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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei's Regular Press Conference on April 2, 2014

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei held a press conference on April 2, 2014.

Hong Lei updated the press on China's latest search efforts for the missing Malaysian plane.

Hong Lei said that Premier Li Keqiang of the State Council talked on the phone with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott this morning.

Prime Minister Abbott at the outset conveyed his sympathy to families of the Chinese passengers on board the missing Malaysia Airlines aircraft and informed Premier Li Keqiang of Australia's participation in the search and the latest development and consideration of investigation. Premier Li Keqiang thanked Prime Minister Abbott for his sympathy and update, expressed sympathy for relatives of the six Australian passengers on board the plane and appreciated the efforts made by the Australian side in search of the missing plane. Premier Li Keqiang said that despite the even more complicated situation and mounting difficulties in the search operation, we cannot let up, even less give up. Instead, we would continue our all-out search efforts. Over ten vessels and multiple aircrafts sent by the Chinese side are searching for, retrieving and verifying objects possibly related to the missing plane together with international search forces. We have also mobilized over 60 Chinese merchant vessels passing by and 20 Chinese fishing boats in the Indian Ocean to engage in the search operation.

Premier Li Keqiang applauded Prime Minister Abbott's remarks that we are obligated to intensify the search efforts for the sake of relatives of the passengers on board the plane. China will stay in close communication and cooperation with all relevant parties including Australia and Malaysia to press ahead with the search and investigation and make joint efforts in dealing with relevant matters.

Prime Minister Abbott expressed thanks for Premier Li Keqiang's solicitude, spoke highly of China's work in the search operation and stated that the Australian side would enhance communication and cooperation with China, Malaysia and all relevant parties, do their utmost to intensify search efforts and properly deal with relevant matters.

China carries forward its search operation in relevant waters. Haixun 01, South China Sea Rescue 115, East China Sea Rescue 101 as well as naval vessels Jinggangshan, Kunlunshan, Qiandaohu and Haikou continue their search in the mission area. One IL-76 of the China Air Force is also searching above the same waters.

The slightest hope deserves our one hundred percent efforts. We will definitely not give up the search.

Q: Please brief us on the theme of the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2014. What is China's expectation for the conference?

A: The Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2014 will be held in Boao, Hainan from April 8 to 11, with an opening ceremony on the morning of April 10. The theme of the annual conference is "Asia's new future: identifying new growth drivers". Focusing on reform, innovation and sustainable development, this conference will witness in-depth discussions on the current economic and financial situation of the world, fiscal and financial cooperation in Asia, infrastructure connectivity, regional free trade and multilateral trade system as well as other topics.

As the host country, China will take the annual conference as a platform to showcase China's overall thinking and major measures in terms of economic development at the current stage, elaborate on China's policies for the promotion of economic integration and regional cooperation in Asia and push for the implementation of cooperation initiatives in relevant fields. We hope that delegates will pool their wisdom in the light of the theme of the conference, build up consensus and confidence, maintain the momentum of economic stability and growth in Asia and emerging markets and open up a brighter future for Asia.

Q: China released yesterday the information about the visit by the Quartet of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC). Please give us more details about the delegation and its itinerary in China. How does China evaluate the current China-CELAC relations?

A: The delegation of the Quartet of CELAC is composed of Foreign Minister Enrique Castillo Barrantes of the Republic of Costa Rica, which holds the pro tempore presidency of CELAC, Deputy Foreign Minister Abelardo Moreno of the Republic of Cuba, the former CELAC rotating president, Deputy Foreign Minister Leonardo Arizaga of the Republic of Ecuador, the next CELAC rotating president and representatives of the Caribbean Community.

Chinese leaders will meet with the delegation during its visit to China. Foreign Minister Wang Yi will hold talks with the delegation.

China attaches importance to developing relations with CELAC. The past two-plus years since the establishment of CELAC have witnessed the rapid development of the relations. The two sides set up a regular dialogue mechanism at the foreign ministerial level and agreed to make joint efforts to establish a China-CELAC cooperation mechanism with the China-CELAC forum at its core.

Leaders from both sides have been having in-depth discussions on the establishment of the China-CELAC forum since last year, reaching important consensus. A special declaration in support of the building of the China-CELAC forum was adopted at the Second Summit of CELAC in January, 2014. It is agreed that the first meeting of the forum will be held within this year, which fully demonstrates the joint aspiration of Latin American and Caribbean States to enhance overall cooperation with China. China will work together with CELAC to prepare for the forum, set up an important stage for the comprehensive and cooperative partnership between China and CELAC featuring equality, mutual benefit and common development, safeguard the common interests of China and CELAC and promote peace, stability and development of the region and beyond.

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