Liu Weimin started the press conference with the following announcements:
As agreed by China and the EU, the 14th China-EU Summit will be held in Beijing on February 14. Premier Wen Jiabao, President Van Rompuy of the European Council and President Barroso of the European Commission will be present. President Hu Jintao and other Chinese leaders will meet with leaders from the EU.
High on the agenda of the Summit is how China and the EU will jointly tackle the crisis, deepen partnership and promote their respective development as well as the strong and sustainable growth of the world economy in the context of the European debt situation. The two sides will also have an in-depth exchange of views on how to expand practical cooperation in various fields in light of their respective development strategies.
At the invitation of Vice President Biden of the United States, Irish Prime Minister Kenny and President Gül of the Republic of Turkey, Vice President Xi Jinping will pay official visits to the US, Ireland and Turkey from February 13 to 22.
Q: Please brief us on the arrangement and agenda of Vice President Xi Jinping's visit to the US.
A: Vice President Xi Jinping's visit is to advance the implementation of the important consensus of the two heads of state on establishing a China-US cooperative partnership based on mutual respect and mutual benefit. We hope that this visit will help increase strategic mutual trust, broaden practical cooperation, deepen people-to-people friendship and safeguard the sound and stable development of China-US relations.
Apart from Washington, D.C., Vice President Xi Jinping will also visit the State of Iowa and Los Angeles. China and the US are in close communication on the preparation for and the itinerary arrangement of the visit. China would like to work with the US side to make the visit a success.
Q: It is reported that protesters assaulted the Chinese Embassy in Libya. What is China's reaction?
A: China has expressed strong concerns over the assault against the Chinese Embassy in Libya and lodged representations to the Libyan side. In accordance with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and other relevant international law, the receiving state has the duty to ensure the inviolability of personnel and property of diplomatic missions of the sending state. We urge the Libyan side to take concrete and effective measures to prevent any recurrence of such incidents and ensure the safety of Chinese personnel and institutions in Libya.
As far as I know, the Libyan side has apologized to China and promised to intensify the security measures of the Chinese Embassy in Libya.
Q: What topics will be covered during Vice President Xi Jinping's visit to the US?
A: China and the US are in close communication on the specific topics of the visit. Both sides are committed to developing a strong bilateral relationship and have been in touch on bilateral relations as well as international and regional issues of common interest. We believe that Vice President Xi's visit will further advance China-US relations.
Q: In view of the current situation in Syria, what measures will China take to help ease the tension?
A: China always maintains that all parties in Syria should cease all violence and solve problems through dialogue and consultation so as to ease the tension as soon as possible. China is considering sending officials to relevant countries in the region and will continue to play a constructive role in striving for a political solution of the Syrian issue.
Q: The EU spokesperson for climate action has reportedly said on a recent occasion that the EU will not make a concession on the emissions trading scheme. How does China respond?
A: The EU's unilateral legislation to incorporate greenhouse gas emissions by international flights entering and exiting the EU into its emissions trading scheme violates the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and relevant principles and regulations of the International Civil Aviation Organization. China has expressed its objection to the EU side on many occasions through bilateral and multilateral channels. Yesterday, relevant official of the Civil Aviation Administration of China made comments on that as well.
China hopes that the EU side will bear in mind the larger picture of global climate change, sustainable development of international aviation and China-EU relations, face squarely China's concerns and enhance communication and coordination with us in a practical and constructive attitude in a bid to find an appropriate solution acceptable to both sides. On top of that, China will also consider taking necessary measures to protect the interests of the Chinese public and enterprises based on the developments of the situation.
Q: Please brief us on the agenda of Vice President Xi Jinping's visit to Turkey.
A: During the visit, Vice President Xi Jinping will have talks with President Gül, meet with major leaders of Turkey and attend activities such as China-Turkey Economy and Trade Forum. The two sides will have in-depth exchange of views on bilateral relations and international and regional issues of common interest.
In recent years, China-Turkey relations have been in good shape. Friendly cooperation across the board is deepening with fruitful results, bringing tangible benefits to both peoples. The Chinese side is ready to work with the Turkish side to push forward China-Turkey strategic cooperative relations through this visit.
Q: First, how does China view the role of the Arab League in solving the Syrian issue? Second, Vice Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai yesterday said that there is "trust deficit" between China and the US. What is the implication of this remark?
A: On your first question, China values the position and concerns of the Arab League on the Syrian issue and has been supportive of its mediation efforts in the Syrian crisis and actively participated in the consultations of the Security Council on the relevant draft resolution tabled by Morocco, a member of the Arab League. We will continue to support the Arab League's active and constructive role on the Syrian issue, since it is not only in the interests of the Arab League and countries in the region, but also the common interests of the international community.
On your second question, Vice Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai yesterday attended the activity in commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the publication of the Shanghai Communiqué and made an important speech. Please refer to the specific content.
China and the US are both committed to building a cooperative partnership based on mutual respect and mutual benefit. As the largest developed country and the largest developing country in the world respectively, the US and China are different in national conditions, history, culture and development stage. It's natural for them to have disputes and disagreement in some areas. The key is that the two sides should have in-depth communication in a spirit of treating each other as equals and mutual respect so as to constantly enhance mutual understanding and trust.
Q: How does China view Russian Foreign Minister's visit to Syria today?
A: We have noted that Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov will visit Syria today. We hope the good offices of Russia will pay off. China is ready to work with the international community to continue its active and constructive role in a political solution of the Syrian issue.
Q: Indian Foreign Minister Krishna will visit China today. Please brief us on the meeting arrangement and major agenda of his visit.
A: Indian Foreign Minister Krishna will be in Beijing for the inauguration ceremony of the new premises of the Indian Embassy in China from February 7 to 9. Chinese leaders will meet with him and Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi will exchange views with him on bilateral relations and issues of common interest.
Q: The US indicated many times lately that a special "trade enforcement unit" will be set up to investigate the unfair trade practices of China and other countries. How does China respond?
A: China-US business ties are essentially mutually beneficial. The two sides should properly solve their economic and trade frictions based on the principles of equal consultation, mutual understanding and mutual accommodation. Unilateral accusations and imposing pressure are irresponsible and counter-productive.
The only standard of whether trade is fair or not is the generally recognized WTO rules. Since its accession to the WTO ten years ago, China has been honoring its commitment by firmly observing WTO rules, which is widely recognized by the members of the organization.
Q: Is China worried about the fallout of vetoing the Security Council draft resolution on the Syrian issue? What message is China going to send if it is to dispatch envoys to relevant countries in the region?
A: China's action in the Security Council is based on its consistent principles and position. We believe relevant action of the Security Council should be in line with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and norms governing international relations, be conducive to easing the Syrian tension, promoting political dialogue for dissolving disputes and upholding peace and stability of the Middle East region.
As for what message China hopes to send to the region, I think China's message has been clear. We hope all parties in Syria will halt all violence immediately, avoid casualties of innocent civilians in particular, and solve the current crisis by political means through dialogue and consultation. The reasonable aspirations of the Syrian people for reform and protection of their interests should be respected. We support the continued active role of the Arab League on the issue. China is ready to work with the international community to continue its active and constructive role in an appropriate solution of the Syrian issue.
Q: The Arab world has long been satisfied with China's position on issues in their region, but is currently not happy with China's stand on the Syrian "revolution" as was demonstrated by the assault on the Chinese Embassy in Libya. Is China worried that the Arab world will change its views on China?
A: China and Arab countries boast a long history of exchanges and a traditional friendship. The Chinese people are sincere friends of the Syrian and Arab people. Over the years, we have understood and supported each other on major issues. We sincerely hope that people in the region experience less unrest and hardship, live in peace, focus on building a better home and achieve development and prosperity. China will continue to unswervingly develop relations with the Arab world. We are confident that Arab countries will stay committed to developing friendly relations with China and deepening bilateral cooperation.
The Middle East has a time-honored civilization. We believe the Arab countries and people have the wisdom and capacity to manage their own affairs well, choose a development path suitable for their national conditions and realize peace, stability and development with the help of the international community.
Q: It is learned that a task force from the Chinese Ministry of Commerce is visiting Libya. Will the assault on the Chinese Embassy in Libya affect the task force's itinerary?
A: The governing authority in Libya has publicly expressed support for the interests of Chinese companies in Libya many times, which we appreciate. The Chinese Government encourages Chinese companies to take an active part in Libya's post-war reconstruction and stands ready to work with the Libyan transitional government to advance the steady and smooth development of China-Libya friendly relations and cooperation. The task force from the Commerce Ministry is in Libya to discuss with the Libyan side the involvement of Chinese-invested companies in Libya's reconstruction. I haven't seen any impact the assault has on the visit of the task force.
After the press conference, when asked about Vice President Xi Jinping's itinerary in Ireland and China's expectation, Liu Weimin said that during the visit, Vice President Xi will hold talks with Prime Minister Kenny and meet with President Higgins, Speaker Barrett of the House of Representatives, Speaker Burke of the Senate, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Gilmore and other Irish leaders to have an in-depth exchange of views on China-Ireland, China-EU relations and other issues of common interest. China and Ireland share a traditional friendship. Over recent years, the two sides have kept the momentum of high-level exchanges, made concrete progress in cooperation across the board and constantly deepened mutual understanding and friendship. Against the backdrop of slow world economic recovery and increasing challenges for the international community, further developing China-Ireland relations is in the common interests of the two countries and two peoples and in line with the major direction of the development of China-EU relations. We expect the visit to further deepen bilateral friendship and promote practical cooperation in a bid to elevate China-Ireland relations to a new high and constantly advance China-EU relations.