|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang's Regular Press Conference on July 16, 2019|
Q: A question on the China-US trade war. The US announced yesterday that US and Chinese trade negotiators will speak again by phone this week. Can you confirm that? What is the main issue that prevents the form of face-to-face meeting between the negotiators?
A: The Chinese and US teams stay in communication with each other on this issue. As for when they will have another phone call and when they will meet again, I'd refer you to the competent authority for more specifics.
Q: You said yesterday you didn't have any details at present about the sanctions that China is going to put on the US companies which sell weapons to Taiwan. I was wondering if you have further details today, again specifically about which companies might be targeted?
A: (The spokesperson turned to the journalist who raised the question.) Do you need me to repeat what I said in response to the same question yesterday?
(The journalist smiled and shook his head.) If you don't, let's just move on.
Q: US President Trump tweeted on July 15 that China's second quarter growth is the slowest in more than 27 years. Thousands of companies are leaving and this is why China wants to make a deal with the US. What's your comment?
A: You may have noted that the National Bureau of Statistics yesterday released China's economic performance data for the first six months of this year. The Information Office of the State Council also held a press briefing on it. As you may find more details in the released data, I'll just say a few more words here.
Despite slower global economic growth and increasing uncertainties and instability, China's GDP still grew by 6.3 percent in the first half of this year. I think this is quite a good performance, especially when you compare it with that of other major economies. You will find it better than most of them.
China could have resorted to massive stimulus policies for higher economic growth. But instead of doing that, we are committed to high-quality economic growth, economic restructuring and industrial transformation and upgrading. We are invigorating all market entities through reform and innovation. What we want is an economy maintaining stable growth.
The growth rate of 6.3 percent meets the world's expectation for China's economy. After the data release yesterday, the reaction of major world markets was quite moderate. I need to stress that as the world's second largest economy, for many years, China's contribution to world economic growth has been more than 30 percent. The stable growth of China's economy is good for the world. It is good for the US economy, too.
The US says that China wants to make a deal with it because of the economic slowdown. Such allegation is entirely misleading. China is not the only one that wants to conclude a trade deal. The US wants it too. American people, especially consumers, strongly oppose the trade war and the additional tariffs on Chinese goods. Their voice speaks volumes.
Here I call on the US to work with China, meet each other halfway, and resolve trade disputes through dialogue and consultation with mutual respect and equal treatment. By doing so we will work for a mutually beneficial trade deal. This serves the interests of the Chinese and American people and meets the aspiration of the world.
Q: Representatives from the US and Russia are set to meet in Geneva on Wednesday to explore the concept of a new accord limiting nuclear arms. US Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan will lead the US delegation. The Russian delegation will be led by Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov. So there are two questions. How does China look on the perspectives of such talks between Russia and the US? Second question, the Chinese foreign ministry in its statements denied several times that China can take part in negotiations on the "next generation" arms control deal. Are there any conditions on which, in theory, China can become a party to any negotiation of this kind?
A: The US and Russia own the biggest nuclear arsenals in the world. They have the obligation to follow the international consensus and UN documents including resolutions of the General Assembly, earnestly fulfill their special and primary responsibilities in nuclear disarmament, and continue to drastically reduce their nuclear weapons in a verifiable, irreversible and legally-binding manner. It will help create conditions for realizing general and complete nuclear disarmament. So it is a good thing that the US and Russia conduct consultations on arms control. We hope the consultations will send positive signals to the world.
We made clear China's position on many occasions on whether we will participate in similar negotiations. Right now we do not see any conditions or basis for China to join the negotiation between the US and Russia. Russia also made public statements on this. It totally understands China's position on the so-called China-US-Russia trilateral disarmament negotiation.
Q: On July 15, Foreign Ministers of the European Union countries held a meeting in Brussels. Upholding the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was a major topic in the meeting. Federica Mogherini, the European Union's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, told a news conference that the deal is still effective and there is no alternative for it at the moment. The EU will continue to uphold and implement the deal and urge Iran to come back to full JCPOA implementation. What's your comment?
A: Yesterday's EU foreign ministers' meeting sent out a clear message of upholding and implementing the JCPOA. Like I stressed yesterday, the JCPOA is irreplaceable. The full and effective implementation of the deal is the only viable way to ease tensions and resolve the Iranian nuclear issue. The issue of Iran's implementation should be resolved through the joint commission mechanism. In the meantime, to ensure the balance of rights and obligations under the JCPOA is of vital importance.
As the root cause of the current tension, the US should face up to the concerns of the overwhelming majority of the international community, stop imposing "maximum pressure" against Iran, do not obstruct the implementation of the deal, and create conditions for the political and diplomatic settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue.
Q: Malaysia's Prime Minister said yesterday that his country has seized funds from China Petroleum Pipeline Engineering Corporation. Do you have a comment about this?
A: As I know, the relevant project was carried out on the basis of the contracts signed by both parties, the relevant laws and international customary practices.
I must emphasize that China and Malaysia have a long tradition of friendly cooperation, and the momentum for economic and trade cooperation between us has long been sound. Issues occurred in this process should be properly resolved through friendly consultation by both parties.
Q: The EU has renewed sanctions on the DPRK in response to the country's nuclear weapon and ballistic missile programs. Sanctions include travel ban and asset freeze for 57 individuals and 9 entities. Statement released by the EU said that the targeted entities and individuals contribute to DPRK's nuclear-related, ballistic-missile-related, and other weapons-of-mass-destruction-related programs. How do you think these measures will affect the current situation in the Korean Peninsula?
A: I believe you all noticed the recent ease of tensions on the Korean Peninsula. There is again a bright prospect of settlement through dialogue. We hope all relevant parties can cherish this important opportunity and cement the positive momentum. By doing so, we can advance and progress the denuclearization process and the political settlement. This is what we hope all parties can work for.
Q: Head of US Southern Command Craig Faller said that as Venezuela's biggest creditor, China has indebted the Venezuelan people. What's your comment?
A: Officials from the US have been smearing China's cooperation with Venezuela and Latin America, but their words just do not hold water.
As you all know, China's cooperation with Venezuela and Latin America follows the principle of mutual respect, equality and win-win cooperation. It focuses on common development. Our cooperation has brought tangible benefits to our people and contributed to local socio-economic development. It is welcomed by people in Venezuela and Latin America. The US groundless accusations are nothing but sour grapes. They are designed to ready public opinion for its New Monroe Doctrine. If the US really cares for Latin America's development, it should take concrete measures to help Latin American countries in their economy and people's livelihood.
The relationship between China and Latin America is equal-footed, mutually beneficial, innovative and open. Its nature is not exclusive. China is open to cooperation between Latin America and other countries, including the US. We hope the US can be just as broad-minded as China is.
Q: According to reports, in her recent visit to China, Bangladeshi Prime Minister expressed willingness to participate in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and to promote the construction of Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) Economic Corridor. Do you have more information to share with us?
A: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh paid an official visit to China from July 3 to 5. This is her first official visit to our country after re-election. She had meetings and talks with President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang and NPC Chairman Li Zhanshu. The visit was a success. Both sides signed bilateral cooperation agreements and issued a joint statement. You may find more details in our press releases.
In response to your question, here is something more I can share with you. During her meetings and talks with President Xi and Premier Li, Prime Minister Hasina explicitly expressed readiness to participate in the BRI cooperation. Leaders of both sides agreed to work with India and Myanmar to accelerate the building of BCIM Economic Corridor.
Both sides believe the BRI provides a model of international cooperation for all participants and a new opportunity for regional connectivity and economic integration. China will create greater synergy between the BRI and the development strategies of Bangladesh for common development, win-win cooperation and mutual complementarity.
China and Bangladesh are neighbors sharing a tradition of friendship. We are both at critical stages of our own development. Cementing and advancing our strategic partnership of cooperation will not only serve the common interests of both countries and peoples, but also contribute to prosperity and stability of Asia and openness and cooperation of the world.
Q: In relation to the earlier question about Malaysia's seizure of funds, I would like to ask if the Chinese side has been notified prior to this and whether the Chinese side is taking any measures?
A: As I said, this project was carried out on the basis of the contracts signed by both parties, the relevant laws and international customary practices.
Issues occurred in this process should be properly resolved through friendly consultation by both parties. I must emphasize that China and Malaysia have a long tradition of friendly cooperation, and the momentum for economic and trade cooperation between us has long been sound. China is confident that we will continue to deepen our cooperation and deliver benefits to people in both countries.
Q: On Monday evening, the European Council suspended high-level dialogue with Turkey in light of the conflict around its drilling for resources in Cyprus' exclusive economic zone. Turkish foreign minister said that this decision will not affect Turkey's determination to continue its activities in the eastern Mediterranean. Turkey repeatedly said that the country has all rights to drill in this zone, but Cyprus sees this as a provocation. I wonder if China is concerned that this situation could lead to more serious conflicts in the region?
A: China is closely following the situation in the eastern Mediterranean. China has friendly cooperation with both Cyprus and Turkey. We call on relevant parties to exercise restraint and resolve differences through dialogue and consultation to avoid further escalation.
Q: Brazil said on Monday that it has no plan to block Huawei from its 5G network. Do you see that as a victory for Huawei? I wonder if you have any reaction to that?
A: Do I see that as a victory? I think I'll let Huawei speak for itself.
As an MFA spokesperson, I can tell you that we support Huawei and other Chinese businesses in doing business with foreign countries in accordance with international rules and market principles. We also ask them to abide by local laws and regulations in this process. In the meantime, we call on relevant countries to provide a fair, just and non-discriminatory environment for Chinese companies to conduct normal operation and cooperation overseas.
I think Brazil's statement sends out a very positive signal. Recently, more and more countries said they welcome Chinese high-tech companies' participation in their 5G build-out. We believe the overwhelming majority of the international community can independently make their own judgments.
Q: Further to what you said about the BCIM Economic Corridor, are you in touch with the rest of the countries, that is, India and Myanmar on this issue?
A: You seem to be very interested in the BCIM Economic Corridor. China has been in communication and coordination with India, Bangladesh and Myanmar on its building. We believe the accelerated development of this economic corridor will serve the interests of relevant countries and the common interests of all countries in the sub-region.