Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Liu Weimin's Regular Press Conference on February 17, 2012

Q: "Friends of Syria" Meeting will be held in Tunisia on February 24. The US, the Arab League and other parties have announced their participation. What is China's attitude on this meeting? Does China plan to attend?

A: Some details of the "Friends of Syria" Meeting are yet to be worked out. China believes that the action taken by the international community and the UN on the Syrian issue should be helpful to easing tensions, facilitating political dialogue and resolving differences. Such actions, instead of complicating the issue, should be helpful to maintaining peace and stability in the Middle East and upholding unity of the international community.

Q: Chinese leaders once said that China shelters nobody on the Syrian issue. However, China wielded its veto power during the UN General Assembly's vote on the Syria-related draft resolution. Does it mean that China supports the Syrian Government?

A: China has no intention of sheltering or protecting anyone on the Syrian issue. The stance that we held when voting on relevant resolution of the UN General Assembly derived from our long-standing position on the Syrian issue. It had undergone deep consideration. China has fully elaborated on this position in the explanatory remarks following the UN General Assembly's vote on the Syria-related resolution. China's stand, not only serves the immediate need of a peaceful settlement of the Syrian issue, but also safeguards the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and the basic norms governing international relations in the long run. Such a stand can withstand the test of history.

Q: Please brief us on the itinerary and purpose of Vice Foreign Minister Zhai Jun's visit to Syria.

A: Vice Foreign Minister Zhai Jun is on his way to Syria. The Chinese Embassy in Syria is contacting with relevant parties to nail down the itinerary. We will release information of the visit in a timely fashion.

China hopes to push for a peaceful and proper settlement of the Syrian crisis through contact with all relevant parties in Syria.

Q: How does China comment on the role of Vice President Xi Jinping's visit to the US in fostering China-US relations? Will this year's US presidential election exert any impact on China-US relations?

A: Vice President Xi Jinping's visit to the US is drawing to its end. This visit, intensive in schedule and rich in content, is of a positive tone and great significance. Both China and the US reiterated their commitment to developing a cooperative partnership based on mutual respect and mutual benefit and expressed their willingness to maintain the sound and stable development momentum of China-US relations through the enhancement of strategic mutual trust. The world opinion, including the US media is generally positive on Vice President Xi's visit.

We believe that as long as both sides strengthen dialogue, exchanges and cooperation on the basis of mutual respect, equal treatment and mutual benefit, the general direction of China-US relations will not and should not be altered because of a certain incident at a certain time. Both the US public and administration favor the further advancement of China-US relations, which fills us with greater confidence in the prospect of China-US relations.

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