Q: The EU published a new policy paper on China yesterday entitled Elements for a New EU Strategy on China. We notice that EU's previous policy paper on China came out in 2006. How do you see this new paper issued a decade later?
A: We have taken note of the new paper on China issued by the EU yesterday. Ms. Federica Mogherini, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the European Commission, said the policy paper is intended to further deepen EU's relations with China, tap into the potential for cooperation between China and the EU in economy and trade, foreign affairs, security and international affairs, and chart the course for EU-China relations in the next five years.
China, the EU as well as the world around us have gone through great changes compared with ten years ago, and the bilateral relations have made great headway. China-EU pragmatic cooperation across the board is expanding, communication and coordination on international affairs increasing, and the comprehensive strategic partnership becoming maturer, deeper and more stable. In 2014, President Xi Jinping visited the EU headquarters and proposed to forge four partnerships of peace, growth, reform and civilization. Last year, the two sides decided to align their development strategies at the 17th China-EU Summit. All this draws a blueprint for the future development of China-EU relations.
China always takes a long-term and strategic view on its relations with the EU. We are willing to move forward China-EU relations on a sound and stable track based on mutual respect, equal treatment and win-win cooperation.
Q: The EU also said in this paper that China is yet to give the market a decisive role in some key economic areas, and that the EU is still analyzing the obligation issue relating to Article 15 in China's Protocol of Accession to the WTO. What's your comment?
A: In accordance with Article 15 in China's Protocol of Accession to the WTO, WTO members should drop the "surrogate country" practice in anti-dumping investigations against China after December 11, 2016. All WTO members should abide by this international obligation, whatever domestic standards they have. China is firmly opposed to any country's refusal to honor the obligation under any excuse and the pursuit of trade protectionism. It is not only an issue of law but also politics and good faith. We hope that as an important member of the WTO and a staunch force for international rule of law and the multilateral trade system, the EU can earnestly fulfill its obligations under the WTO agreements, stop the "surrogate country" practice in anti-dumping investigations against China as scheduled and project a responsible image in the world.
Q: The Indonesian President visited the Natuna Islands today, interpreted by some media as a bid to assert Indonesia's sovereignty over the Natuna Islands and a denial of overlapping claims by China and Indonesia for maritime rights and interests over some part of the South China Sea. Do you have any response to this?
A: We have repeatedly stated that China has no territorial sovereignty dispute with Indonesia, and that China holds no objection to Indonesia's sovereignty over the Natuna Islands. But it is also true that the two countries have overlapping claims for maritime rights and interests over some waters of the South China Sea. We hope that the Indonesian side will work together with us, look at the dispute objectively, properly handle the fishery dispute and jointly maintain our overall relationship as well as regional peace and stability.
Q: President Xi Jinping will soon meet with Indian Prime Minister Modi on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Summit. What's your comment on the current status of China-India relations? How will this meeting affect the bilateral relations? If this week's Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) Plenary Meeting in Seoul would not ratify India's accession, would this have any adverse impact on China-India relations? Why is the 8th China-India financial dialogue scheduled for Monday in Beijing postponed?
A: On your first question, both China and India are emerging countries with rapid development. The two countries have become an important force safeguarding world peace and stability given their growing influence in regional and international arenas. China-India relations have maintained sound and stable development over recent years. Taking President Xi Jinping's visit to India and Indian Prime Minister Modi's visit to China as an opportunity, the two sides agree to deepen overall cooperation and work in unison for a tighter partnership of development.
Indian President Pranab Mukherjee paid a successful state visit to China not long ago, and today President Xi Jinping is going to meet with Indian Prime Minister Modi on the sidelines of the SCO Summit in Tashkent. We believe that this meeting will help maintain the good momentum of bilateral exchanges between leaders, cement strategic consensus, enhance strategic mutual trust and guide the bilateral relationship forward.
On your second question, we have repeatedly stated our position on this issue as journalists from India all follow this very closely. We believe the acceptance of new NSG members should be decided by all member states based on thorough discussions pursuant to regulations and rules of the group. I don't think this is an issue concerning bilateral relations.
On your third question, I am not aware of the specific arrangement of the China-India financial dialogue. I will check with the Ministry of Finance and come back to you.
Q: Deputy Director General Choe Son Hui of the Department of US Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the DPRK held a press conference this morning at the DPRK Embassy in China after attending the Northeast Asia Cooperation Dialogue. She said that the DPRK had no interest in resuming the Six-Party Talks, and that the DPRK will not stop beefing up its nuclear capacity as long as the security threat from the US is there. What's your response to her remarks?
A: Every party has the right to express its views on this issue. China holds a consistent and clear position on the Korean nuclear issue and the Six-Party Talks. As Special Representative Wu Dawei said at yesterday's Northeast Asia Cooperation Dialogue, the Korean Peninsula issue is intricate with all kinds of problems intertwined. We need to take a multi-pronged approach to address both the symptoms and the root cause of this issue. We believe that all parties should do away with the cold-war mentality, and commit themselves to realizing denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, safeguarding its peace and stability and resolving relevant issue through dialogue and consultation.
As we always say, the Six-Party Talks have contributed significantly to safeguarding peace and stability and pressing ahead with the denuclearization process on the Korean Peninsula. The Korean Peninsula issue is complex and requires all parties to seek a fundamental solution that can address each other's concerns and realize longstanding peace and stability under the framework of dialogue. We hope that all parties can take a constructive attitude and make concrete efforts to jointly create favorable conditions for the early resumption of the Six-Party Talks.
Q: A US State Department official said yesterday that China exaggerated the amount of countries supporting its position on the South China Sea issue, and doubted the number given by China. A US media report said there were only 8 countries supporting China, but China's state-run media like the Xinhua News Agency and the CCTV set the number at around 60. What is the truth here?
A: You seem to be as interested in numbers as certain US media. You used to come to our press conference everyday, but didn't show up in the past couple of days. That's why you missed an interesting dialogue between me and a journalist from the Wall Street Journal.
Speaking of numbers, I said then that I didn't understand how the number 8 came up. This is a very simple math problem. I wonder how can one get such a number after close study and research?
I notice that some media including the Phoenix news have done a serious count. Their result shows that at least 47 countries have been publicly reported as supporting China's stance on the South China Sea issue. And this number is incomplete as some countries' statements were reported, but some others' were not. The Republic of Congo, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, Palestinian National Liberation Movement (Fatah) and Cambodian ruling party People's Party have recently voiced their endorsement for China's position on the South China Sea issue in different ways. I think this speaks volumes.
I also want to say that number is not the most important thing here. Regarding the South China Sea issue, any unbiased country, institution and individual will stand for China's just position without a second thought as long as they hold an objective and impartial stance and see through the historical background of the South China Sea issue as well as the nature of the arbitration case.
For those who are obsessed with the specific number, all the public reports are available online. By the way, this number is changing everyday as people and countries supporting China's position are rising day by day, so I can't give you a precise number. You may continue to follow this.
There's one more thing that I want to say. A US journalist told me that some countries believe that China should respect the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and its arbitration procedures. The thing is that, as many people may not get it, respecting UNCLOS is not equal to obligatorily respecting and accepting the so-called arbitration procedures unilaterally initiated by the Philippines. As a signatory to UNCLOS, China always respects, upholds and abides by its provisions including those on the arbitration procedures. But I want to stress that provisions of UNCLOS are inseparable as a whole, the key to respecting UNCLOS is to fully interpret and apply its provisions with good will and in its entirety. Selective compliance based on likes and dislikes, and double standards must not be allowed.
I also have a piece of advice for you. A friend from the US media once complained that he couldn't find some of China's statements or reports about other countries supporting China's stance. Here comes the question: did you make a comprehensive and full report on China's position every time after we briefed you on the situation and our stance? If you can make fairer reports on China and spread China's voice further away to the world, this will help the world get a precise, complete and objective picture of the whole situation and positions held by various parties. We hope the western media can make efforts to spread China's just voice. I would like to thank you in advance.
Q: Philippine President-elect Rodrigo Duterte reportedly said that China offered to help the Philippines with a railway project. Can you confirm this? It is also reported that the incoming Philippine transportation minister has already visited China. Is this true? The new Philippine president will take office on June 30, will President Xi Jinping send him a message of congratulations or a special envoy to the inauguration ceremony?
A: I have nothing to offer at this moment regarding the specific question you raised.
President Xi Jinping sent a message to Rodrigo Duterte on May 30 congratulating him on being elected as the new Philippine president. The sound, friendly and stable Sino-Philippine relations meet the fundamental interests of the two countries and the people. Maintaining and deepening the good-neighborliness and friendship as well as the mutually beneficial cooperation between China and the Philippines is in line with their common interests. We are willing to work together with the new Philippine government to this end.
Q: The UK starts a referendum on leaving or remaining in the EU today. Is the Chinese government unwilling to see the UK exit the EU?
A: We follow closely the upcoming referendum in the UK. We respect the choice made by the British people. China always supports the integration of Europe and is happy to see a united, robust and stable EU play a significant role in international affairs. China attaches great importance to its relations with the UK, and is willing to carry out mutually beneficial cooperation with the UK across the board.
Q: Russian Ambassador to Beijing Andrey Denisov said in an interview that the current tensions in the South China Sea are linked to the interference of states outside the region. Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova also said earlier that Russia is convinced that interference of a third party can only fuel regional tension. What's your comment on this?
A: China commends the remarks made by the Russian side which give an objective and impartial picture of the situation and the crux of the South China Sea. It is a voice of justice from the world.
Certain country outside the region has been poking its nose into the South China Sea affairs for selfish gains, stoking conflicts among regional countries, creating tensions and pushing for militarization in the South China Sea. China urges the relevant country to respect regional countries' efforts to uphold peace and stability in the South China Sea and take a constructive part in this regard.
Q: President Vladimir Putin is going to pay a state visit to China on June 25. What message does China expect the meeting between President Xi Jinping and President Putin to send to the world?
A: We are looking forward to the state visit by President Putin on June 25. President Xi Jinping will hold talks with him. Premier Li Keqiang and Chairman Zhang Dejiang will meet with him separately. As we said before, the two heads of state will ink and issue several important political documents, and witness the signing of a series of cooperation deals by departments and companies of the two countries.
We hope that the visit by President Putin will further intensify our political and strategic mutual trust which is already strong, advance and deepen our pragmatic cooperation in different fields, and inject new impetus to the comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination. President Putin's visit is bound to be fruitful. We welcome your attention to the visit.
Q: Yesterday the DPRK fired intermediate-range ballistic missiles and declared the launch a success. What's your comment on the DPRK's launch? Do you think it is a success?
A: The UN Security Council resolution has clear provisions regarding the DPRK's ballistic missiles. The Korean Peninsula is currently in a complex and sensitive situation. Relevant parties should avoid taking actions that may escalate the tension and make joint efforts to safeguard regional peace and stability.