|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying's Regular Press Conference on May 23, 2016|
At the invitation of Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Arkady Dvorkovich, as well as the governments of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia, Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli of the State Council will travel to Russia for the 13th meeting of the China-Russia Energy Cooperation Committee and the 2nd China-Russia SME Forum followed by visits to Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia from May 30 to June 7.
Q: It is reported while taking an interview with Chinese media, Indian President Pranab Mukherjee said that India sought a "fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable settlement" of the boundary question with China to deepen bilateral relations. How do you comment on this?
A: Both China and India are committed to resolving territorial disputes through negotiation, and jointly seeking a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable solution to the boundary question. Over the past three decades and more, the two sides have pressed ahead with boundary negotiation, properly managed disputes and maintained peace and tranquility of the border area, creating favorable conditions for the sound and stable development of Sino-Indian relations. The two countries have established a series of working mechanisms related to the boundary question including the special representatives' meeting, and have agreed on the political principles as well as the "three-step" road map on resolving the boundary question. China is willing to work in unison with India to expedite the framework negotiation of the boundary question, settle this issue left over from history at an early date and further develop China-India relations.
Q: President Obama is visiting Vietnam and the US has decided to lift the arms embargo on Vietnam, indicating closer relationship between the two countries. What's China's take on this?
A: As a neighbor to Vietnam, China is happy to see Vietnam develop normal relations with all countries including the US. And we hope this would be conducive to regional peace, stability and development.
Q: I have two questions. Indian President Pranab Mukherjee will start his visit to Guangzhou and Beijing starting from tomorrow. Can you share with us more details? Which Chinese leaders will he talk to and what issues and outcomes are expected? Second, Indian navy's Eastern Fleet will join military drills at sea with the US and Japan in Okinawa. What is China's comment?
A: President Pranab Mukherjee will pay a state visit to China from May 24 to 27 at the invitation of President Xi Jinping. This will be President Mukherjee's first state visit to China, as well as one of the most significant high-level exchanges between China and India this year. Chinese leaders will meet and hold talks with President Mukherjee and exchange views with him on bilateral relations and issues of common interest in Beijing, followed by a trip to Guangzhou. The Chinese side attaches great importance to President Mukherjee's visit, and will surely receive the President with utmost hospitality. The two sides are in close communication on the outcomes of this visit.
Both China and India are rapidly developing as two emerging markets with growing influence on regional and international affairs. We two have become a staunch force upholding world peace and stability. Over the past years, bilateral relations have maintained a good momentum of stable and sound growth. President Xi Jinping's visit to India in 2014 and Prime Minister Modi's visit to China last year have opened up a new era and placed Sino-Indian relations on a fast track of development. We stand ready to join hands with India and take President Mukherjee's visit as an opportunity to implement the important consensus reached by the leadership, enhance pragmatic cooperation across the board, and build a closer partnership for development between the two countries.
On your second question, we have also noted this report. China holds no objection to the normal military cooperation between relevant countries, and hopes that this kind of cooperation would contribute to regional peace and stability.
Q: You mentioned that China and Vietnam are close neighbors. Why has Vietnam asked consistently over the last couple of years for the arms embargo with the US to be lifted? What effect will that have on the relationship between Vietnam and the US?
A: I can understand why you raised this question. You may have to ask Vietnam why they consistently asked the US for the lifting of arms embargo, not me. As I just said, we welcome the development of normal relationship between the US and Vietnam, hoping it will be conducive to regional peace and stability.
Q: The White House confirmed that its military drone strikes killed Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansoor in the past weekend. What is your comment? Considering that China has been playing a positive role in the quadrilateral coordination group consisting of Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and the US on Taliban peace talks, how will this affect the peace talks?
A: We have noted relevant report. China hopes that the Afghan peace and reconciliation process can continue to be pushed forward and relevant parties remain committed to peace and stability in Afghanistan and the region.
Q: The Pakistani Foreign Ministry has released a statement on Pakistan's official application to the Nuclear Suppliers' Group (NSG). Will China endorse Pakistan's application?
A: The NSG is part and parcel of the international non-proliferation regime. The international community has forged consensus long ago that this regime is rooted upon the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, or NPT, which was reaffirmed in the New York NPT review session held in the mid of last year. This is exactly why the NSG has always made the "NPT signatory status" a prerequisite to accept new members.
China has noted Pakistan's official application for NSG membership. Pakistan is not a party state to the NPT. Discussion within the NSG is still going on about the accession of non-NPT countries, and NSG members remain divided on this issue. This explains why China and many countries have always proposed thorough discussions on the accession of non-NPT countries so that agreement and final decision can be reached through negotiation. China's position applies to all non-NPT countries including Pakistan.
Pakistan is an all-weather strategic partner of coordination and close neighbor to China. China's position does not target Pakistan. China supports the NSG in continuing with in-depth discussions on the accession of non-NPT countries in order to reach an agreement on this as soon as possible. China will continue to play a constructive role in relevant talks.
Q: According to China, countries aspiring to join the NSG must sign the NPT first. The Indian Foreign Ministry has responded that no such thing was required, citing that France did not sign the NPT when joining the NSG. India believes if there is any connection, it is between the NSG and the International Atomic Energy Agency, not between the NSG and the NPT. How do you respond?
A: There is no such thing as the "accession" to the NSG for France as it is the founding member of this organization. Your question exactly proves how important and necessary the NPT is as the basis of the international non-proliferation regime. Ever since the 1970s when the NPT came into force, it has gradually won the recognition of the international community and developed into the footstone of the international non-proliferation regime, a point that has been confirmed repeatedly in the recent NPT review sessions. This is emblematic of the international consensus of basing the non-proliferation regime on the NPT.
Q: The New York-based Human Rights Watch issued a report on human rights in Tibet on May 22, bashing the Chinese government's fiercer oppression in Tibet. Do you have any comment?
A: I have no comment on this report released by the so-called human rights organization. How many of them have been to China, Tibet particularly? What do they know about the real life in Tibet? We hope they would take an objective and fair look at China.
Q: It is reported that China's Supreme Court has decided to extradite a Brazilian Japanese detained in China back to Japan. When will China start the extradition?
A: I am not apprised of this case.