At the invitation of Mikhail Babich, the Plenipotentiary Envoy of the President of the Russian Federation, State Councilor Yang Jiechi will co-chair the Local Leader Symposium of the Upper and Middle Reaches of the Yangtze River and the Federal District along the Volga River Bank in Russia from June 22 to 24.
At the invitation of Mongolian Foreign Minister Luvsanvandan Bold, Foreign Minister Wang Yi will pay an official visit to Mongolia from June 24 to 26.
Q: How does China evaluate the current security situation in Iraq?
A: The security situation in Iraq keeps deteriorating recently, raising great concern of the international community. Since West Asia and North Africa was seized by turmoil, extremism has been spreading rapidly, weapons easy to get hold of, and terrorist forces staging a come-back with stunning speed. All these have severely undermined the security and stability of the countries in the region and even the international community. China is deeply concerned about this.
Iraq is an important country in the Middle East region. The reconstruction and security of Iraq has a bearing on the development and stability of the entire region. Terrorism is a threat faced by all countries in the world. The international community shares a common responsibility in combating terrorism and has a common stake in ensuring security and stability of Iraq. Therefore, all sides should support and assist Iraq in its reconstruction and counter-terrorism efforts.
China supports the efforts made by the Iraqi government in maintaining domestic stability and fighting terrorism, and hopes that stability and order can be restored as soon as possible. Based on Iraq's practical needs, China will continue to do whatever it can to help Iraq. Meanwhile, China hopes that the Iraqi side can take concrete measures to ensure the security of Chinese enterprises and personnel in Iraq.
Q: The turmoil in Iraq is continuing, and many foreign oil companies have evacuated their employees or transferred them to safer places. Have Chinese oil companies been affected? Will Chinese diplomatic missions in Iraq assist the companies in evacuation?
A: The safety of Chinese employees working in Iraq is a great concern for the Chinese government. The Chinese Embassy in Iraq has asked the Iraqi side to adopt concrete measures to ensure the safety and legitimate rights and interests of Chinese employees in Iraq, and also has issued warnings and guidance for Chinese enterprises in Iraq to bolster their security precautions.
At present, Chinese employees in Iraq, totaling over 10,000, are in relatively safe areas. For those who are in places where the security situation is less optimistic, we will do our best to assist them in evacuating to safer areas. Chinese embassies in Iraq and relevant countries are in contact with competent departments of their host countries, asking them to provide convenience and security guarantees for Chinese citizens to enter and exit borders. China will monitor the situation closely and take measures accordingly to ensure the safety and legitimate rights and interests of the Chinese employees.
Q: You mentioned that China will do its best to assist in Iraq's reconstruction and counter-terrorism efforts. Can you be more specific about the help that China will offer to Iraq?
A: Iraq is an important country in the Middle East region. The security and stability of Iraq has a bearing on the security, stability and development of the entire region. China has been supportive of the Iraqi governments' efforts to safeguard security and stability, and has provided Iraq with help of various forms to the best of its capabilities. China will continue to do so.
Q: First, there are reports that the President of Next Media Limited met with former US deputy Defense Secretary in secrecy at the end of May. What is China's comment on that? Second, the Occupy Central organization claimed that their website was attacked by hackers from Chinese mainland. What is China's comment?
A: I am aware of neither of the reports you mentioned. But I want to reiterate here that China is consistent in its opposition to outside interference of any kind in Hong Kong's internal affairs.
Q: On June 19, Spain's Crown Prince Felipe was enthroned as Spain's new King. What is China's comment on that? How does China envision the future of China-Spain relationship?
A: President Xi Jinping has made a telephone call to Spain's new King Felipe VI and congratulated him on his coronation. We believe that under the leadership of the new king, Spain will continue to enjoy its prosperity and vitality.
China highly values its relationship with Spain. In recent years, with the concerted efforts from both sides, bilateral relationship has made positive progress. The former King Juan Carlos I is an old friend to the Chinese people, and he has made substantial contributions to promoting friendship between the two countries and two peoples. King Felipe VI, before his coronation, has made many trips to China. We stand ready to work with His Majesty to elevate our bilateral ties to a new height.
Follow-up: Does the Chinese leader have plans to meet the new king very soon?
Diplomatic visits and meetings need to be nailed down through bilateral consultations. We have made it clear that China is willing to work with Spain to move forward the amicable relationship between the two countries.
Q: There are reports that Number 9 South China Sea drilling rig has been moved from the south of Hainan Island towards the southwest. Where is it heading for?
A: As far as I know, the drilling platform is operating within the coastal waters off China's Hainan Island.
Q: There are reports that the 11th China-ASEAN Joint Working Group Meeting on the Implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea will soon be held in Indonesia. Can you confirm that and give us more details?
A: From June 24 to 25, the 11th China-ASEAN Joint Working Group Meeting on the Implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) will be held in Bali, Indonesia. Participants will have in-depth exchanges of views on follow-up actions for the implementation of the DOC, developing a code of conduct in the South China Sea (COC) and other topics. On the margins of the meeting, leading officials from the competent departments of various countries and experts will hold meetings to discuss practical cooperation in fields like navigation security and joint search and rescue on the sea.
We hope that all the participants can work with China, commit themselves to a full and effective implementation of the DOC, enhance practical maritime cooperation, and steadily move forward the negotiation process of a COC. All parties should endeavor to create enabling conditions and favorable atmosphere for these goals and make positive contributions to peace and stability of the region.
Q: You mentioned that there are over 10,000 Chinese employees in Iraq and most of them are in relatively safe areas. Then how many of them have safety concerns? Has the Iraqi side asked for assistance from China?
A: There are over 10,000 Chinese employees in Iraq and most of them are in relatively safe areas. Two Chinese companies in Wasit and Samara face relatively grave security situation. The Chinese Embassy in Iraq is helping transfer them to much safer places. It is in close communication with relevant departments, asking them to provide convenience and security guarantees for the evacuation of Chinese employees.
Iraq is an important country in the Middle East. Its security and stability serves the common interests of the region and the international community. China supports the Iraqi government's efforts in maintaining domestic stability and security, and will continue to provide assistance to the best of its ability.
Q: There are reports that President Xi Jinping will visit the ROK in the near future. Can you give us more details?
A: China attaches great importance to developing its relationship with the ROK. The two sides have maintained frequent high-level exchanges. Last year, President Park Geun-Hye paid a successful visit to China. She extended invitations to President Xi Jinping many times, welcoming him to the ROK. President Xi accepted her invitation gladly. At the current stage, both sides are in close contact on the specific time and schedule of the visit. We believe that President Xi Jinping's upcoming visit to the ROK will give a boost to bilateral ties. China and the ROK together will make positive contributions to peace and development of the region. Relevant information will be released in due course.
Q: The 68th Session of the UN General Assembly has wrapped up its fourth review of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, with the adoption of a resolution which calls for all countries' attention to terrorists using internet and other information technologies to incite, recruit, finance and plot terrorist activities, and calls on states, international organizations and private sectors to cooperate in the fight against terrorism. What is China's response to that?
A: China supports the 68th Session of the UN General Assembly's review of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, and we reached consensus with other parties on the relevant resolution through consultation. According to the suggestions that China put forward, the resolution includes for the first time combating cyber-terrorism in the framework of Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.
At present, internet and other information technologies have become important vehicles for terrorist forces to conduct terrorist activities. More and more violent and extreme groups resort to internet and social media to recruit members, disseminate violent and terrorist ideas, pass on techniques for terrorist attacks, and finance and plot terrorist attacks. The harm brought by cyber-terrorism is becoming increasingly acute.
The 68th Session of the UN General Assembly carried out its fourth review of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, with the adoption of a resolution which calls for all countries' attention to terrorists using internet and other information technologies to incite, recruit, finance and plot terrorist activities. It shows that the international community has reached extensive consensus on the danger of cyber-terrorism and on cooperating to fight it. We hope that countries around the world can follow the requirements of relevant UN resolution, earnestly fulfill their duties, enhance cooperation, join hands in combating cyber-terrorism and work together to safeguard security and stability of the international community.
I would like to point out that China is the victim of terrorism. In recent years, a series of extremely violent and terrorist attacks rocked China. Investigations by the Chinese police have shown that a majority of those responsible for the terrorist attacks were instigated and incited by online audios and videos released by the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM). The ETIM, a terrorist group, has been using internet to spread terrorist and extremist thoughts. This not only facilitates the growth of violent and extremist forces in China, but also adds wings to the spread of terrorist and extremist thoughts regionally and internationally. The harm is severe.
The ETIM is a terrorist organization designated by the UN Security Council. Fighting the ETIM is an important part of the international battle against terrorism. China hopes the international community can understand and support its efforts in fighting the ETIM, and join hands in cracking down on terrorist activities of all kinds carried out by terrorist forces using internet and other information technologies.
Q: What does China think of the chairmen's meeting of China-Vietnam Steering Committee for Bilateral Cooperation that State Councilor Yang Jiechi has just concluded in Vietnam? There are reports that communication between the two sides led nowhere on issues of maritime situation. Have China and Vietnam reached consensus on alleviating tensions on the South China Sea?
A: On June 18, State Councilor Yang Jiechi met with Vietnam's Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh in Vietnam for the chairmen's meeting of China-Vietnam Steering Committee for Bilateral Cooperation. He also met on separate occasions with General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam Nguyen Phu Trong and Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung. The two sides had thorough and in-depth exchanges of views on China-Vietnam relationship and the current maritime situation.
State Councilor Yang Jiechi expounded on China's principles and positions on relevant issues in an all-rounded, thorough and deep-going way. Both sides agreed that the meeting was candid and constructive.
China and Vietnam attach great importance to developing the comprehensive and strategic partnership for cooperation. Under the current situation, both sides should work together to remove disturbances, tide over difficulties and ensure that bilateral relations will move along the right track.
On maritime issues, both sides believe that it is important to bear in mind the broader picture of bilateral ties, adhere to two-way communication, seek a proper solution through political and diplomatic means, keep the situation in check, and restore stability as soon as possible.
State Councilor Yang went to Vietnam on behalf of the Communist Party of China and the Chinese government. This shows that we attach great importance to China-Vietnam relations and are sincere about handling the current maritime situation properly through communication. I would like to stress again that the Xisha Islands are inherent territory of China. There is no dispute about that. Operations by the Chinese company are in the coastal waters off the Xisha Islands, and are absolutely legal and legitimate. China will continue to take all necessary measures to safeguard national sovereignty and maritime rights and interests, and ensure the smooth running of relevant operations. What is imperative is for the Vietnamese side to stop disrupting China's operations, stop inflaming relevant issues, properly handle the fallout from the severely violent incident involving beating, smashing, looting and arson and adopt effective measures to ensure the security of Chinese institutions, enterprises and personnel. It is important for the Vietnamese side to create essential conditions and atmosphere for both sides to sort out relevant issues through consultations, and restore bilateral exchanges and cooperation in various fields. We hope the Vietnamese side can keep its eyes on the broader picture, move towards the same direction with China so that the relationship between China and Vietnam can be lifted out of the current difficulties and placed back to the right track for further development.
Q: you mentioned that some of the Chinese employees will be transferred to relatively safe areas. What do you mean by "relatively safe areas"? Are these areas within or outside Iraq?
A: As I have said, some Chinese employees face relatively grave security situation, like those in Wasit, Samara and other areas close to the conflict zones. Chinese embassies in Iraq and nearby countries are in close communication with relevant departments of their host countries, asking them to provide convenience and security guarantees for the entry and exit of Chinese employees through their borders.