|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying's Regular Press Conference on April 25, 2016|
At the invitation of Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov of the Russian Federation will travel to China for the 5th foreign ministers' meeting of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA) and an official visit on April 28 and 29.
As agreed by all parties, the 22nd China-ASEAN Senior Officials' Consultation will be held in Singapore on April 27 and 28. Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin will co-host the meeting with Chee Wee Kiong, Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs of Singapore, the coordinator of China-ASEAN relations. The China-ASEAN Senior Officials' Consultation is an important mechanism for annual consultation among senior officials in charge of ASEAN affairs from China and 10 ASEAN countries. This round of consultation will focus on boosting China-ASEAN relations and East Asia cooperation under the current circumstances and set the stage for this year's major events such as the commemorative summit marking the 25th anniversary of the dialogue relations between China and ASEAN.
On the sidelines of the consultation, Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin and ASEAN senior officials will hold back to back the 11th Senior Officials' Meeting on the Implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) for in-depth discussions on fully and effectively implementing the DOC, pushing forward pragmatic maritime cooperation, and forging ahead with the consultation on the code of conduct in the South China Sea (COC) under the framework of implementing the DOC.
Q: The high-level signing ceremony on the Paris Climate Change Agreement was held at the UN Headquarters on April 22. How does China evaluate the agreement? What measures will China take to implement the agreement and address climate change?
A: Thanks to the concerted efforts of the international community, the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris adopted the Paris Agreement which reiterates the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities established by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and gives a balanced reflection of all parties' concerns. It is a comprehensive, balanced, ambitious and historic agreement which charts the course and sets the target for post-2020 global cooperation against climate change. The signing ceremony presided over by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon gathered representatives from over 190 parties to the UNFCCC, 70 among which are leaders from different countries. 175 countries inked the Agreement while 15 countries deposited instruments of ratification, generating new political driving force for the implementation of the Agreement.
China takes an active part in the international multilateral campaign against climate change and makes important contributions to the conclusion of the Paris Agreement. Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli attended the high-level signing ceremony in New York and signed the Paris Agreement on behalf of China as President Xi Jinping's special envoy. As a responsible and major developing country, China will take serious steps to implement the Agreement and work tirelessly to deal with global climate change. First, China will go through its domestic legal procedures for the ratification of the Agreement before the G20 Hangzhou Summit in September and work for the general acceptance and early entry into force of the Agreement. Second, China will promote innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development and further cut its greenhouse gas emissions. Third, China will enhance its participation in international cooperation against climate change including taking an active part in follow-up negotiations on the Paris Agreement and launching new cooperation projects under the South-South Cooperation Fund on Climate Change. It is the shared undertaking of the international community to deal with climate change. China is ready to stay in close communication and cooperation with all parties to ensure the effective implementation of the Paris Agreement and push forward the international campaign against climate change.
Q: Indonesia announced on Friday that it detained a Chinese fishing trawler which it said was operating illegally in its waters. It also said that the boat was the subject of an Interpol notice for alleged illegal operation near Argentina. What is China's response to that? Is China concerned about escalating tensions with Indonesia over the fishing issue?
A: We pay close attention to the report you mentioned and are trying to get more information about what has happened. On April 22, on its way back to China passing through the Strait of Malacca, Huali 8 fishing vessel was impounded by the Indonesian side. Upon learning the incident, Chinese diplomatic missions in Indonesia immediately launched emergency mechanisms, requesting the Indonesian side to strictly follow international law and relevant international rules, ensure the freedom of navigation of Chinese ships, protect the crew's lawful rights and release the boat and crew as soon as possible. Officials of the Chinese Consulate-General in Medan have visited the crew. Please consult the competent authorities for specifics of the fishing boat.
Q: Please update us on Foreign Minister Wang Yi's visits to Brunei, Cambodia and Laos and the consensus reached between China and the three countries on the issue of the South China Sea.
A: Foreign Minister Wang Yi visited Brunei, Cambodia and Laos from April 20 to 24. The three countries are ASEAN members and major cooperative partners of China in the neighborhood. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Brunei, the 55th anniversary of diplomatic ties between China and Laos as well as the 25th anniversary of dialogue relations between China and ASEAN. During their meetings and talks, Foreign Minister Wang Yi, leaders of the three countries and heads of diplomatic services spoke highly of the development of bilateral relations, agreed to strengthen high-level exchanges, promote pragmatic cooperation in business and other fields, deepen China-Brunei strategic cooperative relations as well as China-Cambodia and China-Laos comprehensive strategic partnerships of cooperation in an all-round manner. All parties made positive comments on China-ASEAN relations and outcomes of the first leaders' meeting on Lancang-Mekong River cooperation, stressing their readiness to align the development of ASEAN Community with China-ASEAN cooperation, elevate China-ASEAN relations to a new height and strive for early harvests of Lancang-Mekong River cooperation.
During the visits, Foreign Minister Wang Yi also reached important consensus with the three countries respectively on the current situation in the South China Sea through exchanges of views. First, both China and the three countries believe that disputes over some islands and reefs of the Nansha Islands are not issues between China and ASEAN, and must not disturb China-ASEAN relations. Second, both China and the three countries believe that the right of all countries to seek settlement of disputes by means of their own choice following international law should be respected, and disapprove of imposition of one's own will on others. Third, both China and the three countries believe that disputes over territory and maritime rights and interests should be resolved by countries directly concerned through dialogue and consultation as prescribed in Article 4 of the DOC. Fourth, both China and the three countries believe that China and ASEAN countries are capable of safeguarding peace and stability in the South China Sea through cooperation, and that countries outside the region should play a constructive role rather than the opposite.
Consensus among China, Brunei, Cambodia and Laos is based on international law including the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, in keeping with the stipulation and gist of the DOC. It demonstrates the basic principle in dealing with relevant maritime issues. The leader of Cambodia said that the DOC has provided everything necessary for the settlement of the issue of the South China Sea. It is binding and should be effectively implemented by all parties. Foreign Minister Wang Yi pointed out that China's position on the relevant issue is in line with the international rule of law and international norms on the law of the sea. China is acting in accordance with the law. We believe that the consensus reached by Foreign Minister Wang Yi with Brunei, Cambodia and Laos during his visits is a correct and feasible approach to handle disputes of the South China Sea and uphold peace and stability of the region. We appreciate it that the three countries make correct judgments on their own based on the merits of the issue. We would continue to work alongside ASEAN countries in safeguarding peace and stability in the South China Sea. We also hope that relevant countries outside the region would work constructively for peace and stability of the region in a responsible attitude rather than the opposite.
Q: Citing a source close to the Chinese military, the South China Morning Post reported on April 25 that China would carry out land reclamation and build a new airstrip at Huangyan Dao later this year. Can you confirm this? Isn't it contradictory to what Chinese officials previously said about China's completion of construction activities on relevant islands and reefs in the South China Sea?
A: I haven't heard about what you mentioned. But I have read some media reports saying that the US and the Philippines have sent military planes above waters near Huangyan Dao in the last few days. China always respects the normal freedom of navigation and overflight to which all countries are entitled under international law. It is nothing strange for relevant planes to fly outside airspace adjacent to Huangyan Dao. Yet there is something unnatural with the high-profile hyping up of such a flight, and the reason why they did this is questionable.
I want to emphasize that Huangyan Dao is China's inherent territory, and China will take necessary measures to firmly uphold its sovereignty and legitimate rights and interests. We don't want to see certain countries continuously make provocations for their own political gains. It is hoped that these countries would show some restraint, join hands with China and maintain regional peace and stability.
Q: First, can you give us more details about Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov's agenda and topics of discussion during his visit to China? Second, the DPRK declared on April 22 success of the test of a submarine-launched ballistic missile. Did China detect the move by the DPRK? What is China's response to that?
A: On your first question, Foreign Minister Lavrov will travel to China for the 5th CICA foreign ministers' meeting and an official visit on April 28 and 29. During his visit, Foreign Minister Larvrov will meet with Chinese leaders and hold talks with Foreign Minister Wang Yi to compare notes on preparations for President Putin's visit to China and exchange views on international and regional issues of common interest.
China and Russia are each other's partners of comprehensive strategic coordination, permanent members of the UN Security Council and major emerging markets. The bilateral relationship is mature, stable, and firm. In face of the complex and volatile international and regional landscape, both sides will maintain frequent high-level contacts, stay committed to translating the advantages of high-level political relationship into more outcomes of practical and international cooperation, operate the bilateral relationship at a high level, and jointly promote regional and international peace, security and stability.
On your second question, there are explicit terms in the resolutions of the UN Security Council on issues concerning DPRK's ballistic missiles. We hope that all relevant parties would earnestly implement resolutions of the UN Security Council, and refrain from any move that would further escalate tensions.
Q: Do you agree with the viewpoint that the DPRK is making progress on its missile technologies as evidenced by its test of the submarine-launched ballistic missile?
A: I am not an expert in this regard, and thus cannot make specific comment on that. As I said, the UN Security Council has explicit regulations on issues concerning ballistic missiles in the DPRK. We hope that the relevant party would faithfully observe Security Council resolutions.
Q: US President Barack Obama said that since the UN Security Council adopted sanctions against the DPRK, the US has been cooperating with China to put pressure on the DPRK, yet this hasn't met America's expectation, implying that China should do more to pressurize the DPRK. What is your comment?
A: China is in close communication with all parties including the US. We believe that while fully and comprehensively implementing relevant resolutions, all parties should take into consideration the complexity of the Korean nuclear issue, address both the symptoms and root causes, take a multi-pronged approach, explore means to step up communication, and make constructive efforts for the return to the track of peacefully resolving relevant issues through dialogue and negotiation. As for the sanctions on the DPRK, China is willing to work together with all parties to fully and comprehensively implement Security Council resolutions. Meanwhile, China believes that sanction itself is not a panacea, and cannot root out the problem. China has done what it can do, and hopes all parties would also push for the genuine and complete settlement of the Korean nuclear issue in a constructive and responsible attitude, so that all parties would return to the right track of resolving the issue through dialogue and consultation at an early date.
Maintaining peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula is in the interests of all parties, and is also a common responsibility shared by all which requires constructive efforts of all.
Q: China and the ROK held the 1st working groups' meeting on maritime demarcation in Beijing the other day. What are the major topics of the meeting?
A: The 1st working groups' meeting on maritime demarcation between China and the ROK was held in Beijing on April 22 as agreed by the 1st round of talks between China-ROK governmental negotiating delegations on maritime demarcation in Seoul in December, 2015. The two sides exchanged views on issues relating to maritime demarcation in a friendly and candid atmosphere, and agreed to hold the 2nd working groups' meeting in the ROK. The specific time of the meeting will be decided through communication via the diplomatic channel.