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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang's Regular Press Conference on March 11, 2014

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang held a press conference on March 11, 2014.

Q: Please update us on China's search for the missing plane and progress in follow-up work.

A: The search and rescue efforts are still ongoing. Up till now, four Chinese vessels have engaged in search and rescue in the possible area where contact with the flight was lost. Another two vessels will join them later today, and two more tomorrow. Therefore, there will be altogether eight Chinese vessels, including government ships, coast guard vessels and naval vessels, in the search and rescue operation by tomorrow.

The joint working group sent by the Chinese government has arrived in Kuala Lumpur last night and met and communicated with the first group of Chinese passengers' families at the airport of Kuala Lumpur this morning. It also met with leading officials of Malaysia Airlines, asking them to attend to families of the Chinese passengers and keep them informed of relevant developments. The joint working group will also join the Chinese Embassy in Malaysia in calling on the Malaysian side to coordinate the search and rescue forces from various countries and step up efforts for search, rescue and investigation.

Officials of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, the Civil Aviation Administration of China, the Ministry of Public Security and other authorities also met with families of the passengers last night in Beijing to learn about their needs and pacify them. We also held talks with officials sent by Malaysia Airlines to Beijing, calling on them to work on families of the passengers, give responses to their requirements and inform them of the developments of the search and rescue operation in a timely and accurate fashion.

That is the latest information that I have at the moment.

Q: Today marks the third memorial day commemorating Japan's massive earthquake on March 11, 2011. It is reported that 30,000 people protested on March 9 in front of Japanese Prime Minister's official residence against the use of nuclear power. Similar demonstrations will take place in over 175 Japanese cities. Demonstrators demand the Japanese government to draw lessons from the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant accident, make good on its commitment of "no nuclear power". What is China's comment?

A: We have noted the developments. We understand the Japanese public's demand based on their immediate security concerns for the government's thorough investigation into the accident and realization of the "no nuclear power" commitment. Nuclear energy can benefit people only when developing safely. We hope that the Japanese government can listen attentively to the outcry of its people, find out the cause of the accident, give an explicit explanation for the accident and tell the public what resolution will be introduced so as to the win the trust of its people in the development of nuclear energy and reassure its neighboring countries.

Japan's large stockpile of sensitive nuclear materials, which contains not only plutonium but also uranium, has far exceeded its real demand. If the Japanese government reactivates the nuclear power plant in haste, will it worsen the already grave supply-demand imbalance of nuclear materials in Japan? Why does the Japanese side intend to do so? Peaceful use of nuclear energy will not run in difficulties only if there is a supply-demand balance. We urge the Japanese government to face squarely the misgivings and concern of the international community in a responsible attitude and tell us what measures they will take to solve the above problems. Only by doing so can the risk to nuclear security be removed and the disaster of nuclear proliferation be prevented.

Q: After Japan was hit by a massive earthquake on March 11, 2011, China sent a rescue team to assist Japan in search and rescue. There was also a Chinese student saved by the Japanese during the earthquake. What is China's comment on Japan's reconstruction work over the past three years?

A: Today marks the third memorial day commemorating Japan's massive earthquake. The Chinese government and people conveyed sincere condolence to the Japanese government and people right after the earthquake and hoped to see people in the quake-hit areas rebuild their homeland at an early date. China has rendered support and aid to the Japanese side in both morality and materials.

The Japanese side has scored some progress in the reconstruction of disaster-hit areas over the past 3 years. But there are issues yet to be explained by the Japanese side to the international community when it comes to nuclear. The international community, especially Japan's neighbors have great concern about that. Therefore, we hope that the Japanese side will take this concern seriously, give a clear explanation and take concrete steps to solve the problems as soon as possible with a responsible attitude.

Q: As vessels from various countries are arriving at the possible waters where the Malaysia Airlines flight went missing, which country is coordinating the search and rescue efforts in the relevant waters?

A: The Malaysian side ought to play the leading role and coordinate the search and rescue operation.

Q: First, is the Chinese side able to identify who used the stolen passports aboard the Malaysian flight? Second, it is said that relevant Chinese authorities plan to send a working group to Malaysia to assist with the investigation. Can you confirm that?

A: I answered a similar question yesterday. As far as we have learnt, apart from those two passports, there is no other case of stolen passport. The Ministry of Public Security has made clarification on that.

The working group of the Ministry of Public Security has arrived in Malaysia for joint investigation with the Malaysian side. As far as I know, they have been holding talks with departments concerned of the Malaysian side yesterday and this morning. I have nothing new about the investigation to offer at the moment. There are also officials of the Ministry of Public Security in the joint working group sent by the Chinese government to Malaysia.

Q: Is the Chinese side satisfied with Malaysia's search and rescue efforts?

A: No substantial progress has been made, despite the active efforts made by Malaysia, China and all parties concerned for search and rescue. We will once again call on and urge the Malaysian side to speed up and step up search and rescue and make proper arrangements in other aspects, including to work on families of the passengers.

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