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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang's Regular Press Conference on November 29, 2013

2013/11/29

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang held a press conference on November 29, 2013.

Qin Gang started the press conference with the following announcement:

At the invitation of President Xi Jinping, President Viktor Yanukovych of Ukraine will pay a state visit to China from December 3 to 6.

Q: British citizen Peter Humphrey and his wife were detained by Shanghai police in July this year. When will they be either indicted or released?

A: As far as I have learned, the British citizen and his wife that you mentioned were arrested by Shanghai police in August this year for illegally obtaining citizens' personal information. The case is still being investigated and tried. Relevant Chinese authorities will handle the case in accordance with law. The Chinese side informed the British Consulate General in Shanghai of the handling of the case in a timely fashion. Consular officials from the British Consulate General in Shanghai visited them. I would point you to the relevant authorities for the specifics.

Q: Japanese media reported that a former senior official of the Chinese government has offered to the Japanese to build a crisis management mechanism to avoid problems in the air. Can you confirm that? Is that China's official position?

A: With regard to the issue concerning the overlapping part of the air defense identification zones of China and Japan in the East China Sea, China is of the view that the two sides should enhance communication and jointly maintain flight security. When it comes to the differences between China and Japan on the issue of sovereignty over the Diaoyu islands, China always maintains that the two sides should explore ways to effectively manage differences and solve problems through dialogue and negotiation. The current difficulty is that the Japanese side has been shying away from holding substantive negotiation with China. We hope that the Japanese side could stop just paying lip service or making a show, but make concrete efforts.

Q: I am wondering if you can confirm that China sent several fighter jets and an early-warning aircraft to the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ)? And if so, what is the purpose of those patrol flights?

A: The Spokesperson of China's air force has released a statement, to which you may refer.

Q: Is China planning to set up ADIZs over the South China Sea and other areas over which it has claims of sovereignty.

A: I have answered many times the same question.

Q: Yesterday, Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy asked China and Japan to moderate their positions regarding the ADIZ so as to avoid regional tensions. How does China respond?

A: China has expounded on its position on and rationale for the establishment of the East China Sea ADIZ. We hope that the EU could have an objective and rational understanding on that. Madame Ashton should have known that some EU countries also have their ADIZs. I am wondering whether these ADIZs have made the situation in Europe become tense. If both European countries and Japan can have ADIZs, why can't China?

Q: First, regarding the dispatch of China's military aircrafts to the ADIZ, is it a regular schedule or is it particularly in response to the announcement of the ADIZ? Second, what does China expect commercial airliners to do? Does China ask them to report where they are going?

A: On your first question, I would point you to China's National Defense Ministry for further information. The Chinese military has the right to conduct air patrol in the East China Sea ADIZ in light of air defense needs. It conforms to internationally-accepted practices.

On your second question, we have clarified that many times. I also hope that journalists can tell the ADIZ from the territorial airspace. The ADIZ is not the territorial airspace, nor is it the enlargement of a country's territorial airspace. It is just an area of airspace established by a coastal state beyond its territorial airspace. The legal status of the related airspace remains unchanged. Normal flights in accordance with international law by aircrafts, including those by passenger airliners, will not be affected. Some territorial airspace-oriented measures based on sovereign rights can not and will not be applied to the ADIZ. In fact, since we released relevant statement and announcement, the freedom and order of flight above the East China Sea have not been affected at all and have been as secure and free as ever.

Q: It is said in the Chinese military's statement earlier today that China's air force has been on high alert. Can you tell us what that exactly means?

A: China's armed forces shoulder the mission of protecting the country and safeguarding peace. They are on high alert at each and every moment.

Q: You referred many times to ADIZs established by other countries, but there is a difference. For example, an aircraft which is passing through the US ADIZ without entering the sovereign US airspace does not have to notify US authorities. China has not clarified whether a plane flying from Tokyo to Manila via China's East China Sea ADIZ has to notify Chinese authorities. Why won't China do that?

A: Regarding the ADIZ, there is no explicit provision in international law about what forms of reports should be submitted by what kinds of planes or during what kinds of flights. In fact, different countries have set different rules in accordance with their own conditions. Therefore, China's relevant conducts do not violate international law. Rather, they conform to international practices. The Announcement of the Aircraft Identification Rules for the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone of the People's Republic of China has provisions on the specific question you raised.

Q: Japanese diplomats reportedly said yesterday that the Japanese government had decided to hold a special summit with ASEAN leaders in December when Japan will convey to ASEAN countries its concerns about China's establishment of the East China Sea ADIZ with the hope that ASEAN countries will echo its position. What is China's comment? Is China worried that the situation in the region will thus tense up?

A: We have repeatedly expounded on our position on the East China Sea ADIZ. I have also seen relevant reports.

Japan should tell other countries whether it has its own ADIZ or not, whether it consulted with other countries before establishing and enlarging time and again its ADIZ or not and how large its ADIZ is. It is totally unjustifiable and with ulterior motives when one, while not allowing others to exercise their legitimate rights, acts on its own will and carries out inflammatory activities hither and thither.

China's establishment of the ADIZ is not directed against any particular country or target. It is completely an exercise of valid self-defense rights. It will not in itself heighten regional tensions. As I said just now, over the past week, the flight order and normal flights over the East China Sea have not been affected at all. If some are worried that the situation is being somewhat tense, it has been instigated by some particular country. Any country or any person, as long as they respect China's sovereignty and security, has no need to feel nervous.

I want to point out that China which has suffered greatly from external aggression since modern times has made enormous sacrifice and remarkable contributions to the victory of the world anti-Fascist war. The Chinese people cherish peace and value sovereignty. China is a responsible major country that has publicly declared to the whole world that it sticks fast to the path of peaceful development and firmly upholds the defense policy that is defensive in nature and the policy of good neighborliness and friendship. We would like to stay in amity with countries around the world based on mutual respect and equality. With regard to the territorial and maritime disputes between China and some countries, we maintain that these disputes should be solved through friendly consultation in a peaceful manner. China will always be a positive force that upholds peace and stability in the region and beyond.

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