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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Liu Weimin's Regular Press Conference on March 16, 2012

Liu Weimin started the press conference with the following announcement:

At the invitation of Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, Foreign Minister Mohamed Amr of the Arab Republic of Egypt will pay an official visit to China from March 20 to 22.

During Foreign Minister Amr's visit, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi will hold talks with him, and Chinese leaders will meet with him. The two sides will exchange views on China-Egypt relations as well as international and regional issues of common interest.

Egypt was the first Arab and African country that established diplomatic ties and strategic relations of cooperation with China. The years following the establishment of China-Egypt diplomatic relations has witnessed the long-term and steady development of bilateral relations as well as fruitful results of exchange and cooperation in politics, economy and trade, culture and education, science and technology, agriculture, tourism and other fields. China will work together with the Egyptian side to consolidate and deepen bilateral mutually beneficial cooperation and bring China-Egypt strategic relations of cooperation to a new high.

Q: It has been one year since the outbreak of the Syrian crisis. What is China's comment?

A: China is deeply concerned about the prolonged turbulence in Syria that has plunged the Syrian people into great suffering. On the Syrian issue, China respects the Syrian people's right of independently choosing the political system and development path and upholds an objective and just position. Bearing in mind the fundamental interests of the people in Syria and the Middle East, peace and stability in the Middle East region as well as the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, We maintain that the Syrian issue should be resolved peacefully through political means. We have been working actively on all parties through various means to promote peace talks and ease the situation and have sent emergency humanitarian assistance to the Syrian people. China will work together with the international community to push for a fair, peaceful and appropriate resolution of the Syrian issue at an early date, so that the Syrian people can re-embrace peace and tranquility in their life.

Q: It is reported that on the early morning of March 16, the Japanese Coast Guard spotted Chinese surveillance ships in the waters off the Diaoyu Island. What is China's comment on that?

A: The Diaoyu Island and its affiliated islands have been China's inherent territory since ancient times. The cruising fleet of China Marine Surveillance was on a regular rights promotion and law enforcement activity on March 16 in the waters off the Diaoyu Island and its affiliated islands. It is to safeguard China's maritime rights and interests in accordance with law.

Q: The DPRK announced today that it would launch a satellite in April. What is China's comment?

A: We have noted the information released by the DPRK. Peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in the Northeast Asia serves the common interests of all parties and meets the universal aspiration of the international community. It requires all relevant parties to play a constructive role.

Q: The UN-AL Joint Special Envoy Annan reportedly released a written statement, saying that the Syrian Government has made a response to the specific proposals raised by him on resolving the Syrian crisis during his talks with President Bashar. What is China's comment?

A: China supports the constructive role played by the Special Envoy Annan in pushing for a political settlement of the Syrian crisis. We value and welcome Annan's mediation efforts, hoping that the Syrian Government and all parties concerned will cooperate actively with him and that the international community will provide constructive assistance in this regard.

Q: How does China comment on the outcomes of the visit to Syria by UN Under-Secretary-General on humanitarian affairs Amos?

A: China supports the UN's leading role in coordinating humanitarian relief to Syria. China welcomes UN Under-Secretary-General Amos' visit to Syria as well as her agreement with the Syrian Government. We hope that the Syrian Government will continue to intensify its cooperation with the UN to effectively relax tensions in Syria and improve the humanitarian situation there.

Q: The Vietnamese Foreign Ministry issued a statement on March 16, accusing China of infringing its sovereignty by conducting relevant activities in the South China Sea . It seems that the confrontation in the South China Sea has ratcheted up. What measures will China take to ease the current situation?

A: China has indisputable sovereignty over the islands in the South China Sea and their adjacent waters. China will not accept certain country's groundless accusation. We urge relevant countries to respect China's sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction in real earnest. China has been actively committed to resolving dispute over the South China Sea with relevant countries through peaceful consultation. We also call on relevant countries to join in China's concrete efforts of implementing the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea and enhancing practical cooperation in the South China Sea in a bid to promote bilateral relations through cooperation and resolve South China Sea dispute through consultation. China will continue to communicate with parties involved in the dispute through bilateral channels. In fact, the communication has been fruitful. The pressing task now is to start practical cooperation in the South China Sea under the framework of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea as soon as possible.

Q: China recently called off the order of ten-plus airbus planes. Is it a countermeasure against the EU's levy of aviation carbon tax?

A: I have made China's position on this issue clear. You may raise your specific question to competent authorities or airlines.

Q: The Japanese Judicial Authority recently brought a mandatory prosecution against the Chinese captain involved in the Diaoyu Island incident in 2010. Does the regular cruising of Chinese surveillance ships have anything to do with the judicial decision made by the Japanese side?

A: I cannot see any connection in between. The cruising carried out by China's marine surveillance department is a normal law enforcement activity.

Q: The US, the EU and Japan have filed to the WTO a request for consultation on China's export control on rare earth and other resources, accusing China of breaching international trade rules. What is China's response? How will China react in the WTO?

A: I have elaborated on China's principled position on this podium. The Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology have made remarks on that. China will deal with this issue appropriately in accordance with relevant rules and procedures of the WTO.

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