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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei's Regular Press Conference on March 3, 2016

2016/03/03

Q: On March 2, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 2270 on the DPRK. What is China's comment?

A: On March 2, the UN Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 2270 on the DPRK. The resolution has a definite target, which is to prevent the DPRK from advancing its nuclear and missile programs, move forward and realize denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, and safeguard the international nuclear non-proliferation regime. The resolution reaffirms all parties' commitment to resolving the Korean nuclear issue through dialogue and consultation and supporting the resumption of the Six-Party Talks. It coincides with the international community's endeavor to uphold peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula. We hope that the resolution can be fully and earnestly implemented. Meanwhile, efforts shall be made to avoid impacts on people's well-being and humanitarian needs of the DPRK, which is also an important part of the resolution.

The UN Security Council sanction is not an end in itself. It is dialogue and negotiation that represents the right way to fundamentally resolve the Korean nuclear issue. China, as the chair country of the Six-Party Talks, has been adhering to an objective and just position while exploring ways to resume negotiations. In light of the development of the situation, we proposed to pursue in parallel tracks denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the replacement of the armistice with a peace agreement. We stand ready to have further consultations on this proposal with relevant countries, including on the concrete means and steps to advance this proposal.

The Korean Peninsula is in a very complex and sensitive state. Relevant parties should refrain from escalating tensions on the Peninsula. We oppose the deployment of the THAAD system on the Peninsula and urge relevant parties to act cautiously.

Q: It is reported that the DPRK fired several short-range missiles to waters east of the Korean Peninsula this morning. What is China's comment?

A: As I have said, the Korean Peninsula is in a very complex and sensitive state. It is hoped that relevant parties could remain calm, exercise restraint, and avoid provoking each other and heightening antagonism and tension.

Q: Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla said in an interview that China, as a major industrial power, hopes to maintain peace and stability of maritime trade passages. He believes that China has no intention of controlling the South China Sea, and that the best way to resolve relevant disputes is for all parties to work together for common development. What is your comment?

A: With the concerted efforts of China and ASEAN countries, the overall situation in the South China Sea is stable. Navigation freedom and unimpeded commerce have not been negatively affected. China's policy on the South China Sea issue is consistent and clear. We are committed to upholding peace and stability in the South China Sea as well as navigation and over-flight freedom all countries are entitled to under international law, resolving disputes peacefully through negotiation and consultation, controlling and managing disputes through rules and mechanisms, and realizing mutual benefit and win-win results through cooperation and development.

Q: Photos from social media revealed that Chinese trucks in Dandong are still transporting goods to the DPRK. Can you confirm that? What measures will China take to implement the UN Security Council resolution on the DPRK?

A: As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China has been faithfully fulfilling its international obligations. With the adoption of the UN Security Council Resolution 2270, China will fully and scrupulously abide by it and hopes that all parties will do the same. At the same time, the implementation of the resolution shall not affect people's well-being and humanitarian needs of the DPRK.

Q: Reports say that India, the US and Japan will hold a joint military exercise in waters off the northern Philippines near the South China Sea this year. What is China's comment?

A: We hope that cooperation among relevant countries will contribute to regional peace, stability and security, and no harm shall be done to the interests of a third party.

Q: It is reported that unknown gunmen attacked a shed belonging to a Chinese company in Laos' Luang Prabang province, killing one Chinese national and injuring three others. Can you confirm that and give us more details?

A: At 7 p.m. on March 1, a logging site in Laos' Luang Prabang province was attacked by a group of unidentified militants. A Chinese worker was killed and three others wounded. After the attack, China's Consulate-General in Lung Prabang immediately activated the emergency response mechanism and sent officials to visit hospitalized Chinese workers. We have asked the Lao side to do their best to treat the injured, properly deal with follow-up matters concerning the deceased, get to the bottom of the case as soon as possible, and bring perpetrators to justice. The case is still under investigation. We hope that the Lao side can take effective measures to ensure the safety and legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens and organizations in Laos.

Q: Rating agency Moody's downgraded its outlook on Chinese government debt to negative. What is your comment?

A: The review results for the year 2015 of Moody's released on March 2 showed that it has cut its China outlook from stable to negative, while keeping China's credit rating at Aa3. This demonstrated that Moody's is still very confident about China's economic growth. It just has some concerns about the problems China's economic and financial operations have run into against the backdrop of the complex global economic situation. Judging from how the markets fared on that day, China's stock market, bond market and foreign exchange market were all doing well without being affected.

At the current stage, China is moving steadily forward with supply-side structural reform. We have optimized our economic structure, strengthened the basic role of consumption in driving economic growth, and deepened reforms of state-owned enterprises. In general, China's economy is developing in a stable way. With respect to the middle to long-term trend of China's economic performance, the sound fundamentals remain unchanged. The Chinese economy has great potential, resilience and flexibility. As our reform and opening-up goes deeper, we will accelerate the cultivation of new drivers to development, strengthen momentum for sustainable growth. With the sound support and conditions, China's economy can maintain middle to high-speed growth rate. The future is bright for China's economy. In that we have full confidence.

Q: First, is there any communication between China and the DPRK before and after the adoption of the UN Security Council resolution? Second, according to reports, aircraft debris found on the coast of Mozambique may come from the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370. What is your comment?

A: On your first question, China and relevant parties have been in touch on the Korean Peninsula situation.

On your second question, we have noted relevant reports and will continue to follow the development of the situation and remain in contact with relevant parties. We will work with relevant countries and continue with the search of MH370.

Q: Concerning Japan's stockpile of 48 tons of weapons-grade plutonium, James Acton, a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace said in a speech at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan in Tokyo that the hoarding of plutonium will heighten regional tensions in Asia and increase risks of nuclear terror. Other countries might follow suit and pile up nuclear materials. Plutonium production shall not exceed the need of domestic nuclear power plants. What is China's comment?

A: We have noted relevant reports. It is true that the international community has always been concerned about Japan's excess stocks of sensitive nuclear materials as well as the nuclear security hazards and nuclear proliferation risks it brings along. Both the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Nuclear Security Summit documents called on all countries to maintain a supply-demand balance of nuclear materials. We hope that the Japanese side can take concrete actions with a sense of responsibility to address the concerns of the international community.

Q: Does China condemn the DPRK's launch of short-range missiles this morning?

A: I have said that the Korean Peninsula is in a complex and sensitive state. All parties are responsible in maintaining peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula.

Q: Admiral Harry Harris, head of the US Pacific Command, said on March 2 in New Delhi that the US was keen to join the current trilateral dialogue between India, Japan and Australia. He hoped that they could talk about maritime issues including navigation freedom. What is your comment on his remarks?

A: We have no objection to normal exchanges and cooperation between relevant countries, but such cooperation shall not target a third party.

Q: When will China start implementing the UN Security Council resolution on the DPRK? When will China inform its customs and banks to follow the resolution?

A: The UN Security Council Resolution 2270 was agreed upon by the international community. We hope that all parties can fully and earnestly implement the resolution. China has been faithfully observing relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council and fulfilling its international obligations. There is no reason for us to make an exception this time.

Q: Regarding China's dispatch of vessels to dispose the grounded vessel at Wufang Jiao, the US State Department Spokesperson Mark Toner said that they are aware of the press reports and they do not want China to send its navy to intimidate fishing vessels of other countries in the region. What is your response?

A: Yesterday I have already briefed you on how the foreign fishing boat grounded at Wufang Jiao of China's Nansha Islands was towed away by salvage vessels from China Rescue and Salvage of the Ministry of Transport. There is no such thing as Chinese Navy intimidating other countries' fishing boats. Some country, without figuring out the whole story, hurled groundless accusations at China. China is strongly dissatisfied with that. We hope that the relevant country can view the South China Sea issue in an objective and just way, respect facts, and make some tangible contributions to peace and stability in the South China Sea.

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