|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang's Regular Press Conference on July 15, 2019|
At the invitation of State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Emmanuel Bonne, Foreign Policy Adviser to the President of France, will come to China for a new round of China-France strategic dialogue initiators' consultations on July 19.
Q: On Friday evening, you announced that the Chinese government will put sanctions on US companies that sell weapons to Taiwan. Can you give us any more details about that? For example, which companies specifically you will sanction? How the sanctions will work? Is there a timetable?
A: By selling arms to Taiwan, the US seriously violates international law and the basic norms governing international relations. It breaches the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communiques, and undermines China's sovereignty and national security. To safeguard China's national interests, we will impose sanctions on US companies that participate in the above-mentioned arms sale to Taiwan. The Chinese government and Chinese businesses will not engage in cooperation or commercial exchanges with the US companies involved.
Q: Last week, the United Kingdom seized an Iranian oil tanker with an excuse that it was suspected to carry oil for Syria. What's your comment on this issue?
A: I answered similar questions last week. I can repeat my answer here. In state-to-state relations, we believe all countries need to abide by international law and basic norms governing international relations. We hope the relevant sides will take concrete measures to prevent escalation and jointly protect the security of international energy supply. This serves not only the interests of Middle East countries, but also the common interests of the international community.
Q: According to media reports, French, British and German leaders issued a joint statement on July 14 expressing regret over the US withdrawal from the JCPOA and resumption of sanctions on Iran. They also voiced concerns that Iran's reduced implementation of the JCPOA may lead to a total collapse of the deal. They strongly urged Iran to reverse its decision and reiterated their commitment to resolving the issue through dialogue via the joint commission mechanism. The three countries are deeply concerned about the deteriorating security situation in the region. They believe all stakeholders need to act responsibly and seek a path to stop the escalation of tensions and resume dialogue. Do you have any comments?
A: Amid the recent tensions on the Iranian nuclear issue, parties to the JCPOA including the European countries have made intensive mediation efforts to promote peace and facilitate talks. China is highly concerned about the current situation. We have maintained close communication and coordination with relevant parties to ease tensions.
It is our consistent belief that complete and effective implementation of the JCPOA according to UNSCR requirements is the only viable way to ease tensions and solve the Iranian nuclear issue. It will also help create conditions for resolving other issues through equal-footed dialogue. Under the current circumstances, parties should remain calm and exercise restraint and adhere to dialogue under the framework of the JCPOA. In the meantime, parties should assume their responsibilities to ensure the balance of rights and obligations under the JCPOA and uphold the efficacy of the deal.
I want to emphasize a point. The US maximum pressure strategy is the root cause of how the Iranian nuclear issue has come to this pass. As the Chinese saying goes, "to undo a knot, no one is more suited than the person who tied it." We hope the US will abandon its wrong course, respect the legitimate rights and interests of other parties, stop obstructing the implementation of the JCPOA, and work towards the political and diplomatic solution of this issue.
Q: On China's sanctions on US companies participating in the arms sale to Taiwan, which companies are on the list? When will the sanctions start? Tsai Ing-wen gave some remarks on the "one country, two systems" policy and cross-strait relations during her "transit" in New York. I wonder what's your comment on that? Yesterday, Financial Times reported that Chief Executive Carrie Lam of Hong Kong expressed her intention to resign repeatedly to the central government, but her requests were denied. Could you confirm that?
A: How many questions did you ask?
A: Please raise one at a time. It's somewhat confusing when you mix up all those questions.
A: On your first question, US arms sales to Taiwan gravely violates international law and basic norms of international relations, seriously breaches the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communiques, and undermines China's sovereignty and national security.
To uphold China's national interests, we will impose sanctions on US companies participating in the above-mentioned arms sale. The Chinese government and Chinese businesses will not engage in cooperation or commercial exchanges with the US companies involved. I'm afraid I cannot tell you more details at the moment. But I can assure you, we Chinese always keep our word.
On your second question, Tsai Ing-wen let loose of much nonsense about cross-strait relations and the "one country, two systems" policy. But I will restrain myself here as this is not a diplomatic issue. I refer you to my colleagues in the Taiwan Affairs Office and the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council.
As a spokesperson of the foreign ministry, I can tell you that the one-China principle is a universal consensus of the international community. The Taiwan authority, wearing a mask of democracy, is seeking pretexts for its so-called "independence" agenda by misleading others and reaping sympathies. In fact, its true intention has long been seen through by the world.
There is no dignity at all when you are slavishly dependent on others, thinking this may bring you some recognition. It won't bring you anything more than a doomed fate.
On your third question, I have not heard of that. I can assure you the central government firmly supports the Hong Kong SAR government and Chief Executive Carrie Lam in administering the region according to law.
Q: First question, as confirmed by the Canadian foreign ministry, a Canadian citizen was arrested in Yantai, and the Canadian side is providing consular assistance to that person. Can you give us more details? How's the person's physical condition? Second question, according to Canadian media reports, a Chinese researcher Qiu Xiangguo, her husband Cheng Keding and some Chinese students were removed by Canadian police from their microbiology lab last Friday. Their access to the lab were also being denied. The reports say they were taken by police possibly for their ties with the Chinese government and potential national security reasons. Can you confirm that? Do you have any comments?
A: Your questions are very clear to me. Why? Because you said "first question", "second question", etc. (The spokesperson turned to the journalist who raised the previous question.) Next time when you ask questions, instead of mixing them all together, why not say something like "first question" and "second question"? (The journalist nodded while everyone else laughed.)
Regarding your first question, the public security authority in Shandong Province recently detected a drug case involving foreign students. One of them is a Canadian citizen. The case is now under investigation. The public security authority has made consular notifications to the embassies of relevant countries and will arrange consular visits. The Chinese side protects the legitimate rights and interests of those involved according to law. There is no connection between this very case and another drug case involving foreigners, which is being investigated by the public security authority of Jiangsu Province.
Now come to your second question. I read the reports you mentioned. The Chinese embassy in Toronto has not received any notification of Chinese citizens involved so far. If indeed there are Chinese citizens involved, our embassy and consulates will provide consular assistance and earnestly protect their legitimate rights and interests according to law.
Q: According to media reports, on July 12, ambassadors from 37 countries including Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Algeria wrote a letter to the UN in support of China's position on Xinjiang. I wonder if you have any comment?
A: UN ambassadors from 37 countries wrote a letter to the President of the UN Human Rights Council and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. These countries include Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Russia, Cuba and others. In the letter, the ambassadors made positive comments on China's progress in Xinjiang's human rights cause and in counter-terrorism and de-radicalization. They applauded the fact that China has offered many invitations to media personnel and foreign officials from diplomatic missions and international organizations to visit Xinjiang. As the ambassadors pointed out, those who had visited Xinjiang found what they saw was completely different from what was described in Western media reports. The ambassadors also urged some countries that never paid a visit to Xinjiang to stop making wanton accusations on China based on unverified information. China appreciates and thanks Pakistan and other countries for their fair and objective stance.
Faced with severe threats of terrorism and extremism, the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region has taken a series of counter-terrorism and de-radicalization measures according to law, including the establishment of vocational education and training centers. Those measures have turned the situation around. In almost three years, not a single violent and terrorist incident took place in Xinjiang. The region now enjoys social stability and unity among all ethnic groups. People there are living a happy life with a stronger sense of fulfillment and security. They endorse the government's policies and measures wholeheartedly.
Facts speak louder than words, and people can tell right from wrong. Ambassadors who wrote this letter come from countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Many of the countries are members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. Many of them sent representatives to Xinjiang to see the region as it truly is. This letter is a strong response to several Western countries that criticized China groundlessly.
China is working with all parties to ensure that multilateral human rights mechanisms stick to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. Human rights issues should be dealt with in an objective, fair and non-selective way. We need to advance the international human rights cause in a sound manner through constructive dialogue and cooperation. We oppose the act of using the Human Rights Council and other mechanisms to interfere in other countries' internal affairs and wantonly criticize, smear and pressure others. We urge the relevant countries to correct their mistakes at once, not politicize the relevant issue or practice double standards, and stop meddling in other countries' domestic affairs.
Q: Could you share some details about the visit of the US Special Envoy to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad, who was in China after his meetings in Qatar? The meeting comes after Mullah Baradar was hosted by China. Could you share how China's policy towards Afghanistan is evolving in light of this visit?
A: Last week in Beijing, US Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad attended the third China-Russia-US trilateral consultation and the first four-party meeting between China, Russia, the US and Pakistan on the Afghan peace process. Chinese and Russian special envoys for Afghan affairs and Pakistani Additional Secretary participated in the above-mentioned consultation and meeting. All sides exchanged views on and reached many consensuses regarding the current situation for peace talks in Afghanistan, political settlement of the Afghan issue and joint efforts to realize peace, security and prosperity in Afghanistan. We issued the Four-Party Joint Statement on Afghan Peace Process which you may find online.
China and the other three sides all support the "Afghan-led, Afghan-owned" reconciliation process that is extensive and inclusive. We agreed to step up communication and coordination for Afghanistan's peace, reconstruction and reconciliation process.
Follow-up: Are there any meetings to follow this one? Is this institutionalized?
A: I believe you can find the relevant information in the four-party joint statement I talked about. The four parties agreed to maintain the momentum for meetings and consultations. The time and venue of the next meeting and other details will be decided via diplomatic channels.
Q: Minister Counselor of the Chinese Embassy in Pakistan has drawn some kind of criticism for his recent comments on African community in Washington D.C. He was also commenting about China's policy in Xinjiang. What is the Foreign Ministry's view on his remarks?
A: I'm not aware of what you said. But since you mentioned Xinjiang, as I said earlier, our measures on counter-terrorism and de-radicalization have been effective in Xinjiang, and our policies are endorsed by all ethnic groups. The region now enjoys social stability. People are living a happy life. Our position on this issue is firm and clear. We oppose foreign interference in China's internal affairs under the pretext of Xinjiang by the US and a handful of other Western countries.
Q: An incident recently occurred concerning the "Buddy Program" in Shandon g University. After that, some people posted online messages that are discriminatory to African students in China. Do you have any comment?
A: I haven't seen online messages targeting African students like you described. We welcome foreign students to study in China. It is good for China and other countries to know each other better and foster closer friendship among our peoples. But I need to emphasize this: as foreign citizens, foreign students in China should follow Chinese laws and regulations, and their legitimate rights and freedoms are protected at the same time.
Q: A follow-up to what you said about the four-party meeting on Afghanistan. What is the basis of the formation of this particular group? China has been actively coordinating with India, too, in the Afghan issue. Why was India not included in this?
A: Like you said, China has been in close communication and coordination on the Afghan issue with all relevant sides including India. You mentioned the four-party meeting between China, Russia, the US and Pakistan. Based on our consensus through communication, China and those countries agreed to hold the meeting. We are willing to keep in close communication and coordination with other relevant parties for an early political settlement of the Afghan issue.