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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying's Regular Press Conference on February 22, 2016

At the invitation of US Secretary of State John Kerry, Foreign Minister Wang Yi will pay an official visit to the US from February 23 to 25. The two sides will discuss China-US relations as well as international and regional issues of common interest.

At the invitation of the Foreign Ministry, Secretary General Luis Leonardo Almagro Lemes of the Organization of American States (OAS) will pay an official visit to China from February 28 to March 2.

Q: Can you give us more details about the visit by Foreign Minister Wang Yi? What will be discussed by the two sides during the visit? What is China's expectation for the visit?

A: During his visit to the US, Foreign Minister Wang Yi will have an in-depth exchange of views with US Secretary of State Kerry and other senior US officials on the bilateral relationship as well as issues of common interest. We will release relevant information in due course.

This is Foreign Minister Wang Yi's first visit to the US this year and another important interaction between China and the US. We hope that the two sides could make good plans and arrangements for high-level exchanges and institutional dialogues in the year 2016, explore ways to deepen practical cooperation in various fields, constructively handle sensitive issues and push for the sustained, sound and steady development of China-US relations.

Q: First, following DPRK's nuclear test and satellite launch at the beginning of this year, the UN Security Council is deliberating on new resolutions about sanctions against the DPRK. Will the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue be a key topic of discussion during Foreign Minister Wang Yi's visit to the US? Second, how will the Chinese side communicate with the US and the ROK about the possible deployment of the THAAD system by the US in the ROK?

A: On your first question, China and the US are in close communication and coordination on the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue. It is believed that during Foreign Minister Wang Yi's visit to the US, the two sides will continue with their in-depth discussions on that.

China's stance on the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue is clear. We stay committed to realizing denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula, upholding peace and stability there and peacefully resolving the issue through dialogues and negotiations. In response to the nuclear test and satellite launch by the DPRK, we support the UN Security Council in passing new and effective resolutions on the DPRK, and call on all parties to refrain from actions that may heighten tensions on the Korean Peninsula. Going forward, all parties should work as one to bring the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue back to the track of dialogues and negotiations, promote denuclearization in tandem with transition from armistice to peace on the Korean Peninsula and realize enduring peace and security on the Peninsula.

On your second question, the Chinese side has repeatedly elaborated on its position. We are seriously concerned about the possible deployment of the THAAD system by the US in the ROK, and have made clear China's solemn position with the relevant parties. We maintain that countries must not pursue their own security at the expense of others' security interests. We are firmly opposed to any country's attempt to hurt China's strategic security interests by making use of the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue.

Q: Communication between China and the US on the issue of the South China Sea has drawn wide attention. What message will Foreign Minister Wang Yi deliver to the US on that issue? Besides, the US is concerned about China's construction on some maritime features in the South China Sea, regarding it as militarization. What is China's take on that?

A: On your first question, the US is not a party concerned in the South China Sea dispute. The issue of the South China Sea is not and should not become an issue between China and the US. To safeguard peace and stability of the South China Sea serves the common interests of China, the US and all relevant parties. We hope that the US side would live up to its commitment of not taking sides on relevant disputes concerning territorial sovereignty, stop sensationalizing the South China Sea issue, stop hyping up tensions and work constructively for regional peace and stability, rather than the opposite.

On your second question, islands in the South China Sea have been part of China since ancient times. The Chinese side is entitled to safeguard its territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests. China conducts construction on relevant islands and reefs mainly for civilian purposes of providing better public services and goods for the international community. China's deployment of limited defense facilities on its own territory is its exercise of self-defense right to which a sovereign state is entitled under international law. It has nothing to do with militarization. It is something that comes naturally, and is completely justified and lawful. The US should view that correctly instead of making an issue of that with deliberate sensationalization.

Q: The UK is going to decide whether or not to stay in the EU with a referendum on June 23. British domestic affair as it is, the outcome of the referendum will have a great impact on the EU and China's relations with the EU. What is China's view of the referendum? What kind of message will the Chinese side deliver to the UK government and the EU? Is China worried that the UK may leave the EU?

A: We have noted the agreement between the UK and the EU. The Chinese side supports the European integration process and would like to see Europe play a bigger role in international affairs.

Q: The US has been accusing China of pursuing militarization in the South China Sea by deploying missiles on Yongxing Dao which raised tensions there especially at the current time and stage. But we also noted that at the daily press briefing of the US State Department, the US media questioned US navy's so-called freedom of navigation operation in the South China Sea. What is China's comment on that?

A: The US has recently made quite a lot of remarks about militarization. It is actually trying to confuse the public. There is no difference between China's deployment of necessary national defense facilities on its own territory and the defense installation by the US in Hawaii. US vessels and planes have long been conducting close-up surveillance against countries in the region, the frequency of which increases year by year. It has intensified tensions in the South China Sea, and is most likely to cause militarization in the South China Sea. We hope that the US would not confuse right and wrong on this issue, still less play up and create tensions in the region. We urge the US to play a constructive role for regional peace and stability.

Q: The regional election in Taiwan at the beginning of this year has led to changes of the political landscape in Taiwan. Will Foreign Minister Wang Yi require the US side to reaffirm its opposition to "Taiwan independence"?

A: The Taiwan question is the most important and sensitive question in China-US relations. The US should honor its commitment to the one-China policy, the three China-US joint communiqués and opposing "Taiwan independence". It must not send any wrong message to "Taiwan independence" forces. Rather, it should support the peaceful development of cross-Straits relations through concrete actions.

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