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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei's Regular Press Conference on June 9, 2015

The 3rd China-South Asia Expo, in conjunction with the 23rd China Kunming Import and Export Fair will be held in Kunming from June 12 to 16. Vice President Li Yuanchao will attend the opening ceremony of the Expo. The Expo will carry forward an objective of “promoting all-round cooperation and development between China and South Asia and Southeast Asia”, under the theme of “pursuing amity, sincerity, mutual benefits, inclusiveness, and win-win cooperation”. President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom of Maldives, Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong of Laos, Parliamentary Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chowdhury of Bangladesh, and Deputy Prime Minster Hoang Trung Hai of Vietnam will be present upon invitation. India will be the country of honor of this year’s Expo, and Thailand guest of honor of this year’s Fair.

Q: The G7 Summit issued a Leaders’ Declaration on June 8, expressing concerns about tensions in the East and South China Seas. It calls on all parties to ensure the peaceful dispute settlement as well as free and unimpeded lawful use of the world’s oceans, opposes the use of intimidation, coercion or force, as well as any unilateral actions that seek to change the status quo, such as large scale land reclamation. What is China’s comment on this?

A: The Chinese government has given a full and explicit elaboration on its principled position on issues concerning the East and South China Seas. With regard to your question, I’d like to make the following points:

China has indisputable sovereignty over the Diaoyu Dao and its affiliated islands, as well as the Nansha Islands and the adjacent waters. China’s construction on relevant Nansha islands and reefs falls entirely within China’s sovereignty, and other countries have no right to interfere. Once completed, the relevant construction will mainly provide considerable civilian functions apart from a few defense services, in a bid to better fulfill China’s international obligations in maritime navigation and search and rescue.

The Chinese side remains committed to safeguarding navigation and overflight freedom in the East and South China Seas. For a long time, navigation and overflight in relevant waters by all countries in accordance with the international law have never been affected. If someone deliberately stirs up troubles that pose a threat to the freedom of navigation and overflight in relevant waters, China will be the first to stand up against it.

The Chinese government has never recognized the “status quo” of the Diaoyu Dao and its affiliated islands as well as some maritime features of the Nansha Islands that were illegally snatched and occupied by other countries. Bearing in mind the overall picture of maintaining regional peace and stability, China, however, has been exercising maximum restraint. While firmly upholding territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests, China is devoted to peacefully resolving relevant disputes through negotiation and consultation with countries directly concerned on the basis of respecting historical facts and the international law, and jointly maintaining peace and stability in relevant waters with countries concerned. As a sovereign state, China will make necessary response to any attempt to undermine China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The international community has formed a just opinion with regard to the merits behind issues concerning the East and South China Seas. What the G7 does and says are way out of step with the facts and the internationally recognized principles. China strongly urges the G7 to respect the facts, shed prejudices, stop making irresponsible remarks, and do more to help properly handle and settle the disputes and promote regional peace and stability.

Q: Today the Hong Kong and Macao SAR governments issued travel alerts concerning the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) epidemic in the ROK. Will the mainland consider issuing a similar alert?

A: We have noted relevant decisions made by the Hong Kong and Macao SAR governments. The Department of Consular Affairs of the Foreign Ministry and the Chinese Embassy in the ROK have issued consular warnings, reminding Chinese citizens who plan to visit the ROK and those who are already in the ROK to follow relevant information concerning the epidemic and take precautions. China has strengthened prevention and control of MERS at border crossings. Rigorous checks and screening are conducted so as to promptly and properly cope with the epidemic.

Q: Opposition leader of Myanmar Aung San Suu Kyi will kick off a visit to China tomorrow. Can you give us more details? What does China expect from this visit given the instability in the China-Myanmar border area caused by the conflicts between Myanmar government forces and Kokang armed forces?

A: Last week I have briefed you on this visit. At the invitation of the CPC, Madame Aung San Suu Kyi will lead a National League for Democracy (NLD) delegation to China. This is an important visit in the party-to-party engagement between China and Myanmar. The CPC has maintained friendly exchanges with all parties of Myanmar. It is believed that this visit will further enhance mutual understanding between the two parties, and move forward the China-Myanmar friendly and cooperative relations. Party and state leaders of China will meet with the delegation.

As for the situation in northern Myanmar, our position is pretty clear. Peace and stability in northern Myanmar bears on tranquility in the China-Myanmar border area. We hope that the Myanmar side would answer to relevant requests put in by China, stop the warfare, ease the tension, and restore peace, stability and normal order to the China-Myanmar border area at an early date.

Q: Six Hong Kong tourists were involved in a car accident in Thailand the other day. Please tell us more updates and the work China has done.

A: The Chinese Embassy in Thailand is highly concerned about the accident. It immediately initiated the emergency response mechanism, kept in close touch with the Hong Kong SAR government and sent staff to the scene of the accident. The Embassy asks the Thai side to spare no efforts to conduct medical treatment and properly deal with the follow-up matters concerning the deceased. The injured have been taken to Bangkok for further treatment. Representatives from the Immigration Department of the Hong Kong SAR government have arrived in Thailand to assist with relevant work.

The Foreign Ministry will follow the accident closely and direct the Chinese Embassy in Thailand to deal with the follow-up matters.

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