At the invitation of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull of Australia and Prime Minister Bill English of New Zealand, Premier Li Keqiang of the State Council will travel to Australia for the fifth annual meeting with the Australian prime minister and then visit New Zealand from March 22 to 29.
At the invitation of Premier Li Keqiang of the State Council, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will pay an official visit to China from March 19 to 22.
Q: US Senators have introduced a bill that would place sanctions on any Chinese person or entity that is involved in "illegal activities" in the South China Sea. Are you aware of that? Has China expressed opposition to the US?
A: This so-called bill introduced by some individual US Senators jars. It shows their arrogance and ignorance. The Chinese side holds a clear and consistent position on Diaoyu Dao and the South China Sea issues. The bill introduced by some individual US Senators goes against relevant international law and basic norms governing international relations. The Chinese side firmly opposes that.
Q: Some ROK media reported that the US military had delivered the X-band radar of the THAAD anti-missile system to the ROK. What is China's response to that?
A: The ROK Foreign Ministry has already clarified that the relevant report is not true. I would like to reiterate China's consistent and clear opposition against THAAD. We urge relevant parties to face squarely China's legitimate concerns and immediately cease the deployment.
Q: Some people in the ROK think that the ROK has explained to China that THAAD is just a defensive measure against the nuclear threat of the DPRK, but China is yet to come around to that. They do not understand why China opposes THAAD. Can you comment on that?
A: The Chinese side has clearly and repeatedly expressed its opposition on the issue of THAAD, and pointed out its severe damage and consequences. The Chinese side understands the ROK's concerns about its own security, but the problem is that THAAD disrupts regional strategic balance, does no good to peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula and may plunge the ROK into a more insecure situation.
More importantly, the X-band radar of THAAD covers an area of over 2,000km. Its scope of surveillance and early warning goes far beyond the Korean Peninsula, penetrates into the hinterland of the Asian continent, shadows great swathes of Chinese territories and far exceeds the ROK's needs to deal with external nuclear threat. We do not oppose the ROK taking necessary measures to defend its own security, but they must not do so at the expense of the security interests of China, its friendly neighbor.
China is fully justified to oppose THAAD. We once again urge relevant parties to face squarely the crux of the issue and China's reasonable concerns and immediately stop the deployment process.
Q: Saudi King Salman is currently in Beijng. When will he leave? Do you have any details on the remainder of his visit? Do you think China will play a role in improving the relationship between Saudi Arabia and Israel?
A: As we have announced, King Salman is here for a state visit lasting from March 15 to 18. President Xi Jinping held talks with him yesterday. This morning, Premier Li Keqiang and Chairman Zhang Dejiang met with King Salman separately. They had in-depth discussions on the bilateral relations and other issues of common concern, reaching important consensus.
After President Xi Jinping's talks with King Salman, Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Ming briefed the press about the significance and outcomes of the visit. The two heads of state bore witness to the signing of 14 cooperation deals in capacity and investment, nuclear energy, trade, finance, spaceflight, education, human resources and other fields. The two sides reaffirmed their commitment to strengthening practical cooperation in various fields under the Belt and Road framework, and aligning the Belt and Road initiative with Saudi's Vision 2030. The two sides also signed an MoU which covers 35 major projects for capacity and investment cooperation with a total volume of USD 65 billion. It is believed that King Salman's visit will give a further boost to the bilateral relationship.
We are also expecting an official visit by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. Both Saudi Arabia and Israel are influential countries in the Middle East. It is hoped that the two sides will each make their contributions to the realization of enduring peace and development in the Middle East.
Q: US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said that the US does not want to get back into the Six-Party Talks. The US needs other countries, especially China and Russia, to step up and show to the US that they are as concerned with the DPRK as the US is. What is your comment on that? Will the Chinese side talk about restarting the Six-Party Talks with US Secretary of State Tillerson?
A: The Korean Peninsula is at the doorstep of China. Is there anyone who really believes that the Chinese side cares less about the situation on the Korean Peninsula than the US? As a close neighbor to the Peninsula, the Chinese side has more reasons than any other countries in the world to be worried about the situation on the Peninsula and to play a constructive role in safeguarding peace and stability of the Peninsula.
The Chinese side always believes that the Six-Party Talks remain an effective platform to resolve the issue of the Korean Peninsula. Due to various reasons and multiple factors, the talks stalled. We are ready to have in-depth discussions with all parties to create conditions for the restart of bilateral and multilateral talks including the Six-Party Talks. It is hoped that China's efforts to restart talks will be met with positive response from other parties.
In order to ease the current tension and push for denuclearization, peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula, the Chinese side put forward the suspension-for-suspension proposal and the parallel-track approach. We hope that all parties will consider seriously about these and make positive response. We are open to alternative ideas, as long as they are conducive to denuclearization and de-escalation of tensions on the Peninsula, and are ready for constructive discussions with all parties.
Q: First, US Secretary of State Tillerson said that he would tell the Chinese side during his visit that the US will step up missile defence system and mount pressure on Chinese financial institutions if China fails to use its influence to restrain the DPRK's nuclear and missile programs. What is China's comment on that? Second, ships carrying coal from the DPRK were seen in the Chinese port. Isn't that against China's suspension of coal imports from the DPRK?
A: On your first question, I am not going to get ahead of Secretary Tillerson's visit to China. What I want to point out is that, first and foremost, China has been fully, earnestly, faithfully and accurately implementing relevant UN Security Council resolutions. That is out of question. As a permanent member of the UN Security Council and a responsible member of the international community, China conscientiously observes its international obligations. Second, we are firmly opposed to unilateral sanctions imposed by one country in accordance with its domestic law on a third party and firmly against any attempt to undermine China's legitimate and lawful rights and interests with unilateral sanctions.
Denuclearization, peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula serve the common interests of the international community. For years, all relevant parties have worked tirelessly to that end and made positive progress, including important outcomes such as the September 19 Joint Statement reached in 2005. We have never been short of good agreements or formats of dialogues, the thing is that those important outcomes, agreements and consensus have not been effectively implemented. The Korean Peninsula issue is a legacy of the Cold War, which came into existence due to entrenched hostility and deficit of trust among relevant parties. We need a holistic approach to address both the symptoms and root causes of the issue, and that is the reason why the Chinese side brought up the suspension-for-suspension proposal and the parallel-track approach. We believe that China's proposals, accommodating all parties' concerns, are realistic and effective means to prevent the situation from worsening and lift the Peninsula out of its security predicament. It is hoped that relevant parties will consider seriously about that and make positive response.
On your second question, I am not aware of the information you mentioned. China always implements relevant UN Security Council resolutions in a comprehensive, rigorous and earnest manner. You may have noticed the announcement made by China's Ministry of Commerce and General Administration of Customs on February 18 regarding the suspension of coal imports from the DPRK this year. This is a measure taken by China to implement Security Council Resolution 2321 and perform its international obligations.
Q: How does China view the current situation on the Korean Peninsula? Is China worried about it? If the DPRK continues with its nuclear test, how will China respond? Some Chinese media reported on March 15 that food from nuclear contaminated areas of Japan had entered the Chinese market. How do you view this?
A: Regarding how China views the current situation on the Korean Peninsula, Foreign Minister Wang Yi already elaborated on this at his press conference during the two sessions. As a close neighbor to the Korean Peninsula, China is deeply worried about the escalation of tensions. We call upon all relevant sides to exercise calm and restraint and do more to ease the tension, instead of making provocative and escalatory moves. In this context, we put forward the suspension-for-suspension proposal and parallel-track approach, which are interconnected as an integral whole. The suspension-for-suspension proposal is aimed at lowering the current tensions on the Korean Peninsula and finding a breakthrough for the resumption of dialogue and consultation. On that basis, the parallel-track approach is aimed at advancing the denuclearization process and ultimately achieving enduring stability and tranquility on the Korean Peninsula and in this region. We hope all sides will consider this seriously and give positive response.
China's position on the DPRK's nuclear test is consistent and clear-cut. We oppose the DPRK's persistence in pressing ahead with its nuclear and missile programs in violation of UN Security Council resolutions.
On the issue of products from nuclear contaminated areas of Japan entering the Chinese market, I addressed this question yesterday. We believe that the Japanese government should make a responsible explanation on relevant measures and impacts to the people in Japan and the international community with a responsible attitude.
Q: According to media reports, during Pakistani Army Chief's visit to China, the two sides discussed cooperation on producing ballistic missiles. Do you have any details? Is the cooperation in line with UN Security Council resolutions?
A: On the visit of Pakistani Chief of Army Staff Bajwa to China, relevant readouts have already been released about his meetings with Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli, Vice Chairman Fan Changlong of the Central Military Commission and Chief of the Joint Staff Department Fang Fenghui. I do not have any specific information regarding the question you raised. But I can tell you that China and Pakistan maintain normal defense exchanges and cooperation in military industry and trade.
Q: Could you please clarify China's restrictions on trade with the DPRK? For example, are there regular checks in Dandong on cargo going into China?
A: I don't have any specific information. But I can tell you in a very responsible manner that China always implements relevant UN Security Council resolutions in a comprehensive, earnest, rigorous and accurate manner.
Q: India has objected Pakistan's plan to declare Gligit-Baltistan, part of Kashmir, its fifth province. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor goes through these areas. What is China's comment on that?
A: On the Kashmir issue, China's position is consistent and clear-cut. As a leftover issue from history between India and Pakistan, it needs to be properly settled through dialogue and consultation between the two sides. The development of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor does not affect China's position on the Kashmir issue.
A journalist asked after the press conference: US Secretary of State Tillerson said in Japan that diplomatic efforts of the past 20 years to bring the DPRK to a point of denuclearization have failed and a new approach is required. How does China comment?
Huang Chunying: Realizing denuclearization and upholding peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula is in line with the common interests of the international community. To find a solution to the Korean Peninsula issue that addresses both the symptoms and root causes, China has put forward the parallel-track approach, which is mainly about realizing denuclearization and establishing a peace regime on the Korean Peninsula. And China's suspension-for-suspension proposal is the first step for the parallel-track approach. By implementing this proposal, we expect to find a breakthrough for the resumption of talks and create the necessary conditions for the parallel-track approach. We hope relevant sides will take China's efforts seriously and be responsive.