Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying's Regular Press Conference on October 14, 2015

Q: It is learnt that the 2015 Arctic Circle Assembly will soon be held in Iceland. Will the Chinese side send a delegation to the assembly?

A: The 2015 Arctic Circle Assembly will be held on October 16-18 in Reykjavik, Iceland. At the invitation of President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson of Iceland to President Xi Jinping, the Chinese side will send a senior delegation to the assembly and hold a country session on China. Foreign Minister Wang Yi will deliver a video message to the opening ceremony of the assembly, presenting China's policies and vision on Arctic affairs. Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Ming will make a keynote speech at the country session as head of the Chinese delegation, elaborating China's activities and stance in the Arctic. Chinese experts will talk about China's practices in Arctic scientific research, shipping, oil and gas exploration and Arctic-related study on climate change at the country session. The Chinese delegation will also present the photo exhibition "China and the Arctic" on the sidelines of the assembly.

Q: The US and Australia expressed concerns at their ministerial consultations on October 13 about China's island construction in the South China Sea, hoping that China would not "militarize" relevant islands and reefs. How do you respond to that? The two countries also expressed their readiness to enhance naval cooperation. What is your comment on that?

A: I have noted the Australia-United States Ministerial (AUSMIN) consultations. I would like to reiterate that China has indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and their adjacent waters. Construction carried out by the Chinese side on relevant islands and reefs of the Nansha Islands is mainly to satisfy civilian needs, better fulfill China's international responsibility and obligation, and provide more public goods and services to the region and the international community. There certainly are a limited amount of necessary military facilities for defense purposes only. They fit well with the security environment around relevant Chinese islands and reefs. There is no such thing of China "militarizing" relevant islands and reefs.

It should be pointed out that certain countries have been flexing military muscles in the South China Sea over recent period of times. That is the biggest cause of "militarization" in the South China Sea. The Chinese side is severely concerned about that. We hope that relevant countries could stop playing up the issue of South China Sea, make good on their commitment of not taking sides on issues concerning territorial sovereignty, be discreet with words and deeds, respect efforts by China and relevant regional countries in safeguarding peace and stability in the South China Sea, and play a constructive role to that end.

Q: How does the Chinese side square the circle when it pledges not to "militarize" relevant islands and reefs in the South China Sea, but deploys military facilities there at the same time?

A: I wonder how you understand the word "militarize". The Chinese side remains a staunch force in safeguarding regional peace and stability. Construction conducted by the Chinese side on relevant islands and reefs in the South China Sea is mainly to meet civilian needs, better fulfill China's international responsibility and obligation and provide more public goods and services to the region and the international community. For example, we have lately put into use two lighthouses on Huayang Reef and Chigua Reef to provide highly effective route guidance and navigation aid to vessels passing these waters, which will greatly improve navigation safety in the South China Sea.

It is easy to understand why the Chinese side has to deploy some military facilities on relevant islands and reefs. There have been high-profile display of military strength and frequent and large-scale military drills by certain countries and their allies in the South China Sea, which makes it completely understandable for the Chinese side to have a limited amount of necessary military facilities for defense purposes only.

Q: The motion titled "Iran's Plan for Reciprocal and Proper Action in Implementing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action" was deliberated and adopted by Iran's parliament on October 13 and will be submitted to the Guardian Council of the Constitution within this week. What is China's comment on that?

A: The comprehensive agreement on the Iranian nuclear issue is a successful example of resolving international hot-spot concerning nuclear non-proliferation through political and diplomatic means. All parties are making steady progress in getting politically, legally and technically prepared for the entry into force and implementation of the agreement. The approval of the relevant motion by Iran's parliament marks an important step taken by the Iranian side to validate and enforce the agreement. The Chinese side appreciates that. Going forward, we hope that all parties will continue to build mutual trust, follow through on their commitment in a comprehensive and balanced manner and make sure that the agreement will be put into effect as scheduled.

Q: First, there are rumors that China is planning to engage in military actions in Syria along with Russia. For example, China's aircraft carrier, Liaoning, will be sent to the Mediterranean Sea. Can you confirm that? Second, the Dutch Safety Board concluded in its report that Malaysia Airlines Flight MH 17 was shot down by pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine. The Russian side disputed that. What is China's response?

A: On your first question, I have noted the relevant report. As far as I know, the aircraft carrier Liaoning is still being used for scientific research and experiment as well as military training. I have not heard of any other arrangements.

On your second question, the Chinese side has taken note of the investigation report released by the Dutch Safety Board on the tragic crash of Flight MH 17. The Chinese side supports an independent, fair and objective investigation into the incident in accordance with Resolution 2166 of the UN Security Council so as to hold the perpetrators accountable.