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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying's Regular Press Conference on October 24, 2014

At the invitation of Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh, State Councilor Yang Jiechi will pay a visit to Vietnam on October 27, and co-host with Pham Binh Minh the 7th Meeting of the China-Vietnam Steering Committee for Bilateral Cooperation.

At the invitation of Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary Péter Szijjártó will pay a working visit to China from October 26 to 29.

The 4th Ministerial Conference of Istanbul Process on Afghanistan will be held in Beijing on October 31 with Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Afghan Foreign Minister Zarar Ahmad Osmani as the co-chairs of the meeting.

Q: Can you brief us on the background of and China's expectations for the 4th Ministerial Conference of Istanbul Process on Afghanistan?

A: The Istanbul Process was initiated back in 2011 participated by 14 member states within the region, as well as 16 countries outside the region and 12 regional and international organizations as supporting parties. The Istanbul Process is so far the only regional cooperation mechanism on Afghanistan led by regional countries and plays a positive role in facilitating the peaceful reconstruction in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan is currently in the transition of politics, security and economy, and is about to embark on a decade-long transformation period. The 4th Ministerial Conference of Istanbul Process on Afghanistan is of great importance as it is the first big international conference on Afghanistan hosted by China, and also the first significant international conference on Afghanistan since the sworn-in of the new Afghan government. Foreign Ministers and high-level representatives from the member states and supporting parties of the Istanbul Process will attend the meeting upon invitation. By hosting this conference, China hopes to showcase the world's support to the peaceful reconstruction in Afghanistan, and build consensus of regional countries on strengthening cooperation on Afghanistan and jointly safeguarding security and stability in Afghanistan and the region.

Q: State Councilor Yang Jiechi is to visit Vietnam and host the 7th Meeting of the China-Vietnam Steering Committee for Bilateral Cooperation. Can you give us more details about his visit and China's take on bilateral relations at the moment?

A: The China-Vietnam Steering Committee for Bilateral Cooperation is an inter-governmental mechanism coordinating bilateral relations. At the invitation of Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh, State Councilor Yang Jiechi will attend the annual regular meeting of this steering committee and visit Vietnam. During his visit, State Councilor Yang Jiechi will co-host with Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh the 7th Meeting of the China-Vietnam Steering Committee for Bilateral Cooperation and hold meetings with other Vietnamese leaders.

Sino-Vietnamese relationship has been beset with temporary problems since the beginning of this year. The two sides have maintained close communication on properly resolving relevant issues. Thanks to the joint efforts of the two sides, at the end of last August, bilateral relations started picking up after the Special Envoy of the General Secretary of the Party Central Committee of Vietnam visited China and the two Parties held high-level meetings. China is willing to work together with the Vietnamese side, implement the consensus reached at high-level meetings between the two Parties and keep improving and developing the comprehensive strategic partnership of cooperation between China and Vietnam.

Q: On October 23, the United Nations Human Rights Committee reportedly asked the Hong Kong SAR government to provide further information on the compliance of Hong Kong's constitutional reform and universal suffrage with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. What is China's response?

A: Since Hong Kong returned to the motherland, Hong Kong people's basic rights and freedoms have been fully guaranteed in accordance with the Basic Law. The Chinese central government firmly supports that Hong Kong should proceed with democratic and constitutional development commensurate with its own realities based on the Basic Law and other relevant laws of Hong Kong. The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress made a decision on August 31, stipulating that the Hong Kong Chief Executive can be selected through universal suffrage starting from 2017. This decision is made in accordance with the Basic Law after soliciting opinions from all walks of life in Hong Kong. It is suitable for Hong Kong's realities and constitutes the constitutional basis for selecting the Chief Executive of Hong Kong through universal suffrage. Nothing can shake the legal status and force of the decision.

China is not a state party to the Covenant. According to the Basic Law, the provisions of the Covenant that applied to Hong Kong before its return to the motherland shall remain in force and shall be implemented through the laws of the Hong Kong SAR. The Covenant is not a standard to measure the constitutional reform in Hong Kong.

Q: The signing ceremony for the Memorandum on the Establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) was held this morning. Please brief us on that.

A: This morning, Finance Ministers and authorized representatives from 21 prospective founding members of the AIIB signed the Memorandum in Beijing. After the signing ceremony, President Xi Jinping met with representatives from these countries, and relevant information has been released. During the meeting, President Xi Jinping said that the establishment of the AIIB incorporates the desire, resolve and action of all parties in pursuing development through cooperation. The AIIB itself is an innovative mechanism, and its establishment is of great significance as it contributes to improving global financial governance. We hope that through concerted efforts of all parties, the AIIB can be built into an equal, inclusive and highly-efficient platform for infrastructure investment and financing as well as a multilateral development bank that meets the development needs of countries in this region. President Xi Jinping also pointed out that the AIIB should facilitate infrastructure inter-connectivity in this region, advance regional economic cooperation and inject new impetus into Asian economic development. He stressed that the AIIB should uphold regionalism of openness and inclusiveness, and welcomed active participation by all countries that are interested so as to achieve win-win results through cooperation.

Representing all those who signed the Memorandum, Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore Tharman Shanmugaratnam thanked China for making the proposal of setting up the AIIB and taking the lead in its building. He believes that the building of the AIIB will erect a milestone and vigorously promote infrastructure construction and long-term development and prosperity in Asia. All countries should adhere to inclusive multilateralism and carry out sincere cooperation so that the AIIB can be set up and operated in a standard and smooth way as early as possible, produce mutual benefits and win-win outcomes and set an example for international multilateral cooperation in the new age.

Q: What is your comment on the absence of Australia, Indonesia and the ROK at the signing ceremony?The US Department of State urged China to comply with international standards in terms of the governance and transparency of the AIIB. How does China respond to this?

A: China proposes to set up the AIIB in order to meet the enormous requirement for infrastructure financing in Asia due to the extended downturn of world economy. What China has done is an all-win move that enhances unity and cooperation in Asia by assuming more responsibilities. The AIIB will be an open and inclusive institution, and will not replace existing multilateral development banks. On the contrary, by complimenting and stepping up cooperation with existing banks, the AIIB will better meet the demand of regional countries in infrastructure investment and financing and give a stronger boost to the common development and prosperity of regional countries.

China's proposal of setting up the AIIB is widely echoed and supported by various parties. China maintains communication and consultation with Australia, Indonesia, the ROK, the US and other countries in the course of preparation. We welcome the participation by all countries that are willing to join it, and expect them to play a positive and constructive role towards this end. We will continue to maintain close communication with related parties, carry out sincere cooperation and build the AIIB into a multilateral development bank that pursues mutual benefit and common development through cooperation.

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