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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei's Regular Press Conference on February 26, 2015

Q: An open letter written by a British animal protection organization to the Chinese leader claimed that the elephants in Africa are killed in tens of thousands every year to provide ivory for consumers in China and elsewhere. It called on the Chinese leader to help curb the slaughter of African elephants by ending his country's domestic ivory trade. What is China's response to that?

A: The Chinese government sets great store by the protection of wildlife, including elephant. We adopt a zero-tolerance policy towards illegal ivory trading, and severely crack down on ivory smuggling and illegal trading activities through ways of legislation, law enforcement and jurisdiction. We also organize extensive education campaigns to raise public awareness about this. As a signatory to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, China has been following the convention and playing a positive role in international cooperation of law enforcement. We have been actively conducting exchanges and cooperating with elephant range countries in Africa to provide more personnel training and funding for elephant protection.

Curbing elephant poaching and illegal ivory trading involves multiple links and calls for concerted efforts from all fronts. China calls on the international community to act in unison to strike down all illegal activities and protect elephant as a species. China will continue to enhance its cooperation with the international community in this regard.

Q: Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera of Sri Lanka will visit China for the first time since Sri Lanka's new government there came to power. Can you tell us what his itinerary is like and which Chinese leader will meet with him?

A: At the invitation of Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera of Sri Lanka will pay an official visit to China from February 27 to 28. During his visit, Chinese leaders will meet with him. Foreign Minister Wang Yi will hold talks with him.

We hope that through this visit, we can have an in-depth exchange of views with the Sri Lankan side on the development of bilateral relations and blueprint high-level visits and cooperation in various fields so that China-Sri Lanka strategic cooperation partnership can make further progress.

After the press conference, the following questions were raised:

Q: Reports said that the Taiwan's representative office in the United States has changed its car plates to the new ones issued by the US State Department. What is China's comment? Has China lodged representations with the US side?

A: The US side issued new car plates to the Taiwan's representative office in the United States, but this kind of plate is not diplomatic one. We have asked the US side to strictly follow the one-China policy and the principles of the three joint communiques, abide by the international law, avoid developing official ties with Taiwan, and make sure that the name, nature, function and activities of the Taiwan's representative office in the United States are non-official ones so as to avoid any negative impact on China-US relations.

Q: Philippine Energy Secretary said that the Philippine government would end Chinese involvement in the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) due to security concerns, and Chinese experts working for the NGCP will return to China. But the State Grid Corporation of China still has a 40% stake in the NGCP. What is China's response to that?

A: We have noted relevant report. In 2007, the Chinese company participated in the bid and won a 25-year franchise of the NGCP, making important contributions to the development of the Philippines' national electric power. We hope that the Philippine side can deal with relevant issue in a just and impartial way, protect the rights and interests of Chinese enterprises in the Philippines, and create a favorable environment for foreign investors.

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