|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang's Regular Press Conference on April 12, 2016|
Q: Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said yesterday that his country could be seriously affected by drought and the encroachment of sea water if low water levels in the Mekong River persist. We notice that China announced to discharge water to countries in the downstream of Lancang River and Mekong River from March 15 to April 10 to relieve the emergent situation they were in. Can you tell us whether this has finished yet?
A: At the request of lower countries along the Lancang River and Mekong River and after scientific adjustment from the upstream, China discharged water to the downstream region from its Jinghong hydro plant from March 15 to April 10 despite its own difficulties. China's move has greatly helped countries in the lower reaches alleviate their drought, and has earned high praise from relevant countries and the international community.
Given the continuous need to fight drought faced by the lower countries, China decided to continue with its emergent discharge of water to the downstream starting from yesterday, which is April 11, till the end of the dry season. The amount of discharged water will be adjusted according to water amount in the upstream and the practical needs of countries along the rivers. This is a special arrangement China makes to protect the interests of lower countries.
I also want to point out that China's discharge of water for these two times is a good example that necessary water conservancy facilities can help alleviate floods and drought faced by countries along the rivers. China stands ready to step up cooperation with countries along the Lancang River and Mekong River to cope with extreme climates and protect and utilize cross-border water resources.
Q: Regarding the Taiwanese who were repatriated from Kenya to Chinese mainland, the Taiwan authorities said that these people were forced back to China by the Kenyan police. Why were they sent back to the mainland?
A: Commitment to the one-China principle is the prerequisite and basis for China's relations with other countries. We commend the Kenyan government for consistently sticking to the one-China principle. As for cross-Straits matters, I would refer you to the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council.
Q: Two vessels of the Japanese self-defense force made a first port call at Cam Ranh Bay of Vietnam today, which is close to the Xisha and Nansha Islands where China claims sovereignty. Do you have any comment?
A: It is beyond reproach for any two countries to carry out normal cooperation. However, if such cooperation targets a third party especially China or undermines regional peace and stability, China will definitely state its position. You connected two things in your question, I wonder whether this is your own imagination or implication by others.
Q: It is reported that the Philippines sent transport planes to carry substantial amounts of materials to Zhongye Dao, and was ready to restart work on upgrading an airport at Zhongye Dao. What is your comment?
A: The Nansha Islands are China's inherent territory, and Zhongye Dao is part of the Nansha Islands.
Ever since the 1970s, the Philippines has illegally occupied some islands and reefs of China's Nansha Islands including Zhongye Dao by force and kept conducting construction and deploying weapons on them in violation of international laws including the UN Charter and basic principles guiding international relations. The Philippines keeps saying that the unilaterally initiated and forced arbitration case is not to resolve issues concerning territorial sovereignty, and plays hypocrite to announce a suspension to the construction on Zhongye Dao. Yet what we see is that the Philippines keeps flagrantly upgrading the airport on its illegally occupied Zhongye Dao of the Nansha Islands from China, attempting to further extend its illegal occupation of Chinese territory and "legalize" its occupation through the arbitration tribunal. This reveals the inconsistency between Philippines' words and actions, and fully proves the arbitration case unilaterally initiated by the Philippines an outright political provocation under the cloak of law.
The South China Sea is generally stable at the moment. China is working with the majority of ASEAN countries to properly handle the South China Sea issue following the dual-track approach. China is committed to fully and effectively implementing the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), pressing ahead with the negotiation on the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC), and jointly upholding peace and stability in the South China Sea.
China once again urges the Philippines to respect China's territorial sovereignty and rights and interests, strictly abide by the UN Charter and other international laws and basic principles guiding international relations as well as the DOC, put an end to all actions that encroach upon China's territorial sovereignty and rights and interests, and return to the right track of properly resolving disputes through bilateral negotiation at an early date.
Q: First, it is reported that Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar is to visit China next week. Do you have more details? Second, according to Indian media, Indian National Security Adviser Ajit Doval will also visit China soon after to co-host with China the meeting between special representatives of China and India on the boundary question. Can you tell us more about this?
A: The Spokesperson of China's Defense Ministry has answered the question regarding Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar's upcoming visit to China. As agreed upon by China and India, Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar will pay a visit to China within this year and exchange views with the Chinese side on military-to-military cooperation and other issues. As far as I know, defense authorities of the two countries are in close communication about this visit. You may ask China's Defense Ministry for more details.
You asked about Indian National Security Adviser Ajit Doval's visit to China and attendance at the special representatives' meeting between China and India on the boundary question. The meeting is a significant mechanism, and the two countries are in close contact with each other. Relevant information will be released as soon as we get it.
Q: Yesterday the Foreign Ministry and the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) signed a cooperation paper on the Belt and Road initiative. Can you give us more details?
A: Yesterday Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Executive Secretary of ESCAP Shamshad Akhtar signed a proposal in Beijing on jointly boosting regional connectivity and the Belt and Road initiative. It stresses that the two sides will jointly plan concrete actions to promote connectivity and the Belt and Road initiative, encourage countries along the belt and road to align their policies and boost pragmatic cooperation. The proposal is the first cooperation document on the Belt and Road initiative between China and an international organization, with the aim to expand the consensus between the two sides on the Belt and Road cooperation, strengthen communication and deepen pragmatic cooperation.
Here I also want to say that ever since the Belt and Road initiative came into being, over 30 countries have signed cooperation documents on the initiative with China. The idea of cooperation derived from the Belt and Road initiative has won increasing welcome and support from more and more countries and relevant international organizations. The Belt and Road initiative has become an important platform for cooperation featuring multiple participation, mutual benefit and win-win cooperation as consensus on cooperation among all parties is expanding, communication deepening and substantive results emerging.
Q: An Indian oil company said today that it would increase oil explorations in waters along the maritime border between China and Indonesia. Have you noticed this? Are you concerned that this may exacerbate disputes on sovereignty claims in the South China Sea between the two countries?
A: First of all, I have never heard of what you mentioned and need to check on that.
Secondly, there is no sovereignty dispute between China and Indonesia. Occasionally differences may arise on some issues, yet China and Indonesia have always been in touch with each other through effective channels.
Q: The Australian Prime Minister is expected to warn China during his visit here that China's actions in the South China Sea will affect its economic relations with other countries as well as its own development, and will urge China to improve relations with neighboring countries as China's sovereignty claims in the South China Sea have strained relations between China and its neighbors. What is your comment?
A: I am wondering who "expects" the Prime Minister to say so. This will be the first time for Prime Minister Turnbull to visit China, and also the first high-level exchange between China and Australia this year. During the visit, leaders of the two countries will have an extensive and in-depth exchange of views on bilateral relations, pragmatic cooperation in a variety of fields and international and regional issues of common interest. It is learned that a commercial business delegation comprising 1,000 people will accompany Prime Minister Turnbull to China. We have every reason to believe that this visit will bring new vitality to the comprehensive strategic partnership between China and Australia.
Regarding the South China Sea issue you asked about, as we Chinese always say that some people insist on making uncalled-for troubles when the situation is easy. Currently the South China Sea faces no major troubles, and some disputes have been well managed following the dual-track approach. We hope that regional peace and stability and our aspiration for peaceful development will not meet any trouble.