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Transcript of Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin's Attendance at Press Conference on China's Policies on Asia-Pacific Security Cooperation and Answering Questions from Journalists

2017/01/12

On January 11, 2017, the State Council Information Office held a press conference to issue a white paper titled China’s Policies on Asia-Pacific Security Cooperation. Director-General and spokesperson of the Press Bureau of the State Council Information Office Hu Kaihong chaired the conference, and Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin attended the conference, introducing relevant information on the white paper as well as China’s policies on Asia-Pacific security cooperation and answering questions from journalists. Forty-nine media from China and abroad attended the conference.

Hu Kaihong: Ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon! Welcome to the press conference held by the State Council Information Office.

Today, the State Council Information Office has published a white paper on China’s Policies on Asia-Pacific Security Cooperation and at the same time held a press conference to introduce its main content and relevant information on China’s policies in this regard. Today we have with us Vice Foreign Minister Mr. Liu Zhenmin. And I am Hu Kaihong, spokesman of the State Council Information Office.

First, please allow me to make a general introduction of the white paper. With about 16,000 words, the white paper consists of three parts including the preface, the main body and the conclusion. The main body is divided into six parts: I. China's Policies and Positions on Asia-Pacific Security Cooperation; II. China's Security Vision for the Asia-Pacific Region; III. China's Relations with Other Major Asia-Pacific Countries; IV. China's Positions and Views on Regional Hotspot Issues; V. China's Participation in Major Multilateral Mechanisms in the Asia-Pacific Region; VI. China's Participation in Regional Non-Traditional Security Cooperation.

The white paper pointed out that China always upholds the spirit of win-win cooperation and actively calls for a concept of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security. China's development adds to the momentum for world peace. In recent years, the development of the Asia-Pacific region has increasingly caught people’s attention and become the most dynamic region with the strongest potential in the world. China is committed to promoting peace, stability, development and prosperity in this region. It follows the path of peaceful development and the mutually beneficial strategy of opening up, and pursues friendly cooperation with all countries on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. It has participated in regional cooperation in an all-round way. China stands ready to work with all countries in the region to pursue mutually beneficial cooperation, jointly improve regional security framework, steadily advance security dialogues and cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region, take active steps in response to both traditional and non-traditional security challenges and promote the construction of a new model of international relations so as to create a brighter future for this region.

This is China’s first white paper on Asia-Pacific security cooperation policies. It is available in Chinese, English, French, Russian, German, Spanish, Arabic and Japanese. The Chinese version and the English version have been respectively published by People’s Publishing House and Foreign Language Press.

That’s all for my part of the introduction. Now, I would like to give the floor to Mr. Liu Zhenmin.

Liu Zhenmin: Media friends, ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon. I am delighted to meet you again and see this press conference has attracted so many media friends. This fully demonstrates your great interest in Asia-Pacific security cooperation.

Director-General Hu Kaihong just now has given a general introduction on the white paper, and now I would like to systematically brief you the background and the main content of the white paper.

Currently, the global political and economic situations are undergoing complicated and profound changes. The globalization process has encountered adverse tides and the integration process in some areas has suffered setbacks. The world has entered a more turbulent and volatile era. However, the Asia-Pacific region continues to maintain an upward momentum in an overall manner and has established a stronger presence in the world. This cannot be separated from the efforts by Asia-Pacific countries in promoting regional cooperation. As the peace builder and security defender in the Asia-Pacific region, the Chinese government published this white paper at the beginning of 2017, aiming to make all parties fully aware of China’s policies on Asia-Pacific security cooperation and show China’s positive will to further enhance regional security cooperation and maintain regional stability and prosperity. We are also looking forward to receiving positive responses from all parties, hoping that other regional countries can work with China to steadily advance regional security cooperation, so as to make greater contributions to regional peace and stability.

I would like to use six key phrases to explain China's policies on Asia-Pacific security cooperation, so everybody can have a better understanding of them.

First is win-win cooperation. In order to maintain the sound momentum of regional development and jointly cope with various challenges, China put forward six propositions for advancing security dialogues and cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region, including promoting common development, advancing the building of partnerships, improving the existing regional multilateral mechanisms, promoting rule-setting, intensifying military exchanges and cooperation and properly resolving differences and disputes. These six propositions are a summary of China’s experience from long-term exchanges with other countries, as well as the crystallization of the collective wisdom of regional countries. It is hoped that together with China, all countries can uphold the concept of mutually beneficial cooperation, and jointly strive for the long-term peace and security in the Asia-Pacific region.

Second is openness and innovation. As part of the super structure, security concept and security framework must keep pace with the times and embrace innovation constantly, or they would not be able to meet actual needs and solve practical problems. China has come up with the concept of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security and is promoting the building of a regional security framework which is oriented to the future, accords with regional realities and meets all parties' needs. This is both an inheritance and innovation of the concept of regional security cooperation, injecting new vitality into the construction of the Asia-Pacific security framework. We are willing to work with all parties to advocate and practice the new security concept, and walk hand-in-hand down a path of security featuring wide consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits in the Asia-Pacific region.

Third is positive interaction. China works hard to push forward positive interaction with other major countries in the Asia-Pacific region, making due contributions to maintaining the overall stability of major-country relations in the Asia-Pacific. China is committed to working with the US to build relations featuring no conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect, and win-win cooperation, and achieve positive interaction and inclusive coordination in the Asia-Pacific. China is committed to consolidating the comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination with Russia, and actively developing a closer development partnership with India. China is also dedicated to pushing for the continuous improvement and progressive development of its relations with Japan in the spirit of “taking history as a mirror and looking forward into the future”. Meanwhile, China also adheres to the policy of building friendship and partnership with neighboring countries and keeps deepening mutually beneficial cooperation with neighboring countries.

Fourth is dialogue and consultation. The regional development course and experience after the World War II has enlightened us that dialogue and cooperation are the “golden keys”to solve regional hot-spot issues. For conflicts and divergences among countries, we advocate to properly managing them through dialogues, negotiations and consultation, so as to jointly maintain regional peace and stability. For cross-border security challenges faced by all countries in the region, we need to enhance dialogues as well as cooperation, and study how to work together to cope with them in order to prevent relevant problems from deteriorating into crises. China will continue to play its due role as a responsible major country in the peaceful settlement of regional hot-spot issues.

Fifth is regional mechanism. China is an active advocator and facilitator of regional multilateral mechanisms, as well as a founding member of many such mechanisms. We firmly support ASEAN’s centrality in East Asia regional cooperation, and actively participate in and vigorously advance dialogues and cooperation in relevant mechanisms. Committed to expanding the construction of regional mechanisms and improving regional cooperation framework, China initiated with relevant countries the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the Six-Party Talks on the DPRK nuclear issue, Xiangshan Forum, and Lancang-Mekong Cooperation mechanism, so as to propel the “two wheel drive” of economic development cooperation and political security cooperation. In the future, China will continue to support and promote regional cooperation mechanisms to realize greater development as always.

Sixth is practical cooperation. In recent years, non-traditional security threats in the Asia-Pacific region have become increasingly prominent. China actively participates in and advances exchanges and cooperation to address these challenges, as well as continuously provides public security services. China has carried out a large number of cooperation projects in such fields as disaster relief, counter-terrorism, combating trans-national crimes, cyberspace security and maritime security, which has enhanced understanding and mutual trust among regional countries, improved their cooperative ability to cope with challenges, and made significant contributions to safeguarding regional peace and stability.

Finally, I would like to conclude that as an important member of the Asia-Pacific family, China always undertakes its responsibility to promote the Asia-Pacific prosperity, stability and security. We are willing to join hands with other regional countries to steadily advance security dialogues as well as cooperation, positively respond to various traditional and non-traditional security challenges, jointly maintain the good situation of regional peace and stability, and promote the building of common prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region.

That’s all for my introduction. Now I am ready to take questions.

Hu Kaihong: Now is time for questions. Please inform the news agency you represent before raising a question.

1. China Central Television (CCTV): I would like to ask Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin that as the new US administration will soon come into office, what expectations does the Chinese side hold for the incoming government's Asia-Pacific security policy and China-US cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region?

Liu Zhenmin: Thanks for the question of the CCTV journalist. The Chinese side hopes that the new U.S. administration's policy on Asia-Pacific security will be conducive to enhancing mutual trust among countries in the Asia-Pacific region, and promoting peace and stability in the region. President Xi Jinping has said many times that the Pacific Ocean is big enough for both China and the US to seek development. China respects the US's traditional influences and realistic interests in the Asia-Pacific region, and welcomes the US to play a positive and constructive role in this area. Meanwhile, it is also hoped that the US can respect China’s interests and concerns in the region.

In recent years, China and the US have maintained sound dialogue and communication on Asia-Pacific affairs and Asia-Pacific cooperation, and both sides agree to carry out positive interaction and inclusive collaboration in the Asia-Pacific region. In light of above spirits, China is willing to continue to maintain communication with the new US government on Asia-Pacific affairs and explore cooperation so as to jointly safeguard peace, stability and prosperity in this region.

2. Taiwan-based Central News Agency (CNA): I have two questions. First, there are some loudly expressed concerns about Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning's training exercises in the Western Pacific and South China Sea waters in 2016. Taiwan sources say that The Liaoning entered the Taiwan Strait to sail north at 7:00 this morning. Is this true? Second, since Donald Trump was elected President of the US, China has frequently carried out the so-called routine trainings in the East China Sea, the South China Sea and even the Western Pacific sea and air space. Are these actions conducive to promoting Asia-Pacific security cooperation?

Liu Zhenmin: It should be mentioned that both of these two questions have been stated in the regular press conference of the Foreign Ministry. Firstly, Liaoning is China's first aircraft carrier, and has been conducting training exercises in recent years. The Taiwan Strait is not only a shared sea between mainland and Taiwan, but also an international watercourse. Therefore, it is normal for the Liaoning carrier to travel to and from it in the process of training, and it does not affect cross-strait relations.

Secondly, many of you have noted that actually every year during this season, the Chinese navy would organize normal training activities in offshore areas or Western Pacific in order to further improve Chinese navy capabilities. The Navy cannot always stay in the harbor. They need to sail out for training. Those training activities are safe with no effects on peripheral security and security of any countries. So there is no need to worry.

3. Hong Kong-based Wen Wei Po: The white paper mentioned some of China’s ideas on improving regional security framework. How do you see the current security framework in the Asia-Pacific region? What are your specific ideas for improving the regional security framework?

Liu Zhenmin: I should say that establishing and improving Asia-Pacific security framework has been a common concern of regional countries since the end of the Cold War. Currently, there are many kinds of cross-regional security cooperation mechanisms in the Asia-Pacific region, including the US-led alliance system, the ASEAN-centered security dialogue and cooperation mechanism, the Six-Party Talks on the DPRK nuclear issue and other specialized mechanisms, the SCO and other mechanisms. Some of these are among the last vestiges of the Cold War, while others reflect sub-regional dissonance and security inconsistencies.

Against the background of the rapid development of Asia-Pacific economic cooperation, we can see that security construction in the region is lagging behind, and cannot effectively deal with complex and diverse security challenges in time. Thus, it is imperative to gradually build an Asia-Pacific security framework that faces the future, reflects regional realities and meets all parties' interests and needs. In the 27 years after the Cold War, regional countries have made lots of efforts in this regard.

Building the new Asia-Pacific security framework should have five characteristics: first, take the new security vision as the guide and advocate the common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security concept. Second, on the basis of international laws and regulations, abide by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, and adhere to norms governing international and regional relations that are agreed by all countries. Third, regard the building of partnerships as a link to establish an Asia-Pacific partnership based on equal treatment, mutual trust, inclusiveness, mutual benefit, reciprocity and mutual understanding. Fourth, strengthen coordination, upgrade and improvement of existing mechanisms with a framework of comprehensive, multi-layered and diversified network. Fifth, achieve inclusive and reciprocal development with common development as a foothold.

Before reaching consensus on a new Asia-Pacific security framework by regional states, more research and consultation should be made under Track 1.5 and Track 2 frameworks.

4. People's Daily: It is reported that China and the ASEAN countries will complete the consultation on the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC) framework in the first half of 2017. Was any progress on the COC made during previous dialogues?

Liu Zhenmin: Since China and ASEAN countries signed the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) in 2002, all parties have been engaged in implementing it. In September 2013, the Senior Officials' Meeting on the Implementation of the DOC held in Suzhou officially launched the consultation on the COC.

It can be said that since the launch in 2013, the consultation has been proceeding orderly with new progress every year. Over the past four years, the negotiations have made certain progress in the preliminary stage.. At present, the consultation has entered a very critical stage. During the China-ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting held last July, all parties have issued the Joint Statement on the Comprehensive and Effective Implementation of the DOC. This statement is of great significance in the history of China-ASEAN cooperation, which symbolizes that China and ASEAN countries have returned again to the track of properly resolving the South China Sea issue through dialogue and negotiation as well as peaceful settlement. During the Foreign Ministers' Meeting, China put forward four visions on deepening cooperation with ASEAN countries on the South China Sea issue, including the completion of consultation on the COC framework with ASEAN countries in the first half of 2017 on the condition of zero intervention.

In the next few months, we will continue to commit ourselves to this task, and strive to complete the draft framework of the COC within the first half of this year. We can assure you that we will not wait until June 30, instead, we will issue the draft as soon as possible. Of course, this is only one stage in the progress of the consultation, and the tasks of the next stage will be more arduous. However, China has confidence in continuing to jointly implement the DOC with ASEAN countries, and safeguarding peace and stability in the South China Sea and all countries' freedom of navigation and over-flight in accordance with the International law, so as to make the South China Sea a sea of peace and cooperation. We will certainly achieve this goal.

5. Lianhe Zaobao: Minister Liu, I have noticed that this is the first time for China to issue a white paper on Asia-Pacific security policies, so I would like to know what contributes to this white paper? The policies in the white paper are what China always upholds, so why does China issue it? My second question is that to issue a white paper like this, does it mean China is attempting to tap the vacuum of the Asia-Pacific Region aside from the clout wielded by the United States and develop foreign policies in response to its influence as one of the major countries in the world?

Liu Zhenmin: After listening to your two questions, I advise you to read our white paper carefully. The white paper highlights security cooperation rather than security issues. Why does China issue its first white paper on Asia-Pacific security cooperation policies now? It is because all the policies elaborated in the white paper represent the sum total of China's security cooperative policies issued since the 18th CPC National Congress. Of course, these policies are consistent with China's peaceful diplomatic guidelines and are the continuity of the People’s Republic of China's peaceful foreign policies. However, relevant proposals and policies on the Asia-Pacific security cooperation are gradually accumulated over the past four years, such as proposals on partnerships, the new security concept, and some proposals on regional security framework.

We put these proposals together to explain to the international community and friends nearby that it is only through cooperation as well as dialogue and negotiation that we can safeguard the security in the Asia-Pacific region. Therefore, the Chinese government always puts security cooperation first, and regards it as an important approach of safeguarding security in the Asia-Pacific region. The white paper also illustrates issues related to the Asia-Pacific security framework. At present, the framework is not complete yet, which leads to the inadequate trust among all countries. When the security framework is completed, we can discuss and resolve some problems among us within the security framework.

Therefore, through the white paper, we further explain China's experience over the past few years and future policies and claims to neighboring countries, Asia-Pacific countries and the international community. We think that dialogue and cooperation is the only path to safeguard security in the Asia-Pacific region.

China and the US are two major countries in the Asia-Pacific region, and the second largest and the largest economies in the world, so China-US cooperation is essential to security in the region. All countries, especially major countries, need to make efforts to safeguard security in the Asia-Pacific region. Superpower as the US is, it cannot safeguard security in the region on its own. China will never replace the US. The white paper is about enhancing cooperation, security cooperation in particular. We advocate cooperation in either China-US relations or China-Russia relations.

I want to stress that the theme of the white paper is "security cooperation" rather than "security issue". Given the special conditions in the Asia-Pacific region, some current sub-regional security mechanisms must continue to play important roles. Just as I mentioned, we will continue to support the ASEAN and relevant security forums and platforms with the ASEAN as the center to play their roles. Therefore, security in the Asia-Pacific region needs efforts from and cooperation among all parties. Then, where is the platform for cooperation? That is why we need to jointly promote the construction of security cooperation mechanism in the Asia-Pacific region. We have seen that the construction of related mechanisms is moving forward constantly, yet that cannot fully meet the demand of the current situation, which means we still need to make joint and continuous efforts.

6. China Radio International (CRI): At his annual press conference held at the end of last year, President Vladimir Putin of Russia once again spoke highly of China-Russia relations. He noted that the cooperative relations between China and Russia in recent years have become closer than a cooperative partnership in a general sense. China and Russia hold common positions on many international issues, which is an important factor for stability when dealing with international affairs. What are China's comments on this?

Liu Zhenmin: The strategic partnership of coordination between China and Russia was established many years ago. The bettering development of the partnership received favorable comment and high appreciation from leaders of the two countries and comprehensive support from people of the two countries. China and Russia, both as major countries in the Asia-Pacific region, are also neighbors sharing a border of over 4,000 kilometers. Bilateral cooperation is therefore of great importance to China’s security.

China and Russia share a wide range of common interests in the Asia-Pacific region, both of which play an important and constructive role in maintaining security and stability and promoting common prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region. Further communication and coordination on Asia-Pacific affairs between China and Russia not only conduce to safeguarding common interests of the two countries and all other regional countries, but also correspond to the spirit of the times—seeking peace, stability and development and meet the demands of Asia-Pacific development.

China is willing to work with Russia to continue to actively promote the Asian security concept and strengthen Asia-Pacific security cooperation. First, enhance coordination and cooperation under regional multilateral framework and promote healthy development of relevant mechanisms. Second, advance the process of political settlement to regional hotspot issues, strengthen cooperation in such areas as cyberspace, counter-terrorism and anti-missile, and safeguard regional peace and stability. Third, actively conduct docking and cooperation between the construction of the “Belt and Road” and the construction of the Eurasian Economic Union and step up the construction of Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) and regional connectivity, so as to achieve mutual benefit and win-win results. We believe that joint efforts by China, Russia and other regional countries will provide greater safeguard to peace, stability, prosperity and development in the region.

7. BBC: There are two questions for you. First, counter-terrorism cooperation in the sixth part of the white paper mentions terrorism-related illegal human smuggling. I would like to know more about what it involves. Does it mean that, it is potentially possible that some ethnic Uyghur Chinese entering into a neighboring country will be trained by ISIS or other frenetic religious organizations and then go back to China? Second, the coordination mechanism on counter-terrorism cooperation among the military forces of China, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Tajikistan is also mentioned in this section. How long has this mechanism been established? What achievements have been made so far?

Liu Zhenmin: A closer counter-terrorism cooperation is not only a bilateral demand of China and countries in the region, but also a need of regional countries to tackle terrorism, a cross-regional issue. So far, the international community has realized the risks of cross-border flow of terrorists, which is a core challenge threatening international stability. No matter in Asia, Europe, West Asia, North Africa, or other regions, the flow of terrorists is a root cause of terrorism.

Undoubtedly, China is also faced with such a challenge. Therefore, there is cooperation between China and neighboring countries to combat transnational crimes and cross-border flow of terrorists. It is no doubt that, to China, the challenge of this kind is more prominent in border areas, especially in the western border of our country. That is to say, we are facing severer and more acute threats from terrorism in the areas near Central Asia and Afghanistan. But I want to highlight that, it is an international issue which requires international cooperation. It is also a security issue related to all countries in the Asia-Pacific region. Therefore, we repeatedly emphasized the need to further cooperation on counter-terrorism in many forums and mechanisms of the Asia-Pacific region.

As for the coordination mechanism among China, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan and other countries, no matter it is for military cooperation or police affairs cooperation, its purpose is to combat cross-border terrorism. It is quite smooth cooperation which plays an important role in deterring terrorist organizations, preventing the flow of terrorists and combating terrorism-related activities. China has set up mechanisms of this kind with multiple neighboring countries, including cooperation under the SCO framework and cooperation between China and Pakistan, based on which China has gained a lot of useful experience and will keep promoting it.

However, cooperation in this aspect is mainly limited to the SCO member states, Pakistan, and so on. Whether the cooperation adapts to other regions requires consultation of all parties and experience review. In short, countries in the Asia-Pacific region need to attach great importance to preventing and combating the issue of terrorism. Some terrorist activities in Southeast Asia were later proved to be caused by trans-border terrorists and even terrorists from the Middle East. Therefore, combating terrorism must be an important part of Asia-Pacific security cooperation.

8. China Daily: Against the backdrop of easing situation in the South China Sea, what new measures will China take to boost cooperation in the area?

Liu Zhenmin: In the past several years, the South China Sea issue was played up to be a hotspot issue from time to time. However, in general, we have maintained overall stability in the area. The reason why it became a hotspot issue was the propaganda at diplomatic level.

At present, with joint efforts by China and the ASEAN countries, the situation in the South China Sea has calmed down and presents a momentum of positive development. Seeking stability, cooperation and development has become a common wish and appeal of countries neighboring the South China Sea. Amid such backdrop, China will continue to promote the establishment and improvement of bilateral maritime consultation mechanisms with countries concerned, discuss joint development in such areas as fishery, oil and gas, and promote countries concerned to actively discuss on the set-up of cooperation mechanism in line with relevant regulations of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. We hope that the year 2017 will become a year of cooperation in the South China Sea and see more momentum of cooperation.

In the past few years, China and the ASEAN countries carried out several quality maritime practical cooperation projects under the framework of the implementation of the DOC. Both sides also actively promoted the establishment of three technical cooperation committees, covering navigation safety as well as search and rescue, maritime scientific research and environmental protection, and combating maritime transnational crimes. In September 2016, sand-table exercise of maritime joint search and rescue by China and the ASEAN countries achieved great success. This year, formal exercise on ships will be carried out. In addition, China maintains close communication with countries neighboring the South China Sea on maritime cooperation on a bilateral basis.

For the next step, China will continue to promote bilateral cooperation with Viet Nam, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and other countries concerned. On the other hand, China will continue to step up multilateral cooperation with countries neighboring the South China Sea and the ASEAN countries under the framework of the implementation of the DOC. We will advance the establishment of the three above-mentioned technical committees at an early date, and actively discuss to deepen cooperation in such areas as the law enforcement of coast guards, maritime joint search and rescue, and ecological environment protection.

To safeguard navigation security on the South China Sea should not be empty words of the countries. We must avoid maritime crimes and combat piracy. According to relevant international maritime agencies, the South China Sea and the Malacca area are frequently attacked by pirates and international maritime crimes. China’s energy and resources transportation and trade are highly dependent on the South China Sea. We will continue to place high importance to and actively safeguard navigation security in the area. We will also continuously strengthen cooperation with countries neighboring the South China Sea. We are convinced that in 2017 cooperation in the South China Sea will be brighter with new progress.

9. Reuters: Many people regard the situation in DPRK as the severest security issue facing the Chinese government and the new US administration. In fact, US President-elect Donald Trump and officials appointed by him, especially Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson, have expressed such an opinion that the US will pressure China harder to take further actions against the DPRK. So what actions will China take as tougher moves against the DPRK? And, what moves of China can prove to the US that China has done its best over the DPRK issue?

Liu Zhenmin: The DPRK nuclear issue is an old issue. In the past few years, with the increase of nuclear tests by the DPRK, it should be said that the situation on the Korean Peninsula attracted more and more attention from all sides. As a matter of fact, in the process of the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, both the cooperation between China and the US and that among members of the UN Security Council were quite good.

It is China’s persistent policy to achieve the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, safeguard peace and stability on the peninsula and resolve the issue through dialogue and consultation. China has made great efforts to push forward denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

On one hand, we have played an active role in promoting peace talks, dialogues and, in particular, advocated and actively pushed forward the Six-Party Talks on DPRK nuclear issue. Although the Six-Party Talks stalled in recent years due to various reasons, the influence of this platform still exists. Therefore, we hope that one day, every party could agree to return to the Six-Party Talks and resume the Six-Party dialogues.

On the other hand, China has played an active role in supporting UN Security Council’s sanctions against the DPRK for its nuclear tests. China’s great efforts to this end are acknowledged and appreciated by our US friends. As the US knows, without China’s support, the previous sanction resolutions could not have been approved. Why China supported them? We hope through these sanctions, the DPRK could be gradually pushed back to the track of dialogue and negotiation, and to the Six-Party Talks. Sanctions are certainly not a goal but an approach. Return to the track of dialogue is needed to ultimately solve the DPRK nuclear issue.

We call in particular for a dialogue between the US and the DPRK because the DPRK always believes US-DPRK relations as a pair of important relations influencing the DPRK nuclear issue. China and previous US administrations have maintained relatively sound cooperation on the DPRK nuclear issue, and we hope to continue cooperation with the new US government in this aspect. Of course, we also expect the new US government to take a more positive and constructive stance on the peninsula issue.

10. China News Service: According to media reports, Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs all said recently that during the period when the Philippines assumed the rotating presidency of the ASEAN, the Philippines would not make the so-called South China Sea arbitration case as an agenda for discussion. How does China respond to it?

Liu Zhenmin: China's position on this issue is consistent and clear-cut. We appreciate the heads of Philippine department of foreign affairs for such statements. In fact, since President Rodrigo Duterte took office, the communication between China and the Philippines on relevant issues has been smooth. We always believe the South China Sea issue is an issue between China and some ASEAN countries, rather than that between China and ASEAN. This is a consensus between China and ASEAN countries, and more importantly, a firm stance of China. Therefore, China will continuously work on the peaceful settlement of the South China Sea disputes through continued negotiation and consultation with states directly concerned. Meanwhile, we will make continuous efforts with ASEAN countries to jointly maintain the peace and stability of the South China Sea.

This year marks the Philippines' turn to assume the rotating presidency of ASEAN, and happens to be the 50th anniversary of the founding of ASEAN. China will support the Philippines in fulfilling its duty as the rotating presidency. We will also discuss and consult with the Philippines on further strengthening China's cooperation with ASEAN, so as to jointly focus on development and cooperation, and properly handle sensitive issues. Last year we celebrated the 25th anniversary of the founding of China-ASEAN dialogue relations. From this year on, China-ASEAN relations will embrace another 25 years. We hope that in the new 25 years, China-ASEAN relations will grow tighter. An ASEAN leader mentioned a dozen years ago that he hoped East Asian Economic Community (EAEC) would be founded by 2020. This is a goal for ASEAN and also for China. So China’s closer cooperation with ASEAN will definitely make more important contributions to the Asia-Pacific cooperation, including economic cooperation and security cooperation.

Hu Kaihong: That concludes today’s press conference. Thank you, Minister Liu Zhenmin. Thank you all!

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