On May 16, 2012, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei held a press conference.
Hong Lei started the press conference with the following announcement.
The 12th Meeting of the Council of Heads of Member States of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) will be held in Beijing from June 6 to 7. President Hu Jintao will chair the meeting. Leaders from SCO member states and observer countries, as well as guests of China and heads of international organizations will attend the meeting upon invitation. At the meeting, they will discuss how to further improve friendly cooperation among the SCO members given the new circumstances, exchange views on the current international and regional situation, and map out an overall plan for the future development of the SCO.
Q: Recently, the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf released the result of handling Japan's claim of outer continental shelf involving the Okinotori Reef issue. Prior to that, Japanese media once quoted information released by Japanese Foreign Ministry that the Commission had recognized Japan's 310,000 square km-claim of outer continental shelf, including the Shikoku basin to the north of the "Okinotori Island", and the "Okinotori Island" believed by China as "reef" had been listed as one of the base points to claim continental shelf, which showed it had been recognized as an "island". How does China comment?
A: According to information released by the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, the Commission has adopted the result of handling Japan's claim of outer continental shelf. Japan's claim of its outer continental shelf based on Okinotori Reef was not acknowledged by the Commission. It is completely baseless that Japan alleged that the Okinotori Reef had been recognized by the Commission as an "island".
Actually, only 310,000 square km out of the 740,000 square km-claim of Japan submitted to the Commission is recognized by the Commission. The unrecognized claim includes the around 250,000 square km southern Kyushu-Palau ridge based on the Okinotori Reef.
The Japanese side mentioned that the Shikoku basin to the north of the Okinotori Reef had been recognized by the Commission. However, the area, in fact, is based on other parts of Japan's land territory, completely irrelevant to the Okinotori Reef.
After Japan submitted its claim to the Commission, China and the ROK have delivered multiple notes to the UN Secretary-General, stressing that in light of international law, the Okinotori Reef which cannot sustain human habitation shall have no exclusive economic zone or continental shelf and requesting the Commission not to recognize Japan's claim of outer continental shelf based on the Okinotori Reef. Many other countries have also voiced disagreements over Japan's illegitimate claim. The Commission's handling of Japan's claim including the Okinotori Reef issue is fair and reasonable, in compliance with international law, and has safeguarded the overall interest of the international community. China welcomes that decision.
Q: How does China comment on the current situation over the Huangyan Island? What new measures will China adopt to respond?
A: Our position on the current situation over the Huangyan Island is quite clear. We stress that the Huangyan Island is China's inherent territory and China has indisputable sovereignty over it. The Philippine side should respect China's territorial sovereignty in earnest. Meanwhile, China's stance of resolving the current situation through diplomatic consultation remains unchanged.
Q: Please brief us on the significance of China-Japan high-level consultation on maritime affairs. During the consultation, has the two sides reached any consensus on the Diaoyu Islands issue?
A: The first round of China-Japan high-level maritime affairs consultation is being held in Hangzhou today. We hope that by setting up such a mechanism, we will provide a platform for the two sides to conduct dialogue on various maritime issues.
Q: It is reported that Iran and the IAEA resumed nuclear negotiation in Vienna. How does China comment?
A: Active dialogue and cooperation between the IAEA and Iran is conducive to resolving the Iranian nuclear issue through diplomatic means. Under the current circumstances, we hope the IAEA and Iran will further enhance dialogue and cooperation so as to resolve pending issues over the Iranian nuclear program.
Q: Reports say that China will provide development aid loans to South Sudan. Please confirm. And in which areas will the loans be used?
A: At present, there is so much to be done in South Sudan. As a friendly country, we are ready to provide assistance to South Sudan within our capacity, in a bid to promote its economic and social development.