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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying's Regular Press Conference on June 3, 2015

2015/06/03

At the invitation of President Xi Jinping, President José Eduardo dos Santos of the Republic of Angola will pay a state visit to China from June 8 to 13. During the visit, President Xi Jinping will hold talks with President Santos. Premier Li Keqiang and Chairman Yu Zhengsheng of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) will meet with him on separate occasions. The two sides will exchange views on the bilateral relationship as well as issues of common interest, and sign relevant cooperation documents. Apart from Beijing, President Santos and his entourage will also visit Tianjin.

Q: In response to China's construction activities on islands and reefs in the South China Sea, Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga reportedly said on June 1 that it is critically important to refrain from unilateral actions that could ratchet up the tension and take actions in accordance with the rule of law, stressing that China should observe international rules. The US leader also said that claims shall not be established by pushing people out of the way, nor be asserted through means other than the international law. What is China's comment on that?

A: The international law has been constantly brought up by some countries when it comes to the South China Sea issue. If they did read closely the international law, then please tell us which article in the international law forbids China to carry out justified construction on its own islands and reefs? Which article allows the vessels and aircraft of one country to monitor the islands and reefs of another country at a close distance? Which article gives the green light to one country's infringement upon another country's sovereignty and legitimate rights and interests with the excuse of navigation freedom? We are against the arbitrary distortion of the international law. If it is not a practice of double standard, then it must be driven by some hidden motives.

I would like to reiterate that relevant activities by China are lawful, justified and reasonable. China upholds and participates in making the international law and the international rules. China never seeks benefits for itself at the expense of others in disregard of the international law, and resolutely safeguards national sovereignty, security and development interests in accordance with the law.

It is hoped that relevant countries would deal with the relevant issues in an objective and unbiased way, and play a genuinely constructive role for peace, stability and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific.

Q: With regard to the visit by the Angolan President, what kind of cooperation deals will be signed by the two sides? China is one of the important partners of Angola. How do you describe the bilateral relationship?

A: China and Angola established the strategic partnership in 2010 based on their traditional friendship. Over the past 32 years since the establishment of diplomatic ties, political mutual trust between the two countries has deepened and practical cooperation in various fields produced fruitful results. China-Angola relations have become an example of relationships between China and African countries featuring mutual benefits and common development. It is believed that President Santos' visit will further liven up the strategic partnership between China and Angola. As I said just now, leaders of the two countries will meet, hold talks and sign cooperation documents during President Santos' visit. We will release the relevant information in due course.

Q: Has China asked for other countries' help or has any country offered help to China in saving people from the capsized cruise ship "Dongfangzhixing"?

A: Leaders of some countries and international organizations have conveyed sympathies to China in different ways after learning that the cruise ship "Dongfangzhixing" capsized in the Yangtze River. Some expressed their willingness to help at the request of China. We hereby express our gratitude.

As you can see in the news reports, the Party and government of China are highly concerned about the incident. President Xi Jinping gave immediate instructions, and Premier Li Keqiang arrived at the scene with no time wasted to direct the rescue and emergency response operation. We have employed all possible means and are doing our best. Every minute counts in the search and rescue operation. A press briefing will be held by relevant departments to provide further details.

Q: The extradition treaty talks between China and Japan started today in Beijing. Can you give us more details?

A: As agreed by the two sides, the China-Japan extradition treaty talks are being held in Beijing from June 3 to 4. It is the Chinese government's long-standing position and practice to carry out extensive judicial cooperation with countries including Japan. Up to now, China has signed 53 treaties on judicial assistance in criminal cases and 40 extradition treaties with foreign countries. The negotiation between China and Japan is a normal interaction at the working level for the enhancement of cooperation in extradition.

Q: Philippine President Benigno Aquino made a speech in Japan today, saying that China's activities in the South China Sea have reminded him of Nazi Germany. He said that if major European countries had prevented Nazi Germany from annexing neighboring countries, the Second World War could have been avoided, calling on the US to play its role as a superpower in the South China Sea issue. What is China's comment on that?

A: I have noted the relevant report. We are deeply shocked at, strongly dissatisfied with and opposed to the absurd remarks made by the Philippine leader. If you take a look at the track record of the South China Sea disputes, you will see that it is the Philippines who illegally occupied islands and reefs of China's Nansha Islands by force in the 1970s. It is the Philippines who sought to seize China's Ren'ai Jiao by landing a vessel on it in 1999. It is the Philippines who harassed China's fishing boats and fishermen undertaking normal fishing activities in waters off China's Huangyan Dao with military vessels in 2012. It is also the Philippines who unilaterally initiated the so-called international arbitration in disregard of China's rights as a signatory to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, and in violation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) and the consensus between the two countries in 2013. It is still the Philippines who has collided with countries outside the region and slung mud at China in pursuit of its selfish gains over recent years.

China is a responsible country who honors commitments and stays dedicated to resolving relevant disputes through negotiation and consultation with countries directly concerned. The Chinese government is resolute in safeguarding territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests. I once again solemnly urge some people from the Philippines to discard illusions, stop provoking and come back to the right track of resolving disputes through bilateral negotiation and consultation.

After the press conference, the following question was raised by Associated Press of Pakistan: The Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) plenary meeting is being held in Argentina. How does China view Pakistan's aspirations for NSG membership?

Hua Chunying said that the NSG is an important component of the international non-proliferation regime. It is the long-standing consensus of the international community that the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) is the cornerstone of the regime. The recently concluded Ninth NPT Review Conference has reaffirmed this consensus. On account of this, the NSG has so far regarded the status of the NPT state as a crucial standard to accept new member state.

In fact, besides Pakistan, there are other non NPT states who have expressed similar aspirations. This raises an issue to the international community, that is, whether non NPT states are in the position to join the NSG. China believes that this issue deserves thorough discussion among NSG member states in accordance with relevant rules, thus to make a decision by consensus.

China has noted Pakistan's aspirations for NSG membership. Pakistan has taken steps towards its mainstreaming into the global non-proliferation regime. We support Pakistan's engagement with the NSG, and hope such efforts could be conducive to the authority and effectiveness of the international non-proliferation regime. We wish to strengthen communication and coordination with Pakistan.

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