|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying's Regular Press Conference on June 17, 2016|
Q: The China-Central and Eastern European Countries (CEECs) Local Leaders' Meeting is held today in Tangshan. Which Chinese leader attended the meeting? Can you tell us more about it?
A: The 3rd China-CEECs Local Leaders' Meeting is held today in Tangshan, Hebei Province. Vice Premier Ma Kai of the State Council attended and addressed the opening ceremony, and Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka of the Czech Republic and Deputy Prime Minister Petar Ivanovic of Montenegro as well as high-level delegations from 15 Chinese provinces and municipalities and over 50 states and prefectures of CEECs also attended the meeting.
As Vice Premier Ma Kai put it, the 16+1 cooperation between China and CEECs has come to a state of maturity and early harvest thanks to the joint efforts in the past 4 years. China attaches great importance to the China-Europe comprehensive strategic partnership, and remains committed to advancing China-CEECs cooperation. President Xi Jinping kicks off a visit to Serbia and Poland today. This is President Xi's second visit to central and eastern Europe this year, which will push forward the overall bilateral relations between China and this part of Europe and bring China-Europe relations to a new high. China will continue to develop its economy at a medium and high rate and strive to turn the economy into a medium and high level one, further open up to the world and forge a brighter future for the 16+1 cooperation. China hopes that the two sides will make full use of their comparative advantages, align respective development strategies with each other, put the 16+1 cooperation and the Belt and Road initiative on parallel tracks and make efforts to build a cooperation landscape across the board and with multiple layers. With the principle of openness and inclusiveness in mind, China will expand areas for cooperation, turn the 16+1 cooperation into specific projects of local companies, translate consensus into actions and actions into outcomes, and further promote the quality and level of China-Europe pragmatic cooperation.
CEECs leaders attending the meeting also said that the 16+1 cooperation has offered an important opportunity to the development of CEECs. All countries look forward to enhancing the dialogue relationship with China, expanding sub-national cooperation and seeking common development.
Q: It is reported that markets and shops were looted in the town of Cumana in Sucre state of Venezuela recently, and Chinese shops were also ransacked. Please tell us if there are Chinese casualties and what China has done regarding this situation. How do you view the current political and economic situation in Venezuela?
A: According to the Chinese Embassy in Venezuela, there has been no report on Chinese casualties as we speak. The Embassy has initiated the emergency response mechanism, asking relevant authorities in Venezuela to take effective measures to safeguard the safety of life and property of Chinese citizens. The Chinese Embassy has issued warnings, advising Chinese citizens in Venezuela to step up safety precautions.
We follow the latest development in Venezuela very closely. As a friendly country to Venezuela, China hopes that the Venezuelan government and people can properly handle the relevant issue, and that the lawful rights and interests of Chinese citizens in Venezuela can be effectively protected.
China sets great store by its relations with Venezuela, and stands ready to maintain exchanges and cooperation with Venezuela across the board in the principle of win-win cooperation.
Q: The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has released over 50 declassified documents on June 14 detailing its use of grueling interrogation techniques in the aftermath of the 9.11 attacks for the first time. What's your comment on this?
A: We have noted relevant reports, and are shocked to see the disclosed details. China believes that all parties should abide by the Geneva Convention and relevant international regulations to safeguard the basic rights of prisoners. The US always poses itself as a champion for human rights, and keeps poking its nose into other countries' human rights records at its own will. It is hoped that the US would reflect upon itself and take real actions to avoid grave violations on human rights.
Q: A Chinese military vessel "intruded into" Japan's territorial seas yesterday. According to China, the strait which the Chinese vessel passed through is a territorial strait for international navigation. But Japan today denied this. What's your comment on this?
A: First I'll correct your question. You said that Chinese military vessel "intruded into" Japan's territorial seas, but this is not true and the Chinese vessel didn't make such an intrusion. Second, I would advise that Japanese media and the government better study international laws before making any report or comment. According to UNCLOS and relevant international practices, prior consent from littoral countries is not required for any ship to exercise the right of transit passage when passing through a territorial strait for international navigation. The Tokara Strait you mentioned is a territorial strait for international navigation. In other words, the Chinese military vessel was exercising the right of transit passage in a territorial strait for international navigation granted by UNCLOS when it passed through the Tokara Strait. I'd also like to remind you that the the right of transit passage vessels enjoy when passing through straits for international navigation is not the same as the right of innocent passage ships have in territorial seas.