Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang's Regular Press Conference on December 15, 2016

Q: New satellite images released by a US think tank show that China is installing weapon systems on seven islands in the South China Sea. Can you confirm whether China is building these weapon systems there and what purpose do they serve?

A: I have seen relevant reports. I am not aware of the specific situation mentioned by this think tank.

I need to reiterate that these islands in the South China Sea are China's inherent territory. It's completely normal for us to build facilities and deploy necessary defense equipment there, a right of a sovereign state recognized by international law.

Q: If China maintains that it is not militarizing the islands, then why does China install anti-aircraft and anti-missile systems on them?

A: As I said, I am not aware of the specific situation referred to in the think tank report, nor do I know whether there are such systems on the ground as is suggested. But it is something within our sovereignty. China's deployment of necessary defense facilities on its own territory has nothing to do with the so-called militarization.

Q: Does China remain committed to its pledge of not militarizing the islands in the South China Sea? Is there a change in China's position?

A: China is committed to maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea with relevant ASEAN countries. At present, thanks to the concerted efforts of China and relevant ASEAN countries, the situation in the South China Sea has been stabilized and is improving. We hope that the relevant country can respect the efforts made by China and ASEAN countries and sustain the positive momentum in the South China Sea.

Besides, if China's building of normal facilities and deploying of necessary defense equipment on its own islands is counted as militarization, then how do you categorize driving fleets to the South China Sea.

Q: Russian President Putin kicked off his visit to Japan today. What is your comment?

A: Russia and Japan are China's neighbors and important countries in the Asia-Pacific. Our principle is that we welcome the development of normal friendly cooperation between Russia and Japan on the basis of mutual respect and equal treatment, and such a relationship should be conducive to regional peace and stability.

Q: Some foreign NGOs operating here are worried that they cannot meet the new requirements in the foreign NGO management law in time and some are considering leaving. Do you have any comment?

A: The purpose of having this law is to protect the legitimate rights and interests of foreign NGOs operating in China so that they will be better integrated in the process of China's economic and social development. In the process of formulating this law, legislative departments in China drew opinions from a wide spectrum both in and outside China and took in reasonable advice.

You may have noticed that the Ministry of Public Security published the Guidelines for Registration of Representative Institutions and Record-Filing of Temporary Activities of Overseas NGOs on November 28 so as to facilitate foreign NGOs in registering representative institutions and filing records of temporary activities. If any institutions or organizations are interested in knowing more, they can check on the website of the Ministry of Public Security.

Q: How do you respond to the comments made by the head of the US Pacific Command who said that the US is willing to confront China if it must over the South China Sea?

A: I have already given an answer to this question yesterday. Thanks to the concerted efforts of China and ASEAN countries, the situation in the South China Sea is easing up and moving towards a positive direction. We hope that relevant parties, especially non-regional countries, can respect this and the efforts made by China and ASEAN countries, and preserve and consolidate the sound momentum. We also hope that the US can honor its pledge of not taking sides on the sovereignty disputes over the South China Sea.

Q: There has been a lot of tension in the last few months between China and Germany over trade issues. The Germans have expressed concerns over China's protectionism against German companies. China has expressed concerns about unfair treatment of Chinese companies who want to make acquisitions in Germany. How concerned is China about the intervention from the German government over some acquisition cases?

A: We have been taking such questions repeatedly. Trade between China and Germany, including investment cooperation, is conducted in accordance with the principle of mutual benefit and win-win results and has brought tangible benefits and interests to the two sides. We keep encouraging Chinese enterprises to follow market principles and abide by German laws and regulations when investing and doing business in Germany. We also hope that Germany can offer a sound and level-playing field for Chinese companies.

Q: Yesterday French Foreign Minister said that Trump's comments on Taiwan were not very "smart". Do you agree with this comment?

A: Some countries have reaffirmed their commitment to the one China principle recently. We commend them for that. I want to reiterate that there is but one China in the world. Taiwan is a part of China. The government of the People's Republic of China is the only legitimate government representing China. Adherence to the one China principle is the prerequisite and foundation for friendly cooperation between China and other countries.