|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang's Regular Press Conference on January 3, 2019|
Q: It is reported that US Secretary of State Pompeo said when meeting with Brazil's new Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo that the United States is seeking to provide Brazil with real opportunity that is fair, reciprocal, and conducted transparently, not the same model that is used by some other countries in the world for political rather than business purposes. According to reports, although Pompeo did not name China, the so-called "other countries" clearly mean China. What is China's comment on this?
A: I have noticed these reports. If these reports do get it right, then it is for the US side to clarify which country it was referring to. But I also noticed that yesterday, when meeting with President Xi Jinping's Special Envoy and Vice Chairman of the NPC Standing Committee Ji Bingxuan, the new Brazilian President Bolsonaro said that China and Brazil are both great countries, and the new Brazilian government attaches great importance to cooperation with China and is willing to push forward Brazil-China relations. The prospects for cooperation between the two countries will certainly be better and better.
I would like to reiterate that China's cooperation with Brazil and other Latin American countries featuring mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit serves the respective interests as well as the common interests of China and Latin American countries. Brazil, as an important emerging market, clearly knows where its interests lie and certainly needs no preaching from others.
Q: It is reported that Egyptian Ambassador to China Osama el Magdoub said in a recent interview that as Egypt assumes the rotating presidency of the AU in 2019, China and Egypt can strengthen cooperation during Egypt's presidency and collaborate on issues of common concern. What is China's comment?
A: The AU is the banner of Africa's endeavor to seek strength through unity. China has always attached great importance to its relations with the AU and supported the AU in playing an active role in international and regional affairs. Egypt will assume the presidency of the AU this year. China is willing to strengthen bilateral and multilateral communication and coordination with Egypt and make joint efforts for the cause of peace and development in Africa.
As everyone knows, it has become a fine tradition over the years that the Chinese Foreign Minister has chosen Africa as the destination of his first overseas visit each year. This week, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi is visiting Africa, during which he will visit the AU Headquarters and meet with the Chairman of the AU Commission Faki. China hopes that through this visit, we could strengthen coordination with Africa on implementing the outcomes of the 2018 FOCAC Beijing Summit and the consensus reached by the leaders of the two sides, jointly contribute to peace, stability and development in Africa, and elevate the overall interests of the developing countries.
Q: The Supreme People's Procuratorate said today that Canadian citizens Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor are under investigation but did not mention their charges. Can you tell us what they are charged for?
A: Today the Supreme People's Procuratorate has made a statement on this issue which is authoritative.
As you should remember, we have said here that these two Canadian citizens are under investigation in accordance with law for engaging in activities that undermine China's national security. The relevant investigation is still underway. It is not convenient to disclose more information now.
Q: Vietnam said that Vietnamese fishing ships have been hit by China Coast Guard vessels many times in the waters of Xisha Islands. Their harvests have also been taken away by the Chinese side. What is your comment? How many times have such cases happened? The "fishing ban" China implements in the South China Sea is applicable to the fishing vessels of other countries operating in the same areas. What is the basis of doing that?
A: On your first question, according to the information we have, the Chinese government ships have been carrying out their normal patrolling duties in the relevant waters under China's jurisdiction. It is normal to take some measures on foreign fishing ships that operate illegally, and such measures are keep to the minimum level to meet the law enforcement requirement. As far as I know, what you just described in your question is just individual cases. Everyone understands that it is quite normal to have some fishery disputes from time to time between neighboring coastal countries.
In fact, according to what we know, relevant departments on the two sides maintain normal communication on fishery law enforcement. My advice for the Financial Times is that besides those sporadic fishery disputes, it could focus more on the sound fishery cooperation between China and Vietnam, especially the mutual assistance we have been offering to each other's fishermen whenever there are emergencies on the sea, which happens far more than the individual cases you just described.
As for the fishing moratorium during the summer season, China has been practicing such moratorium in the South China Sea for many years which is beneficial to the preservation and sustainable development of the marine fishery resources. We also hope that all other relevant countries could work with us, follow international laws including UNCLOS, earnestly fulfill their duties as littoral states in the South China Sea, and contribute to the sustainable development of fishery in the South China Sea.
Q: A question on China-US relations. US acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said that he sees China as a major concern for the US. I wonder if you have any reaction to this statement?
A: I also saw what you just described from the media reports. We may need the US side to clarify whether what you just cited is his original words.
The two militaries of China and the US have maintained normal or even sound interactions for some time. A clear message we get from the US side through these interactions is that the US side values mil-to-mil relations with China just like we do and hopes to make mil-to-mil relations a stabilizer of China-US relations. The US side clearly pointed out that developing constructive mil-to-mil relations will always be its goal. So, whether what you just cited is the official statement by the US side needs to be clarified by the US side itself.
In principle, I want to stress again that China will always uphold defense policies that are defensive in nature and remain committed to developing defense cooperation with other countries including the US. We believe that this is conducive to enhancing mutual trust and bilateral ties. It will also help promote world peace and stability.
China and the US are major powers with great influence in the world. If a country seeks partners, then most likely it will get partners. If it seeks adversaries, then adversaries it will certainly get.
Q: US President Trump said that he has received the letter from DPRK's Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un and he might meet with Kim Jong-un again. What is your comment?
A: We believe that President Trump's statement is positive news. China always believes that as key parties to the Korean Peninsula issue, more positive interactions and productive dialogues between the US and the DPRK, will contribute to the settlement of the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue as well as peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula.
Just like President Xi Jinping pointed out in his phone call with US President Trump on December 29 at the latter's initiation, China always encourages and supports the DPRK and the US in continuing with their dialogues and striving for positive outcomes. We are glad to see positive progress.
Q: According to reports, a US delegation is coming to China next week for trade negotiations. Can you confirm this information and maybe give us some details on the exact location and date?
A: The Spokesperson for the Commerce Ministry already answered this question. In accordance with the consensus reached by the two state leaders in Argentina, the economic teams on the two sides have maintained close communication, one outcome of which is that the two sides agreed to have face-to-face communication as the bilateral consultation moves forward. You may confirm the relevant details with the competent authority, the Commerce Ministry.