Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang's Regular Press Conference on November 1, 2019
2019/11/01

With a view to promoting the sustained, sound and steady development of the China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership and enhancing exchange and practical mutually-beneficial cooperation in various fields, the Chinese government has decided to set up the position of Special Representative of the Chinese Government on European Affairs and appointed Ambassador Wu Hongbo to assume this new role.

Ambassador Wu is a veteran diplomat well-versed in European affairs. His diplomatic career includes such posts as under secretary-general of the United Nations, assistant foreign minister of China and Chinese ambassador to Germany and the Philippines. In this new capacity, Ambassador Wu will work towards deepening the China-EU partnership for peace, growth, reform and civilization by assisting the foreign ministry in coordinating European affairs, promoting high-level interaction, and taking part in important exchange and cooperation events.

Q: The British government issued its latest six-monthly report on Hong Kong yesterday. I wonder if you'd like to respond to it?

A: We deplore and reject the British government's wrong practice of making wanton remarks on Hong Kong by issuing the so-called six-monthly reports.

After the return of Hong Kong, the Chinese government exercises jurisdiction over it in strict accordance with the Constitution and the Basic Law of the Hong Kong SAR. The principles of "one country, two systems" and Hong Kong people governing Hong Kong with a high degree of autonomy have been earnestly implemented. This is a fact all unbiased people will acknowledge.

China is determined to fully and accurately implement the "one country, two systems" policy, to safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests, and to uphold lasting prosperity and stability in Hong Kong.

I reiterate that Hong Kong affairs are purely China's internal affairs. No country, organization or individual shall interfere. The UK has no sovereignty, no jurisdiction and no right to supervise Hong Kong after the handover. The "responsibility" it claims is simply non-existent. Hong Kong is part of China. We urge the British side to come to terms with reality, respect China's sovereignty, stop releasing relevant reports, and stop meddling in Hong Kong affairs and interfering in China's domestic affairs.

Q: Further to your announcement on the Special Representative of the Chinese Government on European Affairs, could you explain why the Chinese government decided to set up this new office at this time?

A: As two major forces in the world, China and Europe have established an all-dimensional, multi-tiered and wide-ranging cooperation framework. The two sides share important consensus and broad common interests in safeguarding multilateralism and free trade and building an open world economy. Establishing the Special Representative of the Chinese Government on European Affairs will help the two sides strengthen communication, coordination and cooperation and deepen mutual trust and innovative thinking to bring greater progress in China-EU relations in a new era.

Q: There are media reports recently saying that China visa applications of a US orchestra's three ROK musicians were denied in New York as a retaliatory measure for the US deployment of THAAD in the ROK. Could you confirm that?

A: An ROK journalist raised this same question here the day before yesterday and I offered a principled response. After further verification, we learned that the Chinese consulate-general in New York has never received any visa applications from ROK musicians of the said US orchestra, let alone "denying" them.

I would like to stress that China and the ROK enjoy deep exchange and cooperation in various fields, including vibrant people-to-people and cultural exchange. Last year, more than 9.4 million visits were made between the two sides. This year, the figure is expected to go up even higher. Just last month, over 40 people from the ROK entertainment industry participated in a joint performance in Qingdao as part of a China-Japan-ROK cultural exchange event.

We stand ready to work with the ROK side to enhance people-to-people and cultural exchange and to consolidate the foundation of bilateral friendship.

Q: US President Trump said on Thursday that China and the US are working on selecting a venue for signing the phase one trade agreement. Do you have any more details on what venue China is suggesting and when the meeting will take place?

A: I already responded to questions on the China-US trade issues yesterday. The two sides have all along maintained close communication. The 13th round of consultations was held from October 10 to 11. Heads of the two teams had a telephone call on October 25 and have another one scheduled today. The consultations are progressing smoothly and both sides will press ahead with their work as planned. It is China's hope that the two sides can find a way to resolve the economic and trade issues on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit.

As to whether the two heads of state will meet, I can tell you that they maintain contact through various means.

Q: The US Department of Interior has confirmed the reports that it is grounding Chinese-made drones. Do you have any comment on this?

A: I responded to this yesterday. Were you here then?

We have yet to gather more information about the situation. What I can tell you is that we urge the US to stop abusing the concept of national security, stop spreading the "China threat" narrative and stop wantonly oppressing Chinese enterprises. We hope it will provide a fair, just and non-discriminatory environment for Chinese businesses in the US.

Q: North Korea said on Thursday that it successfully tested "super-large" multiple rocket launchers. Do you have any comment on this?

A: We noted this. The situation on the Peninsula is at an important stage. We call on parties concerned to cherish the hard-won amelioration, resolve the issue through dialogue and consultation and make vigorous efforts for denuclearization at an early date and lasting peace and stability on the Peninsula and in the region.

Q: There are media reports that China has suggested to the US that the two presidents meet in Macao to sign a phase one trade agreement. Is that true?

A: That's just a groundless assumption.

Q: On October 31 in Pakistan, more than 70 people were killed and dozens injured after a passenger train caught fire in Punjab province. Do you have any comment on that?

A: We noted reports on this very unfortunate incident. We express deep condolences for the passing of the victims and sincere sympathies to the bereaved families and the injured.

Q: Do you have anything new on the Indian government's decision to establish the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and the Union Territory of Ladakh?

A: This is another question I responded to yesterday. As you are interested, I will repeat my answer.

The Indian government announced recently the establishment of the so-called "Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir" and "Union Territory of Ladakh", placing part of Chinese territory under Indian administration. China deplores and firmly opposes that. India is challenging China's sovereign rights and interests by unilaterally revising domestic law and administrative division. This is illegal, null and void. It will neither change the fact that the relevant region is under China's actual control nor produce any effect.

We urge India to respect China's territorial sovereignty, abide by bilateral agreements, and safeguard the peace and tranquility in the border region with concrete actions to create conditions for a proper settlement of the boundary issue with China.

Q: The US confirmed today that it will not be sending any high-level representatives to the second China International Import Expo in Shanghai next week. Do you have any comment on that?

A: The second China International Import Expo (CIIE) will be held in Shanghai from November 5 to 10. So far 63 countries have registered for country exhibition and over 3,000 businesses from more than 150 countries and regions will be attending the business exhibition, exceeding the number at the first CIIE.

You said the US would not be sending any high-level representatives to the second CIIE. I would like to say that they are welcome to attend the event if they'd like to come. But if they don't, it's no big deal.

Like I said the other day, 192 American businesses have registered to attend the exhibitions, an 18 percent increase compared to last year. Their total exhibition area is about 47,500 square meters, the biggest among all participating countries.

This again shows that American businesses are optimistic about China's economic prospects and market potential. They are ready to increase investment in and deepen cooperation with China. I believe this matters more. After all, it is American enterprises that are doing business and conducting trade and economic cooperation with China.

I would like to reiterate that China-US trade and economic cooperation is win-win in nature. It's only natural to encounter some problems in this process, but the key is to properly resolve them with mutual respect and equality. Unilateralism, protectionism and bullying practice won't help at all and will by no means solve any problem.

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