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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying's Regular Press Conference on February 21, 2014

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying held a press conference on February 21, 2014.

Hua Chunying started the press conference with the following announcement:

At the invitation of the governments of France, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, State Councillor Yang Jiechi will pay visits to the three countries from February 25 to March 1.

Q: What is China's comment on the new round of talks between the P5+1 and Iran? China proposed "Five Principles" for a comprehensive settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue during the talks. What effect will they have on the nuclear talks? How do various parties respond?

A: The P5+1 dialogue with Iran on the nuclear issue, which just concluded in Vienna, was constructive with positive outcomes. The talks created a good beginning for the negotiation on a comprehensive agreement. All parties displayed the willingness to address each other's concerns, had substantive discussions about specific issues that have to be addressed as part of the comprehensive deal and produced a timetable for follow-up talks. It is fair to say that this round of talks can help move dialogue forward and lay the groundwork for negotiation on a comprehensive agreement.

During the talks in Vienna, Vice Chinese Foreign Minister Li Baodong on behalf of China set forth five principles for a comprehensive solution of the Iranian nuclear issue, including sticking to the process of P5+1 dialogue with Iran, seeking a comprehensive, fair and appropriate long-term solution, following the principle of step-by-step and reciprocal process, creating a favorable atmosphere for dialogue and negotiation and pursuing a holistic approach to address both symptoms and root cause of the issue. The five principles are produced based on a careful review of past dialogue experience and are aimed at removing differences and building consensus among various parties. All participants regard China's proposal as a positive contributor to the dialogue.

As the nuclear talks are moving into a new stage toward a comprehensive agreement, we are working through more complicated and sensitive issues. China is ready to work with all parties to follow the five principles, continue to promote talks, and play a constructive role in seeking a comprehensive, long-term and appropriate solution.

Q: It is reported that US President Obama is scheduled to have an unofficial meeting with the Dalai Lama at the White House. What is China's comment?

A: We are deeply concerned and have lodged solemn representations with the US side. We must point out that Tibet-related affairs fall entirely within the internal affairs of China which allow no foreign interference. The Dalai Lama is a political exile who has long been engaged in anti-China separatist activities under the cloak of religion. By arranging a meeting between the President and the Dalai Lama, the US side will grossly interfere in the internal affairs of China, seriously violate norms governing international relations and severely impair China-US relations. China expresses firm opposition. We urge the US to take China's concerns seriously, immediately cancel the meeting, and not to facilitate or provide platform for the Dalai Lama's anti-China separatist activities in the US.

Q: The White House National Security Council Spokesperson reportedly defended US President's scheduled meeting with the Dalai Lama and expressed concerns about the continuing tensions and the human rights situation in Tibet. What is China's comment?

A: The US side is bent on arranging a meeting between the US President and the Dalai Lama in disregard of China's opposition. It is a gross interference in China's internal affairs and a serious violation of basic norms governing international relations. China has lodged solemn representations and urged the US to cancel the meeting so as to avoid severe damage to China-US relations.

The Chinese people are in the best position to judge the human rights situation in Tibet-inhabited areas. Thanks to the peaceful liberation of Tibet, those who were serfs in the old days have already become masters of their own rights. Tibet has scored remarkable progress in economic and social development. Anyone who holds impartial political views won't deny these basic facts. Most importantly, Tibet-related affairs fall entirely within the domestic affairs of China which allow no foreign interference.

Q: China said that the meeting between President Obama and the Dalai Lama would severely impair China-US relations. Could you give a more specific account of the consequences?

A: The Chinese government's position on Tibet-related issues is consistent and clear-cut. We are firmly opposed to any foreign leader's meeting with the Dalai Lama. Any country, if it insists on harming China's interests will also damage their own in the end. We urge the US to cancel the meeting so as to avoid severe damage to China-US relations.

Q: There has been extensive news coverage on US demand for Japan's return of 331kg of weapons-grade plutonium. We have taken note of China's serious concerns. I am wondering what is the true picture of this story and whether these nuclear materials are in Japan or not. What is China's comment?

A: These questions should be answered by the Japanese government. China is deeply concerned about Japan's stockpile of weapons-grade plutonium and has lodged representations with the Japanese side. Japan should face up to the misgivings from the international community and make clarification.

Q: New clashes reportedly broke out on February 20 near the Independence Square of Kiev, capital of Ukraine. Russia describes the violent clashes as "coup" and "armed insurgence". The EU foreign ministers decided at a special meeting to apply sanctions to those responsible for the violence. The US has already imposed visa bans on 20 Ukrainian officials. What is China's comment on the current situation in Ukraine? What is China's position on the European and US sanctions against Ukraine?

A: China pays high attention to the situation in Ukraine. We are concerned about the heavy casualties in clashes and condemn the extreme and violent acts. We maintain that relevant parties should express themselves lawfully and peacefully. We call upon conflicting parties to exercise utmost restraint, truly strive for the Ukrainians' well-being and regional stability, seek settlement within legal framework and restore social order as soon as possible. China hopes that members of the international community will work actively and constructively to stabilize the situation in Ukraine.

Q: It is reported that Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said on February 20 that Japan would consider verifying the authenticity of the testimony by "comfort women" which was key to the "Kono Statement". What is China's comment?

A: The forced recruitment of "comfort women" is Japanese militarism's heinous anti-humanity crime against victimized people in Asia and other regions during WWII. The evidence is compelling. Any attempt by Japan to negate the crime and overturn the verdict on its history of aggression will meet with vehement opposition from victimized people and the international community. We solemnly urge Japan to face up to and express deep remorse for its past aggression, responsibly and appropriately deal with issues left over from history including those concerning "comfort women", and not to go further down the wrong path.

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