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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying's Regular Press Conference on February 27, 2014

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying held a regular press conference on February 27, 2014.

Q: With reference to the compensation lawsuit against Japanese companies filed by a group of Chinese survivors of wartime forced labor, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga reportedly said on February 26 that all wartime compensation issues concerning China, including individual claims, were settled by the 1972 joint statement. What is China's comment?

A: It is unequivocally stated in the joint statement that the Japanese side is keenly conscious of the responsibility for the serious damage that Japan caused in the past to the Chinese people through war, and deeply reproaches itself. The principles and spirit enshrined in the statement must be fully observed. We are opposed to any one-sided interpretation or distortion by the Japanese side.

The forced recruitment and enslavement of labourers is a serious crime committed by the Japanese militarism during its invasion and colonial rule. The damage to the victims' physical and mental conditions still persists. China urges the Japanese side to be responsible with history, take seriously and properly deal with this important issue left over from history. The Chinese court will handle the lawsuit in accordance with law.

Q: First, Australia says that it still hopes to wrap up a free trade agreement with China within this year. Given the fact that it recently called Japan the most important friend in Asia, will the free trade talks be affected? Second, there's been report that China is seeking compensation of three billion US dollars from Ukraine for the breach of a loan-for-grain agreement. The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry denied this, saying that the two countries are consulting on this issue. Could you elaborate on this?

A: An early conclusion of China-Australia free trade agreement serves the shared interests of the two countries. Leaders from both countries have recently reaffirmed their political commitment to accelerate the negotiation. As long as both sides show more flexibility in the spirit of mutual benefit, mutual understanding and accommodation, an early breakthrough in the negotiation will be possible.

Over recent years, China-Australia relations have developed rapidly into a strategic partnership. Both China and Australia are important Asia-Pacific countries. We have a wide array of shared interests and a broad horizon for cooperation. Both sides should adopt a strategic and long-term approach and work together on the basis of mutual trust and mutual respect to steadily advance the friendly cooperation and promote common prosperity and development in the Asia-Pacific.

On your second question, we have seen relevant reports. China is willing to further its strategic partnership with Ukraine. On the already signed agreements, we hope that the Ukrainian side will ensure the effective implementation. As to the specific issue you raised, to my knowledge, relevant reports are inconsistent with facts.

Q: ROK President Park Geun-hye has been in office for one year. How does China view the development of China-ROK relations over the past year and her role in moving the situation on the Korean Peninsula toward relaxation?

A: Since President Park Geun-hye took office, China-ROK strategic and cooperative partnership has been deepened with the concerted efforts of both sides, as evidenced by frequent meetings between leaders of the two countries and the new record high of bilateral exchanges in business, culture and other fields. China highly applauds the dedication made by President Park Geun-hye herself and her government.

President Park Geun-hye commits to the improvement of ROK-DPRK relations and has worked a lot for the goal. China speaks highly of that. Since the beginning of this year, the situation on the Peninsula has been moving toward stability, which would not have been possible without the concerted efforts of all parties, including the ROK and the DPRK. We hope that the two countries could bear in mind common interests and shared national aspirations, improve bilateral relations for the realization of reconciliation and cooperation and contribute positively to regional peace and stability. China will render firm support to the improvement of relations between the DPRK and the ROK.

Q: An UN official reportedly said that another shipment of Syria's chemical materials has left its territory on foreign cargo vessels on February 26. The official looks forward to Syria continuing its efforts to complete the removal of the remaining chemical materials as soon as possible. Please confirm and give us more details about the situation and China's work.

A: On the evening of February 26 local time, the Chinese frigate Yancheng joined Russian, Danish and Norwegian naval vessels in escorting the shipping of the fourth consignment of Syrian chemical weapons.

The shipping has been completed successfully. China appreciates all parties' efforts and the positive progress. Going forward, China is ready to stay in close communication with all parties to ensure a safe and secure shipping of Syrian chemical weapons.

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