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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Ma Zhaoxu's Regular Press Conference on May 18, 2010

On the afternoon of May 18, 2010, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Ma Zhaoxu held a regular press conference and answered questions.

Ma Zhaoxu: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to our press conference. First of all, I'd like to extend warm welcome to our visitors, senior public servants from Hong Kong. Welcome to join us.

Now I have two announcements to make.

As agreed upon bilateral consultation, the Second China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogue will be held in Beijing from May 24 to 25. Chinese President Hu Jintao's special representatives, Vice Premier Wang Qishan and State Councilor Dai Bingguo, will co-chair the Dialogue with US President Obama's special representatives, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner. The two sides will have extensive and in-depth exchange of views on issues of strategic, long-term and overall significance in the bilateral relations.

At the invitation of Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, Foreign Minister Micheal Martin of Ireland will pay an official visit to China from May 24 to 28.

To give you more information about the Second China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogue, we will hold a press briefing here at 10:00 am on May 20 (Thursday). Vice Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai and Assistant Finance Minister Zhu Guangyao will brief the press. You are welcome to attend.

With that, I'll take your questions.

Q: The situation in Thailand remains tense. Do you have any information about Chinese citizens in the country? What consular measures has China taken to protect their safety? Separately, two Chinese employees were held in Yemen. Please tell us more details.

A: As a friendly neighbor, China is deeply concerned and worried over the situation in Thailand. We hope relevant parties could exercise restraint and make joint effort to restore social stability as soon as possible. The Chinese Government cares greatly about the safety and legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens in Thailand. The Foreign Ministry has released alert on its website. The Chinese Embassy in Thailand has opened a 24-hour helpline and warned Chinese citizens and organizations in the country to pay close attention to and keep vigilant about the local situation. The Chinese Embassy in Thailand is not in the rally area. At present, the Embassy remains in good function and has taken necessary security measures.

About the Chinese citizens held in Yemen, on the afternoon of May 16, local time, two Chinese citizens were held by local armed tribesmen in Shabwa province of Southeastern Yemen. Emergency mechanism has been launched. The Foreign Ministry, Chinese Embassy in Yemen and relevant authorities are looking into the situation and require the Yemen side to rescue our citizens as soon as possible.

Q: Iran said it had signed a nuclear fuel swap deal with Turkey and Brazil. How do you comment? Will this affect the adoption of the new Security Council resolution on Iran?

A: China always adheres to the "dual track" strategy. We value and welcome the deal signed by Brazil, Turkey and Iran on fuel supply to the Tehran Research Reactor. We hope this will promote the process of peaceful settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue through dialogue and negotiation.

China always believes that dialogue and negotiation is the best approach to solve the Iranian nuclear issue. We hope relevant actions of the Security Council could help safeguard the international non-proliferation regime, maintain peace and stability in the Middle East and press for a proper settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue.

Q: What major topics do you expect to be discussed during the China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogue? Secondly, China says the reform of the RMB exchange rate regime is determined by both domestic and external factors. Then, will the reform be affected by the current economic situation in Europe and depreciation of the euro? Will China bring this up during the S&ED?

A: On your first question, the topics to be discussed during the Dialogue are under intense consultation between the two sides. You will get the details at the press briefing prior to the Dialogue. Besides, there will be timely and frequent press briefings throughout the Dialogue which I hope you can follow to get updated about China's position and concerns.

Thanks to the joint efforts of both sides, China-US relations have improved and developed. Particularly, President Hu Jintao and President Obama reached new major consensus during their meeting in Washington on April 12. Under current circumstances, it's of special significance for the two countries to hold the second round of Strategic and Economic Dialogue and exchange views on issues of strategic, overall and long-term significance in the bilateral relations. This will help the two sides deepen mutual understanding, enhance mutual trust and promote cooperation. We are ready to work with the US to implement the consensus reached by the two heads of state, strengthen dialogue, communication and cooperation and respect each other's core interest and major concerns according to the principles and spirit set in the three Sino-US Joint Communiqu├ęs and China-US Joint Statement with a view to promoting a positive, cooperative and comprehensive development of China-US relations.

On your second question, the Foreign Ministry is not in charge of the RMB exchange rate. China will improve its exchange rate regime according to domestic and global economic development. As for the specifics, please refer to competent monetary authorities for authoritative answer.

Q: In view of the positive attitude of Iran, do you think other countries in the region including Israel should take similar steps to build a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East? Secondly, the increasing disputes among Nile River countries over water resources have affected regional stability. How does China view these disputes? What role will China play to dissolve the disputes?

A: I have just stated our principled position on the Iranian nuclear issue. China always believes that dialogue and negotiation is the best approach to solve the Iranian nuclear issue. We hope relevant efforts could safeguard the international non-proliferation regime as well as peace and stability in the Middle East.

On your second question, China pays attention to the distribution of cross-border water resources including that of the Nile River and requires Chinese enterprises not to undertake foreign projects involving disputed waters. Meanwhile, we hope Nile River countries could reach consensus over the distribution of Nile water resources through dialogue and consultation.

Q: During the recent China-Japan Foreign Ministers' meeting, the Japanese side accused China of increasing nuclear weapons. Apparently, there are some speculations about China's nuclear weapons due to lack of information. Could you shed some light on it?

A: China's nuclear strategy and policy is very clear. Our proposition and efforts on nuclear disarmament are widely recognized. China always stands for the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons and firmly pursues the nuclear strategy of self-defense. China is the only nuclear-weapon state that undertakes not to be the first to use nuclear weapons and not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon states or nuclear-weapon-free zones. China never participates in any forms of nuclear arms race or deploys nuclear weapons in other countries. China will continue to keep its nuclear capabilities at the minimum level required for national security. This in itself is China's unique contribution to the process of international nuclear disarmament. China's position is legitimate and transparent.

Q: Russian Foreign Minister has recently made some comments on contact between the Chinese Government and Dalai Lama. Did you notice that? Have you had any communication with the Russian side?

A: It is an important part of China-Russia strategic partnership of coordination to show firm support to each other on issues of core interest. As China's strategic partner of coordination, Russia has always firmly supported China's principled positions on Tibet-related issues. China highly appreciates that.

Q: It is reported that Premier Wen Jiabao will visit Japan, Myanmar and Mongolia by the end of this month. Could you confirm and give us some details?

A: Information about Chinese leader' overseas visit will be released in due course. Please wait with patience.

Q: It's reported that three Chinese workers were murdered Sunday morning when they were traveling in Cabinda Province of Angola. Please confirm and comment.

A: I have not heard of that. I can check it with our Consular Department and tell you if I get anything.

Q: Indian President will visit China at the end of this month. Has relevant arrangement been finalized? If so, please give us some details. Separately, you said there would be a press briefing on Thursday about China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogue, but I'd like to know whether the two sides would discuss issues relating to South Asia? Particularly, will you have in-depth discussion on India and Pakistan?

A: On your first question, China and India have stayed in close communication on high-level exchange of visits.

I suggest you raise your second question at Thursday's briefing. The two sides are still consulting on the topics of the dialogues.

Q: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has appointed Christiana Figueres, a Costa Rican diplomat, to be the Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC Secretariat. How do you comment? What do you expect of future cooperation with the Secretariat?

A: On the appointment of the new UNFCCC Executive Secretary, I'd like to point out that climate change is closely related to future development of the world, especially that of developing countries. China welcomes the fact that candidate from a developing country was named as the new executive secretary. At present, negotiations on the Bali Roadmap are at a crucial moment. China is willing to maintain close cooperation with the Secretariat and the new Executive Secretary so as to jointly push for positive results out of the international negotiations on climate change.

If there are no more questions, thank you for coming!

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