to the safety of Chinese personnel and institutions in the country. The State Council promptly established an emergency command center and launched an emergency mechanism for evacuation and security safeguard. All parties engaged are sparing no efforts in their work.
The Chinese Government has dispatched two chartered planes with a joint working group comprising officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Commerce, State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council and Ministry of Public Security to collaborate with our Embassy in Libya on evacuation. The Chinese Embassies in Greece and Malta have rented four large passenger liners to head to waters off Libya. Our Embassy and Consulate in Egypt have rented almost 100 large passenger buses to pick up the Chinese citizens at the border between Egypt and Libya. COSCO and China Shipping Company are taking an active part in the evacuation efforts. State-owned Enterprises including China State Construction Engineering Corporation, Sinohydro Corporation, China Railway Construction Corporation and China Communications Construction Company are working in close cooperation to overcome various difficulties and arrange evacuation in an organized and orderly manner.
By 7 am this morning, over 4600 Chinese citizens have been moved either back to China or to a safer third country with the assistance of our diplomatic missions overseas. Over 4000 of them boarded passenger liners bound to Crete Island of Greece and over 400 got to Egypt by land. The first chartered plane already took off in Tripoli at 1:40 pm Beijing time, taking back over 200 Chinese citizens, mostly women and children.
Relevant departments and our diplomatic missions overseas will continue to work hard and fast in close cooperation to arrange the evacuation and safeguard the lives and property of Chinese citizens as well as China's national interests.
Q: How do you comment on the current unrest in Libya?
A: We pay great attention to the continued unrest in Libya, strongly hope to see the country restore social stability and normality as soon as possible and urge the Libyan side to concretely protect the safety and lawful rights and interests of foreign nationals in Libya.
Q: Has the Foreign Ministry received calls for help from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan compatriots in Libya? Such a large-scale evacuation from Libya can face a lot of difficulties. How many people will get home directly and how many to a third country? Is there a timetable?
A: We attach great importance to safety of Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan compatriots in Libya and will spare no efforts to help them out of difficulties. They are kindly suggested to contact the Chinese Embassy in Libya for help whenever they find themselves in need. We will provide immediate assistance within our capacity. The Foreign Ministry website has already released hotline numbers and related information.
At present we are taking Chinese nationals out of Libya by chartered planes, ships and other means. There are many stopovers as I just mentioned, such as Greece, Egypt and other countries close to Libya. We will arrange for their next step based on the actual situation.
Q: According to US media reports, Chinese hackers attacked some American oil companies to obtain project information. How does China respond to it and what actions will you take?
A: I'm not aware of the specific case you mentioned.
However, China's position on the issue of hacking is clear. The Chinese Government is firmly opposed to hacking, and China is also a victim. We are ready to strengthen international cooperation in this regard.
Q: Can you brief us on the visit to China by Brazilian Foreign Minister? Will the two sides sign any agreements? Can you comment on the current China-Brazil relations?
A: Since China and Brazil established diplomatic relations in 1974 and especially strategic partnership in 1993, bilateral relations have scored great development with frequent high-level exchanges, enhanced political mutual trust, deepening economic and trade cooperation, increasing people-to-people and cultural exchanges as well as sound coordination and cooperation in international affairs. Attaching importance to bilateral relations from a strategic perspective, China is ready to work with Brazil to deepen exchanges and cooperation across the board to promote bilateral strategic partnership to a new high.
We will release information on the specific arrangement of the Brazilian Foreign Minister's visit and hope you will cover the event.
Q: It is reported that China blocked the adoption by the Security Council of the DPRK uranium enrichment program report submitted by experts of the sanctions committee. How do you comment?
A: As a permanent member of the UN Security Council and a responsible member of the international community, China has always supported denuclearization of the Peninsula and peace and stability of Northeast Asia and made positive efforts towards the end. We have taken a constructive attitude in participating in efforts to settle the DPRK nuclear issue, including Security Council discussions, and have been trying to make the discussions conducive to the easing of tension on the Peninsula and the diplomatic efforts to encourage peace talks. We hope relevant parties will grasp the current positive momentum, meet each other halfway and take necessary steps to resume the Six-Party Talks as soon as possible with a view to resolving relevant issue within the framework of the Six-Party Talks.
Q: Taiwan media reports that Taiwan requires a formal apology from the Philippines for the extradition of Taiwan suspects involved in a major telecom fraud case to the Mainland. How do you comment?
A: The November 30 telecom fraud case is a transnational crime against Chinese people on the Mainland. It is reasonable and well-grounded that the Philippines decides to repatriate those involved in the case according to the MOU on transnational crimes between the two countries, considering that all the victims are from the Mainland. This is not only for the need of clamping down on cross-border crimes, but also for better protecting people's lawful rights and interests.
Q: What is China's position on the Nagorno-Karabakh issue between Armenia and Azerbaijan?
A: China's position on the Nagorno-Karabakh issue is clear and consistent. China hopes relevant parties will seek a solution acceptable to both parties through consultation and dialogue and peacefully resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh issue in accordance with universally recognized norms of international law and relevant UN Security Council resolutions, which is not only in the interests of both Azerbaijan and Armenia, but also conducive to regional peace, stability and development.
Q: The Security Council issued a statement on the Libyan situation days ago, condemning the use of force against civilians and calling upon the Libyan Government to protect its citizen's freedom of assembly and speech. Does that also represent China's position?
A: China pays great attention to the developments in the Libyan situation, strongly hopes to see the country restore social stability and normality as soon as possible and concretely protect safety of Chinese personnel, institutions and property in Libya.
The UN Security Council was briefed on the Libyan situation and held closed-door consultations on February 22. China expounded its position at the meeting, calling for an immediate return to social stability, urging the Libyan side to concretely protect safety and lawful rights and interests of foreign nationals in Libya and calling on all parties to provide convenience for other countries' evacuation of their nationals, which is also reflected in the Security Council Press Statement after the meeting.
Q: Has China asked other countries for help in its evacuation efforts?
A: China is working closely with relevant countries to evacuate Chinese nationals in Libya. I would like to especially thank governments of relevant countries for their kind assistance and strong support, which fully embody the spirit of international cooperation. We appreciate efforts made by these governments. We also reach out to other countries when they are in need.
Q: There are comments that China's consent to the Security Council Statement on Libya is against its principle of non-interference in other countries' internal affairs. How do you comment?
A: The principle of non-interference in others' internal affairs is one of the pillars of China's foreign policy. We firmly adhere to the policy, which will not change. Meanwhile, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China has actively and constructively taken part in Security Council activities and played its due role.