Queen of Denmark visits China; ASEAN officials: China is a natural and important partner for the ASEAN countries on the bilateral, regional and international levels; Thailand notes that drafting of the South China Sea code of conduct (COC) is a working pr
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  • According to reports, Queen of Denmark Margrethe II on April 27 paid respect to thousands of Chinese victims of the Nanjing Massacre in Nanjing, capital of east China's Jiangsu Province. The Queen and her husband Prince Consort Henrik arrived at the Memorial Hall for the Victims of the Nanjing Massacre on Sunday morning, which commemorates more than 300,000 Chinese lives killed by Japanese invaders since they occupied the city on December 13, 1937.1

    In another development, according to reports, after the conclusion of the 20th ASEAN-China Senior Officials’ Consultation in Pattaya, Thailand, the senior officials of ASEAN spoke positively about ASEAN-China relations. They stated that China is a natural and important partner for the ASEAN countries on the bilateral, regional and international levels, they said, calling on both sides to strengthen high-level communication and build consensus, in order to push for greater progress in their ties, as the strategic partnership enters its second decade. 2

    According to reports, the Director General of the ASEAN Affairs Department of Thailand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the drafting of the South China Sea code of conduct (COC) is a working process without a time frame. "We need to use some caution and proceed step by step. It will take time," Arthayudh Srisamoot said on the sidelines of the 7th ASEAN-China Senior Officials' Meeting on the Implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), in Thailand's central Chonburi province. 3

    Reports noted that Chinese Vice-Premier Wang Yang met in Beijing on April 26 with Yoichi Masuzoe, the first Tokyo governor to visit Beijing at the invitation of the city government since Yukio Aoshima in 1996. Wang said the two countries should push forward bilateral relations on the basis of the four China-Japan political documents, in the spirit of taking history as a mirror to guide the future. 4

    According to reports, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met his Brazilian counter part Luiz Aberto Figueiredo Machado on April 25 in Brasilia, Brazil. During the meeting Wang Yi said, “China and Brazil are the largest developing countries in their own hemisphere. Being an important part of the emerging economic entities, our relationship is beyond the traditional scope of bilateral ties, and has strong strategic meanings and extensive significance”. 5

    According to reports, as a response to the joint statement released by the United States and Japan, the Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Qin Gang said that, “"We have grave concerns over some of the contents in the US-Japan joint statement…It will be detrimental to the proper solution of relevant issues and the stability of the region to make indiscreet criticisms or remarks on the affairs of other countries.” The spokesperson urged that the US and Japan that the two countries to discard their Cold War mindset and respect the interests and concerns of other countries in the region. The United States and Japan issued the statement on April 25, a day after US President Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held talks in Tokyo. 6

    The recently approved guidelines for unplanned encounters at sea, as a set of multilateral technical procedures, should not be deliberately used to prevent China from safeguarding its maritime rights, senior Chinese military officers said on April 24. Ding Yiping, deputy commander of the Chinese navy, said it is wrong that some countries intend to misinterpret and take advantage of the code to set barriers for the Chinese navy from protecting its maritime interest in the East and South China Seas. "The Chinese navy is firmly determined to safeguard our territorial integrity, maritime rights and security," Ding said at a news conference. On April 22, naval chiefs approved the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea during the Western Pacific Naval Symposium in Qingdao, Shandong province.” 7

    Reports noted that as a celebration for the 65th anniversary of the People’s Liberation Army Navy, the Chinese navy conducted a maritime exercise called the Maritime Cooperation – 2014, off the cost of Qingdao, Shandong Province on April 23. A total of nineteen ships, seven helicopters and Marine Corps from eight countries took part in the drill. 8

    In other developments, reports noted that China and Venezuela have agreed to reinforce collaboration in energy, finance and infrastructure within multiple frameworks, such as a cooperation forum between China and Latin America. In Venezuela on the second stop of his four-nation Latin America trip, Foreign Minister Wang Yi on April 21 talked separately with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and with Wang's counterpart, Elias Jaua. After his Venezuelan visit, Wang is scheduled to head to Argentina and Brazil. Optimistic about Venezuela's future development, Wang said China cherishes the traditional friendship with Venezuela and hopes to deepen cooperation as the two countries celebrate the 40th anniversary of diplomatic ties this year. 9

    According to reports, nearly 100 students and officers from the Indonesian Naval Academy visited the PLA Navy Submarine Academy in Qingdao on April 21, as part of exchange activities of the 14th annual meeting of the Western Pacific Naval Symposium, which the PLA navy will launch on April 22. 10