|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang's Regular Press Conference on November 18, 2016|
Q: Recent reports said that as the US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership experiences uncertainties, many countries are adjusting policies and rallying behind the China-led Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and the Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP). There are also people saying that trade rules of the Asia Pacific will be written by China in the future. What is your comment?
A: First of all, neither the RCEP nor the FTAAP is dominated by China. The RCEP is ASEAN-led cooperation for regional economic integration. China, on the basis of fully respecting ASEAN's centrality and leadership, has been cooperating with all parties to the negotiation to actively move forward the negotiation process and strive to conclude it at an early date. The FTAAP is an initiative for regional economic integration under the framework of APEC. Since agreeing upon the launching of the FTAAP process at the 2014 APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting in Beijing, China, the US and other parties have conducted collective strategic study on this. We hope that during the APEC meeting in Peru, we can come together to discuss what steps should be taken to move forward the FTAAP process.
Second, China is open to all the trade arrangements that are conducive to economic integration in the Asia Pacific, liberalization and facilitation of regional trade and investment, and common development and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region. Meanwhile, we believe that such trade arrangements should observe the WTO rules and contribute to fortifying existing multilateral trade regimes. The new ones and the established ones should reinforce each other, instead of excluding each other. We must guard against fragmentizing and politicizing relevant trade arrangements in the Asia-Pacific region.
Third, we maintain that trade rules shall be formulated upon equal-footed consultation by all relevant parties, instead of being nailed down by one or two major players. Differences between all participants who are at various development stages, especially the economic situation of developing economies must be taken into full consideration and given due respect. Rule-making in trade must reflect the win-win spirit and preserve the common interests of all parties. Only that can promote the normal and sustainable growth of trade, and people's well-being.
On the basis of acknowledging the differentiation and diversity of regional economic development and in the spirit of openness, inclusiveness and transparency, China would love to work with all parties to push forward Asia Pacific economic integration and inject new vitality to the economic development of the Asia Pacific and the whole world.
Q: A US think-tank says that Vietnam is extending a runway on Nanwei Dao. What is yourcomment?
A: With indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha islands and their adjacent waters, China firmly opposes certain country's illegal occupation of and construction of facilities on some of the islands and reefs of China's Nansha islands. We strongly urge relevant country to truly respect China's sovereignty and legitimate rights and interests, immediately stop its illegal occupation and construction, and withdraw their personnel and facilities. We require relevant country to abide by bilateral and regional consensus, avoid taking actions that could complicate the situation, and make due contributions to peace and stability over the South China Sea.
Q: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held talks with US President-elect Donald Trump this morning Beijing time. What is your comment? Will Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang reach out to Mr. Trump's team during his upcoming visit to the US next week?
A: We have also taken note of the informal meeting between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and US President-elect Donald Trump. We have not seen any details yet. What I can tell you is that China welcomes normal state-to-state relations between other countries, meanwhile relevant bilateral cooperation or arrangements should respect regional countries' security concerns, avoid impairing any third-party's interests and contribute to regional peace and stability.
As for Vice Premier Wang Yang's visit to the US for activities of the China-US Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade, the arrangement is underway.
Q: India has reportedly taken up with China the denial of visa to the manager of the Indian badminton team. The Indian Foreign Ministry said there must not be differential treatment to Indian passport holders, and expressed the hope that this issue can be addressed in the spirit of reciprocity for the smooth development of bilateral relations. The person concerned is from "Arunachal Pradesh",which China refers to as Southern Tibet. Is that the reason why his visa application was denied?
A: The visa-denial story does not tally with the facts. To our knowledge, the Indian personnel you mentioned did file a visa application to the Chinese Embassy in India, but later withdrew his application. China's handling of relevant visa applications is an alternative measure adopted for the purpose of facilitating people-to-people exchanges before the China-India boundary question is settled, which fully reflects China's sincerity and flexibility over the issue. We hope the Indian side will make efforts in the same spirit, in order to preserve the sound momentum of the two countries' people-to-people exchanges and cooperation in various fields.
Q: It is reported that the Dalai Lama is visiting Mongolia this week. Has China had any communication with the Mongolian side about this? Do you have any comment?
A: We have also seen the relevant report. The 14th Dalai Lama is a political exile who has long been engaged in anti-China separatist activities under the cloak of religion with the aim of splitting Tibet from China. China is resolutely against Dalai's anti-China separatist activities in any capacity and in any country, and opposes any contact between any countries' officials and him in any form. We strongly urge the Mongolian side to bear in mind the overall interests of a sound and stable bilateral relationship, honor its commitment on Tibet-related issues, not to allow the Dalai Lama to visit Mongolia and not to provide any convenience or support for the Dalai clique.
Q: The UN is now circulating a draft proposal on arms embargo and further sanctions on South Sudan. What is your position on the draft proposal?
A: In principle. China opposes using and threatening to use sanctions at every turn in international relations. This position is clear and known to all.
On the issue of South Sudan, relevant UN actions should send a correct signal, move conflicting parties in South Sudan towards meeting each other halfway for the complete implementation of the peace accord so that the South Sudan situation can head towards stability instead of more complexity.