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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying's Regular Press Conference on December 27, 2013

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying held a press conference on December 27, 2013.

Q: What has China done to reduce tension in South Sudan since conflicts broke out there? Reports say that the humanitarian situation in South Sudan is worrisome. What is China's comment? Will China provide South Sudan with humanitarian aid?

A: China has been actively engaged in promoting peace talks in its own way since the outbreak of conflicts in South Sudan. We have been working on the two conflicting parties in South Sudan through various efforts. Ambassador Zhong Jianhua, the Chinese government's Special Representative on African Affairs talked on the phone with Foreign Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin of South Sudan the other day, calling on conflicting parties to exercise restraint, keep calm and start the cease-fire negotiation at an early date. We push the international community to play a positive role in moving the situation in South Sudan toward relaxation and stay in close communication, coordination and cooperation with the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the African Union and African countries. Special Representative Zhong Jianhua designated by the Chinese government has left for South Sudan and its neighbors for mediation. China will step up communication and coordination with all relevant parties to bring stability back to South Sudan at an early date.

We are concerned about the deterioration of the humanitarian situation in South Sudan. People of China and South Sudan are good friends. As a token of friendliness from the Chinese People to the South Sudanese people, the Red Cross Society of China has provided South Sudan with emergency humanitarian aid via the International Committee of the Red Cross. China will continue to do what it can in light of the development of the situation in South Sudan. Meanwhile, we call on the international community to lend a helping hand to the South Sudanese people.

Q: The Geneva II Conference on the Syrian issue will be held on January 22, 2014. If the Conference is held as scheduled, it will be the first time for the Syrian government and opposition to meet at the negotiating table. There is a window of opportunity for the political settlement of the Syrian issue, which China has all long been calling for. Please brief us on China's contact with relevant parties and its efforts in this regard.

A: As a permanent member of the UN Security Council and a responsible major country, China has been following closely the development of the situation in Syria and playing a positive and constructive role for the proper settlement of the Syrian issue.

China is in close communication and consultation with the UN, other permanent members of the Security Council and relevant countries in the region on the early convocation of the Geneva II Conference. State Councillor Yang Jiechi paid a visit to Iran days ago and the two sides exchanged views on the Syrian issue. Foreign Minister Wang Yi conferred respectively with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry by phone about holding the Geneva II Conference on schedule with positive results produced and genuinely starting the process for a political settlement as soon as possible. China recently played host to Foreign Ministers of Jordan, Egypt and other countries, and Foreign Minister Wang Yi just wrapped up his visit to the Middle East yesterday. The Syrian issue is one of the major topics in all these visits. China has also attended twice the meetings that set the stage for the Geneva II Conference together with other permanent members of the UN Security Council and Syria's neighbors.

China works on all relevant parties in Syria in an active and balanced way through various channels so as to promote peace talks. China has been in touch with the Syrian government and encourages it to attend the Geneva II Conference. Relevant diplomatic missions of China are also in contact with relevant opposition groups in Syria. We have recently invited the delegation of "the Syrian national dialogue forum" composed of some opposition groups and pro-government personages to visit China, as an effort to promote a political settlement of the Syrian issue. Days ago, Ambassador Wu Sike, China's Special Envoy on the Middle East Issue met with the Presidential Affairs Minister of the Syrian National Coalition when attending the Manama Dialogue in Bahrain. China will continue to work for the active and constructive participation of relevant parties in Syria at the Geneva II Conference and the resolution of the Syrian issue through political negotiation.

The political settlement of the Syrian issue should go hand in hand with the destruction of chemical weapons in Syria. China is actively involved in discussions organized by the UN and the OPCW on the issue of chemical weapons in Syria. China offers support by sending several experts to the OPCW for the verification and destruction of chemical weapons and donating medical and monitoring equipment to the OPCW. China will also work with Russia, Denmark and other countries to escort the shipping of chemical weapons.

The humanitarian situation in Syria is grave, and the snowstorm there has added to the plight of Syrian people and overseas Syrian refugees. China is ready to provide additional humanitarian assistance to Syria and help Syrian people get through the cold winter.

Q: Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said yesterday that Shinzo Abe paid homage to the Yasukuni Shrine in a private capacity and the government had never got involved. However, it is reported that the signature left by Abe in the guest book was "Prime Minister Shinzo Abe". The international community has condemned with one voice Abe's visit to the Yasukuni Shrine. The ROK government expressed indignation, the US disappointment and Russia regret. What is China's comment?

A: We have noted the reaction of the international community. Yesterday, Foreign Minister Wang Yi summoned the Japanese Ambassador to China to make solemn representations on Prime Minister Abe's visit to the Yasukuni Shrine and strongly condemn Japan's erroneous action. The Spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry also issued a statement which made clear China's solemn position.

The Japanese leader's feeble argument is not worth refuting at all. From either the sophism Abe made yesterday or his words and deeds over the past one year, what we find are hypocrisy, arrogance and self-contradiction. Abe speaks about morality, peace and dialogue, but what does he actually do? He claims that the definition of what constitutes aggression has yet to be established, whitewashes the history of aggression and colonialism by militarist Japan, beefs up military capacity, attempts to deny the outcome of WWII and challenge the post-war international order. All these shows are enough to give rise to high vigilance and strong concerns of the world over where Japan is heading under Abe's administration. We cannot help asking: How can a man who refuses and dares not to face up to the history of his own country win trust from the international community? How can we believe that he could uphold peace and stability of the region and beyond?

The one who pursues a just cause enjoys abundant support and the one who has no justice on his side gets little support. Will the Japanese leader face up to history, do deep soul-searching and develop future-oriented relations with other Asian countries based on lessons drawn from history? Or will he act wilfully and move alone down the path of error and danger? He is the one to make the choice. We hope that the Japanese leader could give priority to the fundamental and long-term interests of his country and people, bear in mind regional peace and development and be a responsible man in both words and deeds. If he persists in his wrong course, defies international justice, tramples on human conscience and challenges the bottom line of relations with neighboring countries, we will definitely take him on till the very end.

Q: Chinese media said that the Chinese government should list Abe as "persona non grata". What is your response? Will China take further steps to sanction Abe's visit to the Yasukuni Shrine?

A: I have no comment on what the media said. But I think all of you have seen and felt that the perverse act of the Japanese leader has aroused strong indignation and condemnation from the Chinese people. In total disregard of the strong opposition of the Chinese side, Abe sets back the wheel of history in defiance of world opinion. The serious troubles he stirs up has erected a new, major political barrier to the improvement and development of China-Japan ties. The Japanese side must bear the responsibility for all the consequences arising therefrom. We require the Japanese side to take concrete actions to correct its mistakes and remove their adverse impact; otherwise, the improvement of bilateral relations is out of the question.

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