|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying's Regular Press Conference on January 18, 2017|
Q: Recently, the Obama administration announced to lift some sanctions against Sudan. What is China's comment on that?
A: We noticed and welcome the U.S. announcement to lift some sanctions against Sudan. China always opposes unilateral sanctions and calls on the relevant country to lift all the sanctions against Sudan at an early date.
Q: On January 17th, British Prime Minster Theresa May delivered a speech on principles concerning the Brexit, in which she said the UK would have a full exit from the EU and seek a new and equal partnership with it. What is China's comment on that?
A: We noticed relevant reports. China will pay close attention to the negotiation between the UK and the EU and hope the two sides can reach a win-win agreement through negotiation. China always supports the European integration process and believes that a prosperous, stable and open Europe serves the interests of various parties. We would like to work with the EU for further progress in the partnerships for peace, growth, reform and civilization. At the same time, China attaches great importance to the position and role of the UK. We are ready to strengthen cooperation with the UK in all fields on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit.
Q: Will the Chinese Ambassador to the U.S. attend the inauguration ceremony of President-elect Donald Trump in Washington?
A: According to what we know, the U.S will follow its usual practice to invite foreign diplomatic envoys posted in the country to attend the inauguration ceremony of the President. The Chinese ambassador will also attend the ceremony upon invitation.
Q: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at the annual press conference on January 17 that Russia-China relations are at the best of all time, and bilateral collaboration on the international arena provides one of the key stabilizers to the world. How do you comment on this?
A: China has taken note of Foreign Minister Lavrov's recognition of China-Russia relations at the annual press conference. We applaud Russia's positive attitude on growing ties with China.
As said by Foreign Minister Lavrov, the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination is at the best time ever. Marked by bilateral cooperation across the board, firm support to each other on issues bearing on each other's core interests, alignment and cooperation between the Belt and Road initiative and the Eurasian Economic Union and close coordination in international and regional affairs, China-Russia relationship has gone far beyond a bilateral scope and become a key factor to uphold world peace and stability.
Leaders of China and Russia once reached a consensus reaffirming that there will be no change to the policy of solidifying and deepening the comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination, no change to the goal of realizing common development and rejuvenation, and no change to the commitment of jointly upholding international equity and justice and world peace and stability regardless of the changes in international and regional landscape. As the new year rings in, China is willing to move forward the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination and contribute positive energy to regional and world prosperity and stability following this consensus.
Q: The American Chamber of Commerce in China issued a report today, saying that 80% of its member enterprises think they are less welcomed in China, and most enterprises show lack of confidence in the Chinese government's commitment to the open market. What is your comment on that?
A: I don't know why the chamber chose to issue the report today, or whether its information is accurate or comprehensive. Here I also have some figures at hand. According to the statistics from China's Ministry of Commerce, last year the actual investment from the U.S. to China increased by 52.6% year on year, which shows that China remains attractive to American enterprises.
As for the investment environment in China, both the spokespersons of the Ministry of Commerce and us have briefed on this and expressed our position many times before. As a developing country, China has been opening its market at a remarkable speed and scale. In fact, China is one of the most open developing economies in the world. You have probably heard that the State Council recently issued the notice on measures for further opening-up and active use of foreign capital, which proposes 20 detailed measures to open the market even wider to the outside world by creating a more open, convenient and transparent business environment and actively attracting foreign investment, advanced technology and managerial expertise.
In yesterday's speech at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum, President Xi Jinping made it clear that China will keep its door wide open and not close it and hopes that other countries will also keep their doors open to Chinese investors.
Q: Indian Prime Minister Modi made a policy speech in New Delhi on January 17. When talking about China-India relations, he said that the two countries have differences and need to show a sense of "sensitivity". They need to respect each other's major concerns and core interests. Apparently referring to the CPEC, he said that only by respecting sovereignty can regional connectivity corridors fulfill their promise and avoid differences and discord. What is your reaction?
A: We have also noted these remarks made by Prime Minister Modi. Under the strong leadership of the two countries, China-India relations have been moving forward steadily, unleashing continuous potential for cooperation. To maintain a sound and steady bilateral relations is very important to the two sides. China and India realizing common development is beneficial to the region and the world and meets the common interests of the two peoples. While pursuing the development of China-India relations, China has been respecting each other's core interests and major concerns and endeavoring to enhance mutual trust and cooperation. We admit that there are differences and disputes between the two sides, and we keep saying that China will stay in touch with India to properly manage these problems and resolve them through friendly consultations.
I noted that Prime Minister Modi did not mention the CPEC in his speech. China is committed to developing friendly and cooperative relations with others on the basis of the five principles of peaceful co-existence, one important element of which is respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of each other. On such a basis, China has been pursuing all-around cooperation including regional connectivity projects. Some media in India are very interested in the CPEC. As we repeatedly said, the CPEC is a new framework for long-term cooperation and development in various fields built up by China and Pakistan, which will help promote regional connectivity and trade and economic cooperation as well as regional peace, stability and development. It targets no third party and will not affect China's stance on the Kashmir issue.
Follow-up: Prime Minister Modi talked about respecting each other's core interests. Throughout last year, India had been complaining that China did not respect its wish to join the NSG and its listing application to the 1267 Committee. This has become a stumbling block for China-India relations. Do you believe that China has respected the core interests of India?
A: I believe we should put ourselves in each other's shoes and see beyond particular issues. Respecting each other's core interests and major concerns is a key principle for China to develop relations with other countries including India. This is also what we have been doing. The two sides agree that there are broader common interests between them, and as for specific differences, the key is to seek proper settlement through friendly communication and consultation.
Regarding India's accession to the NSG and the listing application to UN Committee 1267, they are not bilateral issues between China and India. India's application to join the NSG is an issue concerning the sanctity of the international non-proliferation regime with NPT as a bedrock, on which China takes a fairly responsible attitude. We call for a two-step approach that starts with a non-discriminatory solution applicable to all non-NPT countries followed by case-by-case discussions on the applications of non-NPT countries. Targeting at no particular country, this approach aims to maintain the sanctity of the international non-proliferation regime with the NPT as the cornerstone.
We have also given multiple explanations about the listing matter of Committee 1267. We put a technical hold to relevant proposal in order to uphold the sanctity and effectiveness of the listing decision by the Committee. This complies with the UN Security Council resolutions and rules of procedure of the Committee and also manifests China's responsibility. The fact is that we are in communication with parties concerned following the UN resolutions and rules of procedure of the Committee. What we do is to leave more time for relevant parties to reach an agreement based on thorough consultation.
Therefore, we should not allow these two issues overshadow the mutual trust and cooperation between China and India. Both parties should be able to see greater common interests in a wide spectrum of areas beyond these specific differences, and make joint efforts to maintain friendly negotiation and communication and seek proper settlement.
Q: Prime Minister Modi's speech has two aspects. One is that the rise of China and India is good for the two countries and the world. Second is that the world is transforming to a multilateral one. What is your response?
A: We appreciate the positive remarks made by Prime Minister Modi. Recent years have witnessed frequent exchanges between leaders of China and India, marked by Prime Minister Modi's visit to China last year when he had great talks with Chinese leaders. Leaders of the two countries have reached an important consensus that the common interests between the two countries far outweigh their differences. Both China and India are members of BRICS. China supported India's successful hosting of the BRICS Summit in Goa last year. And this year's BRICS Summit will be held in China. The common development and sound interaction between China and India is critical for building up the strength of both BRICS and all developing countries as well. Being the two largest developing countries, China and India maintaining friendly ties and achieving common development carries great significance to advancing the process of multi-polarity.
Q: President Xi Jinping said at yesterday's opening ceremony of the World Economic Forum annual meeting that no one will emerge as a winner in a trade war. Trump's adviser Anthony Scaramucci said later that the new U.S. administration does not want a trade war with China and wants to have solid relations with China. What's your comment?
A: President Xi Jinping delivered an important speech at the Davos meeting yesterday, in which he stated China's commitment to promoting global free trade and investment and liberalization and facilitation of trade and investment through opening-up and firm opposition to protectionism. According to President Xi, pursuing protectionism is like locking oneself in a dark room. While wind and rain may be kept outside, so are light and air. No one will emerge as a winner in a trade war.
We have repeatedly said that the nature of China-U.S. trade and economic ties is mutually beneficial with win-win results as proved by the development and practices of China-U.S. relations in the past four decades and more. The economic and trade cooperation between China and the U.S. benefits the two peoples, and also facilitates global trade. According to a report recently published by the U.S. China Business Council, bilateral trade with China creates more jobs in the U.S., improves U.S. citizens' livelihood and secures U.S. edge in the global value chain, thus calling on the incoming U.S. government to enhance trade ties with China. This speaks volumes. I also notice that people from all walks of life in the U.S. as well as other countries voice their opposition to trade and investment protectionism and aspiration for free economic and trade cooperation in a level playing field. China will continue to keep its door wide open and welcome foreign investment from all countries. Meanwhile, we hope that other countries can keep their doors wide open for Chinese investors so that bilateral investment and trade cooperation can develop in a more equitable, fair, transparent and open environment.
Q: First, we notice that Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin met with Singaporean Permanent Secretary yesterday in Singapore, and they agreed to hold a meeting of the Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation between China and Singapore next month. Does China plan to return the nine armored vehicles of Singapore detained in Hong Kong before the meeting? What are China's considerations? Second, You Xikun, former chief of Taiwan's legislative body, will attend the inauguration ceremony of U.S. President-elect Trump. How do you respond? Has China engaged in any communication with the Trump team on this? Third, what's your response to British Prime Minister Theresa May's speech on Brexit yesterday? How do you view the future development of China-UK relations?
A: For your first question, Liu Zhenmin, Vice Foreign Minister of China and Chee Wee Kiong, Permanent Secretary for Foreign Affairs of Singapore, held the tenth diplomatic consultation in Singapore on January 17th. The two sides exchanged views on bilateral relations, East Asian cooperation and other regional and international issues of common concern. The Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation between China and Singapore you mentioned is a high-level cooperation mechanism between the two countries. The two sides keep close communication to find a proper time for a meeting of the joint council. The meeting has nothing to do with the armored vehicles. As I said yesterday when answering the question raised by a Taiwan journalist, the Hong Kong SAR government is handling this case in accordance with relevant laws and regulations.
For your second question, our position is very clear. China opposes any moves by the Taiwan authority for whatever excuses to send people to the U.S. to conduct activities that will disturb or undermine Sino-U.S. relations. We once again urge relevant parties in the U.S. to allow no delegation sent by the Taiwan authority to attend the inauguration ceremony of the president, and not to have any official contact with Taiwan. This message has been delivered to the sitting US administration and the Trump transition team.
For your third question, I have already answered similar questions. We noticed Prime Minister May's speech yesterday. We pay close attention to how the negotiation between the UK and the EU will play out, and hope the two sides can reach a win-win agreement through negotiation. China always supports the European integration process, and at the same time attaches great importance to the position and role of the UK. We are ready to further strengthen practical cooperation with the UK across the board for win-win outcomes.