Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei’s Regular Press Conference on April 23, 2015
At the invitation of Premier Li Keqiang of the State Council, Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal will pay an official visit to China from April 28 to May 1.
China and Algeria attach great importance to the visit. President Xi Jinping and other leaders will meet with Prime Minister Sellal. Premier Li Keqiang will hold talks with him. There will be an in-depth discussion on a wide range of topics, including to further cement and deepen China-Algeria comprehensive strategic partnership, and step up practical cooperation in different fields, as well as international and regional issues of common interest.
Friendship between China and Algeria runs deep. Algeria has made significant contribution to the restoration of China’s lawful seat in the United Nations. Over recent years, China-Algeria relations have attained all-round, rapid and in-depth growth, political mutual trust between the two countries deepened, practical cooperation in various areas borne rich fruits and close coordination and collaboration been maintained on international and regional issues. China-Algeria relations were put on a new starting point in February, 2014 when the comprehensive strategic partnership was established. The Chinese side puts high values on its relationship with Algeria. We are ready to make joint efforts with the Algerian side to further increase bilateral exchanges and cooperation across the board, move forward the comprehensive strategic partnership and make sure that China-Algeria friendship will create more benefits for the two countries and two peoples.
China is pushing for international cooperation on production capacity, a move embodies the deep integration of Chinese and world economy at a higher level. The Office of Public Diplomacy of the Foreign Ministry, the General Office of the People’s Government of Hebei Province and China Public Diplomacy Association will jointly hold the 11th Lanting Forum under the theme of promoting international cooperation on production capacity at 9:30 a.m. on April 28 (Tuesday). Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Governor Zhang Qingwei of Hebei Province will attend and address the forum. Representatives of foreign diplomats in China, experts, scholars and representatives from relevant sectors will deliver keynote speeches and take questions. Friends from the press are welcome to cover the event upon invitation.
Q: The new round of talks on a comprehensive agreement on the Iranian nuclear issue will be held in Vienna this week. Can you shed some light on China’s attendance at and expectations for the meeting?
A: The P5+1 and Iran will hold a new round of negotiation on a comprehensive agreement at the political director-general’s level in Vienna on April 24, following an experts’ meeting. Deputy Director-General Kang Yong of the Department of Arms Control of the Chinese Foreign Ministry will attend this round of negotiation as head of the Chinese delegation. The Chinese side hopes that all parties will keep up the good work after they have achieved consensus on the “key elements” of a comprehensive agreement, accommodate each other’s concerns, completely resolve the outstanding issues at an early date and accumulate more favorable conditions for the conclusion of a comprehensive agreement on time.
Q: First, Chinese nuclear experts reportedly told American specialists during their meeting that the DPRK may be in possession of a nuclear arsenal larger than before. Can you confirm that? Second, the Russian Ambassador to the ROK said that DPRK Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un may attend activities commemorating the 70th anniversary of the victory of the Great Patriotic War in Moscow on May 9. Will President Xi Jinping meet with Kim Jong-un at that time? Is there any preparation for the meeting?
A: On your first question, I am not aware of the specifics. The Chinese side holds a consistent and clear position on the Korean nuclear issue. We stay committed to safeguarding peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula, realizing denuclearization on the Peninsula and resolving relevant issues through dialogue and consultation.
On your second question, China and the DPRK are friendly neighbors. We attach importance to developing relations with the DPRK. As for the meeting between the two leaders, it depends on the two sides’ convenience.
Q: Chinese and Japanese leaders met with each other yesterday. How does China comment on that?
A: Yesterday, President Xi Jinping met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the latter’s request on the sidelines of the Asian-African Summit in Jakarta. They exchanged views on China-Japan relations.
President Xi Jinping pointed out that the general principle governing China-Japan relations is abiding by the spirit of the four political documents between China and Japan and keeping the bilateral relationship on the right course of development. The history issue is a major matter of principle concerning the political basis of China-Japan relations. It is hoped that the Japanese side would take seriously the concerns of its Asian neighbors and send out a positive message of facing up to the history.
President Xi Jinping stressed that China and Japan should adopt positive policies toward each other. The Chinese side is willing to increase dialogue and communication with the Japanese side to remove mistrust and turn the consensus of China and Japan being cooperative partners that pose no threat to each other as stated in the four political documents into a common view shared by the public of the two countries.
President Xi Jinping highlighted that China sticks fast to the path of peaceful development and hopes that Japan will join China and make greater contributions to peace, stability and prosperity of the region and the world. Leaders of the two countries should shoulder due responsibilities in this regard.
The meeting has charted the course for the improvement and development of China-Japan relations in the next step.
Q: It is reported that two Japanese cabinet members paid homage to the Yasukuni Shrine this morning. What is China’s comment on that?
A: The visit by relevant Japanese cabinet members to the Yasukuni Shrine where Class-A war criminals of WWII are enshrined lays bare their wrong attitude toward history. The Chinese side firmly opposes that.
I would like to reiterate that China-Japan relations can realize sound and steady growth only when Japan faces squarely and has deep self-reflection on the history of aggression, and makes a clean break with militarism. We urge the Japanese side to stay true to its statements and commitments about reflecting upon the history of aggression, and properly deal with relevant issues with a sense of responsibility.
Q: The Hong Kong SAR government released its election plan yesterday. International rights groups once again bombarded the plan with criticism, saying that it rejects the international law and betrays the democratic aspiration of the Hong Kong people. How does China respond to that?
A: These remarks are utterly unjustifiable. The Consultation Report and Proposals on the Method for Selecting the Chief Executive by Universal Suffrage (Consultation Report and Proposals) published by the Hong Kong SAR government is a comprehensive reflection of opinions and suggestions given by the Hong Kong public on the selection of the Chief Executive by universal suffrage. The proposals are in line with the Basic Law of the Hong Kong SAR and the decision made by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC), conform to the realities of Hong Kong and take into account the interests and aspirations of people from different social strata and sectors of Hong Kong. It is a lawful, feasible, sensible and practical plan.
It is the longstanding position of the Chinese central government that strong support should be given to the Hong Kong SAR government in promoting democracy in a progressive manner till the final realization of universal suffrage in accordance with the Basic Law and the decision made by the NPC Standing Committee. The five-step process of constitutional development in Hong Kong has come to a critical stage. We sincerely hope that people from all walks of life in Hong Kong will build up consensus, seize the historic opportunity and strive to realize the goal of selecting the Chief Executive by universal suffrage in 2017 as scheduled.
I want to stress that Hong Kong affairs are China’s domestic affairs. External forces have no right to interfere.
Q: With regard to yesterday’s meeting between Chinese and Japanese leaders, can you tell us the difference between this meeting and the one last year?
A: It is our hope that China-Japan relations will always stick to the right direction and achieve sound and steady growth. It is hoped that the Japanese side will meet China halfway.