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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei's Regular Press Conference on June 30, 2014

At the invitation of Premier Li Keqiang of the State Council, Chancellor Angela Merkel of the Federal Republic of Germany will pay an official visit to China from July 6 to 8.

In order to push forward the friendly relationship of cooperation between China and Somalia, the Chinese government has decided to re-open its Embassy in Somalia. A team will be sent to Somalia for re-opening affairs on July 1.

Tomorrow afternoon at 2 o'clock, Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin will brief the press from home and abroad on President Xi Jinping's state visit to the ROK in the Blue Room. Welcome to the briefing.

Q: Why does Chinese side decide to re-open its Embassy in Somalia?

A: Somalia is the first East African country to establish diplomatic ties with China. In 1991 when Somalia descended into civil war, China evacuated its embassy staff there. From then on, China has been making unremitting efforts together with the international community to help Somalia restore peace and stability. The year 2012 saw breakthroughs in the peace process in Somalia where official government and parliament were formed for the first time in 21 years. Somalia has entered a new historical period of national reconstruction, bringing new opportunities to China-Somalia relationship.

China's decision of re-opening its Embassy in Somalia and sending a team there for re-opening affairs demonstrates the importance attached by the Chinese government to its relationship with Somalia and its firm support to the national reconstruction in Somalia. China will take the re-opening as an opportunity to enhance friendly cooperation with Somalia in various fields, work together with the Somali side to open up a new chapter for bilateral relationship and make contributions to lasting peace and national reconstruction in Somalia.

Q: Please give us more details about German Chancellor Merkel's visit to China. Which Chinese leaders will meet with her? What are China's expectations for this visit?

A: This will be Madame Merkel's seventh visit to China as the German Chancellor. During her visit, President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang, Chairman Zhang Dejiang of the NPC Standing Committee and other Chinese leaders will meet and hold talks with her on separate occasions. They will have in-depth exchange of views on bilateral relations as well as international and regional issues of common interest. We believe that this visit will further enhance political mutual trust between China and Germany, deepen practical cooperation across the board and bring China-Germany all-round strategic partnership to a new high.

Q: What is China's comment on the meeting between Japan and the DPRK tomorrow?

A: We hope that relevant meeting will help improve their bilateral relations and contribute to regional peace and stability.

Q: How is the evacuation of Chinese employees going in Iraq? Where are they right now? Are they heading directly to China?

A: Assisted by the Chinese Embassy in Iraq, the Iraqi government and army, more than 1,200 employees from the China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC) have already been moved successfully from Samarra to Bagdad, capital of Iraq safe and sound on June 27. During the process, the Iraqi government and army delivered substantial assistance, which China appreciates.

As we told you last week, there are around 10,000 Chinese employees in Iraq, most of whom are in areas where the security situation is under control. The Chinese Foreign Ministry and Embassy in Iraq will continue to follow closely the development of the situation in Iraq, take timely and corresponding measures and make all-out efforts to guarantee the safety and lawful rights and interests of Chinese citizens and institutions in Iraq.

Q: It is reported that the DPRK launched two missiles to waters off the eastern coast of the Korean Peninsula on June 29. What is China's comment on that?

A: We have noted relevant reports. We hope that under the current circumstances, all parties concerned can make efforts to defuse the tension and safeguard peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula.

Q: Do you have any details about the meeting between President U Thein Sein of Myanmar and the Chinese leader?

A: President Xi Jinping held talks with President U Thein Sein of Myanmar on June 27. The two head of states agreed that friendly relationship should stick to the correct course of development, and that the two countries should deepen comprehensive strategic cooperation and push for the sound and steady growth of China-Myanmar relations.

President Xi Jinping said that China and Myanmar are connected not only by rivers and mountains but also common destinies. China hopes that Myanmar can realize long-lasting stability and development and believes that Myanmar will continue to follow the development path suited to its national conditions. International and regional architectures are going through complex changes, and both China and Myanmar are at critical stages of in-depth reform. Both sides should bear in mind the fundamental and long-term interests of the two peoples, stick to the right course of friendship between the two countries, uphold the tradition of standing together through thick and thin, having trust in and helping each other, press firmly ahead with comprehensive strategic cooperation and push for the sound and steady growth of China-Myanmar relations. China adheres to the policy of developing friendly relations with Myanmar, which will not change because of any single incident.

President U Thein Sein reputed China as a good neighbor, friend and partner of Myanmar. He said that the "paukphaw" (fraternal) friendship has deepened over the past 64 years since the establishment of diplomatic ties. Myanmar appreciates the assistance and help that China has long been offering and will continue to support China on issues concerning China's core and major interests. Myanmar will carry on its traditional friendship with China and press ahead with Myanmar-China comprehensive strategic partnership of cooperation. President U Thein Sein extended the invitation to President Xi Jinping, welcoming his visit to Myanmar at his convenience. President U Thein Sein believes that this will give a boost to bilateral cooperation. Myanmar hopes to further elevate bilateral trade, welcomes investment by Chinese companies and pledges to fully implement all the cooperation agreements between the two sides. Myanmar is ready to continue with its positive role in promoting ASEAN-China cooperation.

Leaders of the two countries agreed to carry forward the spirit of the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence in the new era and make new contributions to the building of a new type of state-to-state relations as well as the maintenance of peace and development of the world.

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