Q: It is estimated that over 700 migrants were on the boat which capsized off Libya at midnight on April 18 local time. Only 28 survivors have been found so far, and the search and rescue work is still going on. What is China's comment on that?
A: We are deeply concerned about the sinking of the boat off Libya's coast. Our thoughts go out to the lost lives. We hope for positive progress in the search and rescue efforts.
Q: It is reported that spy agencies from New Zealand and the US once collaborated on a plan to hack into a data link of China's Consulate General in Auckland. Does the Chinese government have any response to that?
A: The Chinese side expresses deep concern over the relevant report. We strongly urge relevant countries to stop undermining the interests of China and other countries via the Internet.
Q: The US and the Philippines are holding the Balikatan (Shoulder-to-Shoulder) military exercises twice the size of previous ones in the South China Sea. Do you have any comment on that?
A: We have noted the relevant report and hope that relevant countries will do more to enhance security mutual trust among countries in the region and promote regional peace and stability.
Q: Leaders of some ASEAN countries expect to bring up the South China Sea issue and release a collective statement on that at the ASEAN Summit to be held later this week. What is China's comment on that? Does China believe that the Summit is an appropriate forum to discuss the issue?
A: I want to underscore that the South China Sea issue is not an issue between China and ASEAN. The Chinese side is always against the attempt of few countries to damage the friendly relationship of cooperation between China and ASEAN by making use of the South China Sea issue. We are committed to working with ASEAN countries to fully implement the "dual-track approach" in handling and addressing the South China Sea issue and jointly uphold peace and stability of the South China Sea.
Q: President Xi Jinping has embarked on his state visit to Pakistan. The two sides are expected to sign a series of deals on economic cooperation. Will China and Pakistan strike any security deal to prevent terrorists based in Pakistan from slipping into Xinjiang and secure the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor?
A: President Xi Jinping has left for his first state visit to Pakistan today. We hope that the visit will align the development strategies of the two countries more closely to realize the dreams of the two peoples. Both China and Pakistan face the important task of economic development and improvement of people's livelihood. We need to deepen practical cooperation and work together to make the China-Pakistan community of common destiny a fine example for such efforts by China and its neighboring countries. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is located where the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road meet. It is, therefore, a major project of the "Belt and Road" initiative. The Chinese side is ready to take President Xi's visit as an opportunity to advance the building of the Economic Corridor with the Gwadar Port, energy, infrastructure and industrial cooperation being the four key areas to drive development across Pakistan and deliver tangible benefits to its people.
We also believe that bilateral cooperation in security and economic fields should advance in parallel and reinforce each other. The Chinese side is willing to deepen defense cooperation and enhance coordination and collaboration with the Pakistani side on regional hotspot issues.
Q: You just mentioned that China and Pakistan would enhance coordination and collaboration on regional hotspot issues. Does that include issues between India and Pakistan?
A: Both India and Pakistan are China's friendly neighbors. The Chinese side hopes to see the improvement of relationship between India and Pakistan which serves the common interests of the two countries and other countries in the region.
Q: Will deals between China and Pakistan cover relevant project in the Kashmir region over which India and Pakistan have disputes?
A: It is clear that friendly cooperation between China and Pakistan will have no India-Pakistan disputes involved.
After the press conference, the following question was raised: A grave terrorist attack hit the Afghan city Jalalabad the other day, killing over 40 people and wounding over 120. What is China's comment on that?
Hong Lei said that the Chinese side strongly condemns the terrorist attack in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, expresses condolences to the victims and their relatives and conveys sympathy to the injured. The Chinese side firmly opposes all forms of terrorism, stands for efforts made by the Afghan government to safeguard national security and stability and stands ready to join the international community in helping Afghanistan realize peace, stability and development at an early date.