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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying's Regular Press Conference on April 19, 2016

2016/04/19

At the invitation of Brunei's Minister of the Cabinet and Second Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Pehin Dato Lim Jock Seng, Cambodia's Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Prak Sokhon, and the Lao Foreign Minister, Foreign Minister Wang Yi will visit Brunei, Cambodia and Laos from April 20 to 24.

At the invitation of Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland Witold Waszczykowski will pay an official visit to China from April 23 to 27.

Q: A new round of peace talks on the Syrian issue has entered its 2nd stage where specific issues concerning the political transition such as government reshuffle and constitutional amendment are being discussed. What is China's comment? Special Envoy of the Chinese government on the Syrian issue Xie Xiaoyan is in Geneva to meet relevant parties of the peace talks. Can you give us more details?

A: A new round of Geneva peace talks on the Syrian issue has entered its 2nd stage. The Chinese side welcomes that. China always supports peace talks between the Syrian government and the opposition under the auspices of the UN and the mediation efforts by Staffan de Mistura, UN Special Envoy for Syria.

Peace talks serve as the only practical way out of the Syrian crisis, the outcome of which will be more sustainable compared with other alternatives. Peace talks, the process of which may be long and tortuous, need to be consistently pushed forward. We call on the two sides to advance the talks from easy to difficult in a step-by-step manner, proceed from issues where they share similar stances, gradually establish mutual trust, pool consensus, and build up momentum so as to find a political solution that accommodates the legitimate concerns of all parties. China will continue to work with relevant parties and contribute positively to the political settlement of the Syrian issue.

As you said, Special Envoy of the Chinese government on the Syrian issue Xie Xiaoyan set off to Geneva on April 17. He will get in touch with parties to the peace talks from the UN, the Syrian government and the opposition, follow the progress of the negotiations and promote peace talks. Later, Special Envoy Xie Xiaoyan will also visit Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Russia and have an in-depth exchange of views with all relevant parties on seeking a political settlement of the Syrian issue.

Q: Reports say that the DPRK once hinted to Russia that it is likely to conduct the 5th nuclear test before its 7th Congress of the Workers' Party in May. What is China's stance? DPRK Foreign Minister Ri Su-yong has arrived at Beijing today. He might travel to the US to meet relevant officials. What is your stance on that?

A: On your first question, China's position on the Korean nuclear issue is clear. We believe that relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council shall be respected and upheld. Under the current circumstance, the relevant party should exercise restraint, mind its words and actions, and refrain from further worsening the situation and escalating tensions.

On your second question, I have no information on that.

Q: The Japanese government publicized 750 documents on its website proving that Diaoyu Dao and "Takeshima" are Japan's "inherent territory", the second time Japan has done so since last year. What is China's comment?

A: Diaoyu Dao and its affiliated islands are China's inherent territory. China's sovereignty over Diaoyu Dao is fully backed by historical and jurisprudential evidence. Before the First Sino-Japanese War, the name Diaoyu Dao was widely used in maps made by western countries with clear marks showing that Diaoyu Dao belonged to China. After the War, Japan exercised colonial rule over Taiwan and its affiliated islands including Diaoyu Dao for a long time. Following the end of the Second World War, Diaoyu Dao was returned to China pursuant to relevant legal documents. Japan pieced up a distorted history by picking some information here and garbling some documents there. This will by no means change the fact that Diaoyu Dao is part of China.

Q: The 19th Special Representatives' Meeting on the China-India Boundary Question will soon be held in Beijing. Can you give us more details? Is China hopeful of making any further progress in this meeting? Yesterday, China and India had a series of high-level engagements, including two foreign ministers' meeting in Moscow and Indian Defense Minister's talks with Chinese military officials in Beijing. In talks with the Chinese side, both India's External Affairs Minister and Defense Minister mentioned China's blocking of India's efforts to include the head of Jaish-e-Muhammad Masood Azhar on the sanction list. What is China's response to that? Besides, India's Defense Minister also touched upon the demarcation of the Line of Actual Control (LAC), believing that it is of great significance in preventing tensions along the border. What is China's response?

A: At the invitation of Chinese Special Representative on the China-India Boundary Question and State Councilor Yang Jiechi, Indian Special Representative and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval will attend the 19th Special Representatives' Meeting on the China-India Boundary Question in Beijing from April 20 to 21. Tomorrow, he will meet with State Councilor Yang Jiechi. Chinese leaders will also meet with him.

The boundary question between China and India was left over from history. Special representatives' meeting is a major channel for the two sides to resolve the boundary question. It also serves as a major platform for the two sides to have strategic dialogues. At present, the two sides are at a crucial stage of negotiating a framework for the resolution of the boundary question. China and India will continue to move ahead with negotiations on such a framework so that a fair and reasonable solution acceptable to the two sides can be achieved at an early date. The two sides will also exchange views on bilateral relations and major international and regional issues of common interest and create conditions for the steady and further development of bilateral ties. We are all aware that China-India relations are enjoying a sound momentum of development. Just like you said, China and India are carrying out extensive high-level interactions and contacts. It is in line with the two countries' aspirations of enhancing strategic mutual trust and promoting practical cooperation in various fields. Both China and India are committed to resolving the boundary question through dialogue and consultation. We also agree that pending final settlement of the boundary question, the two sides will properly manage and control the differences, maintain peace and stability of the border areas, and not let the boundary question disrupt the overall development of bilateral relations. China always upholds peaceful settlement of territorial disputes through negotiation and consultation. So far, China has thoroughly settled boundary issues through bilateral negotiations with 12 out of its 14 land neighbors and drawn up approximately 20,000km border line, accounting for some 90 percent of its total land boundary. These records and practices show that it is effective to peacefully solve territorial disputes through negotiation and consultation, which is also advocated by international law including the UN Charter. China will work with India to strive for an early settlement of the boundary question through friendly consultations. Meanwhile, we also wish to consolidate bilateral friendly cooperation, maintain peace and stability in the border areas so as to create more favorable conditions for the final settlement of the boundary question.

Regarding your question on the LAC, relevant information on Indian Defense Minister Parrikar's visit and his meetings and talks with Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission of China Fan Changlong and Defense Minister Chang Wanquan has already been released. The press release showed the common aspiration of the military of the two sides to enhance mutual trust through communication and exchanges and take concrete measures to safeguard tranquility of the border areas. The boundary question between China and India was left over from history, as I just said. It is very complex. But we believe, as long as the two sides are sincere, we should be confident in reaching a final settlement of the relevant issue through friendly consultation.

As for the China-Russia-India foreign ministers' meeting and the bilateral meeting between Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Indian External Affairs Minister, we have released relevant information on time. For the listing matter, we have introduced our position before. We support the UN in playing a central coordinating role in the international counter-terrorism campaign and have been playing an active role in that regard. The Chinese side always follows facts and fairly handles the listing matter of the 1267 Committee in accordance with the Security Council resolutions and rules of procedure. China is in sound communication with all parties including India on this matter.

Q: The US Defense Ministry Spokesperson said that they were aware of a Chinese military aircraft evacuating three ill workers from Yongshu Jiao, but they did not know why China used a military plane, instead of a civilian one. The US urged China to refrain from deploying or rotating military planes to the disputed islands in the South China Sea, in keeping with its previous promises. What is China's comment?

A: We do not understand why the US Defense Ministry made such remarks. We have already said that the military plane flew to Yongshu Jiao to evacuate three heavily-ill workers to Sanya. It is a common practice around the world for military aircraft to participate in disaster relief, humanitarian assistance and non-combatant evacuation operations. We all know that, and we often see Chinese military planes operating on the sites of earthquake and other disasters. On the Chinese territory, Chinese military planes and soldiers render their timely service wherever they are needed. This is the responsibility of the Chinese military as well as the expectation of the Chinese people.

The US claims to champion navigation freedom in the South China Sea. If I follow the logic of this US Defense Ministry Spokesperson, then I have to ask why the US used military planes and vessels to advocate navigation freedom, instead of civilian ones. We urge the US to abide by its promises and match its promises with concrete actions that truly safeguard peace and stability in the South China Sea.

Q: You said that China follows facts and fairly handles the listing matter of the 1267 Committee in accordance with the Security Council resolutions and rules of procedure. What facts and rules of procedure is China using to prevent India from listing Jaish-e-Muhammad head Masood Azhar on the terrorist list? India's External Affairs Minister also said yesterday that if some countries apply double standards on counter-terrorism, the entire world will face consequences. What is your response?

A: I'd like to repeat that we support the UN in playing a central coordinating role in the international counter-terrorism campaign and have been playing an active role in that regard. The Chinese side always follows facts and fairly handles the listing matter of the 1267 Committee in accordance with the Security Council resolutions and rules of procedure.

I still need to check what these technical rules of procedure are. Our colleagues at China's Permanent Mission to the UN are experts in this area. They are having close contact with all parties including India. You mentioned that this issue figured in Chinese and Indian foreign ministers' meeting. I believe you must be aware of China's firm opposition to the application of double standards on counter-terrorism, since China is also a victim of terrorism. We believe that only when the international community works as one and strikes all forms of terrorism in unison can we really secure world peace and tranquility. No one needs to cast a shred of doubt about China's commitment on this. We will continue our close communication with all relevant parties including India and properly resolve the relevant issue.

Q: China has expressed sympathies to Ecuador for being rattled by a strong earthquake, and pledged to offer necessary assistance to Ecuador as needed by its government and people. What specific assistance will China provide for Ecuador?

A: China is very much concerned that the number of people killed and injured in the strong earthquake in Ecuador is still growing. President Xi Jinping has sent a message of condolences to President Rafael Correa Delgado. The Chinese government is working intensively on an emergency humanitarian assistance plan, and will provide Ecuador with satellite images for disaster relief as soon as possible. It is learnt that the Red Cross Society of China has offered 100,000 US dollars in cash as emergency assistance to the Red Cross Society of Ecuador.

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