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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei's Regular Press Conference on March 29, 2012

Hong Lei started the press conference with the following announcement:

As agreed by China, Japan and the ROK, the sixth China-Japan-ROK Foreign Ministers Meeting will be held in Ningbo, China from April 7 to 8. The Meeting will be hosted by Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi. The three parties will mainly exchange views on further promoting trilateral practical cooperation and the preparation for the fifth China-Japan-ROK Leaders Meeting, etc.

Q: The US Defence Department recently decided to suspend food aid to the DPRK and voiced its disagreement with China's position on the satellite launch of the DPRK. How does China comment?

A: Maintaining peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia, and avoiding the reversal of the hard-won relaxation of tension on the Peninsula serve the common interests of all parties. China positively comments on the February 29 consensus reached between the US and the DPRK and hopes that the two countries will continue with dialogue and improve their relations.

For a long time, China has made unremitting efforts for the realization of denuclearization and maintaining peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula. Such efforts have won positive appraisal of the international community. After the DPRK announced its satellite launch, China expressed concerns and worries, and called on all parties concerned to exercise calmness and restraint with the larger and long-term interests in mind so as to resolve relevant issue peacefully and properly through diplomatic means. China is ready to work with other parties concerned to continue to play a constructive role in maintaining peace and stability of the region.

Q: It is reported that the Phillipines and Vietnam have reached an agreement to stage joint military exercises on the South China Sea and carry out joint patrol on their maritime borders. How does China comment?

A: China has indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and their adjacent waters. China is firmly opposed to other countries' acts that undermine China's sovereignty. Maintaining peace and stability of the South China Sea is in line with the common and fundamental interests of all countries in this region. We hope relevant countries will earnestly abide by the spirit of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) signed between China and ASEAN countries and refrain from taking actions that will complicate and amplify the South China Sea issue or impair peace and stability of the South China Sea.

Q: Iranian Foreign Minister Salehi announced on March 28 that Iran and P5 plus one countries will resume their dialogue on April 13. Please confirm. What does China expect of this dialogue?

A: China always maintains that the Iranian nuclear issue should be resolved through dialogue and negotiation. At present, there are positive signs in the dialogue and negotiation on the Iranian nuclear issue. P5 plus one countries and Iran are now communicating on relevant arrangements. China will actively take part in the dialogue process and is ready to work with other parties concerned to continue to play a constructive role for the comprehensive, long-term and proper settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue.

Q: How does China comment on the three candidates for the World Bank President? Relevant countries have proposed to set up a development bank among the BRICS countries during the on-going BRICS Leaders Meeting. Is it targeted at the World Bank?

A: I have already briefed you on China's position regarding the selection of the World Bank President from this podium. The G20 London Summit decided that the selection of heads of the World Bank and other international financial institutions should observe the principle of openness, transparency and meritocracy. We believe relevant selection work should concretely abide by such a principle and fully listen to the views of the vast number of developing countries.

On your second question, the BRICS Leaders Meeting is being held in New Delhi. China hopes that the meeting will push forward practical cooperation among BRICS countries and make progress in South-South Cooperation and South-North dialogue.

Q: In a release of the result of its 2011 review of text books on March 27, Japan claimed that the Diaoyu Island is its "inherent territory" and denied the historical facts that 300,000 people were slaughtered during the Nanjing Massacre. How does China comment?

A: The Diaoyu Island and its affiliated islands have been China's inherent territory since ancient times. China has indisputable sovereignty over them. Any move attempting to alter this fact is in vain.

The Nanjing Massacre is a heinous crime committed by the Japanese militarism during its aggression against China. There is irrefutable and overwhelming evidence for that, and the international community has long had a final conclusion on it. We hope Japan, true to the spirit of "taking history as a guide and looking forward to the future", can squarely face and properly handle historic issues.

Q: President Hu Jintao will visit Cambodia soon. How does China comment? This visit is scheduled right before the ASEAN Summit. Is such an arrangement out of some special considerations?

A: President Hu Jintao's upcoming state visit to Cambodia is a major event in China-Cambodia relations. We hope this visit will further boost China-Cambodia traditional friendship, deepen practical cooperation, promote people-to-people exchanges and step up bilateral cooperation and coordination on regional and international affairs in a bid to elevate China-Cambodia comprehensive strategic partnership of cooperation.

In recent years, China-ASEAN relations have maintained good momentum of development with frequent high-level exchange of visits, deepening political mutual trust, expanding business cooperation, close people-to-people exchanges and sound cooperation and communication on regional affairs. We believe that this visit will give a strong impetus to the further development of China-ASEAN strategic partnership. China will continue to be the good neighbour, good friend and good partner of ASEAN. We are also ready to work with ASEAN countries to enhance peace, stability and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific.

Q: Prime Minister Monti of Italy will visit China from tomorrow. Please brief us on his specific itinerary.

A: Prime Minister Mario Monti of the Republic of Italy will pay an official visit to China. Premier Wen Jiabao will have talks with him. The two sides will have in-depth exchange of views on bilateral relations and international and regional issues of common interest. We will release information of his visit in due course.

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