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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei's Regular Press Conference on March 29, 2016

2016-03-29

The Chinese government has approved the appointment of Xie Xiaoyan as the Special Envoy for the Syrian issue.

Q: What is behind the Chinese government's decision to appoint the Special Envoy for the Syrian issue?

A: The settlement of the Syrian issue has come to a crucial point where the ceasefire agreement has been upheld in general, the humanitarian assistance has been moved forward continuously, and peace talks in Geneva between the Syrian government and the opposition have been resumed, thanks to the concerted efforts of the international community.

As a permanent member of the Security Council, China has been making positive and constructive efforts in pushing for a proper settlement of the Syrian issue. China believes that political settlement represents the only way out of the Syrian issue and the UN should play a leading role in this regard. China supports the peace-making efforts made by Staffan de Mistura, UN Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Syria and has come up with relevant ideas and measures to resolve the Syrian issue. We have taken positive actions to provide humanitarian assistance to Syria and its neighboring countries.

By appointing the Special Envoy for the Syrian issue, China is to better promote peace talks and negotiations, contribute Chinese wisdom and proposals, and enhance communication and coordination with relevant parties more effectively, so that China can continue to play a constructive role in seeking a final proper settlement of the Syrian issue.

Special Envoy Xie Xiaoyan is a veteran diplomat with great experience. He was once the Chinese Ambassador to Iran, the Chinese Ambassador to Ethiopia and Head of the Chinese Mission to the African Union. He knows Middle East affairs very well and will excellently fulfill his duties.

Q: China appointed special envoys for the Middle East issue, for African affairs and for Asian affairs whose top priority is China-Myanmar relations. Can you confirm that this is China's first appointment of a special envoy for the Syrian issue?

A: Yes, this is the Chinese government's first appointment of special envoy for the Syrian issue.

Q: Russian news agency TASS had an interview with DPRK Foreign Minister Lee Su-yong yesterday in which he said that the Korean Peninsula is in danger of a large-scale war due to US activities. What is your comment?

A: The Korean Peninsula cannot have war or chaos. This is China's clear stance. The Korean Peninsula is in a highly sensitive and complex state. We hope that all parties can keep calm, exercise restraint, refrain from doing or saying anything that may provoke each other, and jointly maintain peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula.

The current tense situation also suggests that we need to find out a fundamental approach to the Korean nuclear issue that addresses both the symptoms and the root causes in a comprehensive way. We call on all relevant parties to give positive thoughts to China's proposal which is to seek denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the replacement of armistice with a peace treaty in parallel tracks and to work together for enduring stability and order of northeast Asia.

Q: Japan today starts to implement the new security bill, which gives it the power to fully exercise the right to collective self-defense. How will this affect China's policy towards Japan?

A: We have reiterated our position on this issue many times recently. Due to history reasons, Japan's Asian neighbors and the international community have been closely following Japan's moves in military and security fields. We hope that Japan could learn from history, stick to the path of peaceful development, act with prudence on military and security policies, and do more things that contribute to regional peace and stability.

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