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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying's Regular Press Conference on December 21, 2016

2016/12/21

Q: The government of Sao Tome and Principe reportedly issued a statement on December 20, declaring to sever the so-called "diplomatic ties" with Taiwan as of date. What is China's comment?

A: We note that the government of Sao Tome and Principe issued a statement on December 20 local time, announcing its decision to cut the so-called "diplomatic" ties with Taiwan. China appreciates and welcomes Sao Tome and Principe's return to the right track of the one-China principle.

The one-China principle bears on China's core interests and the feelings of over 1.3 billion Chinese people. It is also the prerequisite and political foundation for China to maintain and develop friendly and cooperative relations with other countries in the world. It has become the common aspiration of the international community and the trend of the times to adhere to the one-China principle. China is ready to develop friendly and cooperative relations with all countries on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence and the one-China principle.

As is known to all, the 26th Session of the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 2758 in October 1971, making it clear that the government of the People's Republic of China is the sole legitimate government representing China. The one-China principle recognized in the Resolution has become the general consensus of the international community.

Q: Mongolian Foreign Minister Tsend Munkh-Orgil said in an interview that the visit by the 14th Dalai Lama has exerted negative impact on Mongolia-China relations. The Mongolian government regrets that. Standing firmly in support of the one-China policy, the Mongolian side will never again invite the Dalai Lama for a visit. During the tenure of the sitting government, the Dalai Lama will not be allowed to visit Mongolia via the religious channel. What is China's response to that?

A: The Chinese side sets store by the explicit statement made by the Mongolian Foreign Minister. Tibet-related issues concern China's sovereignty and territorial integrity, and bear on China's core interests. China's position on Tibet-related issues is resolute and clear. It is hoped that the Mongolian side will learn lessons from this issue, truly respect China's core interests, honor its commitment and strive to improve China-Mongolia relations.

Q: Has the Chinese government promised financial aid to the government of Sao Tome and Principe to get it to ditch diplomatic ties with Taiwan? If you have offered money, can you give us an idea of how much? Also, when will the Chinese ambassador arrive in Sao Tome and Principe?

A: That is imaginative. I want to reiterate that the government of the People's Republic of China is the sole legitimate government representing China. There is but one China in the world, and Taiwan is an inalienable part of China. The one-China principle recognized in UN Resolution 2758 has become the general consensus of the international community. I believe that by cutting off "diplomatic ties" with Taiwan, the government of Sao Tome and Principe demonstrates its recognition of the one-China principle.

Q: The Philippine Presidential Office said in a statement on December 19 that it is unfair to hold the Chinese people accountable for the drug problem in the Philippines. An agreement was reached between the Philippines and China on drug control during President Duterte's visit to China. What is China's response to that? Do you have any updates on anti-drug cooperation between China and the Philippines?

A: I have taken note of the report. We commend the Philippine side for its statement which showcases the growing mutual trust and cooperation between the two sides. Drug is the common enemy of mankind. To fight against drug-related crimes is the shared responsibility of all countries around the world. The Chinese government takes a tough stand against drug crimes. The Chinese side understands and supports the Philippine government's policy of combatting drug-related crimes under the leadership of President Duterte. Competent authorities of the two sides are conducting effective cooperation in information sharing, technical equipment, joint investigation on drug smuggling, and drug detoxification and rehabilitation. The Chinese side will continue to support and assist the Philippines in its anti-drug endeavour as its capacity allows.

Q: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said yesterday that Russia, Iran and Turkey have reached consensus on widening the ceasefire, and enhancing free access for humanitarian aid and movement of civilians on Syrian territory. The three countries are ready to broker an agreement between the Syrian government and the opposition and to become its guarantor. What is China's comment on that?

A: The Chinese side welcomes efforts conducive to the political settlement of the Syrian issue and enduring peace and stability in Syria. The ceasefire, cessation of violence and humanitarian aid constitute an important part of the solution to the Syrian crisis, and underpin the efforts to resume the UN-brokered peace talks on the Syrian issue and restart the political process in Syria. The Chinese side noted the announcement made by UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy for Syria Staffan De Mistura, which said that efforts would be made to resume peace talks on the Syrian issue next February. We call on relevant parties to continue to play their part, enhance communication and work in unison to create necessary conditions for an early resumption of peace talks.

Q: Sao Tome and Principe's decision leaves Taiwan with only 21 states having "diplomatic relations" with it, and 12 of them are from Latin America and the Caribbean. Taiwan leader Tsai Ing-wen will travel to several Central American countries in the near future. Is China in talks with any of those countries in Latin America and the Caribbean to talk them into adopting the one-China policy?

A: The one-China principle is the prerequisite and political foundation for China to maintain and develop friendly and cooperative relations with other countries in the world. It has become the common aspiration of the international community and the trend of the times to adhere to the one-China principle. China is ready to develop friendly and cooperative relations with all countries on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence and the one-China principle.

Q: The statement the Foreign Ministry issued this morning did not say explicitly whether China will establish relations with Sao Tome and Principe. What happens next? When will China establish relations with Sao Tome and Principe? When will there be an exchange of ambassadors?

A: It seems that you are even more eager to see more countries develop friendly and cooperative relations with us based on the one-China principle. I would like to say that again that China is ready to develop friendly and cooperative relations with all countries on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence and the one-China principle.

Q: Reports say that China established an office for trade affairs in Sao Tome and Principe in November, 2013, which means that the two sides have already had practical exchanges in trade and economy. Do you have any updates on the development of such exchanges?

A: I have no information to offer on that. I want to reiterate that China stays committed to developing friendly and cooperative relations with all countries on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence and the one-China principle.

Q: Among all the states that have "diplomatic relations" with Taiwan, the Vatican is the one that is obviously intended to improve relations with China. Any new development in the negotiation between the Vatican and China on improving relations?

A: We have repeatedly said that we are ready to have constructive dialogues with the Vatican in accordance with the relevant principle. The line of communication between the two sides is smooth and effective. We will continue to make concerted efforts with the Vatican to move ahead with the improvement of bilateral relations.

Q: Although Beijing has never openly recognized the idea of "diplomatic truce" brought up by the Ma Ying-jeou administration, it did not snatch countries having "diplomatic relations" with Taiwan over the past 8 years, which can be taken as acquiescence to "diplomatic truce". China is yet to establish official ties with Sao Tome and Principe, but analysts say that the era of "diplomatic truce" is over. What is your take on that?

A: I would point you to the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council for questions about cross-Straits relations. What I want to highlight is that there is but one China in the world, the government of the People's Republic of China is the sole legitimate government representing China, and Taiwan is an inalienable part of the Chinese territory. The Chinese government stays committed to developing friendly and cooperative relations with countries around the world on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence and the one-China principle.

Q: The Vatican said the other day that it hoped the Chinese government could give positive signs to show that it wants to improve relationship with the Vatican. What sort of positive signs could China possibly send?

A: I am not aware of what you just said. The Chinese government upholds a consistent and clear principle in handling relations with the Vatican. The Chinese side is always sincere about improving relations with the Vatican, and has been working relentlessly to that end. We would like to work with the Vatican toward the shared goal and push for new progress in improving bilateral relations and promoting constructive dialogues.

Q: Taiwan blamed Beijing for luring Sao Tome and Principe to break up with it, and expressed strong dissatisfaction. What is your response?

A: I have been clear enough on this issue. There is but one China in the world, the government of the People's Republic of China is the sole legitimate government representing China, and Taiwan is an inalienable part of the Chinese territory. The one-China principle recognized in Resolution 2758 has become the general consensus of the international community. I believe that by cutting off "diplomatic ties" with Taiwan, the government of Sao Tome and Principe demonstrates its recognition of the one-China principle.

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