|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang's Regular Press Conference on January 28, 2019|
Q: We saw a recent US media report saying that the US government has been secretly pressurizing its allies over the past year to join efforts and stop Huawei from participating in the global 5G networks construction. What is your comment?
A: I have seen relevant reports as well. First of all, I want to remind you that State Councilor Wang Yi two days ago made clear China's stern position on the issue of several countries cracking down on Chinese enterprises. He said that it is unfair and immoral for these countries to mobilize state power to blacken the names of and crack down on specific companies. Of course, a country has the right to protect the information security of its own, but that gives it no reason to impede or even strangle the lawful and legitimate operations of an enterprise, just based on some non-existent excuses and by the pretext of security. All countries should stay alert to and resist such unreasonable actions of bullying.
The media report you mentioned, if my memory serves me right, was made by the New York Times. I would like to make two excerpts from the report. The first is that the US views, "combined with a lack of hard evidence implicating Huawei in any espionage, have prompted some countries to question whether America's campaign is really about national security or if it is aimed at preventing China from gaining a competitive edge". The second is that "so far, the fear swirling around Huawei is almost entirely theoretical. Current and former American officials whisper that classified reports implicate the company in possible Chinese espionage but have produced none publicly". These were the original words used by the New York Times.
Facts speak louder than words, and facts are laid bare for all to see. We urge the US to stop its unjustifiable bashing on Chinese enterprises, including Huawei. It should offer a fair and sound environment for the two-way investment and normal cooperation between Chinese and US enterprises and contribute to promoting mutual trust and cooperation between the two sides.
Q: A Malaysian government minister said on Saturday that Malaysia will be canceling a Chinese-backed railway deal. Has the Chinese government discussed this with the Malaysian government and what is China's reaction to it?
A: I have seen relevant reports as well, but at the moment I am not aware of the specifics.
As far as I know, this project was agreed upon by the enterprises on the two sides in accordance with market principles based on equality, mutual benefit and consensus-building. The Chinese and Malaysian sides have been in communication on the relevant matters.
Q: According to reports, during the UN Security Council meeting on January 26 to discuss situation in Venezuela, US Secretary of State Pompeo blamed China and Russia for obstructing the adoption of a presidential statement, and claimed the two countries are trying to prop up the "failed regime" of Maduro. What is your comment?
A: China has been closely following the current situation in Venezuela. We support the Venezuelan government's efforts to uphold national sovereignty, independence and stability. All countries should earnestly observe the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and oppose external intervention in Venezuela's own affairs as well as any attempts by one country to interfere in another's internal affairs. Venezuela's affairs must and can only be independently determined by its own people.
We hope all parties can make more efforts to promote stability and development in Venezuela, improve its people's wellbeing, and uphold the international law and basic norms governing international relations.
Q: State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi just concluded his visit to Italy. We noted that during the visit, the two sides held the 9th joint meeting of the China-Italy Government Committee and issued a joint document. What do you think of the significance of this visit in deepening the China-Italy Comprehensive Strategic Partnership?
A: On January 25, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi paid a visit to Italy, met with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and held talks with Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Enzo Moavero Milanesi. The two foreign ministers attended the 9th joint meeting of the China-Italy Government Committee and signed the Joint Document of the 9th Joint Meeting of China-Italy Government Committee.
The two sides agreed to take the celebration of the 15th anniversary of the China-Italy Comprehensive Strategic Partnership in 2019 and the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the diplomatic ties in 2020 as a new starting point to enhance strategic mutual trust and policy coordination, reinforce synergy between the Belt and Road Initiative and Italy's infrastructure construction and investment plan, oppose unilateralism and protectionism, and promote the building of an open world economy and a closer partnership.
The China-Italy Government Committee is a core mechanism to coordinate and plan bilateral exchanges and cooperation. During this meeting, over 50 members of the Committee made a thorough review of the recent bilateral cooperation development and proposed specific visions on cooperation in such fields as economy, trade and finance, science and technology, environment and sustainable development, cultural and people-to-people exchange, and law enforcement and security. In the Minutes of the Meeting agreed upon by the two sides, commitments are expressed to conduct closer and targeted communication to ensure the sound implementation of specific projects, and continue to add new dimensions to the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.
Q: Canada's Ambassador to China John McCallum was fired this weekend after he said it would be great for Canada if the US dropped its extradition request for Meng Wanzhou. Does the government of China believe this was a proper decision by the Canadian government and how will it affect Canada-China relations to have Canada represented by an acting ambassador at this time?
A: This belongs to Canada's domestic affairs and China has no comment on it.
I want to point out that the Meng Wanzhou case is definitely not a pure judicial case. There are strong political motives and maneuvers behind it. The Chinese people and the international community know that very well. We once again urge the Canadian side to make the right choice, immediately release Ms. Meng Wanzhou, and guarantee her safe return to China at an early date.
Q: At a ministerial meeting on January 25, a group of 76 WTO members including China issued a joint declaration setting out their intention to launch negotiations on electronic commerce. Why did China support this joint declaration? How do you see its significance in moving forward WTO reforms?
A: I have seen relevant reports. I would refer you to the Commerce Ministry for more details. I believe that 76 WTO members, by co-signing the Joint Statement on Electronic Commerce, have sent out the following clear signals:
A great number of WTO members uphold multilateralism and remain committed to safeguarding the rules-based and WTO-centered multilateral trading system which they hope will continue to play a positive role in driving the international trade growth and world economic development.
A great number of WTO members support necessary adjustment and reform of the WTO in accordance with the latest development of the situation, resolving new issues in the field of international trade through consultation and negotiation, approaching different opinions and differences in a constructive way, and actively searching for as much common ground as possible.
As an important member of the WTO and a staunch supporter for the multilateral trading system, China stands ready to work with mumerous WTO members to steadily move forward negotiations on e-commerce within the framework of the WTO, remain true to the core values and basic principles of the WTO, in particular safeguarding the interests of the developing members, and strive to narrow the digital gap to ensure that all countries will benefit from the global trade.
Q: UK telecommunications conglomerate Vodafone said Friday that it has suspended the use of equipment manufactured by Huawei in its core networks in Europe because of an unhealthy level of noise around Huawei. I wonder if you have any comment on this move by the company?
A: I have noted relevant reports. As I'm not aware of the specifics of Huawei's cooperation with the relevant company, I refer you to Huawei for more information.
As the Spokesperson of the Foreign Ministry, I can tell you that it is normal for companies to engage in different forms of cooperation. The key is that such cooperation follows market principles and commercial rules and observe laws and regulations. The Chinese government has always been encouraging Chinese companies to follow market principles and international rules and observe local laws while conducting overseas economic cooperation. We also hope relevant countries can provide a fair, just and predictable environment for the normal operations of Chinese companies, including their cooperation with local businesses.
Q: Two bombs tore through a Roman Catholic church in Jolo, Sulu province of the Philippines on January 27, killing at least 20 people and leaving 81 wounded. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attacks. What is your comment?
A: China strongly condemns the violent attacks in Sulu province of the Philippines on innocent civilians. We express our condolences to the victims and sympathies the injured and the bereaved families.
China opposes all forms of terrorism and stands ready to work with the international community including the Philippines to jointly combat threats and challenges posed by terrorism and safeguard international and regional peace and stability.
Q: Just a follow-up question on the Canadian ambassador. The China Daily wrote this weekend that although what the Canadian abassador said is 100% true, his words seem to have fallen on deaf ears at home. Those who attacked McCallum should feel ashamed of themselves. I wonder if the government of China agrees with this sentiment?
A: You are a regular here. You should know that we rarely make specific comments on the reports and comments by the media or the opinions of scholars and experts.
China's position on the Meng Wanzhou case has been made abundantly clear. I believe that the Canadian side is also very clear with that.
Q: Last night, President Xi Jinping and Madame Peng Liyuan watched the performance by the DPRK Friendship Art Troupe. The Art Troupe got such a very high-level reception. Does it have anything to do with the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the diplomatic relationship between Beijing and Pyongyang?
A: I believe that you have seen the relevant press release issued by the Chinese side. Yesterday, General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee and President Xi Jinping and Madame Peng Liyuan attended the performance by the DPRK Friendship Art Troupe and met with the delegation's Chief, Ri Su-yong, who is a member of the Political Bureau of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) Central Committee, Vice-Chairman of the WPK Central Committee and Director of the WPK's International Department. This is a major cultural exchange activity to implement the important consensus reached by the leaders of the two Parties and two countries as well as an important event to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the diplomatic relationship between China and the DPRK.
You may all still remember that last November, when Chinese artists and performers traveled to the DPRK for a friendship performance tour, Chairman Kim Jong-un attended a joint performance by Chinese and DPRK artists which was spoken highly of by the audience at that time.
The sharing of culture and art, with its distinctive features, has always been a traditional part of China-DPRK relations. Close interactions between the Chinese and DPRK art troupes will strongly boost the exchanges and mutual learning between the two sides in the field of culture and art, consolidate the public support for the China-DPRK friendship, and enrich the contents of China-DPRK traditional friendship.
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the diplomatic relationship between China and the DPRK. China would like to work with the DPRK to earnestly implement the important consensus reached by the top leaders of the two Parties and two countries and strengthen exchanges and cooperation in various fields so as to benefit the two peoples and contribute to peace, stability, development and prosperity of the region and the world beyond.
Q: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has just made a policy speech. When talking about Japan-China relations, he said that the two sides need to strengthen exchanges between the leadership and continue to advance the bilateral relationship to a new stage. What's your comment?
A: I haven't seen this latest speech by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Was it delivered just now? (Journalist nods)
So I need to check on the specific contents of this speech.
What I can tell you is that the China-Japan relations were restored to the normal track last year. We hope the Japanese side will work with the Chinese side to implement the consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries and strive for new development of China-Japan relations under the new circumstances in the new era, so as to bring more benefits to the two peoples and contribute to upholding peace, stability and development and prosperity of the region.
Q: Robert Schellenberg is expected to submit documents requesting an appeal in his case. The government of Canada has previously raised concerns about the proceedings against him. What is China's response to those who worry that his appeal may not be treated fairly by the judicial system here?
A: My colleagues have taken many questions here on the Schellenberg case. China's attitude is very clear. We are a country governed by the rule of law, and everyone is equal before the law. Drug-related crimes, which bring great harm to society, are considered as felony around the world and severely cracked down upon by all countries. China's judicial authority has been dealing with this case in strict accordance with the law.
As for appeal-related questions, they involve very serious and professional legal matters. I would refer you to the competent authority.