Q: It is reported that the two Indian businessmen have been released and they are now on their way to Shanghai. Please brief us on the latest developments of the case.
A: We learnt from local authorities that the two Indians left Yiwu together with the official from the Indian Consulate-General in Shanghai on the evening of January 4. When they were in Yiwu, they were placed in a hotel and free to move about, with their personal safety unaffected. They could take care of food and drinks by themselves.
China is a country under the rule of law. The Chinese side values its friendly relations with India and has always protected the legitimate rights and interests of foreigners including Indian nationals according to law. The Chinese side hopes that the Indian side will actively educate Indian businessmen in China to abide by Chinese laws and regulations, engage in lawful business and honor their commitments and contracts.
Q: It is reported that the ROK President Lee Myung-bak will discuss the signing of China-ROK free trade agreement during his visit to China. Please confirm.
A: The Chinese side is ready to take the opportunity of President Lee's visit to further enhance political mutual trust and deepen mutually beneficial cooperation with the ROK in a bid to push forward China-ROK strategic partnership of cooperation.
Q: It is reported that the Taliban in Afghanistan announced its decision to set up a liaison office in Qatar, which is welcomed by Afghan President Karzai. How does China comment?
A: The Chinese side supports the national reconciliation efforts of Afghanistan and hopes to see early realization of peace and stability in the country. We are happy to see progress made in Afghan national reconciliation. At the same time, we believe that the outside should fully respect the choice of the Afghan Government and people with regard to the issue of peace talks and create an environment helpful in attaining progress of reconciliation.
Q: Pakistani Chief of Army Staff Kayani is on a visit to China. Can you give us any information?
A: The Ministry of National Defence has released relevant information.
This morning, Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the PLA Ma Xiaotian held talks with Pakistani Chief of Army Staff Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. The two sides exchanged views on regional security, military-to-military relations and other issues. Ma Xiaotian said that over the years, the two countries have forged an all-weather friendship. The two militaries have engaged in all-dimensional, wide-ranging and multi-tiered exchanges and their cooperation has been deepening in defence security consultation, army drills, personnel training, exchanges between institutions and colleges, equipment development, non-traditional security and other fields. The Chinese side is ready to further boost strategic communication with the Pakistani side and solidify the foundation of cooperation in order to push forward bilateral relations.
Q: It is reported that representatives from the Quartet, Palestine and Israel recently held a meeting in Jordan to discuss how to resume the Middle East peace process that has been stalled for over a year. How does China comment?
A: China welcomes measures that are helpful in breaking the deadlock in the Palestine-Israel negotiation and facilitating the resumption of their dialogue. We hope relevant efforts will make positive progress so as to restart talks between Palestine and Israel at an early date.
Q: It is reported that mainland Chinese airliners said that they would refuse to pay aviation emissions tax to the EU. How does China comment?
A: The Chinese side objects to the unilateral legislation of the EU and has expressed our concerns to the EU through bilateral channels on many occasions.
In fact, many other countries are against this practice of the EU. We hope the EU will act prudently and properly handle this issue through consultation with the Chinese side and other parties concerned in an active and practical manner.
Tomorrow's press conference will be adjourned.