For decades, European countries assumed that China is a benign force in international relations.
Hong Lei, China's Response to the Yeonpyeong Island Incident, November 25, 2010
On the afternoon of November 25, 2010, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei held a regular press conference.
Hong Lei started the conference with an announcement:
Mr. Yang Jing, Special Envoy of President Hu Jintao and Minister of the State Ethnic Affairs Commission will attend on invitation the celebration that marks the 50th anniversary of independence of Central Africa on December 1.
Q: First, after the exchange of fire between the DPRK and the ROK, countries including the US condemned the DPRK's firing of artillery shells on Yeonpyeong Island. What is China's position? Second, how do you comment on the US-ROK joint military exercise in the Yellow Sea which is to start from November 28?
A: On your first question, paying great attention to the incident, China expresses grief and regret over the casualties and property losses that the incident has caused as well as concern over the development of the situation. Holding that parties involved should settle their disputes peacefully through dialogue and consultation to be jointly committed to peace and stability on the Peninsula, we oppose any act that undermines peace and stability on the Peninsula. China strongly calls on the DPRK and the ROK to keep calm and exercise restraint, conduct dialogue and contact as soon as possible to avoid recurrence of similar incidents. All parties concerned should do more to ease the situation and contribute to peace and stability on the Peninsula. We are ready to work with other parties towards this end.
On your second question, we have taken note of relevant report and express concern. China's position on the issue is consistent and clear.
Q: According to the White House, the US expects to have high-level communication with China in the coming days to discuss the situation on the Korean Peninsula. Could you confirm? What specific measures will China take to ease the situation and safeguard peace and stability on the Peninsula? What measures do you expect from the US side?
A: China and the US have maintained close communication on the situation on the Peninsula and related issues. China believes that under the current circumstances, parties concerned should do more to ease the situation and contribute to peace and stability on the Peninsula. China is ready to work with other parties towards this end.
Under the current circumstances, it's imperative and important to resume the Six-Party Talks as soon as possible. We hope relevant parties make joint efforts and properly address each party's concerns through dialogue and consultation within the framework of the Six-Party Talks so as to realize peace and stability on the Peninsula as well as enduring peace in Northeast Asia.
Q: Has China had any communication with the DPRK on the issue?
A: China stays in close communication with all parties concerned. We always maintain that relevant parties should settle their disputes peacefully through dialogue and consultation to be jointly committed to peace and stability on the Peninsula.
Q: The DPRK and the ROK accused each other of opening fire first. What is your opinion?
A: As you have noticed, parties involved made different claims about the cause of the incident. China calls on both the DPRK and the ROK to keep calm and exercise restraint, conduct dialogue and contact as soon as possible to avoid recurrence of similar incidents.
Q: About the DPRK showing its uranium enrichment facilities to the US scientist, do you have anything more to say? It's said that part of the technology comes from China. How do you comment?
A: We believe that all countries should implement Security Council resolutions on the DPRK nuclear issue in a serious and precise manner. China has been conscientiously fulfilling its international obligations in a responsible attitude and dedicating itself to denuclearization on the Peninsula as well as peace and stability on the Peninsula and in Northeast Asia according to the spirit of Security Council resolutions. We hope that parties concerned make joint efforts to create conditions for the resumption of the Six-Party Talks so as to bring the DPRK nuclear issue back to the track of dialogue and consultation, addressing each party's concerns properly within the framework of the Six-Party Talks and materializing goals set in September 19 Joint Statement comprehensively.
Q: Do you think the exchange of fire should be discussed at the Security Council?
A: China is highly concerned of the issue. We call on the DPRK and the ROK to have dialogue and contact as soon as possible to avoid recurrence of similar incidents. It is hoped that relevant parties keep calm, exercise restraint and do more to ease the situation and contribute to peace and stability on the Peninsula. China is ready to stay in communication with other parties and work together towards this end.
Tensions evident in the recent European Union-China virtual summit reflect the increasing skepticism in Europe toward China and the worries over Ukraine and economic ties as well as human rights and environmental issues.