|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang's Regular Press Conference on November 23, 2017|
Q: The Foreign Ministers of China and the Republic of Korea (ROK) held talk yesterday. The two sides discussed the relations between the two countries, President Moon Jae-in's upcoming visit to China and the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue. Can you brief us on the outcomes of the talk?
A: We have issued a fairly detailed press release on Foreign Minister Wang Yi's talk with ROK Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-Wha yesterday. The two Foreign Ministers conducted relatively adequate discussion on how to ensure the steady improvement and development of China-ROK relations. Indeed, the two sides also fully exchanged views on issues of mutual concern, including the situation on the Korean Peninsula.
I would like to stress that Foreign Minister Wang Yi said China and the ROK are neighbors and we will remain so forever.The development of China-ROK relations is consistent with the shared aspiration of the two peoples. In fact, since the establishment of diplomatic ties 25 years ago, China and the ROK have maintained sound bilateral relations most of the time. However, China-ROK relations encountered difficulties due to the THAAD issue as is known to all. Foreign Minister Wang Yi also stressed yesterday that China values the ROK's remarks of no additional deployments of the THAAD system, not joining a US-led military anti-missile network and no intention to damage China's security interests and hopes that the ROK will continue to properly handle the THAAD issue. The two sides should jointly work to enhance mutual understanding, reduce differences as best as possible, and create conditions for the full restoration of the bilateral relations. Taking the 25th anniversary of diplomatic ties and the upcoming leadership interaction as an opportunity, the two sides need to draw upon experiences and make strategic plan for the development of future bilateral relations. In the meanwhile, we hope the two sides will strengthen across-the-board exchange and communication at various levels, step up strategic alignment and practical cooperation under the framework of Belt and Road and enhance coordination and cooperation on regional economic integration. I would refer you to our official website for more details.
Q: First, as far as we learn, China and the Vatican plan to hold two joint art exhibitions next year. The Vatican calls it the "diplomacy of art", which some compare to Richard Nixon's Ping-Pong diplomacy preceding his visit to China in 1972. How do you respond to such comparison? Second, according to reports, the Chinese government has recently banned tourist groups from traveling to the Vatican and Palau. Some analysts believe it's part of the mainland's measures to pressure Taiwan's allies. What's your reaction to this?
A: I have not heard of what you mentioned in your second question.
On your first question, I have noted the relevant reports. We are not aware of the details by far. China's position on how to develop its relations with the Vatican is consistent and clear. China is willing to continue to have constructive dialogue with the Vatican and advance the improvement of the relations between the two sides on principle.
Q: We have noted that recently the Philippines issued the Chairman's Statement of the 20th ASEAN Plus Three (APT) Summit, which commits to the vision of building the East Asia Economic Community by 2020 through the main channel of the APT. How does China view this goal of building the East Asia Economic Community?
A: The Chinese side has noted the relevant part of this year's Chairman's Statement of the 20th APT Summit. We think it fully reflects the consensus of various parties and accords with the future development of the APT. Building the East Asia Economic Community is the shared aspiration and objective of countries in this region.
The East Asian countries agreed to take the building of East Asia Economic Community as the direction and goal for their joint efforts in 2012 when the 15th anniversary of the APT cooperation was celebrated. In the APT Summit on November 14 this year, Premier Li Keqiang's put forward the important initiative to promote the building of East Asia Economic Community and drew up the roadmap for building the Community, and proposed to expand cooperation on trade liberalization and facilitation, production capacity and investment, infrastructure and connectivity, finance, sustainable development, cultural and people to people exchange, which is widely supported and received by state leaders attending the meeting.
On China's part, it stands ready to work with various parties, taking the opportunity of the 20th anniversary of the APT cooperation, to promote economic integration of East Asian countries, expand two-way trade and investment, jointly move forward the East Asia Economic Community so as to elevate the East Asia cooperation to a higher level and help the great idea of the shared community of mankind to first take root in East Asia.
Q: According to reports, the Australian government has released a foreign policy white paper that says China is filling a security void in the region and that as it does so, dangers are rising. The white paper warns about risks in the South China Sea and on cyber security. It suggests that China will not follow the "rules-based order"in place since World War II. What is the Chinese government's comment?
A: We have noted that the white paper issued by the Australian government has given an overall positive evaluation of China's development and China-Australia relations but made irresponsible remarks on the South China Sea issue. We are gravely concerned about this.
You just mentioned the situation in the South China Sea. In fact, all those fair-minded persons are aware that the situation in the South China Sea has been stabilized and eased. Australia is not a party of the South China Sea issue, and has kept saying it takes no stance on the relevant territorial sovereignty disputes. We urge the Australian side to honor its commitment and stop irresponsible remarks on the South China Sea issue. In particular, the littoral countries of the South China Sea, namely China and the ASEAN countries, have reached consensus on the "dual-track"approach, that is to say, the parties directly concerned peacefully resolve the dispute through dialogue and negotiation, and China and the ASEAN countries join efforts to uphold peace and stability in the South China Sea. Now regional countries are moving in this direction and we hope non-regional countries can respect such efforts.
As to what you mentioned with regard to whether China follows the "rules-based order" in place since World War II, I would like to remind them that the post-WWII rules and order as we speak should be those ones generally acknowledged by the international community rather than defined unilaterally by any certain country. On China's part, what we have always observed are the rules based on the purpose and principle of the UN Charter, not those ones unilaterally defined by any country.
Q: According to reports, the UN International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia sentenced yesterday the former Bosnian Serb Army Commander Ratko Mladic to life imprisonment and found him guilty of genocide and war crimes. What is China's comment?
A: We have noted the relevant reports. China hopes the relevant parties will properly handle the relevant issue through dialogue with a view to promoting peace, stability and national reconciliation of the former Yugoslavia region. We believe this is conducive to the joint effort to uphold the long-term stability, prosperity and development of the former Yugoslavia region.