|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang's Regular Press Conference on June 21, 2017|
Premier Li Keqiang will attend and address the opening ceremony of the 11th Summer Davos Forum in Dalian from 26 to 28 June. During the forum, Premier Li Keqiang will hold talks with leaders from Finland, Sweden and other countries, meet with some of the guests and have talks and communication with people from business community, financial sector, think-tanks and media.
Under the theme of "Achieving Inclusive Growth in the Fourth Industrial Revolution", this year's forum will be attended by around 1500 people consisting of prominent political figures, officials, entrepreneurs, scholars and press representatives from over 90 countries.
Q: First, US President Donald Trump wrote in a Tweet that "while I greatly appreciate the efforts of President Xi and China to help with North Korea, it has not worked out. At least I know China tried". How do you comment on that? Do you think President Trump is criticizing China? Second, a White House official said Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner were invited by the Chinese side to visit China later this year. Can you confirm that?
A: I will answer your first question in the first place. We have heard quite some similar remarks recently and also responded to them several times. I will reaffirm our position here.
China has always made relentless effort for the settlement of the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue and played an important and constructive role. In a word, China's contributions are there for all to see, and China's role is indispensable.
Since the tense situation on the peninsula has been escalating recently, China has been working on various parties intensively, promoting peace talks and trying hard to bring the peninsula nuclear issue back to the track of settlement through dialogue and negotiation. China has put up the dual track approach and the initiative of "suspension for suspension", as well as the proposal to strengthen the effort for both non-proliferation and promoting peace talks. These above-mentioned approach, initiative and proposal have gained understanding and support from an increasing number of countries.
The crux and the focal point of contention of the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue do not lie with the Chinese side. Settling the peninsula nuclear issue calls for collective wisdom and concerted efforts. We hope relevant parties can bear the general interests in mind and work in the same direction, play their due role and take their due responsibility. They need to work with the Chinese side to made due efforts to push for the settlement of the Korean nuclear issue and uphold peace and stability in Northeast Asia.
On your second question, I do not know the details. What I can tell you is that China and the US have maintained close communication and exchanges at high level and various levels, which is of great importance to the steady development of the relations between the two countries. China wishes to maintain the momentum of bilateral exchanges with the US and push for greater achievements in China-US relations.
Q: Recently, Moon Chung-in, Special Adviser for Unification, Foreign and Security Affairs to the ROK President, stated in the United States that if the DPRK suspends its nuclear and missile programs, the ROK may have a discussion with the United States about scaling down deployment of American strategic weapons over the Korean Peninsula, downsizing the US-ROK joint military exercise and linking the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula to the creation of a peace regime on the Korean Peninsula. What are the comments of the Chinese side?
A: We have noted relevant reports. The Chinese side always maintains that the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, in the final analysis, is a security issue. The final settlement of the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue calls for adopting multi-pronged policies, addressing both the symptoms and root causes and accommodating the legitimate concerns of all relevant parties in a balanced approach. The Chinese side welcomes and encourages the initiatives and proposals that are conducive to easing tensions and confrontations, enhancing communication and mutual trust and finally resolving the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue.
Q: Has the US administration threatened to take actions against Chinese companies trading with the DPRK or informed you of any plan to take unilateral actions against Chinese companies?
A: Our position is very clear. First, China has been implementing the UN Security Council's DPRK-related resolutions in a comprehensive, strict, accurate and earnest manner. Second, China opposed relevant country's so-called "long-arm jurisdiction" over other countries in accordance with its domestic law. We have repeatedly stressed this stance in our communication with the US, and the US side is also clear about it.
Q: There are some reports saying that there is a list of countries who are ready to monitor and assess the situation in the de-escalation zones in Syria. Is China considering this possibility of taking part in relevant activities there?
A: Since the fourth round of talks on Syria in Astana decided to set up an de-escalation zones, the intensity of the Syrian war has de-escalated. We speak positively of it and believe it will help ease the tensions in Syria, realize ceasefire and cessation of hostilities and create enabling external conditions for the peace talk process. According to my information, the working details concerning the monitoring and assessment in the de-escalation zones are yet to be formulated.
We hope with the concerted efforts of various parties, the Syrian issue can realize a comprehensive political settlement at an early date.
Q: Recently, Hellen De La Vega, Assistant Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines and Director of the Office of ASEAN Affairs, stated that China and the ASEAN countries have set up the hotline between the ministries of foreign affairs (MFA) of China and the 10 ASEAN countries and have agreed to apply the code of unplanned encounters at sea. These early harvests related to the South China Sea can contribute to the improvement of the China-ASEAN relations. In addition, Hellen said that the framework of the COC is scheduled to be submitted to the China-ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting to be held in August for review. What is China's response in this regard?
A: The Chinese side thinks positively of the relevant statements of the Philippines.
Currently, with the concerted efforts of China and the ASEAN countries, the situation in the South China Sea has cooled down and shown the momentum of positive development. Guided by the spirit of the full and effective implementation of the DOC, all relevant parties are actively advancing the consultations on the COC and maritime pragmatic cooperation. A lot of fruitful achievements have been reaped. At the 14th Senior Officials' Meeting on the Implementation of the DOC held in Guiyang not so long ago, all relevant parties have reached consensus on the framework of the COC.
Since last year, all relevant parties have agreed to set up the "MFA-to-MFA hotline"and apply the code of unplanned encounters at sea. In the first half of this year, all relevant parties have successfully tested the "MFA-to-MFA hotline". We believe that these measures can play an important role in enhancing mutual trust between relevant parties and preventing unexpected incidents.
China stands ready to work with the ASEAN countries to ensure the success of the China-ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting to be held in August and jointly promote the peace, stability, prosperity and development of the South China Sea.
Q: First, US President Donald Trump's daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner were reportedly invited by the Chinese side to visit China later this year. Can you confirm that? Second, Japanese Prime Minister issued an address that sent out some friendly signals to China recently. Can you talk more about China's attitude toward the high-level exchanges between China and Japan? Third, will China send a delegate to attend the China-Japan-ROK meeting possible to be held next month?
A: I just responded to the question on the visit of Ivanka and Kushner to China, do you need me to repeat it to you?
(The journalist nodded)
Well, I will repeat that: I do not know the details. What I can tell you is that China and the US have maintained close communication and exchanges at high-level and various levels, which is of great importance to the steady development of the relations between the two countries. China wishes to maintain the momentum of bilateral exchanges with the US and push for greater achievements in China-US relations.
Your second question is about the high-level exchanges between China and Japan. China's attitude towards this issue is very clear and consistent. The high-level exchanges are of important significance to the relationship between the two countries, and we hope the Japanese side can create necessary conditions and atmosphere for the exchanges.
On you third question, where did you hear about the information that the China-Japan-ROK meeting will be held next month?
(The journalist: From Japanese media. Is there any relevant plan at the moment?)
I have no information about the China-Japan-ROK leaders' meeting at hand by far. What I can tell you is that, China is always positive about the China-Japan-ROK cooperation. Meanwhile, we also think the China-Japan-ROK leaders' meeting should be held when the time and conditions are appropriate with the expectation that positive outcomes can be achieved.
Q: President Trump once said that he was looking forward to a trade war with China, but eased pressure on China over trade issues saying that he hoped for cooperation on the DPRK nuclear issue. He stated yesterday that China made effort to help with the North Korea issue, but these efforts he believed on the Chinese part have failed. Do you worry now about trade tensions between the US and China?
A: Regarding the trade between China and the United States, we have stated many times that the China-US trade is mutually beneficial in nature and it serves the fundamental and long-term interests of the two countries and two peoples.
The trade volume between China and the United United States now is over 200 times of that at the time when the two sides established the diplomatic relations. This number speaks volumes. If the bilateral trade was beneficial to one side and harmful to the other, such considerable progress could not have been achieved.
China stands ready to work with the United States to continue to deepen bilateral economic cooperation and trade while properly handling relevant differences and frictions so as to deliver more tangible benefits to the two countries and two peoples.
Follow-Up: You say the trade relationship is win-win, but President Trump has been very clear that he thinks trade issues and strategic issues, especially the DPRK issues, are linked. Do you have any comment on how that linkage may be affected given that Trump now believes that China has failed on the DPRK?
A: Just now I have pointed out that the contributions made by China to resolving the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue are universally recognized and China's role is indispensable.
China has been making unremitting efforts to resolve the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue and play a positive and constructive role in this regard. This is not due to the pressure from the outside but because China is a member of the Northeast Asia and a responsible member of the international community. This is also because the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue concerns the immediate interests of China.
Q: You mentioned the unremitting efforts China has made on the DPRK issue. Do you feel that there is more China can do to help solve this problem?
A: Like what I said just now, China is not the crux and focal point of contention of the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue. You may think about it: is China the one to blame for the escalation of the tensions on the Korean Peninsula over the recent period? We have kept stressing that the settlement of the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue calls for the concerted efforts of all relevant parties instead of depending solely on the efforts made by China. We urge relevant parties to play their due role and shoulder their due responsibilities to jointly work for the settlement of the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue.
Q: Is there any detail of President Xi Jinping's visit to Hong Kong at the end of June?
A: Hong Kong is a special administrative region of China. The question raised by you is not a diplomatic one. If you are interested in this question, I would refer you to competent authorities.
Q: With regard to the severing of the so-called "diplomatic ties" between Panama and Taiwan, Susan Thornton, acting assistant secretary of the US State Department's Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, stated on June 20 local time that the United States follows closely the peace and stability across the Taiwan straits. It is very important for the two sides across the straits to have unimpeded channels for communication. The United States is unwilling to see that either side across the straits disrupts the stability and opposes changing the status quo on the part of either side. What are the comments of the Chinese side on these repetitive statements, especially the United States emphasized that the two sides across the straits should have unimpeded channels for communication? In addition, will the Chinese side discuss Taiwan-related issues on the China-US Diplomatic and Security Dialogue to be held on June 21 with the United States?
A: As for the statements made by the United states, just now you said that they are repetitive. Then I think I am allowed to repeat our position which has been stated earlier. Is it all right?
We strongly urge the United States to abide by the one China principle and the principles stipulated in the three Sino-US joint communiques and properly handle Taiwan-related issues. The one China principle constitutes the political basis for China-US relations. We hope that the United States can properly handle relevant issues on the basis of this principle.
As for the communication between the mainland and Taiwan, I would refer you to competent authorities since this is not a diplomatic question.
Follow-Up: Will the Taiwan-related issues be discussed in the upcoming China-US Diplomatic and Security Dialogue?
A: We have stated that the two sides will have an in-depth exchange of views on China-US relations and the international and regional hot-spots of mutual concern at the upcoming China-US Diplomatic and Security Dialogue. It is self-evident that what important issues are incorporated in the China-US relations.
Q: Is China communicating with the Vatican on establishing diplomatic relations?
A: We have answered similar questions several times. China's will to improve relations with the Vatican is clear, and the two sides have unimpeded and effective communication channels.