Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Ma Zhaoxu's Regular Press Conference on February 17, 2011

On the afternoon of February 17, 2011, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Ma Zhaoxu held a regular press conference.

Ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon! Today is the 15th day of the first lunar month this year, traditionally known in China as the Lantern Festival. On this day that symbolizes reunion, complete success and friendship, I'm very glad to spend it with all of you here and wish us an enduring friendship. As a token of goodwill, my colleagues have prepared some sweet rice dumplings (yuanxiao) for you to enjoy after the press conference. I hope you'll find the taste agreeable.

Now I have two announcements to make.

Minister Liu Peng of the General Administration of Sport, Special Envoy of President Hu Jintao will attend the celebration of the 20th anniversary of Kuwait's Liberation to be held in Kuwait on February 26.

At the invitation of Kim Sung-Hwan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Republic of Korea and Zandanshatar, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Mongolia, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi will pay official visits to the above two countries from February 23 to 25.

Q: It's reported that the DPRK has completed a second missile-launching facility and may test fire long-range missiles. Do you have any comment?

A: I got no information on that.

Q: Yesterday, a Russian company announced joint investment with its Chinese partner on the "four northern islands". What is the Chinese Government's stance on this? Does the investment scale need approval from the Central or local government?

A: I've taken note of some recent reports, but have got no information.

The issue of "four northern islands" is a bilateral one between Russia and Japan. We hope to see a proper settlement through consultation between the two.

Q: In her speech on Internet freedom on February 15, US Secretary of State Clinton said that the Internet developed fast in China and had become a source of progress there. A great many of Chinese people use internet. Government interference in information access will impede national development in the long run. The US and China do not see eye to eye on the issue, but the US will have frank discussions with China. How do you respond?

A: As is known to all, the Internet develops rapidly in China with a fast growing number of Internet users which has exceeded 400 million. The Chinese Government encourages and supports the development of the Internet and safeguards its citizens' freedom of speech, including that online. Meanwhile, China administrates the Internet according to law, which is consistent with international practice. We are ready to strengthen communication and exchanges with other countries on Internet-related issues for its benign development. But we oppose any country using Internet freedom as an excuse to interfere in China's internal affairs.

Q: It's reported that China will offer two pandas to a zoo in Tokyo for joint research next week. It's believed that this will improve people's feelings between the two countries. What is your expectation of the project?

A: I don't have the specific time at which the pandas will arrive in Tokyo, but I agree with you that China and Japan, particularly our two peoples should further improve their friendly feelings. China will continue to work towards that end.

I hope the pandas will serve as envoys of friendship between the two peoples and help enhance their friendly feelings and mutual understanding.

Q: Demonstrations broke out in countries other than Egypt in the Middle East. How do you comment on the current situation in the region?

A: We have taken note of demonstrations in some Middle East countries. China follows the developments in the current Middle East situation. We sincerely hope relevant countries will restore social stability and order at an early date.

Q: How do you comment on the Philippine drug traffickers being sentenced to death?

A: I would like to emphasize it is an isolated criminal case.

The Chinese Government attaches great importance to friendly relations with the Philippines. Since President Aquino came into office, through joint efforts, China-Philippine relations have entered into a new development stage with sound cooperation across the board. We hope and believe the Philippines will proceed from the overall interests of bilateral relations and properly handle relevant issue in a joint effort to maintain the healthy and stable development of bilateral relations.

I would like to point out that the line of communication between the two countries stays open and China is ready to keep in contact with the Philippines.

Q: Canada claimed that its government websites came under attack by Chinese hackers. How do you comment?

A: I'd like to point out that the Chinese Government attaches importance to cyber security, administers the Internet in accordance with law and urges Internet users to abide by relevant laws and regulations. The Chinese Government is firmly opposed to and fights against in accordance with law any criminal activities that sabotage the Internet and computer networks including hacking. At the same time, the Chinese Government is ready to actively engage in cooperation with other countries to combat all types of cyber crimes including hacking.

As for your specific question, I don't know whether it's based on facts or not. Hacking is an international issue and China also a victim. The allegation that the Chinese Government supports hacking is a sheer fabrication with an ulterior motive.

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