Q: Philippine President Duterte delivered a speech at the launching ceremony of the Philippines’ exertion of ASEAN rotating chairmanship on January 15, saying that the Philippines would stay committed to visions and values held dear by ASEAN and strove to achieve the common goal under its presidency. How do you comment?
A: We have seen relevant reports. The Chinese government always gives priority to ASEAN in developing neighborhood diplomacy, staunchly supporting the building of the ASEAN community, ASEAN centrality in regional cooperation and a greater role by ASEAN in international and regional affairs.
This year marks the 50th birthday of ASEAN and is designated as the China-ASEAN year of tourism cooperation. We are ready to step up dialogue and communication with ASEAN, make the year of tourism cooperation a success, forge new pillars of cultural and people-to-people cooperation, deepen mutually beneficial cooperation across the board, and bring fresh driving force to China-ASEAN cooperation.
Situation in the South China Sea has eased up thanks to the joint efforts by China and ASEAN countries. We are willing to work with ASEAN countries to focus on development and cooperation as we always do, properly handle disputes, devote ourselves to upholding the overall interests of China-ASEAN relations and promote regional peace, stability and prosperity.
China is poised to support the Philippines fulfilling its role as the ASEAN rotating chair, and move forward the building of the ASEAN community and China-ASEAN relations.
Q: Tsai Ing-wen finished her visit to Central America yesterday, which included two stopovers in the United States. She did not meet any members of the Trump transition team. There were no official contacts with members of the U.S. government, although she did meet with U.S. politicians and also visited the office of Twitter. Was China pleased that no members of the Obama administration or the Trump transition team actually met her?
A: we have for many times expressed our position on the Taiwan leader's so-called "stopover" in the United States. We have always been against such "stopover" arrangement made by the U.S. or any other country having diplomatic ties with China. Our position remains clear and firm.
Q: First, according the Turkish media, the Turkish authority arrested two Chinese citizens from the Uighur ethnic group suspected of being involved in the bomb attack on a nightclub in Istanbul on the New Year's Eve. Can you confirm this information or provide any details? Are they members of the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM)? What is your comment on the arrest? Second, what level of delegation will China send for the inauguration ceremony of President-elect Trump? Will the size of the delegation be adjusted based on what he has said about China, including challenge to the one-China principle?
A: For the first question, we have noticed relevant reports. According to what we learn, the case is still under investigation, and we will continue to follow closely. As we have said before, the East Turkistan terrorist forces, represented by the ETIM, pose a grave threat to the security and stability of China as well as other regional countries. China opposes all forms of terrorism. We stand ready to enhance coordination and cooperation with the international community to jointly prevent and tackle the threat of terrorism and safeguard national and world peace and security.
As for your second question, as far as I know, the U.S. usually does not invite official delegations from other countries to attend the inaugural ceremony of its president.
Q: Has the Chinese government lodged official protest or complaints with the Trump transition team over Mr. Trump's suggestion in an interview with the Wall Street Journal last week that the one-China policy is negotiable?
A: My colleague Lu Kang has already responded to this on Saturday, expounding China's clear and firm position on the question. There is but one China in the world, and Taiwan is an inalienable part of China. The government of the People's Republic of China is the only legitimate government representing China. That is the fact acknowledged by the international community and no one can change.
The one-China principle, which is the political foundation of the China-U.S. relations, is non-negotiable. In order to avoid disruption to the sound and steady development of the China-U.S. relations and bilateral cooperation in key areas, we urge relevant parties in the U.S. to fully recognize the high sensitivity of the Taiwan question, honor the commitment made by all previous U.S. administrations of both parties on adhering to the one-China policy and the principles of the three joint communiqués and properly handle the Taiwan question.
Follow-up: We have seen the statement by your ministry over the weekend. But has this complaint or this statement been made directly to the Trump transition team? Have Chinese government officials, including Ambassador Cui Tiankai, met with Trump's transition team since his election in early November?
A: The one-China principle is the prerequisite and political foundation for China to develop relations with the U.S. and any other country in the world. This position is clear to all. We have been accurately and firmly conveying this message to the U.S. through various channels. As for whether there are contacts between China and Trump's transition team, as we have said, China has been in touch with the current U.S. administration and Trump's transition team through various channels.
Q: President-elect Trump’s team member Reince Priebus said yesterday the US had no plans to change the one-China policy, but certainly that policy was on the table if China didn’t work with the US on trade and the South China Sea. This is similar to what happened a month ago when Trump said in an interview that the one-China policy was open for changes followed by clarification by his team members. Do you view the uncertainty on policies a potential threat to the sound and steady development of China-US ties?
A: China’s position on the one-China principle has been made clear. Everyone should understand that there are things in the world that are not for trade, and that the one-China principle is the prerequisite and political foundation for China to grow ties with any other country. Any attempt to undermine the one-China principle or use it as a bargaining chip by anyone for any purpose shall be met with firm opposition from the Chinese government and people and the international community and severe consequences.
Q: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited the Philippines, Australia and Indonesia recently, bringing up the South China Sea issue wherever he went. There are even reports saying that Prime Minister Abe proposed to offer missiles to the Philippines and was rejected by Philippine President Duterte. Do you have any comment on this?
A: I have noted relevant reports and what you mentioned. We also notice and appreciate that President Duterte has been committed to an independent foreign policy and developing friendly and cooperative relations with other countries based on equality and mutual respect since taking office.
As witnessed by all, the South China Sea situation is improving and parties concerned have come back to the right track of negotiation and consultation thanks to the joint efforts of China and relevant ASEAN countries. However, the Japanese leader is still going to extremes to sow discord and play up regional tension. Such practice harbors ulterior motives and such mentality is extremely unhealthy.
Q: The German Embassy in China said today that it hoped China could take President Xi Jinping’s attendance at the Davos Forum as an opportunity to defend free and open markets and oppose trade protectionism. Will President Xi talk about trade protectionism and offer assurances to the world that there will be no protectionism in China?
A: Vice Foreign Minister Li Baodong has gone into great details last week about President Xi Jinping’s state visit to Switzerland, attendance to the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting and visit to international organizations in Switzerland.
As you mentioned, the world economy is at a critical juncture where new growth drivers replace the old ones. International trade and investment remain flagging, protectionism surges, multilateral trade regime is under assault, and economic globalization is confronted with some doubts. By attending the meeting, President Xi Jinping is intended to address international concerns on economic globalization, elaborate on China’s views and proposals, propel various parties to take an objective look at economic globalization and make the process of economic globalization more inclusive and beneficial to more people.
Given the great interest of the international community on China’s economic hotspots, President Xi will also expound on China’s achievements on reform and opening-up and development experience and help the world better understand China’s economy as what it is. Let’s all look forward to the positive signal to be sent by President Xi at the Davos meeting.
Q: First, the outgoing Obama administration said that China is the only country blocking India from becoming a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and described Beijing as an “outlier”. What is China’s reaction? Second, French Foreign Minister has pressed for “decisive action” against terrorist groups like JeM. Last year China blocked India’s listing proposal at the UN Security Council 1267 committee. How do you respond to French Foreign Minister’s remarks?
A: On your first question, China has repeatedly stated its position on non-NPT countries’ accession to the NSG. There is no need for me to repeat it here. It is worth pointing out that the NSG membership is not something to be given privately between countries as a farewell gift.
On your second question, I do not like the word “block”. As we have been saying, this issueshall be processed by the 1267 Committee based on solid evidence and be decided upon consensus among the UN Security Council members in accordance with relevant UN resolutions and rules of procedure of the 1267 Committee. China put a technical hold on relevant proposal so that the Committee and relevant parties would have more time for discussion and deliberation.
Follow-up: Where will China stand if India files another application at the Committee? Will China take different measures to resolve this issue?
A: As I just said, China put a technical hold on relevant proposal so that the Committee and relevant parties would have more time for discussion and deliberation. It is a regret that parties have not yet forged consensus on this issue. We would like to continue with the communication with parties concerned in pursuant to UN resolutions and the rules of procedure of the Committee.
Q: Yesterday a report from Pakistan said China has gifted two naval vessels to Pakistan. This has raised concerns of India. What is the motive behind this particular gift?
A: According to what we know, the report you mentioned is not accurate. China did not gift or donate the vessels to Pakistan. The two patrol vessels you mentioned is part of the normal cooperation of military trade between China and Pakistan. The cooperation is in line with each country's international commitment and will not have any impact on the regional situation.