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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei's Regular Press Conference on November 23, 2015

2015-11-23

Q: The leaders' meetings on East Asia cooperation have concluded. Premier Li Keqiang attended the China-ASEAN Summit, the ASEAN Plus Three Summit and the East Asia Summit. What is China's comment on the chairman's statements released after those summits and the South China Sea-related parts in those statements?

A: Malaysia is the chairman of the leaders' meetings on East Asia cooperation this year. In accordance with the customary practice, the Malaysian side independently made chairman's statements in the light of discussions at those meetings. Generally speaking, the keynote of relevant statements is positive, demonstrating the political readiness of all countries to strengthen regional cooperation and jointly rise to challenges, and mapping out future cooperation across the board. On the issue of the South China Sea, the statements reaffirmed joint commitment to peace, security and stability of the South China Sea, full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China sea (DOC), and negotiations on the code of conduct in the South China Sea (COC), which is agreed by all participants to the meetings.

The Chinese side upholds a dual-track approach in addressing the issue of the South China Sea, that is, relevant disputes should be resolved by sovereign states directly concerned through negotiations and consultations, and peace and stability of the South China Sea should be jointly maintained by China and ASEAN countries. In keeping with the DOC spirit, disputes over territory and jurisdiction rights should be peacefully resolved through friendly consultations and negotiations by sovereign states directly concerned. Together with all parties, the Chinese side will make unremitting efforts for peace and stability of the South China Sea and promote common development and prosperity of countries in the region.

Q: Recently, several overseas incidents have led to the death and injury of Chinese citizens. What measures will the Chinese side take to protect overseas Chinese citizens and institutions?

A: The Chinese government prioritizes the safety of overseas Chinese citizens and institutions and makes enormous efforts to protect them. We will further increase input of human and financial resources, strengthen the early-warning system, build up our capacity for emergency response, take an active part in international cooperation and make the utmost efforts to ensure the safety and lawful rights and interests of overseas Chinese citizens and institutions.

Q: Some countries touched upon the issue of militarization in the South China Sea during this year's East Asia Summit. What is China's comment on that?

A: China firmly upholds the defense policy that is defensive in nature and opposes actions of militarization taken by any country in the South China Sea that are detrimental to security, stability and mutual trust. The Chinese side does not pursue to militarize the South China Sea. It makes no sense to relate construction on islands and reefs of the Nansha Islands to militarization. Peace and stability of the South China Sea is what all relevant countries should work for. It also requires joint efforts by countries in and outside the region to prevent the South China Sea from being militarized.

Q: EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini said in a statement on November 22 that foreign ministers of the P5+1 and Iran have signed an official document on the redesign of the Arak heavy water reactor. The spokesperson for Iran's atomic energy agency made the same announcement on November 21. What does the official document mean to the redesign of the Arak heavy water reactor and the implementation of the comprehensive agreement? What role has China played in this regard?

A: In accordance with the comprehensive agreement on the Iranian nuclear issue and as agreed by all parties, Iran and the P5+1 should work out an official document to clarify what should be done by each and every party in the redesign of the Arak heavy water reactor. This is a prerequisite for the implementation of the comprehensive agreement and the start of the redesign work.

The Chinese side is pleased to see that foreign ministers of the P5+1 and Iran have finished the signing of the official document, which means that the document has come into force and paves the way for the redesign. Going forward, all parties should press ahead with the redesign in strict accordance with the comprehensive agreement and relevant consensus.

As a co-chair of the P5+1 working group on the redesign of the Arak reactor, the Chinese side has played a constructive role in pushing for the signing of the official document ahead of time. We will push ahead with the redesign together with all parties and make positive efforts to ensure the smooth implementation of the comprehensive agreement.

Q: First, what is China's comment on Mauricio Macri being elected as the new president of Argentina? Second, there have been Chinese citizens killed in attacks at Syria and Mali. The Chinese side has sent peacekeeping forces to Mali in 2013. Under the current circumstances, will the Chinese side consider sending more military personnel to Africa and Middle East countries within the UN framework?

A: On your first question, the Chinese side congratulates Mauricio Macri on being elected as the new president of Argentina and wishes people of Argentina new achievements in national development.

Argentina is a major Latin American country and an important emerging market. China-Argentina comprehensive strategic partnership has been developing well all these years. The Chinese side will attach strategic importance to developing relations with Argentina as it always does, deepen political mutual trust and enhance mutually beneficial and friendly cooperation with the Argentine side so as to realize common development and deliver benefits to the two peoples.

On your second question, as more and more Chinese citizens are going abroad to work, study and travel, and given the increasingly grave situation of counter-terrorism, it has become more imperative to ensure the safety of Chinese citizens. The Chinese government always puts people first. Apart from the efforts that I just mentioned, we will work out effective measures as the situation evolves and take them to protect Chinese citizens and institutions in foreign countries and safeguard their safety and lawful rights and interests.

China has done a lot over recent years to enable African countries to defend peace and security. President Xi Jinping, when attending the UN General Assembly, also announced new measures adopted by China in support of Africa. For example, China will provide a total of US$100 million of free military assistance to the African Union in the next five years to support the establishment of the African Standby Force and the African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crisis. We will work together with Africa to maintain its peace and protect citizens and institutions there.

Q: The Chinese side pledges to enhance cooperation with the international community for the fight against terrorism. What will China do specifically?

A: Terrorism is a tumor plaguing the human society. International efforts are required in dealing with that. As an important participant in the international campaign against terrorism, China opposes all forms of terrorism and supports counter-terrorism efforts by the international community. We call on all relevant parties to coordinate with each other and forge synergy under UN framework. The international community should implement relevant UN resolutions, and carry out more cooperation in blocking cross-border flow of terrorists, cutting off the secret financing channels for terrorism and fighting cyber terrorism. The Chinese side is ready to combat terrorism and safeguard world peace and tranquility with the international community.

Q: Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh met with Premier Li Keqiang during his visit to China. The two sides issued a joint statement against terrorism. Can you give us more details? What actions with China and India take to fight against terrorism in regional and international arenas? Second, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for a peaceful settlement of the South China Sea issue and a speedy conclusion of the COC at the leaders' meetings on East Asia cooperation. What is your response to that?

A: On your first question, Premier Li Keqiang met with Union Minister for Home Affairs Singh, and State Councilor and Minister of Public Security Guo Shengkun held talks with Minister Singh last week during his visit to China. Premier Li Keqiang said that the international community is faced with an increasingly grim situation of terrorism as traditional and non-traditional security threats intertwine. Under the current circumstances, the Chinese government supports law-enforcement agencies of China and India in increasing cooperation to combat terrorism and cross-border crimes together with the international community so as to safeguard social stability and security, create conditions for economic growth and improvement of people's livelihood, and uphold world peace and security. State Councilor Guo Shengkun pointed out that the Chinese Ministry of Public Security would work side by side with the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs to press ahead with law-enforcement and security cooperation in accordance with the strategic planning by leaders of the two countries, effectively deal with common challenges, safeguard international and regional security and stability and create a favorable environment for the development of bilateral relations as well as law-enforcement and security cooperation. Minister Singh said that the Indian side is willing to intensify bilateral and institutional exchanges and cooperation with the Chinese side in security and law-enforcement fields such as combating terrorism and cross-border crimes, deepen coordination and cooperation at different levels and safeguard security and stability of the two countries.

On your second question, China and ASEAN countries are committed to fully implementing the DOC, pushing forward consultations on the COC and maintaining peace and stability of the South China Sea.

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