|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang's Regular Press Conference on August 21, 2019|
At the invitation of Premier Li Keqiang of the State Council, Prime Minister Abdulla Nigmatovich Aripov of the Republic of Uzbekistan will pay an official visit to China from August 27 to 29.
This will be Prime Minister Aripov's first official visit to China. During the visit, President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang will meet and hold talks with him respectively. Guo Shengkun, Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Secretary of the Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission, will host with him the fifth meeting of the China-Uzbekistan inter-governmental cooperation committee.
China and Uzbekistan are friendly neighbors and comprehensive strategic partners. The bilateral relations have been kept at a high level during the past 27 years since diplomatic ties were established. We have close high-level exchange, increasing political mutual trust, fruitful results in BRI development, and effective cooperation in combating terrorism, separatism and extremism. We also have good coordination under multilateral frameworks such as the UN and the SCO. We believe this visit will further advance bilateral relations and cooperation in all fields.
Q: An employee of the British Consulate-General in Hong Kong was suspectedly detained in China's mainland. His family said in a statement today that this case should be handled by the Public Security Bureau of Shenzhen, but they haven't received any notice of administrative detention and don't know his whereabouts or whether he would meet a lawyer. Could you give us more information?
A: Many journalists asked about this issue yesterday. To be frank, this is not a diplomatic matter. But since you are so interested in it, we have spared no effort to gather information for you from the relevant authority.
According to what we've learned so far, as punished by the Shenzhen police, this person you mentioned is placed under a 15-day administrative detention for violating the Public Security Administration Punishments Law of the PRC.
Q: A follow-up on the employee of the British Consulate-General in Hong Kong. The UK said in a statement yesterday that it has expressed serious concerns to the Chinese side and hopes China will provide assistance to the family. What's your response? What is the specific provision he violated?
A: Like I said, this is not a diplomatic matter. But since you are all interested in it, we have tried to gather some information from relevant authority. If you still want to know more specifics, I would like to refer you to the competent authority.
Regarding the British remarks you mentioned, I can tell you clearly that we have lodged stern representations with the UK on multiple occasions concerning its words and deeds on Hong Kong-related issues. We've asked them to stop making irresponsible remarks and interfering in China's Hong Kong affairs. The UK knows that clearly.
Q: On August 21 Beijing time, the US Department of Defense officially notified the Congress that it's going to sell $8 billion worth of 66 F-16 fighter jets and provide relevant equipment and support to Taiwan. What's your comment?
A: I already made clear the Chinese government's solemn position on this matter the other day. Our position remains unchanged.
The US arms sales to Taiwan severely violate the one-China principle and the three China-US Joint Communiqués especially the August 17 Communiqué. They constitute severe interference in China's internal affairs and undermine China's sovereignty and security interests. China firmly opposes that and has lodged serious representations and protests to the US side. China will take every necessary measure to safeguard its interests, including sanctioning American companies involved in the arms sale this time.
I must point out that the Taiwan question concerns China's sovereignty, territorial integrity and core interests. China has a firm resolve to uphold its sovereignty, unity and security. We urge the US to abide by the one-China principle and the three China-US Joint Communiqués, immediately cancel the planned arms sales, and stop selling weapons to and cut its military contact with Taiwan. Otherwise, the US will have to bear all the consequences.
Q: This is a question about President Trump's comments made yesterday at a press conference with the Romanian President. He said that any economic consequences the US is currently facing are short-term effects. He said, "Somebody has to take China on. And this is something that has to be done. The only difference is that I'm doing it." I wonder if China has any response to that?
A: As we have repeatedly pointed out, the economic cooperation between China and the US is win-win in nature. China and the US have become each other's largest trading partner and important investment destination. Our interests have become deeply intertwined. US companies' annual sales in China stand at more than $700 billion and their profits reach more than $50 billion. If one side has been ripping the other off, it would not have been possible to have the highly-complementary, deeply-integrated and mutually-beneficial relationship that we have today.
China and the US stand to gain from cooperation and lose from confrontation. There is nothing to fear in having differences on trade. The key is to solve problems through dialogue and consultation. We hope the US could meet China halfway and implement our presidents' consensus in Osaka to find a mutually-acceptable solution through dialogue and consultation on the basis of mutual respect and equality.
I would like to emphasize again that China-US relations are one of the world's most important bilateral relationships. A sound and stable China-US relationship not only serves the interests of both countries, but also meets the aspiration of the international community. We hope the US will work with China to meet each other halfway, manage differences with mutual respect and expand mutually-beneficial cooperation to advance a relationship featuring coordination, cooperation and stability.
Q: Further to the question about the British government's comments regarding the employee of the British Consulate-General in Hong Kong. You just said China has warned the UK many times recently against interfering in China's affairs. I'm just wondering, specifically with regard to the UK expressing concern about its consulate's employee being detained, what is China's response to this?
A: First of all, I have to clarify that this employee is a Chinese citizen from the Hong Kong SAR rather than a British citizen. That is to say, he is Chinese and this is entirely China's internal affair.
Second, the UK recently has made many erroneous remarks relating to Hong Kong. China has stated its solemn position in public and lodged stern representations with the UK. We again urge it to stop finger-pointing and fanning the flames on the Hong Kong issue.
Q: According to reports, Australian Prime Minister Morrison said in an interview that China is much more than a "customer" for Australia and the two countries are comprehensive strategic partners. What's your comment?
A: We noted Prime Minister Morrison's remarks. He stressed that China-Australia relations go far beyond economy and trade, and that Australia welcomes China's development and will not contain it. We appreciate this and hope that the Australian side will better translate their positive remarks into concrete actions to improve China-Australia relations. We also hope people in Australia will view China and China-Australia relations in a more objective and rational manner.
China believes that a sound and steadily developing China-Australia relationship serves the fundamental interests of the two peoples. We hope Australia will meet China halfway and move forward our comprehensive strategic partnership on the basis of mutual trust and mutual benefit.
Q: According to reports, on August 19, the Pakistani government officially approved a three-year extension of army chief General Bajwa's term. What's your comment?
A: We have noted the decision. General Bajwa is an outstanding leader of the Pakistani army. As an old friend of the Chinese government and military, he has contributed to the development of China-Pakistan relations. Under his leadership, we believe the Pakistani army will make new contributions to upholding Pakistan's sovereignty and security interests and to advancing peace and stability in the region.
Q: US Secretary of State Pompeo said in an interview on August 19 that China made promises about Hong Kong, the South China Sea and human rights and that the US must negotiate a trade agreement that can be verified and enforced to ensure it doesn't "suffer from China breaking a promise". I wonder if you would like to comment on that?
A: We Chinese always believe that one's word shall be kept at all costs. As Confucius observed over 2000 years ago, "One must keep one's word with results-oriented actions." This is part of our cultural tradition and a way of life for the Chinese people. When it comes to abiding by international treaties and fulfilling international obligations, China has a very good track record.
The US, on the contrary, has been breaking commitments, overturning consensus and trampling on rules at every turn. Just look at its withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, the JCPOA, and more recently, the INF treaty. It never hesitates to renege on its earlier major commitments that bear on global strategic balance and stability. Does it have even a shred of credibility left?
So, as a country that is so good at flip-flops and withdrawals, that is always ready to knock over the table and walk away, the US is in no place to talk about honoring commitments.
Q: People say that China is facing a lot of pressure or bargaining chips that America uses on China, from the Hong Kong protests to the Taiwan arms sales and even the Huawei issue. On top of that is the economic pain that the tariffs are causing to China, from the slowest economic growth in 27 years, to what Trump says "millions of jobs having been lost and thousands of factories relocating out of China". We all know that you have touched on these issues in many ways and on many occasions. I wonder if you could briefly summarize or explain what is the most important factor affecting China-US relations at the moment?
A: As I said earlier, the China-US relationship is one of the most important bilateral relationships in the world. A healthy and stable China-US relationship not only serves the interests of both countries, but also meets the aspiration of the international community. We hope the US will work with China to meet each other halfway and act on our presidents' consensus to advance a relationship featuring coordination, cooperation and stability.
At the same time, we also hope the US could view China's development fairly and deepen cooperation with China. We hope it will cast aside the Cold-War and zero-sum game mentality. If the US remains entrenched in the outdated mentality, I am afraid China-US relations will continue to hit some bumps in the road from time to time.
The past four decades of China-US diplomatic relations offer this important inspiration: our two countries could see beyond ideological differences and form partnerships that benefit the people of our two countries and beyond. We do hope the US could see this point.