Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Liu Weimin’s Regular Press Conference on February 8, 2012

Q: Chinese nationals kidnapped in Sudan were released yesterday. Please brief us on that.

A: Escorted by the Chinese Government’s task force and Chinese diplomats, 29 Chinese nationals from China International Water & Electric Corp.’s road project group in Sudan arrived in Nairobi, capital of Kenya last night after being rescued safe and sound. They are in good health and fine spirits and will go home by air after further physical examination and some rest.

Since the abduction of the Chinese nationals, the Chinese side has gone all out to rescue them through all available channels. I would like to avail myself of this opportunity to express high appreciation and sincere gratitude to Sudan, South Sudan and other relevant countries as well as relevant parties such as the International Committee of the Red Cross for their unremitting efforts to rescue the Chinese nationals in a peaceful and safe manner. I would also like to express thanks to Kenya, the UN and all the other countries, institutions and personages for their support, assistance and care.

Q: Recent political upheaval in Maldives ended up with President Nasheed’s resignation. Vice President Waheed has declared that he will exercise the authority of President . What is China’s comment? Are you worried about the safety of Chinese nationals and institutions there?

A: As a friendly neighbour of Maldives, China sincerely hopes that Maldives will maintain peace, stability and development.

The Chinese Embassy in Maldives has reminded Chinese nationals and Chinese-funded organizations in Maldives to enhance security precaution and keep away from the sites of demonstration and protest. The Department of Consular Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued safety alert. Chinese nationals and institutions in Maldives are safe with no report of casualties by now.

Q: Is there any progress in China’s plan of sending officials to visit relevant countries in West Asia and North Africa?

A: Any further information will be provided in a timely fashion.

Q: China and Russia vetoed the Security Council’s Syria-related draft resolution on February 5. British Foreign Secretary Hague labeled it as “an hour of shame for the UN” and a betrayal of the Syrian people. He said that China and Russia chose to side with the Syrian regime who brutally represses its people, placed themselves against the Arab world and the international community and would foment atrocity and bloodshed. What is China’s comment?

A: Such accusation is extremely irresponsible and of ulterior motives, which China can by no means accept.

China and Syria boast a long history of friendship. China is the friend of the entire Syrian people. China always upholds the fundamental and long-term interests of the Syrian people and stays committed to safeguarding peace and stability in Syria and the whole region.

China votes in the Security Council in accordance with the purposes and principles of theCharter of the United Nations and China’s long-standing foreign policy and for the benefit of the fundamental and long-term interests of developing countries. China’s efforts to ease the tension in Syria together with other relevant parties are clear for all to see.

China firmly supports the just cause of Arab countries and shares profound friendship and extensive common interests with them. What China has done is just and fair. Any attempt to sow discord between China and the Arab world is futile. China will continue to strive for the peaceful and appropriate resolution of the Syrian crisis.

Q: What is China’s comment on the first edition of China Strategy recently released by the Government of New Zealand?

A: The Government of New Zealand recently released the China Strategy which is the first of its kind, commending highly China’s development achievements as well as the outcomes of China-New Zealand practical cooperation across the board and laying out its strategic targets of developing relations with China in the next five years. It fully embodies the importance attached by the Government and all circles of New Zealand to the development of China-New Zealand relations as well as their aspiration of deepening bilateral mutually beneficial cooperation. China appreciates it.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the establishment of China-New Zealand diplomatic ties. The past four decades have witnessed the considerable development of bilateral relations which has delivered tangible benefits to the two peoples. China values its relations with New Zealand and would like to take the 40th anniversary as an opportunity to advance China-New Zealand comprehensive relationship of cooperation on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit together with the Government and all circles of New Zealand.

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