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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying's Regular Press Conference on October 11, 2013


Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying held a press conference on October 11, 2013.

Q: China has expounded its position on the South China Sea issue on many occasions. The US side encourages relevant ASEAN countries to solve disputes with China over the South China Sea in accordance with the international law. What is China's comment?

A: China's position on the South China Sea issue is very clear, and I want to stress the following points:

First, freedom of navigation on the South China Sea is never a problem and will not be one in the future. Each year over 100,000 ships from different countries sail through the South China Sea safely. China and ASEAN countries have agreed to further ensure freedom of navigation and safety on the South China Sea.

Second, the core of the South China Sea issue is the disputes over the sovereignty of some islands and reefs of the Nansha Islands and the delimitation disputes over some waters in the South China Sea. The Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) signed by China and ASEAN countries over ten years ago states that the disputes over the South China Sea should be resolved peacefully by countries directly concerned through consultation and negotiation. Parties to the DOC also urge other countries to respect the principles of the DOC. In the just concluded 16th China-ASEAN Summit and the joint statement to mark the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the China-ASEAN Strategic Partnership issued after the summit, the two sides reiterated that they will continue to implement the DOC in a comprehensive and effective manner and advance the consultation on the code of conduct in the South China Sea actively and steadily on the basis of consensus so as to safeguard peace and stability of the South China Sea.

Third, other countries should respect the joint efforts and consensus of China and ASEAN countries. Non-parties to the disputes should respect the efforts by countries directly concerned to solve disputes through negotiations, do more to help enhance mutual trust among regional countries and properly resolve problems and refrain from doing things that may sabotage regional peace and stability. I want to add that the South China Sea is peaceful and stable. If one is really committed to peace and stability in the South China Sea, one should not stir up waves.

Q: It is reported that the Chinese side has raised demands to the Philippine side on the Hong Kong hostage incident. Please give us more details.

A: The Chinese government and leaders pay high attention to and follow closely the handling of the Hong Kong hostage incident. While attending the East Asia Leaders' Meetings in Brunei on October 9, Premier Li Keqiang expressed China's concerns about the incident to Philippine President Aquino. Premier Li stated that the Hong Kong hostage incident has dragged on long enough and has affected the feelings of the Chinese people, Hong Kong compatriots in particular. He hopes that the Philippines can treat the matter seriously and offer a fair and reasonable solution as soon as possible. President Aquino pledged to carry on with relevant investigation and properly handle the incident. The Chinese side will continue to follow the developments.

Q: Premier Li Keqiang will soon kick off his official visit to Vietnam. Please brief us on his schedule.

A: Premier Li Keqiang will soon start an official visit to Vietnam. During the visit, Premier Li Keqiang will hold talks and meet with Vietnamese leaders, exchanging in-depth views with the Vietnamese side mainly on developing China-Vietnam friendship, strengthening strategic cooperation and properly managing the South China Sea issue. The two sides will issue the Joint Statement on Deepening China-Vietnam Comprehensive Strategic Cooperation in the New Era and sign a number of cooperation documents in economy, trade and other fields. We will release information about the visit in due course.

China and Vietnam are important neighbours linked by land and sea as well as socialist countries. Both sides attach great importance to developing China-Vietnam relations. This year has seen frequent high-level contacts between the two countries. Both sides have agreed to unswervingly develop China-Vietnam friendship and reached important consensus on enhancing political mutual trust, expanding practical cooperation and properly managing sensitive issues. It has charted the course for the development of bilateral relations under the new situation. China is ready to work with Vietnam to effectively implement relevant consensus reached between the leaders of the two parties and the two countries as well as cooperation documents signed by both sides so as to push for healthy and stable development of China-Vietnam relations.

Q: It is reported that the incumbent President of Azerbaijan Aliyev won the Presidential election on October 9 and will serve another term. What is China's comment?

A: Azerbaijan is a friend of China's. China is happy to see that Presidential election was smoothly held in Azerbaijan. Initial counting of the ballots shows that President Aliyev is re-elected, and China congratulates him on his re-election. China respects the choice of the people of Azerbaijan and stands ready to work with Azerbaijan, in the principle of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit, to further enhance and grow the traditional friendship between our two countries, deepen cooperation in various fields, continually advance China-Azerbaijan friendly and cooperative relationship and benefit the two countries and two peoples.

Q: ROK coast guard has recently detained several Chinese fishermen suspected of illegal fishing in waters of the ROK. What is China's response?

A: ROK coast guard detained two Chinese fishing boats suspected of illegal fishing on October 7. The two sides collided during law enforcement, causing injuries to two Chinese fishermen and five ROK coast guard officers. The Center for Consular Assistance and Protection of the Chinese Foreign Ministry and the Chinese Consulate-General in Gwangju launched the emergency response mechanism immediately after the incident, requiring the ROK side to offer timely treatment to the injured crewmen, carry out fair investigation into the case in accordance with law and take concrete measures to ensure the safety as well as the lawful rights and interests of Chinese crewmen. Consular officials from the Consulate-General in Gwangju have visited the injured Chinese in hospital. The Center for Consular Assistance and Protection of the Chinese Foreign Ministry and the Consulate-General in Gwangju will follow closely the developments of the case, provide necessary assistance to the Chinese crewmen involved in the case and require the ROK side to properly solve the case as soon as possible.

China and the ROK are in close communication on fishery cooperation and have consensus concerning the proper settlement of fishery disputes. Both agree that we should bear in mind the overall interests of bilateral relations and properly solve relevant disputes in the principle of mutual benefit. China will further enhance regulation on foreign-related fishing activities and require Chinese fishermen to be law-abiding. In the meantime, we hope that the ROK could enforce law in a well-disciplined manner and ensure the safety of Chinese fishermen. China is ready to work with the ROK to properly address problems and jointly maintain the order of fishery production in relevant waters based on mutual understanding and mutual accommodation.

Q: What is Premier Li Keqiang's itinerary in Thailand?

A: During Premier Li Keqiang's visit to Thailand, he will meet with the Thai royal family, as well as government and parliament leaders, exchanging in-depth views on China-Thailand relations and international and regional issues of mutual interest. Premier Li will also deliver a speech at the Thai Parliament, attend China's high-speed rail exhibition in Bangkok and extensively contact people from all social sectors. The two sides will jointly issue the vision for the development of China-Thailand relations and sign relevant cooperation documents. We will release the information in due course.

Thailand is an important member of ASEAN and now serves as country coordinator of ASEAN-China relations. China and Thailand enjoy a 1,000-plus-year history of friendly exchanges. Over the 38 years since the establishment of diplomatic relationship, both sides have carried out all-dimensional, in-depth and fruitful cooperation in the fields of economy, trade, people-to-people and cultural exchanges, education, scien-tech and defence. China and Thailand established comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership in 2012. Thailand is the second largest trade partner of China among ASEAN countries. Both sides have also maintained close coordination and cooperation in regional and international affairs. We hope that Premier Li's upcoming visit could take China-Thailand relations to a new high.

Q: Chinese Ambassador to the US Cui Tiankai reportedly said that Japan was defeated in World War II not by US atomic bombs but by the peace-loving and anti-aggression people from around the world. In response, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told the press on October 9 that the Chinese Ambassador's remarks, which seemed like a propaganda, did not take into account other countries' views at all, and thus were not worth a comment. He also stressed that Japan became a free and democratic country and made contributions to world peace and prosperity in the post-war era. What is China's comment?

A: This year marks the 68th anniversary of the victory of the Chinese People's War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-Fascist War. The victory was a great triumph of justice over evil, light over darkness and progressive forces over reactionary elements. In those years of untold hardships, the Chinese people waged unyielding and dauntless struggles and won a great victory in the war against Japanese aggression, making enormous national sacrifice for and indelible historical contribution to the victory of the World Anti-Fascist War.

Past experience, if not forgotten, serves as a guide for the future. Only by remembering that historical period of untold suffering and drawing hard lessons from it can we avoid repetition of similar tragedies. It is the international community's consensus that Japan's attitude toward its history of aggression will have a bearing on not only the development of Japan itself, but also the future relationship between Japan and its Asian neighbours as well as peace and stability of Northeast Asia. There are still some forces in Japan refusing to face up to and reflect on its history of aggression. They even attempt to deny and whitewash that part of history. This runs counter to the trends of peace and development. The international community follows closely what Japan says, but more importantly, what Japan does. We hope that the Japanese side could adopt a responsible attitude to history and future and pursue a path of peaceful development with deep and serious remorse of its history of aggression.

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