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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei's Regular Press Conference on September 29, 2011

On the afternoon of September 29, 2011, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei held a regular press conference.

Q: Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda met with visiting Philippine President Aquino on September 27 and released a joint statement on safety and navigation freedom of the South China Sea. What is China's comment?

A: We have noted relevant report. We hope relevant countries do more that is conducive to regional peace and stability. It is also the consensus of relevant parties that freedom and safety of navigation in the South China Sea is out of question, and countries in and outside the region have all benefited from it.

Q: A subsidiary of China's Yanzhou Coal Mining Company Limited is planning to purchase an Australian coal company. Some say that this action may affect Australia's power supply. What is China's comment?

A: Relevant Chinese company's investment in Australia is an independent and voluntary commercial act taken by the two sides in light of their respective development needs.

Being an important source of foreign investment for Australia, China enjoys sound investment cooperation with Australia. What has happened proves that China-Australia investment cooperation not only provides opportunities for Chinese companies to "go global", but also lends strong impetus to the economic and social development as well as the improvement of people's well-being in Australia. The cooperation is win-win and no one can deny that. We believe that both the Australian Government and the cooperation partner view relevant cooperation with the Chinese enterprise in light of their own long-term interests. The Chinese Government encourages competent Chinese enterprises to conduct investment cooperation with Australia based on market principles and international rules as well as equality and mutual benefit. We also hope that the Australian Government will continue to create an open, just and transparent investment environment for Chinese enterprises in Australia.

Q: The US Congress will deliberate on the RMB exchange rate-related bill next week. What kind of measures will China take in response?

A: It is natural that frictions occur in the development of China-US economic relations and trade. The two sides should handle it appropriately based on mutual respect and consultation on an equal footing in compliance with market and WTO rules, instead of politicizing business issues and waging trade and investment protectionism. We hope that the US lawmakers will fully recognize the mutually beneficial nature of China-US economic cooperation and trade, accord priority to its stable and smooth development, think twice and do not push forward relevant bill.

Q: China's Defense Ministry Spokesperson yesterday said that US arms sales to Taiwan would impact China-US military exchanges. Please tell us what specific areas will be affected.

A: US arms sales to Taiwan constitute a serious interference in China's internal affairs, severely undermine China's national security and reunification and impair China-US relations as well as the peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits. The erroneous decision of the US will inevitably cause damage to China-US relations and bilateral exchanges and cooperation in military, security and other fields, and the responsibility completely rests with the US side.

No one and no country can shake the resolve of the Chinese Government and people to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity. We urge the US Government to earnestly respond to China's solemn position, revoke relevant erroneous decision, stop arms sales to Taiwan and sever its military links with the latter so as to avoid further damage to China-US relations and the peaceful development of cross-Straits relations.

Q: US Republican presidential candidate Romney reportedly accused China as both economic and cultural threats to the US. What is China's comment?

A: China poses threat to no country. It serves the fundamental interests of the US itself to take an objective and rational look at China and China-US relations. To subject China-US relations to the interference of the US domestic elements will bring nothing but harm.

Q: Please brief us on Deputy South African President Motlanthe's visit to China.

A: Vice President Xi Jinping held talks with visiting Deputy South African President Motlanthe yesterday. Vice President Xi Jinping stated that bilateral cooperation across the board has made many new breakthroughs since last year. The two sides enjoy more frequent high-level exchanges, enhanced strategic mutual trust and a more solid political foundation for bilateral relations. Bilateral economic cooperation and trade has deepened, people-to-people and cultural exchanges have become increasingly vibrant and international cooperation much closer. China appreciates South Africa's invaluable support on Taiwan and Tibet-related issues.

Vice President Xi Jinping pointed out that China would like to make concerted efforts with South Africa to push for better and faster development of bilateral comprehensive strategic partnership. First, we should deepen political mutual trust and consolidate the basis for cooperation. Second, we should broaden party-to-party exchanges to draw upon each other's governance experience. Third, we should harness each other's advantages and enhance economic cooperation and trade. Fourth, we should promote people-to-people and cultural exchanges. Fifth, we should step up multilateral cooperation and maintain close consultation and coordination on major international and regional issues so as to safeguard our common interests.

Vice President Xi Jinping said that led by the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, China-Africa cooperation has made remarkable achievements over the years, delivering tangible benefits to both sides. Bearing in mind the priority sectors of the New Partnership for Africa's Development, China would like to strengthen cooperation with South Africa and fully implement the outcomes of the fourth Ministerial Meeting of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation so as to make greater contribution to Africa's enduring peace and common prosperity.

Q: Earlier this week, US Secretary of State Clinton called for China-US dialogue on Pakistan. How does China comment? In addition, The US may consider reducing military assistance to Pakistan. As an ally of Pakistan, will China consider filling this gap?

A: Pakistan is at the forefront of international counter-terrorism campaign, making great sacrifice and contribution to the cause. We hope that the international community respects the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Pakistan. We are also willing to see the improvement and development of US-Pakistan relations, which is conducive to regional peace, stability and development.

China and Pakistan are neighbours of traditional friendship and this relationship has withstood the test of times and international vicissitudes. Both sides have always been good neighbours, good partners and good friends. For a long time, China has provided help for the economic and social development of Pakistan within its capacity. China will continue to do so.

Q: When will China consider reopening its embassy in Libya?

A: Staff of the Chinese embassy have returned to Tripoli and started to work. Chinese Ambassador to Libya will also return in due course.

Q: Australian Prime Minister Gillard recently said that the development and success of China serves the interests of all countries in the region, but Australia-China relations still face destabilizing factors despite the fact that China is currently the largest trading partner and export market of Australia. How does China comment?

A: China and Australia are both important countries in the Asia-Pacific region, sharing broad common interests in promoting regional stability and common development, which is also the important foundation of the development of bilateral relations. At present, China-Australia relations have maintained sound momentum of growth, with productive exchanges and cooperation in various fields which bring tangible benefits to both peoples and contribute to peace, stability and development of the Asia-Pacific region and the world.

Peace, development and cooperation are an irreversible trend of the world. We are ready to work with the Australian side to uphold the broad common interests between the two countries, step up dialogue and mutual trust and expand cooperation so as to lift China-Australia comprehensive and cooperative relations to a new high based on mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit.

Q: Tiangong-1 module is going to be launched tonight. What is its significance to China?

A: Yesterday, I already stated at this rostrum that China's space endeavor is an integral part of mankind's peaceful exploration and utilization of outer space.

China is ready to work with all countries in the world on international space cooperation, manned space program included, based on mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit so as to push for the further advancement of world space technologies and contribute to the peaceful use of space for the benefit of whole mankind.

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