Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Ma Zhaoxu's Regular Press Conference on May 12, 2009
The following is the transcript of Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Ma Zhaoxu's regular press conference on the afternoon of May 12, 2009.
Ma Zhaoxu: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Today is a special day as it marks the first anniversary of the Sichuan earthquake. May I propose that we all stand up and mourn in silence for the victims of the quake. As a special arrangement, prior to the conference, we invited you to watch the live broadcast of the commemorations of the anniversary held by the Chinese Government.
Seated in the front row today are members of the delegation of Indian diplomats. Welcome! I wish you a successful visit to China.
I have no announcement to start with, the floor is open now.
Q: I have two questions on South Asia. First, the Times run stories on China-Sri Lanka relations and the situation in Sri Lanka recently, claiming that the Chinese Government is building a refueling port for its navy in Hambantota, southern Sri Lanka. Do you have any comment? Second, according to Times of India, the Chinese Government is behind the political unrest in Nepal. How do you comment?
A: The Chinese Government endeavors to develop its friendship and cooperation with Sri Lanka on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-Existence. Chinese enterprises are contracted to build the Hambantota port. Any vicious distortion of the normal business deal holds no water. Social stability, economic development and ethnic reconciliation of Sir Lanka serves the shared aspiration and fundamental interest of the Sri Lankan people. We sincerely hope this goal can be achieved at an early date.
On your second question, such report is simply groundless. The Chinese Government always adheres to the principle of non-interference in other countries' internal affairs. As a friendly neighbor, China sincerely hopes that relevant parties in Nepal remain united and jointly promote the peace process so as to achieve political stability and economic development.
Q: Still on Sri Lanka. Yesterday, members of the UN Security Council including the UK condemned the clashes in northeast Sri Lanka for over 100 civilian casualties it caused and urged an immediate ceasefire among relevant parties. Does China condemn that and appeal for a prompt ceasefire too?
A: We hope to see Sir Lanka maintain social stability and economic development and achieve ethnic reconciliation, which I believe is in the common aspiration and fundamental interest of the Sri Lankan people. As a friendly neighbor, China sincerely hopes to see Sri Lanka achieve that goal soon.
You may have noticed, as a token of the friendship between the Chinese people and their Sri Lankan counterparts, the Chinese Government has decided to offer the Sri Lankan Government one million US dollars in cash as urgent humanitarian assistance to settle the displaced civilians in north Sri Lanka. Following the developments there closely, we will continue to provide assistance to Sri Lanka within our capacity.
Q: Last Friday, the DPRK warned again that it would enhance its nuclear deterrent. Do you have any comment? Will Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi attend the ASEM Foreign Ministers Meeting in Hanoi from May 25 to 26? What proposal will China put forward?
A: First things first, maintaining peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula serves the interest of all parties. We hope parties concerned proceed from the overall situation and push forward the Six-Party Talks, which is in the common interest of all.
The 9th ASEM Foreign Ministers Meeting will take place in Hanoi, Vietnam from May 25 to 26. As I've learned, the theme of the meeting will be Strongly enhancing Asian-European Partnership to Face with World's Economic-Financial Crisis and Other Challenges. China places great importance to it and will send a high-level delegation to attend the meeting.
The current international financial crisis is still expanding, China hopes that the meeting can nail down the consensus and achievement of the ASEM 7 in Beijing last year and send a strong message to the world that Asia and Europe stand side by side to combat the crisis. Meanwhile, we also hope the meeting to further enhance the mutual trust and cooperation between the two continents and boost the Asia-Europe partnership. At the meeting, China will focus on facilitating the implementation of Premier Wen's four initiatives for cooperation at ASEM 7.
Q: China has submitted the preliminary information on the outer limits of the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles. Could you give us some details of the submission and does that include the Chunxiao gas field in East China Sea, the Diaoyu Island and Taiwan? What about the legal effect of the preliminary information?
A: You may have read my remarks on China's submission of the preliminary information on the outer limits of the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles on our website. Here, I would like to give you a recap. On May 11, China's Permanent Mission to the United Nations, pursuant to the provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and decisions made at the meetings of the Convention signatories, submitted to the United Nations Secretary-General the preliminary information indicative of the outer limits of the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles.
This submission involves the outer limits of the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles for part of theEast China Sea. China has indisputable sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction over the South China Sea Islands and their adjacent waters. China reserves its right to submit information on the outer limits of the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles in other sea areas.
The Chinese Government will safeguard China's maritime rights and interest in line with its existing propositions and positions. Meanwhile, China adheres to peaceful and equitable negotiations for maritime delimitation with its maritime neighbors on the basis of international laws.
Q: Today marks the first anniversary of the "5·12 Earthquake". How much international aid has China received and how was it used?
A: President Hu Jintao met with ambassadors and representatives of some diplomatic missions in Chengdu last night. During the meeting, on behalf of the Chinese Government and its people, President Hu Jintao expressed gratitude for the enormous support and valuable assistance of the international community for China's disaster relief and reconstruction. He also noted that the Chinese Government and people are willing to work with the international community, enhance communication and cooperation so as to jointly tackle global challenges.
As for the specifics of the aid and where it goes, I suggest you refer to competent authorities.
Q: Please brief us on the breakdown of foreigners related to the first influenza A H1N1 case in mainland China. How many of them from which countries are under quarantine for medical observation?
A: You could find the answer to your question at the press briefing held by the Ministry of Health yesterday, where relevant information was released, including the foreigners under medical observation. I suggest you check its website for details.
Q: What is the legal effect of the preliminary information on the outer limits of the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles submitted by China?
A: On legal issues related to the submission of the preliminary information of outer-continental shelf, I recommend you check relevant stipulations in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea as well as decisions at the meeting of signatory parties and the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf.
If there are no more questions, we shall conclude. Thank you.