Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang held a press conference on January 2, 2014.
Qin Gang: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the first regular press conference of the Foreign Ministry for the year 2014. In the new year, we will continue to make full use of the platform to give you a better understanding of China's diplomacy. We also expect friends from the press to faithfully report on and introduce China to the world. May your work achieve smooth progress in the new year and wish you all the best.
Qin Gang then made an announcement: At the invitation of Foreign Minister Tewodros Adhanom of Ethiopia, Foreign Minister Mahamoud Ali Youssouf of Djibouti, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration Hannah Tetteh of Ghana and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Senegalese Abroad Mankeur Ndiaye of Senegal, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi will visit the above four countries from January 6 to 11.
China's diplomacy has kept up a fine tradition since 1991, that is, Chinese foreign ministers would choose African countries as the destinations of their first overseas visits at the beginning of every new year. It embodies the importance attached by China to Africa and China-Africa traditional friendship. This time is no exception. Foreign Minister Wang Yi carries forward the tradition of China's diplomacy. This will also be the first time for the Chinese Foreign Minister to visit the Sub-Saharan Africa under the new leadership. Both sides are looking forward to the visit.
During his visit, Foreign Minister Wang Yi will have an in-depth exchange of views with leaders and foreign ministers of the host countries on bilateral relations as well as international and regional issues of common interest. We believe that with the concerted efforts of the two sides, this visit will build up friendship, mutual trust and cooperation, press ahead with China's bilateral relations with the above four countries as well the relationship of friendly cooperation between China and Africa.
Q: The US Department of Defense and the US State Department announced the other day that they would send the last three Uighur suspects held at the Guantanamo Bay to Slovakia. What is China's comment? Will China demand them be handed over to China?
A: China always requires the US to transfer Chinese suspects held at the Guantanamo Bay to China. We are firmly opposed to the US transfer of the aforementioned suspects to any third country or any other country's acceptance of them in any name. These suspects are members of the "East Turkistan Islamic Movement", a terrorist organization designated by the UN Security Council. They are terrorists without any doubt. They will not only pose severe threat to China's national security, but also to that of the recipient country. China hopes that relevant countries could earnestly fulfill international obligations, do not provide those who commit terrorist crimes with safe haven and send those suspects back to China at an early date.
Q: On the afternoon of January 1, a Chinese man flying in a hot air balloon fell into the waters off the Diaoyu Islands. Please give us more details.
A: On the afternoon of January 1, the Chinese coast guard vessel patrolling in the waters off the Diaoyu Islands, upon learning the accident, made all-out efforts to search and rescue the Chinese balloon enthusiast in the waters where the accident took place. The one involved in the accident was saved by a nearby Japanese ship and transferred to the Chinese side. He is now in a normal physical state.
Q: It is learned that the Chinese naval vessel engaged in escorting the shipping of chemical weapons in Syria has set off on December 31. Please brief us on the development. What role will China play and what challenge may China face?
A: The Chinese frigate dubbed Yancheng left for the Mediterranean Sea on December 31 to perform the task of escorting the shipping of chemical weapons in Syria. The Chinese Foreign Ministry is in close communication with governments of Egypt, Cyprus, Syria and other countries, so as to ensure that the Chinese naval vessel will reach the relevant waters smoothly with convenience provided in passage and replenishment at ports.
The vessel is now passing the Suez Canal. The Egyptian government makes an exception to facilitate the Chinese naval vessel's rapid passage. China highly appreciates that. It shows once again that the destruction of chemical weapons and the escort mission is an action of multilateral coordination, which has won broad support from the international community.
It is dangerous and complicated to escort the shipping of chemical weapons. All parties need to enhance coordination and stay in communication and cooperation to ensure the safety of the shipping. After the vessel's arrival at the Limassol port of Cyprus, it will engage itself in earlier-stage coordination and cooperation with vessels from Russia and other countries. The Chinese Foreign Ministry will stay in touch with all parties to ensure that the escort will go smoothly.
Q: Deputy Spokesperson of the US State Department Marie Harf said when asked about the violent terrorist case in Shache, Xinjiang that the US called on the Chinese government to permit its citizens to express their grievances freely and the Chinese security forces to exercise restraint. What is China's comment?
A: The public security authorities of the Xinjiang Autonomous Region have released information on the relevant case. I want to point out that this is a violent terrorist case, as is proven by clear facts and solid evidence. Terrorism is a crime and an anti-society and anti-human common enemy to the international community. The international community has consensus and should have a unified understanding on the issue of counter-terrorism. We have always been firmly opposed to the "double-standard" adopted by some individual countries on the issue of counter-terrorism. The remarks made by the Deputy Spokesperson of the US State Department are unfounded and feeble and cannot justify themselves at all. The American people are also victims to terrorism. Don't do unto others what you don't want others to do unto you. Just imagine, if this kind of violent terrorist attack takes place in the US and other countries make remarks similar to those by the Deputy Spokesperson of the US State Department, how will the American people feel and what reaction will the US government make? We urge the US to discard the "double-standard" on the issue of counter-terrorism, immediately stop the behavior of saying one thing and doing another, refrain from sending a wrong signal to the violent terrorist force and take concrete actions to uphold international counter-terrorism cooperation.