Q: Please brief us on the latest developments of the attack against the two cargo ships on October 5 on the Mekong River in Thailand. What follow-up work has China been doing?
A: Based on information from various sources, we learn that two cargo ships, Hua Ping and Yu Xing 8 were hijacked and attacked on October 5 in the waters of Lancang-Mekong River by unidentified armed men who fled after the two cargo ships were intercepted by the Thai side. Up till now, 11 Chinese crewmen are confirmed dead and 2 missing. The search work is still underway.
Leaders of the Party Central Committee and the State Council pay high attention to the incident. The Foreign Ministry and Yunnan Province immediately launched the contingency mechanism. The Foreign Ministry instructed the Chinese Embassy in Thailand and the Chinese Consulate-General in Chiang Mai to urge the Thai side to verify the situation as soon as possible, go all out to search for the missing Chinese nationals and cope with the aftermath appropriately. The Foreign Ministry also instructed Chinese embassies in relevant countries to require the governments of host countries to take concrete and effective measures to enhance protection of Chinese vessels and crew in relevant waters of the Mekong River. The Chinese Consul General in Chiang Mai led staff to the site where the two ships were anchored without delay, and the Chinese Embassy in Thailand also sent staff for coordination.
Relevant departments of Yunnan Province have set up a leaders group for contingency management, sent a task force to Thailand to help deal with the aftermath and searched for the missing Chinese crewmen through the Mekong River four-country joint commission mechanism involving China, the Laos, Myanmar and Thailand. Yunnan Province has suspended the shipping of Chinese passenger and cargo vessels on the Mekong River. The Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of Transport are also following closely the developments of the situation and verifying the case.
The Chinese Embassy in Thailand and the Consulate-General in Chiang Mai have maintained close contact with relevant departments of Thailand to further verify the situation. Thai police have collected on-site evidence from both ships and are investigating the incident at the request of China. With the assistance of the Thai side, the bodies of the 11 dead crewmen have been found and properly kept.
The Foreign Ministry, other relevant departments and local governments will follow closely the developments of the incident and urge relevant countries to take quick action in investigation, find out the truth and bring the criminals to justice as soon as possible so as to ensure the safety of shipping along the Lancang-Mekong River.
Q: Many people were killed and injured recently during a major sectarian clash in Cairo, the capital of Egypt. What is China’s comment?
A: We have noted relevant report. We hope all religious sects in Egypt coexist in harmony and jointly maintain social stability.
Q: President of the Chinese company that participates in the Myitsone power station project told the media last week that shelving the project might affect the implementation of the loans agreement. Please brief us on that.
A: China has expounded its position on the Myitsone power station project. The Chinese Government always supports Chinese enterprises cooperating with enterprises of other countries based on the principle of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit. The Myitsone power station is a jointly invested project between China and Myanmar that has gone through scientific feasibility studies and strict examination of both sides. Relevant matters arising from the implementation of the project should be handled appropriately through bilateral friendly consultation.
Q: Russian Prime Minister Putin will kick off his visit to China tomorrow. Will China-Russia energy cooperation be the focal point of talks between the two sides? How do you comment on the current China-Russia relations?
A: At the invitation of Premier Wen Jiabao, Prime Minister Putin of the Russian Federation will pay an official visit to China from October 11 to 12 and co-chair the 16th Regular Meeting between Chinese and Russian Prime Ministers with Premier Wen Jiabao. Prior to that, Vice Premier Wang Qishan and State Councillor Liu Yandong will host the 15th Meeting of the Committee of the China-Russia Prime Ministers’ Regular Meeting and the 12th Meeting of the Committee of China-Russia Cultural Cooperation respectively on October 10 and 11 with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Zhukov.
Apart from co-hosting the 16th Regular Meeting between Chinese and Russian Prime Ministers with Premier Wen Jiabao, Prime Minister Putin will also meet with President Hu Jintao and other Chinese leaders during his stay in China. Leaders of both sides will have an in-depth exchange of views on bilateral relations as well as international and regional issues of common interest.
China and Russia are friendly neighbours as well as strategic partners of coordination. China-Russia relations have maintained a sound momentum of development over the years with remarkable achievements gained in cooperation across the board. We believe that Prime Minister Putin’s visit will further advance China-Russia relations.
I would like to share with you some information about the working meeting between Chinese and Russian energy negotiators.
At the invitation of Vice Premier Wang Qishan, Deputy Prime Minister Sechin of the Russian Federation will visit China and host the working meeting between Chinese and Russian energy negotiators from October 11 to 12.
China-Russia energy cooperation is an important component of bilateral strategic partnership of coordination. The two sides established the energy negotiation mechanism at the vice premier’s level in 2008, with Vice Premier Wang Qishan and Deputy Prime Minister Sechin as energy negotiators. The mechanism has operated efficiently and smoothly since its establishment. Seven official and one working meetings have been held to this date, pushing for new progress in bilateral energy cooperation. The two sides will have an in-depth exchange of views on energy cooperation in various fields in a bid to bring it forward.
Q: It is reported that the Chiang Rai Province of Thailand said on October 10 that all 13 Chinese sailors on the two cargo ships that were attacked on the Mekong River on October 5 died. Please confirm. There is also report from Thai media that narcotics was found on the ships. Please confirm.
A: I have just briefed you on the case and the figures I mentioned are the latest ones I got before this press conference. I want to stress that this case is still being investigated.
Q: When will the 15th Special Representatives’ Meeting on the China-India Boundary Issue be held? How does China comment on the progress achieved in the China-India boundary negotiation?
A: China is committed to settling the boundary issue with India through friendly consultation and is ready to work with India to jointly uphold the peace and stability of the border area. As for when the next round of meeting will be held, the two sides are in communication and I have no information at present.
Q: Recently the DPRK requested food aid from governments of several countries. Could you brief us on China’s food aid to the DPRK?
A: As a friendly neighbour of the DPRK, China has been providing assistance including food aid to the DPRK within its capacity. We also welcome the international community providing humanitarian assistance to the country.
Q: Please brief us on the arrangement of General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam Nguyen Phu Trong’s visit to China.
A: The International Department of the CPC has released information on it.
At the invitation of General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and President Hu Jintao, General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam Nguyen Phu Trong will pay an official visit to China from October 11 to 15.
During the visit, Hu Jintao, Wu Bangguo, Wen Jiabao, Jia Qinglin and other Party and state leaders of China will exchange views with him respectively on international and regional issues of common interest. Apart from Beijing, General Secretary Nguyen will visit other places of China.
Please follow the information to be released by the International Department of the CPC about the meetings.
Liu Weimin ended the press conference with an announcement of a visit to China by the Nalanda University Governing Board.
At the invitation of the Chinese side, the Nalanda University Governing Board, led by its Chairperson Prof. Amartya Sen, will host a board meeting in Beijing and visit Xi’an from October 11 to 15. The initiative to rebuild Nalanda University is one of the major projects of the East Asia Summit cooperation in education. At the 5th East Asia Summit in 2010, Premier Wen Jiabao invited the Nalanda University Governing Board to host its board meeting in China. Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun will meet with the delegation.