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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei's Regular Press Conference on January 12, 2015

On January 12, Foreign Minister Wang Yi will join the conflicting parties of South Sudan and relevant parties of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan during his visit there to host the Special Consultation in Support of the IGAD-led South Sudan Peace Process. There will be discussions on how to cooperate with and support IGAD in its mediation efforts, speed up South Sudan reconciliation process and realize peace and stability in South Sudan at an early date.

Q: According to Korean Central News Agency, the DPRK has proposed to the US through certain channel that it was willing to suspend nuclear tests if the United States agreed to call off all military drills jointly held with the ROK this year in the ROK and its neighborhood. The US State Department spokesperson responded that the DPRK statement that inappropriately linked routine US-ROK exercises to the possibility of a nuclear test by North Korea was an implicit threat. How does China comment on this?

A: We have taken note of this report. China maintains committed to realizing denuclearization and safeguarding peace and stability of the Korean Peninsular. We advocate and expect relevant parties to reach aforementioned goals through dialogue and consultation, and oppose any action that may escalate the tension.

Q: What does the China-brokered Special Consultation in Support of the IGAD-led South Sudan Peace Process held by parties concerned on the South Sudan issue aim to achieve? What are the expected outcomes of the consultation?

A: The South Sudan conflict has been dragging on for over a year, bringing adverse impact to its people and regional peace and stability. This Consultation is held to continue with the support for the mediation efforts by IGAD on the South Sudan issue, encourage conflicting parties of South Sudan to proceed with dialogue and negotiation in addressing disagreements and conflicts and restore peace and stability to South Sudan at an early date.

Q: The Japanese government passed a written reply on January 9 saying that China and Japan agreed on the direction and attitude on overcoming the political obstacles of bilateral relations in the four-point principled agreement reached in last November, but they "did not touch upon specific contents". What is China's comment on this?

A:The items covered and messages sent by the four-point principled agreement forged by China and Japan on handling and improving bilateral relations are explicit. The Japanese side is pretty clear about this. The Japanese side must honor its commitment if Sino-Japanese relations are to be improved and developed.

Q: Philippine media reports that China is building facilities such as port and runway on islands in the Nansha Islands. According to Philippine military officials, China's construction project is 50% complete. What's China's response to this?

A: China asserts indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and the affiliate waters. China's action on the Nansha Islands is entirely within China's sovereignty.

Q: Foreign Ministers of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France are reportedly to hold a meeting in Berlin on January 12 to prepare for a Normandy format meeting in Astana to discuss the Ukrainian crisis. What are China's comments on this?

A: China welcomes and supports all parties in proactively pursuing a political settlement of the Ukrainian crisis. We expect parties concerned to reach a comprehensive, balanced and enduring political solution at an early date and realize peace, security, stability and development of Ukraine and the whole region while accommodating each other's legitimate rights and interests and concerns through the Normandy format and Minsk format.

Q:On January 9, the Japanese government stated in a written reply that visits by a prime minister in his official capacity to the Yasukuni Shrine are not within state religious behaviors banned by the constitution, as long as their declared purpose is to mourn the nation's war dead rather than serve religious aims. How does China comment on this?

A: China holds a staunch and clear position on Japanese leader's visit to the Yasukuni Shrine. China-Japan relations can be moved forward in a sound and stable manner only if Japan looks squarely at and deeply reflects upon its history of aggression and makes a clean break with militarism.

Q: Does China send any representative to the anti-terrorism rally in Paris? According to an editorial published by Xinhua news agency, the attack on Charlie Hebdo proves that there should be limits on the freedom of the press. How does you comment on this?

A: The Chinese side has received invitation from the French side, and Zhai Jun, Chinese Ambassador to France attended relevant activities in Paris. On January 9, Vice Foreign Minister Wang Chao visited the French Embassy to China, expressed condolences to the victims of the terrorist attack in Paris and extended sympathies to the bereaved families. Vice Foreign Minister Wang said that China is firmly against all forms of terrorism, and stands ready to rise to challenges and safeguard peace and stability of the two countries and the world together with the French side.

About the editorial you mentioned, it only represents views of the media itself. I'd like to point out that China always maintains that different civilizations and religions should respect each other, treat each other as equals and stay in harmony.

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