Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang's Regular Press Conference on April 11, 2016
Q: It is reported that G7 foreign ministers' meeting today issued a communique, expressing concerns over the current situation in the East China Sea and the South China Sea and opposing attempts to unilaterally change the status quo. How does China comment on this?
A: There seems to be multiple media reports recently saying that the G7 foreign ministers' meeting held by Japan will touch upon a lot of issues on the South China Sea and the East China Sea. I haven't seen the document you mentioned. We will see whether the document merits some comments after reading it.
Speaking of principles, I believe you all know well very China's position on the South China Sea. Some countries keep hyping up or fabricating some so-called issues, but regional countries' aspiration for peace, development and stability remains unaffected. If G7 still hopes to exert influence in the international community, it should adopt an attitude of seeking truth from facts and tackle issues that the international community is more concerned about. If G7 is hijacked by a particular country for selfish gains, this will do no good to the strength, function and future development of G7 itself.
Back to your question, we will decide whether it is necessary to make a comment after reading the document.
Q: The UK opposition party and the trade union recently accused the government of failing to properly rising to challenges posed by China in the steel industry, urging the UK government to levy anti-dumping tax on imported steel. Did the UK Foreign Secretary Phillip Hammond raise his concerns on this when visiting China?
A: Over-capacity of steel is a global issue caused by a plunging global demand. When Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with Foreign Secretary Phillip Hammond over the past weekend, the two sides exchanged views on how to effectively and properly address this issue. Foreign Secretary Phillip Hammond fully acknowledged the tremendous efforts by the Chinese side to cope with the surplus capacity in steel industry, stressing the willingness to properly address relevant issue through bilateral and international cooperation. China also spoke highly of the open and free trade policy that has long been upheld by the UK, standing ready to work together with the international community including the UK to cope with this issue through international cooperation.
Q: G7 foreign ministers' meeting reached a goal of creating a nuclear-free world. As a major nuclear power, what is China's take on this?
A: Ever since the first day when China owned nuclear weapons back in the 1960s, we have clarified our position and have worked relentlessly to realize the complete destruction of all nuclear weapons worldwide and build a nuclear-free world. This is our long-held policy.
Q: The Second G20 Sherpa Meeting of 2016 was just concluded. What are the outcomes of this meeting? How important is this meeting to the Hangzhou Summit?
A: The Second G20 Sherpa Meeting was convened in Guangzhou, China from April 6 to 8 presided over by Li Baodong, Chinese G20 Sherpa and Vice Foreign Minister.
This Sherpa Meeting comes halfway of the year-long preparation work for the summit, serving as an important link. During the meeting, all parties had substantive discussions on the agenda of the Hangzhou Summit and notable progress was made. All parties supported the G20's development of a blueprint for innovative growth, an action plan on the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, a strategy for global trade growth, guiding principles for global investment, high-level principles on the international campaign of tracing the corrupt and retrieving the ill-gotten money and other documents, which laid a solid foundation so that the Hangzhou Summit would yield fruitful results.
It is also worth mentioning that the Presidency Statement on Climate Change was issued in the meeting, an unprecedented move in the history of G20. All parties pledged to ink the Paris Agreement on Climate Change on April 22 or after that as soon as possible to create the conditions for the Agreement to take force. This showcases the responsibility shared by G20 members, and sends out a strong signal of addressing climate change in unison. You may have noticed that this statement has received fairly positive response from the world. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also applauded this move.
China will continue to follow the principles of openness, transparency and inclusiveness, propel G20 to focus on major topical issues concerning global economy and finance, and promote G20 to shift from a mechanism for crisis response to one of long-term governance to make new contribution to boosting global economic growth and improving global economic governance.
Q: It is reported that 13 DPRK citizens working in an overseas restaurant have fled to the ROK, possibly from a restaurant in China. What is your comment? Did the Chinese side offer assistance to them?
A: Regarding some reports of DPRK citizens who went missing in China, after investigation, 13 DPRK citizens were found exiting the Chinese border with valid passports on the early morning of April 6. It is worth noting that these people all had valid identity documents with them and exited the Chinese border in accordance with law. They are not DPRK citizens who illegally enter the Chinese territory.
Our position on the illegal entering of borders by the DPRK citizens is very clear. We always properly deal with this issue in compliance with international laws, domestic laws and humanitarian principles. This is our set policy.
Q: It is reported that a fire broke out in a Hindu temple in Kerala, India, causing over 110 deaths and over 300 injuries. What is your comment? Is there any Chinese people among the casualties?
A: We express our deep condolences and sincere sympathies to the heavy casualties inflicted by the fire in a temple in Kerala, India. Our sympathies go to the victims and the bereaved families, and we wish an early recovery for the injured.
No report on Chinese casualties has been received yet.
Q: Last week, Argentina released 4 detained Chinese fishermen. Have these fishermen come back to China? What work has China done to ensure their release?
A: It is learnt that the 4 Chinese fishermen have returned to China. We are glad to see that this problem is being properly settled.
Q: During Sri Lankan Prime Minister's visit to China, the two governments issued a joint statement which touched upon the South China Sea issue. Can you give us more details?
A: China and Sri Lanka released a joint statement when Sri Lankan Prime Minister visited China. The two countries agree that relevant maritime issues should be properly resolved by parties concerned through friendly negotiation and constructive dialogue. This is in line with China's consistent policy and position. As you know, for issues that are in their nature sovereignty and maritime rights and interests disputes such as the South China Sea issue, certain country's attempt to solve it through forceful arbitration is not helpful to regional peace and stability nor international practices in the long run. Therefore, China is strongly opposed to that.
Q: It is reported that when talking to journalists last Saturday, Prime Minister of Sri Lanka said he hoped to renegotiate with China the 8-billion-dollars debt that Sri Lanka owes China, and that he proposed a debt-for-equity swap to pay off the debt, for example by selling stakes of Sri Lankan companies to China to reduce the debt. Will the Chinese government look on this proposal positively? What discussions did the two sides have about the high-level debt from loans that the previous Sri Lanka government took from China?
A: During Sri Lankan Prime Minister's visit to China, the two sides had an in-depth discussion on how to expand mutual cooperation including trade and investment cooperation following the principles of equality and mutual benefit. The Sri Lankan side did express their welcome to Chinese companies to extend their investment in various fields including infrastructure in Sri Lanka, and the two sides are also exploring specific ways of cooperation. Specific information will be released timely if there is any.
Q: Foreign ministers of G7 visited the peace memorial park in Hiroshima today. Do you think this as a positive step to realize a nuclear-free world? What is China's comment?
A: Two atomic bombs exploded above Hiroshima and Nagasaki right before the end of the Second World War, crushing the illusions of Japanese militarists to make a last-ditch fight. It also inflicted grave miseries on Japanese civilians, whose sufferings under the nuclear bombings deserve our sympathies. An important lesson drawn from the Second World War is that we should take history as a mirror, prevent the tragedy of war from happening again and firmly uphold post-war international system and order. We also hope that by arranging the foreign ministers to visit the atomic explosion site in Hiroshima, the Japanese side would show to the world that it will never again go down the path of militarism which has inflicted intense sufferings on the international community including its Asian neighbors and people around the world including the Japanese citizens.
Q: Sri Lankan Prime Minister said that substantial changes have been made to the previous Colombo port city project, and the two sides also discussed this when he visited China. What is China's stance on this? When will the project be resumed?
A: As you have noted, the Sri Lankan cabinet has recently approved the environment evaluation report of the Colombo port city project, basically clearing the way for resuming the project. We also hope that the two sides will maintain communication and reach agreement on unsolved issues at an early date to pave the way for the resumption of the project. The cooperation between China and Sri Lanka has always been based on equality, mutual benefit and win-win situation. We also believe that the Sri Lankan side will actively discuss with the Chinese side on how to deepen pragmatic cooperation based on its own needs of social and economic development.