|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying's Regular Press Conference on March 24, 2016|
Q: Can you tell us more about Foreign Minister Wang Yi's meeting with Japanese former Prime Minister Fukuda Yasuo today on the sidelines of the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference?
A: I have no details of this meeting at hand. We will release relevant information in due course.
Q: According to media reports, Taiwan authorities published a position paper on its South China Sea policy on March 21. Besides on March 23, some academic institutions in Taiwan submitted a proposal to the arbitration tribunal in the Hague, stressing that Taiping Dao meets the definition of island according to UNCLOS and is therefore eligible for possessing exclusive economic zone, continental shelf and other maritime rights and interests. What is your comment?
A: First of all I'd like to reiterate that China is consistent and clear on its non-acceptance and non-participation in the South China Sea arbitration case initiated by the Philippines.
The Nansha Islands including Taiping Dao have been China's territory since ancient times. Chinese people have long been living and working there continuously. China takes the Nansha Islands as a whole when claiming maritime rights and interests, and Chinese people across the Strait all have the responsibility to safeguard the property handed down from our ancestors. China is firmly against attempts of the Philippines to unilaterally deny China's territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea through arbitration.
Q: There was a gun shooting last night in Laos, and several Chinese citizens were injured. Please give us more details. Why are Chinese citizens targeted in Laos?
A: At 9 p.m. March 23 local time, an international passenger bus from Kunming, Yunnan Province to Vientiane, Laos was shot by unidentified gunmen while passing Laos. Among the 28 Chinese passengers aboard, 6 were injured and 2 of them were in severe conditions.
After the accident, Department of Consular Affairs of the Foreign Ministry and China's diplomatic missions in Laos have lodged representations respectively with Laos, asking them to assist with military police, go all out to treat and cure the injured, properly settle other passengers, crack the case, hold the perpetrators accountable and take effective and targeted measures to protect safety of Chinese citizens there. Currently the injured have been sent to hospital and others properly settled. China will continue to coordinate with Laos to deal with the follow-up work, and provide assistance and support for relevant Chinese citizens.
You asked why Chinese citizens are targeted. It is my opinion that there is a risk for people from any country to be targeted when traveling abroad. Attackers do not ask for nationality when they attack. Therefore we call on all countries to make tangible and effective moves and enhance international cooperation on law enforcement to uphold peace and stability of all countries.
Q: According to media reports, US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter told the House of Representatives Committee on Armed Services recently that China's self-isolation has pushed all allies to work increasingly with the US. He also said that the US would continue to reassess whether or not China should be invited to this year's Rim of the Pacific military exercise. How does China respond?
A: China is an open country that constantly pursues progress. We are committed to building friendship and partnership with neighboring countries and forging a neighborhood diplomacy featuring amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness. The fact is that China is deepening cooperation with other countries, and expanding its circle of friends. Talking about "isolation", doesn't it reveal the concealed intention to form cliques and seclude China held by some people in the US? If they do harbor such an intention, I suggest they give it up as soon as possible, because this is not constructive and shall never succeed.
I also want to emphasize that there are a wide spectrum of things that China and the US, two influential major countries, need to and can cooperate on. A sound and stable bilateral relationship based on mutual respect and win-win cooperation is in line with the fundamental interests of the two peoples, and also conducive to peace, stability and development of the Asia-Pacific and the world.
As far as I know, the US has officially invited China to the Rim of the Pacific 2016 military exercise, and China has agreed to send military vessels to the exercise. China and the US have had multiple rounds of negotiation on this, and are currently in close communication on participation in the exercise. You may ask the Ministry of Defense for more details.
Q: Premier Li Keqiang talked about the creation of an Asian financial cooperation association this morning. Do you have more information on this?
A: While addressing the opening ceremony of the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2016 this morning, Premier Li Keqiang said that China has proposed to build the Asian financial cooperation association. China is willing to cooperate with all parties to improve the Asian financial market and prevent large-scale financial turbulence from rocking the region again.