|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang's Regular Press Conference on February 13, 2017|
Q: Japanese and American leaders articulated in their Joint Statement that Article V of the US-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security covers Diaoyu Dao. The two sides also called on countries concerned to avoid actions that would escalate tensions in the South China Sea, including the militarization of outposts. What is China's comment?
A: China is gravely concerned about and firmly opposed to relevant comments by Japan and the United States. Diaoyu Dao and its affiliated islands are China's inherent territory. No rhetoric or actions, from whomsoever, will change the fact that Diaoyu Dao belongs to China or waver China's resolve and determination to uphold its national sovereignty and territorial integrity. We are firmly against Japan's attempt to try to gain the US support for its illegal territorial claims in the name of the so-called mutual defense treaty. Japan and the US should exercise prudence and stop making wrong remarks so as not to complicate relevant issues or bring negative impact on regional peace and stability.
On the South China Sea issue, our position is consistent and clear-cut. China has indisputable sovereignty over the South China Sea islands and their adjacent waters. China is firmly committed to upholding its territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests, peacefully resolving disputes with countries directly concerned, and working together with ASEAN countries to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea. China's construction activities on its own islands and reefs are entirely within its own sovereignty and have nothing to do with militarization. Certain countries either send vessels and aircraft to the South China Sea to flex muscles or sow discord. This is exactly the largest contributor to militarization in the South China Sea. We urge the US and Japan to view the South China Sea issue in an objective and rational light and do more things that are conductive to peace and stability in the South China Sea rather than the opposite.
Q: The DPRK allegedly tested a new type of nuclear-capable missile yesterday. The US and Japan are pressing for Security Council meeting over this issue today. Is China concerned about this rise in tensions again over the Korean Peninsula? Would China support yet more actions of the UN Security Council against the DPRK?
A: We have noted relevant reports and are closely following the developments. The Security Council resolutions contain clear provisions on launches using ballistic missile technology by the DPRK. China is opposed to the DPRK's launch which violates the Security Council resolutions.
Given the current circumstances, relevant parties should not engage in mutually provocative moves which could heighten regional tensions. All parties need to exercise restraint in a joint effort to maintain regional peace and stability.
We have learnt that the Security Council will hold consultations on the launch. China will take part in the discussions in a responsible and constructive manner.
Q: There is sort of a saying that China has leverage over the DPRK. Has the US communicated with China over the missile test and asked China to do more? Analysts speculate that the missile test is an opportunity for China to tie up its greater cooperation on the Korean nuclear issue with US cooperation in keeping peace and stability of the South China Sea. Is that a valid speculation?
A: The root of the DPRK nuclear and missile issue lies in the differences between the DPRK and the US and between the DPRK and the ROK. As a permanent member of the Security Council and a responsible member of the international community, China has always enforced the Council's resolutions in their entirety, promoted peace talks, and made unremitting efforts to facilitate the settlement of the issue of Korean Peninsula. China's efforts have been widely acknowledged and acclaimed by the international community.
We believe that dialogue and consultation offers the way out. It is hoped that relevant parties shoulder their due responsibilities and contribute their due share. China, on its part, will continue to work with other parties including the US to push for the settlement of the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue and maintain peace and stability on the Peninsula.
Q: My question is about the Chinese soldier Wang Qi who was in India for 54 years and has recently returned to China. How would this incident impact China-India relationship?
A: My colleague answered similar questions last week. On February 11, through the joint efforts of China and India, Mr. Wang Qi returned to China and got back to his family. There has been extensive media coverage which I believe you have noted. China appreciates the facilitation provided by relevant authorities of the Indian government in this process.
Q: You just attributed the DPRK nuclear and missile issue to the differences between the DPRK and the US and between the DPRK and the ROK. Could you be more specific as to how the differences between the DPRK and the ROK lead to the nuclear and missile issue?
A: What I said just now was that the root of the DPRK nuclear and missile issue lies in the differences between the DPRK and the US and between the DPRK and the ROK. This is not the first time for us to say so. This is a viewpoint that has been repeatedly emphasized.
Q: Does China believe that Washington should take the initiative on tackling the issue of missile test by the DPRK?
A: The root of the DPRK nuclear and missile issue lies in the differences between the DPRK and the US and between the DPRK and the ROK. We have always encouraged relevant parties to step up communication, dialogue and engagement to jointly and peacefully resolve the nuclear and missile issue and maintain peace and stability on the Peninsula.
Q: US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that China, who has complete control of what sustains the government of the DPRK, should play a bigger role. Do you agree with him?
A: I have actually given the answer when addressing other journalists' questions. The root of the DPRK nuclear and missile issue is the differences between the DPRK and the US and between the DPRK and the ROK. Given that, we hope that relevant parties make more efforts to resolve the DPRK nuclear and missile issue. As a country in Northeast Asia, a permanent member of the Security Council and a responsible member of the international community, China has always contributed its due share to the settlement of the issue, and this has been widely recognized. We hope that all relevant countries can shoulder their due responsibilities and play their due role in pushing for a peaceful and proper settlement of the DPRK nuclear and missile issue.