|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying's Regular Press Conference on June 8, 2017|
China, who holds this year's BRICS presidency, will host the second BRICS Sherpa meeting in Qingdao of Shandong Province from June 14 to 15. The meeting will be chaired by China's Sherpa for BRICS Affairs and Vice Foreign Minister Li Baodong, and attended by Sherpas and Sous-Sherpas of BRICS countries and representatives from the New Development Bank. BRICS Sherpas serve as the main channel to coordinate and advance preparation for the BRICS Summit. The Qingdao meeting will focus on the expected outcomes of the BRICS Summit to be held in Xiamen this September.
Q: The DPRK reportedly fired several projectiles believed to be surface-to-ship missiles off its east coast in the vicinity of Gyeonggi-do this morning. Does this violate the UN Security Council resolutions (UNSCRs)? How do you comment on that?
A: We have noted the relevant reports, which differ on what the projectiles are. The UNSCRs have clear provisions on DPRK's launches using ballistic missile technologies. Under current circumstance, the relevant parties should exercise restraint, refrain from provocative actions that may escalate regional tensions and play a positive role in de-escalating and stabilizing the situation.
Q: The US Department of State claimed in its report on China's military and security developments that China expands its military capabilities across the globe, and will most likely seek to establish additional military bases in countries with which it has long-standing friendly relations and similar strategic interests, such as Pakistan. What do you think of the report? How accurate is it?
A: I stated China's stance on the report in principle and responded to such an allegation yesterday. I shall say that the relevant report is fraught with bias and Cold-War thinking in total disregard of facts. We hope that the US can put China's military development in perspective and stop issuing such kind of report year after year. Instead, it should take concrete actions to maintain the steady development of China-US relations and the military ties between the two sides.
Any objective and unbiased person will find out many contradictions and loopholes in this report by the US Department of Defense. For instance, if the necessary construction and deployment of defense facilities on China's own territory can be counted as "coercion", then how does the US military view its beefing-up of military deployment around the South China Sea and in the neighboring region, frequent close-in surveillance and a considerable number of highly targeted military exercises? What are these actions about? It is reported that the US have hundreds of military bases around the globe as well as over ten aircraft carriers and its military spending will keep increasing, yet at the same time it makes irresponsible remarks on and finds fault with China's normal national defense building. This reminds us of a Chinese idiom "the high-handed magistrates are free to burn down houses, while the common people are forbidden even to light lamps", which is out-and-out double standard.
China's construction of logistics facility in Djibouti is to ensure that the Chinese forces carrying out escort missions in the Gulf of Aden and off the coast of Somali and performing humanitarian aid missions will refresh here. This is what needed by China to better fulfill international obligations and safeguard regional peace and stability, which serves the interests of all including the US. We believe that China and the US can join hands in upholding world peace and live in harmony.
We hope those from the US military can discard their Cold-War mentality and look at China's development, including China's normal, reasonable and necessary national defense development, in an objective and rational light.
Q: It is reported that the Myanmar military is searching for an army plane which went missing in the south on the afternoon of June 7 with over 100 people onboard. The Myanmar Armed Forces command confirmed on June 8 that the wreckage of the plane and bodies of some passengers had been recovered. What is China's comment? Will China come forward in the search and rescue?
A: We have noted the relevant reports. We express deep condolences to Myanmar for this unfortunate incident and deep grief over the victims. China will provide necessary assistance in dealing with the follow-up matters as wished and needed by the Myanmar side.
You may have seen the statement by China National Aero-Technology Import and Export Corporation (CATIC), which said it would fully assist Myanmar in a probe into the accident.
Q: It is reported that Tehran was hit by twin terrorist attacks on June 7. What is your comment?
A: China strongly condemns the terrorist attacks, mourns for the victims and expresses condolences to the bereaved families and the injured.
China's stance on counter-terrorism has been consistent and clear. China firmly opposes all forms of terrorism, and wishes to strengthen counter-terrorism cooperation with the international community to cope with terrorist threats.
As verified by the Chinese Embassy in Iran, no casualties of Chinese citizens have been reported to date.
Q: I have a question about the delayed deployment of THAAD. Will this move make China more likely to take new steps with Russia, for example, to pressure the ROK by deploying anti-missile or other military systems on the "Northern Territories" near Japan?
A: China's opposition to the THAAD deployment by the US in the ROK is firm and clear-cut.
Follow-up: Any more concrete actions or plans to work with Russia on the opposition of THAAD?
A: We have stressed repeatedly that the THAAD deployment by the US in the ROK makes no contribution to the settlement of the Peninsula nuclear issue, and will undermine regional strategic balance. China and Russia share a high degree of consensus and common interests on this issue and will continue to have close communication and coordination.
Q: According to the Yonhap News Agency, the ROK Foreign Minister nominee Kang Kyung-wha said sanctions and pressure shall not be pursued as the final goal but the means to denuclearize the DPRK, vowing to resume talks with the DPRK. How do you comment on that?
A: We have noted the remarks by Madame Kang Kyung-wha. Indeed, as we stressed many times, sanctions and pressure are not the end in themselves but just the means. All parties should work for one purpose only, which is to peacefully resolve the Peninsula nuclear issue through dialogue and negotiation and uphold peace and stability on the Peninsula and in Northeast Asia.
Now the situation on the Peninsula remains highly complex and sensitive as it is at a crossroad where we should decide on which path to follow. Relevant parties, the US and the ROK included, have signaled their readiness for peaceful settlement through dialogue and negotiation, and these positive moves need to be taken seriously by all parties. The opportunity does not come by easily and may be now or never. China supports the DPRK and the ROK in strengthening contact and communication, enhancing relations and advancing reconciliation and cooperation. We also support various parties in addressing respective reasonable concerns through dialogue and consultation in a balanced way. In particular, parties should make political decision as soon as possible, demonstrate sincerity and jointly explore ways to resume negotiation. We hope that parties can positively respond to the "suspension for suspension" proposal and the "parallel-track" approach, replace confrontation with dialogue, hostility with goodwill, suspicion with trust, and create the opportunity for the resumption of talks and the prospect of peace.
Q: The US Department of State issued the Review of Key Developments in Hong Kong yesterday. What is your comment on that?
A: Since its handover, the "one country, two systems" policy and the Basic Law have been effectively implemented and the Hong Kong residents are fully entitled to rights and freedom under the law. For people who are objective and unbiased, it is an undeniable fact. The Chinese central government is resolute in carrying forward the "one country, two systems" , "Hong Kong people governing Hong Kong" and a high degree of autonomy.
I shall stress that Hong Kong is a special administrative region of China, and Hong Kong affairs fall within China's domestic affairs, which brook no interference from any foreign countries. The relevant document on Hong Kong issued by the US makes irresponsible remarks on Hong Kong affairs, to which we express strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition. We require the US to speak and act cautiously on Hong Kong-related issues.