|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang's Regular Press Conference on May 13, 2019|
At the invitation of head of Japan's National Security Council Shotaro Yachi, Yang Jiechi, member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the CPC Central Committee will pay a visit to Japan from May 16 to 18 and co-host the sixth round of China-Japan high-level political dialogue with Mr Yachi. The dialogue is an annual consultation mechanism upon agreement by the two sides, where they will exchange views on bilateral relations and other issues of mutual interest.
Q: Two questions about the China-US trade frictions. Can you tell us why China has not yet retaliated with its own measures against the additional US tariffs? And the second question is, a Trump adviser yesterday said that it was most likely President Xi and President Trump will meet at the G20 summit in Japan next month. Is China currently preparing for the two presidents to hold a bilateral meeting there?
A: On your first question, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Commerce has made a statement about that. We will have to take necessary countermeasures to the additional tariffs imposed on some Chinese goods by the US. You may follow up on more details. To borrow the words of the US side, let's "wait and see". (The journalist laughed.)
On your second question, the two Presidents have maintained contact through various means. I don't have any specifics to update you at the moment.
Q: In a recent interview prior to the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations, Greek President Prokopios Pavlopoulos pointed out that the "clash of civilizations" argument is a huge mistake. As he noted, global peace depends on the dialogue, exchange, communication, contact and mutual understanding between civilizations. China and Greece, as two important ancient civilizations, can play important roles in promoting dialogue between civilizations. Do you agree with him?
A: We highly endorse and applaud President Pavlopoulos's remarks.
Respect for the diversity of civilizations is an important precondition for world peace and harmony. Dialogue between civilizations is an essential guarantee for the peaceful co-existence of countries. We believe every country has the right to choose a development path that suits its national conditions. Countries should champion the principles of equality, mutual learning, dialogue and inclusiveness between civilizations and reject the misguided and wrong belief of "clash of civilizations" or the superiority of one civilization over others. The Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations offers a platform to showcase the charms of Asian civilizations, promote exchange and mutual learning among civilizations and enhance friendship and cooperation between countries.
China and Greece are both inheritors of civilizations characterized by originality, and share much in common in culture and philosophy. Our relationship is setting an example of peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation between countries different in system and culture. China stands ready to work with the international community, Greece included, to engage in more dialogue and cooperation in the spirit of mutual respect, openness and inclusiveness. It is important that we overcome cultural misunderstanding, clash and supremacy through exchanges, mutual learning and coexistence. By so doing, we will be able to find solutions to modern problems in ancient civilizations and shoulder our due responsibilities to advancing world peace and development and building a community with a shared future for mankind.
Q: The Pearl Continental Hotel in the port city of Gwadar, Pakistan was attacked by a terrorist group on May 11. The Majeed Brigade of the Baluch Liberation Army claimed responsibility for the attack, saying that it targeted Chinese and other foreign investors in the hotel. I wonder what is China's comment? Are there Chinese citizens among the casualties?
A: China strongly condemns the terrorist attack targeting the Pearl Continental Hotel in Gwadar. We express our condolences to the Pakistanis who sacrificed their lives in the attack and our sympathy to the bereaved families and the injured. As we know from the Pakistani side, so far there is no Chinese citizen among the casualties.
We commend and thank the Pakistani security forces for safeguarding peace and stability in Gwadar and the security of Chinese personnel and institutions by taking swift measures to eliminate the terrorists. China will remain a staunch supporter of Pakistan's counter-terrorism efforts. We believe the Pakistani government and military are capable of upholding its national security and stability.
As we noted, Prime Minister Imran Khan condemned this attack, saying that it attempted to sabotage Pakistan's economy and prosperity. He emphasized that Pakistan will not allow these agendas to succeed. As a supporter of Pakistan's national development, we will continue to back its efforts to achieve economic growth, social development and people's wellbeing.
Q: China has invited the Greek president for a visit here this week. Recently there have been quite some meetings between leaders of the two countries. Why is China attaching so much emphasis to relations with Greece? How significant is Greece's role in the Belt and Road cooperation?
A: Like I said earlier, China and Greece are both inheritors of civilizations characterized by originality and share much in common in culture and philosophy. Our relationship is setting an example of peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation between countries different in system and culture.
In recent years, our cooperation has achieved remarkable progress under the Belt and Road Initiative. The Port of Piraeus, which has won extensive acclaim, is an exemplar of successful cooperation between China and Greece.
The Greek President will meet with Chinese leaders during this visit. More specifics will be released in due course. We believe his visit and attendance at the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations will further our comprehensive strategic partnership and bring more benefits to our peoples.
Q: According to reports, on May 11 local time, South Africa's Independent Electoral Commission released the official result and declared the victory of the ruling party African National Congress in the sixth general election. What's your comment?
A: South Africa is a major developing country in Africa with important influence in regional and international affairs. This general election has drawn much attention from various sides. It was well-organized and carried out in a peaceful and orderly manner. China congratulates the African National Congress (ANC) for winning the majority of the votes. The Central Committee of the Communist Party of China has sent a congratulatory letter to the ANC National Executive Committee.
China highly values relations with South Africa. We stand ready to work with the South African government in its new term led by the ANC for greater political mutual trust, deeper practical cooperation and more progress in our comprehensive strategic partnership.
Q: The US intends to raise tariffs on over $300 billion worth of Chinese goods, which means all its Chinese imports. What is your comment on that and what measures will you take?
A: As we repeatedly noted, raising tariffs won't solve any problem. China never succumbs to external pressure. We have the resolve and capability to defend our lawful and legitimate rights and interests.
Like I said before, we hope the US can work with China to meet each other halfway, address each other's legitimate concerns and strive for a mutually beneficial agreement on the basis of mutual respect and equality. It will serve the interests of both China and the US and is the shared expectation of the international community.
Q: Can you tell us more about the delegates from various countries attending the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations?
A: The Information Office of the State Council held a press briefing on the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations last week. Those who will attend the event include leaders from Cambodia, Greece, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Armenia, Mongolia and Uzbekistan, and heads of international organizations including UNESCO. This is the information I have on hand. I don't have a full list of delegates at all levels, but I will try to check on that for you after the press conference.