Liu Weimin started the press conference with the following announcement:
At the invitation of Premier Wen Jiabao of the State Council, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand Yingluck Shinawatra will pay an official visit to China from April 17 to 19.
During her visit, major Chinese leaders will meet or have talks with her respectively and exchange in-depth views on bilateral relations, and international and regional issues of common interest. The two sides plan to sign cooperation documents of various fields. They will also co-host the China-Thailand business lunch. We believe this visit will further boost China-Thailand friendly and cooperative relations.
Q: It is reported that the Philippine warships recently carried out the so-called "law-enforcement" on some Chinese fishing boats for illegal fishing in waters off the Huangyan Island. After the incident, the Philippine side released a statement claiming that the Huangyan Island is an integral part of the Philippines. How does China comment? Has China made representations with the Philippines?
A: China has made solemn representations with the Philippine side over its warships and petrol boats' harassment of Chinese fishing boats and fishermen in waters off the Huangyan Island. The Philippine side's so-called "law-enforcement" in the waters off the Huangyang Island is a violation of China's sovereignty. It goes against the two countries' consensus to maintain peace and stability of the South China Sea and not to complicate or magnify the situation. Competent Chinese authorities have sent ships on official duty to relevant waters. Currently, Chinese fishermen and fishing boats are safe.
China reiterates that the Huangyan Island is an integral part of China. China has indisputable sovereignty over the Island. We urge the Philippine side to bear in mind China-Philippines friendship, and peace and stability of the South China Sea, do not make new disturbances and work with China to create sound conditions for the sound and steady development of bilateral relations.
Q: The ceasefire deadline of April 12 identified in the UN Security Council statement will soon arrive. It is reported that the Syrian Government still has not honored its pledges of ceasefire and troop withdrawal. How does China comment?
A: At present, the ceasefire deadline for all parties concerned in Syria identified in the Security Council Presidential Statement is approaching. The political settlement of the Syrian issue has entered a crucial period. China is deeply worried over the continued violence and conflicts and rising civilian casualties inside Syria. The UN-AL Special Envoy Annan has been making active efforts for the comprehensive ceasefire, which is a precious opportunity to address the Syrian crisis. China once again calls on the Syrian Government to respond to the six-point proposal of Annan, seize the opportunity, immediately and fully implement its pledges of ceasefire and troop withdrawal within the set time-frame based on existing actions and redouble efforts to relax the current tensions and push for the political settlement of the issue. At the same time, the Syrian opposition should also cease fire at once and take concrete measures to follow through on Annan's six-point proposal. The Syrian issue is highly complex and it is no easy task to have a political settlement of it. Annan's mediation is a realistic way out for the political resolution of the Syrian issue. China has been engaging all parties in Syria in its own way. Relevant parties of the international community should also step up efforts, stay patient and provide all necessary support and cooperation to Annan's mediation so that substantive progress can be achieved at an early date. China will continue to firmly support the mediation efforts of Annan for the political settlement of the Syrian issue.
Q: Recently, a panel of experts and eminent personnel on the "Code of Conduct on the South China Sea"(COC) was set up based on China's proposal. What are the considerations behind? Has there been any progress?
A: In 2002, China and ASEAN countries signed the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) which stipulates that all parties should push forward practical cooperation in the South China Sea and move toward the ultimate goal of reaching the COC based on consensus through consultation. Last year, all parties concerned reached agreement on implementing the guiding principles of the DOC. Since then, practical cooperation within the framework of the DOC has begun, leading to stronger mutual trust between the parties concerned. China is ready to work with ASEAN countries to set about discussing the formulation of the COC. In this context, China proposed to set up a panel of experts and eminent personnel on the COC to enhance communication, build consensus and discuss relevant issues. Currently, China and ASEAN countries have been in communication and consultation on it.
Q: The DPRK claimed that it had fueled the rocket for the satellite launch. How does China comment?
A: Under the current circumstances, all parties should exercise calmness and restraint and jointly maintain peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia. China will continue with its communication and coordination with other parties concerned.
Q: It is reported that countries like the US, Japan and the ROK have made it clear that if the DPRK launches the satellite, they will push the UN Security Council to take action over it. What's China's position on that?
A: China believes that the words and deeds of the international community should be conducive to upholding peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia to avoid escalation of tensions.
Q: It is reported that candidates for the World Bank President have begun to go through interviews and there will be a voting soon. Please brief us on China's voting position. What does China expect of the next President of the World Bank?
A: It is the first time for the election of World Bank President to be carried out based on the principle of openness, transparency and meritocracy, which demonstrates the spirit of consensus of the G20 on the reform of international financial institutions as well as the initial progress made in the reform. According to the election procedures of the Word Bank, the candidates have been receiving interviews. China hopes that the new World Bank President will continue to push forward the reform of the World Bank governance structure, enhance the voice and representation of developing countries inside the World Bank so as to achieve even greater success in global poverty reduction and development.
Q: It is learned that Kim Jong Un will take office as the First Secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea. How does China comment?
A: I have not seen the news you mentioned. As far as I know, the Workers' Party of Korea is convening the fourth Party Conference. As a friendly neighbour, China wishes the meeting a full success.