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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying's Regular Press Conference on November 22, 2012

2012/11/23

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying held a press conference on November 22, 2012.

Hua Chunying started the press conference with the following announcement:

As agreed between the Chinese Foreign Ministry and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Republic of Korea (ROK), Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun and ROK First Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Ahn Ho-young will co-chair the fifth China-ROK Foreign Ministry High-Level Strategic Dialogue on November 26 in Beijing, and exchange views on bilateral relations and major international and regional issues of common interest.

The mechanism of China-ROK Foreign Ministry High-Level Strategic Dialogue was inaugurated in 2008 according to the consensus of leaders of the two countries. The dialogue is held alternately every year by the two sides and this year it will be the fifth.

Q: First, a bus exploded in Tel Aviv of Israel on the evening of November 21. Israel defined the incident as a "terrorist attack", while Hamas welcomed the incident but denied its involvement. What is China's comment? Second, Israel and Hamas declared a ceasefire on the early morning of November 22 Beijing time. What is China's comment?

A: On the first question, China opposes all forms of terrorism, condemns any action that leads to civilian casualties. We urge all relevant parties in Israel and Palestine to stop"violence against violence"and avoid more escalation of tension.

On the second question, China welcomes the declaration of ceasefire by Israel and relevant faction of Palestine, appreciates the efforts of the international community, particularly Egypt and other regional countries, and hopes that relevant parties in Israel and Palestine could earnestly fulfill the commitment of ceasefire and avoid more conflict. The long-term stagnation of the Palestinian-Israeli peace talks is the fundamental cause of this conflict, which further highlights the importance and urgency of the settlement of the Palestinian issue, and calls for more attention. The international community should make greater efforts for an early resumption of peace talks between Israel and Palestine by pushing the two parties to overcome obstacles.

Q: It has been a year since relevant parties in Yemen signed the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) initiative on November 23 last year. What is China's comment on the current political transitional process in Yemen?

A: China welcomes the progress of the political transitional process in Yemen since the signing of the GCC initiative. China respects the path of development independently chosen by the Yemeni people, and hopes relevant parties in Yemen could continue to resolve differences through dialogue, consultation and other peaceful means, effectively implement the GCC initiative and relevant content of its implementation mechanism, steadily put forward the political transitional process and realize national stability and development at an early date.

Q: It is reported that Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba wrote in the International Herald Tribune on November 21 that the Treaty of San Francisco constitutes an important part of the post-war international order, but the Chinese government refused to recognize the treaty. Therefore it is China rather than Japan who negates the post-war international order. The question "why does not Japan refer the issue to the International Court of Justice?" should be posed to China who is seeking to challenge the status quo. What is China's comment?

A: The Japanese Foreign Minister's remarks are extremely wrong and irresponsible. The Diaoyu Island and its affiliated islands are China's inherent territory. China has ample historical and legal evidence for its sovereignty over the Diaoyu Islands. The Chinese side has fully and repeatedly expounded on its solemn position on different occasions.

The Cairo Declaration and Potsdam Proclamation formed the legal basis for Allied Powers and Japan to end the status of war and build the post-war international order in the Asia Pacific as well as for China and Japan to settle post-war ownership of relevant territories. It is entirely untenable in jurisprudence for Japan to claim sovereignty over the Diaoyu Islands based on the so-called "Treaty of San Francisco". Excluded from the Peace Conference of San Francisco, China was not a signatory to the treaty. Therefore, the treaty is not legally binding to China and can in no way serve as the legal basis for China and Japan to settle the post-war ownership of relevant territories.

Japan's repeated provocative actions on the Diaoyu Islands issue are essentially an attempt to deny the effects of the Cairo Declaration and Potsdam Proclamation and a challenge to the post-war international order.

I would like to make two points regarding China's "challenge to the status quo" alleged by the Japanese side. First, we should take a look at what it was originally like over the Diaoyu Islands before talking about the status quo. The Diaoyu Islands have been China's inherent territory. It was Japan who grabbed and occupied China's territory during the first Sino-Japanese War in 1895 and after the US "reversion of" Okinawa to Japan. Second, I want to stress that China never recognizes or accepts Japan's illegal occupation and so-called "actual control" of the Diaoyu Islands if that is what the Japanese side mean by "status quo". China has been underlining that Japan's so-called "presence" in and "control" of the waters off the Diaoyu Islands are illegal and invalid. China never accepts it.

It must be emphasized that the root cause for the current situation is Japan's failure to think hard about and repent the history of its militarist aggression. We require the Japanese side to abandon illusion, face up to realities, examine its conscience, show sincerity and take concrete actions so as to make real efforts for the proper resolution of the current situation and issue.

Q: Will the current China-Japan relations affect the China-Japan-ROK FTA negotiation process? What is your expectation of the negotiation?

A: On the first question, the current grim situation facing China-Japan relations is totally caused by Japan's erroneous actions. The Japanese side should bear all the responsibilities, take practical actions and make concrete efforts to properly deal with the current situation and push bilateral relations back to the normal track of development.

On the second question, China, Japan and the ROK are world's major economies. The total economic output of the three in 2011 accounts for about one fifth of the world. The establishment of China-Japan-ROK FTA reflects the actual demands of trade and economic cooperation among the three and is of far-reaching significance for strengthening economic and trade ties among the three and promoting regional economic integration in East Asia.

Q: Yesterday, a suspect of the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks was executed in India. What is your comment?

A: China opposes all forms of terrorism.

Q: What is China's comment on the recent Israeli-Palestinian conflict and its position on Palestine's bid for observer status at the United Nations?

A: I have stated China's position in the past two days. China expresses grave concern over the continuous large scale military operation by Israel against the Gaza Strip and condemns the abuse of force that leads to civilian casualties. We strongly urge all relevant parties, the Israeli side in particular, to exercise maximum restraint, achieve an immediate ceasefire and avoid any action that may lead to further escalation of tension.

I also just stressed that China welcomes the declaration of ceasefire by Palestine and Israel, appreciates the positive efforts of the international community for the realization of ceasefire, and hopes relevant parties in Palestine and Israel will earnestly implement the ceasefire agreement and avoid more conflict.

On Palestine's bid for observer status at the UN, China supports the establishment of an independent Palestinian state that enjoys full sovereignty, with East Jerusalem as its capital and based on the 1967 border as well as its accession to the UN and other international organizations. We understand, respect and support Palestine's decision to bid for observer status at the UN.

Q: Japan's Liberal Democratic Party yesterday announced its campaign platform, proposing an increase of military spending and a tough stance toward China on the Diaoyu Islands issue. What is China's comment?

A: The Diaoyu Island and its affiliated islands are China's inherent territory. No outside pressure can shake the firm will and determination of the Chinese government and people in defending national territorial sovereignty.

On the military-related content of the campaign platform of Japan's Liberal Democratic Party, I would like to stress that due to historical reasons, Japan's moves in the fields of military and security have always been a highly sensitive issue to peoples of war-victim countries in Asia. We hope Japan could reflect on history, follow the path of peaceful development and play a constructive role in regional peace, stability and development.

Q: The Japanese government today formally appointed Masato Kitera as its new ambassador to China. What is China's comment?

A: China is dealing with the rotation of Japanese Ambassador to China in accordance with international practice and relevant procedures. I would like to point out that the current China-Japan relations are caught in a grave situation. The Japanese side should take concrete actions to properly deal with and settle relevant problem, and make due efforts to improve bilateral relations. We hope the new Japanese Ambassador to China could play a positive role in this regard.

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