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Foreign minister to visit US

Updated: Feb 22,2016 9:00 PM     Xinhua

BEIJING — Foreign Minister Wang Yi will pay an official visit to the United States from Feb 23 to 25, at the invitation of US Secretary of State John Kerry, Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Feb 22.

“We hope that China and the US will arrange high-level exchanges and dialogues for 2016, discuss practical cooperation and the handling of sensitive issues to promote the sustainable, healthy and stable growth of bilateral relations through the visit,” Hua said at a regular news briefing.

Responding to looming UN sanctions against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) for missile launches, Hua said “China and the US are expected to exchange views on the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue during Wang’s visit,” adding that the two sides have been in communication over the issue recently.

The UN Security Council is discussing sanctions against the DPRK over its recent nuclear test and satellite launch using ballistic missile technology.

China supports the UN Security Council adopting a new and strong resolution against the DPRK while urging relevant parties to avoid actions that could escalate tensions, Hua said.

She renewed the call for dialogue and promoting the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and a truce-to-peace mechanism in parallel.

When asked about the message that China will send to the US on the South China Sea issue, Hua said the US should honor its commitment of taking no position on competing territorial claims and stop playing up the issue or creating tension.

Hua pointed out that the US is not a party involved in the South China Sea dispute and the South China Sea issue is not, and should not become, a problem between China and the US.

She called on the US to play a constructive role on the issue as maintaining peace and stability on the sea serves the common interest of China and US as well as all parties concerned.

Hua criticised the US for stirring hype over the “militarization” of the South China Sea. “The US side is misusing the concept. The deployment of defense facilities on China’s own territory is no different from what US does in Hawaii.”

The US, which has sent military vessels and planes to areas in the South China Sea to conduct close-in reconnaissance, is the source of tension and militarization of the South China Sea, Hua said.

China’s construction on its own islands in the South China Sea is for civilian purposes and providing better international public goods. The deployment of limited defence measures is granted by international law to sovereign states, and has nothing to do with “militarization”, according to Hua.