|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying's Regular Press Conference on April 21, 2016|
Q: China and Vietnam officially launched the joint inspection of the waters outside the mouth of the Beibu Bay at the end of last year. It is said that the inspection is coming to an end. Can you confirm and update us on that?
A: As you said, in accordance with the consensus between leaders of the two Parties and states, China and Vietnam officially launched the joint inspection of the waters outside the mouth of the Beibu Bay on December 19, 2015. The two sides have finished their set tasks smoothly. They will return to the bay very soon and hold a closing ceremony for the joint operation in Guangzhou, China on April 23.
The successful joint inspection fully reflects the two countries' commitment to resolving maritime disputes properly through cooperation. It will help build up a peaceful, amicable and cooperative atmosphere on the sea, enhance political mutual trust, and create necessary conditions for a basic and long-term solution to maritime issues. The waters outside the mouth of the Beibu Bay are rich in natural resources. The joint inspection will enable the two sides to get more information on this area, elevate the level of bilateral cooperation on maritime scientific research, and lay a solid ground for joint development and demarcation negotiations of this area.
Going forward, the two sides will continue to cooperate closely, earnestly implement the consensus between leaders of the two Parties and states, take active steps to move forward the joint development of the relevant waters and steadily push ahead with maritime demarcation work.
Q: Many Philippine presidential candidates said that despite the maritime disputes between the Philippines and China, they would have dialogues with China on developing economic cooperation and trade if elected. One of the candidates Rodrigo Duterte said that if China agrees to help the Philippines build railways and other infrastructure, he is ready to shelve disputes with China. What is China's stance? Is China optimistic about improving bilateral ties after the election of a new Philippine president?
A: The Philippines is a close neighbor of China separated by sea. It is natural for the two countries to develop amicable and cooperative relations which serve the interests of the two peoples. However, in recent years, due to reasons well-known to all, bilateral relations have met some major setbacks. We have noted that some people from the Philippine side are also reflecting upon the matter whether relevant policies adopted by the Philippines truly meet the interests of their people. We attach importance to developing relations with the Philippines, and hope that its new government can adopt positive and well-thought policies towards China, properly deal with relevant disputes, and improve bilateral relations with concrete actions.
Q: Today, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe offered a "masakaki" ceremonial tree at the Yasukuni Shrine. What is China's comment?
A: The Yasukuni Shrine honors Class A war criminals of World War Two that were directly responsible for Japan's war of aggression. China's position on the issue of the Yasukuni Shrine is consistent and clear. We urge Japan to honestly and deeply reflect on its invasion history, make a clean break with militarism, and take practical actions to win back the trust of its Asian neighbors and the international community.
Q: It is learnt that China and the ROK will hold the 1st working groups' meeting on maritime demarcation in Beijing. Can you confirm this and give us more details?
A: In accordance with the consensus reached during the 1st round of talks between China-ROK governmental negotiating delegations on maritime demarcation held in Seoul in December 2015, it is agreed that the 1st working groups' meeting on maritime demarcation will be held in Beijing on April 22, during which the two sides will exchange views on relevant issues regarding maritime demarcation.
To seek an equitable and reasonable solution to the maritime demarcation issue through negotiations and consultations is of great significance to maintaining tranquility and stability of the waters between China and the ROK and consolidating and developing bilateral amicable cooperation. It also gives full expression to China's long-standing stance and proposition of resolving relevant disputes with parties directly concerned through negotiations and consultations in accordance with international law and on the basis of respecting historical facts. It is hoped that China and the ROK can address the overlapping claims on maritime rights and interests in an equitable and reasonable way through friendly consultations and set a good example for the resolution of similar issues among regional countries.
Q: US State Department's Special Representative for North Korea Policy Sung Kim will arrive at Beijing this week to meet his Chinese counterpart. Do you have more details?
A: US State Department's Special Representative for North Korea Policy Sung Kim is arriving at Beijing today. Special Representative of the Chinese Government for Korean Peninsula Affairs Wu Dawei will exchange views with him on the Korean Peninsula situation.
Q: The Syrian opposition High Negotiations Committee (HNC) decided to postpone participation in the Geneva peace talks. Does China believe that the Geneva peace talks have come to an impasse? What will China do to promote the political settlement of the Syrian issue?
A: All parties have worked hard for launching the new round of Geneva peace talks on the Syrian issue. China is concerned about the difficulties that the peace talks have came across at the moment. Political settlement represents the only practical way out of the Syrian crisis. China supports the efforts in moving forward the Geneva peace talks in accordance with the Security Council resolutions and the consensus of the International Syria Support Group. We support the mediation efforts by UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura and call on all parties in Syria to take part in the Geneva peace talks constructively without setting any preconditions and carry on the talks until outcomes are reached. This serves the fundamental interests of Syria and its people. Special Envoy Xie Xiaoyan of the Chinese government for Syria is visiting relevant countries in the region. China will continue to contribute to the political settlement of the Syrian issue.
Q: The 19th round of talks between special representatives on the China-India boundary question was held here on April 20. Do you have more details on the outcomes of this meeting?
A: The 19th special representatives' meeting on the China-India boundary question was held in Beijing on April 20. Chinese Special Representative and State Councilor Yang Jiechi met with his Indian counterpart, National Security Adviser Ajit Doval. They had extensive, in-depth and candid exchange of views on the boundary question, bilateral relations, and regional and international issues of common interest. Special Representative Doval also conveyed greetings from Indian Prime Minister Modi to President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang. Premier Li Keqiang will meet with Special Representative Doval this afternoon.
The Xinhua News Agency has a detailed coverage on the meeting. I want to stress that the special representatives' meeting is a major channel for the two sides to resolve the boundary question which was left over from history. The two sides enhanced mutual trust and expanded consensus through this meeting which is of great significance in promoting settlement of the boundary question, maintaining peace and tranquility of the border areas and securing sound and stable development of bilateral relations.