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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying's Regular Press Conference on April 20, 2016
2016/04/20

Q: Why did China suspend "Business 20" anti-corruption task force? Why is China reluctant to join the existing anti-corruption task force?

A: As the chair of this year's G20, China attaches high importance to G20 anti-corruption cooperation. We will continue to host a series of meetings under the G20 anti-corruption task force and enhance practical cooperation among G20 members in anti-corruption. The first such meeting, attended by representatives of G20 member states, guest states and international organizations, was held this January in Beijing.

China will also host anti-corruption forum under the framework of Business 20 to promote an upright and clean business atmosphere.

Q: On April 18, Hugo Swire, British Minister of State for the Foreign Office told the Center for Strategic and International Studies that growing tensions in the South China Sea are driven by China's assertive actions. He said that any ruling by the South China Sea arbitral tribunal in the Hague should be binding on both China and the Philippines. The UK will stand alongside the US in support of the ruling. What is your comment?

A: Mr. Swire's remarks, which paid no regard to facts and are full of prejudice and partiality, severely violated UK's promise of not taking sides on the relevant issue. We are strongly dissatisfied with that.

The so-called tense situation in the South China Sea is a drama jointly staged by the US and the Philippines for their own political motives. 100,000-plus vessels from different countries pass through the South China Sea every year, safe and sound without encountering any problems. What stands out is the more frequent and high-profile appearances of US military jets and vessels. Just the day before yesterday, the US Ambassador to the Philippines assured the Philippines of an observation blimp and 42 million US dollars' worth of military equipment. The fact is that if the situation in the South China Sea gets tense, then the US is the biggest pusher behind it. Blaming the tense situation in the South China Sea on China getting aggressive is calling white black and confusing right and wrong.

As for the South China Sea arbitration case, China has said many times that the essence and purpose of the arbitration case unilaterally initiated by the Philippine side is to completely negate China's territorial sovereignty over the Nansha Islands. There are clearly behind-the-scene political maneuvers. For such an arbitration case that has gone astray, the Chinese side will not humor it, as Foreign Minister Wang Yi said when he met the press at the two Sessions.

I also want to stress that the South China Sea arbitration case gravely undercuts the solemnity and authority of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and abuses international law. Therefore, by not accepting and participating in the so-called arbitration, China is upholding international law and the solemnity of UNCLOS.

Q: China recently published Navigation Guidance 2015 for the Arctic Route (Northwest Passage), offering guidance for Chinese vessels that plan to navigate the northwest passage of the Arctic. Does China regard the northwest passage as internal waters of Canada or international waterway?

A: As the melting of ice in the Arctic accelerates, the issue of the Arctic route has attracted world attention. This issue has also been followed by more and more departments and scholars in China in recent years. China noted that Canada considers this route as internal waters, while some countries believe it was open for international navigation. We also noted that Canada has imposed some restrictions on the use of the northwest passage, asking foreign vessels to inform the Canadian side and get permission before entering or crossing its exclusive economic zone and territorial waters. The Chinese side will make appropriate decisions by taking into account various factors. I would refer you to competent authorities for the specifics.

Q: On April 19, Raul Castro was re-elected the first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC) at the 7th Congress of the PCC. What is China's comment?

A: President Raul Castro is a revered and admired leader of the Cuban people. He also has the respect of the Chinese people. We warmly congratulate him on his re-election and believe that under his leadership, Cuba will make greater progress in its socialist cause.

Q: The meeting of foreign ministers of China, Russia and India issued a joint communiqué, saying that all related disputes should be addressed through negotiations and agreements between the parties concerned. What is China's comment on these statements?

A: On April 18, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov and Indian External Affairs Minister Swaraj held the 14th China-Russia-India Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Moscow. The joint communiqué issued after the meeting pointed out that Russia, India and China are committed to maintaining a legal order for the seas and oceans based on the principles of international law, as reflected notably in the UN Convention on the Law of Sea (UNCLOS). All related disputes should be addressed through negotiations and agreements between the parties concerned. In this regard the Ministers called for full respect of all provisions of UNCLOS, as well as the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) and the Guidelines for the implementation of the DOC.

These statements, which are in line with China's consistent position concerning maritime issues, demonstrate the common will of China, Russia and India to safeguard maritime order and regional peace and stability as three influential countries.

Q: The DPRK may carry out the 5th nuclear test in the near term. The US side has said that the DPRK will face tougher sanctions if it goes ahead with another nuclear test. What is China's stance on this? Will China support more sanctions on the DPRK?

A: Our position on the Korean nuclear issue is very clear. Under the current circumstance, we believe that all relevant parties should mind their words and actions, exercise restraint, and avoid further aggravating tensions and worsening the situation.

I am not going to answer your hypothetical question. We hope that all parties can bear in mind regional peace and stability, exercise restraint, carry out communication and dialogue to accommodate each other's legitimate concerns, and move the Korean nuclear issue back to the track of peaceful settlement through dialogue and consultation at an early date so that a fundamental solution that leads to long-term stability and order on the Korean Peninsula can be found.

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