|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying's Regular Press Conference on September 8, 2016|
At the invitation of Meng Jianzhu, member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Secretary of the CPC Central Politics and Law Commission, and State Councilor Yang Jiechi, Security Council Secretary of the Russian Federation Nikolai Patrushev will visit China from September 12 to 14 to attend the 3rd meeting of China-Russia Law-enforcement and Security Cooperation Mechanism and the 12th round of China-Russia Strategic Security Consultation.
Q: The China-ASEAN leaders' meeting on September 7 adopted the guidelines on hot-line communication among senior diplomatic officials from China and ASEAN countries to address maritime emergencies and a joint statement on the application of the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea in the South China Sea. How do you evaluate these two documents?
A: The South China Sea is a bridge connecting China and ASEAN countries. Thanks to concerted efforts, the situation in the South China Sea is progressing in a positive direction. Regional countries are working to bring the South China Sea issue back to the right track of dialogue and consultation in a forward-looking spirit..
The joint statement on this meeting reaffirmed all parties' commitment to fully and effectively implementing the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC). The meeting adopted the guidelines on hot-line communication among senior diplomatic officials from China and ASEAN countries to address maritime emergencies and a joint statement on the application of the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea in the South China Sea. These are all important achievements within the framework of implementing the DOC, fully reflecting the determination and confidence of all parties to manage and controll disputes with regional rules, deepen practical maritime cooperation, and cool down the South China Sea situation. Such agreements undoubtedly will boost mutual trust, decrease risks on the sea, manage and control the South China Sea situation and preserve peace and stability of the region. China stands ready to work with ASEAN countries under regional regimes represented by the DOC, properly handle disputes, enhance mutual trust, steer clear of disruptions and jointly maintain peace and stability of the South China Sea.
Q: US President Obama said at the US-ASEAN Summit that the Hague ruling on the South China Sea arbitration was binding, and he also hoped that more diplomatic efforts could be made to resolve this issue peacefully. What is your comment on his remarks?
A: During the foreign ministers' meeting on East Asia cooperation previously held in Laos, the US made it clear that it took no stance and chose no sides regarding the result of the South China Sea arbitration case, and it encouraged parties directly concerned to talk to each other. As for President Obama's remarks, I learnt about them from media reports. We still need to check what he really said. I believe our position on the so-called South China Sea arbitration case is clear to you all. China will not accept nor acknowledge the ruling, because the ruling by the so-called ad hoc arbitral tribunal infringed upon China's legitimate rights and interests, challenged the norms of international law that uphold sovereignty and territory integrity, sabotaged the sanctity and integrity of the legal system of international maritime laws, and trampled regional rules based on the DOC. This tribunal, whose establishment has no legal basis, also has no jurisdiction over this case. Its ruling can in no way have any binding force. For anyone, including the US side, one basic fact that must be made clear is that regarding issues of territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests, China will never accept any third-party settlement adopted without China's consent or any solution shoved under its nose. China will be resolute in safeguarding its territorial sovereignty and maritime interests in the South China Sea. We will continue to engage parties directly concerned in direct dialogues and consultations to peacefully resolve disputes, and work with ASEAN countries to maintain peace and stability of the South China Sea. We also hope that the US can be objective and unbiased and genuinely play a constructive and responsible role in maintaining peace and stability of the South China Sea region.
Q: The latest issue of Air China in-flight magazine has a story warning London visitors about going to neighborhoods with large populations of Indians, Pakistanis and black people, advising tourists not to go out alone, and females to keep themselves accompanied. This article has come under fire in the UK. Some British lawmakers wrote to the Chinese ambassador to the UK, accusing this article of racial discrimination. What is your comment?
A: I have seen relevant reports, but I am not aware of the specifics. I have also noticed the initial response given by Air China.
I want to stress that the Chinese government upholds equality among all ethnic groups and opposes all forms of racial discrimination. This position is consistent and clear.
Follow-up: Does the Foreign Ministry have any travel tips for Chinese visitors to the UK?
A: Normally, we issue safety alert if the region is highly risky and conflict-stricken. For the UK, there has been no such thing so far. I want to stress that the Chinese government and relevant departments always encourage greater cooperation in tourism and personnel exchanges between China and the UK. We hope that people from the two sides can get to know each other better through more mutual visits.
Q: Some British politicians call on the Chinese ambassador to the UK to get involved. Has the Chinese ambassador to the UK done anything in this regard?
A: I have no relevant information. As I said, the policy of the Chinese government on ethnic groups and races is clear and consistent. We uphold equality among all ethnic groups and oppose all forms of racial discrimination. I have noticed the initial response from Air China. Relevant departments will have the necessary talks with Air China, and we believe Air China will investigate about this and properly deal with it.
Q: Russian President Putin told the press after the G20 Summit that on the South China Sea issue, Russia agrees with and supports China's position of not acknowledging the South China Sea arbitration case and the ruling, believing that any interference by a non-regional power would only hamper the solution of the issue. What is your response?
A: We have noted President Putin's remarks. He grasped the crux of the South China Sea arbitration case initiated by the Philippines and declared Russia's objective and unbiased position on this issue which represents the just voices of the international community. China highly commends that.
If a country truly cares about peace and stability in the South China Sea, it will support China's efforts to peacefully resolve the dispute with parties directly concerned in accordance with international law, bilateral agreements and the DOC, oppose external interference in the South China Sea-related affairs, and oppose the behaviors that heighten regional tension and sow dissension among regional countries.
Q: China and Russia will hold a joint military drill this month in the South China Sea. Could you confirm? When will it start? How long will it last?
A: This drill is a routine exercise as agreed by the two sides. I would refer you to the statement made by the Spokesperson of the Defense Ministry.