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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Liu Weimin's Regular Press Conference on April 24, 2012

On April 24, 2012, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Liu Weimin held a press conference.

Q: Philippine Foreign Secretary Del Rosario said that China wanted to be a rule-maker on the South China Sea issue and the Huangyan Island conflict showed that countries who wanted to maintain freedom of navigation and unimpeded commerce in the South China Sea would face threats. In addition, the Spokesperson of the Philippine Foreign Ministry said that the Philippines would formally inform the US on the Huangyan Island issue during next week's "2+2" conference between defence and foreign secretaries of the two countries. How does China comment?

A: China has full historical and jurisprudential evidence for its sovereignty over the Huangyan Island, which is completely in line with international law. In accordance with relevant international treaties that set the territorial limits of the Philippines, the Huangyan Island is absolutely outside of the Philippines' territory. The Philippine side also used to say that "the Huangyan Island is not within the scope of territorial sovereignty of the Philipines". But now, the Philippines has been unilaterally misinterpreting the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. Its claim of a "200 nautical miles of exclusive economic zones" has impaired China's territorial claim, which is in itself against international law. International rules are made jointly by all countries in the world, and countries, big or small, should abide by them. We believe the public are able to tell right from wrong.

On the freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, there has never been a problem. China has long exercised and maintained its territorial sovereignty over the Huangyan Island, which has never and is unlikely to affect the freedom of navigation in the South China Sea. On the contrary, the Philippines dispatched warships to the Huangyan Island and forced onboard Chinese fishing boats for so-called "inspection", leading to tensions there. This can not but spark people's grave concerns over the security of the area.

On your second question, usually countries do not take positions on the sovereign dispute between others. We have noticed that other countries have not taken positions on this issue.

Q: Please brief us on the specifics of President Kiir of South Sudan's visit to China. Will the two sides talk over the oil dispute between Sudan and South Sudan? What's China's view on South Sudan's attempt to build alternative oil pipelines?

A: President Kiir of South Sudan arrived in Beijing yesterday. During his visit to China, President Hu Jintao will have talks with him, and Chairman Wu Bangguo and Vice Premier Li Keqiang will meet with him respectively. We believe his visit will further enhance mutual understanding and trust and push forward China-South Sudan friendly and cooperative relations in an all-round manner. The two sides will sign relevant cooperation documents.

On the oil dispute between Sudan and South Sudan, China has expressed its grave concerns over the escalation of tension many times. We hope the two sides will resolve the issue through dialogue and consultation and do no take actions that will escalate tension. Oil is the economic lifeline of both Sudan and South Sudan. Maintaining the stability and continuity of their oil cooperation with foreign oil companies serves the fundamental interests of the two countries and also those of their cooperation partners including Chinese companies. We hope the oil negotiation between them will make progress so that a mutually acceptable solution will be found as soon as possible.

Q: Did President Hu Jintao talk about the DPRK's nuclear test issue with Kim Yong Il, Alternate Member of the Political Bureau, secretary of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) and head of the international department of the WPK? Did China require the DPRK to stop nuclear tests?

A: Relevant information has been released. Minister Kim Yong Il came to China to inform China about the Party Conference of the DPRK and hold the second meeting of China-DPRK party-to-party strategic communication mechanism. The two sides had in-depth exchange of views on bilateral relations, party-to-party exchanges and cooperation, the situation on the Korean Peninsula and other international and regional issues of mutual interest. On the Korean nuclear issue, China has reiterated its position many times and all parties are clear about it.

Q: The fourth Mekong-Japan Summit was held in Tokyo recently. How does China comment on the outcome of the meeting? Separately, Japanese Prime Minister Noda said that Japan will regard the region as its priority area of assistance. Media comments say that this move of Japan is aimed at countering China's influence in the region. How does China comment?

A: China is open to the cooperation between countries outside this region and the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS). We welcome relevant country's provision of financing and technology to countries in the sub-region based on their actual needs in order to help them realize all-round social and economic development.

In promoting the cooperation on the development of the sub-region, China and Japan can bring to bear each other's advantages, step up communication and coordination to push forward the development and prosperity of countries in the sub-region.

Q: It's the 14th day of the Huangyan Island incident. What's China's view on the current situation? In addition, the Philipines said recently that China's sovereignty claim over virtually the entire South China Sea is disturbing. How does China comment?

A: This issue was caused by Philippine warships' harassment of Chinese fishing boats and fishermen in waters off the Huangyan Island. In the wake of the incident, China immediately sent public service ships to the sea area to protect its national territorial sovereignty and safety of Chinese fishermen. At the same time, China made solemn representations with the Philippines through diplomatic channels both in Beijing and via the Chinese Embassy in the Philippines. The Philippines also expressed its wish to solve the issue through diplomatic means and denied that it would send warships and planes to the sea area again. The situation is now calming down. The Chinese Government will continue to firmly uphold national territorial sovereignty. China demands the Philippines to seriously and earnestly handle China's concerns, concretely respect China's territorial sovereignty and refrain from taking any more actions that will complicate or amplify the situation in order to restore peace and stability in waters off the Huangyan Island and do not disrupt the normal operation of Chinese fishermen.

On your second question, the Huangyan Island is China's inherent territory. The Philippines' groundless territorial claim over the Island is the fundamental reason behind the complications of the situation. What's more, it is neither justified nor helpful to expand the issue of territorial sovereignty over the Huangyan Island to the entire South China Sea.

Q: It is reported that a Chinese company has provided delivery vehicles to the DPRK to help the country launch missiles. How does China comment?

A: China has made clear its position on this issue many times, and I will not repeat here.

Q: It is reported that the special operation action group of the Korean People's Army (KPA) supreme command released a notice on April 23 that its revolutionary armed forces will launch special actions against the ROK government and the conservative media of the ROK. How does China comment?

A: We have noticed the latest developments of the situation on the Korean Peninsula over the recent period and are deeply concerned. Upholding peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula serves the common interests of both the DPRK and the ROK, as well as other parties concerned. We urge relevant parties to exercise calmness and restraint and do not do things that will harm the relaxation of tension on the Peninsula and regional peace and stability.

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