|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang's Regular Press Conference on September 30, 2016|
At the invitation of the Royal Thai Government, Vice President Li Yuanchao will travel to Bangkok from October 8 to 11 for the 2nd Summit of Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD).
At the ACD Summit, which is another major multilateral diplomatic event for China in the latter half of this year, Vice President Li Yuanchao will deliver key speeches and meet with the leaders of relevant countries. China looks forward to having an in-depth exchange of views with all parties on upholding stability, strengthening integration and driving development of Asia so as to jointly build an Asiancommunity of shared future in which everyone benefits from its development, contributes to its security and takes up due responsibilities. China also expects to strengthen the capacity building of the ACD mechanism through this Summit so that the ACD can play a greater role for peace, development and prosperity of Asia.
At the invitation of the Ethiopian government, Chairman Xu Shaoshi of the National Development and Reform Commission will travel to Ethiopia as the Special Envoy of President Xi Jinping for a ceremony marking the commencement of service of Addis Ababa–Djibouti railway line to be held on October 5.
Addis Ababa–Djibouti railway line, as a flagship project of China-Ethiopia cooperation, is the first high-standard electrified railway China built in Africa after the Tanzania-Zambia railway. It is an early harvest of the "Ten Cooperation Programs" between China and Africa and a hallmark project of the construction of the "three major networks" (i.e. high-speed rail, motorway and regional aviation) and industrialization in Africa as well as production capacity cooperation between China and Africa.
The construction and operation of Addis Ababa-Djibouti railway line fully testifies to China's commitment to supporting industrialization and infrastructure connectivity in Africa. When entering into service, it will propel the industrialization process in Ethiopia and Djibouti, boost development in the two countries, bolster economic growth of East Africa, and inject strong vigor to economic cooperation and trade between China and the two countries.
At the invitation of Foreign Minister Guillaume Long of the Republic of Ecuador, Foreign Minister Ricardo Luna Mendoza of the Republic of Peru, Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca of the Plurinational State of Bolivia and Foreign Minister María Ángela Holguín Cuéllar of the Republic of Colombia, Foreign Minister Wang Yi will pay official visits to the aforementioned four countries from October 3 to 9.
These four Latin American countries, which Foreign Minister Wang Yi is scheduled to visit, all attach great importance to developing their relations with China. At present, bilateral relations between China and these four countries are developing well with broad cooperation prospects. Foreign Minister Wang Yi's visit will consolidate traditional friendship China has with the four countries, strengthen political mutual trust, enhance mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields, and elevate China-Latin America relationship to a new level.
During his visits, Foreign Minister Wang Yi will meet and hold talks with leaders and foreign ministers of the four countries, discussing bilateral relations and international and regional issues of common interest. We will release relevant information in due course.
Q: Today, the US and the ROK announced their decision to deploy THAAD in a golf course in the ROK's Gyeongsangbuk-do Province. What is your comment?
A: On the issue of the THAAD system, China has made its position clear on many occasions. The deployment of the THAAD system by the US in the ROK will in no way help address the security concerns of relevant parties, realize denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and maintain peace and stability on the Peninsula. Its deployment will severely undermine the strategic security interests of regional countries including China and disrupt regional strategic balance, to which China is firmly opposed and will take necessary measures to defend national security interests and regional strategic balance. We strongly urge the US and the ROK to spend more efforts on upholding peace and stability on the Peninsula, take seriously the legitimate concerns of China and other regional countries, and immediately stop the deployment process.
Q: Tensions have been ratcheting up in Syria recently. US officials said that they will end cooperation with Russia on the Syrian issue. What is your comment?
A: China is concerned about the heightening of tension which has caused loss of lives in some parts of Syria. We always believe that ceasefire and cessation of violence is an important prerequisite for the political settlement of the Syrian issue, a must-have for improving the humanitarian situation inside Syria and effectively fighting terrorism. We call on relevant parties to bear in mind the fundamental interests of the Syrian people, halt conflicts and violence, and create favorable conditions for the early resumption of peace talks and the accessibility to humanitarian assistance.
Q: In response to the flood that hit the DPRK one month ago, the International Committee of the Red Cross offered 15 million dollars of assistance. The UN and other humanitarian organizations also contributed 28 million dollars. Has China offered any economic assistance?
A: China has been following relevant development concerning this flood and expresses sympathies to the affected. The Chinese government and relevant departments have offered emergency material assistance for humanitarian purposes. We hope that people in the affected areas can tide over this disaster and rebuild their homes at an early date.
Q: The US government has recently stepped up its unilateral sanctions on the DPRK. The US military implied that the DPRK's Air Koryo undertakes the transportation of weapons of mass destruction and they are carrying out investigations into that. Does China also believe that Air Koryo is involved in such dealings? What is your comment?
A: China has been earnestly implementing DPRK-related resolutions in their entirety. Efforts we've made are clear for all to see. As we have been repeating, China supports the UN Security Council in taking further reactions to the DPRK nuclear tests. Meanwhile, such reactions need to be clearly targeted at the DPRK's nuclear activities and conducive to peace and stability and denuclearization on the Peninsula.
Q: On September 29, China, the UK and France signed the Hinkley Point nuclear power agreement in London. What is your comment on the signing of the agreement?
A: This project is a major achievement for China, the UK and France made under the spirit of mutual benefit and win-win cooperation. China welcomes the final inking of this agreement and believes that it meets the interests of all parties. We would like to work with the UK and France to ensure the smooth implementation of the Hinkley Point and other follow-up nuclear energy cooperation projects and produce win-win results.
Q: India said that it had launched precision strike on the Kashmir region along the India-Pakistan borderline. Pakistan said that it would retaliate. Yesterday, China said it reached out to both India and Pakistan at various levels. In light of the latest development, will China take new measures?
A: As a neighbor and friend to both India and Pakistan, we are concerned about the tension and rivalry between them that has lasted several days. We call on the two sides to exercise restraint and avoid further escalating tensions. It is hoped that the two sides can properly settle disputes through dialogue and consultation to cool down the situation.
Since India-Pakistan relations were strained, China has been in touch with the two sides, urging them to exercise restraint, strengthen dialogues, and properly settle relevant disputes. China will continue with its efforts to promote peace talks in a proper way in light of the development on the ground.
Q: It is reported that a Chinese fishing vessel caught fire in ROK waters. Three people were killed. What is your reaction?
A: What we have at hand is that on the morning of September 29, a Chinese fishing vessel caught fire while operating in waters near Jeollanam-do, the ROK. Three of the 17 fishermen on board were killed. The rest were rescued and treated at local hospitals.
After learning about the incident, the Chinese Consulate-General in Gwangju immediately sent officials to the site for more information. The Foreign Ministry and the Chinese diplomatic missions in the ROK have lodged representations with the ROK over this, asking the ROK side to make proper arrangements for the rescued, preserve the bodies of the deceased, keep the fishing boat involved and the site undisturbed, and carry out comprehensive, objective and unbiased investigations in collaboration with China. The Foreign Ministry and the Chinese diplomatic missions in the ROK will keep up with relevant follow-up matters.
Q: September 30 is the last day for the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) application. It is reported that many countries have applied to join the AIIB. Do you have more information?
A: I am not informed of the latest development in the AIIB. I will come back to you after checking with my colleagues.
Q: It is reported that the golf course where the THAAD system will be deployed belongs to the ROK conglomerate Lotte Group, who also has a lot of business activities going on in China. After selling or lending the property to the ROK government, will it bring any negative impacts on its business in China?
A: I have just now made clear China's position on the US deployment of the THAAD system in the ROK. We urge the US and the ROK to respect China's strategic security interests, take seriously the legitimate concerns of China and other regional countries and strive for the sound and steady development of bilateral relations along the right track.
Q: Now that the decision has been made on the deployment site, will that affect China's attitude towards new UNSC resolutions against the DPRK?
A: I just said China supports the UN Security Council in making further reactions to the DPRK nuclear tests. But such reactions need to have a definite direction, targeting the nuclear activities of the DPRK, and contributing to the settlement of the Korean nuclear issue and the maintenance of peace and stability on the Peninsula. China is in close contact with all parties on this issue.
After the press conference, the following question was raised: The Afghan government signed a peace accord with Hezb-i-Islami (a group led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar). What is your comment?
Spokesperson Geng Shuang said that China welcomes the peace deal between the Afghan government and Hezb-i-Islami (led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar). China supports Afghanistan's National Unity Government in advancing the "Afghan-led and Afghan-owned" reconciliation process, which represents the only practical way for Afghanistan to achieve peace and stability. China hopes that all factions in Afghanistan including the Taliban can take part in this process. We would like to work with all parties to play a constructive role towards that end.
There will be no press conference from October 1 to 7 due to National Day holiday. The press conference will be resumed on October 10 (Monday). During the recess, the Spokesperson's office of the Foreign Ministry will respond to the questions via telephone and fax.