|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang's Regular Press Conference on February 8, 2018|
Q: We have noted that the travel advisory concerning the Maldives has been upgraded to the highest level by the Chinese Foreign Ministry and the Chinese Embassy in the Maldives. You yourself has repeatedly issued travel alert from this podium. Could you tell us whether group tour to the Maldives has been called off?
A: After the Maldives declared a state of emergency and in light of the country's security conditions, the Foreign Ministry and the Chinese Embassy in the Maldives on February 5 announced a travel advisory, asking Chinese nationals to cancel travel plans.
We have learnt that the National Tourism Administration of China also issued travel alert, asking domestic travel agencies to suspend organizing group trips to the Maldives. All the Chinese citizens are strongly advised to heed these warnings, and when planning outbound trips during the Spring Festival, pay close attention to travel safety risks. Adequate communication and consultation with travel agencies, hotels and airliners is advised to properly resolve issues that may arise as a result of objective and unexpected factors.
Q: The DPRK today held a big military parade for the Army-Building Day. Can you tell us whether any Chinese official attended that? If no Chinese official attended, can you tell us why?
A: According to our information, the DPRK has invited representatives of diplomatic missions, international organizations and foreign institutions in the DPRK to attend the military parade. Representatives from the Chinese Embassy in the DPRK were also present upon invitation.
Q: On February 6, Peru's Foreign Trade and Tourism Minister Eduardo Ferreyros told the press that China is a good trade partner and Peru is happy with the results of the trade agreement with China. What is your response?
A: China highly commends the relevant remarks because they showcase China-Peru friendship and accord with the objective facts.
Peru was the first Latin American country to sign a comprehensive free trade agreement with China. It is now a comprehensive strategic partner for China and the two sides have established a mechanism of strategic dialogue on economic cooperation. With the all-around and practical cooperation between the two sides sustaining a thriving momentum for years, China has now become Peru's largest trade partner and No.1 export destination. China-Peru cooperation has contributed significantly to Peru's job growth and socio-economic development, widely welcomed and supported by all walks of life in Peru.
China-Peru relations are China-Latin America relations in miniature. China and Latin American countries are all developing countries, facing the same development stage and development tasks. As an important component of South-South cooperation, China-Peru cooperation takes roots in the shared interests and mutual needs and upholds the principle of equality and mutual benefit, openness and inclusiveness, and win-win results. China stands ready to work with Latin American countries to dig deeper into each other's complementary strength and promote practical cooperation so as to deliver more benefits to the two sides.
Q: On February 7, the Indian Times published an article by former Maldivian President Nasheed, in which he said that Yameen, in his endless quest to enrich himself, has sold off the nation's sovereignty. Foreign powers, among them China, are engaged in a "land grab" of Maldivian islands, key infrastructure, and even essential utilities. This land grab not only undermines the independence of the Maldives, but also the security of the entire Indian Ocean region. Nasheed feared that piece by piece, island by island, the Maldives is being "sold off" to China. What is your response?
A: These allegations are absolutely nonsense. When Mr. Nasheed was the president, China also offered assistance and conducted practical cooperation with his country, which led to enormous outcomes. Would Mr. Nasheed call that "grab" as well?
In recent years, on the basis of mutual respect and equal treatment, China and the Maldives have been cooperating on infrastructure and livelihood projects, which has played a positive role in transforming and upgrading the latter's economy and improving its people's livelihood. China offers its assistance to the Maldives with no political strings attached. There is no way that such assistance will impair Maldives' sovereignty and independence, not to mention undermining the security of the Indian Ocean region. The friendly cooperation between China and the Maldives is for the benefit of all Maldivians. It serves the common interests of the two countries and the two peoples.
Q: According to reports, the UN Security Council is going to meet today to discuss the situation in the Maldives. Earlier the UN Secretary General also said that the UN good offices could be opened up to resolve the situation in the Maldives. Does China support resolving the issues concerning the Maldives through the UN channel?
A: China has been closely following the situation in the Maldives. China believes that the relevant disputes arising in the Maldives are the internal affairs of that country and should be properly resolved through dialogue and negotiation by various parties in the Maldives. The international community should respect the Maldives' sovereignty and territorial integrity, provide assistance and convenience for talks between various parties and play a constructive role. China stands ready to maintain close communication with various parties on the situation in the Maldives and jointly promote an early resumption of normal order.
Q: In fact, not interfering in the internal affairs of the Maldives by other countries is a different thing from UN mediation. Just to seek a clarification of what you said, should we take that as China is also not for UN intervention in the Maldives?
A: I think I made it very clear already. The international community should respect the Maldives' sovereignty and territorial integrity, provide assistance and convenience for talks between various parties and play a constructive role in this regard.
Q: You said China is willing to stay in touch with all parties in the Maldives. Are you saying that China also keeps communication with the opposition parties in the Maldives?
A: China has been closely following the situation in the Maldives. We stay in touch with various parties of the Maldives and the diplomatic channel between China and the Maldives remains unimpeded.
Q: According to reports, the DPRK held a military parade marking the Army-Building Day this morning. What is China's comment on that?
A: I took a similar question yesterday. At present, there is a rare momentum of amelioration for the situation on the Korean Peninsula, and that should be all the more treasured by all sides. We hope that all relevant parties will exercise restraint and do more to help maintain the ease of tension on the Peninsula.
For your reference, Foreign Minister Wang Yi also made statements on the current situation on the Korean Peninsula when meeting the press along with Chairman of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat this afternoon.