|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang's Regular Press Conference on June 14, 2019|
From June 16 to 22, Guo Shengkun, member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, Secretary of the Secretariat of the CPC Central Committee and head of the Commission for Political and Legal Affairs of the CPC Central Committee, will, upon invitation, travel to Russia for the 10th International Meeting of High Representatives for Security Issues and then visit Portugal.
At the invitation of State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, President of the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly, will visit China from June 17 to 20.
Q: The US government has accused Iran of being behind the attacks on the two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman. Iran has denied this. Who does the Chinese government believe is responsible for the attacks?
A: China is worried about the continuing tensions in the Gulf region. We hope relevant parties will remain calm and restrained and avoid further escalation. We hope all parties will jointly uphold navigation security in relevant waters and peace and stability of the region, which is in the common interests of the international community.
Q: According to reports, Yemeni Houthi forces launched an attack on a civilian airport that injured 26 people in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday. What's your comment?
A: China condemns the attack against civilians and civilian infrastructure. We hope relevant parties will stay calm, exercise restraint and avoid any move that may escalate the tensions in the region.
Q: The Gulf region is witnessing unprecedented tensions, with rising possibility of war. How does China see its impact on Chinese investments overseas and China's interests? If countries suspend the oil supply, does China have any alternative to fill the gap? Besides, against the backdrop of the China-US trade disputes, the US may take actions that threaten China's interests overseas in this region. Is China concerned about this?
A: This is a long and wide-ranging question, and I will try my best to give you a comprehensive answer.
Journalist: I hope your answer is long, too.
A: First, in the Gulf region in the Middle East, the last thing we want to see is a war. It serves no one's interests and undermines the shared interests of the international community. Here I don't want to talk about anything related to a war, neither will I predict the possibility of a war.
Second, China is concerned over the tensions in the Gulf region in the Middle East. We hope relevant parties will properly resolve differences through dialogue and consultations, and jointly uphold peace, stability and development. This is in the interests of regional countries and the international community.
Third, China maintains normal cooperation with the Gulf states, including in the field of energy. Our cooperation under the framework of international law is legitimate and legal, and thus should be respected and protected. China will continue to uphold its energy security and the legal rights and interests of Chinese businesses. I'd like to stress that China firmly opposes unilateral sanctions and the so-called long-arm jurisdiction.
Fourth, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council and an influential major country, China has all along maintained communication with countries in the region and other major countries on the situation in the Gulf region. We are working to play our role and contribute to upholding peace and stability in the Gulf region.
I hope my answer is long enough for you.
Q: President Xi met today in Bishkek with the Iranian President Rouhani. I have seen the statement that the foreign ministry has released about this. I was wondering if President Xi talked about the current tensions in the Gulf region with President Rouhani?
A: China has released the readout of President Xi's meeting with President Rouhani. You saw that, right?
Since you have seen our press release on the bilateral meeting, I have few information to add. Just as I said while answering an earlier question, China stands ready to work with regional countries and other parties concerned to uphold peace and stability in the Gulf region. That serves the shared interests of the international community.
Q: The UN Under Secretary-General for Counterterrorism is on a visit to Xinjiang this week. I was wondering if you could share more details about the itinerary such as which sites he plans to visit and the purpose?
A: At the invitation of the Chinese side, UN Under Secretary-General for Counterterrorism Voronkov is visiting China. We will release more information when we have it. You may follow up on that.
Q: You just announced that Secretary Guo Shengkun will travel to Russia for the 10th International Meeting of High Representatives for Security Issues. Who will he meet with in Russia and what will be discussed? Could you share more information?
A: President Xi Jinping just concluded a successful state visit to Russia and attended the 23rd St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. He had long and in-depth exchange with President Putin and reached important consensus on strengthening all-round cooperation, bringing bilateral relations to a new era.
Against this background, Secretary Guo Shengkun's upcoming trip to Russia for the 10th International Meeting of High Representatives for Security Issues comes as an important visit to implement our heads of state's consensus and enhance security cooperation. Besides, it is also a continuation of the tradition of China's annual attendance at this meeting. Secretary Guo will address the meeting, meet with Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation Patrushev and have exchanges with other heads of delegation. We believe this will advance China-Russia relations and law enforcement and security cooperation, step up bilateral and multilateral exchange in security and enhance international cooperation to contribute to efforts to tackle global security threats and challenges.
Q: US lawmakers are reintroducing the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act to the Congress, which would require the US government to annually certify Hong Kong's autonomy to justify special treatment accorded by the 1992 US Hong Kong Policy Act and require the US president to identify those responsible to suppressing freedoms in Hong Kong, freeze their assets and deny their entry into the US. I was wondering what is your response?
A: China deplores and firmly opposes some US Congressmen's reintroduction of this act, which wantonly criticizes Hong Kong affairs and flagrantly interferes in China's domestic affairs.
Hong Kong is a special administrative region (SAR) of China and its affairs are purely China's internal affairs that brook no foreign interference. Since its return to the motherland, the policy of "one country, two systems" and Hong Kong people governing Hong Kong with a high degree of autonomy has been faithfully implemented. The rights and freedoms of Hong Kong residents have been full guaranteed according to law. This is a fact that is recognized by all those without bias.
As a major trading partner of Hong Kong, the US has a stake in Hong Kong's prosperity and stability. A chaotic Hong Kong runs counter to US interests. We urge certain people in the US to respect basic facts, discard arrogance and prejudice, stop playing dirty tricks that meddle in Hong Kong affairs, give up delusions to instigate chaos in the SAR, stop pushing the relevant act and interfering in China's internal affairs, and work to enhance mutual trust and cooperation between China and the US instead.
Let me reiterate, China's determination to safeguard its national sovereignty, security and development interests is rock solid. We are not afraid of any threat or intimidation. Any plots aimed at instigating chaos in Hong Kong to undermine its prosperity and stability are bound to be opposed by all Chinese people including Hong Kong compatriots. Such attempts go against people's aspiration and will never succeed.
Q: The largest South Korean search engine Naver was partially inaccessible some time ago. Today the whole website became inaccessible. Is that related to the latest situation in Hong Kong?
A: I'd refer you to the competent authority as I have no information on that. But I can tell you that China always regulates Internet-related affairs according to law.
Q: According to our information, China recently rescued an injured Vietnamese fisherman in relevant waters of the South China Sea under China's jurisdiction. Can you confirm that and give us more details?
A: Late at the night on June 5, the Consular Department of the Vietnamese Foreign Ministry contacted the Chinese Embassy in Vietnam, saying that a crew member of the Vietnamese fishing boat DNa90439TS was injured and bleeding in a life-threatening condition, who needed emergency aid from the Chinese side. After learning the situation, the Chinese maritime search and rescue authorities immediately sent out Nanhaijiu-117 for search and rescue efforts in the relevant waters. With relentless efforts, they found the Vietnamese fishing boat at 6:07 p.m. on June 6 and the injured fisherman and two others accompanying him were immediately moved over and sent to Yongxing Island, Sansha city, China. The People's Hospital of Sansha City carefully examined the injured Vietnamese fisherman, who was diagnosed with gastrointestinal stress ulceration and received treatment. This fisherman is now in stable condition and his vital signs have become normal.
The Chinese maritime search and rescue personnel have all along followed humanitarian spirit and risked their lives to provide timely and necessary search and rescue services to ships and sailors in distress in the waters under China's jurisdiction, to which the international community bears witness. We will continue to do so and try our best to provide search and rescue assistance.
Q: Did President Xi Jinping talk about yesterday's attack on two oil tankers with President Rouhani?
A: As I said earlier, we have issued a press release on that and I have nothing further to add.
Q: China's Ambassador to Britain Liu Xiaoming said that Beijing never instructed Hong Kong to amend its extradition law. I'm just wondering if the foreign ministry could confirm that?
A: If you are following this issue, you should know that the Hong Kong SAR government has offered detailed information including its considerations on the amendment. I will reiterate that the central government firmly supports the SAR government in amending the two ordinances.
Q: The Chinese ambassador to the UN branch in Geneva said that the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has an open invitation to visit Xinjiang. I was wondering if you could elaborate on what this open invitation would entail? Whether she can be able to visit there without the company of Chinese officials?
A: In November last year, during the third cycle of the Universal Periodic Review at the UN, China publicly invited UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet to visit China at a convenient time.
Recently, China has invited several foreign missions to visit Xinjiang, and such invitation has also been sent to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. We welcome all parties to visit Xinjiang on the precondition of abiding by Chinese laws. In the meantime, we will never allow anyone to interfere in China's internal affairs and undermine China's sovereignty and territorial integrity with political calculations using the opportunity of visiting Xinjiang.
Q: China has repeatedly voiced opposition to foreign interference in Hong Kong affairs. Is it based on any evidence?
A: Lately, as I'm sure you have noted, some Western countries have been making a barrage of irresponsible and false comments on the Hong Kong SAR government's amendment to relevant ordinances. They keep criticizing and lecturing on Hong Kong affairs. Some Western politicians openly prop up those who are anti-China and seek to destabilize Hong Kong. Some countries' consulates-general in Hong Kong engaged in aiding and abetting with wrong statements in disregard of international law and basic norms governing international relations. These facts are crystal clear.
I want to reiterate that Hong Kong is China's SAR and its affairs are purely China's internal affairs that brook no interference from any country, organization or individual. Certain countries and individuals shall look squarely at China's commitment to the "one country, two systems" policy and determination to safeguard its national sovereignty, security and development interests. Any attempts aimed at instigating chaos in Hong Kong to undermine its prosperity and stability are bound to be opposed by all Chinese people including Hong Kong compatriots. Such attempts go against people's aspiration and will never succeed.