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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Jiang Yu's Regular Press Conference on December 21, 2010

On the afternoon of December 21, 2010, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Jiang Yu held a regular press conference.

Q: Russian media says that China and Russia will hold a joint military drill in the Sea of Japan next year. Please confirm. If so, is it part of China-Russia strategic partnership of coordination? Second, how do you comment on Belarus' Presidential Election, the result of which is not recognized by some countries?

A: In recent years, in order to address new threats and challenges, deepen China-Russia strategic partnership of cooperation and expand military-to-military cooperation in an all-dimensional, mutually beneficial and practical way, Chinese and Russian militaries have held several joint military exercises both at bilateral level and within the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, enhancing the two sides' capability to respond to new threats and challenges and contributing to regional and world peace and stability.

As for China-Russia joint military exercise next year, I don't have any specifics. I'll leave it to competent authorities.

On your second question, the Presidential Election in Belarus is an internal affair of the country. We respect the choice of the Belarusian people and hope to see the country maintain political stability and economic development. It is hoped that the comprehensive and friendly cooperation between China and Belarus will be further consolidated and strengthened.

Q: Premier Wen Jiabao has just wrapped up his visits to India and Pakistan. Please brief us on the fruits of his visits. Separately, Indian media says that the Kashmir issue was touched upon during Premier Wen Jiabao's meeting with his Indian counterpart. Do you think the issue stands in the way of China-India relations?

A: As you said, Premier Wen Jiabao has just concluded his official visits to India and Pakistan, which are both major countries in South Asia and important neighbors of China. The development of China-India and China-Pakistan relations are of great importance to peace and prosperity of South Asia, Asia as a whole and the rest part of the world. Rich in content and fruitful in results, Premier Wen Jiabao's friendly visits to India and Pakistan will contribute to good-neighborliness and mutually beneficial cooperation between China and the two countries as well as peace, stability and common development in the surrounding area.

The Kashmir issue is one left over from history between India and Pakistan. As a neighbor and friend to both India and Pakistan, we sincerely hope the two countries properly address the issue through dialogue and consultation.

Q: Philippine Tourism Secretary visited Hong Kong last week and communicated with the SAR Government over the follow-up issues of the "hostage incident". Is the Central Government satisfied with this?

A: Philippine Tourism Secretary visited Hong Kong last week. According to the Hong Kong SAR Government, it has had discussion and reached agreement with the Philippine side on the follow-up issues of "August 23 hostage incident". We welcome this and hope relevant measures be materialized soon.

Q: Please brief us on the China-EU High-Level Economic and Trade Dialogue which is held in Beijing today.

A: The Third China-EU High-Level Economic and Trade Dialogue is held in Beijing today. The two sides had an in-depth discussion on topics including macro-economic situation, trade and investment, competition, innovation, customs cooperation, reaching major consensus and achieving positive results.

China-EU economic and trade cooperation is featured by mutual benefit, win-win outcome and sound development momentum. The two sides agree that in the context of slow recovery of the world economy and existence of many uncertainties and unstable factors, the two should strengthen cooperation for stable and healthy development of the two economies as well as strong, sustainable and balanced growth of the world economy. The two sides also had frank communication on specific issues of common interest.

At present, China-EU cooperation enjoys new opportunities and vast space for growth. We are ready to work with the EU side to enhance understanding, narrow differences, explore potential and pursue new highlights of cooperation with a view to further promoting our comprehensive strategic partnership.

Q: US New Mexico Governor Richardson said after his visit to the DPRK that the latter expressed its will to accept IAEA inspectors to the country. Do you have any comment?

A: We have taken note of relevant report. China has been committed to achieving denuclearization on the Peninsula. According to the September 19 Joint Statement, the DPRK is entitled to make peaceful use of nuclear energy but meanwhile have to accept IAEA safeguard and inspection. We hope relevant issues be addressed within the framework of the Six-Party Talks.

Q: Do you think the situation on the Korean Peninsula is less tense after Governor Richardson's visit to the DPRK?

A: We support the US and the DPRK stay in contact and hope this will create conditions conducive to resumption of the Six-Party Talks and proper settlement of relevant issues.

The current situation on the Korean Peninsula remains complicated and sensitive. We call on relevant parties to keep calm, exercise restraint and adopt a responsible attitude to prevent recurrence of such tragic incidents. It is in the common interest of all parties to safeguard peace and stability on the Peninsula.

China hopes all parties concerned meet each other halfway through active interaction, resume dialogue and consultation at an early date and address each party's concern in a balanced way within the framework of the Six-Party Talks as per September 19 Joint Statement in a joint effort to realize denuclearization and enduring peace on the Peninsula. China will continue to play a constructive role in this as it always did.

Q: Russian Ambassador to China said today that Russia believed the most precarious moment was over for the Korean Peninsula. What is China's judgment?

A: The current situation on the Korean Peninsula remains complicated and sensitive. We call on relevant parties to keep calm, restrained, rational and adopt a responsible attitude to reduce tension and confrontation with a view to easing the situation and bringing it back to the track of dialogue and negotiation.

Parties should realize that artillery and military forces cannot solve the Peninsular issue. Dialogue and negotiation is the only right approach.

Q: Please brief us on the joint working group meeting on the implementation of follow-up actions of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC).

A: China and ASEAN countries will hold the fifth working group meeting on the implementation of DOC follow-up actions in Kunming City from December 21 to 23. We expect parties to reach agreement on relevant guiding principles and carry out cooperation programs agreed by parties at an early date.

China always attaches great importance to and earnestly abides by the DOC to promote political mutual trust and cooperation in the South China Sea so as to create favorable conditions for the final settlement of bilateral disputes in a joint effort to safeguard peace and stability in the South China Sea.

Q: It is reported that a Chinese fishing boat collided with a ROK coast guard ship. Please provide updates. Is China concerned the incident may add complexity to the current situation on the Peninsula?

A: First I have to point out that the incident has no direct links to the current situation on the Peninsula.

Gravely concerned over the incident, China has made solemn representations with the ROK, urging the ROK side to spare no efforts in searching and rescuing missing Chinese crew members, punish perpetrators to the full extent of law, compensate for casualties and loss of property on the Chinese side and take concrete measures to prevent recurrence of similar incidents.

Competent Chinese authorities attach great importance to searching and rescuing the crew members and handling the aftermath. Upon learning the incident, competent authorities immediately mobilized fishing boats nearby and special rescue boats. The ROK side also dispatched helicopters and rescue boats to the scene. As far as I know, the rescue operation is still ongoing.

Q: Still on the collision between the Chinese fishing boat and the ROK coast guard ship, you just said that China urges the ROK to "punish perpetrators to the full extent of law". But it is reported that it was the Chinese fishing boat that rammed into the ROK coast guard ship in the ROK waters. Please confirm.

A: We believe no coast guard should ram into fishing boats and cause casualties in whatever waters. The incident took place in the zone of provisional measures, where fishing boats from both countries are allowed to operate according to the China-ROK Fishery Agreement. According to the Agreement, law-enforcement authorities of both countries administer their respective fishing boats, inform each other of law-breaking activities, but have no right to board fishing boats of the other country for law enforcement.

Q: The UN Security Council held an emergency consultation on the situation on the Peninsula over the weekend. It is reported that China blocked a statement by the Security Council to condemn the DPRK. Please confirm. Do you think the emergency consultations among heads of delegation to the Six-Party Talks that China proposed will be held soon?

A: On your first question, the reports by some media don't accord to facts. The Security Council had an emergency meeting about the situation on the Peninsula on December 19. China supports the Russian initiative. All members of the Security Council as well as DPRK and ROK ambassadors to the UN attended the meeting, expounding their views and positions on the Peninsula issue. Security Council members including China, Russia and the US made efforts to avoid further armed conflicts on the Peninsula, which is of positive significance.

The situation on the Peninsula is complicated and sensitive at present. We hope the Security Council appeal to the parties concerned in a timely manner to keep calm and exercise restraint to the maximum, avoid actions that may further escalate the situation, resume dialogue immediately and resolve the issue peacefully. We are against any action that may lead to further deterioration and escalation of the situation on the Peninsula and undermine regional peace and stability.

It was in light of the above spirit that China took a constructive part in the Security Council discussions. We are ready to stay in communication with relevant parties over this.

On the second question, we are of the view that trust cannot be built without communication, nor issues resolved without consultation. Dialogue does not mean yielding to any party, rather it requires all parties to jointly undertake responsibility. The current tension on the Peninsula further shows the necessity and urgency of the emergency consultations among heads of delegation to the Six-Party Talks.

As far as our communication with other parties is concerned, they agree to China's position and views in general and only have some different considerations in terms of concrete measures and steps. We hope all parties concerned proceed from the overall interests of safeguarding peace and stability in Northeast Asia and promoting denuclearization on the Peninsula, carefully study China's proposal and positively respond as soon as possible.

Q: It is reported that US New Mexico Governor Richardson stops over in Beijing today after a trip to the DPRK. Will Chinese officials meet with him?

A: I know Governor Richardson talked to the press at the airport. As far as I have learned, the Chinese side has no meeting arrangements with him. As I have mentioned, China supports contacts between the US and the DPRK and hopes the contacts create conditions for the resumption of the Six-Party Talks and a proper settlement of relevant issues.

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