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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson's comments on British officials' remarks related to 'freedom of navigation' in the South China Sea

Q: UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said in Australia yesterday that the UK would send two new aircraft carriers on a freedom of navigation operation to the area. he did not specify exactly where the carriers would be sent. But UK Defense Minister said they won't be constrained by China from sailing through the South China Sea. Johnson also urged all parties in the South China Sea to respect freedom of navigation and international law. How do you respond to these remarks by UK senior officials?

A: We have noted these remarks recently made by some government officials. But I wonder whether you have noticed that not a single regional country is involved in hyping up tension in the South China Sea. At present, countries in the region are working together to safeguard and promote regional peace, stability and prosperity, yet we see some countries outside the region who insist on stirring up trouble while the situation is trending towards calm in the South China Sea. Whoever they are, under whatever pretexts and whatever they say, their precedents of interfering in other regions on high-sounding reasons but only leaving behind chaos and humanitarian disaster warrant sharp alert of regional countries and people.

Q: I know a journalist just asked about the UK planning to send military vessels to the South China Sea. And the British side also said yesterday that China should do more to contain the threat of DPRK's nuclear and missile programs. Does China believe that such moves by the UK would hinder the China-UK relationship which is in its golden era?

A: We have recently taken many questions about the South China Sea and the Korean Peninsula. On the issue of the South China Sea, we would like to tell those outside the region that China and ASEAN countries are working to further stabilize the situation in the South China Sea, and promote peace, stability and prosperity in the region. It is hoped that countries without will not make waves and stir up troubles.

On the issue of the Korean Peninsula, we have been saying that China is not the cause of the issue and does not hold the key to resolving it. China will work together with all parties to seek for a political and proper settlement of the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue through peaceful negotiation and consultation. And that requires the concerted efforts, practical and flexible attitude of all parties.

As for whether what the UK lately said and did would affect the bilateral relationship, I want to tell you that China is sincere about developing the golden era of the China-UK relationship, but a good relationship between any pairs of countries won't be possible without joint efforts of both sides.

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