|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang's Regular Press Conference on May 8, 2019|
At the invitation of Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov of the Russian Federation, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will pay an official visit to Russia from May 12 to 13.
Q: It has been reported that the appeal of the case involving Canadian citizen Schellenberg who was sentenced to death in January this year will take place on Thursday. Could you confirm that? Will Canadian officials be allowed at the trial?
A: We have repeatedly stated our position on the Schellenberg case. China upholds rule of law. The judicial authorities try cases and guarantee the legal rights of individuals involved in relevant procedures according to law. As to the specifics on the case, I would refer you to the judicial authorities.
Q: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday that Iran would suspend some of its obligations under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) as the United States has withdrawn from the deal. I wonder what is China's comment and if there were any official contacts with Iran?
A: Regarding the JCPOA, a multilateral agreement endorsed by the UN Security Council, it should be implemented fully and effectively for its vital role in the international non-proliferation regime and peace and stability in the Middle East. China applauds Iran's faithful implementation of the JCPOA so far and firmly opposes US sanctions and so-called "long-arm jurisdiction" on Iran. We regret that the US moves have heightened tensions surrounding the Iranian nuclear issue.
It is the shared responsibility of all parties to uphold and implement the JCPOA. We call on relevant sides to exercise restraint and step up dialogue to prevent a spiral of escalation of tensions. China will maintain communication with all parties concerned and continue to work toward upholding and implementing the agreement. At the same time, we will stand firm in safeguarding the legal and legitimate interests of Chinese enterprises.
China has all along maintained close communication with all sides, including Iran, on issues relating to the JCPOA. As far as I know, Deputy Foreign Minister of Iran Araghchi today briefed relevant parties to the JCPOA, including China, in Tehran.
Q: The US House of Representatives yesterday passed a bill reaffirming the US commitment to Taiwan, which will now presumably be sent to the Senate to be passed into law. Has China asked the US not to pass the bill?
A: The bill is a grave violation of the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communiques and a gross interference in China's domestic affairs. China objects it resolutely and has lodged stern representations to the US side.
We urge the US to stay committed to the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communiques by stopping Congress to review and pass the bill and properly handling Taiwan-related issues to prevent severe damages to bilateral cooperation in key areas and peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.
Q: In yesterday's press conference you responded to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's comments on China's participation in Arctic affairs and refuted his accusation. We noticed that in his remarks, Secretary Pompeo also talked about a significant increase in China's carbon-dioxide emissions while claiming that the US is the world's leader in caring for the environment. Do you have any further comment on that?
A: I responded yesterday to the groundless accusations from the US. I see no need to repeat that.
Regarding climate change and environmental protection mentioned by the US, I'd like to emphasize that China's important role in the signing and entry into force of the Paris Agreement was highly acclaimed by the international community. On the other hand, the world knows clearly who has withdrawn from the Paris Agreement and obstructed international cooperation to tackle climate change.
According to media reports, due to US disagreement with other members on climate change, the 11th Arctic Council ministerial meeting failed to issue a joint statement for the first time in the 23-year history of the council. China regrets that.
Considering its unique geography and fragile ecology, the Arctic is more vulnerable to climate change and global warming. To properly address climate change is of vital importance to environmental protection and sustainable development in the Arctic. China is advancing ecological conservation and actively working with other countries on climate change. The emission reduction measures China took produced positive effects on the climate and ecological environment of the Arctic. We will continue to work with relevant sides to further consolidate political consensus, step up communication and cooperation and respond effectively to challenges posed by climate change to the Arctic.
Q: You talked about State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi's visit to Russia. Can you give us more details on the purpose and agenda items of his visit?
A: Following the annual mutual visit mechanism between China and Russia, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will pay an official visit to Russia. During this visit, he will meet with Russian leaders and hold talks with Foreign Minister Lavrov to compare notes on arrangements for interactions between our Presidents and joint activities to celebrate the 70th anniversary of bilateral ties and exchange views on international and regional hotspot issues of mutual concern.
I believe this visit will give a strong boost to the implementation of the outcomes of the Beijing Summit between the two Presidents in April. It will help enhance our cooperation in various areas and step up strategic coordination in international affairs, thus contributing to greater progress in bilateral relations in this significant year.
Q: A US Congress institution released a report claiming that if the revised draft of Hong Kong's Fugitive Ordinance is passed, it would provide a powerful legal tool to the central government, making Hong Kong more susceptible to coercion from the central government. What's China's response to it?
A: Hong Kong is a special administrative region of the People's Republic of China. Hong Kong affairs are completely China's domestic affairs. We stand firmly against any foreign attempt to interfere in Hong Kong affairs.
Q: You took some questions on China-US trade talks yesterday. I have a follow-up on that. Previously China would resort to raising tariffs as retaliation to the US. Why is the change of strategy this time?
A: I wonder how you arrived at that conclusion. I made it very clear when answering earlier questions that it is not the first time the US has made such threats. We have expressed our position and attitude repeatedly and they remain clear and unchanged.
Q: What are the sticking points in China-US trade talks? What is China's agenda and what topics are expected to be covered?
A: You must have missed the last few day's press conferences, as I have already answered many similar questions. My reply is that for specifics on the economic and trade consultations, I would refer you to the competent authority.
What I can say is that we hope the US will work with China to meet each other halfway, accommodate each other's legitimate concerns and strive for a mutually beneficial agreement on the basis of mutual respect and equality. This is in line with the interests of both sides and is also the shared expectation of the international community.
Q: Also a question on trade talks. The Americans have complained that China backtracks on some of what have been agreed, including changes to the text on intellectual property protection, technology transfer, etc. Can you confirm that?
A: As I said earlier, for specifics on the economic and trade consultations, I would refer you to the competent authority who is best-positioned to answer your questions. I will go no further than state our position and attitude as a principled response.
On what you termed as backtracking, let me repeat my answer yesterday. It is only natural to have differences in a negotiation, which, by definition, is a process of discussions. The Chinese side will not sidestep differences and is sincere in continuing consultations.
Q: The European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini said that the International Contact Group discussed the decision to establish contacts with the Lima Group, the Caribbean Community countries, Cuba, China and Russia to help create an environment to resolve the political crisis in Venezuela. I wonder what is China's comment?
A: On the Venezuela issue, China upholds the UN Charter and the basic norms governing international relations. We insist that this issue should be resolved through inclusive political dialogue and consultation under Venezuela's constitution between the government and the opposition independently. We stand against external interference and unilateral sanctions.
China has noted the third meeting of the International Contact Group on Venezuela and values the remarks from the EU side. China, the EU and many other countries share important consensus on Venezuela. All support political settlement through inclusive dialogue and reject military intervention. None wishes to see the situation in Venezuela getting out of control, affecting peace and stability in the region. China will step up communication and work together in a constructive manner with the international community including the EU for the political settlement. This will serve the interests of the Venezuelan people and all parties.
Q: Can you give us any information on when Vice Premier Liu He will arrive in Washington, when he will return and who will accompany him?
A: The Commerce Ministry spokesperson has released relevant information yesterday. At the invitation of the US, Liu He, member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, Vice Premier of the State Council and chief of the Chinese side of the China-US comprehensive economic dialogue, will visit the US for the 11th round of high-level economic and trade consultations from May 9 to 10.
Q: The US-China Economic and Security Review Commission published a report yesterday on Hong Kong's proposed extradition bill. The report says the extradition bill would, if passed into law, increase the territory's susceptibility to Beijing's political and economic influence. Does China have any comment on these assertions?
A: Like I said earlier, we firmly oppose any foreign interference in Hong Kong's affairs because they are entirely China's internal affairs.
The commission you talked about is entrenched in bias towards China. Its so-called reports and comments are not even worth refuting.
Q: One more follow-up question on Iran. You said that Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister informed ambassadors about its decision to not follow some of its obligations under the JCPOA. Some voices say that maybe the international community should reconsider and relaunch sanctions against Iran. What is China's comment?
A: I just elaborated on China's position. Iran's faithful implementation of the JCPOA till now has been recognized by us all. Under current circumstances, it is the shared responsibility of all parties to uphold and implement the JCPOA. We call on relevant sides to exercise restraint and step up dialogue to prevent a spiral of escalation of tensions. China will maintain communication with all parties concerned and continue to work toward upholding and implementing the agreement.