Q: China has clearly taken a more muscular military stance this week. What is China trying to say to the world? How do you think the world should read into this?
A: I suppose you are referring to the white paper on China's military strategy published by the Chinese government yesterday. The Defense Ministry Spokesperson went into details about the background, content and China's considerations concerning the white paper yesterday at a press conference held by the Information Office of the State Council. The white paper presents a systemic analysis of China's external environment, which still poses diverse and complex security threats to China despite being generally favorable. The Chinese armed forces must undertake due strategic tasks and adopt the strategic guideline of active defense. When to publish the white paper is decided by its writing and formulating process. It has nothing to do with the current international and regional security landscape and China's relations with other countries.
Q: Joshua Wong, the convenor of the Hong Kong student activist group "Scholarism" was denied entry into Malaysia. A Malaysian official said yesterday that the order of rejection was issued because Wong's speech might hurt Malaysia's ties with China. What is China's comment on that?
A: I have seen the report, but I am not aware of the specifics. We respect Malaysia's exercise of entry and exit administration in accordance with the law.
Q: Some countries view China's construction work in the South China Sea as redefining the borders. Does China attempt to reinforce the redefined borders through growing naval power and reclamation efforts?
A: I notice similar remarks by the US State Department Spokesperson yesterday. It seems to me that relevant remarks stealthily replaced the legal concept to mislead the public. China has indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and the adjacent waters. We have put it many times that China's sovereignty and relevant claims of rights in the South China Sea have been formed in the long course of history and upheld by successive Chinese governments. This position has adequate historical and legal basis. There is no need to assert or reinforce China's territorial sovereignty through construction activities on relevant island and reefs.
China carries out lawful, justified and reasonable construction activities within its own sovereignty. Even some senior officials from the US said in public that China's construction on relevant islands and reefs did not violate the international law. So why is there still tension in the area? Everyone is fully aware of the reason, which is that some countries keep playing up tensions and tarnishing the image of China for self-serving interests. It is hoped that all parties concerned would develop a responsible, comprehensive and unbiased view of the current situation, deal with relevant issues rationally and calmly, and make genuine and constructive efforts to maintain peace and stability of the South China Sea instead of stirring up troubles.
Q: Today Vietnamese and Philippine troops played soccer and volleyball on an island in the South China Sea. Are you concerned that the growing security cooperation between the two countries would obstruct China's claims in the South China Sea?
A: I did not see the report you mentioned. China's longstanding position is that we will not provoke others, but we are determined and capable of safeguarding national sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Q: The US Defense Ministry Spokesperson expressed welcome to China's white paper on military strategy, but reiterated that the US will continue to carry out reconnaissance activities near the Nansha islands and reefs so as to uphold the freedom of over-flight and navigation in relevant areas. How does China respond?
A: Some people from the US have talked quite a lot about the freedom of navigation recently. If you take a close look at relevant international law, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) for instance, you will find out that the freedom of over-flight and navigation in no way means that foreign military vessels and planes can defy or even impair other country's sovereignty, lawful rights and safety of over-flight and navigation without restrictions. The UNCLOS specifies that the peace, good order or security of coastal countries shall not be undermined. The UNCLOS does not entitle military vessels and planes of any country to go against the international law, willfully infringe upon other country's sovereignty, lawful rights and navigation and over-flight safety. We are against a few countries' moves to defy or even impair other country's sovereignty, lawful rights and safety of over-flight and navigation using navigation freedom as an excuse.
With regard to activities by US vessels and aircraft in the South China Sea, China has stated on multiple occasions that the close reconnaissance of Chinese maritime features by US vessels and planes is very likely to cause miscalculation and untoward incidents in the waters and airspace. It is utterly dangerous and irresponsible. We hope that the US can take a responsible attitude, follow the spirit of safeguarding peace and stability of the South China Sea, view the relevant issue in a rational and unbiased manner and cease all irresponsible provocations in words and deeds.
Q: In response to "highlighting maritime military struggle and maritime preparation for military struggle (PMS)" as was written in China's white paper on military strategy, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said that the use of force should be avoided under all circumstances. He also said that Japan has earned high praise from the world as a peaceful country for the last seven decades since the end of the Second World War. What is China's comment?
A: The Chinese nation has struggled under the invasion and bullying of foreign powers for a long period of time since modern times. The Chinese people's memory of that painful experience cannot be erased. No one cherishes peace more than we do. We treasure peace and oppose wars, follow a path of peaceful development and uphold a national defense policy that is defensive in nature. History tells us that it is necessary to build a national defense force commensurate with the demand of national security and the level of economic development. No country is allowed to infringe upon China's sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Q: The Foreign Correspondents' Club Of China issued a report the other day, saying that the working conditions for foreign journalists in China are getting worse. Does the Foreign Ministry have any response to that?
A: I did not see the report you mentioned. As you are all living and working in China, you must have seen the endeavor of the Chinese government, the Information Department of the Foreign Ministry included, to facilitate, support and assist with your interviews and other work in China. China is a rich mine of news, where there are a lot of things worth reporting. We will do our best to provide convenience and services to your interviews. No matter which country you are in, while enjoying the convenience and services for doing interviews provided by the government of the receiving country, you should abide by local laws and regulations. Feel free to contact us, if you encounter any problems or difficulties during your work in China. We are ready to do all that we can to help.