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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei's Regular Press Conference on February 22, 2012
2012/02/23

Q: Recently, a Panama-registered cargo ship with Chinese crew from Taiwan and mainland was attacked by pirates in the port of Lagos, Nigeria. Please brief us on the specifics and the work done by the Foreign Ministry.

A: In the early hours of February 14 local time, Tianwei, a Panama-registered cargo ship was hijacked by eight pirates with guns in the anchorage outside the port of Lagos, Nigeria, causing casualties of sailors and property losses. The pirates fled when the sailors signaled for help and a nearby foreign military vessel came to their rescue.

After receiving the report of the incident, the Chinese Consulate-General in Lagos immediately sent to the port staff members who visited and comforted all the Chinese crew including those from Taiwan. They also instructed the crew to take good security measures, helped contact the company of the shipowner, the company of the crew and the local shipping agency and demanded relevant parties to properly deal with the aftermath. They urged the Nigerian side to send armed police to ensure the safety of the Chinese nationals and ship, step up investigation to bring the perpetrators to justice. Currently, local police has enhanced protection of the attacked ship. Sailors from both Taiwan and mainland expressed thanks to the Consulate-General for the timely and warm assistance.

Q: The city of Nanjing has announced suspension of official exchanges with the city of Nagoya due to its Mayor's denial of the Nanjing Massacre. What is China's comment? Will this incident affect China-Japan relations and their exchanges in other fields?

A: China has made its solemn position known on Nagoya Mayor's denial of the Nanjing Massacre and lodged representations with the Japanese side to show our grave concerns. We understand and support the decision of Nanjing to suspend official exchanges with Nagoya and we will follow closely the developments.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the normalization of China-Japan diplomatic relations and the Year of Friendly Exchanges between the two peoples. In such an important year, we hope the Japanese side will adhere to the principles of the four political documents between China and Japan, take history as a guide and look forward to the future, and work with the Chinese side to push for the sound and stable development of China-Japan relations. This is in the fundamental interests of the two countries and two peoples.

Q: China has not yet decided to attend the "Friends of Syria" Meeting, What is the main consideration behind? Some countries hinted possible provision of weapons to the armed factions of Syria. How does China comment?

A: China is still looking into the role and mechanism of the meeting.

As for the possibility you mentioned that some countries may provide arms to the armed factions of Syria, I want to point out that under the current circumsta