|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang's Regular Press Conference on August 22, 2016|
The fourth meeting of China-Turkmenistan cooperation committee will be co-hosted by Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli of the State Council and Deputy Prime Minister Yagshigeldy Kakayev of Turkmenistan in Tianjin on August 23.
As agreed by China, Japan and the ROK, the 8th trilateral foreign ministers' meeting will be held on August 24 in Tokyo, Japan. Foreign Minister Wang Yi will attend the meeting upon invitation. Foreign ministers of the three countries will look back on the progress in trilateral cooperation, discuss where it should be heading and exchange views on international and regional issues of common interest.
Q: This foreign ministers' meeting is the first high-level gathering of the three countries following last November's trilateral leaders' meeting. What is the major consideration of China on attending the meeting?
A: The 6th leaders' meeting of China, Japan and the ROK was held in Seoul, the ROK in November, 2015, giving new life to regional cooperation in East Asia. People from the three countries and the international community all spoke highly of it.
China, Japan and the ROK are each other's close neighbors and major countries in East Asia. Trilateral cooperation means much to peace, stability, development and prosperity of the region and beyond. Since its inauguration 17 years ago, trilateral cooperation has made substantial progress in different aspects, delivering tangible benefits to people from the three countries and contributing constructively to East Asia cooperation as well as peace and stability of the region. A series of important meetings and events have been held by the three countries since the beginning of this year for the purpose of implementing outcomes of the leaders' meeting, giving a boost to trilateral cooperation in different fields.
Japan serves as the rotating coordinator of China-Japan-ROK cooperation this year, so meetings on trilateral cooperation will be held in Japan. The Japanese side has been expressing the hope of inviting Chinese and ROK foreign ministers to attend the 8th trilateral foreign ministers' meeting for discussions on trilateral cooperation. This is a regular multilateral meeting on cooperation among the three. We expect to maintain the momentum of trilateral cooperation through the meeting so as to drive forward the integration of East Asia, move toward the goal of building an economic community of East Asia in 2020 and make greater contribution to peace, development and prosperity of the region.
Q: US President Barack Obama is going to visit Laos in September. It is the first time that a US president has visited the country. Some people think that by this visit, the US is trying to show that it is countering China's influence in Laos. Does China have a position on this? Are you worried at all? Does China view the US as trying to contain China in Southeast Asia by developing relations with Laos, Vietnam and Myanmar?
A: You just cited some people's comments. I wonder who you are referring to. The White House has issued a statement on President Obama's visit to China and Laos, and I did not find anything like what you said in the White House statement. On the part of China, we welcome constructive relations between any pair of countries, including between countries in and outside the region, as long as their relations are good for peace, stability and prosperity of the region.
There might be some people out there who wish for something that goes against the will of countries in the region. I believe it is not in line with the aspiration for peace and development cherished by countries in the region, including China and its neighbors.
Q: Taiwan UN Alliance President and former head of Taiwan's defense authorities Michael Tsai reportedly urged Tsai Ing-wen to write to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and ask for Taiwan's participation in the UN as a new "member state". The official in charge of Taiwan's foreign affairs responded on August 18 that the Taiwan authorities will continue to push for meaningful participation at UN-related agencies but will not pursue UN membership. What is your comment on that?
A: As we all know, the UN is an inter-governmental international organization composed of sovereign states. Only sovereign states can apply for UN membership. There is but one China in the world, and Taiwan is part of China. It has been recognized by the international community. The government and people of China are firmly opposed to any form of "Taiwan independence". Any attempt to challenge the one-China principle, and create "two Chinas" or "one China, one Taiwan" will not prevail.
Q: It is said that China, Japan and the ROK were slow in coming to an agreement on the date of the foreign ministers' meeting due to their differences. But now, an announcement of the meeting just came unexpectedly. How does China expect for the meeting? Will China talk about sensitive issues such as THAAD and the South China Sea at the meeting? This is Foreign Minister Wang Yi's first visit to Japan since assuming the post of foreign minister. What is China's comment on that?
A: First of all, I don't feel it is an unexpected announcement. Parties have to go through full discussion and preparation before any of the multilateral meetings, and make the announcement only when the time is ripe. That is quite normal.
As for China's expectation for the meeting, as I just said, we hope that the meeting will help implement agreements reached by leaders of China, Japan and the ROK during their meeting in Seoul last November, push forward trilateral cooperation, create more tangible benefits for people from the three countries and contribute more to peace, stability, prosperity and development of the region and beyond.
On your last question, I would like to clarify that this is a regular multilateral meeting as was told in a statement released by the Foreign Ministry. Foreign ministers of China and the ROK are going to attend the meeting in Japan at the request of the Japanese side. It is nothing close to a bilateral visit.
Q: State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar has wrapped up her visit to China. How does China comment on the visit? What are the outcomes of the visit? What is your expectation for the future of China-Myanmar relations?
A: At the invitation of Premier Li Keqiang of the State Council, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, State Counsellor of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar came to China for an official visit lasting from August 17 to 21. It is the Myanmar leader's first visit to China since the formation of the new government. President Xi Jinping met with State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, while Premier Li Keqiang and Chairman Zhang Dejiang held talks and met with her respectively. The two sides also jointly issued a news release.
During the visit, leaders of the two countries had in-depth discussions on bilateral relations and issues of common interest, and reached broad consensus. On politics, the two sides stated that they prize their "Paukphaw" friendship and will prioritize the development of the bilateral relationship for the interests of the people with a strategic and long-term vision. The two sides agreed to maintain close contact at the high level, enhance political mutual trust and increase exchanges on state-governance experiences. On cooperation, the two sides agreed to further align their development strategies, and make better plans for cooperation in key areas, especially those concerning people's livelihood, such as agriculture, water conservancy, education and medical care, so that people will have more benefits. There should also be more people-to-people and cultural exchanges in a bid to strengthen the emotional bond between people of the two countries. It was also agreed that efforts should be made to ensure peace and stability of the border area between the two countries and improve the livelihood of people living there through management and cooperation.
The Chinese side believes that the successful visit by State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has brought new opportunities for the two sides to improve mutually beneficial cooperation and people's wellbeing. It will give a strong boost to the comprehensive strategic partnership of cooperation between the two countries. The Chinese side is ready to push forward China-Myanmar relations and create more benefits for people of the two countries together with Myanmar.
Q: During Foreign Minister Wang Yi's visit to Japan, will he have bilateral talks with his Japanese and ROK counterparts?
A: I have to correct you that Foreign Minister Wang Yi is not paying a visit to Japan. He is going to attend the 8th China-Japan-ROK foreign ministers' meeting upon invitation. It is not a bilateral visit. As for what you asked, it is quite normal for parties to have necessary contact and exchanges on any multilateral occasions.
Q: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said that the Philippines may mull a withdrawal from the UN, and that he would invite other countries like China and African nations to form a new international body. Is China willing to do so?
A: We have noted the report. You may have also seen the further explanation by Philippine Foreign Secretary Perfecto Yasay today. What I want to say is that the statement by President Duterte was about the ongoing anti-drug campaign in his country. It is fair to say that anti-drug and law-enforcement operations by any country within its sovereignty must be respected by the international community. We hope that endeavour in this regard could receive understanding and cooperation from the international community.
I believe you have noted Philippine Foreign Secretary's further statement. He made clear what kind of feeling President Duterte was trying to express when making such a speech.
Q: Charles Collyns, who served as Assistant Secretary for International Finance at US Treasury, said in an interview that the Chinese government was not manipulating to depress the yuan. He was cautiously optimistic about China's economy and believed that China can grow at a strong pace for the next 10 to 20 years. What's your response?
A: I have taken note of this report as well as other objective comments on China's economic development recently, which shows that the world is confident in the performance and the potential of China's economy.
China's economy boasts great potential and broad prospects, and is making steady progress at the moment. Economic growth in the second quarter is as steady as it was in the first quarter. Reform is the fundamental driving force of China's economic development. We are resolved to transform the economic growth model and pursue a new path of green and sustainable development through structural reforms. The 13th Five-Year Plan underlined the five guiding principles of innovation, coordination, green development, opening up and sharing. As we follow through on these principles, China's economy will embrace a brighter future and a relatively long period of stable growth, which will accordingly bring more and bigger opportunities to other countries.
As the host country of this year's G20 Summit, China is ready to work with all parties to focus on prominent issues faced by the world economy, propel the G20 to explore new driving force for growth through innovation and reform, and bolster the robust, sustainable and balanced growth of the world economy.
Q: Can you give us more details about the itinerary of Foreign Minister Wang Yi when attending the trilateral foreign ministers' meeting in Japan on August 24. As I have learnt that he will join the visiting Albanian Foreign Minister to meet the press in Beijing on the afternoon of August 25. The schedule is rather tight. I just want to check if he is departing on August 23 and returning on the morning of August 25?
A: As I said Foreign Minister Wang Yi will attend the 8th China-Japan-ROK foreign ministers' meeting on August 24. The date was set by the three parties through consultation. You just mentioned that Foreign Minister Wang Yi has to rush back for another major diplomatic event. As we all know, he always has a busy schedule.