Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Liu Weimin’s Regular Press Conference on October 17, 2011

Q: Should China apply for the approval of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) before selling relevant equipment to the Chashma Nuclear Power Plant in Pakistan?

A: Cooperation between China and Pakistan in civil nuclear energy over the years has been in line with their respective international obligations, completely for a peaceful purpose and subject to the safeguards of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Q: Please brief us on Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi’s itinerary in Denmark.

A: Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi will visit Denmark from October 19 to 20. During his stay there, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi will hold talks with Foreign Minister Søvndal and meet with Danish leaders. The two sides will exchange views on China-Denmark relations, China-EU relations as well as international and regional issues of common interest.

We will release details of the visit in due course.

Q: The Philippine side opposed the recent China-Vietnam Joint Statement and called for the resolution of the South China Sea dispute through multilateral means instead of bilateral discussions. What is China’s comment?

A: General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam Nguyen Phu Trong concluded his visit to China on October 15. One of the outcomes of his visit is the signing of China-Vietnam Joint Statement. The Statement demonstrates the resolve and will of the two parties, two countries and two peoples in enhancing friendly exchanges, expanding mutually beneficial cooperation, appropriately resolving disputes, forging ahead socialism and safeguarding regional and global peace, stability, cooperation and development from strategic and overall perspectives in compliance with the policy of “long-term stability, facing the future, good neighborliness and comprehensive cooperation” and the spirit of “good neighbors, good friends, good comrades and good partners”. It is vital to steering the long-term, healthy and stable development of bilateral relations.

China and Vietnam resolving bilateral maritime disputes through negotiation has nothing to do with the third party. We hope that the third party respects the efforts of the directly concerned parties to resolve disputes through direct negotiation.

By the same token, maritime disputes between China and the Philippines can only be resolved through direct bilateral negotiation. The Philippine side is clear about China’s position in this regard.

Q: Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said that China’s military expansion and naval manoeuvre posed a threat to Japan’s security. What is your comment?

A: China is a country with 1.3 billion rather than 130 million people and has an extensive coastline. Without targeting any other country, China undertakes defence enhancement and military modernization to safeguard its national sovereignty, security and territorial integrity, meet the reasonable demand of national security and provide necessary guarantee for its peaceful development.

Q: We have noted that recently the US republican presidential candidate Romney constantly bombarded China’s exchange rate and trade policies, claiming that China should be held accountable for US domestic economic problems. How does China respond?

A: China and the US are interdependent with increasingly intertwined interests, The essentially mutually beneficial bilateral economic cooperation and trade serves the common interests of both countries and needs joint efforts to maintain. It is irresponsible to mislead the public by putting the blame on other countries and seeking scapegoats.

One important experience we have learnt from China’s stupendous achievements and increasing international competitiveness in the past thirty-plus years is that China has had the courage to face up to challenges, stick to emancipating the mind, reform and opening up and mutual benefit, and constantly improve itself. Premier Wen Jiabao’s recent speech at the opening ceremony of the 110th Session of the China Import and Export Fair makes a comprehensive and in-depth summary of the past decade since China’s accession to the WTO. There is a lot of insight in it. I recommend you read it.

Q: Japanese Foreign Minister who is visiting three countries in Southeast Asia proposes to resolve the South China Sea dispute within a multilateral framework. What is China’s comment?

A: The South China Sea dispute should be resolved by directly concerned sovereign states through negotiation. This is the consensus reached by China and ASEAN countries in theDeclaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC). China upholds that the DOC should be earnestly and fully implemented.

We hope countries outside the region contribute more to peace and stability in the South China Sea, respect and support efforts by countries within the region to resolve the South China Sea dispute through consultation and negotiation between directly involved parties. Bringing the issue under multilateral discussions is not conducive to the settlement of the dispute, but will only complicate the matter.

Q: It is reported that the “Occupy the Wall Street” movement has gone global. Do you think it has any impact on the world economy?

A: We have taken note of the recent protests, public comments and reflection. The root of the issue indeed provides much food for deep thought. I hope that reflection on the movement will contribute to the healthy and stable growth of the world economy.

Q: Could you update us on the latest developments of the incident of Chinese crewmen being killed in the attack on the Mekong River?

A: In order to appropriately handle the incident, the Chinese Government has dispatched to Thailand and Yunnan Province respectively two joint task forces made up of personnel from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Public Security and Transport .

Led by Guo Shaochun, Deputy Director-General of the Department of Consular Affairs and Director of the Centre for Consular Assistance and Protection of the Foreign Ministry, the task force to Thailand made immediate contact with the Thai side and started to work with the help of the Chinese Embassy in Thailand and Consulate-General in Chiang Mai upon its arrival in Chiang Rai Province, Thailand on the afternoon of October 15. The two sides are now working together to investigate the incident.

Attaching great importance to the incident, the Thai side provided convenience and assistance to the task force of the Chinese Government and expressed its willingness to assist China in the investigation to find out the facts as soon as possible.

Led by Deputy Director-General Qiu Xuejun of the Department of Consular Affairs of the Foreign Ministry, the task force to Yunnan arrived in Jinghong City, Yunnan Province on the morning of October 15 and visited the families of victims that had returned from Thailand to express solicitude.

The Chinese Government has actively assisted Chinese cargo ships and crewmen stranded in Chiang Saen Port to return home and taken measures to ensure them a safe journey back. On the afternoon of October 16, the first group of 11 Chinese cargo ships and 78 Chinese crewmen arrived safely in Guanlei Port, Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture, Yunnan Province. With consent of relevant countries along the river, the Chinese police patrol boat escorted them for the entire return trip. The Governments of Thailand, the Laos and Myanmar have all taken measures to ensure safety for the returning Chinese ships and crewmen.

As investigation is still ongoing, we will bring you timely updates.

Q: Japan’s Sendai City wishes to rent pandas to bring consolation to children in the quake-hit areas. How do you respond?

A: China is committed to enhancing the friendly sentiments between the two peoples. The specific matter certainly requires communication between competent authorities on both sides. As far as I know, there are pandas in other parts of Japan. And since Japan is not far from China, we welcome the Japanese people to China to see pandas as well.

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