|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei's Regular Press Conference on June 21, 2012|
On June 21, 2012, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei held a press conference.
Hong Lei started the press conference by reading out a statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China.
On June 21, the National Assembly of Vietnam adopted the Vietnamese Law of the Sea which places China's Xisha and Nansha Islands under the so-called Vietnamese "sovereignty" and "jurisdiction". The Chinese Government hereby reaffirms: the Xisha and Nansha Islands are Chinese territory. China has indisputable sovereignty over the above islands and their adjacent waters. It is illegal and invalid for any country to lay territorial and sovereign claims to the Xisha and Nansha Islands or take any actions on that basis.
Hong Lei then briefed the press on China's representations with Vietnam. Hong Lei said that Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun summoned Vietnamese Ambassador to China Nguyen Van Tho on June 21 to lodge a solemn representation with the Vietnamese side concerning the adoption of the Vietnamese Law of the Sea by its National Assembly that infringes on China's territorial sovereignty.
Zhang Zhijun pointed out that China has indisputable sovereignty over the Xisha and Nansha Islands as well as their adjacent waters. The Vietnamese Law of the Sea includes China's Xishan and Nansha Islands within the so-called Vietnamese "sovereignty" and "jurisdiction". This severely infringes on China's territorial sovereignty, to which China expresses its strong protests and firm opposition. Complicating and magnifying the issue, Vietnam's unilateral action goes against the consensus between leaders of the two countries and the spirit of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), and is detrimental to peace and stability in the South China Sea. Vietnam's move is illegal and invalid. China will resolutely safeguard its territorial sovereignty. China demands the Vietnamese side to immediately stop and rectify all its mistakes and refrain from doing anything that undermines China-Vietnam relations and peace and stability in the South China Sea.
Q: US Secretary of State Clinton was reported to have said recently that China seemed to be reducing its oil imports from Iran. Was China intentionally doing so? If so, why? Is China seeking exemption from US sanctions against Iran?
A: China is always against one country's unilateral sanctions on another country according to its domestic law, even less will it accept such unilateral sanctions to be imposed on a third country. China, to meet the needs of its economic development, imports crude oil from Iran through normal channels. Being open and transparent, this does not violate any UN Security Council resolution or undermine the interests of a third party or the international community. Thus it is completely legitimate and justified.
Q: First, Philippine President Aquino III said on June 20 that the Philippines would send planes to the Huangyan Island for reconnaissance once the weather improves. He also accused Chinese ships of staying in relevant sea area. What is China's response? Second, Spokesperson of the US State Department Nuland said on June 20 that Chinese and US Presidents reached a basic consensus on the Syrian issue during their meeting on the sidelines of the G20 Summit. What is your comment?
A: On the first question, the Huangyan Island incident was caused by the Philippine warships' provocations in April. Since then, the Philippines has kept a high profile with increasing aggressiveness, leading to constant escalation of the situation. Now the situation is being eased and the two sides are making efforts to restore bilateral cooperation. China hopes that the Philippine side can do more for the development of bilateral relations and refrain from making provocative remarks again so as to avoid reescalating the situation.
On the second question, China always regards it imperative to adhere to the right direction of the political resolution of the Syrian issue. Under the current circumstances, the international community should focus on supporting Special Envoy Annan's mediation efforts, and urging all parties concerned in Syria to immediately cease fire and end violence, fully implement relevant Security Council resolutions and Annan's "six-point proposal" and launch a political dialogue with no preconditions attached or outcomes predetermined at an early date. China is ready to work with the international community to push for a peaceful, fair and proper resolution of the Syrian issue as soon as possible.
Q: Please brief us on the recent death of a Nigerian man in Guangzhou.
A: Competent authorities in Guangdong have had communication with the Nigerian Embassy in China in Guangzhou over the incident. As initially verified by the Nigerian side, the African man who died a sudden death in Guangzhou is of Nigerian nationality. China will investigate the case in strict accordance with law, inform the Nigerian side timely, and assist the Nigerian side in properly handling the follow-up matter.
Hong Lei announced at the end that the regular press conference of the Foreign Ministry will adjourn on Friday, June 22 for the Dragon Boat Festival and resume on Monday, June 25.