|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang's Regular Press Conference on October 8, 2019|
Q: As we noted, during China's National Day holiday, Russian President Putin made positive comments on China-Russia relations, cooperation and China's development at the annual Valdai forum, and he spoke highly of his relationship with President Xi. Spokesperson Zakharova of the Russian Foreign Ministry expressed congratulations in Chinese to the 70th anniversaries of the founding of the PRC and the establishment of China-Russia diplomatic ties. Ms. Kulikova, receiver of a friendship medal and the first vice president of the China-Russia Friendship Association, said this, "If there were a next life, I would still contribute to Russia-China friendship." How do you comment on these remarks from the Russian side?
A: We have just celebrated the 70th anniversary of the founding of the PRC, and we thank the Russian leaders and people for sending us their sincere and wonderful congratulatory messages. In the meantime, both sides are also celebrating the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties. Our presidents, premier and prime minister and foreign ministers exchanged congratulatory messages and there are various activities held by our two peoples. Tomorrow more celebration activities are to be held by the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, the Russian-Chinese Committee of Friendship, Peace and Development, and the China-Russia Friendship Association. In fact, as the dates of the anniversaries of the PRC's founding and the China-Russia diplomatic ties are so close, the act of celebrating them together is in itself a reflection of the special and high level nature of our relations.
As we firmly believe, under the leadership of President Xi and President Putin and with the support and participation of the two peoples, the China-Russia relationship, which has withstood the test of times over the past seven decades, will surely achieve more outcomes and deliver more benefits to China, Russia and the world in the new era.
Q: Last week Russian President Putin said that Moscow is helping Beijing to create its own missile early warning system, which will dramatically increase China's defense capability. Could you confirm this and provide more details if possible?
A: I'm not aware of the specifics you talked about. I'd refer you to the military if you are interested.
Following the principle of equality, mutual trust and win-win outcomes, China and Russia have had normal communication and cooperation in military technologies, defense and other areas. Such communication and cooperation serve the interests of both countries, do not target any third party, and contribute to peace and stability of the region and beyond.
Q: The US Department of Commerce issued a statement on October 7 to include the public security department of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, its 18 subordinate elements, the public security bureau of Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps and eight Chinese companies including HikVision in America's Entity List. I wonder what is your comment on this?
A: Taking human rights as an excuse, the US has included the public security department of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, its 18 subordinate elements, the public security bureau of Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps and eight Chinese companies in America's Entity List and imposed sanctions on them. It seriously violates the basic norms governing international relations, interferes in China's internal affairs and undermines China's interests. China deplores and firmly opposes that.
I must point out that Xinjiang affairs are purely China's internal affairs that allow no foreign interference. Xinjiang does not have the so-called human rights issue claimed by the US. The accusations by the US side are merely made-up pretexts for its interference. The counter-terrorism and de-radicalization measures in Xinjiang are aimed to eradicate the breeding soil of extremism and terrorism. They are in line with Chinese laws and international practices, and are supported by all 25 million people of various ethnic groups in Xinjiang. They are also China's contribution to the world with regard to counter-terrorism. The US criticism is nothing more than fact-distorting gibberish, which only further reveals the country's malicious intention to impede the counter-terrorism efforts in Xinjiang and stability and development of China.
We urge the US to correct its mistakes at once, withdraw this decision and stop its interference in China's internal affairs. We will continue to take resolute and forceful measures to safeguard our sovereignty, security and development interests.
Q: The DPRK said last weekend that working-level consultations with the US have broken down. What's China's comment on this?
A: China has been closely following the working-level consultations between the DPRK and the US and noted the statements from the two sides. Denuclearization and lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula is the overriding trend and the shared expectation and consensus of the international community. Decades of ups and downs on the Korean Peninsula have shown that dialogue and consultation is the fundamental way out. We hope the DPRK and the US will remain patient, meet each other halfway, look for ways to address each other's concerns through dialogue and consultation, and ensure the process of denuclearization and political settlement will move forward along the right track. China stands ready to play a constructive role to this end.
Q: Not long ago, the general manager of the Houston Rockets made erroneous remarks on Hong Kong, and just now, CCTV announced its decision to hold off on broadcasting NBA games. Some in the US, on the other hand, oppose the NBA's apology. Is China using its influence in business to threaten profits and threaten the bottom line in order to manipulate free speech?
A: As you see from the media, the Chinese Consulate-General in Houston has lodged solemn representations to the Houston Rockets for the erroneous remarks made by the relevant person. The Chinese Basketball Association and the Chinese cooperation partners to the Houston Rockets made statements on this matter. I believe China's position on it couldn't be clearer. I also suggest you pay attention to the reaction of the ordinary Chinese people.
Conducting exchange and cooperation with China while having no knowledge whatsoever of the public opinion here? This will not work.
Q: On the question of US sanctions on Chinese companies, considering many of them are big companies employing many thousands of people, what impact do you think these sanctions will have and how will China respond?
A: Earlier I talked about China's position and attitude on this matter. I'd like to stress that by taking this move, the US violates the basic norms governing international relations, interferes in China's internal affairs and undermines China's interests, which we deplore and firmly oppose. We will continue to take resolute and forceful measures to safeguard our sovereignty, security and development interests.
Q: China released information yesterday that Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare will visit China. Could you tell us the main arrangements for this visit? Coming at a time after China and Solomon Islands just established diplomatic relations, what special significance does this visit have?
A: China and Solomon Islands officially established diplomatic relations on September 21, opening a new chapter in bilateral relations. Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare's official visit to China will be the first by Solomon Islands' leadership after the establishment of diplomatic ties. As such, it is important for bilateral relations under new circumstances. During the visit, President Xi Jinping will meet with him and Premier Li Keqiang will hold talks with him. The two sides will exchange views on China-Solomon Islands relations and other important issues of mutual interest.
Solomon Islands is an important country in the Pacific Island region. There is a long history of friendly exchange between our two peoples. China now stands as Solomon Islands' largest trading partner. With a high degree of complementarity, our two countries enjoy huge potential in cooperation. The establishment of diplomatic relations has opened the door for friendly exchange and cooperation between the two countries. China stands ready to work with Solomon Islands to build on the momentum of Prime Minister Sogavare's visit to enhance political mutual trust, deepen mutually-beneficial cooperation and strengthen communication and coordination in regional and international affairs to take China-Solomon Islands relations forward and bring more benefits to our peoples.
Q: The closing ceremony of the International Horticultural Exhibition 2019 will be held tomorrow in Beijing, China. Will there be any foreign leaders attending the relevant events?
A: The International Horticultural Exhibition 2019 in Beijing, China will be coming to an end after a successful 162-day long journey. The grand closing ceremony, a major event and a finishing touch for this exhibition, will be held on the evening of October 9. Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare of Solomon Islands, Prime Minister Imran Khan of Pakistan, First Deputy Prime Minister Kubatbek Boronov of Kyrgyzstan, Deputy Prime Minister Hajibala Abutalybov of Azerbaijan and Deputy Prime Minister Hor Namhong of Cambodia will attend relevant events.
Q: Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan is in China, and this visit takes place just days before President Xi's visit to India. Do you see a link between the two? According to the Pakistani media, the issue of Kashmir is going to be raised by the Pakistani prime minister. Do you have a comment?
A: China's position on the issue of Kashmir is consistent and clear. We call on India and Pakistan to step up dialogue on disputes including the Kashmir issue to enhance mutual trust and improve relations. It serves the common interests of both India and Pakistan and represents the shared expectation of regional countries and the international community.
Follow-up: My question was the link between the two visits, that is, Prime Minister Imran Khan's visit and the visit of President Xi to India.
A: We have already released information on Prime Minister Imran Khan's visit to China. China attaches great importance to the visit by Prime Minister Imran Khan. President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang and Chairman Li Zhanshu will meet and hold talks with him to have in-depth exchange of views on bilateral relations and issues of mutual interest. A series of cooperation documents will be signed by relevant departments of the two sides. During the visit, Prime Minister Imran Khan will also attend the closing ceremony of the International Horticultural Exhibition.
China and Pakistan are all-weather strategic cooperative partners with a tradition of frequent and close communication between leaders of the two sides. Currently, our strategic mutual trust is standing strong and practical cooperation in various fields is advancing rapidly with new progress in the CPEC bringing more benefits to the two peoples. China looks forward to positive outcomes from this visit to inject new impetus into the China-Pakistan relationship.
As to high-level exchange between China and India, I would like to say that China and India are each other's important neighbor and both are major developing countries and emerging markets. Since last year's Wuhan summit between our leaders, China-India relations have been developing with a sound momentum. The two sides have been advancing cooperation in various sectors steadily and managing differences and sensitive issues properly.
There is a tradition of high-level exchange between leaders of China and India. We are in communication regarding bilateral high-level exchange going forward. The two sides should work to create a favorable atmosphere and environment for it. We will release information in a timely manner. Please follow up on it.
Q: With regard to the US Commerce Department's decision on Chinese entities, will that negatively affect the trade talks this week?
A: China's Ministry of Commerce released information this morning. At the invitation of the US side, Liu He, member of the Politburo of the CPC Central Committee, Vice Premier of the State Council and chief of the Chinese delegation of the China-US comprehensive economic dialogue, will lead a delegation to Washington D. C. for another round of high-level consultations with USTR Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin from October 10 to 11.
I would like to stress that China's position on trade talks with the US is consistent and clear. We hope the US will meet China halfway to strive for progress in the consultations on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit.
Q: According to reports, a spokesperson of Iraq's Ministry of Interior said on October 6 that the recent unrest in the country has caused 104 deaths and wounded more than 6,000. Demonstrators burned down 51 public buildings and eight political party headquarters. I wonder if you have a comment?
A: China is following closely the situation in Iraq. We believe the Iraqi government and people have the wisdom and capability to handle the situation, restore social order and realize lasting peace and stability at an early date.
Q: Russian President Vladimir Putin addressed on Thursday in a plenary session of Valdai discussion club that Russia offers to establish an organization in order to resolve the issue of Persian Gulf. As he said, Russia, China, the US, the European Union, India and other interested states are proposed to be observer states in this organization. What's your comment?
A: I can only offer a principled response before checking for more information on your question.
China has been closely following the complex and sensitive situation in the Gulf region. Safeguarding peace and stability in the region is in the shared interests of the international community. China welcomes all proposals and diplomatic efforts conducive to deescalating the situation in the Gulf region. We would also like to stay in communication with all relevant parties.
Q: Taiwan media reported that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso sent congratulatory messages respectively to Taiwan's economic and cultural office in Fukuoka, Japan on its celebratory event and referred to Taiwan as the "Republic of China". What's your comment?
A: We noted that the Japanese government has openly stated that this is fake news and reiterated its commitment to the 1972 China-Japan Joint Communiqué on issues regarding Taiwan.
There is only one China in the world. The government of the People's Republic of China is the sole legal government representing the whole of China. Taiwan is an inalienable part of the Chinese territory.
I advise certain people in Taiwan to stop making what they deem clever moves that will only lead to humiliation. It couldn't be nice to get a slap in the face.
Q: First question, a follow-up on the question of the NBA. In the last few days, we've had the general manager of the Houston Rockets apologized to China and Chinese fans, we've had other Houston Rockets executives apologized to China and Chinese fans, we've had NBA offering explanations, and today we see CCTV's temporarily suspending broadcast of the NBA. I'd like to ask, as far as China's concerned, what kind of future does the NBA have in China and, if it wants to go back to normal as it were, what needs to happen? And the second question is on South Park. It's been reported that its episodes are now unavailable, or at least one recent episode is unavailable on Chinese video websites. What is China's reaction to this?
A: On your first question, I already responded just now. There is one thing I would like to emphasize. For those engaging in exchange and cooperation with China, how can you make it work without understanding the public opinion in China? The NBA has been working with China for a long while. It knows very well what it should say and do next.
On your second question, I am not aware of that.
Q: A follow-up on the NBA question. Could you clarify who do you see as responsible? Is it an individual person's opinion, or the team's responsibility or NBA? And what do you see as the proper punishment from China's perspective?
A: As I just said, the precondition to exchange and cooperation with China is to understand the public opinion here. Otherwise it would be impossible to achieve certain things.
As to what the NBA should say and do next, I believe it knows this better than anyone else.
Q: I want to follow up on the Commerce Department's blacklist. In the past, when the US Commerce Department has put Chinese companies on the list, China has responded with suggestions that it could retaliate. Could something like this happen in response to the most recent action from America? Also, could you provide us with some updates on the status of China's unreliable entity list?
A: As I just said, we urge the US side to immediately correct its wrong practice, repeal its decision and stop interfering in China's internal affairs. China will continue to take firm and strong measures to resolutely defend its sovereignty, security and development interests.
As to possible countermeasures, are you looking forward to them? Please follow up on this.
Regarding the "unreliable entity list", China's Ministry of Commerce spokesperson said not long ago that this mechanism is going through internal procedures and will be made public soon. I would refer you to the Commerce Ministry for more information.
Q: For both the US and China, there are a lot of challenges that both sides are facing, including the escalating Hong Kong protests and violence for China, the impeachment inquiry for the Trump administration, and of course, these sanctions on Chinese companies. For this upcoming round of trade talks, which side do you think is stronger, China or the US?
A: As is stressed many times, the nature of China-US economic and trade cooperation is mutually beneficial, and it is the same with the trade talks. It is natural that we have differences and frictions, but the key is to properly resolve them through dialogue and consultation based on mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit. I believe the right approach is not seeking the upper hand, but working together in the same direction.
Q: As we know, there is extensive use of surveillance technologies and equipment in Xinjiang's "reeducation camps" and the wider society. My question is, does China understand why there is such concern in the outside world that technology is being used to repress the rights of Muslim minorities in this region?
A: You haven't been in our press conference for a while, right?
I'm afraid I must correct you. You've been working in China for a long time and have heard the Xinjiang-related comments by MFA spokespersons many times. How come you still use the phrase "reeducation camps"? You should've known its correct name. And if you cannot even get the name right, how can you make objective and neutral reports?
The measures China has taken in Xinjiang are preventive ones that aim to counter terrorism and achieve de-radicalization, which have nothing to do with human rights or religions. You said that there are many countries having concerns, but the number is only a few, and those few countries have bias towards China's development. In fact, more countries are supporting those measures in Xinjiang. Their representatives invited to visit Xinjiang spoke highly of what they saw. I advise that you read carefully about the related media reports. If you cannot find those reports, you may read the relevant press conference transcripts on the MFA website, where you will find thorough details. We can talk about this matter if you still have any doubt after reading them.
Q: First question, can you please confirm the report that Pakistan's army chief General Bajwa is also visiting China along with the Pakistani prime minister? If so, do you have any details of his scheduled meetings with leaders and officials here? Secondly, you also said about high-level interactions between India and China. When does China plan to announce this?
A: Prime Minister Imran Khan is currently visiting China. He will attend the closing ceremony of the International Horticultural Exhibition. China will release information on the visit in a timely manner.
On your second question, I also said just now that there is a tradition of high-level exchange between leaders of China and India. Recently we have been in communication regarding bilateral high-level exchange going forward. China will release information in due course.
Q: On the NBA. Should the managers of foreign sports teams be allowed to express their own political opinions in their own countries without fear of consequence?
A: It is one thing to express their opinions. But like I said, when conducting exchange and cooperation with China, they ought to know the public opinion in our country, otherwise how can such exchange and cooperation go on?
Q: Recently the UN General Assembly's sixth committee and first committee have taken a pause to their work due to a problem that diplomats from Russia, Iran, Cuba and some other countries have failed to obtain US visas. The Russian side made a proposal to relocate the first committee from New York to another city in another country. I'm wondering if you have any comment?
A: As the host of the headquarters of the United Nations, it is a due international obligation of the US to issue visas and provide other kinds of convenience to foreign representatives attending UN meetings.
Q: The DPRK carried out an underwater-launched ballistic missile test of the Pukguksong-3 missile on October 2. Can you comment on that?
A: China noted this situation. We are committed to peace, stability and denuclearization on the Peninsula, and to dialogue and consultation as ways to resolve this issue. The situation on the Peninsula is at a critical stage. China calls on relevant parties to cherish the hard-won amelioration, do more to promote dialogue and ease tensions, and make joint efforts for denuclearization on the Peninsula and lasting peace and stability of the Peninsula and the region.