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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei's Regular Press Conference on May 30, 2013

2013/05/31

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei held a press conference on May 30, 2013.

Q: It is reported that Chinese fishing boats, maritime surveillance ships and naval vessels recently carried out frequent activities off the Ren'ai Reef of the Nansha Islands, blocking Philippine ships' delivery of supplies to people onboard a wrecked landing ship on the Reef, adding that China's activities could be a flashpoint of tensions in the South China Sea. What is China's comment?

A: China has indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and their surrounding waters. A Philippine warship illegally grounded on the Ren'ai Reef of China's Nansha Islands in 1999, claiming that it was stranded. Since then, China had repeatedly lodged solemn representations with the Philippine side, demanding it to tow away the ship. However, the Philippine side cited a lack of "component parts" for its failure to drag away the ship and claimed that it had no intention to build any facility on the reef or take any provocative steps. But in disregard of China's solemn stance and its own promise, the Philippine side attempted to intensify its illegal presence on and occupation of the Ren'ai Reef, which seriously infringed upon China's territorial sovereignty and violated the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC). Chinese government ships are justified to carry out regular patrol in the waters. China has an unswerving determination to safeguard its national sovereignty and will by no means accept the Philippine side's illegal occupation of the Ren'ai Reef in any form. China urges the Philippine side to follow through on its commitment, meet with China halfway, avoid taking provocative actions that complicate the situation and make its due contribution to peace and stability in the South China Sea.

Q: Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said on May 29 that the Diaoyu Islands had been Japan's territory before the signing of the Treaty of Shimonoseki, let alone the release of the Potsdam Proclamation. Japan's territory is legally defined the Treaty of Peace with Japan (commonly known as the Treaty of San Francisco). What is China's response?

A: Historical facts on the Diaoyu Islands issue are clear. In 1895, as the Qing government's defeat in the First Sino-Japanese War was all but certain, Japan covertly included the Diaoyu Islands in its territory, which is an illegal act of theft. After that, Japan forced the Qing government to sign the unequal Treaty of Shimonoseki and cede to Japan "the island of Formosa (Taiwan), together with all its islands appertaining or belonging to the said island of Formosa", including the Diaoyu Islands.

In December, 1943, leaders of China, the US and the UK issued the Cairo Declaration, stating in explicit terms that "all the territories Japan has stolen from China shall be restored to China". In July, 1945, the Potsdam Proclamation reiterated that "the terms of the Cairo Declaration shall be carried out". In August, 1945, the Japanese Emperor issued the Instrument of Surrender, announcing its acceptance of the Potsdam Proclamation and unconditional surrender. The China-Japan Joint Statement signed in September of 1972 when the two countries normalized their relations also stated clearly that "Japan firmly maintains its stand under Article 8 of the Potsdam Proclamation."

With regard to the Treaty of Peace with Japan, the Chinese government had repeatedly made solemn statements that the Treaty of Peace with Japan signed in San Francisco was illegal and invalid and could under no circumstances be recognized by the Chinese government since China had been excluded from its preparation, formulation and signing. The Diaoyu Islands have never been a part of the Ryukyu Islands and they were not within the trusteeship defined by Article 3 of the Treaty of Peace with Japan.

China once again urges the Japanese side to face history squarely, respect facts, honor its commitment, and earnestly fulfill its due international obligations.

Q: Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh recently visited Japan. It is commented that Japan is trying to "encircle" China by warming its ties with India. How do you view Prime Minister Singh's visit to Japan?

A: We would like to see the development of normal state-to-state relations among our neighbouring countries and hope that the development of India-Japan relations could contribute to peace, stability and development of the region.

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