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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying's Regular Press Conference on April 22, 2016


At the invitation of State Councilor Yang Jiechi, Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Luhut Binsar Panjaitan of the Republic of Indonesia will visit China from April 26 to 27 and co-host with State Councilor Yang Jiechi the 5th meeting of bilateral dialogue mechanism at deputy prime minister level.


During his visit, Chinese leaders will meet with him. State Councilor Yang Jiechi will co-host with him the 5th meeting of bilateral dialogue mechanism at deputy prime minister level. China and Indonesia are both major developing countries in the region and important emerging markets. China regards Indonesia as a priority of its neighborhood diplomacy, and stands ready to work with Indonesia to deepen and expand cooperation. It is believed that this visit will further enhance bilateral mutual trust and cooperation and move forward bilateral comprehensive strategic partnership.


Q: Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull reportedly told the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia that he led the biggest ever business delegation to visit China in a bid to further tap into the Chinese market, and that Australia must make full use of the China-Australia free trade agreement to bolster its economic growth. What is China's comment?


A: Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's visit to China last week achieved positive results. During the visit, leaders of the two countries had an in-depth discussion on bilateral relations and other issues of common interest, and competent authorities and enterprises of China and Australia inked multiple cooperation agreements. Relevant information has been released. Going forward, China stands ready to work with Australia to implement the consensus reached by the leaders, press ahead with the China-Australia comprehensive strategic partnership based on mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit and bring more benefits to the two peoples.


Q: It is reported that the Yemen peace talks were resumed on April 21 in Kuwait. How does China comment?


A: China welcomes the resumption of peace talks by various parties from Yemen, and hopes that relevant parties would reach a resolution that accommodates all parties' concerns through dialogue and restore security, stability and normal order to Yemen at an early date.


Q: I believe China's Special Envoy for Syria Xie Xiaoyan is in Damascus. Can you give us more details about who he met and what message he passed on?


A: Special Envoy Xie Xiaoyan of the Chinese government for Syria was in Syria on April 21 where he met with Syrian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Walid Al-Moualem as well as Syria's Presidential Political and Media Advisor Bouthaina Shaaban on separate occasions. The two sides had in-depth exchange of views on the current situation in Syria.


Special Envoy Xie Xiaoyan said that with the ceasefire agreement generally observed, the Geneva peace talks started and moved forward, and humanitarian relief operations making progress, there comes hard-won opportunities for the political settlement of the Syrian issue. The Chinese side appreciates efforts made by the Syrian government to that end. We maintain that the Syrian issue should be resolved through political means without interfering in the domestic affairs of Syria, Syria's sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity be upheld, Syria's future and fortune be decided by the Syrian people themselves and the UN play the role as the major channel of mediation. We call on all relevant parties to work out a solution that meets the realities in Syria and accommodates each party's concerns through inclusive political dialogues. Going forward, China is willing to stay in communication with all parties including the Syrian side and contribute its efforts for an early settlement of the Syrian issue through political means.


The Syrian side welcomed the Chinese government's establishment of the post of Special Envoy for Syria and regarded the Special Envoy's visit as very important. The Syrian side updated the Special Envoy on the implementation of the ceasefire agreement, the development of Geneva peace talks and the humanitarian situation in Syria. They expressed their readiness to keep in touch with the Chinese side and looked forward to a bigger role of China in the process of politically resolving the Syrian issue. Besides, Special Envoy Xie Xiaoyan also met with some representatives of the Syrian opposition.


Q: Two drug dealers from Paraguay who were sentenced to death in China have recently got their sentences commuted to life imprisonment. Can you give us more details about their cases? Will China consider letting them serve their prison terms back in Paraguay?


A: I have no information about the specific cases you mentioned. It is the shared view of the whole world that drug-related crimes are felonies causing grave damage to the society. Chinese judicial authorities treat foreign drug traffickers as equals, try their cases in accordance with the law and fully guarantee their lawful rights and interests.


Q: Japanese lawmakers visited the Yasukuni Shrine today. What is China's comment?


A: We have elaborated time and again our position on the issue of the Yasukuni Shrine. We hope that political figures in Japan would adopt a correct outlook on history and do more to promote reconciliation and mutual trust between Japan and its Asian neighbors.


Q: What is the latest development of railway cooperation between China and Thailand?


A: China and Thailand are close and friendly neighbors. The two sides are committed to moving forward practical cooperation in various fields under the principle of mutual benefit and win-win cooperation. Railway cooperation is a major practical cooperation project between China and Thailand. When completed, the railway inside Thailand will promote Thailand's economic and social development, make Thailand a regional connectivity hub, and spur development of the whole Indo-China Peninsula and even the ASEAN region. It is learnt that relevant departments of the two sides are in close communication on railway cooperation project. We hope that the two sides can remain in contact and work together to launch the project at an early date so as to deliver tangible benefits to the two peoples.


Q: On April 21, US Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in Vietnam that China's massive land reclamation projects in the South China Sea and the increasing militarization of the military outposts fuels regional tensions and raises serious questions about China's intentions. The US will continue to sail, fly and operate anywhere international law allows. What is your comment?


A: We have noted relevant reports. In fact, this is not the first time that we hear such remarks concerning the South China Sea issue from a US official. I want to stress again that it is within China's sovereignty and China's practice of self-preservation right based on international law to deploy necessary and limited national defense facilities on certain islands and reefs of the Nansha Islands. This is beyond reproach. China always respects and supports navigation and overflight freedom that all countries are entitled to in the South China Sea under international law, but is firmly opposed to some country's attempt to threaten and hurt the sovereignty and security of coastal states under the pretext of navigation and overflight freedom.


The US keeps questioning China's intentions. I would like the US to clarify their real motives behind all these hyping-up and exaggerating of tensions in the South China Sea. Is the US-claimed navigation freedom the one that ordinary vessels of all countries enjoy under international law, or the American one that only US military planes and vessels are privileged to have? The US is not a party concerned in the South China Sea issue. It should mind its words and actions, create a favorable atmosphere for the peaceful settlement of relevant disputes through consultation and negotiation between parties directly concerned, and play a constructive and responsible role for regional peace and stability, instead of the contrary.


Q: ROK Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs Kim Hong-kyun arrived in Beijing to meet with Special Representative of the Chinese government for the Korean Peninsula Affairs Wu Dawei. Do you have more details?


A: ROK Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs Kim Hong-kyun started his visit to China today. This afternoon, Special Representative of the Chinese government for the Korean Peninsula Affairs Wu Dawei will meet with him and have an in-depth exchange of views on the situation of the Korean Peninsula.


We believe that a thorough discussion on the situation of the Korean Peninsula between China and the ROK will help enhance understanding of each other's positions on the relevant issue and alleviate the tense situation on the Peninsula through joint efforts. The Korean Peninsula issue is very complicated and shall be fundamentally resolved through dialogue and negotiation with a holistic approach. While implementing Security Council Resolution 2270 in its entirety, all parties should stick to dialogue and consultation and strive for an early resumption of the Six-Party Talks.


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