On the afternoon of January 25, 2011, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei held a regular press conference.
Q: It is learned that the 16th African Union Summit will be held soon. Has China been invited to the Summit? Please brief us on China's relations with the African Union.
A: The 16th African Union Summit will be held from January 30 to 31 in the Headquarters of the African Union in Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia. At the invitation of the Commission of the African Union, Assistant Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin will attend the meeting as the special envoy of the Chinese Government.
Attaching great importance to the friendly relationship of cooperation with the African Union, China regards it as an integral and important part of the new type of strategic partnership between China and Africa. Holding great potential among China's relations with Africa, China-African Union relationship has recently maintained good development momentum, with frequent high-level exchanges, improving cooperation across the board and strengthening strategic mutual trust. Both provide the other full understanding and firm support on issues concerning their respective major and core interests.
At present China-African Union relations are at an important stage of development. Valuing the development of relations with the African Union from a strategic perspective, China is ready to continue to deepen bilateral strategic dialogue and political mutual trust and further strengthen coordination and cooperation on major global issues, with a view to promoting the in-depth development of China-Africa relations.
Q: It is reported that incumbent Portuguese President Silva has won the recently-held presidential election to a second term. How do you comment?
A: As an old friend of the Chinese people, President Silva has long been committed to the friendship between China and Portugal. We extend congratulations to President Silva on his reelection. At present, China-Portugal relations enjoy good development momentum. During a recent state visit to Portugal, President Hu Jintao held candid and in-depth talks with President Silva and other leaders and reached wide consensus. The fruitful visit has elevated bilateral relations to a new high. China is ready to work with Portugal to continue to deepen bilateral friendship, expand mutually beneficial cooperation and enrich the content of the comprehensive strategic partnership.
Q: How do you comment on the Istanbul dialogue between the EU, six countries and Iran?
A: At the Istanbul dialogue, the EU, six countries and Iran had a further candid exchange of views about all aspects of the Iranian nuclear issue on the basis of the Geneva dialogue last December. All parties continue to show willingness to resolve differences through dialogue.
Always upholding the international non-proliferation regime, China stands for a settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue through dialogue and negotiations to safeguard peace and stability in the Middle East. The Iranian nuclear issue is complex and sensitive and obviously cannot be comprehensively solved through one or two rounds of dialogue. That being said, all parties should be steadfastly committed to dialogue and negotiations, gradually build mutual trust with a flexible and practical attitude, and make unremitting efforts to seek a comprehensive, long-term and proper settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue.
Q: Please brief us on the China-ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting held this morning. Has the South China Sea issue been brought up at the meeting?
A: The China-ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting was held this morning in Kunming, Yunnan. Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi will also have bilateral meetings with ASEAN Foreign Ministers attending the meeting. As far as I know, the South China Sea issue was not on the agenda.
Information will be released in due course on the meeting and the bilateral meetings.
Q: It is reported that the US Government will relax restrictions of high-tech exports to India. How do you comment?
A: During President Hu Jintao's visit to the US, the two sides issued the China-US Joint Statement, which points out that China welcomed discussion between the two sides on the ongoing reform of the US export control system, and its potential implications for US exports to its major trading partners, including China, consistent with US national security interests. We hope the US, proceeding from further promoting China-US economic relations and trade, will take strong actions to relax restrictions of high-tech exports to China as soon as possible.