|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang's Regular Press Conference on May 13, 2016|
Q: Yesterday, the 7th ministerial meeting of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum (CASCF) issued the Doha Declaration, supporting China on the South China Sea issue. What is your comment?
A: Yesterday, the 7th ministerial meeting of the CASCF passed the Doha Declaration signed by China and 21 member countries of the Arab League. The Declaration stresses that the Arab states support a peaceful settlement of territorial and maritime disputes between China and relevant countries through friendly consultation and negotiation based on bilateral agreements and consensus among regional countries. It makes a special point in mentioning that the right of sovereign states and signatory parties to UNCLOS to settle disputes with an approach of their own choice in accordance with the law must be respected. It is easy to tell that this is in line with the long-standing position of China.
You may have noticed that the governments of Mauritania and Venezuela have respectively issued statements, calling on countries directly concerned to resolve the South China Sea issue through negotiation and consultation. I also want to tell you that the Gabonese Minister of State for Foreign Affairs also wrote a letter to Foreign Minister Wang Yi, expressing his support for China's position on the South China Sea issue.
From all these we can see that people support justice. The Doha Declaration and the statements by these countries I mentioned showed that more and more countries have come to understand and support China's position. Their statements are in line with the international practice of resolving disputes through negotiation and consultation, reflect the essence of the international rule of law, and mirror the fair and objective opinion the international community holds on the relevant issue. We highly commend these countries and regional organizations for their calling for justice.
Q: The US State Department released the Hong Kong Policy Act Report the other day. What is China's comment on that?
A: We have been following strictly the "one country, two systems" and the Basic Law since the return of Hong Kong. Hong Kong residents are fully entitled to rights and freedom under the law. For people who are objective and unbiased, it is the undeniable fact. The Chinese central government is resolute in carrying forward the "one country, two systems". It is something that won't change.
I want to stress that Hong Kong is a special administrative region of China, and Hong Kong affairs fall within China's domestic affairs. No foreign country can interfere. The Hong Kong Policy Act Report issued by the US based on its so-called Hong Kong Policy Act is an unprovoked interference in Hong Kong affairs. We have a heads-up for the US: Some in the US have been scheming to mess up Hong Kong, upset its economic and social development, disrupt Hong Kong people's normal life and meddle in China's domestic affairs with Hong Kong-related issues. This attempt will not prevail, but will only make the Chinese people alert and annoyed.
Q: US President Barack Obama will visit Vietnam later this month. There has been discussion in the Obama administration about further easing the US arms embargo on Vietnam. Does the Chinese government fear that this move could be perhaps aimed at China?
A: I wonder how you come up with such a question. On the Chinese side, we welcome the development of normal relations between Vietnam and other countries. We also hope that this kind of relationship will contribute to peace, stability and prosperity of the region.
Q: According to the Kyodo News Agency, when Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met with visiting Kuwaiti Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber on May 12, the two sides agreed that China's attempts to change the status quo in the East and South China Seas are making the security situation in East Asia more severe. What is your comment?
A: We all know that Japan has been trying to bring others into its smear campaign against China by hyping up the South China Sea issue. But regarding the position of Kuwait, we'd better see how the Kuwaiti government put it, instead of hearing it from the Kyodo News Agency.
The Doha Declaration that I just mentioned clarified the position. Senior representatives of the Kuwaiti government attended the meeting and signed the Declaration. The Declaration stresses that the Arab states support a peaceful settlement of territorial and maritime disputes between China and relevant countries through friendly consultation and negotiation based on bilateral agreements and consensus among regional countries. It especially points out that the right of sovereign states and signatory parties to UNCLOS to settle disputes with the approach of their own choice in accordance with the law must be respected. We think this declaration shares a same position with China.
As I recall, when reporting on Japanese Foreign Minister's visit to the Laos at the beginning of this month, the Kyodo News Agency said that Japan had reached some kind of agreement with the Laos on the issue of the South China Sea which was later proved not to be the position of the Lao government. We hope that on this issue, relevant media can show respects for basic facts.
Q: The European Parliament has voted against granting market economy status to China. Does China feel disappointed?
A: I answered this question yesterday. What we have been stressing is that all WTO members, EU countries included, should fulfill their WTO obligations, and that all members of the international community should observe their international obligations, as it serves their own long-term interests as well.
Q: A report issued by the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission said that Chins's continued introduction and deployment of new weapons that can threaten US interests in the region is part of a broader Chinese strategy designed to resist US responses to its territorial claims, adding that nowhere is this resistance more apparent than in the South China Sea. What is your comment? Can you clarify China's strategic intent in the South China Sea?
A: China's strategic intent is consistent and transparent, which is we will always endeavor to create a peaceful, stable, secure and open external environment for China's development, such a neighborhood environment in particular. This commitment is the reason why we have come so far over the past 30 years of reform and opening-up. And we still count on this for our future development.
As for the South China Sea region, some country does not mind the trouble of travelling afar, for the purpose of creating tensions here. Unlike them, we truly want this region to remain peaceful, stable, secure and prosperous, as it suits our interests.
As for the new weapons this report mentioned, I wonder where this idea comes from. You know that China's defense policy is defensive in nature. So if the relevant party is not meant to provoke, it certainly has nothing to worry about.
I also want to add that this commission never said anything constructive about the development of China and China-US relations. Despite all kinds of jarring voices, it is good to see China moving forward, and China-US relations moving forward.
Q: First, Brazilian Senate decided to go ahead with the impeachment process against President Rousseff. Leaders of some of Brazil's neighbors offered their support to Rousseff. What about China? Is China concerned about the unstable political situation in Brazil, since Brazil is one of the BRICS? Second, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that China supports the fifth foreign ministers' meeting of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) in Vienna next week. Will China send a delegation to the meeting?
A: On your first question, we are following what is happening in Brazil very closely. We also hope that all relevant parties in Brazil can properly handle the current situation so as to maintain political stability and socio-economic development. China and Brazil are each other's Comprehensive Strategic Partners. We attach high important to China-Brazil relations. We hope that our friendly relations and mutually beneficial cooperation can continue to move forward.
On your second question, Foreign Minister Wang Yi made clear China's position on the Syrian issue yesterday at a press conference in Doha, giving special emphasis on China's four expectations for the upcoming fifth ISSG foreign ministers' meeting. First, Resolution 2254 of the Security Council must be implemented in its entirety. Second, countries that have special influence on this issue, especially Russia and the US, should work with other members of the Security Council and regional countries to ensure a real and full ceasefire inside Syria and play a bigger role in the political settlement of the Syrian issue. Third, terrorism and refugee crisis should be tackled from their sources so as to bring hope to peace and stability in Syria. This serves the common interests of regional countries. We also hope that regional countries can take up their due responsibilities in this regard. Last but not least, Foreign Minister Wang Yi stressed that the future of Syria should be decided by the Syrian people themselves. As for who will represent China at the meeting, we will release relevant information in due course.
Q: According to Indian media reports, at the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) meeting last month, India meant to make a presentation on joining the NSG, but was counteracted by China's support for Pakistan in making a similar presentation. Many countries have voiced their support for India's joining of the NSG. What exactly is China's position on that?
A: The discussion on this issue has been going on for many years in the NSG. We have talked about our position many times. The NSG is an important part of the international nuclear non-proliferation regime which is based on the cornerstone of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). This consensus which has long been upheld by the international community was also reaffirmed at last year's NPT review session. Because of this, all the multilateral non-proliferation export control mechanisms, the NSG included, have been taking "NPT membership" as a necessary qualification for their acceptance of new members.
Not only India, but also many other non-NPT members have voiced their aspirations to join the NSG. This poses a question to the international community. Many NSG members, China included, think that this matter shall be fully discussed and then decided based on consensus among all NSG members in accordance with the rules of procedure of the NSG. We supported and also took a constructive part in such discussions. As we repeatedly said, our position targets no one. It applies to all non-NPT members. The reason why we and other like-minded NSG members are committed to this position is because we want to uphold the international nuclear non-proliferation regime based on the NPT.