Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang held a press conference on April 24, 2014.
Qin Gang started the press conference with the following announcement:
At the invitation of Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic Lubomir Zaoralek will pay an official visit to China from April 28 to 30.
Q: The search for the missing Malaysian airplane is still underway. At what point will China consider giving up the search?
A: All relevant parties are still actively engaged in the search activities. China will remain in close communication and coordination with all relevant parties including Malaysia and Australia, and play an active role in the search operation.
Q: Please give us more details about the talks between the Chinese side and Hamzah Zainudin, the Deputy Foreign Minister of Malaysia during his visit to China.
A: Malaysian Deputy Foreign Minister Hamzah was in China two days ago. Senior Chinese officials including Executive Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui and Vice Foreign Minister Xie Hangsheng met and talked with him. The two sides exchanged views on issues concerning the ongoing search operation, consolation for families of the passengers and other follow-up matters. We are in close communication and coordination with the Malaysian side regarding the search activities. We will regroup our search resources and adjust our search plan in light of the latest development under the guidance of the overall search plan, and press ahead with the search operation.
Q: Malaysian Defence Minister and acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said yesterday that the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight will continue, and the Malaysian government had approved the formation of an independent international investigation team to evaluate, investigate and probe into the causes of the incident. What is China's comment? Will China join the investigation team?
A: We have noted the statement by the Malaysian side. Since the Malaysia Airlines flight went missing, China has been in close communication and coordination with the Malaysian side in search, investigation and other aspects. China will continue to cooperate with the Malaysian side by deploying search resources and playing an active role in the following operations. In accordance with relevant international conventions, China will send its staff to the international investigation team to conduct thorough and in-depth investigation.
Q: The government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) and the Philippine government released a joint statement on the hostage incident. The Philippine government expressed its most sorrowful regret over the incident and extended its most sincere condolences for the pain and suffering of the victims and their families. The two sides also reached an agreement on the four demands for an apology, compensation, sanctions against responsible officials and individuals and tourist safety measures. What is China's comment? What efforts has the Chinese central government made in the process?
A: We support the agreement reached between the Hong Kong SAR government and the Philippine side on resolving follow-up matters concerning the hostage incident. We are relieved to see that this incident is properly resolved in the end.
Since the incident took place, whether it was in rescuing the hostages or in dealing with the aftermath, the Foreign Ministry and relevant ministries have been in close communication with the SAR government. We have made enormous efforts and urged the Philippine side on many occasions to take seriously and respond positively to legitimate appeals of the SAR government and relatives of the hostages. The principle of our diplomacy, which the Foreign Ministry has been upholding and will continue to do so, is putting the people first and conducting diplomacy for the people. Therefore, we will do all that we can to ensure the safety and lawful rights and interests of overseas Chinese citizens, including Hong Kong compatriots.
Q: Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas announced on April 23 that they have agreed to form a unity government in the next five weeks, and to hold elections, including presidential elections in half a year. What is China's comment?
A: Efforts to achieve reconciliation within Palestine have achieved positive progress. China welcomes and congratulates them on that. We believe it will enhance unity within Palestine, which ultimately will facilitate the establishment of an independent State of Palestine and peaceful coexistence between Palestine and Israel.
China always believes that peace between Palestine and Israel can only be achieved through peace talks. Now, the peace talks have reached a crucial juncture. We hope that Palestine and Israel can aim for peace, discard prejudices, and overcome obstacles. They need to walk towards the same direction, keep the talks going and strive for an early result. The international community should give its unequivocal encouragement and continuous support to these efforts.
Q: Will China persuade the DPRK from carrying out a nuclear test through diplomatic means? Will China send senior officials to the DPRK?
A: China's position on the issue of the Korean Peninsula is clear and firm. We are firmly committed to realizing the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, safeguarding peace and stability of the Peninsula and peacefully resolving relevant issues through dialogue and consultation. For a long period of time, we have never stopped engaging with relevant parties, and the efforts we put into this are continuous.
At the same time, we hope other relevant parties can bear in mind the larger picture, walk towards the same direction, accumulate mutual trust, and scale down factors that may cause tension, friction or even rivalry. China has been in close contact and coordination with other relevant parties. We are working to set the stage ready. We hope other relevant parties can pitch in and be helpful, rather than to undercut our efforts.
Q: US President Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met the press together after their meeting. Obama said that the Diaoyu Islands are under Japan's administration and fall within the scope of the US-Japan security treaty. What is China's comment?
A: China's position on the issue of the Diaoyu Islands is clear, firm and consistent. China firmly opposes to the inclusion of the Diaoyu Islands into the US-Japan security treaty. I have already clarified this solemn position yesterday.
I want to add that the so-called US-Japan security treaty is the product of the Cold War era. It should not be cited to target a third party, let alone using it to undermine China's territorial sovereignty. No matter what others may say or do, the solid fact that the Diaoyu Islands are an integral part of China's territory cannot be changed, nor will our government's and people's determination and resolve to safeguard territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests be shaken.
Q: First, US President Obama said that China plays a critical role in preventing the DPRK from conducting nuclear tests. What is China's comment? Second, Japan's shipping company Mitsui O.S.K. Lines paid about 4 billion yen for the release of its ship impounded by the Shanghai Maritime Court. What is China's comment?
A: I have already answered a question about the Korean Peninsula. Here, I would like to add that as a close neighbor to the DPRK and the ROK, China has a big stake in the peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula. We will never allow war or unrest to happen right at our doorstep. Having committed ourselves to peacefully resolving relevant issues through dialogue and negotiation, we call on other parties concerned to bear in mind the larger picture and work together with us so that denuclearization can be achieved and long-lasting peace and security of the Korean Peninsula secured. This serves the common interests of the region and all parties concerned.
With regard to the ship of Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, the company followed the Chinese court's ruling and paid its compensation. The case was handled and settled in accordance with the law, and the court has released relevant information.
Q: Syrian government said that it was looking ahead to the dismantling of the UN-OPCW mission overseeing the destruction of its chemical arsenal. Does China agree that it is time to dismantle the international mission?
A: I haven't seen relevant reports, but I want to stress that the destruction of chemical weapons is an important step for Syria to achieve peace and stability and to advance political transition. It is also stipulated in the relevant resolutions passed by the UN Security Council and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
China supports and has actively participated in the process of destroying Syria's chemical weapons. Now, most of Syria's chemical weapons have been shipped out. China contributed its due share in achieving this. We will continue to work with all parties concerned until the very last bit of Syria's chemical weapons is destroyed.
Q: Foreign journalists are invited to a reporting trip which will take them to China's Jilin Province and Heilongjiang Province. The places they will visit include a site where the evidence of the atrocities committed by the Unit 737 of the Japanese Army during the Japanese War of Aggression against China is preserved as well as Ahn Joong-gun Memorial Hall. China organized such trips before. What message is China trying to convey here by organizing such trips so often?
A: The answer to your question is simple. The evidence of the brutal crimes committed by the militarist Japan during its outward aggression is incontestable and we have plenty of those evidence. The facts are just before our eyes. However, some people in Japan are still employing whatever schemes they can think of to deny that history of aggression, affront human conscience, and trample international justice underfoot. You are encouraged to see these places so that those evidence and historical facts can have a chance to speak for themselves. I hope you can send the call for justice to the international community.
Q: Please provide more details on Tokyo Governor Yoichi Masuzoe's visit to China. Does china believe that his visit will help improve bilateral relations?
A: At the invitation of the Beijing Municipality, Tokyo Governor Yoichi Masuzoe will arrive in Beijing today for a visit. We have always been supportive and positive about civil and local exchanges between China and Japan. We hope that all the insightful people in Japan can work with us and contribute to the improvement and development of China-Japan relationship.
A Follow-up Question: So China supports local-level exchanges. What about state-level exchanges?
A: You asked me about Tokyo Governor Yoichi Masuzoe's visit to Beijing, so my answer focuses on civil and local exchanges. As I mentioned, we are ready to work with all those in Japan who call for amity between China and Japan to improve and develop bilateral ties. As for the Japanese leaders, I think they should listen carefully to the voices coming from their own people calling for justice and friendship, take concrete actions to address their mistakes and create favorable conditions for China-Japan relations to improve.
Q: The UN Security Council will discuss imposing sanctions on South Susan in response to its mass killing of civilians. What is China's position on that?
A: China will participate in the discussions on the situation in South Sudan in a serious and responsible way, and we will decide our position on the merits of the incident. We hope that relevant parties in South Sudan can achieve reconciliation through dialogue and consultation, and then their country can have peace and stability.