Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei held a press conference on January 21, 2014.
Hong Lei started the press conference with the following announcement:
At the invitation of Didier Reynders, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and European Affairs of the Kingdom of Belgium, Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the European Commission and the government of the Federal Republic of Germany, State Councilor Yang Jiechi will visit Belgium, co-chair the fourth China-EU High-level Strategic Dialogue with High Representative Ashton and visit Germany from January 25 to 28.
China-Belgium, China-EU and China-Germany relations are enjoying a sound momentum of development. Practical cooperation in various fields has yielded fruitful results. During his visit to Europe, State Councilor Yang Jiechi will meet with leaders of Belgium, Germany and the EU and have an in-depth exchange of views with them on bilateral relations, the international landscape as well as international and regional issues of common interest. We believe that this visit will play a positive role in boosting China's relations with the EU and the relevant countries, enhancing mutual understanding and trust and promoting practical cooperation.
Q: Catherine Samba-Panza was elected by the Central African Republic (CAR)'s Transitional National Council as the new interim Head of State. What is China's comment?
A: The election of the new interim Head of State of the CAR presents an important opportunity for the improvement of the situation in the CAR. China welcomes that. We hope that, under the leadership of the new transitional authority, all parties concerned in the CAR will act in the fundamental interests of the country and the people, take concrete steps to maintain social stability, strengthen national unity, improve domestic security and humanitarian situation as soon as possible and create a sound environment for political transition and national reconstruction. China is ready to work with the international community to play a constructive role in the realization of peace, security and development at an early date in the CAR.
Q: Japan's Liberal Democratic Party adopted the working policy for 2014 at its annual convention, vowing to push ahead with constitutional revision, continue visits to the Yasukuni Shrine and drop the “no-war pledge”. What is China's comment?
A: What way of development Japan will follow is a major issue that has a bearing on peace, stability and development of Asia. We urge the Japanese side to deeply reflect on the history of aggression and pursue a path of peaceful development. We require the Japanese leader to admit mistakes and change course on the issue of the Yasukuni Shrine.
Q: The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed on January 20 that Iran had begun implementing the Joint Plan of Action. The US welcomed the move and announced a variety of steps to relax sanctions on Iran. What is China's comment? What is China's expectation for the prospect of the Iranian nuclear issue?
A: On January 20, the first-step agreement between the P5+1 and Iran was put into practice. China appreciates the positive and practical attitude taken by all parties. In the next step, negotiation on a comprehensive agreement on the Iranian nuclear issue will unfold. China hopes that all parties make concerted efforts, properly address differences through consultation on an equal footing and come to an agreement at an early date so as to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue in a comprehensive, long-term and proper manner. China will stay in communication with all relevant parties and continue to make constructive efforts to that end.
Q: On Iran's participation in the Geneva II Conference, the US said that Iran should only be allowed to participate if it agrees to conditions, while Russia said that no conditions should be set for Iran's participation. What is China's position?
A: The meeting in Geneva, marking the beginning of dialogue and negotiation, should be an ongoing process. Dialogue between parties in Syria is, in itself, an important achievement and start. We hope that all parties in Syria act in the interest of the future and destiny of the country and the overall interest of the people, summon up political will, meet each other half way, and seek a solution by drawing on useful regional and international experience while keeping in mind Syria's national conditions and the interests of all parties. As long as the two parties in Syria sit down for talks, there will be an outcome. China attaches importance to and supports the positive role played by countries in the region on the political settlement of the Syrian issue.
Q: The news release issued by the ASEAN Foreign Ministers' meeting touched upon the recent developments on the South China Sea, called on all parties concerned to resolve disputes through peaceful means and reaffirmed ASEAN's Six-Point Principles on the South China Sea. What is China's comment?
A: China has indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and their adjacent waters. China stays committed to resolving relevant disputes with countries directly concerned through negotiation and consultation, implementing the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) together with all parties concerned to safeguard peace and stability of the South China Sea and upholding the principle of "shelving disputes and seeking joint development". The key is that all parties should commit themselves to the full and effective implementation of the DOC and do more to promote mutual trust and cooperation. China hopes that relevant countries could meet China half way to jointly maintain peace and stability of the South China Sea.