|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying's Regular Press Conference on September 11, 2019|
Invited by State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid of the Maldives will pay an official visit to China from September 17 to 21.
This will be the first visit to China by the foreign minister of the Maldives after the new government was formed at the end of 2018. During this visit, State Councilor Wang Yi will have talks with Foreign Minister Shahid about bilateral relations and issues of mutual interest. Taking this visit as an opportunity, China looks forward to deeper political trust and practical cooperation and a higher level of future-oriented all-round friendly and cooperative partnership between the two sides.
Q: First question, Japan made an announcement of a new composition of its cabinet today. Toshimitsu Motegi will be the new foreign minister and Taro Kono the new defense minister. Do you have any comment on that? Second question, US President Trump tweeted that he asked US National Security Adviser Bolton to resign, and as far as we know, Mr. Bolton is the third person of this post that got fired after President Trump took office. I wonder if you could comment on that?
A: The new composition of the cabinet is Japan's internal affair, and we will not comment on that. As the foreign minister of Japan, Mr. Taro Kono made a lot of efforts in improving China-Japan relations in the past two years. The Chinese side applauds that. We hope he will make greater contributions to friendship and cooperation between China and Japan. We congratulate Mr. Toshimitsu Motegi for assuming the new post as the foreign minister. We hope the diplomatic departments of the two sides will work together to implement our leaders' important consensus and foster a bilateral relationship that meets the demand of a new era.
On your second question, we don't comment on that matter since the post change is an internal affair of the US. As we have repeatedly emphasized , a stable China-US relationship serves the fundamental interests of both peoples and meets the common aspiration of the international community. We hope the succeeding US National Security Adviser, no matter who he or she is, will play a constructive role in the sound and stable development of China-US relations.
Q: According to media reports, during Philippine President Duterte's recent visit to China, the two leaders talked about joint exploitation of oil and gas at sea. Did the Chinese side make some specific proposals? If so, did the Philippines accept them?
A: The Chinese side issued press releases of President Duterte's recent visit to China. During their meeting, President Xi noted that China and the Philippines need to shelve differences, steer clear of external disturbances, and focus on cooperation, development and practical results. As long as the South China Sea issue is handled properly, the atmosphere for China-Philippines relations will be favorable and the foundation will be stable, which will be an essential guarantee for regional peace and stability. President Duterte said that instead of confrontation, he chooses cooperation to resolve the South China Sea dispute peacefully, and that it serves the interests of all regional parties to uphold friendly cooperation, peace and stability. The Philippine side is ready to expedite cooperation with China in the joint exploitation of oil and gas. The two sides announced the establishment of an intergovernmental joint steering committee and a working group between relevant enterprises from the two countries on oil and gas cooperation. China looks forward to early substantive progress that delivers benefits to both countries and peoples. Having agreed on the basic principles and working mechanisms, the two sides will stay in close consultation.
Q: Who from the Chinese government will be attending the funeral of former Zimbabwean President Mugabe?
A: Mr. Mugabe was an extraordinary Zimbabwean statesman and leader of national liberation movement. He spent all his life upholding the country's sovereignty and independence, opposing foreign intervention, and contributing to China-Zimbabwe and China-Africa friendly cooperation. The Chinese side deeply mourns the passing of former Zimbabwean President Mugabe. President Xi Jinping sent a message of condolences to President Mnangagwa. A high-level Chinese delegation will be attending the funeral, and we will release the relevant information in due course.
Q: Yesterday a Canadian warship sailed through the Taiwan Strait. Do you have any response to that?
A: We are well aware of this. The Chinese side does not oppose normal passage by foreign military vessels through the Taiwan Strait. But why did the Canadian side deliberately make a high-profile announcement of it? We hope the Canadian side will demonstrate respect for China's sovereignty and security through concrete actions.
Q: First, what's China's comment on the dismissal of US National Security Adviser Bolton? How will it affect China-US relations? Second, some US lawmakers submitted a bill to the Congress on Tuesday, calling for a suspension of sales of police equipment by US companies to Hong Kong because the police in Hong Kong have been widely criticized for what they did to the protesters. The equipment includes tear gas, pepper spray and rubber bullets. What's your response?
A: On your first question, I just gave my answer to a similar question asked by the journalist with Kyodo News. As it is a domestic affair of the US, we won't comment on that. It is our hope that no matter who assumes the office of the US National Security Adviser, he or she will play a constructive role in promoting the sound and steady development of China-US relations.
On your second question, I have seen relevant reports. I wonder if the US Congressmen want to save these anti-riot equipment to deal with problems at home?
With regard to what happened in Hong Kong recently, the facts are clear. More and more mainstream international media have reported the true situation in Hong Kong with on-site coverage. For example, I just saw many high-resolution photos released by some Russian media, depicting demonstrators' weapons like umbrellas with knives and barbs hidden inside and gasoline bombs. The reports said that some were carrying out terrorist and criminal activities under the cover of freedom and democracy. The root cause of Hong Kong's violence and chaos lies with the malicious forces behind the scene. The so-called press freedom in Hong Kong is nearing absurdity.
I would like to ask those US lawmakers, when the violent extremists in Hong Kong brutally assaulted and injured the police and brought public facilities like the airport and subway to a standstill, where is the rule of law that you claim to advocate? When personal information of more than 1,000 police officers and their families were illegally exposed and they were targeted by crazy cyber bullying and threats, where are the human rights that you claim to champion? When people holding different views were chased, surrounded and beaten by black-clad demonstrators wearing masks, where is the freedom you claim to stand for?
Some US lawmakers are beautifying the violent criminal offenses as fight for human rights and freedom. At the same time, they are defaming Hong Kong police by calling their forbearance and restraint "overuse of force". There is no worse insult to freedom, democracy and human rights than this. It is open disregard for the mainstream public opinion of ending violence and chaos and restoring order, and it exposes their stark hypocrisy and double standard.
How did the US police handle demonstrations? I believe many have vivid memories of the 2011 Occupy Wall Street movement, the 2015 unrest in Baltimore, Maryland, as well as the recent demonstrations in Portland, Oregon. If the scenes in Hong Kong were to appear in the US, would the US lawmakers still be so "kind"? We are curious to see.
It is because of the indulgence and support by some US politicians that the anti-China disruptors in Hong Kong are so reckless and unscrupulous. At a recent press conference on the situation in Hong Kong, Spokesperson Yang Guang of the State Council Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office quoted Man Jiang Hong (a classical Chinese poem) composed by Chairman Mao Zedong in 1963. Today I would like to add the following two lines: The ants climbing up a locust tree congratulate themselves for running a great empire, but it won't be easy for them to shake the tree.
I will reiterate that Hong Kong affairs are purely China's internal affairs. No foreign government, organization or individual has any right to interfere. Those playing with fire on this issue will end up getting burned themselves. We advise certain people in the US to stop pretending to be asleep, stop condoning violent criminal offenses, and stop meddling in Hong Kong affairs immediately.
Q: A question about China-US trade talks. The US side has repeatedly suggested that China is trying to wait out this presidency past the 2020 elections in hopes that the trade deal will be better for China. I'm wondering is that actually how China sees the situation?
A: Whether it is true or not, I think you have the answer in your mind.
China's position, attitude and practice on the trade issue with the US is consistent. We never wanted a trade war. We always hope to reach a mutually-acceptable win-win solution through equal-footed and respectful consultation. We hope the US could match our sincerity and good faith, and work with the Chinese side to create enabling conditions for properly resolving trade issues through consultation based on equality and mutual respect.
In fact, I have noted a lot of rational voice from the US hoping for the early conclusion of an agreement to prevent further escalation of the trade friction. I believe the US side should heed the call.
Q: China has just announced a range of tariff exemptions on US goods, which is the first list of its kind. Is there anything you can say about the thinking behind that move?
A: I just got the news like you. I'd refer you to the Ministry of Finance.
Our regular press conference will be in recess tomorrow, September 12, as the global promotion event for Hunan will be held here in the Blue Hall.
Besides, according to the holiday schedule for the Mid-Autumn Festival, the press conference will recess on Friday, September 13, and be resumed on Monday, September 16. During the recess, if you have any questions, you may still reach the MFA Spokesperson's Office via email, fax and WeChat.
This Friday will be the traditional Chinese holiday of the Mid-Autumn Festival. I wish all of you a happy Mid-Autumn Festival.