|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang's Regular Press Conference on July 22, 2019|
Q: According to Russian vice foreign minister Sergey Ryabkov, there will be a meeting on the Iran nuclear deal on July 28 in Vienna. I wonder if you could confirm this and if China will attend it?
A: China has been closely following the development of the Iranian nuclear issue. We are in close communication with other relevant parties on holding a Joint Commission meeting of the JCPOA in the near future. China will give positive consideration to sending a delegation to the meeting.
As we repeatedly emphasize, ensuring the full and effective implementation of the JCPOA is both the requirement of UN Security Council resolutions and the only viable and effective approach to resolve the issue and deescalate tensions. Through this meeting, we hope all parties can further consolidate the momentum to uphold the JCPOA, resolve the issues concerning implementation through dialogue and consultation, including the balance of rights and obligations of all parties under the deal.
Q: According to the official WeChat account of the Chinese embassy in Russia, the Chinese ambassador Li Hui will leave office in August. Can you tell us what Ambassador Li's next post will be?
A: Thank you for following the official WeChat account of the Chinese embassy in Russia, but I don't have any information on Ambassador Li's next post for you at the moment.
Q: On Sunday, a Chinese swimmer Sun Yang won the 400 meters freestyle in the swimming championships in the ROK. But the Australian swimmer who came in second place refused to stay on the podium with him because he said Mr. Sun is facing a drug inquiry. It has caused a lot of controversy in Australia and China. Do you have any comments on that?
A: Technically that's not a diplomatic matter. First, I'll leave this to Mr. Sun Yang himself, and he has responded to similar questions. Second, if such things happen in sports games, they should be dealt with following the regulations of international sports organizations.
Q: Last Friday you made a comment on the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs and her comment on the arrest of a Chinese Australian Yang Jun. You said that you deplored her comments and urged her to stay out of Chinese administration of justice. What do you feel is the state of relationship between Australia and China? Do you feel there are some tensions in the relationship on a number of issues including Huawei?
A: As we said on many occasions, a sound and stable China-Australia relationship serves the interests of both China and Australia. We hope the relevant Australian individual can face to this fact, take concrete actions and work with China for a sound and stable China-Australia relationship going forward.
Q: Spokesperson of the US Department of State said in a statement on July 20 that the US is concerned by reports of China's interference with oil and gas activities in the South China Sea, including Vietnam's long-standing exploration and production activities. The statement cited Secretary Pompeo's remarks that "China is blocking development in the SCS through coercive means." US National Security Adviser Bolton tweeted that China's coercive behaviors to its Southeast Asian neighbors threaten regional peace and stability. I wonder if you have any comment on that?
A: The situation in the South China Sea is generally stable. China and ASEAN countries are effectively implementing the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea. We are effectively safeguarding peace and stability in the South China Sea by advancing practical maritime cooperation and the consultation of a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea. In the meantime, China and countries concerned in the South China Sea manage the relevant disputes through consultation and dialogue. This is a fact witnessed by all.
For a long time, external forces including the US have been making wanton remarks on this issue, stirring up troubles and sowing discord with ill intentions. Such behaviors will only disrupt the situation in the South China Sea and undermine regional peace and stability. I must point out that the comments made by Mr. Pompeo and Mr. Bolton are in disregard of the truth. They are slanders against the will and efforts of China and ASEAN countries to safeguard peace and stability and properly manage disputes. Countries and people in the region will never believe a single word of what they said.
We urge the US to stop such irresponsible behaviors, respect the facts and the efforts of China and ASEAN countries to settle disputes through dialogue, and make positive contributions to peace and stability in the South China Sea rather than doing the opposite.
Q: Results of Japan's Upper House election yesterday showed that the Abe-led ruling party won over half of the seats, which is a victory. But they didn't win two thirds of the seats, which is a threshold for amending the Constitution. How do you see the election results? What is the impact of this election on China-Japan relations?
A: By mentioning the Upper House election, you are in fact asking about Japan's amendment of Constitution and China-Japan relations, right?
Journalist: Yes. I'm interested in them all.
A: First of all, the Upper House election is Japan's internal affair. We do not comment on it. Second, the amendment of Constitution is also an internal affair. But because of historical reasons, it is followed closely by the international community, especially Japan's Asian neighbors. We hope Japan will stay committed to peaceful development and win the trust from its Asian neighbors and the international community by taking concrete actions.
Regarding China-Japan relations, our two countries are close neighbors. During the recently concluded G20 Osaka Summit, our leaders both made positive remarks on the sound momentum of improvement in our bilateral relationship. They believe that in the new era, we share more common interests, mutual concerns and development opportunities. We should both work for a bilateral relationship that meets the demand of the new era. We hope both sides can make concerted efforts in this.
Q: Yesterday an attack took place in Yuen Long Metro Station in Hong Kong. The Democratic Progressive Party in Taiwan also condemned the Hong Kong government, saying that specific violent groups in Hong Kong are controlled by Beijing, and that they believe this incident will draw world attention. Do you have any response to that?
A: Regarding the incident took place in Hong Kong yesterday, both the Office of Hong Kong and Macao Affairs of the State Council and the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the Hong Kong SAR made responses to that, which represent the position of the central government. The Hong Kong SAR government also made a statement. I'd refer you to that.
I'd like to reiterate that the behaviors of some radical protesters have crossed the bottom line of the "one country, two systems" principle. This is intolerable. We firmly support the SAR government in taking all necessary measures according to law to ensure the safety of central government institutions in Hong Kong, uphold the rule of law in Hong Kong and punish the criminals. And I'd like to reiterate that we firmly oppose any foreign interference in and any wanton accusations on Hong Kong's internal affairs.
Q: The China-ASEAN Education Cooperation Week is reportedly held from July 22 to 26 in Guizhou Province. Can you give us more details?
A: The opening ceremony of the 12th China-ASEAN Education Cooperation Week was held this morning in Guiyang, Guizhou Province. Its theme is "deepening practical cooperation and sharing development outcomes". Altogether 2,400 Chinese and foreign guests attended the ceremony, including education officials, presidents of famous universities, experts, scholars and members of diplomatic missions in China as well as representatives from partner countries outside the region. The education cooperation week is the only inter-governmental platform featuring education between China and ASEAN countries. There are now signature programs for college cooperation, youth exchange and vocational education. It has played a positive role in China-ASEAN education cooperation, friendship among peoples and people-to-people exchange.
There will also be colorful sideline activities during this week. I'd refer you to the Secretariat of the Organizational Committee for more information.
Q: US media yesterday announced that China will be able to use a Cambodian naval base under a "secret agreement" the two nations have reached. Can you confirm this?
A: As I understand, the Cambodian side has denied this. As traditional friendly neighbors, China and Cambodia have conducted cooperation across the board. Our cooperation is open, transparent, equal and mutually-beneficial. We hope our cooperation will not be over-interpreted.
Q: You said that you understood that the Cambodian side has denied this. Are you confirming that the Chinese side is also denying this?
A: Like I just said, we hope relevant party will not over-interpret the normal cooperation between China and Cambodia.
Q: First question, the CCTV reported yesterday that Chinese enterprises are seeking new purchases of US agricultural products. Is China making good on promises to buy more US agricultural products as the US required? Do you have more details about this, for example, the number of purchases? Second, foreign scholars said that white-clad men "indiscriminately" attacked people at the Yuen Long MTR station in Hong Kong yesterday. They said what happened is a "terrorist attack" and the Democratic Progressive Party in Taiwan also condemned what the Hong Kong government did. This incident has drawn attention from the international community. What's your response?
A: Regarding your first question, the Xinhua News Agency has released information. There is a line in it that "our journalists have learned from relevant party", and I believe it refers to the authoritative department. That press release is very detailed and I don't think I have any more to add. If you are interested in the China-US talks, you may keep following that since the Chinese side will release relevant information in due course.
As to the so-called "attack" in Hong Kong as you mentioned, our attitude is very clear. We oppose all illegal, violent behaviors and the central government always supports the Hong Kong police in handling relevant situation in accordance with law. This position is consistent.
Q: The US announced its plan to create the International Religious Freedom Alliance with relevant countries to defend religious freedom at its second Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom. What's your comment?
A: Last week the US kept slandering and smearing China's religious policy and freedom of religious belief and interfering in China's internal affairs. In response to the US wrongdoing, we have stated our stern position repeatedly.
What the US did has aroused strong opposition from the Chinese people. Around 100 scholars and religious personnel have sent a joint letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to express their strong indignation against those irresponsible remarks related to Xinjiang. On July 19, the China Buddhist Association, the China Taoist Association, China Islamic Association, the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association (CPA) and the Bishops Conference of the Catholic Church in China (BCCCC), and the China Christian Council all strongly condemned US attacks on China's ethnic and religious policy.
In fact, what the US did has also encountered aversion and opposition in many countries, and some of them refused to attend the meeting. The head of the biggest Islamic organization in Indonesia expressed support to Chinese government 's Xinjiang-related policy in public recently, saying that certain Western countries' accusations against China are out of political motives and inconsistent with facts. Not long ago, ambassadors to the UN Geneva Office from Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, among other 37 countries, sent a joint letter to the president of the UN Human Rights Council and High Commissioner for Human Rights, in which they recognized the progress of human rights protection and counterterrorism and deradicalization in Xinjiang. As I understand, recently many more countries have joined them in supporting Chinese government by sending jointly signed letter.
As to the so-called International Religious Freedom Alliance, it's nothing more than a tool for the US to promote its own values and interfere in others internal affairs under the pretext of religious freedom. It will surely encounter opposition in most countries and is doomed to fail.
We advise the US to respect facts and abandon bias. It should stop politicizing religious matters, tainting the good name of religion, interfering in others' domestic affairs and playing so-called world police.
Q: Can you offer more details about the visit by the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi to China? Are there any MOUs being signed?
A: This morning, President Xi Jinping held talks with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the UAE at the Great Hall of the People. The Chinese side has issued a readout, which is a quite long one full of details. You may ready that for more information.
Q: Taiwan's "Foreign Minister" Joseph Wu has called for genuine election in Hong Kong while in transit in Denver, the US. Do you have any comments on this?
A: First of all, I have to correct you that we never recognize the so-called "foreign minister" you mentioned. I believe you are fully aware of this and please stop calling him that next time.
Regarding the absurd remarks on Hong Kong affairs by certain individual in Taiwan, like I just said in my answer to questions from Hong Kong journalists, this is not a diplomatic question and I'm not in the position to answer that.
I would like to advise certain people in Taiwan to stop grandstanding on hot issues and making irresponsible remarks on Hong Kong affairs. Such tricks are doomed to fail.
As to the so-called "transit", China's position is also very clear. We firmly oppose any official contact between the US and Taiwan in whatever form. We also stated our stern position against the "transit" in the US of the leader of the Taiwan region previously. I won't go into details for that.
Q: The former director of intelligence and information operations for the US Pacific Fleet James E. Fanell published an open letter to President Trump that was signed by over 130 people from the US and other countries on America media. This letter criticized China's foreign and internal policies and supported the US government in adopting policies confronting China. What's your response?
A: We've seen relevant reports. This so-called open letter you mentioned is fraught with ideological biases and cold-war and zero-sum game mindset. By smearing and slandering China's foreign and internal policies, it has tried to incite conflict and confrontation between China and the US, yet much of what is mentioned in it doesn't hold water at all. In particular, it is worth mentioning that we noticed among the undersigned in the letter are some Falun Gong cult members, which by nature dealt a massive blow to the credibility of this open letter.
The lukewarm reaction from the media and all other sectors in both China and the US has shown that this letter can neither represent the mainstream opinion of the American public nor dictate the course of China-US relations. It will surely end up in the dustbin of history.
History has proven and will continue to prove that stoking confrontation and conflict between the two countries is a dangerous wrong path while promoting win-win cooperation makes the right way forward. We urge relevant people in the US to correctly look at China's development and the China-US relations, stop making wanton slanders and accusations against China and do more to promote the development of our bilateral relations and world peace, stability and prosperity.
By the way, I would like to point out again that China's development path and internal and foreign policies are clear-cut and consistent. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the New China. Over the past seven decades or so, under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, the Chinese people have blazed a successful path of socialism with Chinese characteristics and made important contributions to defending world peace, promoting global prosperity and upholding international order. The international community bears witness to all this. We will continue to stay committed to peaceful development, reform and opening-up and win-win cooperation and stand ready to work with the rest of the international community to build the community with a shared future for mankind. As two major countries, China and the US stand to gain from cooperation and loose from confrontation. Cooperation and dialogue is better than friction and confrontation.
As the two sides share extensive common interests, we can surely join hands for shared development. The two sides, following the principle and direction identified by the two heads of state, should work together to advance the China-US relations featuring coordination, cooperation and stability to bring more benefits to the people of the two countries and beyond.
Q: The Chinese government in a rare move used the wording of "strongest indignation and condemnation" in its statement on the besiegement in Hong Kong yesterday. Will the Chinese government take new measures in response?
A: Are you referring to the statement by the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council?
Journalist: It's the statement from the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
A: You should ask the Liaison Office for the specifics. But I believe the Chinese side indeed reacts in response to the development of the situation. How we react depends on how serious the situation is. Like I just said, the behaviors of some protesters have challenged the bottom line of the "one country, two systems" principle, which can never be tolerated. The central government will firmly support the Hong Kong SAR government in taking all necessary measures to ensure the safety of Central Government institutions in Hong Kong, uphold the rule of law there and punish the criminals.
Besides this Hong-Kong related question, I think I owe you an answer to a question on saury. Last week I didn't give you a reply right then but promised we would try to gather information from relevant authorities. Are you still interested in this now?
Journalist: Yes please.
A: The 5th Annual Session of the North Pacific Fisheries Commission (NPFC) was held in Tokyo from July 16 to 18, 2019. with the concerted efforts of all members and through in-depth negotiations, the meeting amended and adopted regulations on the measures to conserve and manage saury, and introduced an total allowable catch (TAC) system, which lays a sound foundation for coordinating the scientific conservation and long-term sustainable use of saury resources on the high seas and the Exclusive Economic Zones in the North Pacific. The meeting also reviewed and approved other conservation and management measures, budget and other items.
The Chinese delegation actively participated in the meeting and negotiations, stepped up communication and consultation with other parties and made contributions to the positive outcomes of this meeting. As a responsible major fishery state, China stands ready to enhance communication and cooperation with all members of the commission to promote the scientific conservation and long-term sustainable use of fishery resources in the North Pacific.
Journalist: One more question.
A: Not about whales I guess?
Follow-up: MFA Spokesperson Hua Chunying has been appointed as Director-General of the Information Department, allegedly the first-ever female DG of the Information Department. Is that true? Does the Foreign Ministry have any comment on that?
A: We champion gender equality. Both males and females can be MFA spokespersons and director generals of the Information Department.
As to whether this is the first time that a female took the post of Director-General of the Information Department, I believe there was another one long before.