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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying's Regular Press Conference on December 22, 2016

2016-12-22

Q: US President-elect Donald Trump named Peter Navarro to head a newly formed White House National Trade Council. Navarro is a hardliner on China, who once bashed the Chinese government in his book entitled Death by China. Do you have any comment on the nomination?

A: Like other countries, China has been watching US President-elect Trump's transition team and how will they possibly make their policies. What I want to emphasize is that China and the US, as two major countries, share broad common interests. Cooperation is the only right choice for the two sides. We hope that the American side will join us in maintaining the sound and steady growth of the bilateral relationship, economic relations and trade included, as it is in the interests of the two peoples, as well as world development and prosperity.

Q: Trump's adviser Michael Flynn said yesterday that the US deployment of THAAD in the ROK is appropriate in accordance with the level of the alliance and symbolizes Seoul and Washington's firm ties. This is the first time for the Trump team to talk about THAAD. What is your comment on that?

A: We have noted the aforementioned report as well as relevant remarks made by the ROK.

The Chinese side has repeatedly expressed its concerns and clear opposition on this issue. The deployment of THAAD by the US in the ROK severely disrupts regional strategic balance, damages strategic and security interests of countries in the region, including China, and thus runs counter to peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula. We once again urge the relevant parties to take seriously China's legitimate concerns, and quit the deployment. The Chinese side will definitely take necessary measures to safeguard its security interests.

Q: A US congressional report said earlier this year that Chinese government hackers were behind the hacking of the US Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Is it true?

A: How do you see this, then? True or not true? Questions like this are often posed. We have been saying that the Chinese government stands firmly against and cracks down on all forms of hacker attacks and cyber-related crimes in strict accordance with the law. We believe that the international community should enhance dialogue and cooperation to jointly uphold security, peace and openness of the cyber space, instead of making rash criticism and speculations against others without the support of factual evidence. We don't believe it is conducive to mutual trust and constructive cooperation.

Q: On the early morning of December 22 Beijing time, the 71st Session of the UN General Assembly adopted a Liechtenstein-drafted resolution on establishing a mechanism to hold those who offended international law in Syria accountable. China voted against the resolution. Can you tell us why and give us more details?

A: The Chinese side always maintains that political settlement is the only right way out for the Syrian crisis. It is imperative for conflicting parties in Syria to realize a ceasefire and cessation of violence as soon as possible, come back to the track of dialogue and negotiation, abide by international law and avoid hurting the innocent. Actions taken by the international community should show respect for Syria's sovereignty, territorial integrity and judicial independence, and contribute to the political settlement of the Syrian issue, national reconciliation in Syria and unity among UN member states.

The UN has announced to restart the Geneva peace talks in February next year. Under the current circumstances, the international community should make joint efforts to create conditions for the Syrian issue to re-embark on the political process, instead of further politicizing or complicating it.

Q: Last night, a court in Argentina ruled to suspend the Chinese companies' construction of two hydropower stations out of environment concerns. Do you have any knowledge about the project? Do you believe that those Chinese companies are unfairly treated by the Argentine side?

A: I am not aware of the specific situation, but I can give you an answer in principle.

Argentina is an important cooperative partner of China in the Latin America. Cooperation between China and Argentina is mutually beneficial, open and transparent, keeping in line with laws and regulations. It has given a strong boost to the respective economic and social development of China and Argentina, serving the fundamental interests of both sides. As for problems arising from the cooperation, the two sides should work to find a proper solution through friendly consultation based on equality and reciprocity. The Chinese side will work with the Argentine side to ensure the smooth implementation of relevant cooperation projects.

Q: China's on-line shopping company Alibaba has again been placed on this United States blacklist for selling fake branded goods. The president of Alibaba has questioned whether this listing is part of the current US political climate. Do you have any comment on this listing? Are you worried that Chinese companies may find it difficult to trade fairly in the US?

A: I have seen the report. I suggest you ask the Commerce Ministry for details. I can tell you in principle that the nature of China-US economic relations and trade is mutual benefit. It is hoped that economic relations between China and the US can secure unimpeded and sound growth under the concerted efforts of the two sides, as it serves their common interests. It is also hoped that problems in economic relations can be solved properly through friendly consultation, in a bid to level the playing field for normal and mutually beneficial cooperation between companies from the two sides.

Q: The Taiwan authorities said it can no longer satisfy Sao Tome and Principe's enormous need for financial aids, thus leaving Beijing an opportunity to wield dollar diplomacy over Sao Tome and Principe and get it to terminate ties with Taiwan. Taiwan is strongly discontent with that. What is China's response?

A: The one-China principle is the general consensus of the international community. It has become the common aspiration of the international community and the trend of the times. We appreciate and welcome Sao Tome and Principe's return to the right track of the one-China principle. It shows that justice will prevail.

How can the recognition of the one-China principle be bought with money?! The Chinese government never trades in its principles. As for remarks made by some specific figure from Taiwan, I can only say that they are assuming that others all harbour the same hidden agenda as they do.

Q: It is reported that the Chinese side had a public hearing today on the case of a Japanese citizen indicted on suspicion of spying. Can you confirm?

A: I have no information on that.

Q: Has the Chinese side dismantled the US Navy unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV)? Was the seizure of the vehicle a mistake or an order from the leadership?

A: I have taken no less than a dozen questions on the issue of the UUV. The Chinese and American sides have properly resolved the issue via the smooth military-to-military channel.

You'd better read closely the statement made by the Defence Ministry spokesperson. This unidentified device was discovered by the Chinese Navy in relevant waters. In order to prevent this device from endangering the safe navigation of passing ships and personnel, the Chinese lifeboat checked and verified it in a professional and responsible attitude. After identifying the device as a UUV from the US, the Chinese side handed it over to the US side in an appropriate manner after friendly consultation. That is very simple and clear, and there is no need to read too much into it.

Q: When will China establish diplomatic ties with Sao Tome and Principe? What contact does the Chinese side have with the government of Sao Tome and Principe?

A: Thank you for being so thoughtful for China, but I have no information to offer right now.

As for the contact between China and Sao Tome and Principe, the Chinese side set up a liaison office there in November, 2013. The two sides have carried out exchanges and cooperation in trade and culture over recent years. Here is a figure: last year, the two-way trade between China and Sao Tome and Principe registered US$ 8 million.

Q: The US State Department spokesperson said yesterday that both sides across the Taiwan Straits should promote peace and stability of their relations through dialogue, and urged all concerned parties to engage in a productive dialogue to avoid destabilizing cross-Straits relations. How does China respond?

A: I would point you to the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council for questions about the cross-Straits relations. I want to stress that the one-China principle is not only the prerequisite and political foundation for China to develop relations with other countries but also the bedrock for peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits or the peaceful development of the cross-Straits relations.

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