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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei's Regular Press Conference on February 16, 2016


Q: Dolkun Isa, head of the World Uyghur Congress (WUC), has been refused permission to visit Taiwan. He said that it is because the Chinese government has put pressure on Taiwan. Can you confirm that?

A: Dolkun Isa is wanted by the International Criminal Police Organization and China. He is suspected of organizing and carrying out a series of explosions, murders, robberies and other severe criminal activities as well as violent terrorist activities. He has been supporting violent terrorist activities by the East Turkistan Islamic Movement and East Turkistan terrorists with fund and training. Terrorism is our common enemy. Fighting against terrorism is a consensus shared by all.

Q: It is reported that on February 14, before leaving for visits to Japan and China, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told reporters that Australia expects continued freedom of navigation of planes and ships, civilian and military, in the South China Sea, and will seek explanation from China on the latest development of its island building activities. She hoped that China would halt construction activities. Australia supports the right of the Philippines to take its maritime dispute with China to international arbitration. What is China's response?

A: We welcome Foreign Minister Bishop's visit to China. It is very important to maintain regular exchanges between China and Australia.

As for the South China Sea issue, we have expounded on our principled position on many occasions. The Australian side is clear about that. The Philippines' unilateral initiation of international arbitration, which does not comply with international law and runs counter to the consensus reached between China and the Philippines as well as relevant provisions of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, will never be accepted by China. The Australian side should not selectively evade that objective fact. Deploying necessary national defense facilities on its own territory is China's exercise of self-preservation and defense, a right granted by international law to sovereign states. It does not impede freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea that all countries are entitled to under international law. The Australian side should adopt an objective and unbiased attitude and refrain from doing anything that undermines regional peace and stability.

Q: It is reported that the US will soon deploy four F-22 stealth fighter jets to the ROK. What is your comment?

A: The Korean Peninsula is in a very complex and sensitive situation. We hope relevant parties can bear in mind regional peace and stability and do more that are conducive to ameliorating the tension.

Q: First, the US Senate has passed a bill to name a street in Washington after Liu Xiaobo. Do you have any comment on that? Second, thousands of steel workers took to the street in Brussels, requesting the EU to levy high anti-dumping tariffs on China's cheap steel exports. Last week, the European Commission announced a new round of anti-dumping probe into China's steel exports. What is your comment?

A: On your first question, the relevant bill passed by the US Senate violates the basic norms of international relations. China firmly opposes that. If this bill is passed into law, it would cause severe consequences. We urge the US Congress to stop the approval procedure of the bill. We also hope that the US administration can put an end to this political farce.

On your second question, as a member of the WTO, China has been earnestly honoring each and every of its legal obligations since its accession and is entitled to every right bestowed by the WTO. Recent years have seen sound development of China-EU economic relations and trade. We hope that the EU can abide by the WTO rules and elevate economic cooperation and trade between the two sides to greater heights.

Q: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the other day that he hoped that foreign ministerial meeting between Russia, China, and India could be held in April in Moscow. What is China's expectation for the meeting? Do you have any details on the agenda?

A: China attaches great importance to the trilateral cooperation between China, Russia and India. We are in close communication with the Russian and Indian sides on the date of the meeting. We hope that the trilateral cooperation can further enhance our relationship with each other and make due contribution to international and regional peace, stability and development.

Q: The Syrian government said it had sent letters to the UN Secretary General and the Security Council because of Turkey's shelling of the Syrian territory. Will China support the discussion on the Turkish action at the UN Security Council?

A: We are following the relevant situation.

The process of politically resolving the Syrian issue has reached a critical stage. The just concluded fourth foreign ministers' meeting of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) agreed on ensuring humanitarian aid, advancing ceasefire and cessation of hostilities, and resuming peace talks. We hope that relevant parties can stick to Resolution 2254 of the UN Security Council and the consensus reached at the fourth foreign ministers' meeting of the ISSG and move forward the process of politically resolving the Syrian issue to achieve early outcomes.

Q: Recent remarks from the Chinese side seem to indicate that China supports stronger sanctions against the DPRK. What will these sanctions include? Will China support a ban on oil exports to the DPRK as proposed by the US?

A: We have clarified our position on the UN Security Council's discussion on new sanctions against the DPRK. We support the Security Council in passing new resolutions, the objective of which should be to deter the DPRK from advancing its nuclear and missile program. It is a definite direction that new actions by the Security Council should follow.

Q: Australian Foreign Minister Bishop said on February 16 that when she meets with Foreign Minister Wang Yi, she will ask him whether or not the Chinese side will grant other nations access to the islands and facilities China is building in the South China Sea, because the Chinese side has said that these are public goods for the international community. What is your response?

A: We have been saying that China's construction on relevant islands and reefs is mainly to enable China to better fulfill its international duties and obligations in maritime search and rescue, disaster prevention and reduction, marine scientific research, eco-environment protection and navigation safety, and to provide maritime public service to coastal countries and the region.

Meanwhile, we will deploy necessary national defense facilities on the islands. It is an exercise of self-preservation and defense, a right granted by international law to sovereign states. It does not impede freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea that all countries are entitled to under international law.

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