|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei's Regular Press Conference on January 4, 2012|
Hong Lei started the press conference with an announcement:
At the invitation of President Hu Jintao, President Lee Myung-bak of the Republic of Korea will pay a state visit to China from January 9 to 11.
Q: Please brief us on the meeting arrangements and agenda of President Lee's visit to China and the current China-ROK relations?
A: During President Lee's visit to China, President Hu will have talks with him. Chairman Wu Bangguo and Premier Wen Jiabao will meet with him respectively. The two sides will exchange views on China-ROK relations and international and regional issues of common interest.
China and the ROK are important close neighbours. Maintaining the sustained, sound and steady development of bilateral relations serves the fundamental interests of both countries and both peoples, and is also conducive to regional peace, stability and development. Currently, China-ROK relations are in good shape. This year marks the 20th anniversary of China-ROK diplomatic relations and the Year of Friendly Exchanges between the two countries, presenting important opportunities of development to bilateral relations. The Chinese side attaches great importance to President Lee's visit to China. We are ready to work with the ROK side to make this visit a boost to greater political mutual trust and deeper exchanges and cooperation across the board so as to push forward China-ROK strategic partnership of cooperation.
Q: The US is going to slap new sanctions on Iran. Does China seek to keep Chinese companies in oil trade with Iran from relevant sanctions?
A: The Chinese side always holds that sanctions are not the fundamental way to ease tension and solve the Iranian nuclear issue while dialogue and negotiation are the only correct way out. China is against putting one's domestic law above international law and imposing unilateral sanctions on other countries. Like many other countries, China has had normal, open and transparent trade and energy cooperation with Iran, which is in conformity with UN Security Council resolutions and should not be affected.
Q: It is reported that two Indian businessmen were illegally detained in Yiwu recently and a consular official of the Indian Consulate-General in Shanghai was ill-treated when attending the court trial to provide consular service to them. Please confirm. How does the Chinese side respond?
A: The Chinese side attaches great importance to safeguarding the rights and interests of foreign businessmen legally operating in China. The two Indians you mentioned have been placed in a hotel and are free to move about. The local police have taken security measures for them and relevant case is under further investigation.
On what happened to the Indian consular official, I wish to point out that China protects the safety of foreign consular officials and facilitates their functions in strict accordance with the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and relevant laws and regulations. The media reports that the consular official from the Indian Consulate-General in Shanghai was denied access to food and medication and besieged are untrue.
I would like to stress that China is a country under the rule of law and the Chinese side values its friendly relations with India. Competent Chinese authorities have all along protected the lawful rights and interests of Indian nationals in China in accordance with law. The case is an individual one caused by business disputes. Chinese judicial authorities are handling it according to law. China hopes the Indian side, while treating the incident in an objective and fair manner, actively educates and guides Indian businessmen in China to abide by Chinese laws and regulations and do business honestly and legally. Yiwu is the largest market in China for small commodities. Businessmen from around the world are welcome to do business there.
Q: It is reported that US Assistant Secretary of State Campbell visited China recently. Please brief us on that.
A: US Assistant Secretary of State Campbell visited China from January 3 to 4. Vice Foreign Ministers Zhang Zhijun and Cui Tiankai met with him respectively. The two sides exchanged views on China-US relations and issues of common interest.
Q: Iran threatens that if US aircraft carrier lingers in the Strait of Hormuz, its navy will fight back. How do you comment?
A: We hope to see peace and stability in the Gulf region.
Q: What representations has China made to the Japanese side regarding the recent landing by Japanese right-wing activists on the Diaoyu Island?
A: The Chinese Government has lodged solemn representations and protest to the Japanese side over the incident. I would like to reiterate that the Diaoyu Island and its affiliated islands have been China's inherent territory since ancient times. China has indisputable sovereignty over them. The Chinese Government is resolute in defending its territorial sovereignty over the Diaoyu Islands.