China-US: At the Foreign Ministry press briefing in Beijing today, the spokesman responded to a question about statements made by the US President in an interview with a Japanese newspaper.
"A: The Chinese side's position on the Diaoyu Islands issue is clear and consistent. The Diaoyu Islands are inherently Chinese territory. China has indisputable sovereignty over them. Japan's occupation of the Diaoyu Islands is illegal and invalid. The Japanese side's provocative acts on the Diaoyu Islands issue are undeniable and unreasonable. No one can shake our resolve and will to safeguard our country's territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests."
"What needs to be pointed out is that the Japan-US alliance is a bilateral arrangement forged during the Cold War era and should not undermine China's territorial sovereignty and legitimate rights and interests. China resolutely opposes putting the Diaoyu Islands under the Japan-US security treaty. The American side should respect the facts, strictly honor its commitment to taking no sides on issues concerning territorial sovereignty in a responsible manner, exercise caution in its words and deeds, and earnestly play a constructive role in regional peace and stability."
Comment: This is a re-statement of the standard Chinese position. China cannot and will not back down on issues of territorial sovereignty.
Concerning North Korean developments, the spokesman confirmed that South Korean President Park spoke with Chinese President Xi Jinping about recent activity in North Korea. The spokesman said China "is paying close attention to the current tense situation." Xi restated the Chinese commitment to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and to peace and stability through dialogue.
The spokesman said, "The two heads of state agreed to continue to maintain communication, coordination, and cooperation on the Korean Peninsula issue."
Russia-Ukraine: Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov gave an interview to Russian state TV channel RT. He accused the US of reneging on the 17 April Geneva document which calls for reciprocal actions to stabilize the situation in Ukraine. In every case the US has dictated what Russia must do and what eastern Ukrainians must do without taking reciprocal action in Kiev.
Lavrov noted that illegal armed bands are to be disarmed by both sides, but no group is attempting to disarm Right Sector, the Ukrainian ultra-nationalists. He said that groups are to vacate buildings but apparently not in Kiev and other cities. Lavrov opined that the US is "running the show" in Kiev, citing reports of CIA agents at national security headquarters in Kiev.
Lavrov noted the first operation by the Kiev regime against the eastern Ukrainians began the afternoon of 17 April. As for the operation ordered yesterday, Lavrov said it was "quite telling" that Kiev had re-launched its "anti-terrorist" operation in the east on Tuesday during a visit by "Joe Biden." He referred to the US Vice President repeatedly, but only as "Joe Biden."
Lavrov's most important statements came in response to a question about Russian troops. The question posed by interviewer Shevardnadze and Lavrov's reply are reproduced below.