|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang's Regular Press Conference on November 22, 2016|
Q: The situation in Northern Myanmar has drawn wide attention. It is reported that heavy fighting between ethnic armed groups and government forces is still going on. Do you have any update on the injury or death of Chinese citizens? What has been done on the part of the Chinese government?
A: No more heavy clashes are heard at this moment in relevant areas of Northern Myanmar.
As for whether Chinese citizens were hurt or killed, apart from the one hit by the stray bullet in the arm and properly treated afterwards as I mentioned yesterday, no more casualties have been reported.
The Chinese side has lodged representations with the Myanmar side through the diplomatic channel. We call on the conflicting parties to exercise restraint, immediately stop relevant military operations, prevent the situation from getting worse, take concrete and effective measures to restore peace to the border area and refrain from anything detrimental to China's sovereignty and life and properties of the border residents.
The Chinese side will continue to play a constructive role in promoting the peace process in Myanmar as the Myanmar side wishes.
Q: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said on November 21 that he is going to declare a lagoon in Huangyan Dao a maritime sanctuary off-limits to all fishermen. What is China's response to that?
A: China and the Philippines have reached an agreement on coming back to the track of dialogue and consultation for the settlement of the South China Sea issue. The Chinese side has also made proper arrangements for fishing activities by the Philippine fishermen in waters near Huangyan Dao in the interests of bilateral friendship. China's sovereignty and jurisdiction over Huangyan Dao has not and will not change. We hope that China and the Philippines will enhance dialogue and cooperation so as to turn the South China Sea issue into a positive factor for friendship and cooperation.
Q: US President-elect Donald Trump vows to pull out of the TPP negotiation as soon as he gets into the office. How will this affect China? Will this give more momentum to Chinese-led trade initiatives, such as the RCEP or the FTAAP? Will China make a better leader of the region and the world?
A: We have stated on multiple occasions our position on the relevant issue. I would like to highlight that first of all, China is open to all the free trade arrangements that are conducive to economic integration in the Asia-Pacific, liberalization and facilitation of regional trade and investment, and common development and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific. Meanwhile, we believe that such free trade arrangements should observe the WTO rules and contribute to fortifying existing multilateral trade regimes. The new ones and the established ones should reinforce each other, instead of excluding each other. We must guard against fragmentizing and politicizing relevant free trade arrangements in the Asia-Pacific region.
Second, as for whether latest developments in the TPP process will give more momentum to Chinese-led RCEP, I must clarify that the RCEP is driven forward with ASEAN at the center. China has been cooperating with ASEAN and other parties to actively move forward the RCEP negotiation process and strive to conclude it at an early date.
Third, at the recently concluded APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting in Lima, Peru, leaders of APEC economies had in-depth discussion on economic integration in the Asia-Pacific, sending a strong signal of forging an open economy in the Asia-Pacific, deepening regional integration and opposing trade protectionism. All parties agreed to press ahead with the FTAAP. The Chinese side also took an active part in the discussion. I believe the strong signal sent by APEC will be conducive to trade and economic growth of the region and beyond.
Q: A lot of Myanmar residents have swarmed across the border into China. Can you update us on measures taken by the Chinese government to resettle these people?
A: I have already given the information yesterday. According to what we have learnt, about 3,000 Myanmar citizens living in the border area have fled to China to escape the warfare. Out of humanitarian concerns, the local Chinese government has properly accommodated them and sent the injured to hospitals for medical treatment. We hope that the fighting will subside and the situation calm down so that these people can return to their homeland at an early date.
Q: A suicide bomber struck a Shiite mosque in the Afghan capital on November 22, causing heavy casualties. What is China's comment on the attack and the situation in Afghanistan?
A: China condemns the terrorist attack in strong terms, deeply mourns the loss of life and expresses sincere sympathy with the injured and the bereaved families. The Chinese side hopes that Afghanistan can realize peace and stability at an early date, and stands firmly behind the Afghan government and people in their endeavor to combat terrorism and safeguard national stability and people's safety.
Q: An earthquake with the magnitude of 7.4 rocked Japan's Fukushima prefecture today. What is China's response? Are there Chinese citizens injured or killed in the earthquake?
A: Our thoughts are with those affected by the strong earthquake that hit Fukushima today.
The Chinese Consulate-General in Niigata activated the emergency response mechanism and issued a consular alert immediately after the earthquake. They also made all-out efforts to verify whether Chinese citizens had been affected by the earthquake. Up till now, there has been no report about any death or injury of Chinese citizens.
The Chinese Consulate-General in Niigata will keep following the development and offer consular protection and assistance to local Chinese nationals.