Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Liu Weimin's Regular Press Conference on December 19, 2011

Q: It is reported that the supreme leader of the DPRK Kim Jong-il passed away on December 17. How does China comment?

A: Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Ma Zhaoxu has just made remarks on the passing of the supreme leader of the DPRK Kim Jong-il. I would like to restate it to you:

Shocked to learn that the supreme leader of the DPRK Comrade Kim Jong-il passed away, we express our deep condolences over his passing and extend our sincere sympathy to the DPRK people. Comrade Kim Jong-il is a great leader of the DPRK people and a close friend of the Chinese people, making significant contribution to the DPRK's cause of socialism and the development of China-DPRK good-neighbourly, friendly and cooperative relations. We believe the DPRK people will turn sorrow into strength and unite as one to carry forward the DPRK's cause of socialism. China and the DPRK will work together to consolidate and develop the traditional friendship between the two parties, two countries and two peoples and make active contribution to peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula and the region as a whole.

Q: How does China view the current Syrian situation? Russia recently submitted a draft resolution on Syria to the UN Security Council. What's China's attitude on the draft resolution?

A: Following the developments in Syria closely, China welcomes the Arab League's efforts to push for the restoration of stability in Syria, an early launch of a political process and the prevention of external interference. We support the continued efforts aimed at resolving the Syrian issue within the framework of the Arab League. If the Security Council is to discuss the Syrian situation, it should be conducive to easing the tension, promoting political dialogue to dissolve disputes and upholding peace and stability in the Middle East. China supports the Russian draft and appreciates the constructive efforts by Russia for the settlement of the Syrian crisis. China is willing to maintain communication with all parties concerned.

Q: The southern parts of the Philippines were hit by tropical storms. How does China comment? Is China considering providing assistance to the Philippines?

A: Recently, the southern parts of the Philippines were hit by tropical storms which inflicted heavy casualties and property losses. We express our sincere sympathy and condolences to the people in the disaster-hit areas. China is willing to provide necessary humanitarian assistance to the Philippine side based on its request.

Q: Please brief us on the itinerary of Vice President Xi Jinping's visits to Vietnam and Thailand, the state of bilateral relations and China's expectation.

A: At the invitation of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam and Vice President of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam Nguyen Thi Doan, Vice President Xi Jinping, Member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee will pay an official visit to Vietnam from December 20 to 22. At the invitation of the Government of the Kingdom of Thailand, Vice President Xi Jinping will pay an official visit to Thailand from December 22 to 24.

Over the past 61 years of diplomatic relations, China-Vietnam relations have been kept in good shape. The two countries have forged comprehensive strategic partnership of cooperation, maintained frequent high-level exchanges and enhanced cooperation steadily in various fields, bringing tangible benefits to both peoples. The Chinese side hopes that this visit will further strengthen China-Vietnam good-neighbourliness and friendship, promote strategic mutual trust and practical cooperation so as to move forward their comprehensive strategic partnership of cooperation. During his visit to Vietnam, Vice President Xi Jinping will meet with and have talks with Vietnamese party and state leaders. The two sides will sign various cooperation documents in the fields of health, media, business and trade, etc.

Thailand is a close neighbour of China. Over the past 36 years of diplomatic relations, China-Thailand relations have maintained the momentum of healthy and steady development. Leaders of the two countries have met often and bilateral exchanges and cooperation have been smooth in such fields as politics, economy, trade, science and technology, education and culture. The two countries have maintained good coordination and cooperation in international and regional affairs. The Chinese side hopes that this visit will further strengthen bilateral political mutual trust, deepen practical cooperation in the trade, financial and cultural fields, expand mutual visits by the people, advance traditional friendship and step up coordination and cooperation in international and regional affairs. During his visit to Thailand, Vice President Xi Jinping will meet with and have talks with members of the royal family and government leaders. The two sides will sign various cooperation documents in the fields of business, trade, finance, justice and maritime affairs, etc.

Q: Please brief us on the meeting arrangements of Japanese Prime Minister Noda's visit to China, China's expectation and current China-Japan relations.

A: At the invitation of Premier Wen Jiabao, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda will pay an official visit to China from December 25 to 26. During his visit, President Hu Jintao, Chairman Wu Bangguo will meet with him respectively and Premier Wen Jiabao will have talks with him. The two sides will exchange views on China-Japan relations as well as international and regional issues of common interest.

China and Japan are important neighbours. Maintaining the sound and steady development of China-Japan relations serves the fundamental interests of both countries and peoples and is of great significance to regional peace, stability and development. Currently, China-Japan relations are in good shape. Next year marks the 40th anniversary of the normalization of China-Japan relations, which presents important development opportunities to bilateral relations. The Chinese side gives high priority to Prime Minister Noda's visit and hopes that the two sides can work together to further advance political mutual trust, deepen exchanges and cooperation in all fields so as to push for new progress in China-Japan strategic relationship of mutual benefit.

Q: State Councillor Dai Bingguo has arrived at Myanmar. Please brief us on his itinerary. Will he visit other countries? How does China comment on the recent improvement of US-Myanmar relations?

A: State Councillor Dai Bingguo will attend the Fourth Greater Mekong Sub-Region Economic Cooperation (GMS) Summit from December 19 to 20. On the sidelines of the Summit, he will have bilateral meetings with leaders of the participating countries including Myanmar. China and Myanmar are important neighbours. The two sides will continue to develop their friendly and cooperative relations. China welcomes the improvement of US-Myanmar relations.

Q: During Vice President Xi Jinping's visit to Vietnam, will he propose new settlement plans for the South China Sea dispute?

A: Vice President Xi Jinping will meet and talk with the Vietnamese side over issues of mutual interest. In October this year, General-Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) Central Committee Nguyen Phu Trong visited China. Leaders of the two parties and two countries reached important consensus on deepening China-Vietnam friendship and the proper settlement of the South China Sea issue. The two sides issued the Joint Statement and signed the agreement on the basic principles guiding the resolution of maritime issues. I believe the two sides will continue to uphold the spirit of the agreement and work together to elevate bilateral relations in a bid to promote peace, stability and development of the region.

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