Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei's Regular Press Conference on September 23, 2011

On the afternoon of September 23, 2011, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei held a regular press conference.

Hong Lei started the press conference with the following announcement:

In light of the consensus reached between Premier Wen Jiabao and Indian Prime Minister Singh during the former's visit to India in December, 2010, the first meeting of China-India Strategic Economic Dialogue will be held in Beijing on September 26 and co-chaired by Chairman Zhang Ping of the National Development and Reform Commission and Deputy Chairman Ahluwalia of the Indian Planning Commission.

Q: The US Senate is pushing an RMB exchange rate-related bill with the aim of facilitating the US companies' retaliatory measures against Chinese products. How does China respond?

A: China does not want to see the trade imbalance between China and the US. China does not pursue trade surplus and the Chinese Government has never used so-called currency manipulation to gain profit from international trade. Recent years have witnessed a constant decline of the ratio of China's trade surplus to its economic aggregate. The reason of US trade deficit with China does not lie in the RMB exchange rate but the structure of China-US investment and trade. The appreciation of the RMB can not address China-US trade imbalance. We hope relevant people of the US side take an objective and rational look at the issue and do not politicize the RMB exchange rate issue because of domestic economic problems in the US.

At present, the global economy is facing the formidable challenge of keeping the momentum of strong, balanced and sustained growth. China and the US are also confronted with the important task of sustaining economic growth. We should, therefore, conduct active and extensive economic cooperation and trade. We always uphold that the trade frictions between China and the US should be resolved through candid dialogue, practical coordination and other normal means.

At the same time, China will unswervingly press ahead with the reform of the RMB exchange rate regime in line with the principle of independent decision-making, gradual progress and controllability, as it serves the common interests of China and the world at large.

Q: How does China look at the first China-India Strategic Economic Dialogue? What topics will be covered during the dialogue?

A: Representatives from the diplomatic, macroeconomic control and relevant functional departments of both governments will attend the first meeting of China-India Strategic Economic Dialogue to carry out dialogue and exchanges on macroeconomic landscape, communication and coordination of macroeconomic policies, industrial policies and practical cooperation.

During Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to India last December, he reached a consensus with Indian Prime Minister Singh on the establishment of the China-India strategic economic dialogue mechanism to enhance macroeconomic policy coordination, promote exchanges and interactions, jointly tackle the problems and challenges in the economic development of both countries and strengthen economic cooperation. The first meeting of the dialogue is also one of the important activities of the 2011 "Year of China-India Exchange" designated by both sides. We believe that this meeting will give a boost to China-India economic cooperation and exchanges.

Q: Media reports say that people are worried that the recent tension in US-Pakistan relations may disturb regional stability. Will China do something to mitigate the tension?

A: Pakistan is at the forefront of the international counter-terrorism campaign and has made great sacrifice to the international counter-terrorism cause. It is in the common interests of the whole region for relevant countries to maintain stable relations.

Q: Sata, leader of the Zambian opposition party, the Patriotic Front, won the presidential election. What is China's comment?

A: China is delighted at the success of the Zambian election. As a good friend of Zambia, China respects the Zambian people's choice and is willing to work together with the Zambian side to promote traditional friendship and expand mutually beneficial cooperation across the board.

Q: It is reported that the Philippines attempts to band with other ASEAN countries in the protest against China's claim over the South China Sea. What is China's response?

A: China has indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and their adjacent waters, which is grounded on ample historical and jurisprudential evidence and abidingly upheld by the Chinese Government. Guided by the national strategy of peaceful development and the policy of good neighborliness and bearing in mind the overall interests of regional peace and stability, China is committed to a peaceful resolution of the South China Sea dispute through bilateral negotiation and friendly consultation with relevant countries on the basis of historical facts and international law.

The South China Sea issue is, in essence, a dispute between China and other neighboring countries of the South China Sea on islands sovereignty and maritime demarcation. We believe that the most effective way to resolve the dispute is direct negotiation with countries concerned, about which the Philippines and other countries have made explicit pledges in the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea. We hope relevant parties do more that is conducive to regional peace and stability.

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