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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei's Regular Press Conference on July 8, 2016
2016-07-08

At the invitation of Mongolian Prime Minister Jargaltulga Erdenebat, Premier Li Keqiang of the State Council will pay an official visit to Mongolia from July 13 to 14. At the invitation of Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj, Premier Li Keqiang will attend the 11th ASEM Summit in Ulan Bator, Mongolia from July 15 to 16.

Wang Yang, Vice Premier of the State Council and Chinese chair of the China-Russia committee on prime ministers’ regular meetings, will travel to Yekaterinburg for the 3rd China-Russia Expo and co-host the chair’s meeting of the committee with the Russian Deputy Prime Minister and chair of the committee Dmitry Rogozin from July 12 to 14.

Q: The Philippines argued in its subject-matters to the South China Sea arbitration case that Yongshu Jiao and other islands and reefs of the Nansha Islands are “rocks” which only generate territorial seas, not exclusive economic zones and continental shelves. What’s your response to this?

A: From historical, geographical, political, economic and legal points of view, the islands, reefs, cays, sands and the relevant waters of China’s Nansha Islands are interrelated and have always been taken as a whole..

In accordance with China’s domestic laws and international laws including UNCLOS, China’s Nansha Islands as a whole are entitled to territorial sea, exclusive economic zone, continental shelf and other maritime rights and interests. Some countries, disregarding this basic fact, have attempted to separate the Nansha Islands from its components and negate the entirety and the maritime rights and interests of the Nansha Islands. This does not conform to the widely recognized international law.

Q: The US and the ROK announced today to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system in the ROK. Has China summoned the ambassadors of the two countries to lodge representations?

A: In disregard of the clear opposition from relevant countries including China, the US and the ROK announced their decision to deploy the THAAD system in the ROK. China has expressed strong dissatisfaction with and firm opposition to the decision, and has summoned the ambassadors of the US and the ROK to lodge our representations.

The deployment of the THAAD system by the US and the ROK will in no way help achieve the goal of denuclearization on the Peninsula and maintain peace and stability of the Peninsula. It runs counter to the efforts by all parties to resolve the issue through dialogue and consultation and will gravely sabotage the strategic security interests of regional countries including China and regional strategic balance.

China strongly urges the US and the ROK to halt the process of deploying the system and refrain from complicating the regional situation or undermining China’s strategic security interests.

Q: US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Abraham Denmark reportedly said on July 7 that the ruling of the South China Sea arbitration case will determine whether the Asia-Pacific's future will be defined by adherence to international laws and norms that have enabled it to prosper, or be determined by raw calculations of power. The US urged China and the Philippines to abide by the ruling, and asked territorial claimants in the South China Sea to avoid taking provocative actions. What’s your comment?

A: The arbitration unilaterally initiated by the Philippine Aquino administration distorts the purposes of UNCLOS, challenges the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) as a regional regulation, and flouts the rule of law and regulations under the banner of defending them. By not accepting the ruling nor participating in the arbitral tribunal, China is acting in accordance with law while championing UNCLOS and the DOC as well as the international rule of law and regulations. China’s position is subject to no change.

It can only be a delusion of relevant parties to impose the ruling on China through diplomatic pressurizing and negative publicity campaign. We advise them to give up such futile attempts.

Q: The US Senate passed a bill on July 6 reaffirming that the Taiwan Relations Act and the six assurances are the bedrock of Taiwan-US relations. The US House of Representatives had also approved relevant bills in May. What’s your comment?

A: Taiwan affairs fall entirely within China’s domestic affairs. By unilaterally enacting the “Taiwan Relations Act” and offering relevant “assurances” to Taiwan, the US has interfered in China’s domestic affairs in severe breach of the one-China policy and the three joint communiques between China and the US. We are firmly opposed to the passing of relevant bills by the US senate and the house of representatives. We demand the US side adhere to the one-China policy, the three China-US joint communiques and its commitment of opposing “Taiwan independence”, rescind relevant bills immediately, maintain the China-US relations with concrete efforts and not send any wrong signal to the separatist forces touting “Taiwan independence”.

Q: It is reported that recently more African countries have publicly voiced support to China’s stance on the South China Sea issue. What is your comment?

A: In recent days, the government of Central African Republic, the government of Madagascar, the Prime Minister of Guinea-Bissau, the foreign ministry of Zimbabwe, the foreign ministry of Angola, and the foreign minister of Liberia have made statements and endorsed China’s position on the South China Sea issue.

To date, more than 30 African countries have expressed their explicit support to China’s position through various channels, to which we would like to express our high appreciation. It also stands as a strong proof that standing for justice and objectiveness and upholding international rule of law is the mainstream of the international community. The arbitral tribunal and its ruling will not gain popular support and will only prove to be delusional.

Q: Regarding the deployment of THAAD, is China planning on other countermeasures besides protesting to relevant countries?

A: We strongly urge the US and the ROK to cease deploying the THAAD system and take no more actions that complicate the regional situation or jeopardize China’s strategic security interests.

Q: The US government has asked other countries to curb the use of DPRK workers in their countries. There is a fair number of DPRK workers in China. Will China take any steps to stop them from working here and send them back to the DPRK?

A: The Chinese side deals with relevant issue in accordance with law.

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