|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang's Regular Press Conference on September 23, 2016|
Q: According to the Philippine side, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is likely to visit China in mid October. Is this true? Will there be a leaders’ meeting during his visit? Since China and the Philippines have huge differences on the South China Sea issue, what significance will a leaders’ meeting bear on China if there is one?
A: China has expressed welcome to President Duterte on many occasions, and hopes that he can make his visit to China at an early date. The two sides are in close communication on this.
On your second question, it is only normal for any two countries to have differences on one thing or another. Huge differences or not, as long as China and the Philippines maintain the political willingness to resolve problems, there will be no insurmountable obstacles in the development of bilateral relations.
Q: The People’s Liberation Army has expressed intentions to carry out regular flights over the South China Sea. What is your comment?
A: You may ask the Defense Ministry for more specifics.
Follow-up: China has invited the Philippines to resolve disputes through bilateral dialogue. In the meantime, the Chinese army plans to carry out exercises in the South China Sea. Do you take these two actions as complementary or contradictory?
A: It is indisputable for China to carry out exercises in our own territorial seas or waters permitted by international law. It is our inherent right to conduct exercises if they take place in China’s own waters. Regarding military exercises, you can check historical records and find that China is definitely not the top 1 country in terms of the number of exercises it has carried out.
You asked whether China’s military exercises are contradictory to China’s policy, I can tell you that there is no contradiction between the two. As we have repeatedly said on this podium, we propose to properly handle the South China Sea issue through a dual-track approach with ASEAN countries, which is also a consensus reached between China and countries surrounding the South China Sea. We also hope that all non-regional countries can respect this consensus reached between China and ASEAN countries.
Q: First, Taiwan was not invited to the assembly meeting of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) despite the fact that it attended such meeting in 2013. What is your comment? Second, according to a statement released by Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council, the mainland may face serious consequences for its unilateral actions if it does not open dialogue with Taiwan. What is your response to that?
A: The first question is easy to answer. The ICAO and its arrangement of relevant meetings are all under the UN framework. As a specialized organ of the UN, the ICAO only allows sovereign states to participate in its events.
As we all know, as an integral part of China, Taiwan is not eligible to participate in such event. As we said earlier, the two sides once made certain temporary arrangement through consultation pursuant to the one-China principle, but such arrangement can not serve as a precedent. Regarding Taiwan’s participation in international events, we hold a clear stance that this can only be negotiated across the Strait based on the one-China principle.
On your second question, I would like to refer you to the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council as it falls out of the remit of foreign affairs.
Q: We see from media reports that former French President Jacques Chirac and his wife were in hospital. Do you have any comment on that?
A: Former French President Jacques Chirac is a widely-respected statesman, as well as an old and good friend of the Chinese people. We heartily wish Mr. and Mrs. Chirac a speedy recovery.
Q: The ROK Foreign Minister said at the UN that it is time to reconsider the UN membership of the DPRK. Do you have any response to this?
A: First of all, the UN Charter has clear provisions about the eligibility of UN membership. You may find an answer in the UN Charter.
Second, I want to reiterate that the situation on the Korean Peninsula is already tense. We hope that the words and actions of relevant parties will help ease tensions of the Peninsula and resume negotiations, rather than the opposite.
Q: According to the ROK media reports, Special Representative Wu Da Wei of the Chinese government on the Korean Peninsula affairs met with his ROK counterpart at Beijing yesterday. Please tell us more about their meeting.
A: China has been in close communication with parties related to the Korean Peninsula issue for quite a long time. As you just said, Special Representative Wu Dawei held consultations with ROK Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs Kim Hong-kyun yesterday at Beijing. The two sides exchanged views on the denuclearization and upholding peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula.
Q: According to Japanese media reports, the Chinese ambassador to the Philippines once suggested that President Duterte visit China before going to Japan. Please confirm.
A: I have also noticed this. I want to tell you that the Philippines is a sovereign state, and will decide on the diplomatic agenda based on its own judgment. It is only natural that high-level exchanges between two countries be agreed upon through consultation. It is a diplomatic convention to do so.
The Foreign Ministry and the People’s Government of Sichuan Province will host the 4th promotion event of Chinese provinces at 16:00 September 28 at the Blue Room. Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Party Chief Wang Dongming and Governor Yin Li of Sichuan Province will separately deliver speeches and make promotions. Representatives of foreign ambassadors in China will address and interact with the attendees.
You are welcome to cover this event upon invitation.