|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang's Regular Press Conference on November 11, 2016|
Upon agreement between China and the US, the 27th China-US Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade will be held in Washington from November 21 to 23. Vice Premier Wang Yang, US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker and US Trade Representative Michael Froman will co-chair the meeting, and they will be joined by US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. The two sides will exchange views on implementing the consensus reached by two heads of state and major economic and trade issues of respective concern, and discuss ways to expand mutually beneficial cooperation.
At the invitation of Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov of the Republic of Uzbekistan and Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu of the Republic of Turkey, Foreign Minister Wang Yi will pay an official visit to Uzbekistan and travel to Turkey for the first meeting of the China-Turkey foreign ministers’ consultation mechanism from November 12 to 14.
Q: Could you give us more details on the specific arrangement for the upcoming JCCT? How will Mr. Trump’s election as the next US President make this meeting different from the past?
A: The 27th JCCT is the last high-level economic and trade dialogue between China and the US this year. The two sides will explore ways to follow through on the consensus reached between the two heads of state, expand mutually beneficial cooperation, and have in-depth exchange of views on major economic and trade issues of respective concern. On top of that, the two sides will also hold the China-US Business Roundtable, China-US Business Seminar on Digital Economy, China-US Agricultural and Food Partnership Seminar, Business Luncheon and other symposiums on the theme of digital economy.
In 2015, the US was China’s second largest trading partner, the largest export market, and the fourth largest source of import. China, on the other hand, was America’s largest trading partner, the third largest export market, and the largest source of import. In 2015, the volume of bilateral trade in goods stood at 558.4 billion US dollars, and two-way investment exceeded 160 billion US dollars.
The JCCT is one of the first high-level dialogue mechanisms established by the two governments in the economic and trade field. Since the 1st JCCT session was held in May 1983, the two sides have successfully hosed altogether 26 sessions, which play an irreplaceable role in expanding bilateral mutually beneficial cooperation, relieving economic and trade frictions and promoting a sound and stable development of bilateral economic and trade relations. China is ready to make joint efforts with the US side for the sustained, sound and stable development of China-US economic and trade relations and bring more dividends to people from the two countries and beyond.
Q: There was foreign media reporting that the Philippines’ incoming ambassador to China Jose Santiago Sta. Romana said at a forum in Manila that by letting Philippine fishermen return to Huang Yandao, China is complying with the international arbitral ruling on the South China Sea. You have already responded to this. But yesterday Mr. Romana told the Global Times that some media took his words out of context and he never said things mentioned in the media report. What really happened that day is that when he was chatting with a group of journalists, one of them talked about China’s compliance with the ruling as reported by the media mentioned above. He then responded by saying that the leaders of China and the Philippines had talked about relevant issues, believing that brothers in Asia should help each other and understand each other better. However, this journalist edited his words by deleting some and adding others. Mr. Romana said that relevant media report deviated from the facts and distorted his original meanings. Do you have any further response to that?
A: I have noted the clarification made by Mr. Romana on the untruthful report carried by certain media. We hope that with this clarification, the position of the Philippine government is now clearer to some people. What we hope even more is that relevant media can abide by the work ethics and make objective and truthful reports, instead of deliberately bending the words of the interviewer and misleading the readers for some hidden agenda, which is not a right thing to do.
As we have said many times before, leaders of China and the Philippines had a full exchange of views on a variety of issues and reached multiple consensus during President Duterte’s visit to China. They agreed o focus on cooperation, put aside disputes and jointly bring the South China Sea issue back to the right track of friendly dialogue between parties directly concerned, maintaining that such consensus is good news for both people in the two countries and regional peace, stability and prosperity. China-Philippines relations are being improved across the board. We are willing to join hands with the Philippines to deepen and expand bilateral friendly cooperation and push for more tangible outcomes from it.
Q: Speaking at the China-Philippines Dialogue 2016 Forum in Manila organized by China Daily, Mr. Romana said that there are lessons to be learned from the experience of Vietnam and the former Soviet Union in negotiating with China to resolve territory disputes. The resolution of Beijing’s disputes with Hanoi and Moscow, which started by having good political relations with each other and then employing “quiet and high-level summit diplomacy” shows it's possible to achieve a settlement with the world’s No. 2 economic power. It just takes time. What is your response?
A: We always believe that there’s nothing to worry about if countries, regardless of size, have different opinions or confrontations with each other. Most of the disputes will be properly settled as long as all parties show enough sincerity, patience and wisdom and resort to friendly dialogue, consultation and negotiation following the principles of respecting each other, seeking common ground while shelving differences and coexisting with each other in peace.
As we briefed you before, China once had boundary disputes of one kind or another with some of its 14 land neighbors due to historical reasons. However after 60 more year’s efforts, China has properly settled these disputes with 12 countries through negotiation and consultation. Following the same spirit, China has worked alongside ASEAN countries including the Philippines to defuse the tension in the South China Sea and come back to the right track of managing and resolving disputes through negotiation and consultation by parties directly concerned. We hope that regional countries can follow this right track and also hope that other relevant parties including media can respect efforts by regional countries, make objective and responsible remarks and do more things to facilitate regional peace, stability, development and prosperity.
Q: Reports say that President Xi Jinping will stop in Italy on his way to Latin America and meet with Italian Prime Minister. Can you give us more details?
Follow-up: there are also reports saying that President Xi will stop in Gran Canaria Island, Spain on his way back. Can you confirm?
A: At present, China-Italy and China-Spain relations are developing with a sound momentum with solid political mutual trust and fruitful exchanges and cooperation in various fields. It is a long way to travel to Latin America. Choosing to stop in Sardinia of Italy and Gran Canaria Island of Spain demonstrates the importance China attaches to developing ties with these two countries. Italy and Spain all set great store by President Xi’s stop-over and promise warm hospitality, to which we would like to express our gratitude. .