Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying's Regular Press Conference on July 8, 2015

Q: It is reported that the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan did not pass the annual defense white paper on July 7 in a meeting. Some said that China's efforts to advance natural gas development in the East China Sea and photos of China's construction activities in the South China Sea should be included in the white paper. What is China's comment on this?

A: I made clear China's position on the Japanese government's 2015 defense white paper last week.

China's position and proposition on the East China Sea and the South China Sea is consistent and clear. We oppose Japan's groundless accusations against China. Recent days have witnessed a series of negative developments in Japan's military and security fields, which are a cause for concern. We have every reason to be uneasy about and suspicious of Japan's policies and development trajectory. We hope Japan will make a correct assessment of the situation, draw lessons from history, stay committed to the path of peaceful development and play a constructive role in maintaining regional peace and stability.

Q: According to reports, while attending a seminar on the 70th anniversary of the victory of the Chinese People's War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression, Taiwan leader Ma Ying-jeou stated that China resumed its sovereignty over islands in the South China Sea according to relevant international legal documents including the Cairo Declaration, the Potsdam Proclamation and the Japanese Instrument of Surrender. The Taiping Island complies with the definition of an island provided for in Article 121 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. The attempt by any country to deny the truth of Taiping as an island cannot impair its status as an island or the maritime rights and interests under the Convention. On the same day, relevant Taiwan authorities echoed this statement and reiterated that the rights enjoyed by China over the four archipelagos in the South China Sea and their surrounding waters are in accordance with international law. It also stated that in 1947, the then Chinese government publicized the new geographical names and the location map of the South China Sea islands, delimiting China's land and sea territory. What is China's comment?

A: China's sovereignty and relevant claims of rights in the South China Sea are formed in the long course of history based on international legal grounds. After the Second World War, the then Chinese government made great efforts in taking back the South China Sea islands and safeguarding China's territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea. Since the founding of the PRC, the Chinese government has been committed to safeguarding China's territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea, and made active contribution to upholding peace, stability and freedom of navigation in the South China Sea.

In the current context, Chinese people on both sides of the Taiwan Straits have the responsibility and obligation to jointly safeguard our territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests.

Q: It is reported that representatives of the Afghan government and the Taliban held peace talks in Pakistan on July 7. The Chinese government sent representatives to the talks. Can you give us more information? What is China's role in the talks?

A: In order to advance the "Afghan-led and Afghan-owned" peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan, a meeting between the Afghan government and the Afghan Taliban movement was held near Islamabad on July 7. The meeting was hosted by Pakistan and attended by Chinese and US representatives. It was agreed that in order to achieve lasting peace in the region, all parities should be sincerely committed to the peace process in Afghanistan. The parties exchanged views on the ways and means to realize peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan, recognized the need to take confidence building measures to strengthen trust among stakeholders, and agreed to carry out further dialogues.

China consistently supports the "Afghan-led and Afghan-owned" reconciliation process, encourages and supports the peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban, and keeps close contact with all relevant parties for this purpose. China thinks positively of this meeting. We believe it is conducive to the peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan. We commend the flexibility shown by relevant parties in facilitating this meeting and the common will of advancing the peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan. China stands ready to work continuously and closely with all relevant parties and play a constructive role in realizing broad-based and inclusive peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan.

Q: My first question is about President Xi Jinping's upcoming meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the Ufa summit. What will they discuss? And what is China's expectation of the meeting? Second, what does China think of India and Pakistan's accession to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) as full members, and what effect will this bear on the situation in Afghanistan?

A: On your first question, President Xi Jinping has set out for Ufa to attend the 7th BRICS Summit and 15th Meeting of the Council of the Heads of State of the SCO Member States this morning. President Xi will hold a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Modi in Ufa later today, another important meeting after Prime Minister Modi paid a successful visit to China in May this year. It will be of great significance to enhancing strategic consensus between the two sides, enriching the China-India strategic cooperative partnership, and building a closer partnership for development. We will release information on the meeting in due course.

China and India are the world’s two largest developing countries and emerging economies. Thanks to concerted efforts by the two sides in recent years, China-India relations have maintained a sound and steady momentum of growth. President Xi paid a successful and historic state visit to India last year, and Prime Minister Modi paid a successful visit to China in May this year. The two leaders laid out a strategic plan to advance bilateral relations in the next five to ten years. We will take the meeting between President Xi and Prime Minister Modi in Ufa as an opportunity to further implement the consensus reached by the two leaders, deepen strategic mutual trust between our two countries, expand practical cooperation and continue to step up coordination and cooperation on regional and international affairs so as to achieve greater development of the China-India strategic cooperative partnership.

On your second question, as the SCO becomes more influential and attractive in the world with enhanced cooperation in various fields, more and more countries and regional organizations have expressed their willingness to deepen cooperation with the SCO. Based on the legal document on admitting new members adopted by the SCO Dushanbe Summit, the organization will further advance the expansion process. The Ufa Summit will approve the resolution on initiating the process of accepting India and Pakistan as full members of the SCO, which signifies the official start of the accession process by India and Pakistan. This is surely an important step forward for the SCO to include more members. We believe the accession of India and Pakistan will play an important role in the future development of the organization, and contribute constructively to the development and improvement of relations between the two countries.

Afghanistan is an important country in the region and an observer state of the SCO. The situation in Afghanistan bears on the security and stability of central Asia. With both experience and capability in anti-terrorism, counter-narcotics, combating transnational crimes and economic development, the SCO stands ready to strengthen cooperation with Afghanistan. Since 2009, the SCO has stepped up its cooperation with Afghanistan in security as well as economic and social sectors. It is ready to play a bigger role in the peaceful reconstruction of Afghanistan. We are willing to enhance coordination and cooperation with India and Pakistan in this regard.

Q: Philippine officials reportedly said that they found buoys and other markers with Chinese inscriptions in waters near the Reed Bank. A Philippine vessel tried to clear the objects and then left in a hurry after a Chinese marine patrol ship suddenly showed up. What is your comment on that?

A: I have no specifics at hand about this. I would like to point out that China has indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and the adjacent waters. China's position is clear and consistent.

Q: Speaking of China's relevant commemorative activities marking the 78th anniversary of the outbreak of the Chinese People's War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a press conference that placing too much emphasis on this war as “against Japanese aggression” and internationalizing history issues is not conducive to regional peace and stability. It is imperative that China and Japan join hands to tackle common challenges facing the international community with a future-oriented attitude. What is China's comment?

A: Relevant remarks from Japan are unintelligible. Is it conducive to regional peace and stability when Japan constantly evades and shuns history issues and even downplays and whitewashes its aggression history? China, together with the rest of the international community, holds commemorative activities marking the 70th anniversary of the end of the World Anti-Fascist War and the victory of the Chinese People's War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression in a bid to remember history, honor the martyrs, cherish peace, create a better future and firmly uphold world peace. Nobody with an honest attitude towards history and a genuine commitment to peaceful development would object this. As President Xi Jinping said, history is the best textbook and the best dose of sobriety. I remember a former German leader said that, those who do not review history will be blind to reality, and those who are not willing to reflect on atrocities are likely to repeat them in the future. At this important historical point when the international community is commemorating the 70th anniversary of the World Anti-Fascist War in all forms, what Japan should do is to seize the opportunity, face up to and reflect upon history with an honest and responsible attitude, and win trust from its Asian neighbours and the international community with concrete actions. This is what "future-oriented" really means.

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