|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei's Regular Press Conference on February 15, 2016|
Executive Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Zhang Yesui will co-host the seventh China-ROK High-Level Strategic Dialogue between Foreign Ministries with Lim Sung-nam, the first Vice Foreign Minister of the ROK in Seoul on February 16. The two sides will exchange views on China-ROK relations, the current situation on the Korean Peninsula and other issues of mutual interest.
Q: Following the ROK's announcement to suspend the Kaesong Industrial Complex project, the DPRK announced to block the complex and freeze relevant assets. What is China's stance on that?
A: The current situation on the Korean Peninsula is complex and sensitive. China hopes that relevant parties could do more to relieve tensions.
Q: An editorial by the China Daily said that sanctions against the DPRK should be strong enough to make the DPRK reevaluate its nuclear program. Does that also represent the Foreign Ministry's view?
A: China has clarified its position on the DPRK's nuclear test and satellite launch on many occasions. We believe that both the nuclear test and the satellite launch by the DPRK violate relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council. China has a clear stance on that and has publicly voiced its opposition from the very beginning. China proposes that the UN Security Council adopt a new resolution and take further steps to make the DPRK pay the necessary price and bear the consequences for its behavior.
Meanwhile, we believe that the UN Security Council's new and strong actions should have a definite direction with the objective of effectively curbing the DPRK's efforts to advance its nuclear and missile program. On the other hand, sanctions are not the end. Our purpose is to make sure that the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula would be brought back to the channel of a negotiation-based resolution. It's the only correct approach and serves the common interests of relevant parties.
Q: South Sudan's opposition leader Riek Machar said on February 13 that he would accept President Salva Kiir's appointment and serve as the country's first vice president. What is China's comment? What is China's take on the current situation in South Sudan?
A: China welcomes the positive progress of the peace process in South Sudan and hopes that South Sudan can form a transitional government of national unity as soon as possible and advance reconstruction process. China will continue to work with relevant regional countries and organizations as well as the international community and play a constructive role in promoting peace, stability and development in South Sudan.
Q: Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said at the Munich Security Conference that the world has slid into a "new cold war" when commenting on Russia-US relations. What is China's comment?
A: We hope that the international community can work as one, go with the trend of the times that calls for peace, development and cooperation, and stay committed to upholding world tranquility and prosperity. We also hope that relations between Russia and the West could improve.
Q: Reports say that the US is consulting with India on carrying out joint patrols in the South China Sea. What is China's response?
A: We noted that the US side said that no decisions had been made.
Q: As for the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system by the US in the ROK, what effect could that have on the region, particularly on US-China relations?
A: We show grave concerns about the possible deployment of the THAAD missile defense system by the US in the ROK. The coverage of the THAAD missile defense system, especially the monitoring range of its X-band radar, goes far beyond the defense need of the Korean Peninsula and will reach deep into the Asian hinterland. It will damage directly China's strategic security interests and also harm security interests of other countries in the region. China's stance is clear enough that we firmly oppose any countries' attempt to infringe China's strategic security interests with the excuse of the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue.
As a responsible country, China will remain committed to advancing denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula, upholding peace and stability on the Peninsula, and resolving relevant issues through dialogues and consultations. Meanwhile, we will not allow our legitimate national security interests to be harmed. China's legitimate national security interests must be guarded and guaranteed effectively.
We believe that the focus of the Peninsula nuclear issue is on the US and the DPRK. We are willing to urge both countries to be seated, talk and discuss how to address each other's reasonable concerns so as to finally achieve the goal we all hope.
Q: The US and ASEAN countries will hold a leaders' meeting on February 15 and 16. Some analysts say that the US hopes to use the meeting to strengthen its relations with ASEAN countries and consolidate its influence in the Asia- Pacific region. What is China's comment?
A: We have stated our views on this meeting. We hope it will be conducive to maintaining regional peace, stability and development.