Q: 29 Chinese nationals kidnapped in Sudan came home safely yesterday. What does the Ministry of Foreign Affairs think should be done to enhance the safety of overseas Chinese nationals?
A: The Chinese Government pays high attention to the safety of overseas Chinese nationals by increasing input and vigorously promoting institution and capacity building. All these efforts have paid off. The mechanism incorporating central and local governments, enterprises and overseas diplomatic missions has been constantly improved, reinforcing the capacity to deal with major contingencies overseas, diversifying means of precautionary consular protection, such as risk warning, publicity and education as well as safety training which have significantly enhanced the protection of overseas Chinese nationals and institutions. China will continue to ensure the safety of overseas Chinese nationals with no efforts spared under the spirit of putting people first and governing for the people.
In the past five years, under the instruction of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and with the assistance of relevant departments, local governments and enterprises, overseas diplomatic missions have appropriately dealt with over 120,000 consular protection cases caused by political turmoil, abduction, natural disasters, accidents and labor disputes and carried out more than ten evacuation missions, vigorously protecting the safety and legitimate rights and interests of hundreds of thousands of Chinese nationals and enterprises.
Accidental as the abduction of Chinese nationals in Sudan is, it reflects the increasingly tough overseas security situation faced by Chinese nationals and enterprises that go global. Therefore, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs reminds Chinese nationals and enterprises again to take effective measures to better protect themselves and guard against all kinds of safety risks when they do business, travel, study, work or live abroad.
Q: First, What is your comment on the report saying that China sells weapons to Syria directly or by way of Iran? Second, many Myanmese people have reportedly crossed the China-Myanmar border and entered Yunnan to flee from wars. Please brief us on that. What relief measures has the Chinese side taken?
A: On your first question, we cannot accept such a groundless accusation. The Chinese Government rigorously manages military export in light of China's international obligations and domestic laws and regulations with a prudent and responsible attitude and has forged a whole set of strict management system.
On your second question, some media reports saying that large numbers of Myanmese "refugees" have swarmed across the China-Myanmar border have been verified as not true. Recently, due to the sporadic exchanges of fire between the Myanmese Government and specific local ethnic armed forces, some Myanmese inhabitants in the border area entered China temporarily for the sake of safety. They go back to Myanmar once the situation calms. These people, with the number far less than reported, are not refugees. As a friendly neighbor of Myanmar, China upholds the spirit of humanitarianism in dealing with this case and provides living necessities to these people.
The long-standing issue of local ethic armed forces is Myanmar's internal affair. China urges all relevant parties in Myanmar to resolve relevant issues through peaceful negotiation and consultation so as to maintain peace and tranquility in the China-Myanmar border area.
Q: There have been some new developments in the Iranian nuclear issue recently. Please brief us on China's opinion on promoting dialogue and negotiation.
A: China always maintains that dialogue and cooperation is the only way out for the Iranian nuclear issue. What is pressing now is to resume the dialogue between P5+1 countries and Iran and intensify the cooperation between the IAEA and Iran.
China has been committed to promoting peace talks. At the invitation of Deputy Secretary Bagheri of the Iranian Supreme National Security Council, Assistant Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu will visit Iran from February 12 to 13 to have further exchange of views with the Iranian side on the nuclear issue.
We would like to make concerted efforts with all relevant parties for an early resumption of talks between P5+1 countries and Iran.