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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei's Regular Press Conference on March 31, 2014

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei held a press conference on March 31, 2014.

Hong Lei started the press conference with the following announcement:

At the invitation of the Chinese government, H.R.H Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn of Thailand will visit China from April 5 to 11.

He then updated the press on China's latest search efforts for the missing Malaysian airliner.

On March 30, seven Chinese vessels, including Jinggangshan, Kunlunshan, Haikou and Qiandaohu of the Chinese Navy, Haixun 01, South China Sea Rescue 115 and East China Sea Rescue 101 assembled in waters to the west of Perth, Australia and started a joint search in a new area in the southern Indian Ocean, covering about 320,000 square nautical miles. The new search area is 680 nautical miles long and 480 nautical miles wide in a rectangular shape, located between 26 and 34 degrees south latitude, and between 91 and 104 degrees east longitude. It is an area larger than all the previous waters searched by Chinese vessels combined. One IL-76 of the China Air Force is also searching above the same waters. Haixun 31 and the Chinese naval vessel Yongxingdao will continue their search in the eastern part of the Indian Ocean.

In short, China is actively pressing ahead with its search operation in relevant waters. We will make energetic efforts as long as there is a glimmer of hope.

Q: The DPRK Foreign Ministry released a statement yesterday, saying that it would not rule out a new form of nuclear test. What is China's comment?

A: China pays attention to the relevant move. I want to stress that China stays committed to realizing denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, upholding peace and stability there and resolving the issue through dialogue and consultation. This position is clear-cut and firm. The current situation on the Korean Peninsula is still fragile. Peace and stability of the Peninsula serves the common interests of all parties concerned. We urge all parties to keep calm, exercise restraint and refrain from anything that may jeopardize peace and stability there.

Q: After the Philippines' announcement of the delivery of supply to the military vessel grounded on the Ren'ai Reef on March 29, Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert F. del Rosario stated on March 30 that the Philippines submitted a memorial filing to the arbitral tribunal on the South China Sea disputes between the Philippines and China. What is China's comment?

A: With regard to the Philippines' announcement of its submission of a Memorial to the arbitral tribunal, I have reiterated China's solemn position of non-acceptance and non-participation right after the announcement.

On the issue of the Ren'ai Reef, I want to point out that the Philippines' arrangement of the reporting trip to the waters off the Ren'ai Reef just a day before its submission of the Memorial to the arbitral tribunal is a deliberately schemed activity with the purpose of further hyping up the issue of the Ren'ai Reef, building momentum for its promotion of the international arbitration and serving its attempt to illegally snatch the Ren'ai Reef which is China's territory. It fully demonstrates that the purpose for the Philippines' willful pursuit of the international arbitration is to cover up its illegal occupation of China's territory and trouble-making in the South China Sea. It is a political provocation by abusing international legal means. The Philippines' provocation on the Ren'ai Reef shows once again that at the heart of the South China Sea disputes between China and the Philippines are the disputes on the sovereignty over islands and reefs, which have been excluded from arbitration procedures provided for under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). China will by no means allow the Philippine side to seize the Ren'ai Reef in any form, nor will China allow it to build facilities on the Ren'ai Reef in defiance of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC). The Philippine side will have to take the consequences caused by its provocative actions.

Q: Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf of the US State Department said that the US reaffirmed its support for the exercise of peaceful means to resolve maritime disputes without fear of any form of retaliation, including intimidation or coercion. All countries should respect the right of any States Party, including the Philippines, to avail themselves of the dispute resolution mechanisms provided for under the Law of the Sea Convention. What is China's comment?

A: With regard to the Philippines' submission of the Memorial to the arbitral tribunal, I have already elaborated on China's principled position. I want to reiterate that China has indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and their adjacent waters. China does not accept the international arbitration initiated by the Philippine side. Disputes such as these have already been excluded from arbitration procedures through a declaration made by China in 2006 pursuant to the UNCLOS.

The US is not a party-concerned in the South China Sea disputes. It has on many occasions stated that it takes no position on issues concerning territorial sovereignty. We urge the US to honor its commitment and do more to uphold peace and stability in the South China Sea, rather than the opposite.

Q: The DPRK carried out a live-fire exercise off the western coast of the Korean Peninsula near the "Northern Limit Line". The ROK fired back. What is China's comment?

A: China is concerned about the rising tension on the Korean Peninsula. China opposes actions that undermine peace and stability of the Peninsula and urge all parties to keep calm, exercise restraint, be discreet in words and deeds, prevent the progressive escalation of the tension and jointly safeguard peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula.

Q: In response to President Xi Jinping's speech in Germany which touched upon Japan's invasion against China and the Nanjing Massacre, Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga commented that it was extremely unproductive for a Chinese leader to make such remarks in a third country. What is China's comment?

A: We express strong dissatisfaction with and protest against Japan's unreasonable attitude.

Irrefutable facts have proven the history of Japanese militarism's invasion against China including the Nanjing Massacre. By citing that part of history in his speech, President Xi Jinping is to lay stress on the importance of upholding human justice and peace by drawing hard lessons from history, so as to prevent the recurrence of the historical tragedy and open up to the future. There have been erroneous words and deeds in Japan over recent days which negate and whitewash its history of aggression, arousing high attention and vigilance of peace-loving people from around the world. We solemnly urge the Japanese side to take a correct and serious look at its history of aggression and win back the trust of its Asian neighbors and the international community with concrete actions.

Q: US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said on March 28 that the US "does not seek to militarize cyberspace" and hopes to make it the catalyst for freedom and prosperity. The US Defence Ministry will maintain an approach of restraint to any cyber operations outside of US government networks and urge other nations to do the same. What is China's comment?

A: China has noted the statement by the US. We always believe that information and communication technology should help promote the all-round development of society and economy as well as people's well-being of all countries. To preserve peace of the cyber space and prevent it from becoming a new battlefield serves the common interests of the international community. China hopes that the US can translate relevant remarks into concrete policies and actions and work together with the international community to build a peaceful, secure, open and cooperative cyber space.

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