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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Liu Weimin's Regular Press Conference on January 16, 2012

Q: Please update us on the details and outcomes of the fourth Senior Officials' Meeting on Implementing the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC). What consensus did the parties reach on further implementing the DOC?

A: China and ASEAN countries held the fourth Senior Officials' Meeting on Implementing the DOC in Beijing on January 14.

Holding that the overall situation in the South China Sea remains peaceful and stable, the meeting appreciated the active efforts made by the parties concerned. The year 2011 witnessed major achievements and positive headway in the implementation of the DOC. China and ASEAN countries reached agreement on the Guidelines for the Implementation of the DOC and launched practical cooperation within the DOC's framework. The meeting applauded China's investment of a China-ASEAN maritime cooperation fund and believed the move will promote the implementation of the DOC and deepen maritime cooperation between China and the ASEAN.

The countries discussed the 2012 working plan on implementing the DOC, reached consensus on the future direction of work and agreed to carry out specific cooperation projects of mutual consent as soon as possible. China and ASEAN countries will host a number of seminars in the coming year. All parties agreed to seize the favorable opportunity of the 10th anniversary of the signing of the DOC this year and give full play to mechanisms such as the Senior Officials' Meetings on Implementing the DOC and the Working Group Meetings in a bid to deepen practical cooperation in the South China Sea.

Q: The US is trying to work with other countries on an oil embargo against Iran, which may push up international oil prices. The European allies of the US seem willing to pay for higher oil prices. What is China's attitude?

A: China has made clear many times that like many other countries, China has maintained normal and transparent business and energy cooperation with Iran, which does not violate Security Council resolutions and has nothing to do with the Iranian nuclear issue. We object to placing one's domestic law above international law and forcing other countries to accept it. We express strong dissatisfaction over and firm opposition to the US' move to sanction relevant Chinese company based on its domestic law. To my knowledge, some EU countries, the ROK, Japan, India and others have all expressed concerns over the US' request. These concerns are reasonable.

Q: How do you comment on the recent unstable elements in the Pakistani political landscape?

A: China adheres to the principle of non-interference in others' internal affairs. As a friendly neighbor, we support the political forces in Pakistan giving priority to national stability and development and maintaining unity and harmony in a joint effort to realize social stability and economic development.

Q: On Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to the three Gulf countries, how will China push forward energy cooperation with Saudi Arabia and others? In particular, facing a shortage of oil supply from Iran, will China ask countries such as Saudi Arabia to increase oil output? Second, a high-level Chinese delegation visited Sudan and South Sudan recently. What efforts has China made and will make to mediate the oil dispute between the two countries?

A: You may refer to the information already released by the Foreign Ministry on Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to Saudi Arabia and other countries. On his visit to Saudi Arabia, the two sides reached consensus on further strengthening energy cooperation and relevant companies signed an agreement as well. However, the visit covered fields far beyond energy. The two sides also exchanged views on a wide range of areas in bilateral relations such as politics, economy, science and technology, culture, sports, education and law enforcement as well as international and regional issues including the situation in West Asia and North Africa.

On your second question, Minister Li Yuanchao of the Organization Department of the CPC Central Committee visited South Sudan and Sudan from January 13 to 15, which was a party-to-party exchange. As for the oil dispute between South Sudan and Sudan, we have noted the recent escalation of the issue and expressed concern over it. We believe that oil is the economic lifeline of both countries and hope the two sides keep calm, exercise restraint and resolve their difference through consultation and dialogue. As far as I know, a high-level group of the African Union will host a new round of negotiation in Addis Ababa on January 17. We hope Sudan and South Sudan strive for breakthroughs in the negotiation based on mutual understanding and accommodation. China has been working actively on both parties and hopes to see favorable outcomes in the mediation efforts by the African Union and other parties so that Sudan and South Sudan will reach agreement on the oil issue as soon as possible.

Q: It is reported that Japan will name some offshore islands, including seven islands near the Diaoyu Island this year. How do you comment?

A: Our position on the Diaoyu Islands issue is clear. The Diaoyu Island and its affiliated islands have been China's inherent territory since ancient times. China enjoys indisputable sovereignty over them. Our resolve to defend the territorial sovereignty of the Diaoyu Islands is unswerving.

Q: First, it is reported that German Chancellor Merkel is coming to China. Please confirm and provide details. Second, the US says it will restore full diplomatic ties with Myanmar. How do you comment?

A: We will release information on Chancellor Merkel's visit in due course.

On your second question, we are glad to see the US and other western countries strengthening contact, restoring and developing ties with Myanmar.

Q: How do you comment on tomorrow's dialogue among the US, Japan and the ROK on regional issues including the situation on the Korean Peninsula in Washington, D.C.?

A: The US, Japan and the ROK are important parties to Korean Peninsular affairs and members of the Six-Party Talks. It is in the common interests of all parties, the US, Japan and the ROK included, to safeguard peace and stability on the Peninsula. We hope the three countries play an active and constructive role in this regard.

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