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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Ma Zhaoxu's Regular Press Conference on June 1, 2010

On the afternoon of June 1, 2010, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Ma Zhaoxu held a regular press conference and answered questions.

Ma Zhaoxu: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to today's press conference. I have two announcements to make.

At the invitation of President Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan and President Gul of Turkey, State Councilor Dai Bingguo, as the special representative of President Hu Jintao, will attend the 3rd Summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA) to be held in Istanbul, Turkey on June 8.

The theme of the 3rd CICA Summit is "enhanced political and security dialogue in Asia: key to elaborating cooperative approaches to security". Against the background of complex changes in international and regional situations and unceasing new threats and challenges, China believes it's of realistic importance for countries in Asia to discuss the above issues. State Councilor Dai Bingguo will deliver an important speech at the Summit to expound on China's consistent policy and proposition of "seeking security and promoting development through cooperation" and propose initiatives. State Councilor Dai will also have in-depth exchange of views with leaders from other participating countries on issues of common interest. We believe the summit will be successful in consolidating friendly relations and deepening cooperation of mutual benefit among Asian countries.

At the invitation of Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, Foreign Minister Sergey Viktorovich Lavrov of the Russian Federation will pay an official visit to China on June 4.

With that, I'm ready to take your questions.

Q: Has China completed its assessment of the ROK investigation into the cause of the Cheonan incident?

A: This issue is extremely complicated. Since it has no first-hand information, China is still studying and assessing information from all sides in a serious and prudent manner.

Q: Yesterday, China condemned the Israeli attack against humanitarian aid ships bound for Gaza. Would you consider taking further steps?

A: China made prompt reaction immediately after the attack. China is shocked at the Israeli Navy's attack on the Turkish ships carrying humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip which led to severe casualties. We condemn the act and urge the Israeli side to earnestly implement relevant UN Security Council resolutions and improve the humanitarian situation in Gaza.

The situation in the Middle East is at a critical moment. We urge the Israeli side to take concrete measures and lift its blockade of Gaza at an early date so as to avoid further disruption to Palestine-Israel talks and the regional situation. China will work with the international community and continue to play a constructive role in safeguarding peace and stability in the Middle East.

Q: China was quick to criticize Israel, but has not yet criticized the DPRK. What is the difference?

A: China's position on the Korean Peninsula is consistent and clear.

Q: China and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) will hold their first strategic dialogue shortly. Please brief us on the agenda and topics.

A: The first China-GCC Strategic Dialogue will be held in Beijing on June 4. The Dialogue will be jointly launched by Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Muhammad of Kuwait which is holding the rotating presidency of the GCC, Minister Gargash of State for Foreign Affairs of the UAE which is to assume the next rotating presidency of the GCC and GCC Secretary General Attiya.

China highly values its friendly relations of cooperation with the GCC and its member states. The establishment of China-GCC strategic dialogue mechanism is in the near-term and long-term interest of both sides. It will consolidate our strategic mutual trust and plan for collective cooperation in various fields.

Q: Could you tell us the arrangement of activities for Foreign Minister Lavrov in Beijing?

A: About Foreign Minister Lavrov's visiting activities in China, relevant information will be released in due course. So far as I know, Foreign Minister Lavrov will stay in China for one day. During his stay, he will have talks with Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and meetings with Chinese leaders. The two sides will have in-depth exchange of views on China-Russia relations as well as international and regional issues of common interest.

Q: The Mainland and Taiwan are expected to sign the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) shortly, which Taiwan hopes will facilitate its free trade agreements with other countries. What is the Mainland's attitude?

A: We do not object to non-governmental economic and trade exchanges between Taiwan and countries having diplomatic relations with China, but we firmly oppose any forms of official contact with Taiwan.

Q: Indian President Patil spent six days in China, meeting with Chinese leaders and visiting Luoyang and Shanghai. What in your view are the achievements of the visit?

A: President Patil's visit to China has been fruitful, positive and successful. Leaders of the two countries had in-depth exchange of views on major issues bearing on the bilateral relations, reaching a lot of major consensus. We believe the visit will play an important role in promoting China-India relations.

Q: Premier Wen Jiabao is scheduled to visit Myanmar tomorrow. What topics will be discussed? Will the two sides discuss Chinese nationals who live on the Myanmar side of the border?

A: The Foreign Ministry has already held a special press briefing prior to Premier Wen Jiabao's visit. During his stay in Myanmar, Premier Wen Jiabao will exchange views with Myanmar leaders on the bilateral relations. We believe the visit will play an important role in promoting bilateral relations and friendly cooperation. As for specific topics for discussion, information will be released in due course. Please keep an eye on it.

Q: Firstly, will China send any team of experts to the ROK to review the evidence so far? Secondly, the latest IAEA report says that Iran is pressing ahead with its atomic program, producing highly-enriched uranium and installing more centrifuges. How do you comment?

A: On your first question, China has stayed in communication with all sides. The channel for communication is unimpeded.

On your second question, China has taken note of the latest IAEA report on the Iranian nuclear issue by Director General. We appreciate the effort of the IAEA and Director General and hope the Iranian side will step up cooperation with the IAEA and resolve the pending issues at an early date.

China always believes that fundamentally, comprehensive, long-term and proper settlement has to be achieved through dialogue and negotiations. This is in the interest of all parties. We hope relevant parties could seize opportunities, step up diplomatic efforts and seek for an early resumption of dialogue and negotiations.

Q: Yesterday, German President Koehler announced to resign. Do you have any comment? How do you comment on President Koehler?

A: President Koehler is an old friend of the Chinese people. He always cares for and supports China-Germany relations and has made major contribution to enhancing mutual understanding and friendly cooperation between the two peoples. We speak highly of that.

China will continue to work with Germany to maintain long-term and stable development of the bilateral relations, which is in the fundamental interest of both countries and both peoples, and conducive to world peace and development.

Q: Does China support Security Council actions against Israel? Will the Chinese delegation propose any specific measures at the present Security Council meeting?

A: I have just stated China's position on the Israeli attack against Turkish humanitarian aid ships. The situation in the Middle East is at a critical moment. China will work with the international community and continue to play a constructive role in safeguarding peace and stability in the Middle East. China supports the Security Council discussion on the issue, and will take an active part in it.

Q: China insists that it has no first-hand information on what caused the sinking of the Cheonan ship. What do you mean exactly by "first-hand information"?

A: China has stated its position on this issue on many occasions. During his recent visit to the ROK, Premier Wen Jiabao made a comprehensive and in-depth statement on China's position on the Cheonan incident. The sinking of the Cheonan ship was tragic. We understand the sorrow of the ROK people, particularly the bereaved families. China expresses condolences to the victims and solicitude to the ROK people and the bereaved families.

As a responsible country, China takes seriously the joint investigation by the ROK and other countries as well as reaction from all sides. China will make its own judgment fairly and objectively and decides on its position according to the own merits of the issue.

If there are no more questions, thanks for coming!

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