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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei's Regular Press Conference on February 26, 2016


Q: How important is it for China that the Security Council's new sanctions against the DPRK do not negatively affect ordinary people there? How can the Chinese government ensure that the sanctions are targeted and do not harm ordinary people's interests?

A: The UN Security Council is consulting on the new resolution against the DPRK. The Chinese side believes that the new resolution should focus on curbing the progress of the DPRK's nuclear and missile program. Relevant sanctions should be clearly targeted and must not affect the ordinary people's life in the DPRK. China's position in this regard is clear.

At the same time, we believe that sanctions are not an end in themselves. What is most pressing is to bring the Korean nuclear issue back to the track of dialogue and negotiation. The Chinese side has proposed to pursue in parallel tracks the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the replacement of the Korean armistice with a peace agreement. The approach will help denuclearize the Korean Peninsula, address various parties' reasonable concerns and realize enduring peace and stability on the Peninsula. We would like to have further discussions with all parties about the approach.

Q: How long will China be committed to upholding the sanctions? Is China concerned that these sanctions would destabilize the DPRK?

A: The Chinese side supports the UN Security Council in making necessary response to the DPRK's nuclear test and satellite launch, and stays committed to relevant resolutions of the Security Council. We also call on all parties to work as one and enhance cooperation in a bid to restart the Six-Party Talks at an early date and bring the issue concerning the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula back to the track of dialogue and negotiation. It serves the common interests of all relevant parties.

Q: The European steel industry is accusing Chinese producers of dumping. What is your response to that?

A: The recent drop in world steel price is mainly caused by the slump of world economy, decreasing demand from countries around the world and a fall in the price of energy and iron ore. Not only the EU but also the steel industry of China is faced with difficulty. The Chinese side has taken active measures by cutting the production of steel by over 90 million tonnes in the past three years. 100 to 150 million more tonnes of crude steel will be cut on the basis of that.

Protectionism is not a solution. It serves no party's long-term interests. We maintain that China and the EU should increase communication and discuss how to solve the problem concerning steel trade. We also support companies from the two sides in conducting cooperation in investment and production capacity.

Q: President Xi Jinping once said that Britain plays and should continue to play a strong role in Europe. British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne is in China for the G20 finance ministers' meeting. He pushed the meeting to warn about the dangers of Britain leaving the EU. What is China's position on the forthcoming referendum on Britain's exit from the EU? Do you believe that there would be some specific costs to Britain of leaving the EU? Will that make Britain a less attractive trading partner for China?

A: We have noted the comments by Chancellor Osborne as well as the relevant agreement reached between the UK and the EU last week. The Chinese side always supports the European integration process and wishes to see a bigger role of Europe on the international stage. It is hoped that the UK and the EU would properly deal with the relevant issue.

Q: Some said that China did not act in strict accordance with previous Security Council sanctions against the DPRK. Will things be different this time? What is your response?

A: The viewpoint you just mentioned does not hold water. As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China has been earnestly implementing resolutions of the UN Security Council and fulfilling due international obligations. The Chinese side believes that the new resolution will effectively limit the progress of the DPRK's nuclear and missile program. But negotiation remains the fundamental approach to resolve the Korean nuclear issue.

Q: Who will represent China at the signing ceremony on April 22 in the US for the climate agreement reached in Paris?

A: China has made important efforts for the global campaign against climate change by conducting international cooperation, and made significant contributions to the conclusion of the relevant agreement at last year's Paris conference on climate change. The Chinese side attaches importance to the upcoming signing ceremony. As for who will represent China at the ceremony, we will release the information in due course.

Q: US officials have said that the draft resolution on the DPRK includes restrictions on trade in oil and other minerals with the DPRK as well as inspections on cargo. Does China's understanding of the resolution coincide with what the US is saying? How badly will these measures affect the economy of the DPRK?

A: As I just said the Chinese side focuses on pursuing denuclearization of the Peninsula, upholding the international nuclear non-proliferation regime, safeguarding peace and stability of Northeast Asia and resolving relevant issues through dialogues and negotiations when participating in discussions on the new Security Council resolution against the DPRK. In view of the evolving situation, we support the new resolution in effectively limiting the progress of the DPRK's nuclear and missile program. At the same time, the ordinary people's life in the DPRK must not be affected.

Q: Is China dissatisfied with the way the Spanish government is handling the probe into the money laundering allegation against ICBC's Madrid branch. The Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister last week met with the Charge d'Affaires ad interim of the Spanish Embassy in China. How high up do the Chinese government's concerns go? What message has the Chinese government passed onto the Spanish government about this investigation?

A: People of all walks in China and Spain are following the case. The Chinese side maintains close communication with the Spanish side, making clear China's position on this issue.

We hope that the Spanish side would handle the case in a law-based and just manner, protect the lawful rights and interests of Chinese companies and individuals, and create a sound atmosphere and conditions for the sustained and steady development of economic cooperation between the two sides and the sound growth of bilateral ties.

Q: The commander of US forces in the Pacific, Adm. Harry Harris told the press on February 25 that even if China declared an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) in the South China Sea, the US would ignore that. What is China's comment on that?

A: The US military official seemed very busy these days. He addressed the US congress and then stood before the US Defense Department. Wherever he went, he kept talking about the South China Sea, smearing China's justified and reasonable actions there, sowing discord and making excuses for the US' exercise of hegemony and show of force in the South China Sea. However, a fallacy, repeated a thousand times, will not turn into truth. Facts are facts. China's reasonable deployment of limited defense facilities in the South China Sea is not "militarization". As for whether China will declare an ADIZ, it depends on whether China's air safety is threatened. The current situation in the South China Sea is generally stable. We hope that the US military would stop playing up the issue of the South China Sea, stop hyping up tensions and stop showing off military might in the South China Sea.

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