On May 25, 2012, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei held a press conference.
Hong Lei started the press conference with the following announcement.
The 5th Ministerial Meeting of China-Arab States Cooperation Forum will be held in Hammamet, Tunisia on May 31. Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi will lead a delegation to the meeting and visit Tunisia on June 1. Prior to that, Vice Foreign Minister Zhai Jun will lead a delegation to the 9th Senior Officials' Meeting of the Forum in Tunisia from May 29 to 30.
Q: How does China view the current China-Arab relations? Please brief us on the agenda and China's expectation of the 5th Ministerial Meeting of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum.
A: China and Arab countries have enjoyed traditional friendship. In recent years, based on equality, mutual respect and mutual benefit, the two sides have seen deepening political mutual trust, rapidly growing business cooperation, and fruitful exchanges and cooperation in multiple fields such as culture, education, journalism and public health.
The establishment of China-Arab States Cooperation Forum was jointly announced by the two sides in 2004 when President Hu Jintao visited the headquarters of the League of Arab States. More than eight years into its development, the Forum, as an important platform of collective dialogue and cooperation between China and Arab countries, has played a significant role in elevating China-Arab friendship and cooperation in an all-round way with rising influence. A strategic cooperative relationship featuring comprehensive cooperation and common development between China and Arab countries was established at the 4th Ministerial Meeting in 2010, which brought China-Arab relations to a new historic starting point.
As the Forum's highest-level institutional event since the two sides established the strategic cooperative relationship, the 5th Ministerial Meeting will play an important leading and driving role in broadening and deepening China-Arab strategic cooperation as well as strengthening the building of the Forum, and thus assume a significance of building on the past achievements and charting the course for the future. The theme of the meeting is "deepen strategic cooperation and promote common development". The Chinese Government attaches great importance to the meeting. The Chinese delegation, led by Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and composed of multiple ministries, will discuss with their Arab counterparts the major plans for the development of China-Arab relations and have in-depth exchange of views on international and regional issues of common interest. The Chinese side looks to the meeting as an opportunity to work together with Arab countries under the new circumstances with a view to continually boosting China-Arab relations.
Q: The Spokesperson of the Sudanese Foreign Ministry reportedly said that Sudan and South Sudan would hold a meeting soon to discuss the implementation of the African Union's roadmap and relevant UN Security Council resolutions. What is China's comment?
A: We have noticed relevant report and welcome the two countries' positive attitude toward the resumption of talks. We hope the two sides can follow in real earnest the requirements of the African Union's roadmap and relevant UN Security Council resolutions in order to properly resolve the outstanding issues through negotiations.
Q: It is reported that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made some remarks on China's sovereignty over the South China Sea at the hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on potential US ratification of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. What is China's response to her remarks?
A: We have noticed relevant report and express our concern. As far as we know, both the non-claimants of ASEAN and countries outside the region adopt the position of non-involvement in territorial disputes on the South China Sea issue. Based on this important premise, China has committed itself to working with ASEAN countries to safeguard peace and stability in the South China Sea through negotiations and signing of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC). We have also sought to explore the means of resolving disputes through negotiations with countries directly concerned.
Q: Please update us on the case of an Indian national missing in Yiwu, Zhejiang Province recently.
A: The Chinese side always safeguards the lawful rights and interests of foreigners in China including Indian nationals in accordance with law. According to local authorities, the case you mentioned has already been properly solved.
Q: It is reported that the climate change negotiations held in Bonn ran into gridlock recently, and European Union officials claimed China was backsliding on its position. How do you respond?
A: China has been participating in international climate change cooperation in an active and constructive manner and played a positive role in reaching balanced package outcomes at the Durban Conference including the "Durban Platform". China's commitment to the Durban outcomes remains unchanged. China maintains that the "Durban Platform" talks should be held within the framework of the UNFCCC and adhere to the principles of fairness, common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities as well as striking a balance between historical responsibilities and practical capabilities. China is ready to work with other parties to continually and actively follow through on the Durban outcomes in a joint bid to move forward the negotiation process. On the other hand, we call on developed countries including the European Union to show real political sincerity and cooperate with developing countries to jointly push forward the process of climate change negotiations.
Q: The International Energy Agency said China's CO2 emissions climbed in recent years, offsetting the emission falls in European countries and the US. How do you comment? Will China adjust its emission reduction plan?
A: China believes that historical responsibilities and practical capabilities should be balanced and the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities adhered to in coping with climate change. Developed countries owed emissions debt to the international community in the course of industrialization and should take the lead to make concrete efforts in emission reduction. At the same time, they should provide funding and technology to developing countries and honor their commitments and obligations in a serious manner. Valuing actions and concrete results in coping with climate change, China has taken practical and effective steps to reduce emission at home and achieved well-known results comparable to those of developed countries, making important contribution to international cooperation against climate change.
Q: Please update us on the recent incident of Chinese citizens being detained in Nigeria.
A: It is learned that all the detained Chinese citizens were released or have been on their way back to China except for one citizen who will start his trip back home later today local time. The Chinese diplomatic missions in Nigeria will stay in communication with the Nigerian side to effectively and properly solve relevant issue.
After the press conference, a journalist asked for China's response to the report by Philippine media that China was sending more ships to the waters off the Huangyan Island where almost one hundred Chinese vessels were already present, which ratcheted up tensions at the Huangyan Island.
Hong Lei said that the Philippine side has recently taken some provocative actions off the Huangyan Island and China has taken stronger administrative measures in response. It is learned that the sea area off the Huangyan Island is calm in general. There are about more than 20 Chinese fishing boats operating in the waters and the figure is basically the same as that of the same period in previous years. Most of the so-called nearly one hundred vessels are one-man operation dinghies launched from the fishing boats. It should be stressed that the operating method of the Chinese fishing boats complies with relevant Chinese laws and the fishing moratorium of China. The Chinese public service ships strictly regulate the fishing boats according to law to prevent illegal operations.
Another journalist asked for China's comment on the report that Philippine President Aquino is ordering all governmental departments to avoid provocative activities over the Huangyan Island while the Philippine Foreign Secretary still kept drawing a third party to the incident.
Hong Lei said that China has taken note of relevant report and moves. China hopes that the Philippine side can do what it says and send a clear and consistent message. China is resolutely opposed to the Philippine side's attempt of drawing any third party to disturb or get involved in the Huangyan Island incident in whatever way which will certainly escalate the situation.