|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang's Regular Press Conference on November 7, 2016|
Q: The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC) adopted an interpretation to Article 104 of the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) this morning. Some countries have expressed concerns over this. Do you have any comment?
A: Technically speaking, this is beyond the remit of the Foreign Ministry. You may have noticed that following the interpretation by the NPC Standing Committee, the General Office of the NPC Standing Committee held a press conference and Deputy Secretary Li Fei made an explicit and open explanation about the content of and the logic behind the interpretation. The spokesperson of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council and the person in charge of the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in Hong Kong also made comments on that.
Since you mentioned the concerns of some foreign countries, I would like to underscore our position one more time. The interpretation by the NPC Standing Committee nails down the implication of Article 104 in the Basic Law of Hong Kong which stipulates the swearing-in by public servants, clarifies relevant legal disputes, and lays down the basic rules for oath-taking. It helps thwart the “Hong Kong independence” force, maintain the sanctity of the Constitution and the Basic Law, safeguard national sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity and Hong Kong’s long-lasting prosperity and stability. Relevant interpretation is in full compliance with the Constitution and the Basic Law and the principle of “one country, two systems”.
I also want to emphasize that Hong Kong is a SAR of China under the administration of the Chinese central government. Hong Kong affairs fall entirely within China’s domestic affairs and brook no foreign interference. The “Hong Kong independence” force which engages in separatist activities and plots to split Hong Kong from China runs counter to the law and public will. It undermines China’s sovereignty and security, jeopardizes the fundamental interests of the Hong Kong SAR, and threatens the interests of other countries in Hong Kong. We hope that the international community and relevant countries can see through the nature of the “Hong Kong independence” force, fully understand the necessity and legitimacy of the interpretation made by the NPC Standing Committee, and support the Chinese central government and the Hong Kong SAR government in safeguarding national sovereignty, security and unity as well as Hong Kong’s long-lasting prosperity and stability.
Q:Malaysian Prime Minister Najib has recently shared on social media a picture showing him riding in a Chinese high speed rail train. There is speculation that China might undertake the construction of part of the Singapore-Kuala Lumpur high-speed railway project that runs through Malaysia. Please confirm.
A: Prime Minister Najib has paid a successful visit to China, holding meetings and talks with President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang and Chairman Zhang Dejiang and exchanging views with the Chinese side on bilateral relations and practical cooperation across the board. His visit has further enhanced mutual trust and deepened mutually beneficial and friendly cooperation and will elevate our comprehensive strategic partnership to a higher level.
Regarding specific cooperation projects on infrastructure including high-speed railway construction as you mentioned, China supports enterprises from the two sides in carrying out cooperation based on market rules and mutual benefits, and we support Malaysia’s socioeconomic development and regional connectivity. The two sides have reaffirmed in the joint press statement their shared willingness to explore ways of relevant cooperation.
Q: In the Joint Press Statement released during Malaysian Prime Minister Najib’s visit to China, the two sides agreed that disputes should be resolved peacefully through friendly dialogues and consultations by sovereign states directly concerned in accordance with the principles of international law, believing that any interference by parties not directly concerned would only hamper the solution to disputes. Does that mean China and Malaysia have agreed to downplay the dispute over the South China Sea and keep non-regional powers away from the issue?
A: It seems that the visits to China by Philippine President Duterte and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib have been a focus of attention recently. It has been clearly and explicitly laid out in the press releases and the China-Philippine, China-Malaysia joint statements that we are working together to move the South China Sea issue back to the right track of bilateral negotiation and consultation between countries directly concerned. As a matter of fact, the situation in the South China is developing in a positive direction. I believe this is how the majority of regional countries feel about, where our common interests lie, and what we all agree on and expect to see. We hope that the international community, some non-regional countries in particular, can truly respect the consensus as well as the common interests of regional countries.
Q: As the host of this year’s China-Japan-ROK leaders’ meeting, Japan plans to hold the meeting in December. It has notified China and the ROK of the arrangement of the meeting but hasn’t got a response from China yet. Why is that? On what conditions will China accept Japan’s arrangement?
A: The consensus reached in last year’s 6th trilateral leaders’ meeting is of great significance in moving forward trilateral cooperation. The three parties are earnestly fulfilling the consensus. As we said here before, high-level exchanges among the three parties will surely help promote regional cooperation. We hope that all parties can move towards the same goal and make joint efforts to provide necessary environment and conditions. Diplomatic departments of the three countries are in communication on this.
Q: US Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Russel said at a press briefing on US policy in the Asia-Pacific that there was no sign indicating President Duterte’s retreat on the ruling of the South China Sea arbitration as this was not in the fundamental interests of the Philippines. I would like to have your comment on that.
A: We haven’t heard anything like that from the Philippine leader.
We find it very interesting that recently certain countries keep speaking for the Philippine leader on his country’s position.
As we said before on this podium, it is what the Philippine leader says that best explains the stance of the Philippine government. President Duterte’s recent words and deeds, as we have already seen, speak clearly to the world about what best serves the fundamental and long-term interests of the Philippine people.
I’d like to remind everyone that President Duterte has been saying that the Philippines is an independent country that makes foreign policies on its own. He surely doesn’t want others to make decisions for him nor explain the Philippine government’s positions for him. I hope that relevant party can respect the independence and self-determination of the Philippines.
Q: According to Kyodo News report, State Counsellor and Foreign Minister Daw Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar said to the press during her visit to Japan that the new Myanmar government enjoys pretty good relations with China and hopes to maintain friendly ties with other countries in the world. How do you comment on this?
A: China has taken note of relevant report. The“Paukphaw” friendship between China and Myanmar as good neighbors runs deep. State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi paid a visit to China in August and reached important consensus with Chinese leaders on deepening comprehensive strategic cooperation in the new age. China is willing to work alongside the Myanmar side to seize the opportunity, carry forward the“Paukphaw” friendship, enhance pragmatic cooperation across the board, move forward the China-Myanmar comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership and deliver more benefits to the two countries and the people.
China supports Myanmar’s normal engagement and cooperation with other countries, and hopes that the international society can create a more enabling environment and conditions for Myanmar’s long-lasting stability and development.
Q: China’s NPC Standing Committee adopted the cyber security law today, a source of concerns for foreign businesses especially those from the US and Europe. Do you have any response?
A: The NPC Standing Committee adopted the cyber security law this morning, and the Legislative Affairs Commission of the NPC Standing Committee gave a detailed explanation at this morning’s press conference held by the NPC General Office. The fact is that we have been heeding helpful and constructive opinions from all quarters while making this law. As I said here, the Chinese government has been more open and transparent than many other countries on this issue. Person in charge of the Legislative Affairs Commission went into great details about the purpose, the principle and definition of this law this morning, and you may refer to the press release.
Regarding concerns from foreign businesses as you mentioned, I would like to emphasize that specific articles in this law are nothing significantly different from similar laws adopted by other countries. What’s more, as provided for by this law, it levels the playing field for and holds no discrimination against all companies concerned, be it Chinese or foreign ones. I suggest you read through remarks made by the Legislative Affairs Commission this morning and come back for further discussions if you still have any question.
Q: First, Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi held talks with Indian National Security Adviser Ajit Doval last Friday. I wonder if they discussed anti-terrorism and India’s application to put Masood Azhar, head of Jaish-e-Mohammad, on a UN sanction list as the issue will come up at the meeting of the UN Security Council Sanctions Committee next month. Second, did they discuss the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) issue as the group will convene a plenary meeting in Vienna this week?
A:On your first question, State Councilor Yang Jiechi held an unofficial meeting of special representatives on the boundary question with Indian National Security Adviser Doval on November 4, during which the two sides had friendly, candid and in-depth exchange of views on bilateral relations and regional and international issues of common interest. Like you said, the two sides also had candid communication on certain problems that come in the way of bilateral relations and agreed to maintain dialogue and consultation in order to properly handle and manage differences and safeguard the sound momentum of development of bilateral relations.
On your second question, the NSG plenary session which is to be held this Friday in Vienna will discuss the relevant issue. China’s position on this issue has remained unchanged. As you know, we have been in close communication and conducted frank, constructive and substantive dialogue and consultation with parties concerned, India included, on the relevant issue.
Q: How do you comment on protest against central government’s attempts to stop “Hong Kong independence” activists in Hong Kong last Sunday?
A: Deputy Secretary Li Fei of the NPC Standing Committee has already given an explicit explanation on this issue. You may ask the Legislative Affairs Commission of the NPC Standing Committee and the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council for more specifics on this issue as it is not related to foreign affairs. As Deputy Secretary Li Fei put clearly, the interpretation by the NPC Standing Committee echoes the strong voice of the Chinese people including a majority of those in Hong Kong that has been there for long. The interpretation represents the public will.