|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying's Regular Press Conference on August 2, 2019|
Q: US National Security Adviser Bolton said the US would pull out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (the INF Treaty) on August 2, which will lead to the formal termination of the treaty. I wonder if you have any comment on it?
A: China deeply regrets and firmly opposes the US practice of insisting on withdrawing from the INF Treaty in disregard of international opposition.
Withdrawing from the INF Treaty is another negative move of the US that ignores its international commitment and pursues unilateralism. Its real intention is to make the treaty no longer binding on itself so that it can unilaterally seek military and strategic edge.
After withdrawing from the treaty, if the US resumes the research, development and deployment of intermediate-range missiles, it will severely undermine global strategic balance and stability, intensify tensions and distrust, disrupt the current process of international nuclear disarmament and multilateral arms control, and threaten peace and security of the relevant region.
We call on the international community to have a sober understanding of the serious consequences of the US withdrawal from the treaty, and to prevent the US from shifting its own special and primary responsibilities in nuclear disarmament by blaming others under various pretexts. In the meantime, we urge the US to exercise restraint and stop taking actions that undermine the security interests of other countries. Instead, as a major country, it should fulfill its due responsibilities and earnestly work with the international community to uphold peace and stability of the region and the world.
Q: During a Cabinet meeting this morning, the Japanese side decided to remove the ROK from a "white list" of countries subject to simplified trade procedures. I wonder what is China's comment on that?
A: I noted the reports. Japan and the ROK are close neighbors in Asia. As the world economy is faced with challenges of unilateralism and protectionism, we hope Japan and the ROK will resolve the relevant issue properly through dialogue and consultation based on mutual respect, equal treatment and win-win spirit.
Q: I have a question on Huawei and the "Entity List". Former British Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said they cannot exclude the possibility to ban Huawei in the 5G network building in the UK. They need to carefully evaluate the impact of the US including Huawei in its "Entity List" and let the new Prime Minister make the decision as soon as possible. Media reports say the HSBC may be included in an "unreliable entity list" by the Chinese government because it voluntarily cooperates with the US government in its investigations on Huawei. What is your response to that?
A: Huawei has been doing business in the UK for years. It has invested more than 2 billion pounds in the country, hired over ten thousand employees and established joint research centers. It has earnestly fulfilled its social responsibilities as an enterprise. We hope the UK will take an objective and fair attitude, make independent decisions based on its own interests, and provide an open, fair and non-discriminatory business environment for Chinese companies. This is very important for Chinese investors to keep confidence and faith in the UK.
Regarding the "unreliable entity list", as I know, the system of an unreliable entity list is going through relevant procedures. I'd refer you to the competent authority for more details.
As a principle, China welcomes foreign companies investing and doing business in China. We protect their legitimate rights and interests according to law. In the meantime, their operation in China must comply with laws and regulations. We investigate into and deal with illegal business behaviors in accordance with law.
Q: President Trump tweeted yesterday that he would levy additional ten percent of tariffs on $300 billion worth of Chinese goods. Further, he made comments saying that China wants to make a deal but is not going fast enough. I wonder what is China's response to that?
A: The US announced ten percent new tariffs on $300 billion worth of Chinese goods starting from September 1. It is a serious violation of the consensus reached by the Chinese and US Presidents in Osaka and runs counter to the right direction. It will not be helpful for resolving the issues. China deplores and firmly opposes that. If the US indeed imposes new tariffs, China will have to take necessary countermeasures to uphold its core interests and the fundamental interests of the Chinese people. The US will be responsible for all related consequences.
The escalation of trade frictions and the imposition of new tariffs by the US do not serve the interests of the Chinese people, the American people and the whole world. It will lead to a downturn in the world economy. China believes there is no winner in a trade war. We do not want a trade war, but we are not afraid of fighting one. China does not accept any maximum pressure, threat or blackmail. On major issues concerning our principles, we won't back down even a little bit. We hope the US will grasp the situation, give up all illusions, correct its mistakes and return to the right track of resolving differences through consultation on the basis of equality and mutual respect.
You also mentioned the US claim that China is not moving fast enough. China's position on China-US trade talks is consistent as always, so are our endeavor and good faith. However, all negotiations and consultations must be based on equality and mutual respect, and all their results must be mutually beneficial. Now the ball is in the US court. The US needs to demonstrate sincerity and good faith to the world. It needs to prove that it is still a trust-worthy partner in negotiations.
Q: The US recently announced its decision to extend the sanction waivers on nuclear projects under the JCPOA, including the renovation of the Arak heavy water nuclear reactor. I wonder if you have any comment?
A: The JCPOA, a multilateral agreement endorsed by the UN Security Council, should be implemented fully and effectively for its vital importance in the international non-proliferation regime and peace and stability in the Middle East. The relevant JCPOA content on nuclear projects demonstrates the balance of Iran's non-proliferation obligation and its right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy. It also reflects the purposes and principles of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. Observing and implementing the JCPOA serves the interests of all parties including the US.
Renovation of the Arak heavy water nuclear reactor is an important part of the JCPOA, which is headed up by China and the UK. All parties including Iran have highly applauded China's active efforts in implementing this project, and stressed that they will continue to provide support. China will continue to step up communication and coordination with all relevant parties and jointly advance the project.
I also want to emphasize China's opposition to unilateral sanctions and long-arm jurisdiction. We will work with all parties to uphold and implement this deal and safeguard our own legitimate rights and interests.
Q: China said yesterday that it will send a delegation to the US for the next round of trade consultations in September. Now that President Trump announced new tariffs on Chinese goods yesterday, is China still making such preparations as planned?
A: The spokesperson of the Ministry of Commerce made a statement on this. Like I said, all consultations and negotiations must be based on equality and mutual respect. We firmly oppose the act of claiming to talk on the one hand while exerting maximum pressures on the other. It is not constructive and it won't work.
Not long ago, during their meeting in Osaka, the Chinese and US Presidents agreed to restart trade consultations on the basis of equality and mutual respect with no new tariffs to be imposed by the US side. Though we still recall those words vividly, soon after the conclusion of the latest round of consultations in Shanghai, the US announced the imposition of new tariffs. It clearly runs counter to the leaders' consensus and the correct direction. This again shows the world how flip-flopping the US can be.
As we repeatedly said, a trade war will only hurt both sides. Resorting to a trade war to fix its domestic problems, the US is in fact drinking poison to quench its thirst. After the US announced the imposition of additional tariffs on $300 billion worth of Chinese goods, the three major US stock indexes all closed lower. Four large US retail trade groups immediately made statements to voice criticism and opposition, saying the tariffs have already slowed down the US economy and caused uncertainties. The new round of tariffs is using American families as a hostage in the trade war negotiations. American families should not be a pawn in this trade war. The tariffs will hit US consumers far harder than Chinese manufacturers.
I'd like to re-emphasize that China does not accept any maximum pressure, threat or blackmail. On major issues concerning our principles, we won't back down even a little bit. China's position on China-US trade talks is consistent as always. If the US wants to talk, our door is wide open. But if it insists on a trade war, we will fight to the end with firm resolve. Now the ball is in the US court. It needs to demonstrate good faith. The world is watching.
Q: US President Trump said that he didn't know China's attitude towards the riots in Hong Kong recently, but he believed that Hong Kong is part of China, and that the Chinese can handle the issue and they don't need advice. What's your response?
A: I think President Trump has got two things right this time. First, what happened in Hong Kong are riots. Second, Hong Kong is part of China. The Chinese government's position on Hong Kong is very clear. The Hong Kong affairs are entirely China's internal affairs. The Chinese government will never allow any foreign forces to have a hand in Hong Kong affairs. Neither will it allow them to mess up Hong Kong. We seriously urge the US and some other Western countries to abide by international law and basic norms governing international relations, honor their promise of not interfering in Hong Kong affairs, and stop supporting violent activities and interfering in Hong Kong affairs in whatever form.
Q: According to reports, some Hong Kong civil servants will gather at the Central District tonight to call for the cancellation of the amendment bill to the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance. There have been claims that the Hong Kong SAR government will take this as a reason to ask the PLA Hong Kong Garrison to enforce martial law on the early morning of August 4. Reportedly they will clear the staff of American and European consulates-general and American and British passport-holders from Hong Kong. What's your response to such claims?
A: You called them "claims", but let me make it clear, they are nothing more than rumors. Such malicious rumors are designed to spread fear.
Hong Kong has long enjoyed peace, prosperity and stability. I believe Hong Kong citizens can truly feel that. They hope to see continued prosperity and stability in the long run. But since June this year, there have been demonstrations and rallies in Hong Kong concerning the amendment of the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance and the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Ordinance. Some radical protesters deliberately provoked and incited violent incidents, which severely threatened public security and undermined Hong Kong's rule of law, social order, economy, people's life and international image. The central government firmly supports the Hong Kong SAR government in handling this issue in accordance with law.
I must point out that the governments of the US and some other Western countries have called black white and fanned the flames by making irresponsible remarks. They have played a very bad role in the situation in Hong Kong. Such behaviors constitute gross interference in China's internal affairs. We advise these foreign forces to grasp the situation and fully understand the central government's resolve and capability to support the SAR goverment's administration and to safeguard Hong Kong's security, stability and social order. They'd better stop pulling chestnuts out of the fire before it's too late.
In the meantime, we hope our friends from the press will distinguish the aspiration of common people in Hong Kong from the violent and illegal behaviors of a very small number of violent radicals. Please do not let those violent radicals hijack all Hong Kong residents. I believe the Hong Kong people clearly understand that. Also, I have seen more and more reports saying that Hong Kong residents express dissatisfaction against those behaviors that undermine social order and security in Hong Kong. They hope tranquility will be resumed as early as possible.
Q: Is China planning any retaliatory tariffs in response to the latest move by President Trump?
A: Like I said, if the US indeed imposes new tariffs, China will have to take necessary countermeasures. The US will be responsible for all related consequences.
Q: First question, in an interview, the leader of the self-declared Tibetan government-in-exile claimed that thousands of Tibetans are being forced into "camps" similar to those built in Xinjiang. I was just wondering if you have any comment on that? Second question, in his interview with Xinhua, Director Yang Jiechi said that foreign powers including the US had arranged high-level meetings with leaders of the protests in Hong Kong. I wonder if you have any details on that?
A: Regarding your first question, did you refer to Lobsang Sangay? He is an utter separatist for "Tibet independence" who has fabricated numerous rumors. His words are not worth believing. I don't want to waste my time on that.
I would like to remind you that there have been so many rumors about Xinjiang recently. Speaking of "camps", do those rumor-makers understand what that term means in history? I hope our journalist friends can tell right from wrong when you hear such malicious rumors with ulterior motives. If you are interested, I'm happy to offer necessary assistance and convenience for your reporting in Xinjiang. You will know how shameful and ill-intended those rumors are if you can just go there and see the place with your own eyes.
As to your second question, member of the CPC Central Committee Political Bureau and Director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the CPC Central Committee Yang Jiechi said in his interview with Xinhua yesterday that the governments of some Western countries had played a disgraceful and bad role in the amendment bill disturbance. They even arranged high-level officials to meet with those anti-China opposition leaders who try to mess up Hong Kong. Such moves bolstered the illegal activities of the violent radicals. I guess you were not here the other day when I listed what the US had done according to media reports. But since you asked about it, I could repeat that for you.
According to media reports, at the end of February and the beginning of March, the then US Consul-General in Hong Kong blatantly criticized the Hong Kong SAR government's bill amendment and the "one country, two systems" principle. In March, US Vice President Mike Pence met with Hong Kong opposition lobbyists. In May, Pompeo met with Hong Kong opposition and made irresponsible remarks on the amendment matter. In June, Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi even called the demonstrations in Hong Kong "a beautiful sight to behold". I hope there will be more "beautiful sights" of this kind in the US. Some members of US Congress once again proposed the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act. In July, Pence, Pompeo and Bolton met with opposition personnel. In the scenes revealed on media, we saw some American faces among the violent demonstrators in Hong Kong. We even saw the national flag of the US on some occasions. Regarding the recent situation in Hong Kong, the US owes China and the world an explanation.
I also noted that certain people in the US have denied that they played a disgraceful role in what happened in Hong Kong. If they can prove their words with real actions, if they can promise that they have not interfered and will not interfere in Hong Kong affairs, we will most certainly welcome that.
Q: During the foreign ministers' meetings on East Asia cooperation, US Secretary of State Pompeo urged Southeast Asian countries to believe in US values and criticized China. Do you feel that the US is trying to draw a wedge between China and its Southeast Asian neighbors?
A: You were smiling when you raised this question. I believe you already have an answer in your mind. I don't need to repeat that.
Regarding the foreign ministers' meetings on East Asia cooperation, the ASEAN countries and China all hope to conduct closer cooperation and jointly safeguard regional peace and stability. This includes our efforts to properly handle China's differences with certain countries. I believe you all see that. In sharp contrast, during the meetings, US high-level officials have spared no efforts and used every possible means to drive a wedge between China and the ASEAN countries, but few responded to that. Their little tricks are just pointless. People can easily tell their real intentions. We hope the US, as the world's biggest power, can be duly responsible and make constructive and meaningful efforts for peace, stability and prosperity in Asia.
Q: The US has expressed its concerns about the jail term that has been given to Huang Qi. Do you have any comment on this?
A: The US politicians and officials have a lot more domestic problems that they should be worried about, but they are always too keen in some individual cases in China. Huang Qi is a Chinese citizen. The Chinese judiciary handles this case according to law. We hope the US side will not interfere in China's internal judicial affairs.
Q: I just want to clarify something. Do you expect the China-US working groups on trade would still hold intensive meetings this month or that might not go forward?
A: As I said, China's position on China-US trade talks is consistent as always. Now the ball is in the US court. It needs to demonstrate sincerity and good faith. We are open to either a trade war or talks. If the US wants to talk, let's talk on the basis of equality and mutual respect. Don't bring maximum pressure, threat or blackmail into this.
Q: Media said the DPRK again launched unknown projectiles this morning. I wonder if you have any comment?
A: China noted the DPRK's launching activity and reactions of various sides. The situation on the Peninsula is at a critical stage. The world looks forward to the early resumption of working-level consultations between the DPRK and the US for more progress in the political settlement of the Peninsula issue. Under the current circumstances, we hope all relevant parties will move toward the same direction, create favorable atmosphere for dialogue and make joint efforts for denuclearization on the Peninsula and lasting peace and stability of the Peninsula and the region.
This question was raised after the press conference: President Trump said the Chinese side promised to stop the sale of fentanyl but that never happened, which lead to many deaths in the US. What is China's response to his remarks?
A: The Chinese government issued a detailed statement in early April on scheduling fentanyl-related substances. It has entered into force since May 1. People in the US have positive comments on it.
I'd like to stress that China always matches its words with deeds. The scheduling of fentanyl-related substances is an important move taken by the Chinese government to ward off the risk and potential harm of new-type drugs. It is good for our people's well-being and also part of global drug control to safeguard security and stability of the world. The root cause of the fentanyl issue in the US, I am afraid, does not lie with China. To solve the problem, the US should look harder for the cause at home.
The MFA regular press conference will be in recess from August 5 (Monday) to 16 (Friday). The next conference will be held on August 19 (Monday). During the recess, you may still reach the Spokesperson's Office via phone call, email, WeChat and fax. If there is any special press briefing to be held, you will find a timely notice on the IPC website.