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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei's Regular Press Conference on November 13, 2015

2015-11-13

At the invitation of Prime Minister Dato' Sri Najib of Malaysia, the country that holds the rotating presidency of ASEAN, Premier Li Keqiang of the State Council will attend the 18th China-ASEAN (10+1) Summit, the 18th ASEAN Plus Three (10+3) Summit and the 10th East Asia Summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and pay an official visit to Malaysia from November 20 to 23.

As agreed by China and the US, the 26th session of the China-US Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade will be held in Guangzhou from November 21 to 23. Vice Premier Wang Yang of the State Council, US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker and US Trade Representative Michael Froman will co-host the meeting. Tom Vilsack, US Secretary of Agriculture will attend the meeting. The two sides will exchange views on major economic and trade topics and explore ways to expand mutually beneficial cooperation so as to better implement outcomes in the commerce and trade sector reached during President Xi Jinping's visit to the US.

Q: Two B-52 strategic bombers sent by the US Pentagon flew across the airspace above the Nansha Islands claimed by China on November 8, but did not come within 12 nautical miles off the relevant islands and reefs. What is China's comment on that? Will China take any countermeasures?

A: The Chinese side has learnt about that. I want to stress once again that the Chinese side respects the freedom of navigation and over-flight in the South China Sea to which all countries are entitled under international law, but stands firmly against any country's attempt to breach international law and undermine China's sovereignty and security interests under the pretext of navigation and over-flight freedom.

Q: What is China's expectation for Premier Li Keqiang's attendance at leaders' meetings on East Asia cooperation and visit to Malaysia? What is China's comment on the current East Asia cooperation and China-Malaysia relations?

A: East Asia enjoys an overall stable environment, steady economic growth and constant progress in regional cooperation. However, economy of countries in the region is faced with restructuring and external pressure. Premier Li Keqiang's attendance at leaders' meetings on East Asia cooperation is of great significance to deepening China-ASEAN relations and promoting regional cooperation in East Asia. We hope that the meetings will concentrate more efforts on development and cooperation, bolster economic growth and financial stability in the region, reach more consensus on stepping up regional cooperation in areas like economy, finance and production capacity, free trade, connectivity and non-traditional security, and bring East Asia cooperation to a new level. By the end of this year, ASEAN will announce the completion of ASEAN community. Next year, we will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the dialogue relationship between China and ASEAN. We hope to take the upcoming meetings as an opportunity to chart the course for China-ASEAN relations, press ahead with the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, implement the "2+7 cooperation framework", strengthen practical cooperation across the board, improve China-ASEAN relations and build a closer China-ASEAN community of common destiny.

Malaysia is China's friendly neighbor and an important ASEAN member. The Chinese side highly values its good-neighborly and friendly relationship of cooperation with Malaysia. The bilateral relationship is developing fast in a sound and steady manner. The two countries have frequent high-level visits and fruitful cooperation in trade, investment, finance, science and education, culture and other fields. It will be Premier Li Keqiang's first visit to Malaysia since taking office. During the visit, he will hold talks with Prime Minister Najib for discussions on China-Malaysia relations and issues of common interest, and reach out to people of all circles from Malaysia to deepen bilateral friendship. It is believed that Premier Li Keqiang's visit will boost strategic mutual trust between the two sides, upgrade practical cooperation in an all-round manner and advance China-Malaysia comprehensive strategic partnership.

Q: The second Vienna foreign ministers' meeting on the Syrian issue will be held on November 14. Who will lead the Chinese delegation to the meeting? What new proposals will China make? What is China's expectation for the meeting?

A: The Chinese side attaches great importance to the second Vienna foreign ministers' meeting on the Syrian issue. Vice Foreign Minister Li Baodong will attend on behalf of Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

Since the outbreak of crisis in Syria, China has put forth the six-point proposal, the four-point initiative, the five commitments and the four steps with the central idea of encouraging all parties to meet each other halfway under the mediation of the UN and work out a solution that suits the conditions in Syria.

We hope that all parties will build upon achievements of the last meeting, show more political readiness and flexibility, understand and accommodate each other, strive for consensus and address differences, have in-depth discussions on arrangements for a political solution, coordination of counter-terrorism actions, identification of terrorists, increase of humanitarian assistance and other important issues, so as to resolve the Syrian crisis as soon as possible and allow the Syrian people to lead a life free of terror and turbulence.

Q: It is reported that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe plans to raise issues concerning China's construction activities in the South China Sea at the G20 Summit, the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting, leaders' meetings on East Asia Cooperation and other international meetings. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said that the South China Sea issue, which bears directly on regional peace and stability, is the common concern of the international community. What is China's comment?

A: The construction activities by China on some islands and reefs of the Nansha Islands fall completely within the realm of China's sovereignty, targeting and affecting no one. There is nothing disputable about that.

Japan is not a party involved in the South China Sea issue. Historically, the Nansha Islands were once snatched away by Japan, but recovered by the Chinese government after the war. When China and Japan normalized their diplomatic relations in the 1970s, Japan promised to abide by the relevant regulations in the Potsdam Proclamation. Japan has no right to make inappropriate remarks on the sovereignty of the Nansha Islands.

We urge countries outside the region to watch their words and actions, and respect the efforts made by regional countries to maintain peace and stability of the South China Sea.

Q: First, the Japanese government said that a Chinese naval vessel was spotted in waters near Diaoyu Dao. It seemed that the naval vessel was not simply passing by. What is your comment on that? Second, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary said that Japanese Prime Minister Abe has no plan of meeting with the Chinese leader during the G20 Summit and the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting. What is China's comment on that?

A: On your first question, China's position on the issue of Diaoyu Dao is clear and consistent. The normal activity by the Chinese naval vessel in the relevant waters is completely in line with international law, and is beyond reproach.

On your second question, I have no information to offer at the moment.

Q: US National Security Adviser Susan Rice said on November 12 that the South China Sea will be a "central issue" that President Barack Obama will raise during the East Asia Summit, the US-ASEAN Summit and the other engagements. What is China's comment on that?

A: The East Asia Summit and other relevant meetings serve as important platforms for regional cooperation and development. They are not proper venues for discussions on the issue of the South China Sea. The relevant country should respect efforts by China and ASEAN countries to safeguard peace and stability in the South China Sea, honor its promise of not taking sides on issues concerning territorial sovereignty, be discreet with words and deeds, refrain from playing up the South China Sea issue and regional tension, and avoid actions that will increase tension and complicate the situation, so as not to send wrong signals or incite some countries to take more provocative actions that jeopardize regional peace and stability.

Q: Myanmar's National League for Democracy led by Aung San Suu Kyi has won the general election by a landslide. Has China sent its congratulations to Aung San Suu Kyi? What does China expect to achieve from its cooperation with Myanmar's new government?

A: China has noted the relevant report. As a friendly neighbor, we sincerely hope that Myanmar would achieve political stability, national harmony and economic development, and all parties inside Myanmar could unite as one for the development of the nation. The Chinese side will continue to extend support and assistance, carry on with its traditional friendship with Myanmar, promote mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields, and maintain the in-depth growth of China-Myanmar comprehensive strategic partnership for cooperation.

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