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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei's Regular Press Conference on January 8, 2015

At the invitation of Amina Mohamed, the Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs of Kenya, Ali Ahmed Karti, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Sudan, Pierre Moukoko Mbonjo, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cameroon, Agapito Mba Mokuy, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, and Raymond Tshibanda, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Foreign Minister Wang Yi will pay official visits to Kenya, Sudan, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea and the Democratic Republic of the Congo from January 10 to 17.

Ever since 1991, Africa has been the place where each Chinese Foreign Minister chooses to visit first at the outset of a new year, showcasing the great importance attached by the Chinese side to Africa. The visit by Foreign Minister Wang Yi is to implement the spirit of the Central Conference on Work Relating to Foreign Affairs, promote the outcomes of visits by President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang, carry forward the friendship, build mutual trust, boost cooperation and push for the in-depth growth of bilateral relations between China and the host countries, as well as the overall China-Africa relationship.

Q: Venezuelan President Maduro Moros said that Venezuela has got an investment of over 20 billion US dollars from China. Can you confirm that and give us more details about how the money would be used?

A: President Xi Jinping met with Venezuelan President Maduro at the Great Hall of the People on January 7. President Xi Jinping pointed out that China-Venezuela relationship was elevated to comprehensive strategic partnership last year with the joint announcement of the two sides, opening up a new chapter for the growth of bilateral relationship. Political mutual trust between the two countries has been cemented, while mutually beneficial and friendly cooperation has taken on a new and vibrant look. Going forward, we will press ahead with bilateral relations at a higher level for more in-depth growth in a wider range of areas. The Chinese side supports efforts by the Venezuelan side to adjust its economic structure and build a production-oriented economic model. The two sides should give a more active role to the China-Venezuela High-level Mixed Committee, make good and full use of the cooperation mechanism on financing, direct more capitals to the field of production such as energy, mining, agriculture and industry, promote cooperation in oil exploration, infrastructure construction and technical innovation.

President Maduro said that the constantly enhanced cooperation between China and Venezuela based on mutual benefit and common development has enabled Venezuela with more courage and capacity to brave the tests of the New Year. The Venezuelan side is working on a economic recovery plan and a long-term development plan. It will engage in world-wide financing and increase investment in the field of production. It is looking forward to mapping out the cooperation blueprint for the next stage with China, and breaking new grounds for cooperation in industry, energy, technology, financing and other fields.

We believe that this visit is of great importance to the enhancement of mutual trust and the advancement of practical cooperation between China and Venezuela.

This morning, President Xi Jinping pointed out at the opening ceremony of the 1st Ministerial Meeting of the China-CELAC Forum that countries around the world including Latin American and Caribbean countries will gain larger market and get more opportunities for growth, investment and cooperation in the midst of China's economic growth that will be kept at medium or high speed in years to come. The Chinese side is ready to work together with Latin American and Caribbean countries to increase the trade volume between China and Latin America to 500 billion US dollars and China's direct investment in Latin America to 250 billion US dollars within 10 years. President Xi Jinping has set a new target for the practical cooperation between China and Latin America. We will join hands with Latin American countries to forge ahead with the overall cooperation and deliver more benefits to the two peoples.

Q: There have been exchanges of fire between Indian and Pakistani troops in the border areas over recent days, causing death and injuries. What is China's comment on that?

A: The Chinese side follows the development of the situation. As the neighbor and friend of both Pakistan and India, the Chinese side calls on both parties to exercise restraint, keep the situation under control through dialogue and consultation, properly deal with differences and work hand in hand to safeguard peace, stability and development of South Asia.

Q: The Somali government said that a Chinese-funded company called ARC has been involved in illegal mining in the country. It has asked for China's assistance in stopping the illegal operation of the company. What is China's response to that?

A: I am not aware of the specific project and the situation you mentioned. As I pointed out the other day, Chinese companies are at a stage of going global. The Chinese government has been asking Chinese companies to abide by local laws and regulations, act in line with the market rules and protect local environment. That is the long-standing position of the Chinese government.

Q: What is China's comment on the terrorist attack at the headquarters of the French weekly Charlie Hebdo?

A: Last night, we have made clear China's position on that. We are profoundly shocked by the terrorist attack taking place in Paris, France on January 7. We strongly condemn that. The Chinese side mourns the victims and extends sincere sympathy to the bereaved families and the injured. The Chinese side resolutely opposes terrorism in all manifestations and supports the efforts by the French side to safeguard security of the country.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi has sent a message of condolences to French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius to mourn the victims and reaffirm China's principled position of opposing all forms of terrorism.

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