On the afternoon of September 19, 2011, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei held a regular press conference.
Hong Lei started the press conference with the following announcements:
At the invitation of the governments of France and the UK, State Councillor Dai Bingguo will have consultations in France and chair China-UK Strategic Dialogue in the UK from September 22 to 27.
At the invitation of the Chinese side, Mauritanian President Aziz will be in China from September 19 to 23 to attend relevant activities of the 2011 China (Ningxia) International Investment and Trade Fair & the 2nd China-Arab States Economic and Trade Forum held in Yinchuan, Ningxia and visit Anhui and Beijing. During his stay in China, President Hu Jintao and CPPCC Chairman Jia Qinglin will meet with him respectively. The two sides will exchange views on bilateral relations as well as international and regional issues of common interest.
Hong Lei also referred to Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi's attendance and speech at the opening ceremony of the International Seminar to Commemorate the 6th Anniversary of the Joint Statement of September 19 as well as the success of "Love Knows No Borders-International Charity Sale for Poor Mountain Villages in Yunnan Province".
Q: How does China look at the current situation in Libya? What is your comment on the Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC)'s statement of forming a new transitional government in the near future? When will the staff of the Chinese Embassy in Libya return to Tripoli?
A: The situation in Libya is undergoing major changes. China hopes that under the leadership of the NTC, all parties in Libya will swiftly launch an inclusive political transitional process, uphold national solidarity and unification to the maximum extent and steer Libya onto the track of post-war reconstruction as soon as possible.
We hope to see an early establishment of the Libyan transitional government and the return to a normal life of the Libyan people.
As far as I know, the staff of the Chinese Embassy in Libya are on their way back to Tripoli. The Chinese Ambassador to Libya will also return in light of his work arrangement.
Q: A Chinese non-governmental organization has reportedly nominated several international political figures as candidates for the "Confucius Peace Prize". What is China's comment?
A: It is learned that the prize was set up by a non-governmental organization and relevant activities were held by this NGO. I advise you to consult the host of the activity for information.
Q: It is reported that the US Government will not sell F-16 C/D fighter jets to Taiwan this time, but will upgrade its existing types of F-16 fighter jets. How does China respond? Second, how does China comment on the Indian company and Vietnam's joint development of the oil and gas field in the disputed area of the South China Sea?
A: China firmly opposes US arms sales to Taiwan. Our position in this regard is clear and consistent. We urge the US side to abide by the three China-US joint communiqués, especially the principles enshrined in the August 17 Communiqué and stop selling arms to Taiwan so as not to impair China-US relations as well as the peaceful development of cross-Straits relations.
On your second question, China has indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and their adjacent waters. China's claim over the South China Sea is grounded on ample historical and jurisprudential evidence. Any country or company's oil and gas exploration activity in the waters under China's jurisdiction without the permission of the Chinese Government is an infringement upon China's sovereignty, rights and interests, and is thus illegal and invalid. We hope relevant countries respect China's stance, rights and interests, earnestly implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea and its guidelines and refrain from taking any unilateral action that may complicate and magnify disputes. Countries outside the region should respect and support the efforts of countries within the region to resolve disputes through bilateral negotiations.
Q: If the US declares its arms sale to Taiwan, what kind of action will China take in response?
A: No one can shake the resolve of the Chinese Government and people to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity and combat foreign interference.
Q: Please give us more details about China's sovereignty claim over the South China Sea. Why does China oppose the joint oil and gas exploration between India and Vietnam?
A: The historical and jurisprudential evidence of China's sovereignty over the Nansha Islands is that China was the first to discover and name the islands in the South China Sea and also the first to exercise sustained sovereignty over them. China's discovery of the Nansha Islands can be traced back to Han Dynasty. Successive governments since Tang Dynasty have all administered the Nansha Islands. The People's Republic of China, since its founding in 1949, has continued to exercise sovereignty over the Nansha Islands. China has also developed, utilized and administered relevant waters of the South China Sea for a long stretch of time since antiquity. China's sovereignty, rights and relevant claims over the South China Sea have been formed in the long course of history and persistently upheld by the Chinese government.
China is committed to peacefully resolving disputes over island sovereignty and maritime demarcation in the South China Sea through direct negotiation and friendly consultation between parties concerned on the basis of historical facts and international law.
I want to stress that any country or company's oil and gas exploration activity in the waters under China's jurisdiction without the permission of the Chinese Government is an infringement upon China's sovereignty, rights and interests, and is thus illegal and invalid.
Q: The US said that it would veto Palestine's statehood appeal to the UN. In that case, Palestine may seek to join the UN as an observer state. What is China's position on that?
A: China always supports the Palestinian people's just cause of restoring lawful national rights and regards the founding of an independent state as an inalienable lawful right of the Palestinian people as well as the precondition and foundation for peace between Palestine and Israel. We support the establishment of an independent and fully sovereign Palestinian state along the 1967 border with East Jerusalem as the capital.
China understands, respects and supports Palestine submitting the statehood plan to the UN. Meanwhile, China also appreciates Palestine's balanced strategy of founding an independent state and engaging in peace talks.
Q: It is reported that the DPRK and the ROK top nuclear negotiators will meet in Beijing. Please brief us on that.
A: China supports the contact and dialogue between the South and the North and hopes to see positive outcomes out of relevant dialogue so as to facilitate the resumption of the Six-Party Talks. We have maintained close communication and contact with all relevant parties, including the ROK and the DPRK with a view to jointly pressing ahead with the Six-Party Talks.