|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang's Regular Press Conference on February 9, 2017|
Q: It is reported that President Donald Trump provided a letter to President Xi Jinping on February 8, wishing President Xi and the Chinese people a happy Lantern Festival and expressing his wish to develop a constructive relationship with China. What is your comment on that?
A: The Chinese side has received the letter from President Trump to President Xi Jinping. We highly commend President Trump for his festive greetings to President Xi Jinping and the Chinese people.
China attaches great importance to growing its relations with the United States. As pointed out by President Xi Jinping, China and the US shoulder special and important responsibilities and share extensive common interests in safeguarding world peace and stability and promoting global development and prosperity. Cooperation is the only right option for the two countries. China will work with the US, in the principle of non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation, to expand cooperation, manage differences, and strive for greater achievements in our bilateral relationship by ensuring its healthy and sound growth.
Q: The Foreign Ministry released information on a promotion event for Yunnan Province that is scheduled to be held on February 17, when Foreign Minister Wang Yi will attend and address the event. The G20 foreign ministers' meeting will be held in Bonn, Germany, on the same day. Does it mean that Foreign Minister Wang Yi will not attend the Bonn meeting? If so, who will be there on his behalf?
A: I briefed the press about China's basic position on the meeting of G20 foreign ministers in Bonn. We maintain that it is a very important meeting to be held by Germany as this year's rotating chair of the G20. I also said that information on who will represent China in this meeting will reach the press as soon as we have it.
On the promotion event for Yunnan, a notice has been released on the IPC website.
Q: President Trump has spoken to 18 other world leaders. Are there any plans for the leaders of China and the US to speak by telephone soon?
A: We attach great importance to close high-level interactions between China and the US, which play an irreplaceable role in growing the bilateral relationship. China and the US have maintained close communication since President Trump's inauguration.
Q: President Xi Jinping paid a successful state visit to Switzerland in January. President of the Swiss Confederation Doris Leuthard said in an interview that Switzerland was one of the few countries invited to the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. And since the Forum focuses on connectivity and infrastructure, Switzerland can share its experience in infrastructure development and may enter into new agreements with China on economic cooperation. Could you confirm this? And what is China's comment on it?
A: We commend President Leuthard of the Swiss Confederation for her positive attitude toward the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation.
Since the Belt and Road initiative was proposed by China over three years ago, it has received warm response and support from over 100 countries and international organizations. More than 40 countries and international organizations have signed cooperation agreements with China in relation to the initiative. It is our hope that by holding the Forum we can work together with other parties to invigorate the world economy and deepen international cooperation. We are now preparing carefully for this major home event of diplomacy and will release relevant progress in due time.
We welcome Switzerland's proposal to share its experience. If their advanced experience in infrastructure development can be borrowed for the building of the Belt and Road, it will be a positive step in implementing the innovative strategic partnership between the two sides that benefits the world at large. We welcome the active participation of relevant countries, including Switzerland, in the Belt and Road, to enable the initiative to better serve the world under the principle of "wide consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits".
Q: The Russian Ambassador to China said today that President Vladimir Putin will attend the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in May and pay a visit to China. Could you confirm that? The UK media reported that Prime Minister Theresa May will also attend the Forum. Is that true? Could you name the leaders who have already confirmed their attendance?
A: We have briefed the press on the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. We are preparing intensely for the Forum and making smooth progress. As mentioned before, leaders of many countries and international organizations have shown their enthusiasm for joining the Forum. We will release relevant information in due course.
You mentioned what the Russian ambassador said about President Putin's possible visit to China. I have also noted the Russian media report on the ambassador's mentioning of a possible state visit by President Xi Jinping to Russia. Concerning high-level exchange of visits between China and Russia, I would like to point out that the comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination between the two sides is at its best in history. The value of this relationship is reflected in firm mutual support, all-round practical cooperation and the ever-stronger stabilizing role that the two countries play in the world.
It has been a tradition for China and Russia to exchange visits annually and meet on multilateral occasions. In the past year, there were five meetings between President Xi Jinping and President Putin. We maintain that close high-level interactions with Russia play an extremely important guiding role for consolidating our strategic and political mutual trust, deepening practical bilateral cooperation, and enhancing coordination and cooperation in international affairs. We will make joint efforts with Russia to continue moving forward our comprehensive strategic coordination, and contribute positive energy to the prosperity and stability of the region and the world.
Ambassador Andrei Denisov has given some information on the high-level exchanges between our two countries. We will release further details in a timely fashion.
Q: First, has President Xi Jinping given a reply to President Trump? Second, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will hold talks with President Trump to affirm the commitment to strengthen the Japan-US alliance. How does China view the talks?
A: On your first question, I hope you could take note that the White House has just released the statement on President Trump's letter of festive greetings to President Xi Jinping. And I just confirmed that the Chinese side has received the letter.
On your second question, as a principle, we hold no objection to the growth of relations between the US and Japan, or between any other two countries. But we always maintain that relevant countries should not interact in a way that leads to a negative impact on regional peace, stability and security.
Q: The New Year's greetings to the Chinese people came rather late. Do you think there is a lack of understanding of customs and traditions in China? Or do you think Trump was simply too busy to send it earlier?
A: You may have read too much into it. You have been living in China for quite some time. I recommend that you learn more about the significance of the Lantern Festival in traditional Chinese culture.
Q: According to the White House, before President Trump provided the letter to President Xi Jinping, President Xi Jinping had sent a message of congratulations. Can you give us more details of the message?
A: President Xi Jinping sent congratulations to President Trump on his inauguration.
Q: You said yesterday that you will invite leaders from Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America to the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation scheduled for May in Beijing. Does that mean that President Trump will not be invited to the event?
A: What I said yesterday was that we will invite leaders from regions such as these.
Q: Will you be inviting President Trump to the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation? Are there any plans to have a telephone call between President Xi Jinping and President Trump? If so, when?
A: I will take your second question first. As I just said, we attach great importance to high-level exchanges between China and the US. Such kind of exchanges plays an irreplaceable role in promoting the bilateral relationship. There has been close communication between the two sides ever since President Trump's inauguration.
On your first question, there have been many similar questions these days about which countries and international organizations will be invited to the Forum. Our practice in hosting major events as such is to stay in close touch with all relevant parties while making intensive preparation for the event and to release the information when the time is ripe. What I can assure you is that leaders of many countries and international organizations have expressed their will to participate in the Forum.
Q: You have said that there have been regular communications between China and the US in the past. I am asking about plans in the future for a telephone call between the two presidents. Can you give us an idea of what is going on in terms of negotiations over that telephone call? Are you expecting it to happen in the near future?
A: I would like to make two points. First, we lay store by close high-level communication between China and the US. Second, China and the US have maintained close communication since President Trump's inauguration.
Q: Germany is going to hold the Munich Security Conference from February 17 to 19. Will the Chinese Foreign Ministry send a representative to the conference? If so, who will be there?
A: We attach importance to the conference and are actively considering sending a senior representative to the conference as we did before. We will let you know when there is any further information.
Q: I saw today that the US changed its visa rule for the Chinese people. What is your comment on that?
A: I need to get more details on it. The Chinese side stays committed to promoting people-to-people and cultural exchanges between China and other countries, as we believe it will help build up popular support for relations between China and other countries. We hope to work with relevant countries to facilitate people's travel and promote exchanges and cooperation in different fields. We also hope that relevant countries will earnestly safeguard the lawful rights and interests of Chinese citizens there.
Q: This week, the Asia Society issued a report of experts from both Republicans and Democrats on China relations. It made a number of recommendations, including sticking to the one-China principle but taking a tougher line with China on certain issues. What is your reaction to that report?
A: We have repeatedly elaborated on China's principled position on the Taiwan question. It remains unchanged. The US should continue to uphold the one-China policy, adhere to principles established in the three joint communiqués between China and the US, and properly deal with Taiwan-related issues.
The report you mentioned covers a broad range of aspects of the China-US relationship. It shows that after nearly 40 years of growth, the relationship is now defined by common interests that converge more than ever before and by the extensive scope and great potential for cooperation. It echoes with our view that China and the US share extensive common interests and special responsibilities, and should expand cooperation and properly manage differences. That is the only way in which the relationship can truly deliver tangible benefits to people of the two countries and the rest of the world.