The attack on the UN Multi-dimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali this early morning caused major casualties. One Chinese peacekeeper was killed and four injured. We express our deep condolences to the victims and sincere sympathies to the bereaved families and the injured.
Attaching great importance to the incident, the CPC Central Committee and the State Council immediately called for emergency response and efforts to deal with follow-up matters. Relevant work is going on.
It is a terrorist attack against UN peacekeepers. It is a grave crime that cannot be tolerated. The Chinese side strongly condemns this attack. We ask the Mali government and the UN to carry out immediate investigation into this terrorist attack, hold the perpetrators accountable, and work closely with China to deal with the follow-up work.
I want to stress that the Chinese government resolutely supports the international cause of peace, and peace and stability in Africa. At present, over 2400 Chinese peacekeepers are conducting UN peacekeeping operations in 7 African mission zones, including Mali, Democratic Republic of Congo and Liberia. We will continue to take an active part in the UN peacekeeping operations, uphold the spirits of the UN Charter and contribute to peace and stability in Africa.
Q: The 12th Senior Officials' Meeting on the Implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) will soon be held. Could you give us more details?
A: The 12th Senior Officials' Meeting on the Implementation of the DOC will be held in Vietnam on June 9. Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin and senior diplomatic officials of ASEAN countries will attend the meeting. The 17th Joint Working Group Meeting on the Implementation of the DOC will be held back to back. The Chinese side will have an in-depth exchange of views with ASEAN countries on fully and effectively implementing the DOC, promoting pragmatic maritime cooperation and carrying out "early harvest" programs. They will also discuss how to effectively advance consultations on the code of conduct in the South China Sea (COC) under the framework of implementing the DOC.
Q: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that President Vladimir Putin's planned trip to China in June will give powerful new impulse to ties between the two nations. Lavrov said the two nations share opposition to a unipolar world, oppose "double standards" as well as attempts at "diktat and blackmail" in global affairs. He described expanding ties with China as Russia's top foreign policy priority. What is your response?
A: China and Russia are each other's diplomatic priorities and the most important partners for strategic cooperation. The two sides maintain close coordination on international affairs, uphold the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and basic norms governing international relations, and promote political settlement of hot-spot issues. Coordination between China and Russia on the international stage has become an important and constructive factor in maintaining world peace and development.
China-Russia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership for Coordination is developing at a high level. President Putin's upcoming visit to China will be an opportunity for the two leaders to exchange views on bilateral relations and international and regional issues of common interest. China and Russia will continue to fully implement the important consensus for cooperation reached between the two leaders, take the 15th anniversary of the signing of the Sino-Russian Treaty on Good-neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation as well as the 20th anniversary of the establishment of China-Russia Strategic Partnership for Coordination as an opportunity to strengthen all-around cooperation, and add impetus to the development of the two countries.
Q: Can you give us more details about the DPRK delegation's visit, especially their meeting with the Chinese side? What is the outcome of the meeting?
A: On May 31, Minister of the International Department of the CPC Central Committee Song Tao held talks with Ri Su-yong, member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Worker's Party of Korea (WPK), Vice Chairman of the WPK Central Committee and Minister of the International Department of the DPRK and the delegation he led. The information has been released.
Q: Foreign companies have expressed concerns over China's tightening of cyber security measures which they believe in many ways are blocks on trade. Yesterday, they also sent a letter to the CIRC over China's new regulations on the insurance sector. What is your comment on that?
A: The Chinese side has repeatedly expounded on its principled position regarding cyber security. As for your question which is related to the new regulations on the insurance sector, I would refer you to the competent authorities.
Q: It is reported that the incoming Foreign Secretary of the Philippines Perfecto Yasay said that he would like to hold bilateral talks with China on the South China Sea issue. He does not believe that there is another way for the two sides to resolve the issue except for bilateral talks. What is your comment?
A: The Chinese side welcomes the remarks by Mr. Yasay. Over the 40-odd years of diplomatic relationship, successive leaders of the two countries have affirmed their agreement, both in face-to-face meetings and in bilateral political documents released by the two sides, to peacefully resolve the South China Sea dispute through direct and bilateral talks. Such agreement was also the solemn commitment in the DOC jointly signed by the two sides in 2002. Based on the aforementioned consensus, China and the Philippines have effectively controlled the South China Sea dispute through dialogue and consultation. It is hoped that the new government of the Philippines will abide by the relevant consensus and commitment, return to the track of bilateral dialogue, work with China to properly deal with the relevant differences and strive for the sound and steady development of bilateral relations.
Q: What are the major objectives that China expects to achieve at the 8th Strategic and Economic Dialogues (S&EDs) between China and the US?
A: Tomorrow morning, we will have a special forum on the 8th round of S&EDs and the 7th round of China-US High-level Consultation on People-to-People Exchange (CPE) at the Blue Room. Officials from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Finance and Education will brief you about issues concerning the upcoming dialogue and consultation, and take questions. I suggest that you come over for the most authoritative answer tomorrow morning.
Q: Japan's Mitsubishi Materials Corp. said that it is going to compensate the Second World War forced laborers and family members of the deceased. Does China welcome this move?
A: We have noted the report. Forced recruitment and slavery of laborers is a grave crime committed by the Japanese militarism during their invasion and colonial rule of other countries. It is hoped that the Japanese side will take seriously and properly deal with this issue left over from history in a responsible manner.