|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang's Regular Press Conference on December 9, 2016|
At the invitation of Didier Burkhalter, Federal Councillor and Foreign Minister of Switzerland, Foreign Minister Wang Yi will pay an official visit to Switzerland from December 10 to 12 and meet with heads of relevant international organizations in Geneva and Lausanne.
While in Switzerland, Foreign Minister Wang Yi will meet with President of the Swiss Confederation John N. Schneider-Aman and talk with Federal Councillor and Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter in Bern to exchange views on bilateral relations and issues of common interest.
Switzerland is an important partner of cooperation to China. Two countries embrace a solid foundation and huge potentials for cooperation. Switzerland has been leading western countries in developing ties with China and playing a driving role in China-Europe relations.
President John N. Schneider-Aman paid a successful state visit to China last April, during which President Xi Jinping and him jointly set bilateral relations as innovative strategic partners and charted a new course for bilateral relations and the innovative and practical cooperation across the board. China is willing to work with Switzerland to maintain the sound momentum of bilateral cooperation and move forward bilateral ties.
Foreign Minister Wang Yi will also meet with heads of the Geneva Office of the UN, World Health Organization and International Olympic Committee and discuss China's cooperation with them.
Q: The ROK Parliament voted for the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye today. How do you think of its implications on future China-ROK relations and the deployment of THAAD in particular?
A: As a close neighbor to the ROK, we have been watching the development of the ROK political situation and hope that it can restore stability as soon as possible. The impeachment itself is a domestic affair of the ROK, and as a consistent principle, the Chinese government never interferes in other countries' domestic affairs.
Regarding China-ROK relations, we hope to grow bilateral ties in a sound manner. But when it comes to the THAAD issue, China holds a consistent and clear position, namely we firmly oppose the deployment of THAAD by the US and the ROK as it compromises China's strategic security interests.
Q: During the Foreign Ministry's regular press conference on June 18, 2013, the spokesperson once said that President Park Geun-hye attached great importance to bilateral relations with China. She had been committed to enhancing China-ROK friendly cooperation and was an old friend of the Chinese people. But during Park's presidency, China expressed displeasure with some of her policies including the deployment of THAAD and the ROK-Japan intelligence sharing agreement. Today she was impeached by the parliament. Will China change its view of Park?
A: I need to check on the remarks once made by the Foreign Ministry spokesperson on that day as you mentioned. Park Geun-hye is still the ROK president as we speak. Since assuming office, she has done a great deal to improve China-ROK relations and we highly commend that. But just as you said, it is also during Park's presidency that the ROK government decided to deploy the THAAD system which undermines China's strategic security interests. We are firmly against this decision.
Q: According to media reports, satellite images show that Vietnam is starting dredging works on Riji Jiao of the Nansha Islands, a move seen as Vietnam strengthening its claims on Riji Jiao. What is your response?
A: China exerts indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands, Riji Jiao included, and the adjacent waters. China urges relevant countries to respect China's sovereignty and rights and interests, stop illegal occupation and construction, and refrain from taking any action that may complicate the situation. It is hoped that they can work together with China for peace and stability of the South China Sea.
Q: Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said today that Japan will continue to deny China's market economy status and impose anti-dumping tariffs on China. What is your response?
A: This is not the issue that Japan needs to explain about at this moment. We want Japan to tell us whether it is ready to abide by its international obligations of dropping the practice of the "surrogate country" in anti-dumping investigation on Chinese products before December 11. Instead of shirking, Japan should earnestly take up its responsibilities and fulfill its obligations.
Once Japan finds out how to honor its promise, we are happy to talk with Japan about China's market economy status. Nearly 40 years after China's reform and opening-up, the Chinese economy has risen to the second place in the world and China has become the largest trading partner to many countries. It is particularly worth mentioning that China's growing economy serves as a major engine driving global economy, still contributing one quarter to global economic growth. No matter Japan recognizes this or not, China's close economic integration and mutually beneficial cooperation with the world speaks volumes.
Q: US President-elect Trump one more time accused China of being responsible for almost half of the US trade deficit, saying that China is not a market economy and it's now time for China to start playing by rules. What is your comment?
A: Many countries, China and the US included, all keep an eye on future policies to be adopted after Trump assumes office. Regarding what President-elect Trump said, I have said here many times that the annual China-US trade volume has skyrocketed from only 2.5 billion dollars to more than 558 billion dollars last year. It couldn't have been possible if bilateral economic and trade relations benefited only one country instead of two.
As for whether or not China plays by rules, I can tell you that China acts in accordance with rules of the world trade regime recognized by all. This regime and rules are all under the WTO framework. As the two largest economies and key members of the WTO, the US and China can resolve trade differences under the existing WTO framework.
Q: Special Envoy XieXiaoyan of the Chinese government on the Syrian issue is on a visit in the Middle East. Do you have more details regarding his visit and his mediation efforts?
A: From December 5 to 9, Special Envoy XieXiaoyan of the Chinese government on the Syrian issue visited Lebanon and Syria. He met respectively with Prime Minister-elect Saad Hariri of Lebanon, Head of Hezbollah's foreign affairs Al Moussawi, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Waleed al-Mualim of Syria, Syrian Executive Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Migdad and Minister of State Ali Haidar for National Reconciliation Affairs of Syria. He also got in touch with representatives from the opposition in Syria. This visit was made when the Syrian issue has developed to a crucial juncture in a bid to learn the opinions and considerations of all parties on the current situation and carry out relevant work accordingly.
At present, the situation in Syria is very complex and sensitive, with incessant violence and conflict and grim prospect for the peace talks. China firmly supports a political solution to the Syrian issue and the Syrian people independently choosing the future for their country, and has been working on relevant parties to this end. We stand ready to work with the international community and play a positive and constructive role in the early resumption of peace talks and in the final and proper settlement of the Syrian issue.
I have learnt that Special Envoy XieXiaoyan will hold a press briefing on his visit when he returns. You are welcome to attend his press briefing.
Q: The US Congress on Thursday passed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017, incorporating for the first time contents on enhancing direct senior military exchanges with Taiwan. What is your response?
A: The Taiwan issue is a matter of principle bearing on China's sovereignty and territorial integrity. It is also the most important and sensitive issue for China-US relations. China firmly opposes any official contact and military exchanges between the US and Taiwan or the US arms sales to Taiwan. This position is consistent and clear and well-known to the international community.
Since the two houses of the US Congress raised such proposal separately early this year, we have on many occasions lodged solemn representations with the US side on these negative contents concerning China. Here I want to reiterate that China urges the US to abide by the one China policy and the principles of the three joint communique as well as its pledges, approach the Taiwan issue with prudence, and never go back on its historical commitments so as to avoid disturbance to the overall China-US relations.
Q: Recent reports say that Mongolia is seeking help from India to stop China from raising tariffs on Mongolian trucks transiting the Chinese territory. What is your comment?
A: I'd refer you to competent authorities for specifics.
Q: When speaking in Iowa, US President-elect Trump criticized China's trade practices and said that China is not doing enough when it comes to the DPRK. What is your response?
A: I haven't read the full text of his speech. But judging from the media reports, he noted that there are both good sides and bad sides to the China-US relationship. I think what he said depicts the general picture of the 40-year evolution of China-US relations. As two major countries, China and the US boost vast areas where they share common interests and can and need to cooperate. Meanwhile, our two countries do have some differences and disagreements. This has already become a normalcy for China-US relations.
It is all because of the bilateral efforts to expand cooperation and common ground and constructive management of different opinions that China-US ties have developed to such a high level. I believe that China and the US making joint efforts is also a normalcy.
We hope that we can continue to uphold this spirit with the new US administration, conduct mutually beneficial cooperation for win-win results on the basis of mutual respect, and manage differences properly in a constructive way.
As for what he said about trade, I just said that our interests and trade ties are closely intertwined. Whatever disputes we may have can be perfectly resolved within the WTO framework. As for China's work on the Korean nuclear issue, China's efforts to push forward proper settlement of the Korean nuclear issue, an early realization of its denuclearization, and preservation of peace and stability on the Peninsula are recognized by the international community. Still, I need to point out that the crux of this issue does not lie in China, but in the US-DPRK conflicts. We hope that the new US administration could be more constructive in handling this issue.
Q: Regarding the Korean nuclear issue, Trump said that China is helping, but not helping as it should. Do you agree with him? You just said that China has done a lot to resolve this issue, and do you think that China should do more?
A: When it comes to the settlement of the Korean nuclear issue, the best agreement ever reached by now is the joint declaration on September 19, 2005. You can read through it and find out the obligations each party undertook, including the promises made by the DPRK to dismantle nuclear weapons. No following agreement can surpass this declaration. After reading it, you can have a judgment on whether China has done its utmost and meanwhile how other parties have scored.
Q: Taiwan leader Tsai Ing-wen said today that Taiwan will staunchly defend its territorial sovereignty in the South China Sea and will not compromise sovereignty and the legitimate rights of the Republic of China. She also proposed to carry out seismic monitoring and climate change cooperation with neighboring countries with Taiping Dao as the center. Do you have any response?
A: Remarks made by political figures in Taiwan fall out of the remit of the foreign ministry. You may ask the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council for comments.
On the South China Sea issue, I want to point out that China's historical rights and interests in the South China Sea are assets handed down from our ancestors, and the Chinese people across the Taiwan Strait share the responsibility to defend and preserve it.
Q: You just announced Foreign Minister Wang Yi's visit to Switzerland. I wonder is this visit a preparation for President Xi Jinping's reported visit to Switzerland? Is President Xi considering to attend the Davos Forum?
A: I have just briefed you on the arrangement and agenda of Foreign Minister Wang Yi's official visit to Switzerland.
As for the major diplomatic agenda of Chinese leaders, we will release relevant information once confirmed.