|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang's Regular Press Conference on May 27, 2019|
Q: President Peter Salovey of Yale University recently stated that international students and scholars are welcome and respected on Yale campus, and that openness-a key to the extraordinary success of America's great research universities-must remain a hallmark of Yale. Considering the United States has recently stepped up scrutiny and restrictions on China-US people-to-people exchange under the pretext of national security, how do you view this statement of Yale University?
A: We have noted President Peter Salovey's statement. In fact, Yale is not alone in making such statements. As you may recall, in December last year, President Trump explicitly told President Xi during their meeting in Argentina that Chinese students are welcome to study in the US. But to our regret, without any cause, certain US departments and agencies have been using every means possible to restrict and obstruct normal people-to-people exchange between China and the US, which has seriously affected our communication and cooperation. Frankly, such practices go against our peoples' aspiration and have raised concerns from academic and other communities in both countries.
This year, American universities including Yale, Stanford and University of California, Berkeley issued statements in support of Chinese and other international students and scholars. They believe that doubts based on nationality may lead to horrible consequences. President Lawrence Bacow of Harvard University said in March that maintaining and deepening dialogue and cooperation between educational and cultural institutions is vital for US-China relationship, and Harvard is ready to do so.
China believes that as a common aspiration of both peoples, cultural and people-to-people exchange should not be politicized or disrupted as it is an important basis for bilateral communication and cooperation. We hope certain US officials can come back to reason, respect people's will and contribute to mutual understanding and friendship between us.
Q: US President Donald Trump, who is currently in Japan, said about 40 minutes ago that the United States is not ready to make a deal with China over the trade issues. Is China ready to make a deal with the United States?
A: Recently certain US individuals including some high-level officials have made various comments on China-US trade talks. Sometimes they say a deal is just around the corner and sometimes they say the situation may be difficult. As you may recall, over the same period of time, China's position remains consistent. First, we believe that differences between two countries, including the differences in trade between China and the US, should be resolved through friendly consultation and negotiation. Second, we are committed to the principle of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit as the basis of trade talks.
Q: Reports say that after officials of the EU Office in Hong Kong and Macao and diplomatic representatives of EU member states met with Carrie Lam, Hong Kong's Chief Executive, the EU Office in Hong Kong issued a formal diplomatic note to her on May 24, expressing attention and concerns on the amendment of the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance. I wonder if you have any response to that?
A: I don't know if you have followed our recent statements. As we clearly stated, by amending the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance and the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Ordinance, the Hong Kong SAR government aims to address existing individual cases and improve the existing SAR legal system, which is beyond reproach. The attempt of a few foreign governments to politicize this matter and make an issue of it is clearly an interference in China's internal affairs. The MFA Commissioner's Office in Hong Kong has made clear China's opposition to it. We have indeed made representations to the relevant governments and asked them not to interfere in Hong Kong SAR's internal affairs.
Q: The US National Security Adviser John Bolton, according to Taiwan's "foreign ministry", had talks recently with his Taiwanese "counterpart", the first time since 1979 there has been such a high-level contact between US government officials and Taiwanese officials. Has China already complained about this meeting to the US?
A: Before answering your question, I need to correct you on one point. In light of the US government's explicit recognition of the government of the People's Republic of China as the sole legal representative of China and its commitment that it only maintains unofficial exchange with Taiwan, Mr. David Lee is by no means the "counterpart" of Mr. Bolton.
As to the incident you referred to, China deplores and strongly objects to that. As we have repeatedly stated, the one-China principle is the political basis for China-US relations. We are firmly against the US engaging in any official contact with Taiwan in whatever form and under whatever pretext. We also stand resolutely against any attempt to create "two Chinas" or "one China, one Taiwan". This is our clear and consistent position. Once again we urge the US side to honor its commitment to the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communiques, stop having official exchange or upgrading substantive relations with Taiwan, and prudently and properly handle issues relating to it to avoid affecting China-US relations and bilateral cooperation in key areas.
Q: Yesterday the New York Times carried a front page cover story saying that the US government's ban on Huawei has led to an abrupt halt in wireless infrastructure development in rural areas and farmers are suffering from difficulties to maintain timely contact with the outside. Some commentators say that the US government's fiercer containment of China has only made things worse for American farmers. Regarding the recent government subsidies for farmers, major agricultural unions have spoken out that what they need is a long-term survival plan, not a band-aid. Do you have any comment on that?
A: I answered similar questions last week. We have also seen this New York Times cover article. China and the US have long had friendly cooperation in various sectors, including agriculture. The US farmers and ranchers have been in a rough patch recently, to which their Chinese partners relate deeply to. However, people in this line of business in both countries know clearly that China is not to blame for the current situation.
The New York Times article you mentioned reveals once again that the US government, by pressuring to the maximum and stoking chaos, has inflicted serious harm on domestic industries and consumers. Some in the US government are sparing no effort to suppress Huawei without producing even a shred of evidence to convince people at home or abroad. At the same time, their actions have done real harm to American people, including those in various industries as well as consumers. Therefore it is only natural that they have been met with doubts and opposition at home.
Q: Prime Minister Modi is going to be sworn in for the second term on May 30. Is China sending any special envoy for that?
A: As we said here last week, China congratulates Mr. Modi on his appointment as the Prime Minister of India's new government. As to whether China will send an envoy to the ceremony, I have no information to offer at the moment.
China and India, as important neighbors to each other, are both major developing countries and emerging markets. Both attach high importance to this relationship. We believe that under the guidance of our leaders and with joint efforts, China-India relations will be further deepened and elevated.
Due to scheduling reasons, the MFA regular press conference on Tuesday, May 28 will be held earlier at 14:30 at the same venue.