Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei's Regular Press Conference on February 6, 2015

Q: At the National Prayer Breakfast on February 5, US President Barack Obama did not meet with the Dalai Lama but expressed his welcome in his address. What is China's comment on this?

A: The Dalai Lama is a political exile who has been engaged in anti-China separatist activities under the guise of religion. We are opposed to any foreign country's permission for the Dalai Lama's visit, and are against any country's interference in China's domestic affairs in the name of Tibet-related issues. The Dalai Lama's attempt to achieve his political purposes by seeking foreign support is doomed to fail.

Q: Sri Lanka's Cabinet Spokesman said on February 5 that the new Sri Lankan government has allowed the Colombo port city project to go ahead. What is China's comment on this? Assistant Foreign Minister Liu Jianchao is currently visiting Sri Lanka as the special envoy of the Chinese government. Can you brief us on his visit?

A: We have taken note of relevant report. China and Sri Lanka are friendly neighbors. The two countries will continue to carry out economic cooperation and trade on an equally-footed and mutually beneficial basis as we always do. This is in the fundamental interests of the two countries and two peoples.

Assistant Foreign Minister Liu Jianchao, as the special envoy of the Chinese government, is now in Sri Lanka for a visit. On February 5, he met with the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Prinsiri Samaraweera. Assistant Minister Liu Jianchao said that the Chines side attaches importance to China-Sri Lanka relations as part of China's neighborhood diplomacy, and views Sri Lanka as a significant partner in South Asia of advancing the Belt and Road initiatives. The traditional friendship between China and Sri Lanka has emerged stronger over time and is worth prizing by both sides. The Chinese side believes that the new government of Sri Lanka will stay firmly committed to its friendly policy towards China, and we are willing to work with Sri Lanka to fully implement the outcomes of President Xi Jinping's visit to the country and push forward the strategic cooperative partnership between the two countries.

Assistant Minister Liu Jianchao said that major cooperation projects such as the Hambantota port and Colombo port city jointly conducted by China and Sri Lanka meet the international and domestic demand of Sri Lanka and can bring tangible benefits to the Sri Lankan people. It is believed that the new Sri Lankan government can keep in mind the overall development of China-Sri Lanka friendly relations as well as the fundamental interests of its national development, and ensure that the major cooperation projects between the two countries will not be disrupted by political changes of Sri Lanka.

Foreign Minister Samaraweera welcomed Assistant Minister Liu Jianchao's visit to his country as the special envoy of the Chinese government. He said that Sri Lanka-China relations have withstood the test of time and the two countries are close enough to be called all-weather friends. The Chinese side has always stood together with Sri Lanka and offered priceless assistance to its economic and social development. China has become the largest partner of development of Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan side is deeply appreciative of what China has done. The new government is ready to have full contact with the Chinese government, welcomes China's investment and assistance and looks forward to cementing practical cooperation with China in various fields.

Assistant Minister Liu Jianchao also met with Sri Lankan Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake. The two sides exchanged in-depth views on major cooperation projects between the two countries.

Q: China's state leader will reportedly attend the military parade commemorating the 70th anniversary of World War II victory to be held in Moscow this May, and the Chinese military will also send delegations to join the parade. Please confirm this and give us more details.

A: This year marks the 70th anniversary of the victory of the Chinese People's War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-Fascist War. As two major theaters in Asia and Europe during the Second World War, China and Russia will jointly hold a series of celebrations, including attendance at each other's celebrations and commemorations by leaders of the two countries.

Q: The US health insurance company Anthem was under hacker attack, and there is some speculation that the attack may have come from China though the identity of the hacker remains unclear. How does China respond to this?

A: Such speculation does not hold water. It is inappropriate to launch trumped-up charges against China when there are cyber attacks against the US.

Cyber attacks conducted across countries are hard to track. Therefore the source of attacks remains difficult to identify. It makes no sense to jump to a conclusion on the identity of the attacker. China is a victim of cyber attacks. We always advocate the building of a peaceful, secure, open and cooperative cyber space, and hope that all parties can cooperate on cyber security issues and make concerted efforts to respond to cyber attacks.

Q: In a letter sent to officials including US Secretary of State John Kerry and US Trade Representative Michael Froman on February 4, the US Chamber of Commerce and 16 other US business lobbies called on the US government to urge the Chinese side to overturn its new cyber security regulations that would hurt market opportunities of American information and communications technology companies and in China and their job opportunities in the US. How does China respond to this?

A: China is firmly committed to the win-win strategy of opening up. Thanks to this strategy, information and communications technology has been widely used in China which strongly boosts the economic and social development of China, and also creates an enormous market for companies from the US and other countries. The Chinese government will ensure the rights and interests of foreign companies operating in China in accordance with the law, and welcomes and supports the endeavor of foreign companies to expand the market in China, jointly develop and make products with Chinese companies and contribute to China's economic and social development.

Q: On February 5, French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Ukraine and then headed to Russia where they would meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The two leaders are said to bring about new proposals on politically resolving the Ukrainian crisis. What is China's comment on this?

A: China always advocates the political settlement of the Ukrainian crisis and has been proactively promoting peace talks. We welcome and support all the efforts by parties concerned that contribute to easing the tension. We hope that parties concerned can translate their political willingness of peacefully resolving the crisis into tangible results, hammer out a comprehensive, balanced and sustained solution to realize a ceasefire in Eastern Ukraine and politically resolve the crisis, and achieve peace, security, stability and development of Ukraine at an early date.

Q: US lawmakers proposed in a new bill to impose stricter sanctions on trans-national companies conducting business with the DPRK. What's China's comment on this?

A: China maintains that sanctions, which do no good to solving problems, should not be imposed willfully in handling international relations. Concerning the DPRK nuclear issue, we believe that all parties should display wisdom, increase dialogue, strive to resume the Six Party talks at an early date, advance the denuclearization process of the Korean Peninsula and realize peace and stability of the Peninsula given the current circumstances. All parties should make constructive efforts to this end.

Q: China has announced to set up a permanent mission to the African Union. Can you tell us what are the considerations behind this and how is relevant work going?

A: China's establishment of a permanent mission to the African Union (AU) is an important step to implement the outcomes of President Xi Jinping's visit to Africa and fulfill Premier Li Keqiang's commitment during his visit to Africa. The development of China-Africa relations and China-AU relations has made that possible. Over the past two years, President Xi Jinping has met with the AU rotating president, chairman of the AU Commission and other leaders of the AU on separate occasions and reached broad consensus on developing China-AU relations. He has also sent a congratulatory message to the AU Summit which showcases the importance China attaches to the AU. In 2014, Premier Li Keqiang picked the AU as his first stop when visiting Africa, and declared that China would set up a permanent mission to the AU. The establishment of the permanent mission, a sign of how China values the in-depth growth of friendly cooperation with the AU in a sincere way, is a landmark event in the history of China-AU relations. It will infuse fresh driving force to the development of the two sides and China-Africa relations.

Setting-up of the permanent mission is unfolding smoothly. The first batch of personnel have arrived in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia where the AU is headquartered by the end of last year. China's first ambassador to the permanent mission to the AU Kuang Weilin will proceed to his new post later this month. The Chinese side is fully confident of and looking forward to the prospects of China-AU relations.

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