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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying's Regular Press Conference on April 26, 2013

2013/04/28

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying held a press conference on April 26, 2013.

Q: In a recent interview with the Japanese media, US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin E. Dempsey said that during his visit to China, the Chinese side repeatedly stressed that territorial sovereignty of the Diaoyu Islands is part of China's core interests. Is this China's official position?

A: China's Peaceful Development, the white paper released by China's State Council Information Office in September 2011, made it clear that China firmly safeguards its core national interests, including national sovereignty, national security and territorial integrity.

The Diaoyu Islands issue concerns China's territorial sovereignty.

Q: At the request of the Philippines, an arbitral tribunal on the South China Sea disputes between China and the Philippines has been composed recently and will make arbitrations on the disputes in accordance with international law. What is China's comment?

A: As for the composition of the arbitral tribunal on the South China Sea disputes between China and the Philippines, please refer to the remarks made by Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson this morning. I would like to stress that in the interest of maintaining China-Philippine relations and the peace and stability in the South China Sea, China has been persistent in pursuing bilateral negotiations and consultations with the Philippines to resolve relevant disputes. It is a commitment undertaken by all signatories, the Philippines included, under the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) that disputes relating to territorial and maritime rights and interests be resolved through negotiations by sovereign states directly concerned therewith. The DOC should be implemented in a comprehensive and serious manner. China will adhere to the means of bilateral negotiations to resolve territorial and maritime delimitation disputes both in accordance with applicable rules of international law and in compliance with the spirit of the DOC.

Q: Bangladesh Election Commission announced on April 22 that Acting President and Speaker of the Parliament Abdul Hamid would serve as the new President. What is China's comment on the current China-Bangladesh relations?

A: We congratulate President Hamid on his election. Since the establishment of diplomatic ties 38 years ago, especially the closer comprehensive partnership of cooperation in 2010, China-Bangladesh relations have made great progress. China stands ready to work with Bangladesh to constantly promote the in-depth development of friendly and cooperative relations so as to better benefit the two peoples.

Q: A building collapsed outside the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka on April 24, causing heavy casualties. Has China expressed condolences?

A: On April 25, Foreign Minister Wang Yi sent a message of condolences to Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Dipu Moni to lament the death of the victims and express sympathy to the bereaved families and the injured.

Q: The 69th session of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) will be held soon. Will China send officials to this meeting?

A: The 69th session of the UNESCAP will be held in Bangkok, Thailand from April 25 to May 1. The theme of the session is "building resilience to natural disasters and major economic crises". Assistant Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu will lead the Chinese delegation to the ministerial meeting to be held from April 29 to May 1 and make remarks at the general debate and the Ministerial Panel on "Sustainable Development and the Development Agenda beyond 2015".

China hopes the session will hold in-depth discussions on topics including cooperation on building resilience to natural disasters and major economic crises, sustainable development and the development agenda beyond 2015 to enhance mutual understanding and jointly promote inclusive and sustainable development in the Asia-Pacific.

Q: US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel reportedly said on April 25 that US intelligence community "assesses with some degree of varying confidence" that the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons on a small scale. UK Foreign Office spokesperson said that the UK "has limited but persuasive information" on this. A senior US administration official said that "all options are on the table" if it is confirmed that Syria has used chemical weapons. What is China's comment?

A: The use of chemical weapons violates the universally-accepted norms of international law. We firmly oppose the use of chemical weapons by anyone. This position is consistent and clear. Meanwhile, It is also persistent and explicit that we are opposed to military interventions in any country.

China believes that all parties concerned in Syria should adhere to the correct direction of political solution. The pressing task is to push the Syrian government and opposition to cease fire and stop violence as soon as possible, launch the political dialogue and implement the political transition on the basis of the communiqué of the Geneva foreign ministers' meeting of the Action Group. China calls on the international community to make unremitting efforts for the political settlement of the Syrian issue in a responsible manner.

Q: How does China comment on French President Francois Hollande's visit to China?

A: China attaches great importance to President Hollande's visit to China. Yesterday, President Xi Jinping held talks with him. This morning, Premier Li Keqiang and NPC Chairman Zhang Dejiang met with him respectively. Please refer to the released information.

At yesterday's talks, President Xi Jinping said that China and France, big nations with a strong spirit of independence, are both committed to multilateralism and multipolarity in the world. The two sides should strengthen communication and exchanges, respect each other, deepen mutual trust, earnestly accommodate each other's core interests and major concerns and support each other's independent choice of development path. We are looking forward to seeing the development of a new type of China-France comprehensive strategic partnership in the future. We stand ready to work with France through this visit to enhance strategic and political trust, promote practical cooperation across the board, strengthen coordination and cooperation in international and regional affairs and take the new type of China-France comprehensive strategic partnership to a new high.

Q: First, please brief us on the agenda of the China-Japan Defense Officials' Consultation in Beijing today. Second, a Japanese official said that the Yasukuni Shrine issue is not a diplomatic issue. What is China's comment?

A: As for the China-Japan Defense Officials' Consultation, please refer to Chinese Defense Ministry Spokesperson's remarks made yesterday.

On your second question, we have repeatedly made clear our position. The essence of the Yasukuni Shrine issue is how the Japanese government and leadership view and deal with Japanese militarists' invasion history. If Japanese leaders attempt to challenge the results of the Second World War and the post-war international order and do not repent on historical issues, Japan will never walk out from the shadow of history and there will be no future for Japan's relations with its Asian neighbours.

China hopes that Japanese leaders could adopt a responsible attitude towards the history, the people and the future, sincerely and deeply repent on and face up to the history, and take concrete actions to win the trust of its Asian neighbours and the international community. Only by doing so can Japan truly get along well with its Asian neighbours. I also hope that Japanese media could accurately and comprehensively convey China's voice to all sectors of the Japanese society.

During the International Labour Day holiday, the Foreign Ministry's regular press conference will be adjourned from April 29 to May 1 and be resumed from Thursday, May 2.

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