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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei's Regular Press Conference on June 23, 2011

On the afternoon of June 23, 2011, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei held a regular press conference.

Q: Japan-US Security Consultative Committee released a joint statement recently, saying that China should play a responsible and constructive role in safeguarding regional stability. How does China respond?

A: We have noted relevant report. Japan-US alliance, as a bilateral arrangement forged under special historical circumstances, should not go beyond its bilateral scope.

China sticks to the path of peaceful development, upholds the defence policy that is defensive in nature and commits itself to actively developing friendship and cooperation with countries around the world, especially neighboring countries. China always staunchly advocates and actively promotes regional peace and stability as well as mutually beneficial cooperation. We hope relevant countries respect the fact, adopt a responsible attitude and do more to safeguard regional peace and stability and enhance mutual trust.

Q: Would you please brief us on the work done by China in implementing the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC)?

A: China strictly observes the DOC, highly valuing the role of the DOC in maintaining regional stability and promoting mutual trust between China and the ASEAN countries.

Since the signing of the DOC, China has been actively engaged in implementing its follow-up actions and has held two rounds of senior officials meetings with the ASEAN countries. A joint working group has also been set up to formulate working plans and specific cooperation projects. The joint working group gives priority to cooperation in maritime scientific research, maritime enviromental protection and navigation safety and reaches consensus on six cooperation projects, including South China Sea disaster prevention and reduction as well as maritime search and rescue. China and the ASEAN countries taking turns to host the joint working group meeting, have held six meetings so far.

Q: The first China-US Consultation on the Asia Pacific will be convened recently. Would you please brief us on that? What is the significance of the mechanism? What is China's expectation of the first round of consultation?

A: With a view to materializing the outcomes of President Hu Jintao's visit to the US this January as well as the consensus reached in the third round of China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogues, China and the US decided to hold the first consultation on the Asia Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii, the US on June 25. Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai and US Assistant Secretary of State Campbell will co-chair the consultation. The two sides will exchange views on the overall landscape of the Asia Pacific, their respective Asia-Pacific policies as well as regional issues of common interest.

The China-US consultation mechanism on the Asia-Pacific serves as an innovative approach for the implementation of the consensus reached by the two leaders during President Hu Jintao's visit to the US, and it is also the highlight of the third round of China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogues, boasting great significance in enriching China-US cooperative partnership.

China and the US enjoy the most intensive converging interests in the Asia-Pacific region. Especially in recent years, with the increase of common interests and interactions between China and the US in the Asia-Pacific region, it is necessary for us to initiate a specific consultation channel to facilitate exchange of views on regional situation and respective policies, map out and push forward bilateral cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region and appropriately address relevant differences with a view to promoting sound interactions between China and the US in this region. This is not only conducive to the sound and stable development of China-US relations, but also peace, stability and development of the Asia-Pacific region.

China hopes that the first round of consultation will yield positive outcomes so as to enhance bilateral communication in Asia-Pacific affairs, strengthen mutual understanding, expand practical cooperation, properly handle differences, jointly promote peace, stability and development of the Asia-Pacific region and advance China-US cooperative partnership.

Q: President Obama addressed the US on June 22, announcing the plan of withdrawing US troops from Afghanistan. What is China's comment?

A: We always call for respect for the independence and sovereignty of Afghanistan. We have noted President Obama's announcement of withdrawing troops from Afghanistan. We hope relevant parties earnestly assume responsibility during the transfer of security power to Afghanistan, help Afghanistan build up its security capacity so as to ensure a peaceful and stable transition.

Q: Jibril, Chairman of the Executive Board of the Libyan "National Transitional Council" paid a visit to China recently. Please brief us on the visit. Does it indicate that China's policy on the Libyan issue has changed? The Gaddafi regime also expressed its hope that the Libyan opposition's visit to China will facilitate the resolution of the Libyan issue. What is China's response?

A: Yesterday, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi met with visiting Chairman Jibril of the Executive Board of the Libyan "National Transitional Council". During the meeting, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi expressed China's concern over the continuing Libyan crisis and the suffering of the Libyan people. We hope the conflicting parties in Libya set store by the interests of the country and the people, take into serious consideration relevant mediation schemes proposed by the international community, cease fire as soon as possible and resolve the current Libyan crisis through political means, offering a genuine chance to peace, which will serve the fundamental interests of the Libyan people.

Foreign Minister Yang pointed out that China has no desire for private interests in the Libyan issue and believes that, in the final analysis, it is Libya's internal affairs and the future of Libya shall be determined by the Libyan people themselves independently.

Foreign Minister Yang also stated that since the establishment of the "National Transitional Council", its representativeness has been on the rise, making it an important political force in Libya as well as a significant dialogue partner of China. China is willing to stay in touch with all relevant parties, including the Libyan "National Transitional Council", in a bid to push for an early political resolution of the Libyan crisis.

Jibril said that the "National Transitional Council" appreciates China's just position on the Libyan issue and its positive role in resolving the Libyan crisis and pledged to take necessary measures to protect the safety of Chinese nationals and the property of China-funded enterprises in the NTC-controlled areas.

Q: Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao arrived in Pakistan for talks today, hoping to repair India-Pakistan relations once damaged by the Mumbai attack. As a common neighbor of India and Pakistan, how does China comment on the development of India-Pakistan relations?

A: Both India and Pakistan are friendly neighbors of China as well as major countries in South Asia. The improvement of India-Pakistan relations not only serves the interests of South Asia but also peace, stability and development of Asia.

China welcomes the contact and dialogue between India and Pakistan and supports them resolving differences appropriately through dialogue and cooperation so as to realize common development.

Q: It is reported that following the withdrawal of China Overseas Engineering Group Co., Ltd. from the project of constructing A2 highway in Poland, another Chinese company dropped its acquisition bid in Poland. Some Chinese media criticize Poland's investment environment and local attitude towards Chinese investors. What is your comment? Did Chinese enterprises withdraw under the influence of political factors, such as bilateral relations, government attitude and others?

A: While operating in Europe, Chinese enterprises should follow the rule of market economy in a process of learning and accumulating experience. The increase of Chinese investment meets the expectation of many countries and is also the future development direction of China. We hope friendly countries in Europe will continue to provide Chinese enterprises with more support and understanding.

The Chinese Government supports cooperation between Chinese and European enterprises and hopes they will be able to address problems through friendly consultation. It is without doubt that the final decision will be made by the enterprises independently.

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