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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei's Regular Press Conference on April 28, 2015

At the invitation of Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Foreign Minister Murray McCully of New Zealand will pay an official visit to China from May 3 to 5.

China has been intensifying its disaster-relief support to Nepal and carrying out consular protection of Chinese citizens since yesterday.

China's International Rescue Team rescued another survivor of the earthquake in Kathmandu in the early morning today. A majority of the 170-strong rescue team and medical team sent by China's military arrived in Kathmandu on three military planes last night, and the remaining 45 members will set off for Nepal by military plane on April 28. The first military plane carrying the first batch of 186 tons of emergency supplies from the Chinese government arrived in Kathmandu at 11 a.m. on April 28 local time. The Foundation for Poverty Alleviation of the State Council sent a Blue Sky rescue team to Nepal, and its members have arrived in Kathmandu for the rescue work.

Due to the limit of capacity of the Kathmandu airport, the tarmac is overloaded and planes carrying relief staff and supplies from many countries are still waiting for their landing under Nepal's coordination. The Chinese side will stay in close communication with the Nepali side, trying to get follow-up Chinese relief staff and materials to Nepal as soon as possible.

Under the guidance and coordination of the Foreign Ministry, the Civil Aviation Administration of China and the Chinese Embassy in Nepal, Air China, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines and Sichuan Airlines have surmounted difficulties and operated at full capacity to take back Chinese citizens stranded in Nepal since yesterday. Over 2,000 Chinese citizens have returned to China safely on commercial flights. Domestic airlines will send more flights to Nepal today to pick up Chinese citizens there.

The Foreign Ministry and the Chinese Embassy in Nepal will continue to provide all necessary assistance to Chinese citizens in Nepal, and coordinate with departments concerned on the follow-up work.

253 Chinese employees of the China Three Gorges Corporation which is building a hydro power station in Nepal were once stuck in their camp along the China-Nepal border because of the earthquake. We are highly concerned about their security. Thanks to the joint efforts of all parties, those injured in the camp have been safely transferred to China for treatment. The Foreign Ministry will continue to carry out disaster-relief work together with parties concerned and ensure the safe transfer of the remaining Chinese personnel.

We will make joint efforts with the international community, step up assistance to Nepal, and help it tide over the current difficulties and rebuild the homeland.

Q: On April 27, the national election commission of Sudan announced the official result of its presidential election, and incumbent President Omar al-Bashir won the election. What is China's comment on this?

A: The Chinese side respects the choice made by the Sudanese people, and congratulates President al-Bashir on his re-election. As a good friend of Sudan, the Chinese side will continue to support Sudan's efforts to maintain stability, develop the economy and improve people's livelihood, and hopes for bigger achievements in Sudan's national development. China stands ready to work hand in hand with Sudan to move forward the friendly relationship of cooperation between China and Sudan.

Q: On April 27, the US-Japan Foreign and Defense Ministers' Meeting was held in New York. The two sides released the newly revised Guidelines for US-Japan Defense Cooperation, which claims to remove the "geographical limits" from bilateral defense cooperation. Foreign Ministers of the US and Japan reiterated at the press conference that the US-Japan security treaty applies to all areas under Japan's administration, including Diaoyu Dao. What is China's comment on this?

A: Th US-Japan alliance is a bilateral arrangement forged during the Cold War period. In today's world where the Cold War is long-gone, the development of this alliance deserves the attention of all parties. It is our constant stance that the US and Japan are responsible to ensure that their bilateral alliance does not jeopardize a third party's interests including China's, nor undermine peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific.

We hold a clear and long-standing position on the Diaoyu Dao issue. Diaoyu Dao and its affiliated islands are China's inherent territory. No matter what others say or do, the fact that Diaoyu Dao belongs to China can not be changed. The Chinese government and people will firmly uphold their national sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Q: Has the US side notified China before releasing the new Guidelines for US-Japan Defense Cooperation?

A: The US side has informed China before publishing the Guidelines. China has reiterated its solemn position on issues including Diaoyu Dao to the US side.

Q: The Chairman's Statement of the 26th ASEAN Summit was released on April 28, expressing serious concerns on the land reclamation being undertaken in the South China Sea, reaffirming the importance of maintaining peace, stability, security and freedom of navigation and over-flight, asking all parties to ensure the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), and urging that the consultations be intensified on the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC) to ensure the expeditious establishment of an effective COC. What is your comment on this?

A: The Chinese side is gravely concerned about the statement of the 26th ASEAN Summit on the South China Sea issue.

China holds a clear and long-standing stance on the South China Sea issue, which is not an issue between China and ASEAN. China firmly upholds territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests. At the same time, bearing in mind the overall picture of regional peace and stability, China stays committed to resolving the relevant disputes with countries directly concerned through negotiation and consultation on the basis of respecting the historical facts and the international law, and devotes itself to jointly safeguarding peace and stability of the South China Sea with ASEAN countries. China has exercised great restraint on the relevant issue.

China and ASEAN countries are implementing the DOC in an all-round and effective way, and are pressing ahead with the consultation on the COC in a bid to finalize the COC based on consent at an early date. There has never been any problem concerning the freedom of navigation and over-flight in the South China Sea that all countries are entitled to under the international law. Nor will there be any in the future.

China's construction on the islands and reefs of Nansha is completely within China's sovereignty, and does not target or affect anyone. The Chinese side has repeatedly clarified its position. Relevant construction is lawful, justified and reasonable and thus beyond reproach. The Chinese side opposes a few countries' taking hostage the entire ASEAN and China-ASEAN relations for their own selfish gains, and undermining the friendly cooperation between China and ASEAN. We urge countries concerned to meet China halfway, and safeguard peace and stability of the South China Sea and the general interests of China-ASEAN relationship.

The Chinese side values its relationship with ASEAN. The two sides should continue to follow the spirit of mutual respect and mutual trust, take a strategic and far-sighted view on bilateral relations, step up strategic communication and deliver win-win results to all.

Q: The Nepali Foreign Minister said that Nepal has divided areas for China and India to carry out disaster-relief work. What is your comment? Is China willing to coordinate the relief work with India?

A: The international community including China and India extended a helping hand to Nepal and provided it with all kinds of assistance after it was hit hard by a massive earthquake. We will intensify our efforts in helping Nepal. Both China and India are neighbors of Nepal. We stand ready to coordinate with India on the disaster-relief operation in Nepal, take care of relevant work and help Nepal overcome difficulties and rebuild its homeland at the earliest date possible.

Q: Head of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources of the Philippines reportedly said that China's construction on the islands and reefs of Nansha caused damage to the local coral reef and affected the livelihood of the Philippine fishermen. Does China have any response?

A: China exercises indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and the adjacent waters. China carries out construction on its own islands and reefs, and attaches greater importance to protecting the ecological environment there than anyone else. One thing worth pointing out is that China's construction projects have gone through years of scientific assessments and rigorous tests, and are subject to strict standards and requirements of environmental protection. Such projects will not damage the ecological environment of the South China Sea. Philippines' argument that China's construction on the islands and reefs would cause damage to the Philippines is utterly unjustifiable.

Q: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made some remarks concerning the comfort women in the US on April 27, saying that his heart aches when thinking about those people who were victimized by human trafficking, but did not mention "apology" in his speech. Does China have any comment on this?

A: The forced recruitment of the "comfort women" is a gross crime against humanity committed by the Japanese militarism during the Second World War against people of the victimized countries in Asia. There is iron-clad evidence proving this, and the victims are still suffering from untold miseries. It is hoped that the Japanese side would face up to the history, properly handle the history issues including the comfort women issue in a responsible manner, and win the trust of its Asian neighbors and the world with tangible actions.

Q: A Japanese who is among a filming crew making a documentary of China's female mountaineering team died in the Nepali earthquake. Does China have any response to this?

A: We mourn for his death.

Q: President Xi Jinping met with a senior leader of Myanmar yesterday. Please give us more details. Did they touch upon border stability in their talks?

A: Yesterday President Xi Jinping met with the delegation of Myanmar's Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) led by U Shwe Mann, Chairman of USDP and Speaker of the Lower House of the Parliament of the Union of the Republic of Myanmar. He said that the traditional friendship between China and Myanmar was forged by leaders of previous generations. The bilateral relationship still bursts with new vitality after 65 years of development, and the main reason is that we always respect the core interests and major concerns of each other and show full understanding and support to each other on major issues. The two sides should take a strategic and long-term view on China-Myanmar relations, safeguard peace and tranquility of the border area and do things that contribute to national development and people's livelihood of China and Myanmar.

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