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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying's Remarks on US and Japanese Defense Ministers' Comments at Shangri-La Dialogue

Q: On June 3, US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Japanese Defense Minister Tomomi Inada made comments on issues regarding the South China Sea and Taiwan at the Shangri-La Dialogue. What is your comment on that?

A: The Chinese side has noted their irresponsible remarks and hereby expresses strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition. I want to highlight a few points.

First, China has indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and their adjacent waters. While safeguarding its territorial sovereignty and maritime interests in the South China Sea, China stays committed to peacefully resolving disputes with countries directly concerned through negotiation and consultation, and upholding peace and stability of the South China Sea with ASEAN countries.

China respects and safeguards all countries' freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea under international law, but definitely opposes certain country's show of force in the South China Sea under the pretext of navigation and overflight freedom, challenging and threatening China's sovereignty and security.

China builds relevant facilities on islands and reefs of the Nansha Islands for the purpose of improving the working and living conditions for people stationed there, better defending its sovereignty and performing China's international obligations and responsibilities. It is totally within China's sovereignty to deploy necessary defense facilities on its own territory. It is exercising the self-preservation and self-defense rights that a sovereign state is entitled to, and has nothing to do with "militarization".

Thanks to the efforts of countries in the region, the situation in the South China Sea has calmed down and turned positive. China and the Philippines have reached consensus on properly managing the South China Sea issue including the arbitration case, and held successfully the first meeting of the bilateral consultation on the South China Sea issue. China and ASEAN countries have worked out the framework of the code of conduct in the South China Sea, as part of the efforts to make effective regional rules following the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea.

However, in disregard of all these facts, certain countries outside the region, driven by ulterior motives, insist on making erroneous remarks and calling white black. The Chinese side is firmly opposed to that and urges relevant parties to stop their irresponsible remarks, fully respect regional countries' efforts to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea and play a constructive role to that end.

Second, China and Japan have territorial dispute over Diaoyu Dao and problem with maritime delimitation in the East China Sea. Diaoyu Dao and its affiliated islands have been part of China's territory since ancient times. Patrol and law enforcement activities by Chinese government vessels in the relevant waters are justified and legitimate. China is resolute in safeguarding its territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests, and will continue with its patrol and law enforcement activities in the future. Remarks made by the Japanese side, which confuse right and wrong, are not worth refuting. The Chinese side urges the Japanese side to work more constructively for the improvement of the bilateral relations and regional peace and stability.

Third, China's position on the Taiwan question is clear-cut and consistent. The Chinese side stands firmly against the so-called "Taiwan Relations Act" unilaterally made by the US and requires the US to honor the one-China policy and the three China-US joint communiqu├ęs, stop selling arms to Taiwan, stop all forms of official interaction with Taiwan and any attempt to elevate its relations with Taiwan, and take solid steps to maintain the overall China-US relations and peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits.

Fourth, China is clear and consistent about opposing relevant countries' deployment of the THAAD system. We urge them to immediately stop the deployment.

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