At the invitation of Premier Li Keqiang of the State Council, Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve of the French Republic will pay an official visit to China from February 21 to 23. This will be Prime Minister Cazeneuve's first visit to China and the first visit by an European state leader this year.
During the visit, President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang and NPC Chairman Zhang Dejiang will meet or hold talks with him. Leaders of the two countries will have an in-depth exchange of views on China-France relations and other issues of mutual interest. Apart from Beijing, Prime Minister Cazeneuve will also visit the city of Wuhan.
France is China's important and strategic partner of cooperation. Recent years have seen high-level performance of China-France relations marked by increasing political mutual trust, enriched practical cooperation, dynamic cultural and people-to-people exchanges, deeper friendship between the two peoples and close communication and cooperation in international affairs. China stands ready to continue to work with France to keep the bilateral relations on a sound track and contribute to world peace, stability and development. We believe that Prime Minister Cazeneuve's visit will further deepen China-France friendship, make practical cooperation more productive, and exert positive influence on the overall China-Europe relations.
Q: What is China's response to the death of Kim Jong Nam in Malaysia?
A: We have noted relevant reports. To our knowledge, the incident took place in Malaysia. The Malaysian side is investigating into that.
Q: According to media reports, Japanese elementary and junior high schools are required for the first time to teach in classes that Diaoyu Dao is Japan's inherent territory under the new curriculum guidelines announced by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology yesterday. What is China's response?
A: China's position on the Diaoyu Dao issue is consistent and clear-cut. Diaoyu Dao and its affiliated islands have been China's inherent territory since ancient times. China's resolve and determination to uphold its territorial sovereignty is unwavering. Whatever Japan says or does, the fact that Diaoyu Dao belongs to China will not change.
We once again urge Japan to respect historical facts, stop provocations, instill a right approach to history in the younger generations, and demonstrate a genuine commitment to improving its relations with China by taking real actions.
Q: Back to the murder of Kim Jong Nam, is China in touch with Malaysian authorities for further information? Secondly, reports say that China has rejected DPRK's coal shipment from its port in Wenzhou. Can you confirm this and give us the reason?
A: On the first question, as I said just now, China has noted relevant media reports. We are closely following the developments.
On the second question, I am not aware of the specific issue you mentioned. But we have stated China's principled position many times. China fully, earnestly and faithfully enforces relevant Security Council resolutions which include clear provisions on the DRPK's coal exports.
Q: It is reported that three Taiwan "legislators" are visiting India, and that a proposal was made by them to upgrade Taiwan office in India. Media reports say that by receiving the Taiwan delegation, India is "taking revenge on China". What is China's comment? Has China lodged representations with the Indian side?
A: We have long been opposing all forms of official contact and interactions between Taiwan and countries that have diplomatic relations with China, as well as their mutual deployment of official institutions. This position is consistent and clear-cut.
The Indian side has made commitments on Taiwan-related issues. It is hoped that the Indian side will respect and understand China's core concerns, uphold the one-China principle, properly handle Taiwan-related issues with prudence, and work with China to maintain the sound and steady growth of China-India relations. It is learnt that the Chinese side has lodged solemn representations with the Indian side.
Q: Further to what you said about China lodging representations, what exactly is it about? Is it about the Taiwan "legislators" visiting India, or about their proposal to upgrade Taiwan office in India? Why did China lodge the representations?
A: China's representations are related to what you said. The reason behind China's representations is obvious. We have been asking countries that have diplomatic relations with us to honor their commitment to the one-China principle. We also urged the Indian side in the representations to stick to the one-China principle and take concrete steps to maintain the sound and steady growth of China-India relations.
Follow-up: In what way has India violated the one-China principle?
A: As I said, we are firmly opposed to any forms of official contact and interactions between Taiwan and countries that have diplomatic relations with China. Those who are visiting India are so-called "legislators" from Taiwan. Their title says it all.
Follow-up: When were the representations lodged? In Beijing or in New Delhi?
A: Not all diplomatic activities are open to the public. All that I can tell you is that the Chinese side has lodged representations with the Indian side.
Q: It is reported that the US Navy is sending its Carl Vinson carrier strike group to the South China Sea for freedom of navigation operations. The strike group is likely to sail into waters around China's islands and reefs in the South China Sea. How do you respond to that?
A: We have seen the relevant media reports. China has indisputable sovereignty over the South China Sea islands and their adjacent waters. China respects and upholds the freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea which countries enjoy under international law, but firmly opposes any country's attempt to undermine China's sovereignty and security in the name of the freedom of navigation and overflight. Thanks to the concerted efforts of China and ASEAN countries, the situation in the South China Sea is getting steady and moving in a positive direction. We hope that countries outside the region will respect efforts made by China and ASEAN countries, and join the endeavour to sustain the positive momentum. We also urge the US to refrain from challenging China's sovereignty and security and to respect regional countries' efforts to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea.
Q: The next round of talks on Syria will start today in Astana, Kazakhstan. I wonder if China received any invitation, and if the Chinese government's special envoy for Syria will attend the talks?
A: We hope that the government and opposition of Syria will have candid communication in good faith and build up mutual trust during the new round of talks, and that other participants will make positive contribution. As the Geneva peace talks brokered by UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura is to be held next week, we hope that the talks in Astana will create favorable conditions for the Geneva peace talks.