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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei's Regular Press Conference on March 19, 2014


Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei held a press conference on March 19, 2014.

Hong Lei started the press conference with the following announcement:

At the invitation of Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli of the State Council, Liviu Dragnea, Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Regional Development and Public Administration of Romania will pay an official visit to China from March 20 to 26.

He then briefed the press on what China has done since yesterday in search of the missing Malaysian airplane.

Hong Lei said that after the Malaysian side announced that the missing plane could have flown over the southern corridor, China immediately mobilized relevant forces. On March 19, China's naval vessels set off from a temporary rally point near Singapore and sailed to relevant waters for the second round of search operation. A formation of 4 vessels headed north towards the Bay of Bengal, and another formation of 5 vessels headed south towards waters to the west of Indonesia. The northern and southern search areas cover 120,000 and 180,000 square kilometers respectively.

At the request of the Malaysian side, we are searching with satellites over the Chinese territory covered by the northern corridor and checking and analyzing radar data. Given the vast territory covered by the search operation, the search and check is still ongoing. Up to now, there has been no sign showing that the Malaysian airplane could have flown over Chinese territory or airspace. We will confirm the final result as soon as we finish analyzing all the data. Meanwhile, China has agreed to share satellite data with the Malaysian side at its request.

Q: There have been lots of concerns from the intelligence agency that militaries of countries involved in the search do not share radar track data which may help locate the missing plane. Is the Chinese government providing full access to its radar data to Malaysia and other countries involved?

A: As I just said, we have searched with satellites and checked the radar data in the vast Chinese territory covered by the northern corridor. Relevant work is in full swing. We haven't found any sign showing that the missing plane could have entered Chinese territory. As I just mentioned, China has agreed to share satellite data with Malaysia.

Q: China claimed to have shared satellite date with the Malaysian side. Has it shared the information with other countries concerned?

A: The Malaysian side is responsible for coordinating the overall search operation. China is ready for full cooperation in the search over the northern corridor. China has made a public call for assistance and participation by relevant countries and international organizations in the search. China has also informed countries that may be covered by the northern corridor of the situation, calling on these countries to cooperate with Malaysia in this international search campaign and provide clues and information so as to facilitate the search. All relevant countries have pledged positive support, and we appreciate that. If any country needs the assistance of China, just speak it out, and China is always ready to provide support.

Q: First, Russian President Putin signed a treaty on Crimea joining the Russian Federation with Crimean Prime Minister Sergey Aksyonov. What's China's comment on that? Second, President Putin said in a speech on March 18 that he appreciated those who had shown understanding to Russia's actions on Crimea, and that the Chinese government had given careful consideration to the issue of Crimea and Ukraine. What is China's response?

A: On your first question, China is consistent in its position of respecting all countries' independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity. China has expounded its principled position on the issue of Crimea. We believe that this issue should be resolved politically under a framework of law and order. All parties should exercise restraint and avoid taking actions that may sharpen the dispute. The international community should make constructive efforts in defusing the tension.

On your second question, it is well known that due to the complex historical and practical factors, we should weigh up and take everything into consideration when dealing with the Crimean issue. China always upholds justice and objectiveness. Under the current circumstances, all parties should exercise restraint, avoid escalation of the tension, and seek a political settlement on the basis of respecting all parties' reasonable concerns and legitimate rights and interests.

Q: Reports say that the Beijing No.1 Intermediate People's Court accepted a compensation lawsuit against Japanese companies filed by Chinese survivors of wartime forced labor on March 18. Can you brief us on this case and how will it play out?

A: This is a decision made by the Chinese court in accordance with law.

The forced recruitment of labourers was a serious crime committed by Japan during WWII, bringing grave damages to the dignity and legitimate rights and interests of Chinese victims for a long time. China has been urging the Japanese side to be responsible with history, take seriously and properly handle this issue left over from history.

Q: According to the DPRK, Special Representative Wu Dawei of the Chinese government on the Korean Peninsular Affairs visited the DPRK. Please give us more details. What are the topics of this visit?

A: Special Representative Wu Dawei of the Chinese government on the Korean Peninsular Affairs visited the DPRK on March 17 and held consultations with the DPRK. Major topics include the situation of the Korean Peninsula and how to resume the Six-Party Talks.

Q: The East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) has reportedly posted an online video supporting the violent terrorist attack in Kunming on March 1. What is China's comment?

A: We have noted relevant report.

The ETIM posted an online video to openly support the violent terrorist attack on March 1 in Kunming. This is a full exposure of its terrorist nature.

Terrorism is a common enemy of all mankind. To crack down on the ETIM is an important part of the international efforts against terrorism. China hopes that the international community can see through the terrorist nature of and grave damages caused by the East Turkistan forces represented by the ETIM, understand and support China's position and policies in fighting against terrorism.

Q: Since Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited the Yasukuni Shrine, Chinese ambassadors abroad have published many editorials on local mainstream media criticizing Abe's behaviour. Can you tell us how many ambassadors have done so?

A: The Japanese leader's visit of the Yasukuni Shrine in defiance of the victory of WWII and post-war international order turned back the wheels of history and was widely condemned by the international community. China's diplomatic and consular missions revealed the nature of and the harm caused by this behaviour to the international community and warned the world to be highly vigilant on and strongly opposed to it. We have won extensive understanding and support from the international community.

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