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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying's Regular Press Conference on October 15, 2015

2015-10-15

Q: A China-Nepal border port at Jilung reopened the other day after it was disrupted by the earthquake that hit Nepal in April. Can you confirm that? Will the Chinese side transport fuel to Nepal?

A: The Jilung border crossing linking China and Nepal reopened the other day after it was disrupted by the earthquake that hit Nepal on April 25. This morning, the Chinese side transferred a batch of assistance supplies to the Nepali side through the crossing. The Chinese side will continue to do its best to help Nepal in accordance with its request.

Q: Myanmar President U Thein Sein signed a nationwide cease-fire agreement in Naypyitaw on October 15. Representatives from the military and eight ethnic armed groups attended the signing ceremony. What is China's comment on that? What role has China played in the process?

A: Special Envoy of the Chinese Foreign Ministry on Asian Affairs witnessed the signing of the nationwide cease-fire agreement at the invitation of the Myanmar government. The Chinese side supports and welcomes the important progress in the peace process of Myanmar, and stands ready to continue with its positive and constructive role in pushing forward the peace process according to the wishes of Myanmar.

Q: The Vietnamese side accused the Chinese side of sinking one of its fishing boats near the Xisha Islands on September 29. What is your comment on that?

A: I am not aware of what you just said, but I will check with relevant department for details. I would like to stress that the Chinese side has the right to take law enforcement measures against foreign fishing boats that illegally enter waters off China's Xisha Islands for illegal fishing or other illegalities.

Q: Study on Japan's Nuclear Materials released by academic institutions including China Arms Control and Disarmament Association on October 9 and a similar report by Carnegie Endowment for International Peace show that academia in China and the US think alike on the issue of Japan's nuclear materials. What is China's comment on that?

A: I have noted relevant reports. Japan's storage of an excessive amount of sensitive nuclear materials and the associated safety risks such as nuclear proliferation have long been the concern of the international community. These academic reports have shown that there are a lot of solutions to the issue of Japan's nuclear materials. We hope that the Japanese side will responsibly address the international community's concerns with concrete actions.

Q: US Chief of Naval Operation John Richardson said that if the US operates in international waters in the South China Sea, it should not come as a surprise or be considered as a provocative act from China's perspective. What is your response to that? There are some commentators saying that US actions in the South China Sea constitute a kind of hegemony. It is not related to freedom of navigation at all. Do you agree with that?

A: We have been stressing China's principles and stances on the relevant issue for days. The Chinese side always respects and stands up for the freedom of navigation and over-flight in the South China Sea and other major international passages all countries are entitled to under international law. However, we firmly oppose any country using the freedom of navigation and over-flight as an excuse to undermine other countries' sovereignty and security. We urge the US side to work with China and play a responsible and constructive role in maintaining peace and stability of the South China Sea.

Q: The issue of refugees faced by Europe and the Mediterranean has drawn extensive public attention. The UN Security Council has recently adopted a resolution on illegal immigration taking place on the Mediterranean Sea. Is China planning to take actions to help relevant countries resolve this issue?

A: The Chinese side shares the international community's concerns about the issue of refugees recently faced by Europe and the Mediterranean. Yesterday, when talking with Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, President Xi Jinping said that the Chinese side follows closely the issue of refugees, sympathizes with the plight of the refugees, commends efforts made by all relevant European countries including Croatia to relocate the refugees and stands ready to offer another batch of assistance to refugees of relevant countries so as to help mitigate the humanitarian crisis.

The day before yesterday, Vice Foreign Minister Wang Chao briefed journalists from home and abroad about China's humanitarian assistance to relevant countries when asked about the issue of refugees. Given the gravity of the issue and the approach of a chilly winter, the Chinese side will speed up within this year the progress of delivering announced humanitarian assistance to relevant countries in West Asia and North Africa, provide more humanitarian assistance to regional countries and help Middle East countries build up the capacity of taking in and resettling refugees, so as to fundamentally decrease the outflow of refugees from the Middle East and reduce the pressure on European countries.

Q: The US State Department released the 2014 Report on International Religious Freedom on October 14, criticizing China's performance in terms of freedom of religious belief. The report said that the Chinese government increasingly cited concerns over the "three evils" of "separatism, religious extremism and terrorism" as grounds to enact and enforce repressive restrictions on religious practices of ethnic groups. What is your comment on that?

A: The Chinese government protects citizens' freedom of religious belief and all kinds of normal religious activities in accordance with the law. The American side releases such kind of report year after year in disregard of the facts and makes unfounded accusations against other countries' performance in terms of freedom of religious belief. It will only draw aversion and dissatisfaction from the Chinese and people of all the other countries. We urge the American side to discard political prejudice, respect the facts, stop issuing such kind of report and desist from interfering in China's domestic affairs under the pretext of religion.

I would like to underline that the Chinese government fully respects and protects in accordance with the law freedom and rights of religious belief to which people of all ethnic groups are entitled. Separatism, extremism and terrorism pose threat to national security and social stability of all countries as well as safety of people's life and property. The Chinese government cracks down on the "three evil forces" because it is what needs to be done to uphold national sovereignty, security and social stability, as well as regional peace and stability. The US who applies double standards on this issue will harm others without benefiting itself. The US should ask itself: aren't there enough troubles in this regard? We urge the American side to discard political prejudice and stop interfering in China's domestic affairs with the so-called ethnic and religious issue as an excuse.

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