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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei's Regular Press Conference on January 13, 2016

At the invitation of Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Federal Councillor and head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of the Swiss Confederation Didier Burkhalter will visit China on January 15.

Q: Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told the press on January 12 that if a foreign naval vessel transits Japanese waters for purposes other than "innocent passage", they will order a naval patrol to deal with it. Some Japanese media believe that this is a new policy by the Japanese government to cope with Chinese naval vessels sailing near Diaoyu Dao. What is your comment?

A: I have made our position clear yesterday. The Chinese side has the right to carry out normal navigation and patrol in territorial waters of Diaoyu Dao. We advise the Japanese side not to take any provocative actions and ratchet up tension. Otherwise, they will face all the consequences.

Q: First, ROK President Park Geun-hye today called on China to take real and necessary actions to punish the DPRK. Is China willing to do that? Second, because of the nuclear test, the ROK is considering deploying the terminal high-altitude area defense (THAAD) system on Korean soil. What is China's comment?

A: On your first question, it is China's consistent and clear position to uphold the international nuclear non-proliferation regime and oppose DPRK's nuclear tests. When dealing with the Korean nuclear issue, the Chinese side always bears in mind the goal of promoting denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, preventing nuclear proliferation, and maintaining peace and stability of Northeast Asia, which is also where the common interests and responsibility of relevant parties including China and the ROK lies.

China and the ROK have been in close communication and coordination on the Korean nuclear issue and the situation on the Korean Peninsula. Foreign Ministers of the two sides have exchanged views on that via telephone calls. Heads of the Six-Party Talks of the two sides are also in touch. China stands ready to work with the ROK and other parties of the Six-Party Talks and make joint efforts to realize denuclearization of the Peninsula and long-term stability of the region.

On your second question, China holds a consistent and clear position on anti-missile issues. It is our belief that every country should keep in mind other countries' security interests and regional peace and stability while pursuing its own security interests. The situation on the Korean Peninsula is highly sensitive. It is hoped that relevant countries can bear in mind the larger picture of regional peace and stability and cautiously and properly deal with the relevant issue.

Q: The Philippine government said today that it has lodged a protest with the Chinese side concerning China's inspection and test flights to the newly-built airport on Yongshu Jiao. What is China's response?

A: It needs to be pointed out that flights conducted by China's aircraft from Hainan Dao to Yongshu Jiao fall completely within China's sovereignty. Meanwhile, China enjoys the navigation freedom over the South China Sea as other countries do. China's inspection and test flights are of professional, technical and civil nature and are conducted for public interests. The Philippines' accusation is made with ulterior motives and is not worth refuting.

Q: The Philippine Congress yesterday proposed to issue bonds to acquire new warships so as to to secure its strategic reserves in the South China Sea. The Philippine side also asked the US to patrol the South China Sea again in the near future. What is China's comment?

A: I need to point out that Asia now enjoys a sound momentum in economic growth. Regional cooperation is also thriving. To seek peace, cooperation and development has become a major trend of the region. We advise relevant countries to do more that are conducive to regional peace and stability.

The Chinese side respects and safeguards the freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea to which all countries are entitled under international law, but stands firmly against any country flexing military muscles and undermining China's sovereignty and security interests under the cloak of exercising navigation and over-flight freedom.

Q: US President Barack Obama delivered the State of the Union address today, saying that people around the world look to the US to lead, instead of China and Russia. What is your comment?

A: As two important countries in the world, China and Russia have been playing crucial and positive roles in major international, regional and global issues, which is recognized by all. We also hope that the US can play a constructive role in promoting world peace, stability and development.

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