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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Ma Zhaoxu's Regular Press Conference on February 15, 2011

On the afternoon of February 15, 2011, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Ma Zhaoxu held a regular press conference.

Ma Zhaoxu started with an announcement

At the invitation of President Hu Jintao, President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan will pay a state visit to China from February 21 to 23.

During the visit, President Hu Jintao will hold official talks with President Nazarbayev. Chairman Wu Bangguo and Premier Wen Jiabao will hold meetings with him respectively. The two sides will have an in-depth exchange of views on how to deepen bilateral relations and practical cooperation across the board as well as international and regional issues of common interest. The two sides will sign a series of cooperation documents. President Nazarbayev will also visit Tianjin during his stay in China. It is believed the visit will further enhance political mutual trust, deepen bilateral practical cooperation and promote China-Kazakhstan strategic partnership.

Q: The Japanese Government urges third countries not to take part in economic activities on the “four northern islands” contested by Japan and Russia. But it is reported that Chinese and Russian companies signed cooperation deals on the “four northern islands” earlier this month. Please confirm. How does the Chinese Government stand on the issue?

A: I don’t know about the information you referred to. The issue of the “four northern islands” is a bilateral one between Russia and Japan. It is believed they will proper solve it through friendly consultation.

Q: The Chinese Foreign Ministry responded to the G4’s statement on the Security Council reform last Saturday. According to some Chinese analysts, if India seeks a permanent seat on the Council independently, China will probably support its aspiration. How do you respond?

A: I don’t know which Chinese scholar you are quoting. The position of the Chinese Government is clear. We believe, on the issue of the Security Council reform, member states should seek for a package of solutions and try to reach the most broadly-based consensus through extensive and democratic consultation, accommodating the interests and concerns of all parties. China is ready to stay in contact with all parties, and make joint efforts to push forward the reform in a way conducive to safeguarding the overall interests of the UN and the unity of the member states.

Q: On February 14, the Security Council held a closed-door meeting on the border conflicts between Cambodia and Thailand and the Council President issued a press statement. How does China view the current border situation between Cambodia and Thailand?

A: Both Cambodia and Thailand are China’s friendly neighbors. We express concern over the exchange of fire and regret the casualties caused by it.

We hope Cambodia and Thailand will continue to keep calm, exercise restraint, make their utmost efforts to ease the tension and properly resolve relevant dispute through dialogue and consultation for the long-term development of bilateral relations and the overall interests of regional peace and stability.

Cambodia and Thailand are members of the ASEAN community. We welcome and support ASEAN’s mediation efforts to ease the tension between Cambodia and Thailand, and stand ready to work with the international community including ASEAN to play a constructive role in the proper settlement of relevant issue.

The Security Council discussed the border situation between Cambodia and Thailand on February 14. The Council’s President this month issued a press statement. China hopes the Security Council discussions will help Cambodia and Thailand to peacefully resolve their differences through dialogue and be conducive to ASEAN’s mediation efforts. We will continue to stay in communication with all parties including Cambodia and Thailand over relevant issue.

Q: The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN expressed concern over the drought in northern China that it might affect global food prices. Does China have adequate food reserve or do you need to buy from the international market? Second, how does the 12th Five-Year Plan define China’s foreign policy, especially relations with neighbors and the US?

A: On the first question, the Foreign Ministry is not the competent authorities. But as you are interested in it, I have learned the following from relevant departments and experts for your information.

China is self-sufficient and achieves a surplus when it comes to the food issue. Even if there is a small amount of food import, it is carried out under quotas. China’s import accounts for a tiny part of international food trade and will in no way cause a major impact on international food prices. China has achieved a bumper harvest for seven years in a row. Its abundant food reserve satisfies domestic demand, and thus will not affect international food prices. The recent drought in China may have some impact on winter wheat. Competent authorities are taking active measures to minimize the impact.

As for your second question, I’ve made response before. Regarding which direction China’s diplomacy will follow, the 12th Five-Year Plan has made explicit elaboration. I also recommend the article We Must Stick to the Path of Peaceful Development by State Councilor Dai Bingguo, which further interprets the 12th Five-Year Plan regarding China’s foreign policy, arousing wide attention from home and abroad. I suggest you take a close look.

Q: Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors from G20 countries will meet in Paris this week. What is China’s stance on regulating international capital flow, cracking down on speculation in the commodity market and involving non-G20 states?

A: About the upcoming Meeting of G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors, competent Chinese authorities are making active preparation. If you are interested in details, please contact participating departments.

China takes an active part in G20 cooperation. We regard the G20 as an important organization and hope to see its smooth development. China will continue to take an active part in G20 activities and play a positive and constructive role.

Q: The latest data shows that China has overtaken Japan to become the second largest economy in the world, raising the outside’s concern about China’s national strength. How do you respond to that

A: Well, I’m not an expert on this question, but I’d like to share my point of view.

Over the past years, China enjoyed rapid GDP growth, increasingly large economic aggregate and remarkable development achievement. Meanwhile we have to see there are still disparities and deficiencies. GDP is one of the core indexes for a country’s economic strength, but it is not the only one. China has a population of 1.3 billion. According to statistics from the IMF and other international organizations, China’s per capita GDP ranks around 100th in the world, less than half of the world average. According to the UN poverty line of one dollar a day per person, China still has 150 million people living in poverty. The problem of imbalanced, uncoordinated and unsustainable development remains pronounced. We are keenly aware that China remains a developing country and will remain in the primary stage of socialism for a long time to come.

China will continue to pursue the opening strategy of mutual benefit and win-win results, deepen economic cooperation with other countries for common development in the region and the world. No matter how much development China may achieve, we will stay committed to the path of peaceful development as a responsible member of the international community and play our due role for world peace and common development.

Q: It’s reported that President of Columbia said that his country would cooperate with China to build a railway to connect the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean. Please confirm and shed some light on it.

A: I’ve read the report but got no details. This is an economic issue. I suggest you refer it to competent authorities.

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