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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang's Regular Press Conference on May 10, 2016


At the invitation of President Xi Jinping, King of Morocco Mohammed VI will pay a state visit to China starting from May 11.


Q: Head of the EU Mission to China Hans-Dietmar Schweisgut said on May 9 that China must urgently address overcapacity in the steel industry and the "market distortions" it is causing. This issue can wait no more and China's measures were not going quite far enough. What is your comment?


A: We hope that anyone who wants to say something on this subject would first of all know the facts, and then respect the facts.


When it comes to addressing steel overcapacity, China is more determined than other countries, and we are also the first to roll out measures that are more effective than those of others. Over the past 5 years, China cut 90 million tonnes of steel capacity, almost doubling the original goal of 48 million tonnes. The steel sector is now the priority of the Chinese government in scaling down overcapacity. Steel export, instead of being subsidized, is placed under restriction measures, a step that has not been taken by any other steel-producing country.


Steel overcapacity is a global issue, the root cause of which is a lack of effective demand due to global economic recession. In order to fundamentally solve this issue, countries around the world should work in unison for sustained and stable recovery of the global economy. We are all in the same boat, and in time of storms, we should pool together, instead of pushing each other out of the boat. The EU imported 32 million tonnes of steel in 2015. Considering that only one fifth of them came from China, it obviously makes no sense to put the blame all on China for the malaise of the EU industry.


There is a saying in China: the illness may be acute, but don't be reckless in seeking treatment. Otherwise, the illness will not be cured, and time and efforts will be wasted for no good reason.


Q: The Philippines election commission announced on early May 10 that preliminary vote counts showed that Mayor Rodrigo Duterte of Davao city won the election. Has China sent congratulations to Duterte? What is China's expectation for developing bilateral ties with the new government?


A: China has been following the election in the Philippines. I want to stress that the Philippines is China's close neighbor and the two peoples enjoy traditional friendship. China always attaches importance to developing ties with the Philippines and has been working hard to preserve bilateral relations with a larger picture in mind. However, due to reasons known to everyone, bilateral ties have met severe setbacks. We hope that the new government of the Philippines can work with us towards the same direction, properly deal with relevant disputes, and bring bilateral relations back to the track of sound development with concrete actions. We hope that the future for relations between China and the Philippines can be brighter.


Q: First, Supreme Leader of the DPRK Kim Jung-un said at the 7th Congress of the Workers' Party of Korea that the DPRK is a nuclear state. This contradicts China's position of pursuing denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. What is your comment? Second, what does China think the DPRK should do to improve bilateral ties?


A: On your first question, I have already given an answer yesterday. It is China's consistent position to realize denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, maintain peace and stability of the Peninsula, and resolve the Korean nuclear issue through negotiation, consultation and dialogue. We hope that all relevant parties can work in the direction the trend of the times points to.


On your second question, China and the DPRK are neighbors with traditional friendship. You may have noticed that President Xi Jinping has congratulated Comrade Kim Jung-un on his appointment as Chairman of the DPRK Workers' Party. We also hope that bilateral ties can be moved forward in a sound way.


Q: The US today staged a freedom of navigation operation (FONOP)by sending a navy vessel to waters off China's Yongshu Jiao. What is your comment?


A: On May 10, without permission from the Chinese government, the USS William P. Lawrence destroyer illegally entered waters near the relevant reef of China's Nansha Islands. Relevant department on the Chinese side monitored, followed and issued warnings to the US vessel in accordance with law. I must say that what the US warship has done threatened China's sovereignty and security interests, endangered safety of personnel and facilities on the reef, and jeopardized regional peace and stability. Again, we oppose such move by the US side and will continue to take necessary measures to protect China's sovereignty and security.


I also want to add that China has indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and the adjacent waters. For a long time, the freedom of navigation and overflight in the region has been upheld thanks to the cooperative and concerted efforts by China and relevant coastal countries in the South China Sea. In fact, the freedom of navigation and overflight and the passage of vessels of all countries have never met any obstacle.


The US rushed to put forward the so-call FONOP before the signing of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in 1979. The US is challenging and provoking the new maritime order by wielding its military power. Many countries voiced their strong opposition to that from the very start. To this day, the US still drags its feet in joining UNCLOS. It is because the US places its own interests above international law. The US has been waving the banner of navigation and overflight freedom and flexing its muscles in the South China Sea by ordering its military vessels and planes to sail or fly close to or even enter waters and air space near relevant islands and reefs of China's Nansha Islands. To peace and stability as well as navigation and overflight freedom in the South China Sea, such provocative act is the greatest threat.


Q: Duterte, who has won the Philippine election, reportedly said that the Philippines and China can jointly explore offshore oil and gas resources, and he will gather the US, Japan, Australia and other claimants to resolve the South China Sea dispute through multilateral negotiations. How do you respond to his remarks?


A: On the South China Sea issue, China approves and advocates the dual-track approach proposed by ASEAN countries. That is, relevant disputes shall be properly resolved by countries directly concerned through negotiation and consultation based on historical facts and international law, and peace and stability in the South China Sea shall be maintained by China and ASEAN countries together. China also holds that pending settlement of relevant disputes, regional countries shall properly manage and control disputes by establishing rules and mechanisms, and realize win-win results through development and cooperation.


Q: Chairman Kim Jung-un said at the 7th Congress that the DPRK will endeavor to realize a nuclear-free world. What is your response?


A: I have made our position clear when answering the question from your Japanese colleague just now.


Q: Duterte, who has won the Philippine election, said that he would seek the settlement of the South China Sea dispute by engaging the US, Australia and other parties in multi-lateral negotiations. What is your comment?


A: As I have said, China approves and sticks to the dual-track approach proposed by ASEAN countries. One of the two tracks states that disputes over the sovereignty of relevant islands and reefs in the South China Sea shall be properly resolved by countries directly concerned through bilateral negotiation based on historical facts and international law. It is not something promoted by China only. It is also clearly stipulated in the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea that China and ASEAN countries signed on to.


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