Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Liu Weimin started the press conference with the following announcement:
Ambassador Li Huaxin of the Foreign Ministry will visit Syria from March 6 to 7 on behalf of Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi to exchange views with the Syrian Government and relevant parties on the current situation in Syria, especially China's six-pronged proposals for the political settlement of the Syrian issue. Relevant activities of the visit are under coordination and arrangement.
Q: A leading official of the Foreign Ministry made remarks recently to further elaborate on China's position on the political resolution of the Syrian issue. Why does China make further elaboration shortly after the previous one? In addition, China opposes anyone interfering in Syria's internal affairs under the pretext of "humanitarian" issues. How does China define humanitarian assistance and interference in Syria's internal affairs?
A: The current situation in Syria continues to heat up, becoming more complex and grave. Conflicts among all relevant parties are still acute. There are different opinions in the international community on how to resolve the Syrian crisis at an early date. It contributes to neither an early and appropriate settlement of the Syrian crisis, nor the unity and coordination of the international community. Therefore, China believes that it is necessary to further expound on relevant policies and positions in light of the recent developments of the Syrian situation, on the one hand to seek international community's broadest common ground on the Syrian issue and build more extensive international consensus; on the other hand, to provide some specific thinking and approaches for the settlement of the Syrian crisis. It fully demonstrates that China upholds a responsible and constructive attitude on the Syrian issue. China will take concrete actions and contribute its due share to the pursuit of a just, realistic and all-acceptable way out of the crisis. Ambassador Li Huaxin's upcoming visit to Syria also demonstrates China's willingness to join in the active efforts for the settlement of the Syrian crisis.
On your second question, China supports the UN's leading role in coordinating humanitarian relief efforts. China maintains that under the precondition of respecting Syria's sovereignty, the UN or an impartial body acceptable to all parties should make an objective and comprehensive assessment of the humanitarian situation in Syria and ensure the delivery and distribution of humanitarian aid. We oppose anyone interfering in Syria's internal affairs under the pretext of "humanitarian" issues. China's position in this regard is very clear.
Q: It is reported that Russian Prime Minister Putin has won the presidential election. What is China's comment? How does China view the prospect of China-Russia relations? Will China send congratulatory message to Putin and invite him to visit China as President of Russia? Separately, the Japanese Government said today that there is no sovereign dispute over the Diaoyu Islands and that they cannot accept China's position. How does China respond?
A: Russian presidential election was held smoothly. The Russian Central Election Commission has declared the victory of incumbent Prime Minister Putin. President Hu Jintao has sent a congratulatory message to him.
The presidential election is Russia's internal affair. China respects the Russian people's choice and supports Russia in pursuing a development path suited to its national conditions. We believe that Russia will maintain social and political stability, push forward economic development and play a bigger role in international affairs.
China and Russia are each other's principal and most important strategic partner of coordination. China-Russia relations have maintained a sound momentum of positive and healthy development. We hope that, under the new circumstances, the two sides will further implement the development plan of China-Russia relations in the coming decade and the consensus and agreement on bilateral cooperation across the board reached between the two leaders to bring China-Russia strategic partnership of coordination to a higher level.
In accordance with the mechanism of annual mutual visits between Chinese and Russian heads of state, Russian President will visit China this year. The two sides will maintain close communication on that through diplomatic channels.
With regard to the issue of the Diaoyu Islands, China has repeatedly expounded on its relevant position. The Diaoyu Island and its affiliated islands have been China's inherent territory since ancient times. China has indisputable sovereignty over them. China firmly opposes Japan's naming of the affiliated islands of the Diaoyu Island. Any unilateral move taken by Japan towards the Diaoyu Island and its affiliated islands is illegal and invalid. No matter what names has the Japanese side given to the affiliated islands of the Diaoyu Island, it cannot in any way alter the fact that these islands belong to China.
Q: Russian Prime Minister Putin wrote in his recently released article that China and Russia share common views on the establishment of a new world order. Does China agree with him?
A: China and Russia have been in sound communication and coordination in international affairs. The two countries hold similar or same views on major international and regional issues. As major emerging developing countries and BRICS members, China and Russia will continue to coordinate and cooperate with each other and work together to establish a just and equitable international order and architecture.
Q: What are the differences between China's recent remarks on the Syrian issue and its previous one? Secondly, there are reports of Chinese casualties in the blasts of an arms depot in the capital city of the Republic of Congo on March 4. Please brief us on the incident and the work done by China.
A: On your first question, China's position on the Syrian issue is clear and consistent. The recent two expositions on China's position on the Syrian issue come down in one continuous line. We always maintain that the cease of violence is the imperative task and the dialogue-based political settlement is the only correct way out. We should respect Syria's sovereignty and the independent choice of the Syrian people. The international community should play a positive and constructive role in the Syrian issue. China does not approve of armed interference or pushing for "regime change" in Syria.
Given the latest developments of the situation in Syria, China proposes some specific solutions and approaches. For example, in light of the fact that the humanitarian situation in parts of Syria is becoming increasingly acute, China maintains that the UN or an impartial body acceptable to all parties should make an objective and comprehensive assessment of the humanitarian situation in Syria and ensure the delivery and distribution of humanitarian aid. China also expresses its willingness to provide humanitarian assistance to the Syrian people.
For another instance, the UN and the Arab League have jointly appointed a Special Envoy on the Syrian crisis. China expresses its support for an inclusive political dialogue immediately launched by the Syrian Government and all factions under the impartial mediation of the Special Envoy. China also makes it clear that equal-footed, patient and full consultation should be held among Security Council members for the political resolution of the Syrian crisis in an effort to safeguard the unity of the Security Council.
On your second question, China's condolences and sympathy go to those killed and injured in the unfortunate incident. According to the information from the Chinese Embassy in the Republic of Congo, in the wake of the blasts, five people from a nearby Chinese project were confirmed dead, one missing and ten under treatment in the hospital, while other people were evacuated to the safety zone.
Attaching great importance to the incident, Chinese leaders have instructed to ascertain relevant situation as soon as possible, rescue the wounded in a timely manner and take care of the bodies of the victims. The Foreign Ministry and the Chinese Embassy in the Republic of Congo have launched the emergency response system immediately after the incident. The Chinese Ambassador to the Republic of Congo has gone to visit the injured Chinese in the hospital. The Embassy is cooperating with all relevant parties of the Congolese side to look for the missing Chinese, rescue the wounded, properly deal with the follow-up issues concerning the victims and comfort the others by all means. The Chinese Foreign Ministry and our Embassy there will continue to intensify our cooperation with relevant departments to obtain further information of Chinese casualties caused by the blasts and go all out to deal with the aftermath.
Q: First, How does China view the reports of corruption and fraud in the Russian presidential election? Second, does China have the plan to evacuate Chinese nationals from Sudan and South Sudan given the continuously strained situation there?
A: We have noted that the presidential election in Russia has been held smoothly and recognized by many international observers and organizations. I have just made China's position clear. The Chinese side has conveyed congratulations to Putin.
On your second question, we are worried about the current tensions between Sudan and South Sudan. We hope that differences and disputes between the two countries can be solved through dialogue and consultation, which serves best the interests of the two countries. China will continue to work with the international community to push for their peaceful co-existence.
We attach great importance to the safety of Chinese nationals there. I have no information of evacuation at the moment.
Q: China, Japan and the ROK held the seventh consultation among senior officials of foreign affairs in Beijing today. Please brief us on that.
A: The seventh China-Japan-ROK consultation among senior officials of foreign affairs and the first China-Japan-ROK consultation on Asian policy was held today in Beijing. Participating parties exchanged views on tripartite cooperation as well as international and regional issues of common interest. We will release specific information in due course.
Q: It is reported that Premier Wen Jiabao was awarded "the Best Friend of American Worker" by the US International Longshoremen's Association. Chinese Ambassador to the US received the award on behalf of him. Please brief us on that.
A: It is learned that this year marks the 10th anniversary of the cooperation between China Cosco Group and the US port of Boston. The past decade has witnessed sound cooperation between the two sides, which sustains and creates a large amount of job opportunities for Boston. It reflects the mutually beneficial nature of China-US economic cooperation and trade. The award presented by the US International Longshoremen's Association to Premier Wen Jiabao is to thank the Chinese Government for its efforts to encourage Chinese enterprises' investment in the US and to promote bilateral economic cooperation and trade. This gratitude is sincere and heartfelt. Premier Wen Jiabao visited the Port of Boston during his visit to the US in 2003.
Q: Has China exchanged views with other members of the UN Security Council on the new Syria-related draft resolution? If it is impossible to resolve the Syrian crisis politically, does China have other solutions?
A: China's position is consistent and clear on the Syria-related issue in the Security Council. The Security Council, if to take actions on the Syrian issue, should abide by the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations. These actions should be conducive to alleviating tensions, promoting political dialogue, safeguarding peace and stability in the Middle East and upholding unity of the international community. Members of the Security Council should strictly abide by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and the basic norms governing international relations. As a permanent member of the Security Council, China is ready to engage in equal-footed, patient and full consultation with other parties on the political solution to the Syrian crisis in an effort to safeguard the unity of the Security Council. China has been in communication with relevant Security Council members, the Arab League and Arab countries.
On your second question, although the situation is complex and tense, China always believes that political solution is the fundamental way to dissolve the Syrian crisis. It serves the fundamental and long-term interests of the Syrian people as well as the prime interests of countries in the region and the international community. One spark of hope worths our tireless efforts. China's efforts in the recent period are well-known to all. We hope that the international community will play a constructive role in politically resolving the Syrian crisis. We disapprove of armed interference or pushing for "regime change" in Syria and believe that use or threat of sanctions does not help to resolve this issue appropriately.