Liu Weimin started the press conference with an announcement:
At the invitation of the African Union and the Government of Ethiopia, CPPCC Chairman Jia Qinglin will attend the Opening Ceremony of the 18th African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia and pay an official goodwill visit to Ethiopia from January 27 to 29.
During the visit, Chairman Jia Qinglin will address the Opening Ceremony of the African Union Summit and attend the completion ceremony of the African Union conference centre built by China. He will meet with rotating Chairperson of the African Union and President of Equatorial Guinea Obiang, Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union Jean Ping and President of Ethiopia Girma, and hold talks with Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles.
China hopes the visit will further consolidate and strengthen China's friendly and cooperative ties with the African Union and Ethiopia, enhance political mutual trust and deepen bilateral practical cooperation in a bid to constantly develop the new type of China-Africa strategic partnership and China-Ethiopia comprehensive cooperative partnership in an in-depth manner.
Q: It was reported that Standard & Poor's recently downgraded the credit ratings of some European countries and the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF). How do you comment on the move and view the prospect of the European debt crisis?
A: We have noted that the international credit rating agency downgraded the sovereign credit ratings of nine eurozone countries including France and the rating of the EFSF. Growth in Europe is closely linked to world economic recovery. We appreciate the important measures taken by European countries in stabilizing the market and promoting economic growth and believe they can overcome the current difficulties. We are ready to work with the international community to continue to support Europe's efforts to resolve the sovereign debt crisis.
Q: Please update us on the progress of the 15th Meeting of the Special Representatives for the China-India Boundary Question?
A: Information will be released in due course on the ongoing 15th Meeting of the Special Representatives for the China-India Boundary Question.
On the China-India boundary question, the two sides have engaged in candid and pragmatic negotiations through the Special Representatives' meeting mechanism since 2003 and scored positive headway. The two sides have reached agreement on the political guidelines for the settlement of the boundary question, laying an important foundation for the final settlement. China's position on the boundary question is consistent and clear. We stand for a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable solution through equal and friendly consultation.
To my knowledge, the meeting will also exchange views on China-India relations. China believes that the rise of China, India and other emerging developing countries is a new phenomenon in today's world and one of the most important changes with farthest-reaching influence in the international landscape. There is enough room in the world for the common development of China and India and sufficient scope for their cooperation. The peaceful development of China and India presents opportunities to each other and beyond. With concerted efforts, the year 2012 will surely become a year of friendly exchanges, mutually beneficial cooperation and common development at a higher level.
Q: US Ambassador to China Gary Locke said in a recent interview that China didn't think Iran posed an immediate threat to world security by developing nuclear capability. How do you comment? Is China's position on the Iranian nuclear issue closely related to how China views its ties with Iran?
A: China's position on the Iranian nuclear issue is clear, which I have stated many times on this podium. You may refer to the record. On China-Iran ties, like many other countries in the world, China maintains normal state-to-state relations with Iran. Cooperation between China and Iran in political, economic, trade, cultural and people-to-people areas is scoring smooth progress. Relevant cooperation does not affect China's just position on the Iranian nuclear issue.
Q: First, it is said that Vice President Xi Jinping may visit the US in early February. Please confirm and give us more details. Second, Japanese media reported that the DPRK side asked China for one million tons of food aid. Please confirm.
A: Maintaining high-level visits between China and the US contributes to China-US cooperative partnership based on mutual respect and mutual benefit. On Vice President Xi Jinping's visit to the US at the invitation of Vice President Biden, the two sides are in close communication and consultation. We will release information in due course.
I also suggest you take a close look at Vice President Xi's speech at the event commemorating the 40th anniversary of Nixon's visit to China and the Shanghai Communiqu¨¦.
On your second question, I haven't seen the report you referred to. China has provided necessary assistance to the DPRK within its capacity, which has contributed to the DPRK's economic and social development. We also welcome continued assistance from other parties and the international community to the DPRK.