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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang's Regular Press Conference on November 29, 2016


Q: The Taiwan authorities have again taken foreign journalists down to visit Taiping Dao. With Taiwan being part of China, does China think that Taiwan also has an obligation to maintain Chinese sovereignty in the South China Sea?

A: As we have been saying, the Nansha Islands including Taiping Dao are an inherent part of China. The Chinese people on both sides of the Taiwan Straits have the obligation to preserve ancestral property.

Q: The Associated Press cited the Philippine coast guard spokesperson as saying that they have launched a search for five Filipinos who failed to return after fishing in waters off Huangyan Dao. Those fishermen left the waters due to an approaching typhoon last week and have not been heard from. The Philippine coast guard is also planning to cooperate with Chinese boats passing this part of waters. Will the Chinese side offer any assistance? Please give us more details.

A: Attaching great importance to what has happened, the Chinese side has asked Chinese boats to search in relevant waters. According to the China Coast Guard, the Chinese side has rescued two Philippine fishermen from the waters off Huangyan Dao and is verifying their identities. The Chinese side will continue with the search and rescue in relevant waters.

Q: It is learnt that a delegation of the Houthis from Yemen is visiting Beijing. Can you confirm that? Secondly, we have seen an escalation of tension in Syria, Aleppo in particular. It is also reported that the Syrian regime uses chemical weapons on hospitals and schools. How does China view this?

A: On your first question, I have no information at the moment. I can check on that and come back to you later.

On your second question, the Chinese side opposes the use of chemical weapons by any party for any purposes under any circumstances. We have been following the situation in Aleppo and Syria. It is hoped that all parties can stop hostile activities as soon as possible, realize a ceasefire and cessation of violence, and come back to the track of resolving the relevant issue through peace talks.

Q: According to media reports, Vice President Li Yuanchao will attend the funeral of Fidel Castro in Cuba. Can you confirm that? President Xi Jinping went to the Cuban Embassy in China today to mourn the passing of Fidel Castro. Can you give us more details on that?

A: On your first question, Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Vice President Li Yuanchao will attend memorial services in Cuba as the special envoy of General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee and President Xi Jinping.

On your second question, there is a readout of President Xi Jinping's visit to the Cuban Embassy for mourning. President Xi Jinping said that Comrade Fidel Castro was the founder of the communist party and the socialist cause in Cuba. He was not only a great leader of the Cuban people, but also a great man of our times. His immortal and historic contribution to the development of socialism and his support for just causes in different countries will never be forgotten. President Xi Jinping said that he was here to tell comrades in Cuba that the Chinese party, government and people are with the Cuban party, government and people. It is believed that under the strong leadership of President Raul Castro, the Cuban party, government and people will carry forward the will of Comrade Fidel Castro, turn grief into strength and continue to make new achievements in developing the country and socialism. You can check online for more details.

Q: ROK President Park Geun-hye said today that she would cut short her term of office and step down earlier if permitted by the Parliament. What is China's comment on this?

A: This is the domestic affair of the ROK. We believe that the people of the ROK have the wisdom and capability to properly address this issue.

Q: The UN Security Council is set to approve new sanctions on the DPRK, which will cap its coal exports at US$ 400 million per year, 60% less than before. The DPRK will also be banned from exporting copper, nickel, silver and zinc. Can you confirm that? How does China comment on the mounting sanctions by the UN against the DPRK? Will China faithfully observe the resolution?

A: I answered this question last week. I would like to reiterate that the Chinese side stands for new actions taken by the UN Security Council in response to the fifth nuclear test by the DPRK. We also maintain that actions by the Security Council must be clearly targeted against nuclear activities by the DPRK without disturbing people's livelihood, humanitarian and development needs in the DPRK. As far as I have learnt, the five permanent members of the Security Council have come to an agreement on the draft resolution, and the whole Security Council is deliberating on the draft. It is hoped that an agreement will be reached soon to send a clear and unified signal to the outside world.

As for your reference to the contents of the draft, some of which are about new sanctions, since the draft resolution is yet to be adopted, reports at this stage are all based on speculation and hypothesis. I am not going to comment on what is speculated.

As for China's attitude to Security Council resolutions, I must point out that UN members are all obliged to implement Security Council resolutions according to the UN Charter. It is not the duty of one certain country but that of all member states. As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China always faithfully observes Security Council resolutions.

Q: Do you have any updates on Singapore's armoured vehicles impounded by the Hong Kong customs?

A: I have nothing new to offer at the moment.

Q: Pakistan got a new army chief last Saturday. Does China expect a stronger relationship with Pakistan with the new army chief?

A: China and Pakistan enjoy an all-weather strategic partnership of cooperation. The bilateral friendship has withstood the test of times. We will continue to work with the Pakistani side to cement the partnership.

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