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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang's Regular Press Conference on April 25, 2014


Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang held a press conference on April 25, 2014.

Q: The UN-OPCW Joint Mission confirmed on April 24 that 92.5% of Syria's chemical weapons have been destroyed or shipped out of the country. How does China evaluate the current stage of chemical weapons destruction and the role played by China in this process? Do you think it is possible for Syria to meet the deadline set for the destruction of its chemical weapons?

A: After multiple batches of chemical weapons have been shipped out of Syria under the joint escort of naval vessels from China, Russia and other countries, now the transport of Syria's chemical weapons has reached its final stage. China welcomes that and commends the efforts made by all sides.

To resolve the issue of Syria's chemical weapons through political means stands as an exemplary case of resolving security issues through international cooperation. China has played an important, positive and constructive role in this process. China has been strictly following and earnestly implementing relevant decisions of the OPCW and resolutions of the UN. We have sent experts to participate in the verification of chemical weapons, provided material assistance and dispatched naval vessels to take a full part in the whole escort mission. China has been in close contact with all sides to ensure a secure and smooth removal and destruction of Syria's chemical weapons.

As Syria is approaching the goal of destroying all the chemical weapons, we hope all relevant parties can cherish the hard-earned progress, stay in communication and cooperation, make their own contributions so that the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons can be achieved as soon as possible and create favorable conditions for a political solution of the Syrian issue.

Q: The US and Japan have just issued a joint statement which claims that the US-Japan Security Treaty applies to all Japan-administered territories, including the Diaoyu Islands. It also comments on issues related to the East China Sea Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) and the South China Sea. What is China's comment?

A: We are very concerned with some of the contents of the joint statement. To point fingers at other countries by making use of some issues will be detrimental to the proper resolution of these issues and regional stability.

China's position on the issue of the Diaoyu Islands is consistent and clear. The Diaoyu Island and its affiliated islands are integral parts of China's territory. The US-Japan Security Treaty, as a product of the Cold War era, cannot change the solid fact that the Diaoyu Islands belong to China. No matter what others say or do, the strong determination and resolve of the Chinese government and its people to safeguard sovereignty and territorial integrity cannot be shaken.

China, as a sovereign state, is entitled to establish the East China Sea ADIZ, and our practice is in full accord with international law and customs. The US and Japan, both of whom established their own ADIZs several decades ago, have absolutely no right to criticize China's establishment of the ADIZ.

China's sovereignty over the islands in the South China Sea and the adjacent waters is indisputable and based on adequate historical facts and jurisprudential evidence. The act of submitting disputes surrounding the South China Sea to the international arbitration in itself violates bilateral agreements and breaks the commitment made in the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea. We are full of sincerity when we say that disputes and differences should be resolved peacefully through direct dialogue and consultation between parties concerned, but that does not mean that we will ever allow our country's sovereignty and territorial integrity to be infringed upon.

Fundamentally speaking, to use the US-Japan Security Treaty to strengthen their alliance and damage the interests of a third party is not only out of step with the times, but also violates the basic norms governing international relations. This is the 21st century. Peaceful development and win-win cooperation is the trend of the Asia-Pacific region and the common aspiration of people living in the region. It represents the mainstream. We urge the US and Japan to discard their Cold War mentality, truly respect the interests and concerns of other countries in this region so as to avoid causing further disturbance to regional peace and stability.

In order to promote regional peace, stability and prosperity, what should the US and Japan do? Isn't it the time to do serious reflection about the Cold War mentality which came into being over 60 years ago? China's ancient philosopher Confucius said over two thousand years ago that a wise man pursues harmony without uniformity, and a wise man is all-embracing and not partial. I hope that the US and Japan can be enlightened by Confucius' wisdom.

Q: First, some relatives of the passengers aboard the missing Malaysian plane staged a sit-in in front of the Malaysian Embassy in China today. Does China know anything about this protest? What is China's response? Second, the government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) has reached an agreement with the Philippine government on the hostage incident. What is China's comment?

A: As to your first question, since the plane went mission, China has been in close communication and coordination with the Malaysian side, doing whatever we can to cooperate with them in carrying out search operation, consoling relatives of the passengers and investigating the cause of the incident, and urge the Malaysian side to take seriously the legitimate rights and interests of relatives of the passengers and respond positively to their reasonable demands. At the same time, we hope the relatives can express their demands in a lawful and rational way. The Chinese government will continue to provide assistance to them.

As to your second question, we welcome the agreement reached between the SAR government and the Philippine government on the hostage incident. We are glad to see that the incident is properly resolved in the end.

Since the incident took place, the central government and the Foreign Ministry have been following this closely, making great efforts, engaging with the Philippine side and urging them to take seriously and respond positively to the reasonable and legitimate requests of families of the hostages. The central government, the Foreign Ministry and the Chinese diplomatic and consular missions abroad will continue with their unremitting efforts to safeguard the safety and lawful rights and interests of overseas Chinese citizens, including the Hong Kong compatriots.

Q: UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has asked the UN Security Council to take measures against Syria in response to its violation of relevant UN Security Council resolutions. What is China's comment?

A: I have not seen the statement made by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. We believe that there are still a lot of destabilizing factors in the situation in Syria. We have been calling on all sides in Syria to realize ceasefire and cessation of violence as soon as possible, and press ahead with a political solution through dialogue and consultation. The sooner the country returns to stability, the sooner the life of the Syrian people can return to normal.

Under the current circumstances, the Geneva talks need to be continued, and an inclusive political transition of Syria must be unrelentingly pushed forward. The UN and the international community should foster such efforts in a constructive way. China has been participating in UN discussions on Syria in that spirit, and played a positive role in moving ahead the process of Syria's political transition. We stand ready to continue our joint efforts with the international community so that Syria can achieve peace and stability at an early date.

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