|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang's Regular Press Conference on November 15, 2016|
Q: The US State Department announced the other day that Assistance Secretary of State William Brownfield will attend the 14th annual meeting of the China-US Joint Liasion Group (JLG) on Law Enforcement Cooperation to be held from November 21 to 22 in Beijing. Do you have more details? What is China's expectation for the meeting?
A: Law enforcement cooperation between China and the US is an important component of bilateral relations. The JLG, officially established in 1998 based on the 1997 China-US Joint Statement issued by the two leaders, is the first bilateral cooperation mechanism China has set up with another country on law enforcement. A major platform for China and the US to cooperate on the relevant issues, the JLG has produced remarkable outcomes over the past 18 years and has been praised by the leaders of the two countries.
The JLG is a trans-department mechanism for coordination led by the Chinese Foreign Ministry and the US State Department and participated by law enforcement departments of the two sides. The Chinese delegation is co-headed by Director General of the Department of Treaty and Law of the Foreign Ministry, officials in charge of the International Cooperation Department of the Ministry of Public Security and the International Cooperation Department of the Ministry of Supervision, while the US delegation co-headed by Assistant Secretary of State, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Justice, and Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security. China and the US hold JLG annual meetings in rotation.
With this mechanism, China and the US have had close cooperation and made important breakthroughs on some major cases of capturing fugitives like Yang Xiuzhu, Huang Yurong, Wang Guoqiang, Yang Jinjun and Kuang Wanfang. The two sides also conducted a great deal of practical cooperation on combating IPR crimes, cyber crimes and drug crimes.
The 14th JLG annual meeting will be held from November 21 to 22 in Beijing, during which the two sides will review bilateral cooperation on law enforcement since the 13th meeting, exchange views on issues of common interest, and highlight the priorities for next-stage cooperation. China would like to take this chance and work with the US to enhance mutual trust, expand common grounds, deepen cooperation, and contribute to the steady development of the JLG mechanism and bilateral cooperation on law enforcement as well as bilateral ties.
Q: Recently, the NSG held a meeting in Vienna where certain ideas about the admission of new members were discussed. China is calling for a non-discriminatory regime for the admission of non-NPT countries. Could you elaborate on that?
A: We have been repeating our position on the admission of non-NPT countries to the NSG which can be summed up as two steps. The first step is to discuss and reach a non-discriminatory solution applicable to all non-NPT countries following the principle of impartiality. On the basis of finishing the first step, the second step, which is to consider applications of specific non-NPT countries, can be initiated.
On November 11, the NSG held a meeting in Vienna, during which the technical, legal and political aspects of the admission of non-NPT countries were discussed. It was the first time that this issue was formally discussed in an open and transparent way at the NSG. China believes that this meeting is a good start of the inter-governmental process to implement the two-step proposal. We support the NSG in continuing with this open and transparent inter-governmental process, following the rules of the NSG, and taking a correct and solid first step so that a solution can be found and agreed upon at an early date. China believes that any solution shall be non-discriminatory and applicable to all non-NPT countries. Nothing shall be done to hurt the core values of the group, as well as the effectiveness, authority and integrity of the international non-proliferation regime with the NPT as the cornerstone. Nothing shall run counter to customary international law on non-proliferation issues. Upon reaching such a solution, the second step to discuss applications of specific non-NPT countries shall be taken at an early date.
Q: According to the Japanese media, the Chinese government has expressed concerns through diplomatic channels over Japan's plan to add the Amami-Ryukyu Islands to the 2018 World Natural Heritage List. China said that Diaoyu Dao, over which Japan has no sovereignty, might be included in its designations. What is your response to such reports?
A: Japan is hoping to include four areas-Amami-Oshima Island, Tokunoshima Island, the northern part of Okinawa's main island and Iriomote Island-in the the World Natural Heritage List. China is concerned that this move might affect China's relevant rights and interests. We know that Japan has filed a note to the UNESCO Secretariat, stating that it has no intention of including areas other than the four islands in its application. China urges Japan to properly address its concerns through dialogue and consultation and hopes that the World Heritage Committee will follow the purposes and principles of UNESCO and properly handle the relevant issue in an objective and unbiased way.
Q: It is reported that an adviser to US President-elect Donald Trump called the US refusal to join the AIIB a mistake. Yesterday, President of the AIIB Jin Liqun said in an interview that the AIIB welcomes new members, but the shares left for them would not be that many. Would China support the US bid to join the AIIB?
A: We have seen the report. The AIIB is an independent multilateral development institution, just like the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank. It has drawn world attention and universal support ever since it was first brought up and through out the process of its preparation and formation. Up and running since last January, the AIIB now has 57 members. With regard to taking on new members, the AIIB has its rules of procedure. China cannot speak for the AIIB or any of its members.
To our opinion, the AIIB is set up to promote infrastructure building in Asia, satisfy relevant investment needs, drive regional economic development and improve regional people's livelihood. Therefore, it is not a bad thing if the US, the largest economy in the world, joins the AIIB. That is our belief at the outset. After all, the AIIB is an open and inclusive multilateral development institution, as it keeps stressing.