At the invitation of Premier Li Keqiang of the State Council, Prime Minister Jaber Mubarak Hamad Sabah of the State of Kuwait will pay an official visit to China from June 2 to 5 and attend the opening ceremony of the 6th Ministerial Meeting of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum held in Beijing.
Q: There are reports that the drilling rig 981 has finished its first phase of operation in waters off the Zhongjian Island in the South China Sea, and is now moving on to another site for the second phase of operation. Can you confirm that?
A: The relevant Chinese company has been carrying out exploration operations in waters off the Xisha Islands for a decade. All the activities, including this time's drilling operation are within the indisputable coastal waters of China. These activities are justifiable, legitimate and completely normal. According to the information released by the relevant company, the drilling rig has moved on to another site for the second phase of operation as planned, which is also part of the overall plan for this time's drilling operation. This drilling operation which started on May 2 is planned to end by mid August.
Q: Please brief us on the meeting and talks between Foreign Minister Wang Yi and ROK President Park Geun-hye and ROK Foreign minister Yun Byung-se.
A: Foreign Minister Wang Yi is visiting the ROK. Yesterday, he met and held talks with President Park Geun-hye and Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se respectively. We have already released relevant information. The two sides had in-depth exchange of views on how to enhance high-level exchanges and deepen China-ROK strategic partnership and reached broad consensus. When all parties are optimistic about the development prospect of Asia and look forward to stepping up the process of integration in this region, China believes that its cooperation with the ROK, which is anchored on a solid foundation, is now at its best since the establishment of diplomatic ties. Both sides are more capable and better equipped to play a more important role in driving the overall development of Asia, especially East Asia, through strengthened strategic cooperation.
They also had in-depth discussions on safeguarding the peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula, pushing forward the process of denuclearization of the Peninsula and creating conditions for the resumption of the Six-Party Talks. Foreign Minister Wang Yi stressed that China has always been upholding a just and objective position on the Korean nuclear issue and making positive efforts to promote peace talks. Such position is consistent and clear, and remains the same all along. China hopes that the ROK and the DPRK can improve their relations. The ROK also expressed their willingness to do so and said that the Six-Party Talks should resume at an early date.
Q: Yesterday afternoon, there was a collision between the Chinese fishing ship and the Vietnamese fishing ship. Can you give us more details? Will China consider economic retaliation against Vietnam?
A: It is to our knowledge that yesterday afternoon, in the waters off China's Xisha Islands, a Vietnamese fishing ship broke into the cordoned-off area of China's drilling rig 981, and capsized after ramming into the rear port side of a Chinese fishing ship that was operating nearby. All the crews aboard the Vietnamese ship have been rescued.
It is worth pointing out that the direct reason for this incident is that in spite of the repeated representations, warnings and dissuasions from the Chinese side, the Vietnamese side continues to forcefully disrupt the normal drilling operations of the Chinese company and take dangerous actions. We urge the Vietnamese side once again to respect China's sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction, stop immediately their disruptive and damaging activities, especially those dangerous actions at sea, and take concrete steps to safeguard navigation security and production order of the fishing industry.
What has happened shows that Vietnam' unjustified and illegal disruption and destruction of China's normal operations can lead them nowhere. They will only end up harming their own interests. The Xisha Islands are China's inherent territory. There is no dispute about that. We urge the Vietnamese side to refrain from further harassment, bear in mind the big picture of bilateral relations and regional stability, and stop disrupting and sabotaging China's normal operations. As to how the situation will evolve and what response will China give, it all depends on what the Vietnamese side does.
Q: On May 27, Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary and Defense Minister commented on the Vietnamese fishing ship's ramming into the Chinese fishing ship, and said that relevant country should stop unilateral actions that escalate tensions. Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said during an interview on May 23 that China's unilateral drilling activities in waters claimed by both China and Vietnam have resulted in the heightening of tensions, and Japan will not tolerate the change of status quo by force or coercion. What is China's comment on that?
A: The Xisha Islands are China's inherent territory, and relevant exploration and drilling activities are being carried out in waters that are indisputably under China's administration. We are going about our own business in our own waters without causing any trouble to anyone. But we are disrupted illegally and unreasonably, and become the target of irresponsible and unjustifiable remarks by some countries. This is absurd and unacceptable.
The remarks made by the Japanese leaders reflected no facts. They want to fish in the troubled waters and achieve their ulterior motives. They want nothing short of chaos. However, I would like to remind the Japanese side that it is Japan who snatched away China's Xisha Islands by force during the Second World War. China regained its sovereignty over the Xisha Islands after winning the war. I do not recall any objection from the Japanese side to that. We urge the Japanese side to respect facts, stop stirring things up or airing irresponsible remarks.
The Japanese leaders like to make an issue of China's force. The force we have is to safeguard the sovereignty, security and territorial integrity of our country. The force we have is a wave of positive energy that promotes world peace, stability and development. Some countries and people have the illusions that China will sit idly by watching its sovereignty, security and development interests being undermined. If China is really using its force to change anything, it is to break the illusions of these countries and people.