|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang's Regular Press Conference on October 26, 2017|
At the invitation of Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka Tilak Marapana, will pay an official visit to China from October 29 to November 4.
This will be Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana's first official visit to China, and the Chinese side attaches great importance to it. During the visit, the Chinese leaders will meet with Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana, and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will hold talks with him. Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana will also attend the 60th anniversary celebration of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Sri Lanka and China held by the Sri Lanka Embassy in China.
Sri Lanka is China's traditional friendly neighbor. Since the establishment of the diplomatic relations, the relationship between the two countries has maintained sound and steady development. The year of 2017 marks the 60th anniversary of our diplomatic ties and the 65th anniversary of the signing of the Agreement on Rice for Rubber, and it serves as a milestone for China-Sri Lanka relations. This year witnessed the visit of Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) Yu Zhengsheng to Sri Lanka and Sri Lanka Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's attendance at the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in China, and the two sides reached broad consensus on deepening across-the-board cooperation under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative. We hope Foreign Minister Tilapia Marapana's visit will further advance the implementation of the consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries, comprehensively plan our cooperation in economy, politics, culture and people-to-people exchanges and other fields as guided by the jointly-built Belt and Road Initiative, and continuously move forward the China-Sri Lanka strategic cooperative partnership based on sincere mutual assistance and ever-lasting friendship.
Q: With the new leadership of China elected, there is growing expectations for the warming up of the relationship between the Republic of Korea (ROK) and China. How do you comment on that?
A: The Chinese side highly values its relations with the ROK. Since the establishment of the diplomatic ties between China and the ROK, the bilateral relations have developed rapidly, and the cooperation between the two countries in economy, trade, culture and people-to-people and other fields have brought tangible benefits to the two peoples. We stand ready to work with the ROK to surmount certain difficulties in the development of our relations at present and promote the sound and steady development of the bilateral relations.
Q: According to reports, the DPRK Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un has sent a congratulatory message to Xi Jinping on his being reelected as General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC). Does this suggest that relations between the DPRK and China are improving?
A: Indeed, many leaders of countries and political parties and the principals of international organizations have sent congratulatory messages and letters to express warm congratulations on Comrade Xi Jinping's election as General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee and the election of the 19th central leading organs. The leader of the DPRK has also sent a congratulatory message
As to China-DPRK relations, the two countries are close neighbors that enjoy the tradition of friendly exchanges.
Q: First, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has visited Pakistan and India recently and held talks with the leaderships of both countries. What's your take on his visit to Pakistan where he emphasized the need for Pakistan to eliminate the safe havens for terrorists and also spoke about improvement of relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan? Second, after his talks with Indian External Affairs Minister yesterday, he also said that Washington will not tolerate safe havens for terrorists and terrorist groups and the US will work positively with India to crack down on terrorism. How do you see his visit to the South Asia subcontinent in the aftermath of President Donald Trump's new South Asia policy?
A: Regarding your first question, as we said multiple times before, Pakistan is at the forefront of the counter-terrorism efforts. For many years, it has made positive efforts and great sacrifices for combating terrorism and made important contributions to upholding world peace and regional stability. We believe that the international community should fully recognize Pakistan's counter-terrorism efforts. The Chinese side supports the international community in enhancing the international counter-terrorism cooperation and forming synergy. We welcome the Pakistan and the United States' counter-terrorism cooperation on the basis of mutual respect and their joint commitment to the security and stability of the region and the world.
As to your second question, we are pleased to see the development of friendly cooperation between the US, India, Pakistan and other countries around the globe. We hope that such relations are conducive to promoting regional peace and stability, enhancing mutual trust between regional countries and boosting regional development and prosperity.
Q: The 19th CPC National Congress adopted the resolution on the revised Constitution of the Communist Party of China, which enshrines the Belt and Road Initiative. What is the significance of this move? How will it impact the building of the Belt and Road going forward?
A: Xi Jinping stressed in his report to the 19th CPC National Congress that the country will take the building of the Belt and Road Initiative as a priority, lay equal emphasis on bring-in and going-global, follow the principles of wide consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, enhance open cooperation of innovation capacity, and make new ground in opening China further through links running eastward and westward, across land and over sea. The resolution on the revised Constitution of the Communist Party of China of the 19th National Congress proposes to enshrine the Belt and Road Initiative in the CPC constitution. This fully demonstrates the importance China attaches to the building of the Belt and Road and its determination of and confidence in firmly advancing the Belt and Road international cooperation under the leadership of the CPC.
Since General Secretary Xi Jinping put forward the Belt and Road Initiative in the autumn of 2013, the building of the Belt and Road has progressed smoothly with fruitful outcomes. It has been widely accepted and supported by the international community and more and more countries have engaged in the cooperation. The inclusion of the Belt and Road Initiative in the CPC constitution will surely chart the course of and inject strong impetus to our efforts to jointly construct the Belt and Road with other countries, promote the development of a new type of international relations and build a community of shared future for mankind in a new era. We believe that the advancement of the Belt and Road Initiative in a more in-depth manner will create more room for China's open development and present greater opportunities for the development of all countries and global economy. Following the principle of wide consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, we stand ready to work with various parties in a concerted effort and make greater contributions to building a community of shared future for mankind and an open, inclusive, clean and beautiful world of lasting peace, universal security and common prosperity.
Q: Yesterday, the new CPC central leadership made its first appearance. I was just wondering what impact it would have on China's diplomacy?
A: I answered a similar question yesterday, and I would like to elaborate on it a little bit if you are interested in the 19th CPC National Congress's impact on China's diplomacy. Under the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era and holding high the banner of peace, development and win-win cooperation, major country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics for a new era will follow our foreign policy's purpose of upholding world peace and promoting common development, steadfastly develop friendly cooperation with other countries on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, advance a new type of international relations and build a community of shared future for mankind in a concerted effort with other countries.
We are convinced that with the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, major country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics for a new era will surely undertake a new mission, make a difference and take on a new look.
Q: According to reports, recently while interacting with Asian journalists, a Chinese diplomat said that China will have talks with India regarding the differences over the relevant issues of the Belt and Road Initiative. Can you please elaborate on that? Will China make any new proposals in view of the Belt and Road Initiative being included in the constitution of the CPC?
A: I'm not aware of the remarks by the Chinese diplomat you just mentioned by far.
I would like to say that the Belt and Road Initiative is an open and inclusive initiative, which upholds the principle of wide consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits. All countries with the shared aspiration are welcome to engage. In fact, since General Secretary Xi Jinping put forward the Belt and Road Initiative in 2013, it has been supported and joined by an increasing number of countries. The Belt and Road Initiative has become the largest platform for international cooperation and the most popular international public good.
As to the certain concerns of India with regard to the Belt and Road Initiative as you mentioned, we said on many occasions that the purpose of the Belt and Road Initiative is to promote interconnectivity between regional countries and help countries to achieve common prosperity. Promoting the Belt and Road Initiative does not affect China's position on specific issues and our position on these issues remain unchanged regardless of this initiative.
To conclude, we welcome the participation of other countries, including India, in the Belt and Road Initiative. Indeed, such participation should be on a voluntary basis. I would like to point out again that practice has proven and will continue to prove that in terms of participation in the Belt and Road Initiative, the earlier, the better and the more engagement, the greater the benefits.
Q: Tensions have flared up in certain regions of Iraq following the September 25 independence referendum in the Kurdish region and there are reports of armed conflicts from time to time. In a statement issued on October 25, the Kurdistan Regional Government offered to freeze the results of the earlier referendum and start a dialogue with the central government under the constitution and called for an immediate ceasefire between the Iraqi government forces and the Kurdish armed forces. What's your comment on that?
A: The Chinese side has noted the relevant reports. We respect Iraq's sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity and hope that all relevant parties remain calm and restrained and that under the framework of Iraq's constitution, they can resolve their differences through dialogue and negotiation, find a solution that accommodates the concerns and interests of various parties and jointly uphold the stability of Iraq and the region at an early date,