|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying's Regular Press Conference on July 25, 2019|
At the invitation of Thai Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will attend the China-ASEAN foreign ministers' meeting, the ASEAN+3 foreign ministers' meeting, the East Asia Summit foreign ministers' meeting and the ASEAN Regional Forum foreign ministers' meeting in Bangkok and pay an official visit to Thailand from July 30 to August 3.
Q: As State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi is going to attend the foreign ministers' meetings on East Asia cooperation, how do you comment on the current China-ASEAN relations? Does China have any expectation for the meetings?
A: ASEAN is a priority for China's neighborhood diplomacy and a key region for the BRI. China highly values China-ASEAN cooperation. The two sides have focused on development in keeping with the times and conducted cooperation in such areas as politics, economy and cultural and people-to-people exchange at the sub-regional, regional and global levels. It is a flag for regional cooperation in East Asia.
The China-ASEAN relations have entered a new phase of quality improving and upgrading with greater opportunities. China stands ready to build the high-quality BRI with ASEAN, deepen practical cooperation, build a higher-standard strategic partnership and a closer community with a shared future. In the meantime, we need to continue to properly handle the South China Sea issue, strengthen maritime practical cooperation and jointly uphold regional peace and stability.
State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will attend four foreign ministers' meetings and exchange views with his counterparts on China-ASEAN relations, East Asia cooperation and other international and regional issues of mutual interest. Facing complex changes in international and regional situation and opportunities and challenges in East Asia cooperation, these foreign ministers' meetings on East Asia cooperation will provide an important platform for dialogue and cooperation. China hopes to work with all parties to build consensus and boost confidence, stick to multilateralism, openness and inclusiveness and promote greater East Asia cooperation.
Q: Can you share more details about State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi's visit to Thailand and comment on the current China-Thailand relations?
A: State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will meet with Thai leaders and have talks with Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai.
As close and friendly neighbors, China and Thailand have close high-level exchange and achieved fruitful outcomes in BRI cooperation. In April this year, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha attended the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation and the Chinese leaders held productive meetings with him. A new administration has been formed in Thailand under the leadership of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha. China expresses congratulations on that and hopes to closely work with the new administration to scale the bilateral relations to new heights.
State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi's visit is made not long after the new Thai government was formed. It shows that China attaches high importance to China-Thailand friendship and the Chinese side will discuss with the Thai side approaches and measures to consolidate traditional friendship and step up comprehensive strategic cooperation under the new circumstances. Thailand is the rotating ASEAN chair this year. State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will exchange views with the Thai side on China-ASEAN relations and East Asia cooperation to grasp the priorities and direction for regional cooperation and boost regional peace and stability.
Q: The DPRK launched unidentifiable projectiles this morning. What's your comment?
A: We noted the DPRK's launch on July 25 and the reactions from various parties. Not long ago, the leaders of the DPRK and the US met at Panmunjom and reached consensus on restarting consultations at the working level. We believe that under the current circumstances, the DPRK and the US should restart talks as soon as possible and work for new progress in the political settlement process of the Korean Peninsula issue. This is the shared aspiration of the international community. Relevant parties should cherish the hard-won momentum of dialogue and deescalation, show goodwill to each other, meet each other halfway and make positive efforts for denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula and the political settlement of the Peninsula issue.
Q: Russian foreign ministry yesterday proposed the concept of collective security in the Persian Gulf, calling for the end of the permanent deployment of foreign troops in the region. How does China comment on that?
A: Peace and stability in the Gulf region is of vital importance to the Middle East and beyond. China champions a vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security. We believe that in order to achieve universal security in the Gulf, countries in the region should develop good-neighborly and friendly relations on the basis of mutual respect and non-interference in each other's internal affairs. The international community need to form synergy and play a constructive role in promoting regional peace and stability. China welcomes the relevant proposal of Russia and stands ready to step up communication and coordination with relevant parties.
Q: The new British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in an interview with Phoenix TV on July 23 said that his government would be very "pro-China" and they are very enthusiastic about the Belt and Road Initiative. He also vowed to keep Britain as "the most open economy in Europe" for Chinese investments and said the UK welcomes Chinese students. What's China's comment on Boris Johnson becoming the new British Prime Minister? How do you respond to his remarks?
A: We congratulate British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on taking office and Premier Li Keqiang has sent a congratulatory message to him. China values its relations with the UK. In the spirit of mutual respect and win-win cooperation, we stand ready to work with the UK to deepen political mutual trust, expand cultural and people-to-people exchange and practical cooperation in various fields, including under the BRI, and promote the sustained, steady and sound development of China-UK relations. The two sides should make greater efforts and contributions in jointly upholding multilateralism and free trade and addressing global challenges.
Q: According to reports, Sukkur-Multan Motorway, the largest transportation infrastructure project under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, has been completed in Pakistan. This project has created around 29,000 jobs during the construction. Do you have any comment on that?
A: Thank you, my Pakistani "iron friend", for you interest in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
The total length of the Sukkur-Multan section of the Peshawar-Karachi Motorway is 392 kilometers. It is the biggest transportation infrastructure project under the CPEC and one of its early harvests. The construction of this project began in August 2016 and was completed on July 23 this year ahead of schedule.
During the construction, it created a lot of local jobs. As you mentioned, it provided around 29,000 job opportunities and many training opportunities for technicians. After putting into operation, we believe this project will play an important role in the economic and social development of our two countries, especially Pakistan.
China and Pakistan are all-weather strategic cooperative partners. The CPEC is a signature program of practical cooperation between us. China will work with Pakistan to advance the CPEC building, continue to enrich its essence and achieve high-quality development. I believe this will bring more tangible benefits to people in our two countries and the neighboring region.
Q: This is a question about the Mekong River. We have reports that farmers in Thailand and the Laos are worried about lowered water levels, especially because it's a monsoon season and there's a drought right now. There are accusations that Chinese dams upper river have exacerbated the problem. Does China have a response to that?
A: I'm not aware of the situation you talked about. But I know China maintains close communication and cooperation in hydrologic information sharing as well as flood control and drought relief with relevant countries along the Mekong River.
Q: A US warship again sailed through the Taiwan Strait yesterday and today. I wonder if you have any comment?
A: China closely monitored from start to end the passage of the US warship through the Taiwan Strait. We have expressed 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 Communiques and deal with Taiwan-related issues properly and with caution so that they won't undermine China-US relationship and peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.