|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei's Regular Press Conference on July 8, 2014|
At the invitation of French President François Hollande, former Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing will attend the centennial commemoration marking the outbreak of the First World War in France on July 14 as the representative of the Chinese government.
The Istanbul Process Senior Officials meeting on Afghanistan will be held in Beijing on July 10. The meeting will be co-chaired by Vice Chinese Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin and Deputy Foreign Minister of Afghanistan Ershad Ahmadi, and attended by 42 high-level delegations from the participating states and supporting parties of the Istanbul Process.
The Istanbul Process was initiated in 2011 by Turkey. It is the only international mechanism focusing on the Afghan issue which is led by countries in this region, and it is irreplaceable in the Afghanistan peace process. There are now 14 countries within the region participating in the Istanbul Process, including Afghanistan, China, Russia, Kazakhstan, India, Pakistan, Iran and Turkey. There are also 16 countries outside the region including the US and the UK and 12 international and regional organizations including the UN and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization supporting this Process. So far, three foreign ministerial meetings of the Istanbul Process have been convened, respectively hosted by Turkey, Afghanistan and Kazakhstan. The 4th foreign ministerial meeting will be held by the end of this August in Tianjin, China, with China as the host.
The aim of the senior officials meeting is to prepare for the foreign ministerial meeting due to be held in Tianjin in August. Its focus is to consult on the draft outcome document the Tianjin Declaration of the Istanbul Process, discuss cooperation on confidence building measures in various fields of the Process and exchange views on the current situation in Afghanistan.
Q: Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said on July 7 that it serves no purpose for regional peace and cooperation when China makes an international issue out of historical issues, and China should demonstrate that it is ready to embrace the future and carry out cooperation. What is China's comment?
A: These remarks by the Japanese side once again show that leaders of Japan are still not able to adopt a correct attitude towards its history of aggression. I would like to reiterate the following three points:
First, Japan's militarist invasion of China brought terrible sufferings to the Chinese people. The reason for China to hold relevant commemorative activities is to remember the history, pay tribute to those who laid down their lives in the war, cherish peace, sound the alarming bells for the future and safeguard world peace.
Second, to honestly face up to and reflect upon its history of aggression, and make a clean break from militarism serves as an important political basis for Japan to develop its relationship with its Asian neighbors. It is also a barometer to gauge Japan's moves in diplomatic policies. Japan's performance in this regard has been closely followed by the international community. However, Japanese leaders are yet to have the slightest sense of the significance of facing up to history. Japan really has some lessons to make up on this issue and should listen earnestly to the call for justice from the international community.
Third, a necessary step before embracing the future is to face up to and learn from the history, rather than intentionally shunning, whitewashing or even beautifying the history of aggression. Japan is the one that inflicted pains on others. It should know fully well how to open the gate and usher in the future.
Q: This year is quite crucial for Afghanistan to realize its transition. On July 7, Afghanistan's Independent Election Commission said that preliminary results of the presidential run-off show that former Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani holds the lead ahead of former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah. What is your comment on the Afghan election and the current situation in Afghanistan?
A: Afghanistan is at a crucial stage of transition. It will go through political, economic and security transitions all at the same time.
China has noted preliminary results of the presidential election released by Afghanistan's Independent Election Commission and its statement that these results are not final ones. China hopes that relevant parties can bear in mind the interests of their state, continue to properly resolve differences through dialogue, and conclude the election as scheduled. We believe a steady and smooth running of the election can help Afghanistan get on the track of peace, stability and development at an early date.
China has been supporting and actively participating in Afghanistan's peaceful reconstruction. We are willing to work with the international community and continue to make positive efforts to realize the governance of Afghanistan by the Afghan people at an early date and build an Afghanistan that is unified, stable, developed and amicable.
Q: First, Japan and Australia are about to sign agreements on economic partnership and defense equipment cooperation which the Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said are not targeted at any other country. What is China's comment? Second, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said during an interview that Japan is ready to enter into dialogue with China. What is China's response to that?
A: On your first question, we have noted relevant reports. We hope that cooperation among relevant countries can contribute positively to regional peace and stability, instead of the opposite, let alone harming the third country.
On your second question, China-Japan relationship is stuck in grave difficulties because of Japan. China's position on improving and developing China-Japan relationship is very clear. We hope that the Japanese side can take substantive measures and remove political obstacles so that bilateral ties can be improved and moved forward.
Q: A US internet security firm said that they have evidence showing that a group of hackers affiliated to the Chinese government breached computers belonging to US experts on the issue of Iraq. What is your comment on that?
A: China opposes and severely cracks down on all forms of cyber-hacking. Some US internet security firms turn a blind eye to the threat posed by the US to other countries through the internet and are bent on stirring things up by constantly talking about "China Internet Threat". The so-called evidence they produce is untenable and not worth commenting.
Q: The DPRK government released a statement yesterday, proposing to reach a reconciliation consensus with the ROK and push for reunification. It also decided to send a cheering squad to the Asian Games to be held in Incheon, the ROK. However, the ROK only extends a welcome to the cheering squad. What is China's comment?
A: We have noted relevant reports. As a close neighbor to both the ROK and the DPRK, China always supports the DPRK and the ROK in improving their relations through dialogue and contact, so that reconciliation and cooperation can be pushed forward and independent and peaceful reunification can be eventually achieved.
We hope the two sides can continue to release signals of goodwill, establish consensus, and remain committed to improving bilateral relations, realizing denuclearization of the Peninsula and jointly safeguarding regional peace and stability.