Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei held a press conference on January 17, 2013.
Q: It is reported that the four Chinese workers abducted in Darfur of Western Sudan were released on January 16. Please brief us on the details and what the Chinese side has done.
A: On January 16 local time, the four Chinese workers abducted in Sudan were all released thanks to the efforts by parties concerned. They are all in good physical and mental conditions except one suffering a minor leg injury. The Chinese Embassy in Sudan is instructing relevant company to deal with follow-up issues.
China appreciates the Sudanese government's all-out efforts for rescuing the abducted Chinese workers, and hopes that the two side will strengthen cooperation to protect the safety of Chinese enterprises and nationals in Sudan.
Q: First, it is reported that there have been continued turmoil in Mali. France and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have sent troops to Mali for intervention. What is China's comment? Second, what is China's comment on the hostage incident in Algeria?
A: On your first question, China follows closely the developments in Mali and has noted that at the request of the Malian government, relevant country and regional organization have sent ground troops to help Mali combat rebels and terrorists. China always supports Mali's efforts for safeguarding sovereignty and territorial integrity. We hope relevant parties can implement the UN Security Council Resolution 2085 on the authorization of the deployment of an African-led International Support Mission in Mali at an early date to help the country restore national unity, stability and tranquility.
On your second question, we hope relevant incident in Algeria can be properly solved as soon as possbile.
Q: It is reported that during the continued armed clashes between the Myanmar government forces and the Kachin Independence Army, another bomb landed in China's Yunnan province on January 15, please confirm.
A: It is learnt that at about 4 pm on January 15 during the armed clashes between the Myanmar government forces and the Kachin Independence Army, a bomb landed in the Chinese side about 500 meters away from the borderline without causing casualties. China has lodged urgent representations with Myanmar, expressing deep concern and dissatisfaction and requiring the latter to carry out serious investigation and take all necessary measures to avoid repetition of similar incidents. China calls on both sides of the conflict to exercise maximum restraint, immediately cease fire and solve the dispute through dialogue so as to earnestly maintain peace and stability in the China-Myanmar border areas.
Q: It is reported during his visit to Thailand, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe claimed that the Diaoyu Islands are Japanese territory, while at the same time called for improvement of Japan-China relations. What is China's comment?
A: China has indisputable sovereignty over the Diaoyu Island and its affiliated islands, which is clear in terms of both history and jurisprudence. We urge Japan to face up to the history and reality and properly resolve relevant issues with China through dialogue and consultation.
Developing healthy and stable China-Japan relations is in the fundamental interests of the two countries and peoples. China stands for promotion of China-Japan strategic relationship of mutual benefit on the basis of the four political documents between China and Japan. It is imperative for Japan to show sincerity on the Diaoyu Islands issue, take concrete measures and make earnest efforts to improve China-Japan relations.
Q: President-elect Park Geun-hye of the ROK will send her first envoys to China. Please brief us on relevant arrangements. What is China's expectation of developing China-ROK relations?
A: The Chinese government's Special Envoy and Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun recently paid a successful visit to the ROK and met with President-elect Park Geun-hye. The two sides are now coordinating over the visit to China by President-elect Park Geun-hye's special envoys.
China-ROK relations have made important progress over the recent years. We are ready to work with the ROK side to enhance political mutual trust, practical cooperation and people-to-people exchanges to push bilateral relations to a new high.
Q: Will China take additional security measures to ensure the safety of Chinese nationals in Mali and Algeria?
A: The Chinese government attaches great importance to the safety and legitimate rights and interests of overseas Chinese nationals and institutions. The Chinese Embassies in Mali and Algeria are in close contact with Chinese nationals, institutions and enterprises there and are ready to provide them with consular assistance and protection. We also require the Malian and other relevant government to adopt effective measures to protect the safety and property of Chinese nationals and institutions.