|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang's Regular Press Conference on December 12, 2016|
At the invitation of Foreign Minister Wang Yi, First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Serbia Ivica Dacic will pay an official visit to China from December 14 to 18.
During his visit, Foreign Minister Wang Yi will hold talks with him. This is Foreign Minister Dacic's first visit to China since assuming office. This visit is important in implementing major consensus reached between leaders of the two countries and moving forward exchanges and cooperation in various fields between China and Serbia.
China enjoys profound traditional friendship with Serbia who is the first Central and Eastern European country that has established comprehensive strategic partnership with China. Recent years have seen frequent high-level contacts, deeper political mutual trust, fruitful practical cooperation and close people-to-people and local exchanges between the two sides. China stands ready to sustain the sound and stable development of China-Serbia relationship within the frameworks of China-Central and Eastern European countries cooperation and the Belt and Road initiative.
Q: It is reported that on December 11, US President-elect Donald Trump said in an interview that he fully understands the one China policy, but knows not why they have to be bound by it unless they make a deal with China having to do with other things, including trade. What is your response to that?
A: We have seen the relevant report, and we are seriously concerned about his words. The Taiwan question bears on China's sovereignty and territorial integrity and touches our core interests. Adherence to the one China principle serves as the political foundation for the development of China-US ties. If this foundation is wobbled and weakened, then there is no possibility for the two countries to grow their relations in a sound and steady way and cooperate on key areas. We urge the new US administration and leadership to be fully aware of the high sensitivity of the Taiwan question, stick to the one China policy and the principles of the three joint communiqués, and approach Taiwan-related issues with prudence so as to avoid any serious disruption and harm to the overall interests of the China-US relationship.
Q: On December 10, there were two bomb attacks outside a football stadium in central Istanbul, Turkey. A church in Cairo, Egypt was also bombed on December 11. These two attacks caused major casualties. What is your comment on that?
A: We strongly condemn these attacks and send our deep condolences to the bereaved families and the injured. China opposes all forms of terrorism, and will continue to support relevant countries in maintaining national security and stability and combating terrorism.
Q: Mr. Trump said in an interview that his phone call with Tsai Ing-wen on December 2 was a very short one put into him. He questioned why should some other nation be able to say he can't take a call and thought it would have been very disrespectful not taking it. What is your comment on that?
A: As for the phone call, we have already made our position clear on many occasions. I would like to reiterate that the one China principle is the political foundation of China-US relations, and if this foundation is compromised, the sound and steady development of the bilateral relationship will be out of the question.
Q: You mentioned that you would call on the new US administration and leadership to recognize the one China principle. Could you be more specific on why the one China principle must be obeyed and the consequences of not obeying it?
A: I think I have made myself very clear. Adherence to the one China principle is the political basis and premise for China-US relations, the disruption and damage of which would make the sound and steady development of bilateral relations and cooperation in major fields out of the question. We have been saying again and again that the China-US relationship is of global influence and strategic consequence. A good China-US relationship benefits not only the well-being of the two peoples, but also peace, stability, development and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific and beyond.
Q: Yesterday, Philippine President Duterte said he would accept the latest arms deal with China. Can you talk about more regarding this deal? What is your comment?
A: We have seen such reports. As China and the Philippines work on improving their relations, China stands ready to resume and strengthen its exchanges and cooperation with the Philippines in various fields.
Q: December 10 is the 68th Human Rights Day. What is your take on the development of the cause of international human rights? There are still voices in western countries criticizing China's human rights record. What is your response to that?
A: To promote and protect human rights is the ideal and aspiration shared by all mankind. The Human Rights Day was designated to give the international community an opportunity to strengthen human rights protection, promote human rights exchanges, and contribute to the sound development of the cause of international human rights. However, it is used as an excuse for some individual countries to hurl accusations at other countries, interfere in their domestic affairs, and politicize human rights issues. We are strongly dissatisfied with and opposed to such behavior.
There is no one-size-fits-all path when it comes to human rights development, as every country needs to improve its record on the basis of its national conditions and its people's needs.
In this regard, China has made remarkable achievements in the last few years as is widely acknowledged by the international community. On the basis of respecting the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and the basic norms guiding international relations, we would like to conduct equal-footed dialogue and cooperation with all countries on human rights and make joint efforts to advance the cause of human rights.
As for the individual cases made in some countries' statements, almost all of which involve persons that either violated or are suspected of violating Chinese laws. China is a country governed by law, and our judicial organs handle cases in accordance with the law. We are firmly against other countries disrupting China's judicial sovereignty.
Q: Indian Foreign Secretary Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said when addressing a think tank forum that both China and India should respect each other's legitimate aspirations, and that China should not give a political color to India's efforts to access civilian nuclear technology, which is in reference to Beijing's opposition to India's application to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). He also talked about bilateral cooperation on combating fundamentalist terrorism, expressing dismal at why the two countries have not been able to cooperate on this essential issue. What is your response?
A: In recent years, thanks to the concerted efforts by China and India, the strategic partnership for cooperation between the two countries has made all-around progress. We are marching towards the goal of forging a more closely-knit partnership for development. It is normal for the two big countries who are also close neighbors to differ on some issues. But the main theme for the bilateral relationship is friendship and cooperation, while differences are secondary. The two sides are in touch with each other on the relevant issues, and China would like to work with India, following the consensus reached by the two leaders, to expand mutually beneficial cooperation, properly manage differences, and ensure the sustained and steady development of bilateral ties.
As for India's application to join the NSG and the listing matter of the UN Security Council 1267 Committee, China's position is very clear and unchanged.
Q: Russian media reported that China, Pakistan and Russia will hold a consultation on Afghanistan in Moscow on December 27. Can you confirm and give us more details?
A: At present I have no information to offer, but I can check on what you just mentioned. As for the Afghan issue, China has been in contact with relevant parties, including Russia and Pakistan.
Q: Can you give us more specifics on the consequences of not sticking to the one China principle? What will happen if Donald Trump, for example, insists on direct leader-to-leader contact with Taiwan, and continues with these sorts of statements?
A: Our position on the Taiwan question is already very clear. Adherence to the one China policy and the principles of the three joint communiqués is what the US promised us. We hope they can honor this promise. To stay true to this promise and properly deal with the Taiwan question is also a prerequisite for the sustained, steady, and sound development of China-US relations. The realization of the latter certainly relies on the fulfillment of the former.
Q: It is reported that after the phone call between Trump and Tsai, the People's Liberation Army of China sent a bomber to fly over the South China Sea. What is the Foreign Ministry's response to this?
A: You need to ask the competent authorities for the specifics.
China has indisputable sovereignty over islands in the South China Sea and the adjacent waters. There is nothing wrong about carrying out normal activities within one's sovereignty.
Q: The US Congress has cleared the decks for India to become a "major defence partner". Has China got any reaction to this?
A: Both the US and India are major countries. We welcome the development of normal cooperative relations between two countries which we hope will be conducive to regional peace, stability, development and prosperity.
Q: Some reports say that the Taiwan leadership is planning to visit the US. What is your response?
A: We have noted these reports. We believe the US is well aware of our position on the Taiwan question, and we expect them to deal with it properly.
Q: The Chinese Defense Ministry said last Saturday that Japan had interfered with the passage of Chinese military aircraft over the Miyako Strait. Yesterday Japan denied these allegations. What is your comment?
A: Regarding the specific situation you mentioned, since the spokesperson for the Defense Ministry has already made a response, I don't want to repeat it here.
China urges Japan to bear in mind regional stability and overall interests of China-Japan relations, and take effective measures to avoid security issues on and above the sea.
Q: It is reported that State Councilor Yang Jiechi has met with Mr. Flynn, an important member of the Trump transition team. Can you give us more information about the message he delivered to the Trump transition team?
A: When State Councilor Yang Jiechi stopped at New York en route to Latin America, he met with Michael Flynn, incoming US President's pick for national security adviser, among other advisers. The two sides exchanged views on China-US relations and major issues of common interest.
Q: On December 16, Russian President Putin will pay an official visit to Japan. Do you have any comment on this and the relationship between Russia and Japan?
A: Russia and Japan are major countries. We welcome the development of normal cooperative relations between two countries which we also hope will be conducive to regional peace, stability, development and prosperity.
After the press conference, the following question was raised: there were media reports about State Councilor Yang Jiechi meeting with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in New York. Could you give more information?
Geng Shuang said that while stopping over in New York en route to Latin America, State Councilor Yang Jiechi met with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. They exchanged views on China-UN cooperation.