|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang's Regular Press Conference on July 6, 2017|
Q: Former US Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton said in an article regarding the DPRK’s test-launch of the intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that, the lessons of the past 25 years have indicated the failure of diplomatic means and economic sanctions, which means the US needs to use military forces to solve the problem. How do you comment on that?
A: It’s no surprise that Mr. Bolton made such remarks and this is just the way he is. But I hope you can pay more attention to what the incumbent US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said. During the emergency session of the Security Council on the DPRK’s missile launch, Haley stated that the US is prepared to defend the security of its own and its allies, but it prefers not to use military forces. I believe this represents the stance of the US government.
Likewise, the ROK President Moon Jae-in, while expressing concerns over the DPRK’s moves, also stressed that we can never allow a war on the Korean Peninsula ever again, and we must seek to resolve the issue through dialogue and peaceful means. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also said any attempts to justify a military decision, using the Security Council resolutions as a pretext, is inadmissible.
All these above-mentioned remarks clearly indicate that realizing denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and upholding its peace and stability is the common view shared by all relevant parties on the Korean Peninsula issue, and serves their common interests.
We have stated our opposition to the recent missile launch by the DPRK, strongly urge the DPRK to strictly abide by the Security Council resolutions. At the same time, we also call on all relevant parties to stay calm and exercise restraint, refrain from words and deeds that may heighten tensions, and make joint efforts to ease the tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
Days ago, the Chinese and Russian foreign ministries issued a joint statement on the Korean Peninsula issue. The statement points out that military means should not be an option to solve the Korean Peninsula issue. Based on the "dual-track approach" and the "suspension for suspension" initiative proposed by China and the step-by-step conception by Russia, the statement sets forth a joint initiative of the two sides, which aims at solving the issue by addressing both the symptoms and root causes with a multi-pronged and comprehensive approach. It is objective, fair, reasonable and practical. We hope all relevant parties can work with China to play their due roles, take their due responsibilities, and bring the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue back to the right track of peaceful settlement through dialogue and consultation at an early date.
Q: At the emergency meeting of the UN Security Council yesterday, Nikki Haley also mentioned that countries that allowed or encouraged the DPRK’s violation of the Security Council resolutions will find their trade relations with the US affected. I know that China has a clear-cut position on implementing the Security Council’s sanctions. But the actions recently taken by the US against the Bank of Dandong for involvement in transactions relating to the DPRK’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD) program shows that the US believes some of the Chinese companies or individuals are getting around the sanctions, and it will retaliate against them. What is China’s reaction to this?
A: We have answered similar questions many times. As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China has been implementing DPRK-related resolutions in a comprehensive, strict, accurate and faithful manner and fulfilling its due international obligations. Meanwhile, we firmly oppose any country's so-called "long-arm jurisdiction" over other countries based on its domestic law. Our stance is clear-cut and the US side knows it well.
Q: Is China worried about the on-going exploration and drilling work by a ship within Vietnam’s southern oil and gas block? Does this infringe on China’s own plan of exploration in its own blocks down there? Has Beijing raised the concern with Hanoi? More broadly, is China nervous that Vietnam has increasingly close strategic relations with Japan, the US and India?
A: With regard to your first question, China resolutely upholds its territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea, firmly opposes unilateral and illegal oil and gas activities by any country, enterprise or institution in the waters under China’s jurisdiction. We hope relevant country can bear the larger picture of regional peace and stability in mind and refrain from actions that will complex the situation.
As to your second question, China has no objection to the normal relations and cooperation between relevant countries, but at the same time, we hope those relations and cooperation are not targeted at a third party and are conducive to regional peace and stability.
Q: The US and Russia as well as other states have said that what the DPRK tested was an ICBM. Has China reached the same conclusion?
A: We have stated our position on the DPRK’s missile launch. We are trying to get more information, following the development of the situation and making assessment of it.
Q: Russia and China came up with a joint statement on the Korean Peninsula issue. I wonder if you had any direct contact with the DPRK. Did the DPRK accept that statement?
A: During President Xi Jinping’s state visit to Russia, the Chinese and Russian foreign ministries issued a joint statement on the Korean Peninsula issue. The statement gives voice to the international community's aspiration for calm and dialogue instead of tension and confrontation on the Korean Peninsula issue, and reflects the common position and concern of China and Russia on this issue. We hope all relevant parties will take seriously the stance and joint initiative of China and Russia, give positive response to them and find a practical way out for the Korean Peninsula issue.
As for the reaction of the DPRK, both China and Russia maintain normal contact and exchanges with the DPRK, and the diplomatic channel between each other is unimpeded. The DPRK is fully aware of China and Russia’s stance on the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue.
Q: Do you have any update on President Xi Jinping’s schedule at the G20 Summit regarding his bilateral meetings? Will he meet with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi? When will the informal BRICS leaders’ meeting take place?
A: We will release the information on President Xi Jinping’s schedule of bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in a timely manner once we have it.
I have no information at hand about whether the leaders of China and India will meet during the G20 Summit. I need to point out that these days the Indian troops illegally crossed the Sikkim section of the China-India boundary into China’s territory and obstructed China’s normal activities in the Doklam area. This move has infringed upon China’s territorial sovereignty and undermined the political basis and overall atmosphere of bilateral relations. We demand that the Indian side respect the provisions in the boundary convention and China’s territorial sovereignty, immediately pull the troops that have crossed the boundary back to its own side, and uphold peace and tranquility of the border areas. It is the precondition for any meaningful dialogue between the two sides.
As far as I know, the informal BRICS leaders’ meeting will be held on July 7 local time.
Q: You said that the withdrawal of troops from the particular area is the precondition for talks, so are you indicating that there won’t be any meeting between President Xi and Prime Minister Modi without the troops pulling out?
A: As I said, we will release the information on President Xi Jinping’s schedule of bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in a timely manner once we have it.
Q: Yesterday, President Trump sent a tweet talking about Chinese trade with the DPRK growing by 40% in the first quarter of the year, which seems to be an implicit criticism about China for continuing its trade with the DPRK. How do you respond to that?
A: First, China’s stance on the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue is known to all, that is, staying committed to denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, peace and stability on the Peninsula and peaceful settlement through dialogue and negotiation.
Second, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China has been implementing DPRK-related resolutions in a comprehensive, strict, accurate and faithful manner and fulfilling its due international obligations. The efforts made by China are there for all to see.
Third, as a neighbor of the DPRK, China maintains normal economic exchanges and trade with the DPRK.
Fourth, I would like to remind you that the Security Council’s DPRK-related resolutions explicitly point out that the relevant measures taken by the Security Council do not intend to exert negative impact on the DPRK’s livelihood and humanitarian needs.
Q: The Indian Minister of State for Defence said that there should be a diplomatic solution to the current stand-off between the troops at the Sikkim section, which is what the Indian side wants. Moreover, the Chinese troops should recover the status quo, stay where they were earlier, instead of “intruding into” Bhutanese “territory”. This is India’s security concern and stand. Do you have any response to this?
A: We have noted the relevant remarks by the Indian side. We have repeatedly said the Indian troops this time illegally crossed the delimited Sikkim section of the China-India boundary mutually recognized by the two sides. That is essentially different from the previous border frictions and stand-offs between the two border troops in undefined areas. India’s trespass into China’s territory has changed the status quo which can only be recovered when the Indian side withdraws.
China has the will to peacefully resolve the problem through diplomatic means and cherishes peace and tranquility in the border areas, but the precondition for all this is the unconditional withdrawal of the Indian personnel who have illegally crossed the boundary.
As to this Indian official’s remarks on China’s entry into the so-called Bhutanese “territory”, we have stated on many occasions that Doklam has always been part of China's territory and under China's effective jurisdiction without disputes. China and Bhutan have held 24 rounds of boundary talks since they were launched in the 1980s. Though the boundary is yet to be demarcated officially, the two sides have basic consensus on the situation on the ground in the border areas and the boundary alignment. China has been strictly observing the relevant agreement between China and Bhutan. China’s activities in this area have not breached any agreement or undermined the status quo.
In fact, it is the Indian side who takes “protecting Bhutan” as an excuse to justify its boundary-crossing and entry into China and makes an issue of the Doklam area so as to hold back the China-Bhutan boundary negotiation. We once again urge the Indian side to immediately pull all of the troops that have crossed the boundary back to its own side before the situation gets worse with more serious consequences.
Q: Recently, the Ministry of External Affairs of India accused China of posing security risks to India by constructing roads. What is the response of the Chinese side?
A: I am wondering on what ground does the Indian side base its accusation.. The Chinese side builds roads on its own territory, which is a justified and legitimate action by a sovereign state.
The Indian side, under the pretext of the so-called “security concerns”, overstepped the defined boundary and entered its neighbor’s territory. Anyone who knows the basic principles of international relations should understand that whatever the Indian side is up to following the trespass, it is not acceptable to any sovereign state, and it is not the proper way for China and India to get along with each other as neighbors, either. It is absurd to say that China’s road construction poses risks to India’s security. Over the past few decades, it is India that has built many facilities, deployed a large number of troops and even built such military installations as fortifications riding or overstepping the border line, which has changed the status quo of the border areas. I am wondering if the Indian side has ever taken into account the security concerns of the Chinese side while doing this.
The Indian side provoked this incident with a clear aim. Under the pretext of the so-called “security concerns” and “protecting Bhutan”, the Indian side flagrantly overstepped the Sikkim section defined by the mutually recognized Convention Between Great Britain and China Relating to Sikkim and Tibet (1890) and entered into the Doklam region which is China’s territory without dispute so as to stir up disputes over the Doklam region and hinder and hold back the negotiation over border areas between two sovereign states, namely, China and Bhutan. We believe more and more people will come around to this.