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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Liu Weimin's Regular Press Conference on April 18, 2012

2012-04-19

On April 18, 2012, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Liu Weimin held a press conference.

Liu Weimin started the press conference with the following announcement.

At the invitation of the Russian Federation Government, Hungarian Government, the Federal Government of the Kingdom of Belgium and the EU, Vice Premier Li Keqiang of the State Council will pay official visits to Russia, Hungary, Belgium and the EU Headquarters from April 26 to May 4.

Q: Recently, main Nepalese political parties reached an agreement on the integration of Maoist combatants, which signifies important progress in its peace process. How does China comment?

A: China welcomes the important progress in Nepal's peace process. As a friendly neighbour, we sincerely hope that all parties in Nepal continue to seek political common ground through dialogue and consultation, complete peace and constitutional process at an early date, and achieve political stability and economic development.

Valuing developing friendship and cooperation with Nepal, China supports Nepal's efforts to safeguard independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity as well as to achieve peace, stability and prosperity, and will provide assistance for Nepal's economic and social development within its capacity as always.

Q: Could you brief us on the latest developments of the Chinese fishermen held in Palau? Besides, Philippine Foreign Minister said on the 17th that they will take the Huangyan Island issue to the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea. How do you comment?

A: On your first question, China has reached a settlement with Palau prosecutors and the Chinese fishermen have started their trip back home today after paying their fines. Officials of the Chinese Embassy in Micronesia will stay in communication with the Palau side to properly handle follow-up issues.

On the second question, the Huangyan Island is China's inherent territory and there is no such issue of taking the dispute to the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea. China has ample jurisprudential evidence supporting its sovereign rights over the Island. China was the first to discover and name the Huangyan Island and also the first to include it into China's territory and exercise sovereign jurisdiction over it. The waters surrounding the Huangyan Island has been a traditional fishing ground for Chinese fishermen. Since ancient times, Chinese fishermen have been fishing in waters surrounding the Island. China National Bureau of Statistics, China Earthquake Administration and State Oceanic Administration have carried out multiple scientific researches on the Huangyan Island and its adjacent waters. Prior to 1997, the Philippines had had no objection to the Chinese Government's exercise of sovereign administration, development and exploitation of the Huangyan Island, but instead, expressed on many occasions that the Island is outside the scope of Philippine territory. On the official Philippine maps published in 1981 and 1984, the Island is also marked outside Philippine territorial limits. The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea allows coastal states to claim a 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone, but coastal states have no rights to undermine other countries' inherent territorial sovereignty based on that. Any attempt to change the ownership of territorial sovereignty by using the UNCLOS is against international laws as well as the purpose and principle of the UNCLOS.

After the incident, China has lodged repeated representations to the Philippines. On April 15, Vice Foreign Minister Fu Ying had an emergency meeting with the chargé d'affaires ad interim of the Philippine Embassy in China, lodging a representation over the tension off the Huangyan Island. On 18th, Vice Foreign Minister Fu Ying met with him again over the incident.

She pointed out that the harassment of Chinese fishing boats and fishermen off the Huangyan Island by the Philippine military vessel has made China highly concerned. Currently the tension has been eased through bilateral consultation. We hope the Philippines honor its commitment and withdraw its vessels in the lagoon, so as to restore peace and tranquility in waters off the Huangyan Island.

Over the past days, some Philippine senior officials misled public opinion by making repeated remarks that the Philippines has sovereignty over the Huangyan Island, which is in disregard of historical facts and legal evidence. The Huangyan Island is an inherent territory of China, thus the Philippine claim of rights over it has no basis and is unacceptable to China. China urges the Philippines to respect China's territorial sovereignty, refrain from actions that may escalate the situation, and make its due efforts to safeguard peace and stability of the South China Sea as well as overall China-Philippine relations.

Q: Please share with us the schedule and topics to be discussed of Vice Premier Li Keqiang's visit to Russia. Besides, please brief us on the specifics of the meeting between Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and his Syrian counterpart.

A: On the first question, during his visit to Russia, Vice Premier Li Keqiang will have talks and meetings with major Russian leaders, exchanging in-depth views on further implementing the development plan for bilateral relations in the next decade, advancing cooperation across the board and major issues of common interest. We believe this visit will enhance China-Russia political mutual trust, promote cooperation in various areas, and yield new progress in the development of China-Russia strategic partnership of coordination.

On your second question, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi held talks with Syrian Foreign Minister Muallem this morning, exchanging views on the Syrian situation.

Foreign Minister Yang said that China welcomes the ceasefire announcement of both the Syrian government and the opposition and a preliminary cessation of violence. Yang introduced China's principled position over the Syrian issue and efforts made by China. He expressed the hope that the Syrian government would continue to implement the six-point proposal made by the UN-AL Special Envoy Kofi Annan, actively support Annan's mediation efforts, honor its commitment of ceasefire and troop withdrawal, and implement the recent Security Council resolution of sending an advance team of UN monitors to Syria. He also expressed the hope that the Syrian government would actively cooperate with the deployment of ceasefire monitoring mechanism, earnestly launch an inclusive process of political dialogue and reform, so as to seek for a just, peaceful and proper resolution of the Syrian issue. At the same time, China hopes that the Syrian opposition could also fulfill ceasefire and other commitments and implement Annan's six-point proposal.

Walid Muallem introduced the current situation in Syria and appreciated China's objective and equitable position on the Syrian issue and its efforts in seeking a political resolution of the issue. He said that the Syrian government would continue to cooperate with Annan's mediation efforts, abide by and implement his six-point proposal, fulfill commitments of ceasefire and troop withdrawal, and cooperate with the UN monitoring mission.

The two sides also exchanged views on China-Syria relations.

Q: The DPRK warned of retaliatory measures against countries wanting to punish it and denied IAEA inspectors access to the country. How does China comment?

A: It serves the common interests and constitutes shared responsibility of all parties concerned to safeguard peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia.

Facts have proven that dialogue and consultation is the sole correct option to resolve the Peninsula issue. We hope parties concerned exercise calmness and restraint, adhere to contact and dialogue, commit themselves to advancing the denuclearization process of the Peninsula so as to maintain peace and stability of the region.

On the IAEA inspection issue, China hopes parties concerned stay in dialogue and communication.

Q: Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara recently said that the Tokyo Municipal Government planned to buy a group of islets of the Diaoyu Island from private owners. How does China comment?

A: The Diaoyu Island and its affiliated islets have been China's inherent territory since ancient times and China has indisputable sovereignty over them. Any unilateral move taken by the Japanese side over the Diaoyu Island and its affiliated islets is illegal and invalid, which can not alter the fact that the islands belong to China. Some irresponsible words and deeds of some Japanese politicians not only infringe upon China's sovereignty, but also undermine China-Japan relations.

Q: Some EU officials said recently the Civil Aviation Development Fund set up by the Chinese Government is aimed to circumvent the EU carbon emission tax on airlines. What's your comment?

A: China has taken an active and constructive part in the carbon emission reduction within the International Civil Aviation Organization. China holds that the international aviation emission issue is part of global combat against climate change, and we should keep it under the multilateral framework, follow the principles and stipulations fixed by the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol, and seek for a resolution through full consultation while opposing unilateral measures. China will continue its active and constructive role in this regard based on this principle. As for the specifics, please refer to competent authorities.

Q: The ECOWAS said it was ready to send military forces to Guinea-Bissau and the Community of Portuguese Language Countries also suggested a peace-keeping mission there. How does China comment? Does China support such actions?

A: China opposes the use of force to seize power in Guinea-Bissau and calls for an early restoration of normal constitutional and social order as well as a resolution of the current crisis through dialogue and consultations. We support the active mediation of regional organizations and countries such as the ECOWAS and the Community of Portuguese Language Countries. As to your question about the peace-keeping forces sent by the two groups, I am unaware of the specifics and need more information.

Q: Is China concerned the French presidential election due to be held this weekend will have an impact on current China-France relations?

A: We wish the election a success. China believes that further promoting China-France comprehensive strategic partnership serves the common interests of both countries and peoples and it is also the consensus of all parties in France to further develop China-France relations.

Q: UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said that a larger-scale ceasefire monitoring mission should be sent to Syria. What's China's position?

A: Relevant UN Security Council resolution decided to send an advance team of a monitoring mission to Syria and China supports that and believes it will help maintain the current ceasefire and advance the process of launching political dialogue between the Syrian government and the opposition. We hope all Syrian parties concerned will support and cooperate with the work of the advance team. As for the scale of the follow-up mission, China is looking forward to proposals put forward by Special Envoy Annan and the advance team.

Q: Thai Prime Minister Yingluck is visiting China, please brief us on the visit. Will the two sides sign any agreement of high-speed railway cooperation projects?

A: Prime Minister Yingluck is in China for a visit. Yesterday afternoon, Premier Wen Jiabao held talks with her and relevant information has been released.

China and Thailand have broad prospects for trade and economic cooperation including in railway construction. Please refer to competent authorities for the specifics.

Q: Yesterday, the DPRK declared its February 29 agreement with the US no longer binding. How do you comment? Separately, the Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura said the Japanese government might consider purchasing the Diaoyu Islands. What's your comment?

A: On your first question, of great importance to the denuclearization process and peace and stability of the Peninsula, the hard-won DPRK-US February 29 agreement should be cherished. We hope all parties concerned will make joint efforts to maintain and fulfill the agreement and properly handle pending issues through contact and dialogue.

On the second one, any unilateral move taken by the Japanese side over the Diaoyu Island and its affiliated islets is illegal and invalid, which cannot alter the fact that these islands belong to China.

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