|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang's Regular Press Conference on November 17, 2016|
Q: According to the Asahi Shimbun, Japanese Defense Minister Tomomi Inada told journalists after the ASEAN defense ministers' meeting that ASEAN defense ministers believe that what happened in the South China Sea will also happen in the East China Sea, and vise versa. For Japan, the guarding of the South China Sea is relevant to the guarding of the East China Sea. What is your comment?
A: China is firmly determined in safeguarding its territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests.
ASEAN countries are in a better position than anybody else to talk about their stance on the South China Sea issue and their take on the current situation there. Japan is not their spokesperson. When visiting China, President Duterte of the Philippines and Prime Minister Najib of Malaysia exchanged views with Chinese leaders on the South China Sea issue. We have formed our own judgment on the attitude of ASEAN. We believe that with the concerted efforts of China and ASEAN countries, the South China Sea situation is moving towards a positive direction, and the issue has been placed back on the right track of controlling and resolving disputes through negotiation and consultation by parties directly concerned.
We urge Japan, a country outside the region, to learn from history, and not to disrupt the efforts made by regional countries to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea, still less make waves in the area.
Q: Japan and the ROK signed a preliminary pact to share and safeguard military information. What is your comment?
A: We have seen the report as well. We hope that their cooperation will respect the security concerns of regional countries and avoid disrupting regional peace and stability.
Q: The US-China Economic and Security Review Commission released a report which suggested that the US State Department assess whether Hong Kong has maintained a sufficient degree of autonomy under the "one country, two systems" policy. What is your response?
A: The commission you mentioned churns out reports on China year after year with the same old platitudes, which only serve to expose its prejudice and stereotype towards China. I wonder how many people truly care to read this report, and I certainly have no interest in commenting on its contents.
Q: China said that it serves the common interests of both China and the US to develop a long-term, stable and prosperous trade relationship. After President Xi Jinping's phone conversation with President-elect Trump in which cooperation was mentioned several times, is China more optimistic now that this trade war is not a serious possibility? What initiatives do you have about enhancing communication with Mr. Trump's transition team so that trade disputes will not get out of control?
A: President Xi Jinping had a good talk with President-elect Trump on the phone the other day. President Xi said that cooperation is the only right choice for the two countries. China-US cooperation faces immense opportunities and great potential. After the call, China remains in touch with President-elect Trump's transition team.
We know that some remarks were made during the election period on China-US economic relations and trade. In principle, we don't comment on the specific words spoken by candidates during elections.
I want to stress that China-US economic cooperation and trade ensures that bilateral ties keep moving forward in a steady way, the essence of which is mutual benefit and win-win results. China is one of the most significant economic and trade partners of the US, and so is the US to China. In 2015, bilateral trade volume in goods exceeded US$ 550 billion and bilateral investment stock over US$ 160 billion, bringing tangible benefit for people of our two countries. Our interests have become highly intertwined.
To jointly ensure the sound and stable development of China-US economic relations and trade meets the fundamental interests of the two countries. I believe that the US will take policies conducive to China-US economic cooperation and trade with the fundamental interests of its people in mind.
Q: The US-China Economic and Security Review Commission suggested that China's state-owned enterprises be barred from taking over US companies, and that China's built-up of military force would increase its likelihood of pursuing its overseas interests using force. Can you comment on that?
A: As I said, no comment on the report of the commission.
When taking that NBC question, I said the essence of China-US economic cooperation and trade is mutual benefit and win-win results. We always encourage Chinese enterprises to invest abroad on the basis of respecting local laws and regulations and market rules. We also hope that relevant countries can provide an equal and sound environment for their investment.
Q: Yau Wai-Ching, the disqualified legislator-elect said she had appealed the High Court's decision. She also wrote on her Facebook page that the central government violated the China-UK Joint Statement and asked for UK intervention. What is your comment?
A: We have noted the ruling given by Hong Kong's High Court yesterday.
Hong Kong is a special administrative region of China, and its affairs China's domestic affairs. No foreign country has the right to interfere. Pro-independence forces in Hong Kong want to split the nation, and they publicly seek external support for that purpose. Such actions constitute a serious violation of the Constitution of China, the Basic Law of Hong Kong and other laws of the Hong Kong SAR, undermine China's sovereignty and security, jeopardize the fundamental interests of the Hong Kong SAR, and cross the bottom line of "one country, two systems". For those who try to buoy themselves up by leaning onto foreign forces, we want them to know that any scheme to rely on foreign forces for their own political motives will come to no avail.
Q:China and the US are holding a joint military drill in Yunnan. What is the significance of this drill from the perspective of China-US relations?
A: I have no details on this military drill. Mil-to-Mil relationship is an important part of China-US relations, and the two militaries maintain normal exchanges and cooperation.