|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei's Regular Press Conference on December 22, 2015|
At the invitation of Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem of the Syrian Arab Republic and his entourage will visit China from December 23 to 26.
During the visit, Foreign Minister Wang Yi will hold talks with Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Moallem. The invitation is part of China's efforts to promote peace talks and the political settlement of the Syrian issue. Going forward, the Chinese side will also invite the Syrian opposition for a visit.
Q: The black box of a Russian Su-24 warplane downed by Turkey was found. Russia has asked experts from other countries including China to help analyze the black box. Can you give us more details?
A: At the invitation of the Russian side, experts from China, Russia and other countries took part in the opening and analysis of the black box of the Su-24M warplane, alongside heads of the international investigation committee on air accidents and the Interstate Aviation Committee of the Commonwealth of the Independent States.
We have noted that the Russian warplane was shot down when performing a counter-terrorism mission in Syria at the request of the Syrian government. The UN Security Council has adopted a resolution, giving capable member states the mandate to take all necessary measures to combat the Islamic State and other terrorist forces. Against the backdrop as such, the downing of the Russian warplane is a loss to the international campaign against terrorism. The Chinese side once again calls on all relevant parties to increase coordination and cooperation in the fight against terrorism, take concrete steps to prevent similar tragedies from happening again and stay united in the counter-terrorism campaign.
Q: The Council of the EU said in a statement on December 21 that the EU has renewed its economic sanctions against Russia for six months, after concluding that Moscow has failed to fully respect the Minsk agreement on Ukraine. What is China's comment on that?
A: The Chinese side opposes the use or threat of sanctions at every turn in international relations, and believes that political dialogue is the only way out for the Ukrainian crisis. It is hoped that all relevant parties would make continuous efforts to implement the new Minsk agreement, resolve the Ukrainian crisis through political means and improve and develop relationship with each other.
Q: It is reported that UNESCO is reviewing the application process for Memory of the World. There is the commentary that the move has, to some extent, reflected Japan's concerns. What is China's comment on that?
A: UNESCO and its affiliated agencies have long been discussing necessary reform to the Memory of the World Program in a bid to give full play to its role in protecting world documentary heritage and the common memory of mankind. The Chinese side maintains that relevant reform should be based on broad consensus by taking into full account opinions of member states. It shall be a reflection of the will of member states. If any country attempts to politicize the reform, takes the chance to pursue its own selfish gains, and makes further moves to deny or even whitewash the history of aggression, it will meet with firm opposition from the international community.
Q: Iraqi prime minister is visiting China. Who will he meet? What topics will be on the agenda?
A: At the invitation of Premier Li Keqiang of the State Council, Prime Minister of the Republic of Iraq Haider al-Abadi is in China for an official visit on December 22 and 23.
Prime Minister Abadi is the first Iraqi leader to visit China after the new Iraqi government took office in September last year. Both the Chinese and the Iraqi sides attach great importance to the visit. During the visit, President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang and Chairman Zhang Dejiang will meet and hold talks with Prime Minister Abadi on separate occasions. The two sides will also sign a series of cooperation agreements. We hope that the visit will help take the bilateral relationship to a new high and enhance cooperation across the board. We will exchange views on international and regional issues of common interest and strive for further advancement of China-Iraq relations. Details about the visit will be released in due course.
Q: A history verification panel set up by Japan's Liberal Democratic Party met for the first time today. The panel may examine issues like the Nanjing Massacre and the Tokyo War Crimes Trials. What is China's comment on that?
A: We have noted the relevant report. The Chinese side has a clear-cut attitude on the issue of history. We hope that the Japanese side would demonstrate sincerity on the issue of history, respect the common sense and verdict upheld by the international community, face squarely the history of aggression, honor the statements and commitments it has made so far on the issue of history and take concrete actions to win the trust of its Asian neighbors and the international community.