Q: It is reported that the Arab League Foreign Ministers' Meeting held in Cairo released a statement on February 12, asking the UN Security Council to approve the formation of a UN-Arab joint peacekeeping mission. What is China's comment on that?
A: A stable Syria is of great significance to peace and security in the Middle East. China calls for and supports the Arab League's continuous political mediation efforts as well as its positive and constructive role in peacefully and appropriately solving the Syrian issue. The UN should provide constructive assistance based on the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and the basic norms governing international relations.
Q: What is China's comment on the recent turbulence and change of regime in Maldives?
A: As a friendly and close neighbour of Maldives, we respect the independent choice of its people and sincerely hope that Maldives will realize national stability, social harmony and economic development at an early date. Based on the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence, China would like to work with the Government of Maldives to promote the stable, sound and smooth development of China-Maldives relations.
Q: It is reported that Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh discussed quite a few issues including the South China Sea issue with the Chinese side during his visit to China. Please brief us on that. What progress has been made in the discussion between China and ASEAN countries on the formulation of the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC)?
A: Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi held talks with visiting Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh on February 12. The two sides exchanged views on developing China-Vietnam relations as well as international and regional issues of common interest.
Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi shed light on the advancement in China-Vietnam relations, such as the close high-level exchanges and the stable development of cooperation across the board. China would like to work together with the Vietnamese side to earnestly implement the consensus reached by the two leaders, enhance political mutual trust, deepen practical cooperation and appropriately deal with sensitive issues, so as to strive for a sustained, sound and stable development of China-Vietnam relations.
Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh stated that Vietnam cherishes the traditional bilateral friendship, and attaches great importance to developing friendly cooperation with China. The Vietnamese side stands ready to strengthen coordination and cooperation with China and make greater endeavor to implement the two leaders' consensus and deepen exchanges and cooperation across the board.
Chinese and Vietnamese leaders have reached important consensus on the South China Sea issue on various occasions, agreeing to appropriately handle the South China Sea dispute through friendly consultation and negotiation with the overall interests of China-Vietnam relations in mind. The two sides exchanged views on the implementation of relevant consensus between leaders of the two countries and the Agreement on the Basic Principles Guiding the Settlement of China-Vietnam Maritime Issues as well as the maintenance of peace and stability in the South China Sea.
China has expressed that it is open to discussing the formulation of the COC when conditions are ripe. The pressing task now is for all parties to seize the opportunity, implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, carry out practical cooperation concerning the South China Sea and safeguard regional peace and stability.
Q: The Greek Government adopted a new austerity plan yesterday in a bid to earn the second tranche of bail-out fund from the EU and the IMF. Does China believe that the European debt crisis is under control?
A: The European debt crisis, which still draws world-wide attention, is at a critical juncture. Whether the EU, the world's largest economy and the No.1 trading partner of China, can duly manage the debt issue, not only affects the economic development and destiny of the EU itself, but also exerts great impact on world economic recovery and the long-term development of China-EU economic cooperation and trade.
China supports the European side's effort in tackling the debt crisis. On top of taking emergent remedy measures, the EU, as a whole, should constantly push forward institutional, structural, and fundamental reforms in fiscal, financial and other fields and convey to the international community a unified and more explicit thinking on solving the problem. Heavily indebted countries should make up their minds and adopt proper fiscal policies suitable to their national conditions. Meanwhile, the international community should work together against the European debt issue.
Q: Canadian Prime Minister Harper has wrapped up his visit to China. What is China's comment on the outcomes of the visit?
A: During Prime Minister Harper's visit, leaders of the two countries had an in-depth exchange of views on China-Canada relations, bilateral practical cooperation as well as major international and regional issues of common interest and reached a lot of important consensus. Both sides reiterated their commitment to enhancing China-Canada strategic partnership and agreed to maintain close high-level exchanges, intensify political mutual trust, expand practical cooperation, broaden people-to-people and cultural exchanges and strengthen consultation and cooperation on international and regional issues in line with the spirit of the China-Canada Joint Statement and the principle of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit.
During this visit, relevant departments and enterprises from both sides signed cooperation agreements in fields such as economy, energy, education, science and technology, announced a set of cooperation items and jointly released the outcome list. China will take Prime Minister Harper's visit as an opportunity to boost China-Canada relations together with the Canadian side.
Q: It is reported that Sudan and South Sudan signed a mutual non-aggression pact aimed at relaxing their strained relations and pledged to respect each other's sovereignty and territorial integrity. What is China's comment?
A: China welcomes the non-aggression pact signed between Sudan and South Sudan on the boundary dispute. As each other's neighbour, Sudan and South Sudan can only achieve common development through peaceful co-existence which is also conducive to regional peace and stability. We hope the two sides will stick fast to the agreement and properly address other pending issues, such as the distribution of oil interests through negotiation as soon as possible.
Q: What will be done during Vice President Xi Jinping's visit to the US to offset the trust "deficit" between China and the US? Will he talk about Iran, Syria and other international and regional issues with the US side?
A: To cultivate and foster strategic mutual trust is the groundwork of China-US relations. We always maintain that China and the US are cooperative partners rather than rivals. With regard to enhancing strategic mutual trust, we should on the one hand respect each other's core interests and major concerns, and on the other hand make a sober and objective judgement on each other's strategic intention, strengthen dialogue and communication so as to remove disputes and frictions. China adheres to the path of peaceful development. China's development means an opportunity instead of a threat to the US and other countries. We hope that through Vice President Xi Jinping's visit, we will further enhance mutual trust with the US, boost China-US cooperative partnership and send to the outside world a positive signal that China and the US are pulling together with coordination and cooperation.
During Vice President Xi's visit, he will meet and hold talks with US leaders. The two sides will have a thorough exchange of views on China-US relations as well as major international and regional hotspots. We believe that with the concerted efforts of both sides, this visit will witness the further implementation of important consensus between the two heads of state and the advancement of China-US cooperative partnership based on mutual respect and mutual benefit.
Q: Your remarks just now on the Syrian issue is that the UN should provide constructive assistance in accordance with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and the basic norms governing international relations. What is the specific meaning of the remarks?
A: Actions of relevant UN agencies on the Syrian issue should be in line with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and the basic norms governing international relations, and be conducive to alleviating tension, facilitating political dialogue, dissolving disputes and maintaining peace and stability of the Middle East region, instead of complicating the issue.
Q: Please brief us on Assistant Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu's visit to Iran.
A: Assistant Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu held talks with Deputy Secretary Bagheri of the Iranian Supreme National Security Council in Tehran on February 12 and met with Iranian Vice Foreign Minister Akhoundzadeh.
Assistant Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu stated that under the current circumstances, China would like to maintain close communication with all relevant parties and push for the early resumption of talks between P5+1 countries and Iran. China also encourages Iran and the IAEA to step up cooperation so as to direct the Iranian nuclear issue back to the right track of dialogue.
The Iranian side expressed the willingness to resume talks with the P5+1 countries at an early date and to enhance cooperation with the IAEA.
Q: It is reported that the Arab League Foreign Ministers' Meeting also proposed to provide full political and economic support to Syrian opposition groups. What is China's comment?
A: China calls on all relevant parties in Syria to halt violence and bloodshed, resolve disputes and conflicts through dialogue and consultation and launch the inclusive political process as soon as possible. We hope that the international community will provide constructive assistance to this end.