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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang's Regular Press Conference on October 25, 2016

At the invitation of Premier Li Keqiang of the State Council, Prime Minister Charles Michel of the Kingdom of Belgium will pay an official visit to China from October 30 to November 1.

During his stay, President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang and Chairman Zhang Dejiang will meet and hold talks with him on separate occasions. Leaders of the two countries will have an in-depth exchange of views on bilateral relations and issues of common interest, and attend the signing ceremony of bilateral cooperation documents.

Belgium is an important cooperative partner for China within the EU. Recent years have seen the robust growth of China-Belgium relations, featuring frequent high-level visits, deeper political mutual trust, fruitful outcomes in economic cooperation and trade, and better cultural and people-to-people exchanges.

Prime Minister Michel's visit comes when China and Belgium are about to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties. We believe that this visit is of great significance to promoting China-Belgium friendship, enhancing all-around friendly cooperation between the two sides, and advancing the sound and steady development of China-Belgium, China-EU relations.

At the invitation of Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ahmed Ghandour of the Republic of the Sudan will pay an official visit to China from October 27 to 31.

This is Foreign Minister Ghandour's first visit to China after taking office. Both China and Sudan attach great importance to this visit. During his stay, Chinese leaders will meet with him. Foreign Minister Wang Yi will hold talks with him. He will also have some interactions with Chinese think tanks.

China and Sudan have been growing their relations in a steady way over recent years. In September last year, President Xi Jinping met with President Bashir who was in China on the occasion of celebrating the 70th anniversary of the victory of the Chinese People's War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-Fascist War, during which the two leaders reached important consensus on developing bilateral ties and announced the establishment of China-Sudan Strategic Partnership. China sets great store by the China-Sudan relationship and stands ready to further promote friendly exchanges between the two sides in various fields and at all levels, strengthen practical cooperation across the board, and move forward China-Sudan Strategic Partnership.

We are looking forward to discussing with Foreign Minister Ghandour bilateral relations and international and regional issues of common interest, with the aim of consolidating consensus, deepening cooperation and advancing China-Sudan Strategic Partnership.

Q: The US State Department announced that Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken will travel to Beijing on October 29 to conduct the interim Strategic Security Dialogue with Executive Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui. Can you confirm that?

A: As agreed by the two sides, Executive Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui will co-host with Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken a new round of interim China-US Strategic Security Dialogue in Beijing on October 29. The two sides will exchange views on bilateral relations and strategic security issues of common interest. Specific arrangements are still under consultation.

Q: Due to security concerns, the German government withdrew its approval for a Chinese enterprise's takeover of the German chip equipment maker Aixtron. Has China expressed its concern to the German side?

A: An open and fair investment environment serves the interests of all parties. I have seen reports about the situation you mentioned. I want to stress that the Chinese government always encourages its enterprises to conduct investment and cooperation overseas in accordance with market principles, international rules and local laws. Meanwhile, we also hope that relevant countries can provide a level playing field and convenience to Chinese enterprises, since it meets the interests of the two sides.

Q: The Vice Chinese Foreign Minister arrived in the DPRK yesterday. What did the two sides talk about? Did China relay its concerns over the Korean nuclear issue to the DPRK side?

A: Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin, who is the chief Chinese representative of the China-DPRK joint committee on border issues, led a delegation to the DPRK to co-host with DPRK Vice Foreign Minister Pak Myong Guk the 3rd meeting of the committee. Regarding Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin's activities in the DPRK, we will release relevant information in due course.

Q: This year marks the 45th anniversary of China's restoration of its lawful seat in the UN. Is China planning on any commemorative activity? How does China evaluate the role played by the UN in international affairs? How will China be more involved in UN work?

A: 45 years ago, on this day, the 26 Session of the UN General Assembly passed Resolution 2758 by an overwhelming majority, which restored the lawful seat of the People's Republic of China in the UN. A landmark event both to China and the UN, it turned a new page for China-UN cooperation and strengthened the universality, representativeness and authority of the UN. To commemorate this important historic event, the Foreign Ministry and Chinese diplomatic missions overseas have held a series of activities. Tonight, we will hold a grand reception for this 45th anniversary.

Since resuming its lawful seat, China has been playing an active role in UN undertakings related to security, development, human rights, society, laws, arms control and disarmament, making great contributions to world peace and stability. When President Xi Jinping attended summits commemorating the 70th birthday of the UN last year and Premier Li Keqiang attended high-level meetings of the 71st Session of the UN General Assembly, important measures were announced by China in support of UN endeavors, elevating China-UN cooperation to a higher level.

At present, both China's development and UN endeavors have come to a new and crucial stage. China will continue to uphold the international order and international system with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter at the core, stand for the central role of the UN in international affairs, support UN efforts in various fields, and work relentlessly with the UN to serve the noble cause of peace and development.

Q: The US warship which patrolled waters off the Xisha Islands last week was sent by the 3rd Fleet of the US Navy stationed in San Diego. In the past, vessels for navigation missions in the South China Sea used to be under the command of the 7th Fleet of the US Navy based in Japan. Do you think that the involvement of a new fleet has heightened tensions in the South China Sea?

A: The US can make its own call regarding how to evaluate its security environment and how to spend its taxpayers' money. However, if the US does anything that undermines peace, security and stability in the Asia Pacific, then China needs to make its opposition clear. If its moves put China's sovereign rights and security interests at risk, then China will definitely take necessary counter-measures.

Q: You said China will continue to support UN efforts. We know that promoting sustainable development is one of the priorities of the UN, and the Chinese government just released its widely-followed National Plan on Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. What is the significance of this National Plan?

A: At the UN Sustainable Development Summit held in September 2015, President Xi Jinping joined leaders from other countries in witnessing the passage of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, mapping out global cooperation in development for the next 15 years. To implement this agenda has become an imperative in the field of international development.

China, pursuing development as its top priority, has inaugurated its steps to implement the sustainable development agenda in an all-round way. The formulation of the National Plan is to review and sum up China' s experience in implementing the MDGs, conduct an in-depth analysis of the opportunities and challenges in executing the sustainable development agenda, on the basis of which to devise the guidelines, general principles and steps to implement the agenda. Our National Plan will be an action plan for our follow-up work. It will also serve as reference to other countries, especially developing countries.

The international community has been following the National Plan and gives it positive responses, believing that it showcases China's sense of responsibility as the largest developing country. China will live to the fullest the concept of innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development, work hand in hand with other countries to advance the sustainable development agenda, and make new and greater contributions to the cause of global development.

Q: Has the Chinese fishermen who were rescued from the Somali pirates arrived in China?

A: Yesterday, we have given you details on their rescue. The latest information we have is that of the 10 Chinese fishermen (9 from the mainland and 1 from Taiwan), 9 have arrived at Guangzhou this morning, except one who needs to stay put for medical treatments because of health reasons. He will be escorted back by the working group of the Foreign Ministry once he gets better.

Q: After the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson made clear China's position on some European politicians' meetings with the 14th Dalai Lama during the latter's recent visit to Europe, the European governments involved are now trying to eliminate the negative effect, for fear of damaging relations with China. What is your comment on that?

A: First and foremost, I want to reiterate that China is firmly against officials from any country engaging with the 14th Dalai Lama in any form. We are unswervingly committed to this position, which brooks no doubt.

We take note that the Czech president, chairmen of the two houses of the parliament as well as the prime minister have issued a joint statement, and so has the Czech Foreign Ministry. Their statements reaffirm that Czech respects China's sovereignty and territorial integrity, recognizes Tibet as part of China, and that some individual politician's behavior does not represent Czech's official policy.

Prime Minister Robert Fico of Slovakia is quoted as saying that the President of Slovakia should not promote individual interests over the common good by making a choice that had jeopardized bilateral relations. Slovak Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajcak has sent an official letter to Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, in which he stresses that the Slovak government sticks to the one-China policy, and regards Tibet as an inseparable part of China. On behalf of the Slovak government, Mr. Lajcak has made a solemn statement that the incumbent Slovak government has never and will never have any official contact with the "Tibetan Government in Exile" or "Tibetan Parliament in Exile".

We value the abovementioned statements, and expect relevant countries to honor their words, stick to the one-China policy, truly understand and respect China's core interests and major concerns, properly and prudently handle Tibet-related issues in a bid to ensure healthy, stable and long-term development of bilateral relations with China.

Q: On October 22, a "comfort women" museum was opened to public at the Shanghai Normal University, where two "comfort women" statues were also unveiled. Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga reportedly said yesterday that he found such an activity extremely regrettable, as it would not help improve Japan-China relations. The Japanese side indicates that rather than indulging in the unhappy past, the two sides should focus more on the future, and work together to address common challenges faced by the international community. Do you have any comments?

A: Only by facing up to the history can one look into the future.

The forced recruitment of the "comfort women" is a gross crime against humanity committed by the Japanese militarism during the Second World War against people of the victimized countries in Asia, including China. The victims and their families are still suffering from untold miseries.

History will not be altered with the passing of time, and facts will not disappear because of any chicanery or denials. We solemnly urge the Japanese side to adopt the attitude of being responsible for history and the conscience of the mankind and respecting human rights, face up to and reflect upon the severe crimes the Japanese militarism committed in its history of aggression and win the trust of its Asian neighbors and the international community with concrete actions. If like the Germans who built the "Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe" in Berlin, Japan could build statues of "comfort women" in Tokyo, it may finally be relieved of the historical burden and forgiven by its Asian neighbors.

Q: A police training center in Quetta, Balochistan Province of Pakistan was attacked by militants, causing severe casualties. What is your comment?

A: China is shocked by this terrorist attack in Quetta which has caused huge casualties. We express strong condemnation over this attack, condolences to the victims, and sympathy to the injured and the bereaved families.

China opposes all forms of terrorism and will continue to support Pakistan in fighting against terrorism, maintaining national stability and protecting people's life and property.

Q: Can you give us more details about the China-DPRK joint committee on border issues? Is it the maritime border or land border that this committee is concerned about?

A: The joint committee is established to execute the China-DPRK Land Border Management System Agreement (2009). It is in charge of handling important items concerning border maintenance and management through consultation. It has been convened regularly since 2011.

Q: First, about the Somali hostage incident, according to the BBC, former Taiwan elected representatives who were part of the rescue operation said that they paid a huge amount of ransom for the release of the Taiwan fisherman. What is your response? Did China pay ransom? Can you tell us more about the operation? Second, Philippine President Duterte kicked off his visit to Japan today. Japan hopes that President Duterte continues to cozy up with the US, and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe hopes that President Duterte can sort things out between the Philippines and the US. What is your response?

A: On your first question, we have offered all the information we have on the rescue of the hostages. I want to reiterate that regardless of multiple difficulties and complex factors, the Chinese government always puts the safety of the hostages in the first place and has been making unremitting efforts to that end. Today, most of the hostages can return home safely. That is one thing we should value more and feel more relieved about.

Concerning President Duterte's visit to Japan, we wish for healthy, positive and cooperative relations among all countries, especially between our neighbors. Such relations should be conducive to regional peace, stability and development, instead of the opposite. Considering that the South China Sea situation has cooled down, and China and the Philippines are committed to restoring ties and enhancing cooperation, it is better if other parties can help consolidate such a positive trend by doing and saying the right things.

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