Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei's Regular Press Conference on September 4, 2013

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei held a press conference on September 4, 2013.

Q: Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly said that Russia may approve a military operation in Syria, if evidence shows that the Syrian government has carried out chemical weapons attacks, but only if the operation is conducted with UN approval. What is China's comment?

A: We have emphasized time and again that China supports the UN in carrying out independent, impartial, objective and professional investigation. All parties should create conditions for the work of the investigation group and wait for the results, rather than make prejudgement.

Q: South Sudanese President Salva Kiir's visit to Sudan yesterday have reportedly yielded positive results. What is China's comment? What has China done to improve the relations between the two countries?

A: We have noted that South Sudanese President Kiir visited Sudan yesterday, reaching agreement with President Bashir on maintaining oil production and shipment and carrying out already-signed agreements. China welcomes that and appreciates the two countries' flexible and practical attitude as well as the unremitting efforts by the international community, the African Union in particular. China hopes the two countries will take this opportunity to continuously improve and grow bilateral relations.

As a friend of Sudan and South Sudan, China always actively encourages the two sides to resolve differences through negotiations. Since June, China has hosted the visits respectively by Special Envoy for South Sudanese President and Sudanese Foreign Minister. The Special Representative on African Affairs for the Chinese Government paid three visits to this region. China's efforts paid off. China is willing to continue its cooperation with the international community to play a positive role in facilitating continuous improvement and development of Sudan-South Sudan relations.

Q: It is reported that US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Russel is going to visit China. Please confirm and give us more details.

A: As agreed by China and the US, US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Russel will pay a working visit to China from September 13 to 14. The two sides will exchange views on China-US relations and issues of common interest.

Q: The US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations reportedly reached an agreement on a draft authorization for the use of military force in Syria, which sets a 90-day limit on the military action in Syria. What is China's comment?

A: China always believes that political settlement is the only practical way out for the Syrian issue. We are gravely concerned that some country may take unilateral military actions. Any action taken by the international community should comply with the purposes of the UN Charter as well as the basic norms governing international relations, so as to avoid complicating the Syrian issue and plunging the Middle East region into more disasters.

Q: The Philippine side reportedly said that China had built concrete facilities on the Huangyan Island. Please confirm.

A: What the Philippines said is untrue. The Huangyan Island is China's inherent territory. Given the current situation, Chinese government ships maintain routine patrol in the waters off the Huangyan Island to safeguard the sovereignty over the Huangyan Island and keep order in relevant waters. It is within China's legitimate rights and interests and beyond dispute.

Q: President Xi Jinping is paying state visits to four Central Asian countries. Can you give us an idea of the importance and role of Central Asia in China's foreign policy?

A: China and Central Asian countries are friendly neighbours and important cooperative partners. Since the establishment of diplomatic ties over 20 years ago, the relationship between China and Central Asian countries based on mutual respect and mutual benefit has achieved remarkable progress. The two sides enjoy close high-level mutual visits and strong political mutual trust. Practical cooperation in trade, investment, energy, resources, agriculture, connectivity, communications and other fields has made headway and delivered tangible benefits to people on both sides. Close law enforcement and security cooperation with Central Asian countries in bilateral frameworks and the SCO for the fight against the "three evil forces", namely terrorism, separatism and extremism, is conducive to the security and stability of each country and the region as a whole. We have also maintained close coordination and cooperation with Central Asian countries in international and regional affairs, sharing similar position and proposition. President Xi's visits to Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan will drive vigorously forward and instill new impetus to the relationship between China and the above four countries.

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