Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Liu Weimin's Regular Press Conference on January 20, 2012

Q: CPPCC Chairman Jia Qinglin will attend the African Union (AU) Summit next week. Please brief us on the current state of China-AU relations.

A: CPPCC Chairman Jia Qinglin will attend the Opening Ceremony of the 18th AU Summit in Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia and pay an official goodwill visit to Ethiopia from January 27 to 29.

China attaches great importance to its friendly and cooperative relationship with the AU and considers it as an important part of the new type of China-Africa strategic partnership. In recent years, China-AU relations have kept good momentum of development with frequent exchange of high-level visits, increasing cooperation across the board and mutual support on major issues concerning each other's core interests. The AU conference centre built by China has become a new embodiment of China-Africa friendship. China is ready to further deepen strategic mutual trust with the AU and enhance practical cooperation across the board in a bid to promote the in-depth development of China-AU relations and China-Africa relations.

Q: Some people think that China enhances relations with Africa to seize energy and other resources. How do you comment?

A: Enhancing friendly and cooperative relations with Africa is an important cornerstone of China's foreign policy. China has maintained sound cooperation with African countries in political, economic, trade, cultural and people-to-people fields. Over the years, China has been actively committed to developing economic cooperation and trade with African countries on the basis of the principles of equality, mutual benefit and common development, which has strongly promoted the economic and social development of African countries, brought tangible benefits to the African people and as a result is applauded by African countries.

China-Africa energy and resource cooperation is not the entirety of China-Africa cooperation, much less the starting point of China's policy towards Africa. China engages in energy and resource cooperation with Africa based on mutual benefit and win-win outcomes, which completely conforms to international practice and market rules. While meeting the reasonable energy demand of China, such cooperation also benefits the local people, helps relevant countries enhance their independent development capacity and boosts the common development of relevant countries and regions.

We hope the outside world can view China-Africa cooperation in an objective and fair manner.

Q: First, Iran recently said that it would like to resume negotiation with the P5 + 1 countries and sent out invitations. Has China received such an invitation? Does China hope for the resumption of the negotiation? Second, German Chancellor Merkel will visit China soon, please brief us on her visit.

A: On the Iranian nuclear issue, the Chinese side has been actively supporting the resumption of dialogue between Iran and the P5 + 1 countries and hopes to receive an invitation soon. The Deputy Director General of the IAEA will visit Iran at the end of January. We hope the two sides will have full dialogue and consultation so as to resolve pending issues.

Chancellor Merkel will visit China in early February. The two sides will further exchange views on strengthening China-Germany strategic cooperation under the new circumstances. I believe the two sides will also exchange in-depth views on the current economic and financial situation in the world and in Europe. Specific topics and relevant matters are under communication.

The regular press conference will be adjourned from tomorrow until February 6 (Monday). If anything important happens during this period, we will release information in a timely fashion. Please keep track of our website.

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