|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang's Regular Press Conference on February 4, 2016|
Q: Special Representative Wu Dawei of the Chinese government on the Korean Peninsula Affairs came back from the DPRK to Beijing today. Which DPRK officials did he meet with? Can you tell us more about their consultation?
A: I have given a brief introduction yesterday. From February 2 to 4, Special Representative Wu Dawei of the Chinese government on the Korean Peninsula Affairs went to the DPRK for consultation. During his stay in Pyongyang, he met with DPRK Foreign Minister Ri Su Yong and First Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan, and held talks with Vice Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho. Their consultation mainly covers two aspects. One is about things concerning China-DPRK relations. The other, as a matter of course, is the situation on the Korean Peninsula and other issues of common interest.
Q: According to the Russian media, Russian Ambassador to China Andrey Denisov said the other day that Russian President Vladimir Putin is planning to visit China within this year, and that Premier Li Keqiang will visit Russia by the end of the year. Can you shed some light on this year's arrangements for mutual high-level visits between China and Russia? What is your expectation for the development of China-Russia relations in the new year?
A: Close high-level interaction is an important manifestation of the advanced China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination. As we all know, Chinese and Russian presidents have the tradition of paying yearly mutual visits. The Chinese premier and the Russian prime minister hold regular prime ministers' meeting every year. The two sides are in close communication on arrangements for high-level exchanges this year.
One thing is certain that entering the new year, the two sides will continue with their efforts to fully implement important cooperation consensus reached by leaders of the two countries, jointly celebrate the 15th anniversary of the Treaty of Good Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation Between the People's Republic of China and the Russian Federation, further align the Silk Road Economic Belt with the Eurasian Economic Union, successfully hold China-Russia Media Exchange Year and conduct close cooperation in international affairs. All these are to translate the advantages of high-level China-Russia political relations into more achievements in practical and international cooperation, further advance the bilateral relationship, create more benefits for the region and the international community and contribute more to peace, security and stability of the region and beyond.
Q: How does China view the prospect of Russia's economic growth and its economic cooperation with China? Last year, bilateral trade between China and Russia decreased by almost 30%. Is the Chinese side concerned about the current state of Russia's economy?
A: Russia is a friendly neighbor and an important cooperative partner of China. China-Russia economic relations and trade have been developing fast over these years. There was a world-wide decline in the total value of trade last year, affecting not only China and Russia, but also China and other countries. It is mainly caused by fluctuations in commodity prices, and there is no oblivious sign of decline in terms of trade volume. Both China and Russia are emerging markets, boasting great potential for growth and bilateral cooperation. The sluggish world economic growth may impact some of our cooperation. But against the backdrop of world economic recovery based on the concerted efforts of the international community, we are still full of confidence in the respective economic growth of China and Russia as well as their economic cooperation, as long as the two countries work in tandem to fully tap their potential for cooperation, including to further align the Silk Road Economic Belt with the Eurasian Economic Union.
Q: The Canadian government confirmed yesterday that one of the eleven people in Xinjiang who have had their sentences reduced was Canadian citizen Huseyin Celil. Has the Chinese government allowed the Canadian government to visit him? If not, why not?
A: As I said yesterday, all the eleven people, including the one you just mentioned citing the allegation of the Canadian side, are Chinese citizens. In that case, we handle matters related to them in strict accordance with the Chinese law.
Q: The UN Special Envoy for Syria announced on February 3 a temporary pause to peace talks on the Syrian issue in Geneva. What is China's comment on that?
A: Two years after their previous round of peace talks, the Syrian government and opposition come back to the negotiation table, which marks a constructive start. The Syrian issue, which is rather complex, has lasted for years. The start of peace talks is just a first step, and the process may not be plain sailing. But the Chinese side always believes that peace talks are the only way out for the Syrian issue, and maintains that all parties concerned should make joint efforts to sustain the momentum. We also hope that the two parties in Syria would adopt confidence building measures, show good will, meet each other halfway, cooperate with mediation efforts by the UN Special Envoy for Syria and press ahead with the political process in Syria for positive results at an early date.
Q: US President Barack Obama has invited ASEAN leaders to attend the US-ASEAN Summit to be held in California. Is China worried that the meeting may be aimed at China, and that the subject of China, such as the South China Sea may come up during the talks?
A: The Chinese side is willing to see further development of relations between the US and ASEAN countries. We hope that their relationship will be truly conducive to regional peace, stability and development. We also particularly hope that the US could render some tangible assistance to countries in the region to support their sustainable development.
As for whether or not China's worried that the meeting may be aimed at China, you may have noted that a senior official of the US government said publicly yesterday that the meeting is not anti-China. We hope that when the meeting is concluded, messages from your media reports could tell us that this meeting is indeed not aimed at China.