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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei's Regular Press Conference on September 21, 2012

2012/09/22

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei held a press conference on September 21, 2012.

Q: Acts of sabotage occurred during recent anti-Japan demonstrations in China. There are also calls for economic sanctions against Japan. Japan, Europe and the US Congress have all expressed their concern. What is China's comment?

A: The current grim situation in China-Japan relations is entirely caused by Japan's announcement of its "purchase" of the Diaoyu Islands. The responsibility rests totally with the Japanese side. It is obvious that China-Japan economic relations and trade have been affected by Japan's illegal "purchase" of the Diaoyu Islands. This is something we do not want to see. We require the Japanese side to face squarely the realities and China's solemn position, stop all actions that undermine China's territorial sovereignty, remove the adverse impact and come back to the track of resolving the Diaoyu Islands dispute through negotiations.

Q: The Japanese government denies that there is sovereignty dispute over the Diaoyu Islands. Is China of the view that Japan's position is an obstacle to the settlement of the Diaoyu Islands issue?

A: The Diaoyu Islands have been China's inherent territory since ancient times. China has indisputable sovereignty over them. Japan is entirely self-deceiving by denying the sovereignty dispute over the Diaoyu Islands.

China's sovereignty over the Diaoyu Islands is based on historical facts and jurisprudential evidence. Chinese were the first to discover, name and exploit the Diaoyu Islands. These islands have been put under the jurisdiction of China's naval defense at least since the Ming Dynasty. Japan stole the Diaoyu Islands after the Sino-Japanese war in 1895. After the end of the Second World War, China recovered the territories invaded and occupied by Japan such as Taiwan in accordance with the Cairo Declaration and the Potsdam Proclamation, the Diaoyu Islands included. In 1971, the US and Japan made backroom deals, giving Japan the so-called jurisdiction over the Diaoyu Islands. China expressed firm opposition and never acknowledged such a deal. Japan's claim that there is no sovereignty dispute over the Diaoyu Islands shows total disregard of historical facts and jurisprudential evidence and is absolutely untenable.

During the negotiations on the normalization of China-Japan relations in 1972 and on the signing of the Sino-Japanese Treaty of Peace and Friendship in 1978, the then leaders of the two countries, acting in the larger interests of China-Japan relations, reached important understanding and common ground on "shelving the issue of the Diaoyu Islands to be resolved later". This opened the door to normalization of China-Japan relations and was followed by 40 years of tremendous progress in China-Japan relations and stability and tranquility in East Asia. Now, if the Japanese authorities should deny and negate the previous common understanding reached between the two countries, then how could the situation of the Diaoyu Islands remain stable? Where would China-Japan relations head to?

We urge the Japanese side to immediately come back to the very understanding and common ground reached between the two sides, take concrete actions to remove the adverse impact caused by relevant erroneous actions and return to the track of negotiated settlement of the dispute.

Q: First, what preconditions will China set for negotiations between China and Japan on the Diaoyu Islands issue? Second, this year marks the 40th anniversary of the normalization of China-Japan relations. Will relevant celebrations be held as scheduled?

A: On your first question, China always maintains that relevant dispute over the Diaoyu Islands should be solved through dialogue and negotiation. We hope the Japanese side will face squarely the realities, stop all actions that undermine China's territorial sovereignty, remove the adverse impact, return to the very consensus and understanding between China and Japan and come back to the track of negotiated settlement of the dispute.

On your second question, this year marks the 40th anniversary of the normalization of China-Japan relations. People of all circles in China and Japan had looked forward to this opportunity to elevate bilateral cooperation in various fields to a new high. However, a lot of plans were sabotaged by Japan's erroneous actions. As far as I know, many commemorative activities planned by the two sides have been affected, which we do not want to see. Japan should bear all the responsibility for that.

Q: It is reported that Northeast Asia Cooperation Dialogue will be held in Dalian next week. Please confirm. Which Chinese leader will be present?

A: It is learned that the 23rd Northeast Asia Cooperation Dialogue will be jointly held by China Institute of International Studies and US Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation. Relevant officials and scholars will attend in their personal capacity. Upon invitation, deputy Representative Xu Bu of the Chinese Foreign Ministry for Korean Peninsula affairs will lead a delegation to the meeting. We hope that participants to the meeting will have beneficial discussions on relevant issues concerning Northeast Asia cooperation and play a positive and constructive role in safeguarding peace and stability in Northeast Asia.

Q: It is reported that Yoshihiko Noda was re-elected President of the Democratic Party of Japan. What is China's comment?

A: It is Japan's internal affair. I have no comment on that.

Q: Premier Wen Jiabao made remarks on the Diaoyu Islands issue again during his recent visit to Belgium. What did he say?

A: After Japan's announcement of its "purchase" of the Diaoyu Islands, the Chinese government and people expressed their unbreakable will and determination in opposing Japan's violation of China's territorial sovereignty and defending China's sovereignty and territorial integrity. The Chinese media have made full coverage about Premier Wen's relevant remarks. You may refer to that.

Q: The Canadian company Nexen yesterday approved CNOOC's approximate US$ 15 billion takeover. Is China worried that Canada may say no to the deal? Have the two sides been in communication on this issue?

A: Please consult competent authorities for the specifics.

I want to point out that China-Canada economic cooperation and trade is mutually beneficial. In bringing into full play their respective strengths, they complement each other, promote bilateral economic cooperation and trade, enhance economic and social development in both countries and deliver benefits to the two peoples. The Chinese government will continue to actively press ahead with bilateral mutually beneficial cooperation in fields of trade, energy and resources.

Q: Will China send officials to Japan for consultations on the Diaoyu Islands issue?

A: I have not heard about relevant arrangement.

China always maintains that the Diaoyu Islands dispute should be solved through dialogue and negotiation. The Japanese side should face squarely the realities, return immediately to the very consensus and understanding between China and Japan and come back to the track of negotiated settlement of the dispute. Japan should stop all actions that undermine China's territorial sovereignty and take concrete actions to eliminate the adverse impact caused by the illegal "purchase" of the Diaoyu Islands.

Q: Has China delayed the customs clearance of Japanese products?

A: I am not aware of relevant situation. Please consult competent authorities.

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