Liu Weimin started the press conference with the following announcements:
At the invitation of Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, Tunisian Foreign Minister Abdul Salam will visit China from April 15 to 18.
During his visit, Vice President Xi Jinping will meet with him, and Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi will have talks with him. The two sides will mainly exchange views on issues such as China-Tunisia relations and international and regional issues of common interest. We hope this visit will boost mutual understanding between China and Tunisia and further enhance their friendly and cooperative relations.
The 11th China-Russia-India Foreign Ministers Meeting will be held in Moscow on April 13. Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi will lead a delegation to the meeting. During the meeting, the three foreign ministers will exchange views on international and regional issues of common interest as well as deepening trilateral practical cooperation. China believes that the meeting will further promote trilateral political mutual trust and step up exchanges and cooperation among the three countries in relevant fields.
Q: It is reported that the Syrian Foreign Ministry recently issued a statement, asking Annan to provide written guarantees regarding the end of violence by relevant Syrian armed groups and stoppage of assistance from relevant countries to the opposition. Annan said in response that the Syrian Government should fully honor its commitment. How does China comment?
A: China urges the Syrian Government and relevant parties in Syria to seize the current important opportunity, honor their pledges of cease-fire and troop withdrawal, concretely cooperate with Special Envoy Annan's mediation efforts and provide convenience to humanitarian assistance in order to relax the on-going tensions and push for the political resolution of the Syrian issue.
Q: Yesterday, Pakistani President Zardari visited India and had talks with Indian Prime Minister Singh. How does China comment?
A: India and Pakistan are both important countries in South Asia and play an important role in the peace and stability of South Asia. China is happy to see the improvement of their relations through dialogue and cooperation for common development.
Q: Recently, an avalanche took place in Pakistan, leaving more than one hundred soldiers missing. How does China comment?
A: We express condolences over the Pakistani victims in the avalanche and sympathy to the bereaved families.
Q: The DPRK will launch a satellite soon. Will China send people to observe the launch?
A: I have no information at this moment. We have stayed in contact with relevant parties over the DPRK's announcement of its satellite launch.
Q: It is reported that the Xianghuamen Ship with 28 Chinese crew was recently hijacked by pirates in the Gulf of Oman and the sailors have been rescued. Please tell us the specifics. What has China done?
A: On April 6, the Xianghuamen Cargo Ship with 28 Chinese crew was hijacked by pirates in waters off southern Iran, putting in danger the life of the Chinese sailors. After learning this incident, leaders of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council took it seriously. The Foreign Ministry immediately launched the contigency machanism and maintained close coordination with relevant departments. The Chinese Embassy in Iran made emergency contact with competent authorities of Iran at once, requesting the Iranian side to do all it can to rescue them on the precondition of ensuring the safety of the Chinese personnel. Thanks to the efforts of the Iranian side, the 28 Chinese sailors were rescued on the night of April 6, Beijing time. At present, the Xianghuamen Cargo ship has arrived at the Abbas Port of Iran. Our embassy in Iran immediately got into contact with the rescued sailors and paid them a visit aboard the ship after the sailors arrived at the port.
Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi has already written a letter to Iranian Foreign Minister Salehi to express thanks.
Q: Violence and conflict in Syria still persist. Some countries believe that China stands in the way of international effort to push the Syrian authority to implement Annan's six-point proposal. How does China respond? Second, China and Turkey have different views on the Syrian issue. Will it affect Prime Minister Erdogan's visit to China?
A: On your first question, China does not accept such false allegations. Since the outbreak of the Syrian crisis, China has maintained communication and coordination with all parties concerned and is committed to pushing the crisis onto the track of political resolution. China's objective and fair position as well as its constructive role are for all to see. The pressing task now is that the Syrian Government and opposition should keep their promises, immediately stop violence and avoid harming innocent civilians in particular. We hope relevant parties will actively cooperate with Annan's mediation efforts. At the same time, given the Syrian issue is highly complex, the international community should stay patient, give sufficient time and support to Special Envoy Annan. The Syrian issue should ultimately be properly solved through dialogue and consultation with the Syrian Government and other parties concerned sitting down together.
On your second question, China and Turkey have stayed in communication on the Syrian issue. The two sides may not see eye-to-eye with each other, but we both agree that the international community should play a constructive role for the political settlement of the Syrian issue. We have consensus on that. Prime Minister Erdogan is on a visit to China. The two sides will have in-depth exchange of views on bilateral relations and international and regional issues of common interest, step up practical cooperation across the board and sign some cooperation agreements. We believe this visit will further push forward China-Turkey strategic cooperative relations.
Q: It is reported that the Mali coup authorities pledged to hand over power soon and organize presidential and parliamentary elections. The ECOWAS has lifted all its sanctions against Mali. Separately, the armed groups in Northern Mali declared the set-up of the "independent state of Azawad". How does China comment?
A: China is happy with the positive progress in the settlement of the Malian contitutional crisis and appreciates the efforts of the ECOWAS in mediating the crisis. We hope all parties in Mali will implement the framework agreement reached between the ECOWAS and the coup authorities as soon as possible, restore contitutional order and uphold national unity and stability.
China is concerned over the developments of the issue of northern Mali and believe that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Mali brook no damage. We call on all parties concerned in Mali to bear in mind the fundemental interests of the country and the people, properly resolve the political dispute through dialogue and negotiation and maintain national stability and unity. The peace and stability of Mali is important to regional countries and the whole African continent, and the international community should give greater attention and support to that.
Q: A new round of dialogue between the P5 plus one countries and Iran will be held this Saturday. The US will require Iran to stop producing highly enriched uranium and close underground nuclear facilities during the dialogue. How does China comment? Does China believe the the US requirement will be met?
A: China always believes that dialogue and negotiation is the right way out for the Iranian nuclear issue and serves the common interests of all parties concerned. The P5 plus one countries and Iran will soon resume dialogue. We hope the P5 plus one and Iran can take a flexible and pragmatic approach during the dialogue, fully value each other's concerns and have serious discussion on the Iranian nuclear issue so as to achieve progress and bring about a good start for the comprehensive, long-term and proper solution to the issue. China is ready to continue to play a constructive role to this end. However, the Iranian nuclear issue is complex and sensitive, and can not be solved overnight. We hope the P5 plus one and Iran can resume a constructive and continuous dialogue process as soon as possible and commit themselves to the comprehensive, long-term and proper solution to the issue.
Q: Please brief us on the specifics of Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan's visit to Xinjiang, China.
A: As far as we know, during Prime Minister Erdogan's visit to Xingjiang yesterday, leading officials of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region had meetings with him.