Q: The South China Morning Post reported that China plans to build an airport on the Yongshu Reef. Can you confirm that?
A: I have not seen the report you mentioned, therefore I cannot confirm whether the report is true or not. But you must be familiar with China's relevant position. China has indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and their adjacent waters. If the Chinese side would plan for any activities on relevant reef, that is within China's sovereignty.
Q: Foreign Minister Wang Yi is visiting India. Please give us more details.
A: Foreign Minister Wang Yi is in India for an official visit as the Special Envoy of President Xi Jinping. Yesterday, he held talks with his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj.
Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that China and India are two major forces which are on an upward spiral in the process of multi-polarization of the world, and Sino-Indian relationship is the most vibrant one with the greatest potentials in the 21st century. China welcomes, supports and wishes for India's development. China is willing to build closer and more comprehensive partnership of development with India, in order to realize peaceful development, cooperative development and sustainable development together with India. This will not only translate the strategic cooperative partnership for peace and prosperity into substantive outcome, but will also help contribute to the national revival of the two countries and the cause of peace and development of the region and beyond.
Foreign Minister Swaraj said that China is a big power with great influence in the world, as well as the second largest economy in the world. Attaching great importance to relations with China, the new Indian government will carry out a positive policy toward China and elevate bilateral relations to a higher level. This is also in conformity with the strong hope of the Indian people.
The two sides also agreed upon the following points in deepening bilateral ties:
First, the two countries will maintain the momentum of high-level visits, strengthen strategic communication on bilateral relations and work out strategic plans so as to chart the course for the development of bilateral relations. The two countries will carry out commemorative activities for the 60th anniversary of the declaration by China, India and Myanmar of the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence, in a bid to inherit and carry forward the spirit of the principles.
Second, the two countries will push vigorously ahead with pragmatic cooperation, connect the two huge markets of China and India, promote regional economic integration, and create a new pole of growth for world economy. The two countries will speed up connectivity, synchronize India's "Look East" policy with China's acceleration of opening up to the west, and work hand in hand to advance cooperation projects, such as Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor. The two sides will also expand trade and investment and seek common development.
Third, the two countries will deepen people-to-people and cultural exchanges. The two sides will hold various activities during the "China-India Year of Friendly Exchanges" and increase exchanges of youths, media, sister cities and expertise.
Fourth, the two sides will properly handle the boundary question. Over the past few decades, the boundary question between the two countries was put under effective management thanks to the concerted efforts of the two countries, creating a favorable environment conducive to each other's development. The two countries should stay committed to resolving boundary disputes through bilateral negotiation, ensure that the boundary question does not hamper the development of bilateral relations, and maintain peace and tranquility at the border regions before the final solution is found to the boundary question.
Later today, Indian President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will meet with Foreign Minister Wang Yi respectively. We will release the information in due course.
Q: Over the weekend, Vietnamese and Philippine naval forces played sports on the Nanzi Island. Since both the Philippines and Vietnam have sovereign disputes with China, does the Chinese side take this move as a challenge?
A: Don't you think this little trick by Vietnam and the Philippines is at most a clumsy farce? China has indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and their adjacent waters. We require the Philippines and Vietnam to stop all the provocative actions, strictly abide by the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea and refrain from any action that may complicate and aggravate the disputes.
Q: Who will represent India at the commemorative activities for the 60th anniversary of the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence scheduled for June 28? During Foreign Minister Wang Yi's visit to India, the two sides agreed to synchronize India's "Look East" policy with China's acceleration of opening up westward. Can you be more specific on that?
A: It is the consensus of China, India and Myanmar to commemorate the 60th anniversary of their joint declaration of the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence. As for whom will India send for the commemorative activities, we are in close communication with the Indian side. We will release the information, if there is any, in a timely fashion.
With regard to the specifics concerning the two foreign ministers' proposal of enhancing practical cooperation and synchronizing India's "Look East" policy with China's acceleration of opening up westward, I have to get more information on that. My understanding is that the construction of the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor, the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road and the Silk Road Economic Belt will enable China and India to link up their development strategies, complement and reinforce each other and achieve common development.
Q: Reports by Kyodo News and other media said that the Japanese government has failed to include 640 kilograms of plutonium, which is enough to make 80 nuclear bombs, in its annual report to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The omission has raised the international community's doubts. What is China's comment on that? Does China take it as a deliberate concealment or lack of capacity in supervising nuclear materials?
A: We have noted relevant reports. It is Japan who should answer the question of whether it is an unintentional omission or a deliberate concealment. Japan is not only required but also obligated to report faithfully its storage and usage of nuclear materials to the IAEA. Only by doing so, can the safeguards of the IAEA work. We hope that the Japanese government can give a convincing explanation on this issue.
The Japanese side has long been holding a large amount of sensitive nuclear materials that far exceeds its actual needs, which is a matter of grave concern for the international community. We hope that the Japanese side can give an earnest response to the concern of the international community, take concrete actions as soon as possible to address the supply-demand imbalance of sensitive nuclear materials at an early date and refrain from, in particular, actions that may aggregate the imbalance.
Q: What is China's consideration of issuing The Operation of the HYSY 981 Drilling Rig: Vietnam's Provocation and China's Position on June 8? Why did China do so at this point of time?
A: The Chinese side is committed to properly addressing relevant issues through bilateral communication. In the face of Vietnam's continuous and forceful disruption of the project operation in waters to the south of the Zhongjian Island since May 2, China has exercised great restraint and conducted over 30 communications with Vietnam at various levels, lodging solemn representations with the Vietnamese side and requesting them to stop all forms of disruptions and withdraw all the vessels and personnel from the site.
However, instead of restraining itself, the Vietnamese side has gone even further by carrying out more disruptive and destructive activities at the site and spreading rumors around the world to vilify and hurt China unscrupulously and groundlessly. Given that, we must present the facts in front of the international community so as to set the record straight.
I also want to point out that the severe and violent crime involving beating, smashing, looting and arson against foreign enterprises in Vietnam last month has caused heavy casualties and property losses to the Chinese side. However, even to this date, the Vietnamese side is yet to compensate the Chinese personnel and enterprises for their losses. The Chinese side calls on the Vietnamese side to take effective measures to protect the life and property as well as the lawful rights and interests of Chinese enterprises and personnel in Vietnam, hold those perpetrators accountable and compensate the Chinese side for all its losses.
Q: According to some Chinese media, it is the spread of religious extremism on the internet that leads to recent violent terrorist attacks in Xinjiang. What role do you think the internet has played in disseminating extremist religious thinking? Where does this thinking originate from? Some believe that it is the Chinese government's suppression of religious activities that brings about those violent terrorist attacks in Xinjiang. What is your comment on that?
A: I am wondering if you have followed closely the details released by China's public security authorities on the violent terrorist attack at the railway station in Urumchi on April 30. As was revealed by the police in Xinjiang, it is a violent and terrorist bombing attack carried out inside China under overseas instructions. Members of the East Turkistan Islamic Movements (ETIM) outside China orchestrated the attack and directed their accomplices inside China to carry out the scheme. It has been found out that members of the gang have engaged in illegal religious activities and spreading extremist religious thinking since 2005. The ETIM who has been propagating extremist thinking and terrorist approaches on the internet over recent years even takes a direct part in plotting, inciting and conducting terrorist activities in China. We have concrete evidence to prove that.
With regard to some people's remarks that it is China's suppression of religious activities that leads to relevant terrorist attacks, I want to point out that relevant remarks are extremely wrong. The Chinese government protects citizens' freedom of religious belief in accordance with law. Religious believers from all ethnic groups of China are fully entitled to conducting normal religious activities according to law. We are opposed to linking terrorism with any specific ethnic group or religion. When fighting against terrorism, the enemy of all mankind, the international community should discard double-standard. We hope that the international community can understand and support the efforts made by China in combating East Turkistan and other terrorist forces.
Q: Iran's Ministry of Foreign Affairs reportedly announced on June 7 that Iran will hold direct consultations on the Iranian nuclear issue with the US and Russia on separate occasions. There will also be bilateral discussions between Iran and other P5 countries. What is China's comment?
A: Since the beginning of this year, the P5+1 and Iran have held four rounds of negotiation on the comprehensive agreement on the Iranian nuclear issue. There will be a new round from June 16 to 20. Issues that are more complex and sensitive will be discussed as the negotiation is entering the deep-water zone. All parties should act with flexibility and pragmatism to seek common ground while narrowing differences. China supports direct bilateral contact between relevant parties and Iran and believes that this kind of contact will help enhance mutual understanding and push forward the negotiation. We are willing to stay in close communication with all parties concerned and take a constructive part in the negotiation on the comprehensive agreement.
Q: Terrorist attack at the airport in Karachi, Pakistan this morning caused heavy casualties. The Pakistani Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack. What is your comment?
A: We have seen relevant reports. We are shocked at the severe and violent assault on the airport in Karachi, Pakistan and strongly condemn the act. We extend our deep condolences to the victims and sincere sympathy to the bereaved families and the injured and wish the injured an early recovery. The Chinese government firmly supports the Pakistani government in making and implementing counter-terrorism and security strategies in accordance with its national conditions. We will, as always, support efforts made by the Pakistani government to safeguard national security and stability and combat terrorism.