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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei's Regular Press Conference on April 15, 2015

Q: The White House announced on April 14 that President Obama submitted a report to Congress indicating his intent to remove Cuba from the State Sponsors of Terrorism List. What is China's comment on this?

A: We have noted the relevant report. Recent days have witnessed active interactions and the progress of normalization of bilateral relations between the US and Cuba. We welcome and support this. China maintains that the US side should remove all sanctions on and blockade policies towards Cuba at an early date, advance the normalization of bilateral relations and open up a new chapter of bilateral relations. This is in the common interests of the two countries and two peoples, and conducive to regional peace, stability and development.

Q: The 2015 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons will kick off on April 27 in New York. What stance will China hold as a possessor of nuclear weapons in this conference?

A: China holds a consistent and clear stance on the issue of nuclear non-proliferation. The Chinese side attaches great importance to this review conference, and will discuss with all parties on issues of common interest.

Q: First, can you elaborate on President Xi Jinping's upcoming visit to Pakistan? Second, how does the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor contribute to China's "Belt and Road" initiative?

A: On your first question, I have no information to offer at this moment.

On your second question, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is an important part of the current economic cooperation between China and Pakistan, and also showcases how China's "Belt and Road" initiative connects with Pakistan's strategy of boosting its economic development. Being a flagship project of the "Belt and Road" initiative, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor sets up the strategic framework for bilateral pragmatic cooperation. We hope that the building of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor would further strengthen pragmatic cooperation in various fields, deepen the integration of interests of the two countries and propel common development.

Q: On April 14, Philippine President Benigno Aquino said that China's efforts to stake its claim to the South China Sea sparked fear of all countries, and that China's reclamation activities threatened the access to international shipping lanes and fishing grounds there. While he did not believe that China intended to engage in military conflicts over the territorial disputes with the Philippines and other Asian nations, that remained a possibility. How does China comment on this?

A: The accusation made by the Philippine side is unfounded. China holds a consistent and clear position on the South China Sea issue. The Chinese side maintains that the relevant disputes should be settled through negotiation and consultation by countries directly concerned on the basis of respecting the historical facts and the international law. China will stay committed to jointly safeguarding peace and stability of the South China Sea along with ASEAN countries. China's construction on islands and reefs of the Nansha Islands falls entirely within China's sovereignty. It does not affect or target any country, and is even less likely to threaten the access to international shipping lanes and fishing grounds.

As a matter of fact, the international treaties that lay down the limits of the Philippines' national territory have never included China's Nansha Islands into its territory. Nevertheless, the Philippines has occupied some islands and reefs of China's Nansha Islands by force since the 1970s, which remains the crux and root of the South China Sea disputes between China and the Philippines. The Chinese side urges the Philippine side to respect China's territorial sovereignty, honor its commitment made in bilateral political documents and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, return to the right track of resolving the disputes through direct negotiation and do more things that contribute to China-Philippines relations and regional peace and stability.

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