|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei's Regular Press Conference on March 11, 2016|
Q: The US State Department said in a statement on March 10 that the US government had authorized the sale of two US Navy frigates to Taiwan for US$ 190 million, subject to congressional approval. What is China's response to that?
A: The Chinese side has lodged representations with the US State Department about the relevant report and asked the US side for clarification. The US State Department said that no plan has been made recently on arms sales to Taiwan, and that it has not issued any statement about selling arms to Taiwan. I want to stress that the Chinese side is resolutely opposed to arms sales by the US to Taiwan. This position is consistent, firm and clear.
Q: Foreign Minister Wang Yi is visiting Russia. What new proposals will he put forward on issues of the DPRK and Syria? What agreement will be reached between the two foreign ministers?
A: Today, Foreign Minister Wang Yi will hold talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin. During their talks, the two foreign ministers will exchange views on the bilateral relationship as well as international and regional issues of common interest. The current situation on the Korean Peninsula is highly complex and sensitive, and the political settlement of the Syrian issue has come to a critical stage. The two foreign ministers will have communication on how to press ahead with denuclearization, safeguard peace and stability on the Peninsula, and resolve relevant issues through dialogues and consultations. They will also compare notes on how to push forward the process of resolving the Syrian issue through political means. We will release information concerning the talks and the meeting in due course.
Q: Australia's recent release of its defense white paper, the opinion poll conducted by the US in Australia about the lease of the Darwin Port and the deployment of military facilities by the US in Australia have triggered discussions on China-Australia relations. As Australia's largest trading partner, does China believe that the Australian side should play a more positive role in developing the bilateral relationship?
A: We have noted the white paper, the opinion poll and moves taken by the US. China-Australia relationship has been developing with great vigor and vitality over recent years. It fully proves that the development of China means opportunity rather than threat to Australia. Australia should seize the opportunity created by China, further the bilateral relationship for bigger progress and strive for common prosperity. I also want to point out that countries should echo the call for peace, cooperation and development which has become a trend of the region.
Q: The EU reportedly approved the partnership between French power company EDF and Chinese nuclear firm CGN to build the Hinkley Point nuclear power plant in Britain. Investigation by EU anti-trust regulators found that competition in the wholesale supply of electricity in the UK will not be hindered by the transaction. What is your response to that? Is there any update on the project?
A: The Chinese side welcomes the decision by the EU. We have also noted support voiced by leaders of the UK and France for the Hinkley Point project. Chinese and French nuclear power companies are working hard to implement the Agreement for Investment in the Construction of Nuclear Power Projects in the UK signed during President Xi Jinping's visit to the country last year. The Chinese side supports relevant companies in conducting trilateral cooperation on nuclear energy based on mutual benefit and looks forward to constant progress in the Hinkley Point nuclear power plant and other projects so as to further enrich practical cooperation between China and the UK as well as China and France.
Q: Director of US national intelligence James Clapper said infrastructure established by China on the Nansha Islands will be able to project military capabilities beyond what is required for point defense of its outposts. What is China's response to that?
A: We have made the situation and China's position clear. I want to point out that in building necessary and limited defense facilities on relevant islands and reefs of the Nansha Islands, China is exercising its right to self-preservation and self-defense under international law. It is within China's sovereignty. We urge relevant countries not to make unwarranted remarks on this issue.
Q: 12 countries including the US, the UK, Japan and Australia issued a joint statement at the UN Human Rights Council, expressing concerns about individual cases in China and criticizing China's human rights record. What is China's response to that?
A: China is a country under the rule of law. Chinese judicial authorities handle cases and protect the suspects' legitimate rights and interests in accordance with the law. The US and a couple of countries made public accusations against China citing the human rights issue as an excuse. This not only severely interferes in China's domestic affairs and judicial sovereignty, but also breaches the rule of law. China firmly opposes and definitely not accepts that.
The Human Rights Council was established 10 years ago for the purpose of replacing confrontation with cooperation and coordination on the issue of human rights. Provoking confrontation at the Human Rights Council, the US and a few other countries gravely violated the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and relevant resolutions of the UN General Assembly, aggravated confrontation and soured the atmosphere which went against all parties' interests.
No country can claim it is the best in protecting human rights. What we should do is trying to become better. The Chinese government attaches great importance to promoting and protecting human rights, integrates the universality of human rights with the realities of China, blazes a trail of human rights development with Chinese characteristics and has made notable progress. There is no one-size-fits-all approach for the development of human rights. Every country has the right to advance its human rights cause in light of its national conditions, realities and people's requirements. We urge relevant countries to deeply reflect upon and resolve their own human rights problems, stop politicizing the human rights issue and cease their interference in others' domestic affairs and judicial sovereignty with the human rights issue as an excuse.
Q: First, why must the international community stop interfering in China's human rights? Second, you just said that China hopes to maintain stability in the region. Do you think Australia is helpful or unhelpful in this regard?
A: On your first question, the action taken by the US and some other countries at the Human Rights Council is, in its essence, an attempt to interfere in China's domestic affairs and judicial sovereignty under the pretext of the human rights issue. Everybody is clear about that. Therefore, the Chinese side does not accept but firmly opposes that.
On your second question, it depends on the strategic choice of Australia itself. We hope that Australia will follow the trend of the times and work for peace, stability and development of the region.