|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei's Regular Press Conference on November 24, 2015|
Q: It is reported that ASEAN leaders signed the 2015 Kuala Lumpur Declaration on the Establishment of the ASEAN Community the other day, enabling the official setting-up of the ASEAN community by the end of this year. What is China's comment on that? How does China envisage the development of relationship with ASEAN?
A: The Chinese side welcomes the establishment of the ASEAN community which is a milestone in ASEAN's integration process. It will be the first subregional community in Asia, elevating regional cooperation to a new level. The Chinese side will continue with its firm support to ASEAN integration and community building, as well as ASEAN centrality in regional cooperation. The Chinese side will make joint efforts with ASEAN countries to boost political mutual trust, deepen practical cooperation in trade, culture and other fields and move ahead with the building of a more closely-knit China-ASEAN community of common destiny.
Q: The South China Sea Arbitral Tribunal will hold a hearing today on issues relating to merits. Will the Chinese side accept the ruling by the tribunal?
A: In an attempt to negate China's territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea, the Philippine side unilaterally initiated the arbitration in breach of bilateral consensus with China and its commitment in the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC). Our position is crystal clear: we will neither accept nor participate in the arbitration.
Q: Will the Chinese side continue with its construction on relevant islands and reefs of the Nansha Islands?
A: The land reclamation project of China's construction on some stationed islands and reefs of the Nansha Islands has been completed in June. We will install some civilian facilities on relevant islands and reefs to fulfill China's international responsibility and offer better public goods and services to countries in the region. For example, the two light houses constructed by us on relevant islands and reefs have made it safer and more convenient for personnel stationed there and ships passing by. We will also build a moderate amount of necessary defense facilities on some of the islands and reefs which have nothing to do with militarization, target no one and have no impact on the freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea conferred by international law on all countries.
Q: The DPRK and the ROK have reportedly agreed to meet on the northern side of Panmunjeom on November 26 to lay the groundwork for an intergovernmental dialogue between the two sides. What is China's comment on that?
A: We have noted the relevant report. As a friendly and close neighbor, the Chinese side always supports the DPRK and the ROK in conducting dialogues and contact, promoting reconciliation and cooperation, improving bilateral relations and contributing to peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula. It is hoped that the intergovernmental dialogue between the DPRK and the ROK will convene at an early date and produce positive results.
Q: It is said that President Xi Jinping will attend the Johannesburg Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). What is China's expectation for that?
A: President Xi Jinping will soon set off for the FOCAC summit in South Africa. The summit marks an important milestone in China-Africa relations. We hope that the summit will give a strong boost to the traditional friendship, mutually beneficial cooperation and common progress of China and Africa in the new era.
Q: Former ROK President Kim Young-sam passed away on November 22. The ROK government has decided to hold a state funeral for him. What is China's comment?
A: Mr. Kim Young-sam made contributions to the development of China-ROK relations when serving as the ROK president. We mourn the loss of him.
Q: It is reported that the Thai side has indicted two men suspected of carrying out the Bangkok bomb attack. Can you give us more information on that?
A: We have taken note of the report. The Bangkok bomb attack which killed and injured innocent people fully revealed the ferocity of the perpetrators. We hope that the trial by the Thai side will bring the perpetrators to justice and let them face their due punishment.