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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang's Regular Press Conference on December 20, 2019
2019-12-20 22:01

Invited by Indian special representative on China-India boundary question and Indian National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, Chinese special representative, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will attend the 22nd round of the China-India Special Representatives Talks on China-India Boundary Question from December 20 to 21 in India.

Q: When responding to a question on China-Russia relations during his annual press conference yesterday, Russian President Putin said that Russia and China have an unprecedented level of mutual trust and this is more important than any figures. He added that the two sides' cooperation is the most important factor in international strategic stability. The two countries work together to uphold the authority of international law and foster a multi-polar world order. He said that the two countries will continue to deepen the comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination that will benefit both. I wonder what's China's comment?

A: President Putin always spoke highly of China-Russia relations at annual press conferences in the past years, which speaks volumes about our high-level, long-term and stable relationship.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Russia. Under the strategic guidance of President Xi and President Putin, our comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination has made big strides into a new era, delivering fruitful outcomes at the bilateral level and also acting as a pillar for world peace and security. Just as President Putin put it, our comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination is based on rock-solid mutual trust. It doesn't target any third party, and will not be affected by external disruption or sabotage.

In the coming year, we will jointly celebrate the China-Russia Year of Scientific and Technological Innovation and the 75th anniversary of World War II Victory and the founding of the UN. The two sides will strengthen strategic coordination, enhance integration of interests, deepen traditional friendship, and make greater contributions to national development and rejuvenation and world stability and prosperity.

Q: Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau said the US should not sign a trade deal with China unless two Canadians, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor are first released. I wonder if you have any comment?

A: I read media reports on that. I wonder if Canada feels too bitter to cry now. If you pull chestnuts out of the fire for others, you will be the one that gets burned.

Here's some advice to the Canadian side: don't waste your time and effort on ganging up on China or pressuring China for unrelated matters, because you will gain nothing from that.

Q: Regarding the DPRK labor overseas, not long ago China proposed a resolution to the Security Council to lift some sanctions, but the deadline for implementing the resolution is the day after tomorrow. Is China's position on overseas DPRK labor changed? Do you think it's still necessary to impose the sanctions?

A: China's position on implementing UN resolutions is consistent. As long as the resolutions are still effective, we will earnestly fulfill our international responsibilities and deal with relevant matters according to the resolutions.

In the meantime, I'd like to reaffirm China's position that the DPRK-related resolutions should be implemented in a comprehensive, full and balanced manner. Those resolutions require not only imposing sanctions, but also adjusting sanction measures at a proper time and working for political settlement. They should all be faithfully implemented.

Q: The European Parliament passed a resolution calling on China to close the vocational education and training centers in Xinjiang. It also calls for sanctions on Chinese officials. Does China see this as interference in its local affairs? Or could this sour China-EU relations?

A: You may have noted the mission of the PRC to EU has responded to that at length. Here I won't elaborate, but I'd like to stress the following points.

First, we talked many times about our position on Xinjiang-related issues. Since 2015, seven white papers on Xinjiang have been published and press conferences have been held by the Information Office of the State Council, where China's position has been elaborated very clearly.

Second, since Xinjiang affairs are domestic affairs, we firmly oppose the interference of anyone or any force under the pretext of Xinjiang-related issues. I believe Xinjiang residents and other Chinese people have greater say in Xinjiang's actual situation than those who live in Europe and have never been to Xinjiang.

Third, we urge the EU side to reject double standards on counter-terrorism and make more contributions to China-EU bilateral relations.

Q: Reports say political directors of the French, German and British foreign ministries visited China together today to exchange views on the Iranian nuclear issue. Could you offer more information?

A: This morning director-general of the Arms Control Department of the foreign ministry held consultations with visiting political directors of the French, German and British foreign ministries in Beijing to exchange views on the Iranian nuclear issue.

The US withdrawal from the JCPOA and maximum pressure on Iran led to continued tension that risks the total collapse of the deal. China and Europe, as two major forces for multilateralism, agreed to strengthen communication and coordination, carry out the consensus reached at the Foreign Ministers' Meeting on the Iranian Nuclear Issue in September, and ensure the full and effective implementation of the JCPOA.

Both sides support diplomatic mediation efforts and stand for resolving compliance issues through consultation within the JCPOA Joint Commission. We stand ready to work for the easing of tensions to uphold the international nuclear non-proliferation regime as well as peace and stability in the Middle East.

Q: Special Representative Biegun was here in Beijing yesterday, holding talks with Vice Foreign Minister Luo Zhaohui. I was wondering if we can get any more details about those talks? Specifically, did Beijing try to get the DPRK to come back into discussions with the US?

A: We issued a press release on Vice Minister Luo Zhaohui's meeting with Special Representative Biegun. Have you read that?

Our position is clear. I only want to stress one thing. As we said again to the US side, we hope the US and the DPRK will resume dialogue and engagement as early as possible, walk toward the same direction, and work out an effective plan to build trust and resolve differences. China and the US exchanged views on advancing denuclearization and establishing a peace mechanism in a phased, synchronized and parallel manner. We agreed to keep discussing that.

Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng also met with Special Representative Biegun this morning. Please stay tuned for the press release to be published later.

Q: Is China concerned that Prime Minister Trudeau's comments could make it more difficult to reach a successful deal with the US?

A: China's position on China-US trade talks is consistent and clear. I'd refer you to the recent remarks by China and the US on reaching the phase-one trade agreement.

Q: About the Chinese female reportedly arrested by police in Florida, the US. I know you made a principled response yesterday, but do you have any updates now?

A: I said at yesterday's press briefing that I needed to get more information on that.

According to what I know so far, the Chinese embassy and consulates in the US were notified by the US side of a Chinese national arrested on December 18. Our consulate-general in Houston has contacted that person.

The Chinese government asks overseas Chinese citizens to observe local laws and regulations, and not to engage in any form of illegal activities. In the meantime, we ask the US to investigate into this matter in a lawful and impartial way, handle the case properly and earnestly protect the Chinese national's legitimate rights and interests.

Q: A follow-up question on your answer earlier about the Trudeau comments. You used the analogy of "pulling chestnut out of the fire", I'm just trying to understand what you mean by that. Do you mean it's an act of desperation?

A: The one who's desperate now knows that best.

Q: Has the US side ever requested that China releasing the two Canadians should be a precondition for a phase-one deal during the trade talks?

A: Our position on China-US trade consultations is consistent and clear.

The two sides have reached consensus on the text of a phase-one deal and are working on follow-up matters. I believe you have noted the statements from both sides.

As we repeatedly stated, reaching a phase-one deal serves the interests of China, the US and the whole world. It is also the shared expectation of the international community.

Q: You said earlier that "the one who's desperate now knows that best". I wonder if you could clarify that? Who is desperate? Another question is about Biegun. There have been reports that he wants to open up more dialogues with the DPRK. And there have been rumors that he may even go to the DPRK this time. Does China think it would be a good idea for him to go to the DPRK?

A: To answer your second question, just as I said, China encourages the US and the DPRK to resume dialogue and engagement as soon as possible, move towards each other and seek a viable solution to build trust and solve differences. This is our consistent and clear position. Both the US and the DPRK know that clearly.

On your first question, I'd like to bring to your attention that I didn't use the word "desperate" in my answer. It is only the interpretation of the BBC journalist.

Follow-up: Can you elaborate on "desperate"?

A: You should seek clarification with the BBC journalist who brought up the word.

Follow-up: What do you exactly mean by "pulling chestnuts out of the fire", please?

A: Haven't you heard of the expression? I think it is used not just in China, but in many Western countries too. The meaning is self-evident.

Q: When you said if you pull a chestnut from the fire you are bound to get burned, is this a threat of some sort?

A: I didn't use "desperate" or "threat" in my answer. They are your interpretations.

If you prefer a more diplomatic answer, here it is:

Canada is entirely responsible for current difficulties in China-Canada relations. Whoever started the trouble should end it. We urge Canada to take China's solemn position and concerns seriously, correct its mistake, and immediately release Ms. Meng Wanzhou back to China. As to the cases involving two Canadian citizens that Canada keeps bringing up, they are suspected of conducting activities that endangered China's national security. Investigation on the two cases has been completed and they have been transferred to the procuratorial authority for prosecution following legal procedures.

Q: I want to follow up on President Putin's press conference yesterday. He said that US, Japan and the ROK are trying to create some kind of military alliance in Asia, but China and Russia have no plan to do so. Taking into account the current global situation, do you think there is any necessity for China and Russia to create some kind of military alliance?

A: China-Russia relations have shown strong vitality and broad prospects after weathering the changing international landscape throughout the past seven decades. Our relations have become an example for a new type of major-country relations featuring close cooperation, partnership instead of alliance and dialogue instead of confrontation.

The China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era has become a major-country relationship featuring the highest degree of mutual trust, the highest level of coordination and the highest strategic value. It does not target any third party and will not be affected by any third party.

China stands ready to work with Russia to continue implementing our leaders' consensus for fresh progress in the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era.

Q: You announced the 22nd round of the China-India Special Representatives Talks on China-India Boundary Question. Can you elaborate the arrangements and specify what constitutes the boundary question to be discussed?

A: The Meeting of the Special Representatives of China and India on the Boundary Question is the main channel for boundary negotiations and an important platform for strategic communication between the two countries. Following established practice, the venue to host this annual event alternates between the two countries. Special representatives from the two sides will follow leaders' consensus and have in-depth discussions over such issues as boundary delimitation, boundary and border administration and control, and practical cooperation to seek solutions to the boundary question. They will also exchange views over bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual interest. More information will be released to you in due course.

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