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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei's Regular Press Conference on June 6, 2016


At the invitation of Premier Li Keqiang of the State Council, Chancellor Angela Merkel of the Federal Republic of Germany will pay an official visit to China from June 12 to 14. Premier Li Keqiang and Chancellor Merkel will co-host the fourth China-Germany inter-governmental consultation.

At the invitation of Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Amina Mohamed, Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs and International Trade of the Republic of Kenya, will pay an official visit to China from June 7 to 9.

Q: Can you give us more details about German Chancellor Merkel's visit to China and the fourth China-Germany inter-governmental consultation? What is China's expectation? What is China's take on deepening relations with Germany?

A: This will be Chancellor Merkel's ninth visit to China in her tenure of office. She is going to join Premier Li Keqiang for the fourth China-Germany inter-governmental consultation. During her stay in Beijing, President Xi Jinping and Chairman Zhang Dejiang will meet with her on separate occasions. Apart from Beijing, Chancellor Merkel will also visit Shenyang, Liaoning Province.

China-Germany inter-governmental consultation is the most important mechanism and platform of coordination led by the Chinese Premier and the German Chancellor for the purpose of synergizing and promoting bilateral cooperation. There have been three rounds of successful consultation since the mechanism was established in 2011. The fourth consultation will gather over 20 officials at ministerial and deputy ministerial levels from both sides for discussions on bilateral cooperation plan in the next stage.

China-Germany relations have been developing at a high level, featuring close high-level exchanges. The successful visit by German President Joachim Gauck to China last March elevated political mutual trust between the two sides and witnessed remarkable achievements of pragmatic cooperation. The two sides are working hard to align "Made in China 2025" with Germany's "Industry 4.0" and deepen financial cooperation in an all-round manner within the mechanism of high-level fiscal and financial dialogue. As this year and next year's G20 presidents, China and Germany have maintained close communication and sound cooperation. Coordination and cooperation between the two sides on international and regional affairs are getting closer. Cooperation between China and Germany serves their fundamental interests and contributes to China-EU relations as well as world peace and prosperity.

Setting great store by its relations with Germany, the Chinese side will take the fourth inter-governmental consultation as an opportunity to strive for new progress of pragmatic cooperation in different fields at a high level.

Q: Is China going to set up an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) in the South China Sea? When will the announcement be made?

A: A lot of countries in the world have set up their ADIZs, a choice that falls within a country's sovereignty. A host of factors need to be taken into account when it comes to deciding whether or not to set up an ADIZ in the South China Sea, especially to evaluate to what extent has China's security in the air been threatened.

Q: The Chinese Foreign Ministry has put on its website China's reaction to the speech by US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter. Which part of the speech does China believe is not right?

A: As was pointed out in the Foreign Ministry Spokesperson's remarks on Saturday, some countries falsely accused China in disregard of the facts at the Shangri-La Dialogue. Their accusation and stance does not hold water at all. The Chinese side is firmly opposed to that.

Q: Countries like Tanzania, Uganda, Eritrea and Comorin and the Deputy Chairperson of the African Union have recently expressed their support for China's position on the South China Sea issue. There have been stronger voice from the international community questioning Philippines' unilateral initiation of the South China Sea arbitration and calling on the Philippines to resolve the relevant disputes with China through negotiation and consultation. What is China's comment on that?

A: As you have said, more and more countries have voiced their understanding and endorsement for China's righteous position on the South China Sea issue, supporting China and relevant countries in resolving disputes in the South China Sea through negotiation and consultation in accordance with bilateral agreements and regional consensus, and maintaining peace and stability of the South China Sea.

The objective and impartial statements by Tanzania, Uganda, Eritrea and Comorin and the Deputy Chairperson of the African Union conform to the realities of the South China Sea issue and represent the international community's call for equity and justice. The Chinese side highly appreciates that. Meanwhile, we urge relevant countries to abide by bilateral agreements and regional consensus and come back to the right track of resolving the South China Sea issue through negotiation and consultation.

Q: The completion ceremony of the Panama Canal expansion project will be held on June 26. Head of the Taiwan authorities will attend the ceremony. Has the mainland received Panama's invitation? Will the mainland send anyone to the ceremony?

A: The one-China principle is the prerequisite for China to develop and handle relations with other countries in the World. It is also a universally recognized principle. We hope that the relevant country will deal with Taiwan-related issues with prudence.

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