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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang's Regular Press Conference on February 10, 2017

2017/02/10

Q: President Xi Jinping had a telephone call with US President Donald Trump today. Was it the idea of the Chinese side or the US side to make the call?

A: You may have noted that both the Chinese and the US sides have issued press releases on it. The phone call between President Xi Jinping and President Trump this morning was made in accordance with agreement reached by the two sides through consultation in advance.

Q: In the call between the two presidents, there was an expression from both that they wanted to meet soon. Do you have any details about when and where the two presidents will meet?

A: Both leaders look forward to meeting each other at an early date. The two sides will maintain close communication at the working level on high-level exchanges.

Q: We noted that in the press release of the White House, it said that President Trump agreed, "at the request of President Xi", to honor the one-China policy. But the "request" part is missing from the statement of the Chinese side. In what context did President Trump mention the one-China policy? Did the Chinese side make the one-China policy a precondition for the call to happen?

A: You must be aware that the one-China principle is the political foundation for China-US relations. To adhere to the one-China policy and the principles reflected in the three joint communiqués between China and the US is the obligation of the US administration. It is also China's consistent position. We commend President Trump's statement in the phone call that the US administration will honor the one-China policy.

Q: I just wondered whether, in the lead-up to the call, you had to make any concessions to the US to organize the call or to convince President Trump to endorse the one-China principle. Because in the past, he had said his endorsement would be conditional on China giving some ground.

A: I think my answer to the CNN question has addressed your concern. The one-China principle is always the political foundation for China-US relations. In the phone call this morning, President Trump affirmed that the US administration will honor the one-China policy. We commend this.

Q: Do you expect more exchanges and cooperation between China and the US following this phone call?

A: As the largest developing and developed countries, and the two largest economies in the world, China and the US need cooperation and enjoy an extensive range of cooperation areas. Cooperation between our two sides will benefit the people of not only our two countries, but also the rest of the world.

China stands ready to work with the US side, in the principle of non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation, to enhance exchanges at the high and various other levels, expand practical cooperation across the board in bilateral, regional and global fields, properly handle sensitive issues, and strive for greater achievements in the China-US relations from a new starting point.

Q: Let us take a look at the one-China principle from a more positive angle. Previous analysis said  that the Taiwan question was like a stumbling block between China and the new US administration. Now that the stumbling block has been removed, can we expect positive things for the bilateral relationship in the future?

A: China and the US take up nearly 1/4 of the world's population and about 1/3 of the world economy. Our two-way trade accounts for 1/5 of the world total. To develop a long-term, healthy and steady cooperative relationship between China and the US meets the fundamental interests of the people of our two countries, and the shared aspiration of the international community.

I stressed that the one-China principle is the political foundation for the China-US relationship. It is vital for the healthy and steady growth of this relationship to firmly safeguard this political foundation. We hope the US side will properly handle issues related to Taiwan in keeping with the one-China policy and the three joint communiqués between China and the US, to ensure that the larger picture of the relationship is free from interruptions.

Together with the US, we will act in accordance with what our leaders have agreed to in their phone call, strengthen communication and cooperation to make our relationship a more fruitful one and better serve the interests of the people of both and all countries.

Q: In the summit talks to be held between Japan and the US in Washington on February 11, the two sides are expected to discuss the South China Sea issue and confirm that Article 5 of the Japan-US Security Treaty applies to the Senkaku Islands, or Diaoyu Dao as referred to by China. What is China's view on the talks? What are the topics that China concerns most?

A: We have given our principled position on the Japanese Prime Minister's visit to the US and the summit meeting. China holds no objection to the development of bilateral relations between the US and Japan or between any other two countries. But we also maintain that such interactions should have a positive impact on regional peace, security, stability and prosperity, not the opposite.

We will not get ahead of what is yet to happen. Thank you for reminding us to follow this meeting. Please rest assured, if anything that requires us to give a response emerges during the meeting, we will do so in a timely fashion.

Q: On February 8, San Francisco approved installation of a memorial for "comfort women", despite Japan's protests. According to local media reports, comfort women survivors and their families said it is necessary to set up such a memorial since Japan has never repented what they did during the war. What is China's comment on this?

A: These survivors and their families have reason to say so. It is known to all that the forced recruitment of comfort women was a serious crime against humanity committed by Japanese militarists during WWII, inflicting physical and mental trauma on the victims and their families till this day. What is hurting them even more is the fact that some Japanese are going as far as denying that part of history.

As is true of the holocaust memorial halls in the US and the rest of the world, memorial statues for comfort women serve as a reminder of history. The opposition and obstruction by relevant parties in Japan is worth our alertness.

Q: Venezuela has fallen behind with its shipments of oil to China that it was supposed to provide under an oil-for-loan deal with China signed under the previous president. Has China complained to the Venezuelan government about this issue?

A: We have stated our position on cooperation with Venezuela. China always adheres to the principle of equality, mutual benefit and common development in conducting practical cooperation in various areas and pursuing common growth with Venezuela. It is fair to say that our mutually beneficial cooperation is making smooth progress in general.

Financing cooperation between China and Venezuela is commercial in nature, undertaken by financial institutions and companies of the two sides. Relevant funds are used for projects on Venezuela's economic and social development and cooperation projects of the two countries. They have brought tangible benefits to our two sides, fully demonstrating that our cooperation is mutually beneficial, lawful and serving the people. Repayment from the Venezuelan side with oil supply is in a basically normal condition.

China attaches great importance to its comprehensive strategic partnership with Venezuela and will continue with its cooperation with the Venezuelan side in various fields.

Q: A US official said that a US maritime surveillance aircraft and a Chinese early-warning plane came close to each other over Huangyan Dao on Wednesday. What is China's view on that? Did President Xi Jinping and President Trump discuss the South China Sea issue in their phone call today?

A: On your first question, I'd refer you to relevant department of the Chinese military. According to what we have read from the media, the Ministry of Defence has provided information on that.

On your second question, both sides issued press releases on the phone call this morning, which, I believe, have reached you. As for the specific issue you mentioned, China has made its position very clear.

Follow-up: Did President Xi Jinping mention China's position on the South China Sea in his phone call with President Trump?

A: The Chinese side issued a detailed and complete press release. The two presidents had a very good phone call. Information from the White House echoed with this. On the issue you asked about, China's position is crystal clear, and the US side is fully aware of that.

Q: Before the phone call today, President Trump had called leaders of 18 other countries. Does China think that the call comes a bit too late?

A: As I said, the phone call was made in accordance with agreement reached by the two sides through consultation in advance.

Q: India has lodged a diplomatic protest with China over this 1267 Committee issue of listing a Pakistan-based terrorist. India's argument is that India does not regard this issue as a bilateral matter between India and Pakistan, and India wants China to join the consensus to fight against global terrorism. What is your reaction to that?

A: We have elaborated on our position quite a few times regarding the listing issue. As a responsible permanent member of the Security Council and a member of its subsidiary committees, the Chinese side has all along acted in strict keeping with the rules of procedure and relevant regulations of the Security Council and its subsidiary organs. And we hope that all the other members of the Security Council and its subsidiary bodies will strictly follow these rules.

Q: You mentioned that the phone call between leaders of China and the US occurred after consultation between the two sides. How long was that consultation period? Whose idea was it, in the first place, to have that discussion?

A: As we have been saying, there has been close communication between the two sides since President Trump's inauguration. From what has been released about the phone call, we can see that both presidents are satisfied with the bilateral communication so far.

Q: Will Foreign Minister Wang Yi attend the G20 foreign ministers' meeting in Germany?

A: A lot of your colleagues have asked this question. I have three points to restate. First, we support Germany in performing its duty as this year's rotating chair of the G20 and successfully hosting all the G20-related events. Second, the G20 foreign ministers' meeting to be held in Germany is an important event. Third, once we decide who is attending the meeting on China's part, we will let you know.

Q: You just mentioned that there has been close communication between China and the US following the inauguration of President Trump. Was the communication made with Trump directly? Or was it between departments of the two countries?

A: As we said before, the two sides have been in touch since President Trump's inauguration, and leaders of the two countries have exchanged congratulatory letters. As for the phone call, like I said, it was made in accordance with agreement reached by the two sides through consultation in advance.

Q: Talks between Japanese and American leaders may cover trade and currency issues. Both Japan and China are labeled by President Trump as countries deliberately depreciating currency. I wonder if China shares Japan's position on this issue? What is China's expectation for the talks?

A: Thank you again for reminding me to follow Prime Minister Abe's visit to the US and his talks with President Trump. We will lose no time in making comments on issues of concern should they arise.

On the currency issue, I have stated China's position on this podium. And we will follow with interest how Japan is going to discuss currency and trade issues with the US. As for China's position on this issue, it has been stated time and again that China has no intention to pursue an edge in trade or a trade surplus by manipulating its currency. It is not in the interests of China. You may refer to statements made by officials of the People's Bank of China for China's policy on the RMB exchange rate formation mechanism.

Q: We have found no such wording as "the new type of major-country relationship" in the news release issued by the Chinese side about the phone call between Chinese and American presidents. Does that indicate that China has given up the idea of developing a new type of major-country relationship with the US following the inauguration of President Trump?

A: China's will and proposition to build a new type of major-country relationship featuring non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation with the US remain unchanged.

Q: Six employees of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) were killed on February 8 in Jowzjan, a northern province of Afghanistan, and two others remained missing. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack, but the Afghan police said it was likely carried out by Islamic State militants. What is China's comment on that?

A: We have noted that six ICRC employees were killed in Afghanistan. The Chinese side strongly condemns the attack on humanitarian aid workers, which violated the international humanitarian law, and mourns for the victims.

Q: Given the one-China principle is the political foundation of the relationship between China and the US, this call couldn't have happened without an assurance that President Trump would have affirmed that principle. Was that part of the consultation process to make the call happen?

A: We do not comment on hypothetical questions. I believe you are rather clear about our position on the one-China principle. This principle has been serving as the political foundation of China-US relationship ever since it was established nearly 40 years ago. Adhering to the one-China policy is an important safeguard for the sound and steady growth of China-US relations.

Q: Can you give us more details on the call? Did the two sides mention the South China Sea issue, the THAAD system, or the trade measures Trump once wanted to take against China?

A: The news release issued by China about this morning's phone call contained quite a lot of details. We can see that the two presidents had a very good conversation, achieved a high degree of consensus on the importance of China-US relationship and on how to keep it growing, and agreed that a relationship as such will benefit people from both and all countries. In the phone call, President Trump reaffirmed the US government's commitment to the one-China policy. President Xi Jinping commended that and stressed that the one-China principle is an important political foundation of the development of China-US relations.

The two presidents did touch upon mutually beneficial cooperation in some specific areas, such as trade, investment, science and technology, energy, culture and infrastructure. As two major countries in the world and permanent members of the Security Council, China and the US shoulder special responsibilities for and share broad common interests in upholding world peace and security and promoting global prosperity and development. Their discussion covered a wide range of areas, including communication, cooperation and coordination in regional and international affairs. Regarding the particular issues you mentioned, as I said, our position on those issues is crystal clear, and the US is fully aware of that.

Q: Is the US Ambassador to China already in Beijing now? If no, when do you expect him to arrive?

A: My understanding is that Mr Terry Branstad is yet to complete relevant domestic procedures in the US for being posted as the new US ambassador to China.

Q: Who have been invited to the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in May? What is the date of the Forum? Will Russian President Vladimir Putin attend the Forum?

A: Since the Belt and Road initiative was proposed by China over three years ago, it has received warm response and support from the international community. It is our hope that by holding the Forum we can work together with other parties to invigorate the world economy and deepen international cooperation. As the international community is becoming more and more supportive for the initiative, leaders of many countries and international organizations have shown their enthusiasm to join the Forum. We are now making orderly and intense preparation for this event and will release fixed details in due time.

Q: Will President Trump attend the Belt and Road Forum?

A: Most of you are interested in whether certain countries will participate in the Forum. As I have already said, intense preparations are underway. We will let you know if there is any further information.

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