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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei's Regular Press Conference on November 11, 2011

Hong Lei started the press conference with the following announcement:

At the invitation of President Susilo of Indonesia which holds the rotating presidency of the ASEAN and Sultan and Head of State Hassanal of Brunei, Premier Wen Jiabao will attend the 14th China-ASEAN (10+1) Leaders' Meeting and the Summit on the 20th Anniversary of the Establishment of China-ASEAN Dialogue Relations, the 14th ASEAN Plus China, Japan and the ROK (10+3) Leaders' Meeting and the 6th East Asia Summit to be held in Bali, Indonesia from November 17 to 21, and pay an official visit to Brunei. During his stay in Indonesia, Premier Wen Jiabao will also attend a meeting of China, Japan and ROK leaders.

Q: Western media suggest that the best way to prevent Iran from achieving its nuclear goals is to sanction those Chinese companies that sponsor Tehran. What is China's response?

A: I cannot understand the logic of the comment. Like many other countries, Chin has regular and transparent business interactions with Iran which benefit the two peoples, neither harm the interests of other countries or the international community, nor violate Security Council resolution, let alone China's position on nuclear non-proliferation issues.

I would like to reiterate that dialogue and cooperation is the only effective approach to the appropriate settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue. Pressure and sanctions cannot resolve it fundamentally. China stands ready to work with all parties to play a constructive role in pushing for a peaceful settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue.

Q: It is reported that the agreement signed between Russia and Georgia removes the last barrier to Russia's accession to the WTO. What is China's comment?

A: China is among the first group of WTO members that concluded bilateral market access negotiations with Russia. China believes that the accession of Russia will help to increase the universality and representativeness of the WTO and enhance the influence of the multilateral trading system. We hope to see Russia become a WTO member at an early date.

Q: The US Congress is deliberating a bill on the enhancement of unilateral sanctions against Iran which may affect China's business interests there. How does China respond?

A: We always uphold that dialogue and cooperation is the only effective approach to the appropriate settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue, while pressure and sanctions can never address the root cause. What is pressing now is to push forward the dialogue between P5+1 countries and Iran and strive for substantial progress in the IAEA's cooperation with Iran.

Q: US Treasury Secretary Geithner recently expressed the hope of China increasing the flexibility of the RMB exchange rate. What is China's response?

A: I want to point out that China will unswervingly press ahead with the reform of the RMB exchange rate regime in accordance with the principle of independent decision-making, controllability and gradual progress, which serves the interests of both China and the world at large.

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