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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying's Regular Press Conference on March 31, 2015

Q: Today is the deadline for countries to apply for the prospective founding membership of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). How many prospective founding members does the AIIB have up to now? What is China's comment on countries' joining in the AIIB?

A: Up till March 31, 30 countries have passed the multilateral review procedures and become prospective founding members of the AIIB. Opinions are being solicited through multilateral procedures on other countries that have filed applications over recent days. We will have the exact number of prospective founding members by April 15.

The AIIB initiative is a constructive action taken by China to assume more international obligations and complement the current international economic order. It is a useful supplement to the existing multilateral development banks and a move that will benefit all Asian countries and the whole world. The AIIB is an open and inclusive multilateral development institution. We welcome the participation of all interested countries. The Chinese side is ready to work in concert with all parties to make the AIIB a professional and efficient vehicle for infrastructure investment and financing that brings benefit to all parties.

Q: Media reports say that the DPRK wants to join the AIIB, but China says no. Can you confirm this? Taiwan has applied to join the AIIB. On what conditions will China allow Taiwan to join?

A: On your first question, I am not aware of that. The AIIB is an open and inclusive multilateral development institution, and all parties are welcome to join. Concerning Taiwan's application, problems like "two Chinas" or "one China, one Taiwan" should be prevented from emerging.

Q: It is reported that the Chinese side has launched the "sky net" campaign and provided countries like the US and the UK with priority lists of alleged Chinese corrupt officials who have fled overseas. Please give us more details.

A: The "sky net" campaign is an important action taken by the Chinese government to go after corrupt suspects that have fled abroad. It is the consensus shared by the international community that efforts should be made to enhance anti-corruption cooperation and bring back fugitives and recover their criminal assets. No country in the world would like to be a safe haven for the corrupt. We hope to carry out more cooperation with relevant countries in this regard to advance international anti-corruption cooperation.

Q: Please update us on China's evacuation of Chinese nationals in Yemen.

A: As I have put it yesterday, the first batch of 122 Chinese citizens have left Yemen and arrived at the Djibouti port safely on board Chinese naval vessels. I am happy to confirm that under the close coordination of the Foreign Ministry, the Defense Ministry and Chinese embassies and consulates in relevant countries, today the second batch of 449 Chinese citizens have arrived at the Djibouti port from Yemen safe and sound on Chinese naval vessels at 10:30 a.m. Beijing time. There are now altogether 571 Chinese nationals who have left Yemen safely, and the Chinese Embassy in Djibouti will help them return to China as soon as possible. China has also evacuated 8 foreign experts employed by Chinese companies together with Chinese citizens in the spirit of humanitarianism and responsibility.

Currently there is still a very limited number of Chinese citizens remaining in Yemen for work reasons. It is to my knowledge that they are all safe. The working staff remaining at the Chinese Embassy in Yemen and the Consulate General in Aden are still fulfilling their duties. They will keep in close touch with those Chinese citizens left there and offer them assistance anytime when necessary.

Q: First, Chile was hit hard by the worst flood in its history. What type of assistance will China offer to Chile? Second, would China like to see a more positive response from the US in joining the AIIB?

A: On your first question, we express our sympathies to Chile which suffers from personnel and property losses caused by the flood, and we believe that people in the disaster-hit area can soon rebuild their homeland. We will stay in touch with Chile and provide assistance to the best of our capacity according to its need.

On your second question, we have said many times that the AIIB is an open and inclusive multilateral development institution. Since the AIIB initiative was put forward, the Chinese side has engaged in extensive contact and communication with countries in and outside the region in an open and inclusive attitude, following the principle of "open regionalism". We stay in communication with relevant departments of the US. The Chinese side welcomes active participation by countries in and outside the region in the process of establishing the AIIB. At the same time, we respect their decisions on whether or not to join the AIIB and when to join it. No matter whether they join the AIIB or not, the Chinese side stays committed to strengthening communication and cooperation with all relevant parties under the framework of the World Bank and the Asia Development Bank through multilateral and bilateral economic dialogues, in a bid to promote infrastructure building and economic development of Asia.

I'd also like to underscore that the AIIB is a new member and partner in the field of international development. It will work alongside the existing multilateral development banks as a complement to promote infrastructure building and economic development of Asia. The AIIB will draw upon the experience and good practices of the existing multilateral development banks in terms of governance structure and safeguards policy, avoid making detours as they have done, cut the cost and improve the efficiency of operation, so as to deliver better service to AIIB members.

Q: First, Mexico is going to build a new large airport, and the Mexican government hopes that Chinese companies can play a role in this. Will the Chinese government support Chinese companies in participating in this project? Second, US Secretary of the Treasury Jacob Lew is now visiting China as the special representative of the US President, and he expressed concerns over the new banking security regulations to be introduced by China Banking Regulatory Committee. Can you tell us more details?

A: On your first question, I am not aware of the specifics of the airport project. The Chinese government consistently supports competitive companies in going global and cooperating with other countries in areas such as infrastructure building. Such cooperation based on the market rule brings benefits to all.

On your second question, we have released the information about meetings and talks between US Secretary of the Treasury Jacob Lew and Chinese leaders as well as heads of relevant departments during his visit to China. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew visited China to lay the groundwork for the next round of China-US economic dialogue. The two sides agreed to step up consultation, implement the important consensus reached by leaders of the two countries, make full preparations for the new round of China-US economic dialogue, speed up the negotiation on a bilateral investment treaty, deepen cooperation in climate change, energy and other areas and strive for important outcomes and broader common interests in economic cooperation between the two countries at the city and state level. It is only natural that the rapid growth of China-US economic relations will encounter differences and disputes. The two sides will explore constructive approaches to properly manage differences through dialogue and cooperation.

Q: Russia announced a few days ago to join the AIIB, and do you think this is an opportunity for China to strengthen cooperation with the Eurasian Economic Union? Japan said that it would not join the AIIB, and what is your response?

A: We have repeatedly said that the AIIB is an open and inclusive multilateral development bank. We welcome the participation of countries in and out of this region, and we also respect their decisions of whether or not to join and when to join. China will carry on the cooperation with Russia and other countries under bilateral and multilateral mechanisms, and jointly prompt regional connectivity and economic development.

Q: First, is there any update of the Iranian nuclear talks? Second, a top US military official said that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's revision of the Constitution in order to lift the restrictions on Japan's right to collective self-defense paves the way for stronger cooperation between the US and Japan. How does China respond?

A: On your first question, Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who is currently in Lausanne, Switzerland for the P5+1 and Iran Foreign Ministers' Meeting on the Iranian nuclear issue, has talked about the progress achieved at the negotiation when giving an interview.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that the marathon-like Iranian nuclear negotiation has now come to its home straight. Foreign Ministers from seven countries gathered in Lausanne in order to take stock of the important progress made in the negotiation, identify the key issues that still linger on and discuss ways to tackle the problem at a higher level. After two days of intense engagement both bilaterally and multilaterally, the focus of the problem is quite clear, approaches to resolve the problem in the formation and differences among each party beginning to narrow down. This round of negotiation covers a wide range of issues that are quite complicated. Meanwhile, internal and external factors that bear on the negotiation are accumulating and growing. It is all the more important for us to stay focused and determined and meet each other halfway at this critical point. Only by doing this can the past gains be preserved.

Progress had been scored in many ways after years of negotiation on the Iranian nuclear issue. It is hoped that this foreign ministers' meeting will pave the way for the settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue as scheduled. China always plays a positive and constructive role in the negotiation as a significant party. By searching for the positive factors behind each party's position, China has brought about constructive approaches and the China solution, and contributed the China wisdom to the negotiation. Now we have come to the final stage of the negotiation, and China will continue to do so. It is hoped that fruitful results will be borne in this round of negotiation with the joint efforts of all parties and expectations of the international community will be fulfilled.

On your second question, China holds a consistent and clear position on the relevant issue. Due to historical reasons, Japan's policy changes in military and security fields have always been followed closely by its Asian neighbors and the international community. The US-Japan alliance is a special arrangement formed in the Cold War. It should not extend beyond bilateral relations, nor should it undermine the security and interests of regional countries. We hope that parties concerned can make more positive and constructive contributions to regional peace, stability and development.

Q: How does China comment on the latest development of conflicts between local ethnic militia and the Myanmar government force in northern Myanmar?

A: We have noted that the Myanmar government and the local ethnic militia reached consensus on articles in a national ceasefire agreement on March 30. China welcomes the positive outcomes of the new round of peace talks between the Myanmar government and relevant local ethnic militia. We hope that relevant parties can seal a national ceasefire agreement, ease the situation in northern Myanmar and restore peace and stability to northern Myanmar and the China-Myanmar border area at an early date. In accordance with relevant party's will, China has been playing a positive and constructive role in facilitating the peace talks. At the invitation of the Myanmar side, Foreign Ministry's Special Envoy on Asian Affairs Wang Yingfan attended the peace talks in Myanmar.

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