Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Liu Weimin's Regular Press Conference on January 11, 2012

Liu Weimin started the press conference with an announcement:

At the invitation of the Government of Liberia, Minister Yin Weimin of Human Resources and Social Security will attend President Sirleaf's inauguration ceremony as the Special Envoy of President Hu Jintao on January 16 in Monrovia.

Special Envoy Yin Weimin will call upon President Sirleaf and exchange views with her on bilateral relations and issues of common interest.

Q: ROK President Lee Myung-bak concluded his visit to China this morning. How does China comment on his visit?

A: ROK President Lee Myung-bak paid a state visit to China from January 9 to 11. The two sides were satisfied with the outcomes of his visit and agreed that this visit is of great importance to boosting China-ROK strategic partnership of cooperation. The two sides affirmed the need to intensify exchanges and cooperation in all fields and at all levels with a view to constantly enriching bilateral relations.

The two sides exchanged views on a wide range of international and regional issues of common interest. On the situation of the Korean Peninsula, the Chinese side said that upholding peace and stability on the Peninsula serves the common interests of all parties concerned. China is ready to step up communication and coordination with all parties and make unremitting efforts toward this end. China hopes that all parties will do more to maintain and promote peace and stability on the Peninsula. The Chinese side will continue to support the north and south of the Peninsula in improving their relations through dialogue in a bid to push forward reconciliation and cooperation. The ROK side expressed appreciation of the huge efforts made by the Chinese side and the expectation that the Chinese side would continue to play an active role.

On China-ROK free trade area and East Asia regional cooperation, both sides agreed that the early signing of the China-ROK free trade agreement will provide a more favorable institutional environment for bilateral economic cooperation and trade, which serves the interests of both. The two sides agreed to immediately launch negotiation after the ROK side completes its domestic procedures. The two sides also agreed to sign China-ROK-Japan investment agreement at an early date and make joint efforts for the building of a trilateral free trade area.

During the visit, the two sides issued a joint press communiqué, elaborating on their broad consensus on enhancing bilateral relations and deepening practical cooperation.

Q: Please brief us on Chinese leaders' meetings with US Treasury Secretary Geithner. A US official said that one of the purposes of Secretary Geithner's visit is to persuade China to reduce oil import from Iran. How does China comment?

A: US Treasury Secretary Geithner visited China as the Special Envoy of President Obama for the China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogues. The two sides mainly discussed bilateral economic relations and the world economic and financial situation. Yesterday evening, Vice Premier Wang Qishan had talks with Secretary Geithner and they exchanged in-depth views on the above issues as well as other issues of common interest, such as the European sovereign debt crisis and the reform of the world economic rules and standards. Vice President Xi Jinping met with Secretary Geithner this morning and Premier Wen Jiabao will meet with him this afternoon.

As for the issue of oil import you mentioned, China is a major developing country and has reasonable energy demand. We have said many times that like many other countries, China has maintained normal, open and transparent energy and business cooperation with Iran, which has nothing to do with the Iranian nuclear issue, does not violate UN Security Council resolutions and should not be affected.

Q: You said that the Chinese side had raised proposals on several occasions on how to further promote China-US economic cooperation and trade and hoped that the US will meet China halfway while briefing us about US Treasury Secretary Geithner's visit to China at Monday's press conference. Can you tell us what those proposals are about? Separately, during President Lee Myung-bak's visit to China, will the two sides touch upon the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership (TPP)?

A: On your first question, the Chinese side has recently raised a number of proposals and suggestions on how to further strengthen China-US cooperation in trade, investment and other fields in meetings with US leaders, which the US side knows well. We are aimed at constantly enhancing China-US comprehensive and mutually beneficial economic partnership and solving existing issues. Those issues arise from the rapid development of bilateral economic and trade ties and can only be resolved through enhanced cooperation.

On your second question, I do not have information in this regard.

Q: According to media reports, criticism is sometimes directed at China in US Republican primaries, such as China steals US jobs and China does not respect human rights. How do you respond?

A: These remarks are irresponsible. We oppose the groundless accusations. Blaming China cannot solve the problems of the US, nor does tarnishing the image of China help win votes. Responsible US political figures should recognize that cooperation between China and the US serves US' interests and they need to have the vision, the will and the capability to safeguard and promote equality-based and mutually beneficial China-US relations.

Q: Has the date been fixed for the 15th Meeting of Special Representatives for the China-India Boundary Question? Can you brief us on the arrangements? How does China assess the progress in the recent two rounds of meetings and what in your opinion is the biggest challenge at present?

A: The two sides have been in close communication on the specific date of the Special Representatives' Meeting for the Boundary Question. I have no information to offer you at this moment.

China attaches great importance to developing relations with India and holds that on the China-India boundary question which is an issue left over from history, the two should seek a reasonable solution acceptable to both through equal consultation. Pending the settlement of the boundary question, the two sides should be committed to upholding peace and tranquility in the border area and ensure that the disputes will not affect the development of bilateral ties.

Q: It is reported that Iran has started to use the Fordo plant for the production of 20% enriched uranium, which the IAEA has confirmed. How do you comment?

A: China has noted the reports. We have also taken note that relevant nuclear facility in Iran is placed under IAEA safeguards. We hope Iran will further cooperate with the IAEA to ensure the safeguards in real earnest and clarify pending issues of the Iranian nuclear program as soon as possible. Meanwhile, we believe the pressing task now is that all parties should step up diplomatic efforts to resume at an early date the dialogue and negotiation between the P5+1 and Iran for the comprehensive, long-term and appropriate settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue.

Q: It was reported that a Chinese man was arrested by ROK police for hurling firebombs at the Japanese Embassy in the ROK on January 8. Please update us on the case.

A: Officials from the Chinese Embassy in the ROK have visited the person involved. We are obtaining further information and keeping in contact with the ROK side through diplomatic and consular channels.

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