Hong Lei started the press conference with the following announcement:
At the invitation of the governments of the Republic of Uzbekistan, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Republic of Tajikistan and Turkmenistan, Vice Chairman Chen Zhili of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress will visit the above five countries as the special envoy of President Hu Jintao and attend activities celebrating the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and the five Central Asian countries from January 5 to 14, 2012.
China established diplomatic relations with Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan from January 2 to 6, 1992. In the following 20 years, China has maintained sound and stable relations with the Central Asian countries based on the principle of mutual respect, equal treatment and mutual benefit. Both sides make energetic contributions to safeguarding and promoting regional and global peace, stability and development, as embodied in the ever-deepening political mutual trust, fruitful achievements of practical cooperation, effective security cooperation, thriving people-to-people and cultural exchanges as well as close coordination and cooperation in international and regional affairs. With the joint celebration of the 20th anniversary as a fresh start, China would like to enhance its friendly relations and mutually beneficial cooperation with the Central Asian countries in an all-round way and elevate bilateral relations to a new level.
Q: As the year of 2011 is drawing to its end, how do you comment on China's diplomacy in 2011? Can you brief us on the major considerations of China's diplomacy in the next year?
A: Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi has made a comprehensive and in-depth exposition on the international landscape and China's diplomacy in 2011 during his recent interview with the People's Daily, to which you may refer.
In the context of a complex and volatile international landscape of the year 2011, we have promoted our relations steadily with all sides, properly dealt with major emergencies as well as sensitive issues, strived to create a stable, prosperous and harmonious surrounding environment, consolidated our traditional friendship with other developing countries, taken a constructive part in the reform of the international system, ensured the safety and legitimate rights and interests of overseas Chinese nationals and legal persons, carried out public and cultural diplomacy in a deep-going way, fully warded off external economic risks and vigorously safeguarded our country's sovereignty, security and development interests.
The global economic situation will remain grim and intricate in 2012 with the lingering existence of predictable and unpredictable unstable and uncertain elements. We will enhance mutual trust, expand cooperation, and properly handle differences with major countries so as to forge our bilateral relations stably ahead. We will stick to good-neighbourliness and friendship and elevate cooperation with neighbouring countries. We will bring our relations with other developing countries even closer, with a view to improving our solidarity and cooperation with them. China will continue to play the role as a responsible major country in the multilateral diplomatic arena and bear a share in the international cooperation against financial crisis so as to promote fiscal, financial, economic and investment cooperation with other countries.
We will stick fast to the path of peaceful development, uphold the win-win strategy of opening up and promote world peace and common development.
Q: First, the DPRK said today that it would not change its policy towards the ROK. What is China's comment? Second, a local Japanese procuratorate announced that it would prosecute a Chinese captain. What is your comment?
A: On your first question, peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula serves the common interests of all relevant parties including the South and the North. China supports the two sides improving relations and promoting reconciliation and cooperation between them.
On your second question, it is an ordinary fishery case. The Chinese Embassy in Japan has sent officials to visit the fishing boat crew. China requires the Japanese side to guarantee the lawful rights and interests of the Chinese captain. We have been in close communication with the Japanese side so as to push for a proper settlement of the case.
The Chinese Government always requests local fishermen to operate in accordance with law. Competent authorities have made great efforts in this regard and will continue to reinforce management and education of Chinese fishermen.