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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei's Regular Press Conference on March 22, 2012

Q: It is reported that 21 Vietnamese fishermen were detained by the Chinese side when fishing in the proximity of the Xisha Islands. Please confirm and brief us on that.

A: A number of Vietnamese fishing boats recently entered China's territorial waters in Xisha for illegal fishing. After failing to dispel them, relevant Chinese authorities investigated and punished according to law two Vietnamese fishing boats and 21 Vietnamese fishermen that have engaged in illegal fishing in the internal waters of the Xisha Islands.

China has indisputable sovereignty over the Xisha Islands and their adjacent waters. The Vietnamese fishing boats and fishermen's fishing activities in the Xisha waters infringe upon China's sovereignty and maritime rights and interests. It is a rightful law enforcement act that relevant Chinese authorities investigated and punished them in accordance with law. China urges the Vietnamese side to take effective measures to enhance education and management of local fishermen and stop illegal fishing.

Q: Is there any progress on the resumption of talks between P5 plus one countries and Iran? What is China's expectation of the talks?

A: P5 plus one countries and Iran have agreed to hold talks as soon as possible. They are in communication on relevant arrangement. China will participate actively in the process and work together with all parties to continue to play a constructive role for a full, long-term and appropriate settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue.

Q: A Chinese enterprise recently toured the Kunashir Island of the "four northern islands" and is considering making investment in the island. What is China's attitude? What is China's position on the "four northern islands" issue?

A: I am not aware of the situation. The issue of "four northern islands" is a bilateral one between Russia and Japan. We hope to see a proper settlement through consultation between the two.

Q: The UN Human Rights Council will deliberate a Sri Lanka-related draft resolution on human rights tomorrow. What is China's attitude?

A: China believes that dialogue and cooperation is the fundamental way out for disputes over human rights issues. China is opposed to imposing pressure on other countries with country-specific human rights resolutions. Over the years, Sri Lanka has made big strides in promoting human rights and realizing national reconciliation. We believe that the Sri Lankan Government and people have the capacity to deal appropriately with their internal affairs. The international community, instead of taking measures that may complicate the issue, should create a favorable external environment for Sri Lanka to pursue stability and economic development.

Q: The US has declared to exempt banks and financial institutions of countries like the UK, Japan, France and Germany from the US' sanctions against Iran for 180 days, in recognition of these countries' remarkable cut of oil import from Iran. Does China consider reducing oil import from Iran? What will China do, if the US imposes sanctions on relevant Chinese banks and financial institutions?

A: Based on its need of economic development, China imports crude oil from Iran through normal channels. It is understandable, reasonable and lawful. It does not violate the UN Security Council resolutions, nor does it impair the interests of a third party or the international community. China always opposes unilateral sanctions imposed by one country on another based on its domestic law, not to mention the practice of forcing the unilateral sanctions on a third country.

Q: The resolution recently adopted by the Japan-China Friendship Association pointed out that Nagoya Mayor Takashi Kawamura's denial of the Nanjing Massacre distorted historical facts and impaired not only the sister-city relations between Nagoya and Nanjing but also the mutual trust between the Japanese and Chinese people. The Japan-China Friendship Association required Kawamura to take back his words and build up a correct view of history. What is China's comment?

A: We appreciate the righteous voice from Japan. It shows that no attempt to temper with or deny the history of Japanese militarism's aggression to China is popular.

Q: President Van Rompuy of the European Council recently voiced his hope that the Seoul Nuclear Security Summit will be concluded with a concrete agreement and commitment. What is China's comment?

A: China hopes that the Seoul Nuclear Security Summit will further build up international consensus, push forward international cooperation in nuclear security and make positive contributions to improving the security of nuclear materials and facilities around the world, promoting sustainable development of nuclear energy and economy and upholding international peace and security.

Q: What will the two sides talk about during Indonesian President Susilo's visit to China? Will they touch upon the enlarging trade surplus between China and Indonesia?

A: China-Indonesia relations are in good shape. Political mutual trust between the two countries has been constantly enhanced and practical cooperation expanded. During President Susilo's visit to China, Chinese leaders will exchange views with him in an in-depth manner on bilateral relations as well as international and regional issues of common interest. We will release the information of bilateral talks and meetings in due course.

Q: Bamako, the capital city of Mali was reportedly stricken by riot of soldiers on March 21. What is China's comment?

A: China is concerned about the soldiers' riot in Mali and hopes that the situation will subside and return to normal as soon as possible. We maintain that relevant issue should be resolved through dialogue and consultation. Up till now, there has been no report of Chinese nationals' safety being threatened. We will follow closely the developments of the situation.

Q: It is reported that the Philippines will build a simply equipped port terminal on the Zhongye Island of the Nansha Islands. What is China's comment?

A: China has indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and their adjacent waters. China opposes any country's illegal activities that infringe upon China's sovereignty over the Nansha Islands. Relevant countries should abide by the spirit of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea and avoid taking any move that may complicate the dispute so as to jointly maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea.

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