|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang's Regular Press Conference on May 23, 2019|
At the invitation of President Cyril Ramaphosa of the Republic of South Africa, President Xi Jinping's Special Envoy, Vice Chairperson of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress and Chairman of the Central Committee of the China National Democratic Construction Association Hao Mingjin will attend President Ramaphosa's inauguration ceremony on May 25 in Tshwane, the administrative capital of South Africa.
At the invitation of State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cuba Bruno Eduardo Rodríguez Parrilla will pay an official visit to China from May 28 to 30.
At the invitation of State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Prak Sokhonn will pay an official visit to China from May 30 to June 1.
Q: Recently there have been many reports that foreign companies are cutting supply to Huawei due to the US government's restrictive measures. Earlier reports say that British and Japanese telecom companies terminated or delayed cooperation with Huawei. But yesterday Germany's Infineon and Japan's Panasonic both clarified rumors and stated that they have not stopped supplying Huawei. British telecom operator EE reiterated that it will continue to use Huawei equipment in 5G development at home. Huawei spokesperson said that although some global partners have come under political pressures from the US, Huawei has every confidence in overcoming difficulties and retaining growth. What's your comment?
A: You may have noticed the recent interview with Huawei founder Mr. Ren Zhengfei that has won widespread praise at home and abroad. With its openness, resolve and magnanimity, Huawei has shown the world that a broad mind sees a vast world.
The clarifications made by some of Huawei's cooperative partners, as you mentioned, show once again that no company will disregard its own interests and blindly follow the selfish political maneuverings of another country. In fact, with fresh memories of the Alstom precedent, most countries in the world have been on high alert to the US practice of using state power to oppress foreign businesses, disrupt market operations and thwart mutually-beneficial cooperation between other countries.
China will continue its support for Chinese tech companies like Huawei in deepening global cooperation, which will not only enable companies to achieve win-win results, but also contribute to technological progress and economic development of the world. I would like to reiterate that we hope other countries will foster a fair, just, stable and predictable market environment for Chinese businesses to carry out investment, operation and cooperation, which will serve the fundamental and long-term interests of those countries as well.
Q: You said that President Xi Jinping's special envoy will travel to South Africa for President Ramaphosa's inauguration ceremony. What is China's comment on Mr. Ramaphosa's election as the new president?
A: China extends sincere congratulations to Mr. Ramaphosa's on his election as South African president. President Xi Jinping has sent a letter of congratulations to him. We believe that under the leadership of President Ramaphosa and the ANC-led government, the South African people will make new strides in their national development.
China attaches high importance to relations with South Africa, a comprehensive strategic partner. We stand ready to work with the administration in its new term to deepen friendly exchange and cooperation in various areas for greater benefits to the two countries and peoples.
Q: Tanzanian officials said a major port project backed by China has stalled and accused the Chinese side of unfair treatment. Is the foreign ministry aware of this and does it have any comment on the accusations? Also, the US military said it sent two warships through the Taiwan Strait on Wednesday. What's the ministry's comment on that?
A: On your first question, I just saw relevant reports. You may be aware that backward infrastructure and lack of funds are the main bottlenecks of Africa's independent development. As a friend and partner of African countries, China has been doing its best in conducting cooperation on infrastructure, investment and financing with Africa. Also, we have carried out feasibility studies to ensure the socio-economic benefits and sustainable development of projects. The Chinese government will continue to support Chinese businesses in participating in infrastructure construction, including the port project in Tanzania you mentioned, in accordance with market principles.
Regarding your second question, the Chinese side has been closely monitoring from start to end the passage by the US warships through the Taiwan Strait. We have raised concerns to the US side. The Taiwan question is the most important and sensitive one in China-US relations. We urge the US to observe the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communiqués and prudently and properly handle Taiwan-related issues so as to avoid negative impacts on China-US relations and the peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits.
Q: Many reports say that Chinese high-tech companies like Huawei, Dajiang (DJI) and Hikvision are facing US restrictive measures on technology supply, which is widely viewed as an attempt by the US to exert pressure on China. At the same time, US Treasury Secretary Mnuchin said that the US is open to new trade talks on the basis of previous negotiations and hopes China will come back to the negotiating table. Under current circumstances, how does China see the likelihood of continuing consultations?
A: We have noted relevant reports. As we stated repeatedly, our door is wide open for talks, but it takes sincerity to make a consultation meaningful. A good agreement must be based on mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit. We hope the US actually means it when they say "coming back to the negotiating table".
The US, out of political purposes, has been employing state power to oppress Chinese tech companies without just cause. It has severely undermined global technological development and cooperation and taken a toll on the interests of businesses in relevant countries. Such moves will by no means win the endorsement and support from the international community. Apparently they are not conducive to creating a favorable atmosphere and environment for consultations, either.
Q: According to media reports, US Senator Marco Rubio will propose on Thursday the South China Sea and East China Sea Sanctions Act, which would sanction Chinese individuals and entities that participate in construction activities in the South China Sea and East China Sea. What is China's response to the proposal?
A: Regarding the so-called proposal by some in the US, China's position on the South China Sea and the East China Sea is consistent and clear. Construction on Chinese territory in the South China Sea is a matter completely within our sovereignty. The act you mentioned runs counter to international law and basic norms governing international relations. China firmly opposes it. We urge the US not to move forward the review process to prevent further disturbance to bilateral relations.
Q: Pakistani Foreign Minister Qureshi held a meeting with State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi on the sidelines of the SCO foreign ministers' meeting in Bishkek. They discussed matters of mutual interest and regional and global issues. Do you have more information to share with us?
A: Yesterday State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with Pakistani Foreign Minister Qureshi on the sidelines of the SCO Council of Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Bishkek. You may have seen our press release on it.
Both affirmed in the meeting that the all-weather strategic cooperative partnership between China and Pakistan has been further deepened and broadened in BRI cooperation. They also agreed to follow through on the important consensus reached between the two leaders when Prime Minister Imran Khan attended the second BRF in China by strengthening high-level interactions and deepening cooperation for new progress in bilateral relations amid a complex and fluid international landscape.
As you said, they also had in-depth discussions on important issues of mutual interest. For example, both agreed to step up cooperation on counter-terrorism at bilateral and multilateral levels. They also exchanged views on the Afghanistan issue and reached important consensus on how to better safeguard regional peace and stability.
For scheduling reasons, the MFA regular press conference on May 24 (Friday) will begin at 2 p.m. at the same venue.