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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang's Regular Press Conference on November 25, 2013

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang held a press conference on November 25, 2013.

Qin Gang started the press conference with the following announcement:

At the invitation of Premier Li Keqiang of the State Council, Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland will pay an official visit to China from December 2 to 4.

Q: How does China evaluate the outcomes of this Geneva dialogue between the P5+1 and Iran?

A: As the saying goes, hard work pays off. With the joint efforts of all parties, the P5+1 and Iran reached a preliminary agreement on the Iranian nuclear issue in Geneva. We believe that this is a mutually beneficial agreement which lives up to the broad expectation of the international community. It is the important first step forward in the diplomatic settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue in the past decade or so. China welcomes it. A colleague of mine told me that he packed several shirts before travelling to Geneva for the dialogue. It seems these shirts were not used. The agreement testifies that however hard or complicated the issue may be, there will always be a solution that accommodates the concerns of all sides as long as all parties bear in mind the overall interests, respect each other and carry out dialogue and consultation on an equal footing.

This agreement represents the beginning of the comprehensive settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue. As I just said, this is the important first step forward. However, a sound implementation of the agreement is required if we want to ensure that it is not only a step forward but a step down to earth. We hope that all relevant parties could observe and fulfill their respective responsibility and obligation in the agreement so that relevant specific measures can be put into practice. Meanwhile we should see that there is still a long way to go and there are several steps to take before the settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue. We also hope that relevant parties will carry things through after making a start, maintain the momentum of the dialogue, make joint efforts to start the next phase of negotiations as soon as possible and make unremitting efforts for the comprehensive, long-term, thorough and proper settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue. China will continue to play a constructive role and actively promote peace talks.

Q: Some are worried that the establishment of the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) has further ratcheted up tensions between China and Japan. What is China's comment?

A: I have elaborated on the purpose of China's establishment of the East China Sea ADIZ. China is not the cause of tensions in the region. If you take a look at the whole history and status quo of the Diaoyu islands issue, you can reach the conclusion that China is not the one that has caused regional tensions and instability. China's establishment of the Zone is aimed at safeguarding national sovereignty and security of territory and territorial airspace and maintaining the order of flight. We hope relevant countries could stop unreasonable pestering or hyping, respect international law and facts and stop all the actions that undermine China's national sovereignty, interests and rights so as to create conditions for the proper settlement of the relevant issues through dialogue and negotiation.

Q: The US has expressed concerns about China's establishment of the ADIZ, saying that China's unilateral change to the status quo has brought uncertainties and escalated tensions. What is China's comment?

A: We have noticed the comments made by the US.

I want to point out one more time that the establishment of the East China Sea ADIZ by the Chinese government is in line with international laws and practices such as the UN Charter. It is aimed at defending China's national sovereignty and security of territory and territorial airspace. It is not directed against any particular country or target, nor does it affect the freedom of overflight in relevant airspace.

I want to highlight that the Diaoyu Island and its affiliated islands are China's inherent territory. China is firm in defending its territorial sovereignty over the Diaoyu islands. The current tensions over the Diaoyu islands are completely caused by Japan's erroneous actions. On the issue concerning the sovereignty over the Diaoyu islands, the US should make good on its commitment, that is, neither taking sides nor releasing improper remarks any more. China's Foreign Ministry and Ministry of National Defense have respectively lodged solemn representations with the US, calling on the US to immediately correct mistakes and stop making irresponsible accusations against China.

Q: First, would China resort to armed forces if Japanese civil aircrafts entered the East China Sea ADIZ established by China? Second, what is China's rationale in establishing the ADIZ?

A: On your first question, I suggest you carefully read relevant announcements issued by the Chinese government and the remarks made by the Spokesperson of China's Ministry of National Defense, which explicitly point out that normal flight activities by foreign international airlines within the East China Sea ADIZ will not be affected at all.

On your second question, China's establishment of the East China Sea ADIZ is based on domestic laws such as the Law of the People's Republic of China on National Defense, the Law of the People's Republic of China on Civil Aviation and the Basic Rules on Flight of the People's Republic of China and is in line with the UN Charter as well as other international laws and practices.

Q: Will China increase its oil import from Iran following western countries' reduction of sanctions against Iran?

A: We believe that the preliminary agreement reached by the P5+1 and Iran on the Iranian nuclear issue is conducive not only to the international nuclear nonproliferation regime and peace and stability of the Middle East region, but also to the normal trade and energy cooperation of relevant countries with Iran and the improvement of Iranian people's livelihood. Over the years, the energy cooperation between China and Iran has, to a varying extent, been affected by the Iranian nuclear issue, for which we have been expressing opposition and concerns to relevant countries. We hope that with the gradual easing of the Iranian nuclear issue, the cooperation between China and Iran in the energy sector could proceed unimpededly. The energy cooperation between China and Iran, which is not against relevant UN resolutions or international law, is completely legitimate and reasonable.

Q: The Warsaw Climate Change Conference (COP 19) was concluded on November 23. What is China's comment on the outcomes of this conference?

A: Thanks to the concerted efforts of all sides, the Warsaw Climate Change conference has yielded three major outcomes: first, a roadmap was set for the talks on the 2015 new agreement; second, developed countries pledged to provide financial support for developing countries in adapting to climate change; third, a preliminary agreement was reached on the loss and damage mechanism which copes with the impact of climate change. It is also agreed to start negotiations in this regard.

On the other hand, developed countries went out of their way to shirk historical responsibilities and did not make enough efforts to deliver their emission reduction commitments. Some developed countries even came up with emission reduction targets that represented severe setbacks. Developed countries lacked political willingness in providing developing countries with capital and technical support. There is neither a timetable nor specific volume, but just an illusion created by developed countries for developing countries. With respect to the loss and damage mechanism, the preliminary agreement was only reached under the huge pressure of the international community, devoid of substantive results. These have all exerted negative impacts on further negotiations and the international community's campaign against climate change.

In order to keep the effectiveness of the multilateral mechanism of climate change, China has displayed flexibility at the conference and made maximum efforts for the success of this conference. China will continue to play a constructive role in the process and make contributions to addressing climate change and protecting the climate and environment of the mankind.

Q: The Chinese Embassy in Japan released the other day a consular notification about the registration of overseas Chinese. Why did China release it at this time? Does it have anything to do with the East China Sea ADIZ of China?

A: Your association is excessive. The registration of overseas citizens is an international practice. Governments and diplomatic missions of all countries have the responsibility and obligation to protect their citizens overseas. China is no exception. Recent years has seen a growing number of overseas Chinese. We are thus faced with arduous and heavy tasks of consular protection. We have thought of many approaches and kept in line with international practices. The latest version of the China consular service website (cs.mfa.gov.cn) of the Chinese Foreign Ministry was put online. An important new content of it is the voluntary online registration open to overseas Chinese. It reflects the improvement of the Chinese government's awareness, abilities and levels of consular protection for overseas Chinese. And it is universally applicable instead of merely at the Chinese Embassy in Japan. Please do not make too much association or read too much into it.

Q: Why did China announce the establishment of the East China Sea ADIZ at such a moment?

A: The timing for the announcement of the establishment of the East China Sea ADIZ completely depends on China's need of maintaining national sovereignty and security of territory and territorial airspace.

Q: The organization "Turkistan Islamic Party" claimed responsibility for the "October 28" incident. Is this organization related to the "East Turkestan Islamic Movement" (ETIM)?

A: China has noted relevant reports. The "Turkistan Islamic Party" in your question and in the reports is actually the terrorist organization "ETIM". This organization flagrantly claimed via the terrorist video that its members had carried out the "October 28" violent terrorist attack and even threatened to continue to launch terrorist attacks on China's domestic targets. It fully reveals its terrorism nature and shows the truth to those who previously questioned the nature of the incident.

The "ETIM" is a terrorist organization designated by the UN Security Council. Over a long period of time, to realize their purpose of splitting Xinjiang from China, terrorist forces represented by the "ETIM" have rampantly carried out terrorist activities in and outside China, causing huge civilians casualties and property losses. The Chinese government will continue to crack down upon these forces.

I want to stress that there should be international cooperation rather than a double-standard in counter-terrorism. Combating the terrorist force of "ETIM" is also an important part of the international counter-terrorism cooperation. We hope relevant countries can strengthen coordination and cooperation in counter-terrorism to jointly maintain regional and global peace, stability and tranquility.

Q: Please update us on the ongoing assistance by the emergency medical team of the Chinese government, the international rescue team of the Red Cross Society of China and the "Peace Ark" hospital ship in the disaster-hit areas of the Philippines and the delivery of Chinese relief supplies to the Philippines.

A: The emergency medical assistance team of the Chinese government and the international rescue team of the Red Cross Society of China arrived respectively in the disaster-ravaged Baybay city and Tacloban city of Leyte province of the Philippines on November 23. The naval hospital ship "Peace Ark" reached the Leyte Bay near Tacloban in the late afternoon on November 24. Chinese relief staff immediately joined the intense rescue and treatment work the moment they arrived there. To my information, so far they have received hundreds of injured people and patients. The Chinese rescue forces will keep in communication and coordination with the Philippines and other foreign countries' rescue teams to actively conduct medical treatment and rescue in the disaster-hit areas.

In addition, the Red Cross Society of China decided the other day to once again transfer 5.4 million Yuan worth of relief supplies, including 2000 tents and medicine to the Red Cross Society of the Philippines.

People are interested in the Chinese naval hospital ship "Peace Ark". This very advanced hospital ship with over 300 beds and more than 100 doctors and nursing personnel on board has already started rescue work in the disaster-hit area. As the first foreign hospital ship to arrive in the typhoon-hit area to carry out rescue work, the "Peace Ark" fully demonstrates the peaceful, friendly and cooperative image of the Chinese government and the Chinese military.

Q: Japan established its East China Sea ADIZ as early as 1969, yet it has repeatedly expressed concerns over China's establishment of the East China Sea ADIZ. What is China's comment?

A: This afternoon, relevant official from China's Foreign Ministry summoned upon order Japanese Ambassador to China Masato Kitera and lodged solemn protest against Japan's groundless accusation against China's establishment of the East China Sea ADIZ.

Japan has no right to make irresponsible remarks or wage deliberate offences over China's establishment of the East China Sea ADIZ. China urges Japan to immediately correct its mistakes, stop making groundless accusations against China and refrain from words or deeds that lead to frictions or undermine regional stability so as to avoid further damaging China-Japan relations. With justice on the Chinese side, China's Foreign Ministry, National Defense Ministry and the Chinese Embassy in Japan have refuted Japan's unjustifiable representations and called on Japan to immediately correct its mistakes.

I hereby reiterate once again that the Diaoyu Island and its affiliated islands are the inherent territory of China. China is firm in its will and resolve to safeguard its sovereignty over the Diaoyu islands. We require the Japanese side to stop all actions that undermine the territorial sovereignty of China and make efforts for the proper settlement of the issue through dialogue and negotiation.

Q: Leaders of China and the US said during their meeting that they would strengthen cooperation on the issue of Korean Peninsula. Does China know anything about the DPRK's detention of a US citizen?

A: We hope that, in the interests of bilateral relations, the US and the DPRK could properly address relevant issues through dialogue and engagement and make joint efforts to ease regional tensions and maintain regional peace and stability.

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