|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying's Regular Press Conference on December 23, 2016|
Q: US President-elect Donald Trump wrote on Twitter yesterday that "the US must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes". Reports say that Trump is likely to support modernizing the existing US nuclear arsenal at a huge expense. Do you have any response to this?
A: We have noted the report and are closely watching what policies the new US government may introduce on the relevant issue. China stands for and advocates the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons. The country with the largest nuclear arsenal should assume a special and prior responsibility on nuclear disarmament, and take the lead in dramatically and substantially reducing its nuclear arsenal so as to create conditions for the complete and thorough nuclear disarmament.
Q: It is said that the reason why Trump made such remarks is that Russian President Putin vowed in a speech to build up strategic nuclear power-enabled combat capability. Analysts say that there may be a new round of nuclear arms race between the US and Russia. How do you comment on that? As a nuclear-weapon state, how will China react?
A: I would like to reiterate that China stands for and advocates the complete prohibition and thorough destruction of nuclear weapons. The country with the largest nuclear arsenal should assume a special and prior responsibility on nuclear disarmament.
Q: A Singaporean activist who invited Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong to speak at an event over Skype was investigated by the Singaporean police. There is speculation that perhaps the Chinese government asked the Singaporean government to get involved in this case. Can you confirm that?
A: First, I am not aware of what you said. Second, you used the word "speculation" in your question. You must not jump to a conclusion based on sheer speculation or guess. Since it is the Singaporean police that is in charge of the investigation, I suggest that you ask them for details.
Q: The Cabinet of the Japanese government on December 22 approved a record-high budget for the fiscal year 2017, featuring a defense spending that has reached a new height after increasing for the fifth straight year. Some media reported that Japan aims to cope with China with the highest-ever defense budget. What is your response?
A: In recent years, Japan has never stopped dramatizing the "China threat" while been busy uplifting its military power. Our close attention to and high alert on Japan's moves and real motives are justified considering what happened in the past. It turns out that even inside Japan, there are a lot of people voicing their doubts and criticisms. Is Japan fully committed to learning historical lessons and walking the path of peaceful development? Its Asian neighbors and the international community are all waiting to see.
Q: Sao Tome and Principe has recently severed ties with Taiwan. Does China have a strategy for encouraging other "diplomatic allies" of Taiwan to abandon Taiwan and switch ties to Beijing?
A: I find your choice of words, like "strategy" and "abandon" interesting. Sao Tome and Principe's Prime Minister Patrice Trovoada told the journalists yesterday that breaking relations with Taiwan was the most correct decision for Sao Tome and Principe who has a commitment to the people to improve their living conditions. He also referred to the mainland as a very important strategic partner. I think the Prime Minister was telling a profound idea in plain words, that is, the one-China principle and win-win cooperation between China and Africa for common development is gaining momentum. If there is any strategy, that is to develop friendly and cooperative relations with other countries based on the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence and the one-China principle, conduct cooperation with other countries based on mutual respect, equal treatment and win-win spirit for the well-being of people from both sides and for the economic and social development of other countries. I will avail myself of the opportunity to commend the leader of Sao Tome and Principe for his remarks, and express our appreciation and welcome to the country's return to the right track of the one-China principle.
Q: Philippine Foreign Minister Perfecto Yasay responded to a US think-tank report on China's deployment of weapons in the Nansha Islands on December 22, saying that the Philippines was concerned about this. What is your response?
A: China holds a consistent and clear position on the South China Sea issue. While firmly upholding its territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests, China is committed to peacefully resolving relevant disputes with countries directly concerned through negotiation and consultation, and maintaining peace and stability of the South China Sea together with ASEAN countries.
China and the Philippines have worked together to turn around the bilateral relationship, return to the right track of addressing disputes peacefully through dialogue and consultation, and commit themselves to moving forward friendly and pragmatic cooperation across the board. This meets the common interests of the two countries and two peoples, lives up to the shared expectation of regional countries and contributes to peace and stability in the South China Sea.
Regarding the US think-tank's issuing of a report under the prevailing circumstances, China has elaborated on its position on many occasions. It is worth noting that it is China's right as a sovereign state under the international law to conduct construction or deploy necessary homeland defense facilities on relevant islands and reefs, whether or not China is doing this. It is hoped that relevant parties would approach this in an objective and reasonable way and not read too much into it.
Q: Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said on December 22 that Japan has paid its annual contribution to UNESCO and there has been major progress in work on reforming the selection system of the Memory of the World Register. What is your comment?
A: To pay dues on time and in full is an obligation member states of international organizations must fulfill. UNESCO is now discussing about amending the rules of the Memory of the World program. The relevant country should participate in a constructive manner, rather than try to exert pressure by withholding funds. The Memory of the World program, after going through amendments, should be able to play a more positive role in preserving the world's documentary heritage and the common memory of mankind, instead of serving the political interests of some particular countries.
Q: Despite India's repeated protests with Pakistan about the Kashmir issue, a senior general from the Pakistani army called on India to join the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project in order to make benefits. How do you look at this? Does China welcome the joining of India? Has China had any consultation with the Pakistani side?
A: I have seen these reports. I wonder whether the Indian side takes this offer made by the Pakistani general as a goodwill gesture. For us, we regard the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as a framework for cooperation built by the two sides with a focus on the long-term development of bilateral cooperation in various fields. We hope that the CPEC will not only promote the economic and social development of China and Pakistan, but also contribute to regional connectivity, peace, stability and prosperity. In this sense, the CPEC, as an important component of China's Belt and Road initiative, is an open initiative. China would like to discuss the possibility of introducing a third party on the basis of consensus with the Pakistani side through consultation.