|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying's Regular Press Conference on November 3, 2015|
Q: The 12th Foreign Ministers’ Meeting of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) will be held the day after tomorrow. Who will represent China to attend the meeting?
A: The 12th ASEM Foreign Ministers’ Meeting will be held in Luxembourg from November 5 to 6 under the theme “Working Together for a Sustainable and Secure Future”. Vice Foreign Minister Wang Chao will lead a delegation to attend the meeting.
ASEM is an important platform for countries in Asia and Europe to enhance understanding, expand consensus and promote cooperation. As all parties will celebrate the 20th anniversary of ASEM next year, the Chinese side hopes that the Foreign Ministers’ Meeting will continue to uphold the basic principles of mutual respect, equal treatment, consensus through consultation, and non-interference in internal affairs, move forward political, economic and cultural undertakings in a balanced way, and chart the course for the 3rd decade of the ASEM development through practical cooperation so as to elevate the new-type of Asia-Europe comprehensive partnership to a new level.
Q: Admiral Harry Harris, the US Commander of the Pacific Command, made a speech today at the Stanford Center at Peking University, saying that the US military will continue to exercise freedom of navigation and overflight whenever and wherever they are allowed under international law, with no exception to the South China Sea. He also called for closer military-to-military ties with China despite recent tensions in the South China Sea. What is China’s response to that?
A: I have noted the relevant report. What has been unfolding lately is just like watching a self-orchestrated, self-directed and self-performed show.
The so-called issue of freedom of navigation in the South China Sea is a pseudo-proposition. There are over 100,000 ships from countries around the world sailing safely and freely through the South China Sea every year. According to the US media, there are over 15 million barrels of oil being shipped to East Asia every day via the Strait of Malacca and the South China Sea. They run into no problem at all. The international waterway is wide enough for the US vessel. Why did it choose to take the detour to show its strength in waters off the relevant islands and reefs of the Nansha Islands and try to justify it in the name of safeguarding navigation freedom? It is blatant provocation. The US, on one hand, keeps enhancing its military presence in the Asia-Pacific region and holds frequent military drills with its allies, and on the other hand, plays up the so-called issue of the militarization of the South China Sea, asking China not to deploy necessary and limited defense facilities. The US is actually depriving China of its right to self-defense as a sovereign state. The relevant country has been studying the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) for decades without making up its mind to join it. However, it keeps criticizing others with UNCLOS as the pretext. When using international law, it adopts what can be used to serve its interests and ignores what works against its aim. The practice of manipulating international law for political and selfish gains is quintessential hypocrisy and hegemony. There are even people asserting that disputes over territory in the South China Sea are causing countries in the region to increase their demand for an American security presence. Is it really the case, or is it an excuse for some country to pursue its strategy of rebalance to the Asia Pacific? People need to think about that reasonably and calmly.
We suggest the US side earnestly respect other countries’ sovereignty and security interests, and truly play a responsible and constructive role in maintaining regional peace and stability.
Q: US Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said that there would be more demonstrations of the US’ commitment to the freedom of navigation in the South China Sea as it serves their interests. A Pentagon official said that the US navy plans to conduct patrols about twice a quarter in the South China Sea and make it regular to remind China and other countries that the US is exercising its freedom of navigation in accordance with international law. What is China’s response to that?
A: The Chinese side respects and safeguards the freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea all countries enjoy under international law, but firmly opposes undermining China’s sovereignty and security interests under the pretext of navigation and overflight freedom.
I would like to reiterate that the Chinese side is resolute in safeguarding its territorial sovereignty, security, lawful and legitimate maritime rights and interests. We will firmly respond to deliberate provocations from any country. The Chinese side will continue to monitor relevant waters and airspace.
The Chinese side strongly urges the US side to stop its erroneous words and actions and refrain from doing anything dangerous or provocative that threatens China’s sovereignty and security interests.
Q: The First Committee of the UN General Assembly voted on a Japan-drafted resolution calling for nuclear disarmament. The resolution notes that this year marks the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki and invites world leaders to visit these two cities. China voted against the resolution. What is China’s position?
A: Japan has been introducing in the First Committee resolutions on nuclear disarmament every year for several years in a row. This year, however, it crammed into the resolution a lot of contents painting a devastating picture of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombings while forgetting about its historical responsibility. The keynote of the resolution is wrong, and its viewpoints are even less worth refuting. The fact that none of the five nuclear powers and neighbors of Japan endorsed this year’s resolution speaks volumes.
It needs to be stressed that what China opposes is not the international process of nuclear disarmament. On the contrary, China stays committed to complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons. This position remains unchanged. The Chinese side will continue to support the nuclear disarmament motions proposed by the Non-Aligned Movement this year.