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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei's Regular Press Conference on March 18, 2015

2015/03/18

At the invitation of the Namibian government, Minister of Transport Yang Chuantang, as the special envoy of President Xi Jinping, will attend the inauguration ceremony of Namibian new president Hage Geingob as well as celebrations marking the 25th anniversary of Namibia's independence on March 21.

Q: Please update us on China's disaster relief assistance to Vanuatu which was hit by a super cyclone.

A: We extend deep sympathies to Vanuatu which was ravaged by the super cyclone and sustained property loss and heavy casualties. In order to help the government and people of Vanuatu tide over difficulties, the Chinese government decides to provide the Vanuatu government with emergency assistance with a total amount of 30 million RMB, including food, drinking water, tents and generators that are badly needed by disaster-affected people. The Chinese side will deliver these materials by chartered planes as soon as possible. The Red Cross Society of China has already offered humanitarian assistance to the Red Cross Society of Vanuatu. We will go all out to support the government and people of Vanuatu in surmounting difficulties and rebuilding their homeland at an early date.

Q: Prime ministers of Australia and Vietnam held talks today and agreed to step up security cooperation. Does China support such cooperation? Do you think this is directed against China?

A: We hope that security cooperation between relevant countries can contribute to regional peace and stability.

Q: Japan and the ROK haven't agreed to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). Will China touch upon this issue in the upcoming foreign ministers' meeting among China, Japan and the ROK?

A: Yesterday, France, Germany and Italy have expressed their willingness to join the AIIB as prospective founding members. We welcome their decision. As for other countries, we always stick to openness and inclusiveness and welcome anyone as long as it intends to join. Foreign ministers of China, Japan and the ROK will exchange views on issues of common interest in the upcoming meeting, and this issue may be covered in their discussion.

As for the AIIB, I have three points to make. First, the AIIB will be built to benefit the Asian people. A majority of Asian countries are developing countries that lack development fund. There is a huge need for infrastructure investment in Asia, and hence it is good for Asian countries to have more investment and financing platforms and more choices of drawing investment and loans. We will translate more savings to investment, and put the fund where it is needed most and more on the Asian land so as to enhance the connectivity of infrastructure in Asia and benefit people of all countries.

Second, the AIIB will be built following high standards. Being an innovative institution, the AIIB helps improve global financial governance which is quite meaningful. We will design the governance structure and operation policy of the AIIB with high standards, draw upon the good practices of existing multilateral development banks, avoid taking detours as they have done and maintain its efficient operation. The AIIB will stick to multilateralism, complement and cooperate with existing multilateral development institutions to jointly push for economic prosperity of Asia and the world.

Third, all founding members of the AIIB will cooperate with each other. Up to the day before yesterday, the AIIB has already have 27 prospective founding members. Over the past two days, the UK, Germany, France and Italy have applied to join the AIIB. We will work with all parties to build the AIIB into an infrastructure investment and financing platform that is equal, open and inclusive, and a multilateral development bank that meets the development need of regional countries to instill new vitality to Asia's development.

Q: Some media reports argue that America failed to influence some western countries' decisions to join the AIIB. What's China's take on America's position?

A: As I have pointed out, the AIIB is built to enhance Asia's development and benefit the Asian people. The AIIB will follow the principle of openness and inclusiveness in its operation, and learn widely from other's good practices, which will improve global financial governance. The initiative has won substantial response and support from so many countries, and this showcases the vitality of the AIIB. We are confident to build the AIIB into a highly efficient platform for investment and financing, and stimulate Asia's infrastructure building and economic development. We hope to join hands with all countries to do this well.

Q: With regard to the 1969 map of the Diaoyu Dao posted on the Japanese Foreign Ministry website, you have made some comments yesterday and I wonder whether you have anything more to say today?

A: This 1969 map tells us two things: first, the Diaoyu Dao is an integral part of China, or a part of Taiwan to be specific; second, it is a historical fact that Japan invaded and occupied Taiwan and stole the Diaoyu Dao.

This map of "Fujian Province and Taiwan Province" is from the Provincial Atlas of the People's Republic of China. In order to draw a complete picture of Fujian Province and Taiwan Province, the northern part of Fujian, southern part of Taiwan and the Diaoyu Dao and its affiliated waters are extended beyond the sheet line of the map in the. form of "border break", serving as a powerful evidence that the Diaoyu Dao is a part of China.

China is the first country to discover the Diaoyu Dao and has exercised long-term effective administration over it. Dozens of Chinese maps drawn in the Ming and Qing dynasties explicitly marked the Diaoyu Dao as Chinese territory. Before the Sino-Japanese war of 1894, the name of "Dioyu Dao" was widely used in maps drawn by western countries, with clear marks showing that it belongs to China. After the war in 1894, Japan imposed long-time colonial rule over Taiwan and its affiliated islands including the Diaoyu Dao, which explains the change to the name of the Diaoyu Dao on relevant maps. After the Second World War, the Diaoyu Dao was given back to China following relevant international legal instrument. Be it Japan's colonial rule or its repercussions on map-drawing, nothing can change the fact that the Diaoyu Dao belongs to China.

Q: According to media report, the Myanmar government plans to compensate Chinese citizens injured and killed in the bombing incident caused by Myanmar warplane. Can you confirm this?

A: China and Myanmar are in communication over the follow-ups of the bombing incident that caused casualties of Chinese people. We will keep you updated about our work progress.

Q: Prime ministers of Vietnam and Australia said in their talks that countries should exercise restraint and press ahead with the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea. What's China's response to this? Do you take this as a move against China?

A: China holds a clear and consistent position on the South China Sea issue. We are committed to resolving disputes concerning the sovereignty of some islands in the South China Sea and maritime rights and interests with countries concerned through bilateral negotiation on the basis of respecting historical facts and international law. Meanwhile we devote ourselves to maintaining peace and stability of the South China Sea together with ASEAN countries. We hope that relevant countries can meet us halfway. Countries outside this region should uphold an unbiased and fair position on relevant issue, and take a neutral stance on sovereignty issue.

Q: What is the last date for countries to join the AIIB as prospective founding members?

A:It is understood that March 31 is the last date for countries to join the AIIB as prospective founding members, and we hope countries that are intended to do so can make their decisions before this date. As an open and inclusive multilateral development institution, the AIIB will always open its door to countries that are interested in joining it.

After the press conference, the following question was raised: The US military published A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower,saying that China engages in counter-piracy operations, humanitarian assistance and multinational naval exercises. America hopes to maintain constructive interactions with the Chinese navy, but at the same time accuses China of employing "force or intimidation" to assert territorial claims which creates tension and instability. How does China respond to this?

Hong Lei said that China is firmly committed to the path of peaceful development and a national defense policy that is defensive in its nature. China develops its maritime strength at sea in light of the need to safeguard territorial sovereignty, security and development interests and to maintain international and regional peace and stability. It does not target nor threaten any country. With regard to maritime disputes, the Chinese side maintains and devotes itself to peacefully resolving them through consultation and negotiation with countries directly concerned on the basis of respecting historical facts and international law. We hope that the US side can take an objective and unbiased view and stop making irresponsible remarks. We expect the US to meet us halfway, and promote the confidence-building mechanism and the sound development of military-to-military relations.

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