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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei's Regular Press Conference on March 2, 2012

Q: It is reported that the Pakistani Taliban recently claimed responsibility for shooting one Chinese female to death in Peshawar. Can China confirm that? Has China lodged representations with the Pakistani side?

A: The background of the shooting incident is still under investigation. The Chinese Government condemns the attack against Chinese nationals. We have urged the Pakistani side to bring perpetrators to justice and take concrete and effective measures to ensure the safety of Chinese institutions and nationals in Pakistan.

Q: What is China's comment on Nanjing's announcement of putting off the "Japanese Culture Week"?

A: We have repeatedly expressed on this podium our solemn position on the Nagoya Mayor's denial of the Nanjing Massacre. We hope some people in Japan will correctly recognize and face up to that part of history and truly regard history as a mirror. China-Japan relations can only obtain sound and steady development on that basis.

Q: Please brief us on China's latest position on the Syrian issue. Has China had communication with other permanent members of the UN Security Council on adopting a new Syria-related resolution?

A: China has stated time and again that the UN Security Council, if to take actions on the Syrian issue, should abide by the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and make sure that these actions are conducive to easing tensions, promoting political dialogue and upholding peace and stability in the Middle East as well as unity of the international community. Being objective, just and responsible, China would like to play a constructive role together with the international community for the peaceful and appropriate settlement of the Syrian issue.

Q: China voted against the Syria-related human rights resolution adopted by the UN Human Rights Council on March 1. The US Representative to the Council said that the adoption of the resolution manifested the isolation of the Bashar Regime as well as Russia, China and Cuba from the rest of the world, and the choice made by Russia, China and Cuba has put them on "the wrong side of history". How does China comment?

A: China cannot accept the unjustifiable accusation made by relevant country against China. China values and supports the protection of the Syrian people's human rights. We believe that the biggest aspiration of the Syrian people now is to halt all acts of violence against civilians and restore national stability and social order. This is the precondition of their basic human rights.

If relevant countries do care about the Syrian people's basic human rights, they should try their best to broker a ceasefire, push for an early start of the inclusive political dialogue and strive to resolve the Syrian issue through peaceful and political means. To exert pressure on one certain party of the conflict will not help alleviate the current tensions, let alone protect the Syrian people's human rights.

China always maintains that disputes over human rights should be appropriately resolved through constructive dialogue and cooperation, and the Human Rights Council should work in a just, objective and non-selective manner. China opposes human rights proposals on specific countries.

Q: What measures has the Chinese side taken to ensure the safety of Chinese nationals in Pakistan after one Chinese national was shot dead in Peshawar, Pakistan?

A: As I have just mentioned, the Pakistani side is looking into the case. The Chinese Embassy in Pakistan launched the emergency response mechanism immediately after the incident and sent staff to the scene on the same night to help deal with relevant follow-up issues. China has required the Pakistani side to look earnestly into the case, apprehend and chastise the perpetrators and ensure the safety of Chinese institutions and nationals in Pakistan.

Q: Please brief us on the meeting between Chinese and Indian Foreign Ministers. Have the two sides touched upon the boundary question and maritime cooperation?

A: Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi paid an official visit to India yesterday. He met with Indian Prime Minister Singh and held talks with Indian Minister of External Affairs Krishna.

Prime Minister Singh deems India-China relations as one of the most important bilateral relations in the world. India and China are cooperative partners rather than rivals. There is enough room in the world for the common development and cooperation of the two countries. India-China relations boast great potentials. The Indian Government attaches great importance to its strategic cooperative partnership with China and stands ready to push forward bilateral cooperation across the board with utmost efforts. The Indian side warmly welcomes the Chinese leader's attendance at the BRICS Leaders Meeting in India and would like to take this opportunity to move further ahead India-China relations.

Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi stated that China-India relations enjoy broad space for development in the context of the current international and regional landscapes. 2012 is a critical juncture for China-India relations. The two sides have agreed on plans of exchange and cooperation activities, which will foster the friendly sentiment between the two countries, push forward various exchanges and cooperation and send positive signals to the outside world. Both sides have decided to maintain exchange of high-level visits and contact and strengthen diplomatic consultation and dialogue as well as interactions between their political parties, parliaments and militaries in a bid to enhance strategic and political mutual trust. Mechanisms such as the strategic and economic dialogue should be made good use of so as to elevate the level of economic cooperation and trade. The two sides should also expand cultural and people-to-people exchanges. In pressing ahead with the China-India boundary negotiation, the two sides should make good use of the newly established working mechanism on the consultation and coordination of boundary affairs with a view to better safeguarding peace and tranquility in the border area. China will fully support and coordinate with the Indian side to make the Meeting a success and make new contribution to promoting cooperation among BRICS countries.

During Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi's talks with Minister of External Affairs Krishna, both agreed to explore the possibilities of maritime cooperation.

Q: Some people in India believe that China's dam construction in the upstream of the Yarlung Zangbo River has led to water shortage in India. Did Chinese and Indian Foreign Ministers talk about the development of water resources in the Yarlung Zangbo River?

A: When it comes to the development of cross-border rivers, the Chinese Government upholds the policy of fairness and equity that puts people first, places equal importance on development and protection and takes into consideration the interests of both the upstream and the downstream countries. Generally speaking, the degree of China's development and utilization of China-India cross-border rivers is very low, with the water resources development ratio of the Yarlung Zangbo River less than 1%. In order to satisfy the power demands of the Tibetan Autonomous Region, China began the construction of the Zangmu hydropower station on the middle part of the Yarlung Zangbo River in 2010. With a moderate installed capacity, the hydropower station does not have regulation or storage functions. Thus it will neither cause big fluctuations of downstream flow nor impair flood prevention and disaster reduction or the ecosystem of the downstream area. The Indian side expressed understanding after China briefed it about the situation.

After the press conference, when asked about China's comment on the current Belarus-EU relations in the wake of the EU's decision of recalling all its member states' ambassadors to Belarus, Hong Lei said that we have noted the latest change in the Belarus-EU relations. China believes that a country's national condition, history, culture and tradition should be taken into consideration in the promotion and protection of human rights. China opposes confrontation in the field of human rights and disapproves of pressing other countries or interfering in their international affairs under the pretext of human rights. We hope that all relevant parties will appropriately resolve differences and disputes through dialogue and consultation.

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