|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying's Regular Press Conference on May 31, 2017|
Q: An explosion rocked a diplomatic area of Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan on May 31. Are Chinese institutions and personnel affected?
A: On the morning of May 31 local time, around 8:30, a car bombing in the area of foreign embassies in Kabul, Afghanistan killed and injured a lot. The Chinese side strongly condemns the attack, expresses sincere condolences to the injured and the bereaved families, opposes all forms of terrorism and stands together with the Afghan side and the international community in the fight against terrorism.
It is learnt that the premises of the Chinese Embassy in Afghanistan sustained some damage, but it is fortunate that members of the embassy are safe and sound. Up till now, we have not received any report of Chinese institutions affected or Chinese citizens in Afghanistan killed or injured. The Chinese side is assessing the situation and will take measures to enhance safety and security of Chinese institutions and personnel in Afghanistan.
Q: According to the Japanese media, an American military official said that USS Ronald Reagan has entered the Sea of Japan for a joint drill with USS Carl Vinson. It is the first time when two US aircraft carriers will conduct joint drills in waters off the Korean Peninsula. It is reported that the US military apparently plans to use the drill to put pressure on the DPRK. What is China's comment on that?
A: We have noted the relevant report as well as the development of the situation. We have all been following how the situation on the Korean Peninsula evolves over the recent period of time, and hoping that tensions can be lowered, and that the nuclear issue of the Korean Peninsula can be brought back to the track of dialogue and consultation as soon as possible.
The situation on the Peninsula is highly complex and sensitive. There is a window of opportunity for us to bring the nuclear issue back to the right track of dialogue and consultation. In this connection, we hope that all relevant parties would exercise restraint and do more to ease the tension and build up mutual trust, rather than provoke each other and escalate the tension.
Q: The Pentagon announced that the US military has successfully intercepted a mock-up of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on May 30. What is China's comment on that?
A: We have noted the relevant report. China's position on the issue of missile defense is consistent and clear. We hope that all relevant parties will act with caution on this issue so as not to inflict adverse impact on regional and global security and stability.
Q: India has reportedly rejected Australia's proposal to take part in the joint naval exercise with the US and Japan. Can you respond to that?
A: I have noted the report about India's refusal of relevant party's proposal of taking part in the joint military exercise.
We welcome normal dialogue and exchanges between all parties in the field of military, and also hope that when conducting relevant activities, all parties could take full account of regional countries' security concerns, and make sure that their exchanges and cooperation play a constructive role in safeguarding regional peace and stability.
Q: China is investing a lot of money in Kyaukpyu special economic zone which is where the pipeline starts. Can you tell us why this economic zone is so important for China and what the strategic considerations are about it? Some residents in Kyaukpyu say that there is not enough general consideration for how this project will impact upon ordinary people. Has the Chinese government spoken with the Myanmar government about ensuring that the local people benefit from the project and how will China ensure that local people do benefit and are not excluded from it?
A: I can see that you are interested in China-Myanmar cooperation, especially the project of Kyaukpyu special economic zone. I can assure you that China conducts economic cooperation and trade with relevant countries following the principle of equal-footed consultation and mutually beneficial cooperation rather than egoism as you implied in your question.
China and Myanmar are friendly neighbors who maintain close economic cooperation and trade. Chinese companies won the international bid to participate in the project of Kyaukpyu special economic zone. To my knowledge, the two sides are in business talks on the project. The Chinese side supports Chinese companies and the Myanmar side in pressing for progress of the project based on equal-footed consultation and mutually beneficial cooperation, and promoting local economic and social development as well as people's well-being. And that will in return bring the mutually beneficial cooperation between China and Myanmar to a higher level.
Q: It is reported that China and the Philippines have recently crushed a transnational drug gang and seized 605 kg of methamphetamines. Can you give us more details of the operation? What progress has been made so far in China-Philippines anti-drug cooperation?
A: The drug is the common enemy of all mankind. It is the shared responsibility of all countries around the world to fight against drug crimes. The Chinese government cracks firmly down on drug crimes and supports the anti-drug operations by President Duterte and the Philippine government. To solve the aforementioned case, law enforcement agencies of China and the Philippines cooperated closely with each other and achieved important outcomes in anti-drug law enforcement cooperation.
The Chinese side is ready to enhance its cooperation with the Philippines in information sharing, technical equipment, joint operation, drug rehabilitation and other areas to jointly combat drug crimes, and create a sound and peaceful environment for people of the two countries and the whole region to live in.
Q: The US has successfully tested an ICBM interceptor. Does China have any comment on that? Do you think it has anything to do with China?
A: I have just answered that question. China's position on the anti-missile issue is consistent and clear. We hope that all relevant parties will act with caution on this issue so as not to inflict adverse impact on regional and global security and stability.
Q: Does China allow researchers from foreign organizations such as NGOs to come to China to do independent research?
A: We have been encouraging and supporting people from around the world to engage in friendly exchanges. We welcome and offer necessary assistance to those exchanges as long as they are normal. In the meantime, we hope that people from foreign NGOs will respect and abide by the Chinese law and refrain from illegal activities.
Q: A major power plant constructed under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor was inaugurated in Pakistan last week. Due to its importance, the Prime Minister himself inaugurated the project which has created 3,000 jobs to local and benefited about one million people. What is your comment on that?
A: Sahiwal coal-fired power plant is an important energy project under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. On May 25, a ceremony marking the full operation of the first unit of the plant was held in Sahiwal, Punjab province. Once completed, the plant will become one of Pakistan's clean coal power plants with the largest installed capacity, generating 9 billion KWH of electricity per year, which will meet the energy needs of nearly 10 million local people.
11 out of the 17 priority energy projects jointly planned by the Chinese and Pakistani sides under the corridor are under construction. The inauguration of the first unit of the Sahiwal power plant signifies that we will soon see a host of energy projects under the corridor be constructed and completed. A majority of energy projects are expected to be completed by the end of 2019, which will help relieve energy shortage in Pakistan and bring benefits to people there.
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif attended the ceremony and highly commended workers of China and Pakistan for setting a record by completing the construction within just 22 months. He said that Pakistan's energy shortage will be greatly relieved and economic growth benefited thanks to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, and the large scale energy projects in particular. China's Belt and Road Initiative is creating positive effects in Pakistan, and will also change the fate of countries and people along the routes.
We are glad to see that the Belt and Road, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor included, delivers benefits to countries and people along the routes. Following the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, we will work with people from all countries including Pakistan to make sure that the Belt and Road Initiative will bring more tangible benefits to relevant countries and people.
Q: Upon being informed of the secret arrival of four more launchers for the THAAD system, in addition to two that have been deployed in Seongju county, ROK President Moon Jae-in who was "deeply shocked" ordered a probe into this. What is China's comment on that?
A: The Chinese side has noted the relevant report and is deeply concerned about the relevant situation. China's position on the issue of THAAD is clear-cut and consistent. The deployment of THAAD by the US in the ROK jeopardizes China's strategic security interests, disrupts regional strategic balance and does no good to denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula and maintaining regional peace and stability. It goes against the efforts of resolving the issue through dialogue and consultation. The Chinese side is firmly opposed to that. We once again strongly urge the US and the ROK to stop and call off the deployment of THAAD.
Q: Severe floods and mudslides hit some parts of Sri Lanka, causing casualties and property losses. Has China provided any disaster relief assistance to Sri Lanka?
A: As a friendly neighbor of Sri Lanka, the Chinese side sympathizes with people there who are suffering from floods and mudslides. President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang have respectively sent messages of condolences to President Sirisena and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe, expressing the readiness to support the Sri Lankan government's disaster relief work with all-out efforts. The Chinese government has decided to provide 15 million RMB worth of emergency humanitarian relief supplies, including the badly needed tents and blankets, to Sri Lanka, and will deliver them to the affected areas of Sri Lanka in the shortest period of time. The Red Cross Society of China has also provided US$ 100,000 in cash for emergency humanitarian aid, and will send a task force to assist with the relief work. The Chinese side will offer further support and assistance as appropriate. We believe that under the leadership of the Sri Lankan government, the people there will overcome the disaster and rebuild their homeland.