|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang's Regular Press Conference on September 2, 2019|
At the invitation of Premier Li Keqiang of the State Council, Chancellor Angela Merkel of the Federal Republic of Germany will pay an official visit to China from September 6 to 7.
Starting from today, Ambassador Zhai Jun will assume the office of Special Envoy of the Chinese Government for the Middle East. He is a senior diplomat, who formerly served as Vice Foreign Minister, Chinese Ambassador to Libya and Ambassador to France and Monaco. Rich in diplomatic experience, long engaged in diplomacy related to the Middle East and familiar with regional affairs, Ambassador Zhai will establish close cooperation with various parties, promote peace talks and play a constructive role in advancing the proper settlement of regional hotspot issues and achieving regional peace and stability.
Special Envoy Gong Xiaosheng left office last week. Over the past five years, Special Envoy Gong paid many visits to various parties to the Middle East issue and attended relevant international meetings, making positive contributions to the peace and stability of the region.
Q: On August 29, Italy's presidential palace said that President Sergio Mattarella has commissioned former Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte to form a new government. What's your comment?
A: China and Italy enjoy traditional friendship and are comprehensive strategic partners. China highly values the development of its relations with Italy. In recent years, China and Italy have conducted productive cooperation under the Belt and Road and in various fields, making tangible contributions to our economies respectively and receiving recognition from the two peoples. China stands ready to work with the new Italian government to continuously advance our practical cooperation smoothly for win-win results.
Q: The Solomon Islands government is expected to reach a decision this week about establishing diplomatic ties with Beijing and cutting its ties with Taiwan. Can you give us any details you may have of the Chinese government's meetings with representatives from the Solomon Islands? And when you might expect a decision to be made as to when China and the Solomon Islands would establish diplomatic relations?
A: As is known to all, there is but one China in the world. The Chinese government stands ready to develop friendly and cooperative relations with countries around the globe on the basis of the one-China principle.
Q: On August 31, Myanmar's Union Peace Commission held peace talks in Kengtung, Shan State with four ethnic armed organizations (EAOs), namely the Kachin Independence Army, the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army, the Ta'ang National Liberation Army and the Arakan Army. They issued a joint statement afterwards. On the same day, Myanmar's Tatmadaw extended the ceasefire in northern Myanmar to September 21. I wonder if you have any comment on that?
A: China firmly supports Myanmar's peace process and believes differences between various parties in Myanmar should be resolved through dialogue and consultation. China applauds the peace talks between the Union Peace Commission and the EAOs and the extension of ceasefire by the Tatmadaw as they contribute to deescalation of tensions in northern Myanmar. Peace and tranquility in the China-Myanmar border is good for both countries and peoples. I hope the parties concerned will continue to engage in peace talks and take real actions to ensure ceasefire in northern Myanmar. China will continue to make constructive efforts in this regard.
Q: There are reports that a US-Taliban agreement is imminent and that China could attend the signing ceremony. Is China prepared to offer aid or to guarantee the agreement?
A: We noted relevant reports. China believes that the Afghan issue should be resolved through political means and firmly supports the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process. We support relevant parties to the Afghan issue in strengthening dialogue to create conditions for the final settlement of the Afghan issue.
Q: There were more violent protests in Hong Kong again this weekend. Does China continue to believe that the SAR government in Hong Kong has the ability to handle the situation at this moment?
A: The SAR government and police in Hong Kong have made official statements regarding the violent and illegal activities in Hong Kong over the weekend. I'd like to re-emphasize the central government's firm support for the SAR government led by Chief Executive Carrie Lam in governing Hong Kong and for the police in lawfully ending violence and chaos and restoring order.
Q: On Friday, Federica Mogherini, the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, voiced deep concern about developments in Hong Kong. Do you have any comment on that?
A: The recent demonstrations and rallies in Hong Kong have gone far beyond the scope of freedom of assembly, procession and demonstration. They are radical, violent activities that severely undermine Hong Kong's rule of law and social order, gravely threaten the life and property of Hong Kong citizens, and seriously challenge the basic principle of "one country, two systems". If those activities took place in a European country, I believe no government would turn a blind eye to them.
I hope the EU side can tell right from wrong and understand and support the SAR government's effort in lawfully putting a stop to violence and chaos and safeguarding rule of law, prosperity and stability in Hong Kong.
Q: China and the US were expected to have a new round of trade talks in Washington D.C. in early September. But since the two sides slapped new tariffs on each other on September 1, will there be any change to the original plan?
A: Last week the spokesperson of the Ministry of Commerce already responded to relevant question and he said that the two sides were discussing the issue. What matters the most at this moment is creating necessary conditions for ongoing consultations between the two sides.
I would like to refer you to the Ministry of Commerce for the details and arrangement of the trade talks.
Q: According to media report, Japan will launch a special police unit to patrol disputed isles in the East China Sea. Do you have any comment?
A: China's position on the Diaoyu Dao issue is clear and consistent. We hope that our two sides will follow the spirit of the four-principled consensus, earnestly strengthen crisis management and jointly uphold peace and stability in the East China Sea.