|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang's Regular Press Conference on June 21, 2019|
Q: US President Donald Trump met with Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau yesterday. President Trump said that when he meets President Xi at the G20, he will bring up the issue of the two detained Canadians. If that were to happen, what would be the Chinese reaction?
A: I read the relevant reports, but instead of President Trump's exact words, I believe what you quoted is the Canadian side's statement on President Trump's remarks.
We note the state of mind of the Canadian leadership on current China-Canada relations. I'd like to repeat that Canada is entirely responsible for the current problems in bilateral relations, and it knows clearly the causes. It surely knows what it should do to make things better.
You mentioned the cases involving two Canadians, right?
A: We have already made statements on the two cases. China is country with rule of law. Its judicial authorities handle cases independently in accordance with law. Canada and other countries should respect China's judicial sovereignty and not randomly criticize China on matters within its judicial sovereignty.
Q: According to the Advanced Placement (AP) Program website, some AP tests will be suspended in China's mainland starting from 2020. Th tests affected are in US History, World History, European History and Human Geography. Some reports say the suspension of the tests is ordered by the Ministry of Education. Can you confirm that? Also, in response to some doubts on the link between the suspension and China-US trade frictions, do you think there are diplomatic considerations behind the suspension?
A: You mentioned a link with China-US trade frictions. Is this your idea or a quotation?
Journalist: It's the assumption of some people.
A: You said it was reportedly ordered by the Ministry of Education, right?
A: Have you asked the Ministry of Education to confirm this?
Journalist: I think my colleague has placed an inquiry.
A: I'm not aware of what you said. If it was indeed an order from the Ministry of Education, I'd refer you to it for more information. I'm not aware of any "diplomatic considerations" behind this.
Q: Qianjiang Motorcycle signed a deal with Harley-Davidson yesterday to build an affordable smaller motorcycle, which will be marketed by the end of next year. We know that President Donald Trump is unhappy with the company for investing overseas. do you have a comment?
A: I notice reports on that. You know that as a general rule, we don't comment on business cooperation between companies. In principle, though, as I have repeatedly stated, businesses seek profits and follow market rules when making investment decisions. And it has been proven that many foreign companies are attracted by the huge market potential and improving business environment in China. Foreign businesses are welcome as always to invest and operate in China to share in its development opportunities and dividends.
Q: During his talks with Chairman Kim yesterday, President Xi said that China would do its best to help the DPRK in addressing its legitimate concerns on security and development. I wonder if there's anything specific that China will provide to the DPRK? And how do you see the outcomes of this visit?
A: The latest information I have is that President Xi has boarded his plane heading back home. It has been a very friendly and successful visit, as you can see from the readouts issued by both countries.
In fact, starting from yesterday, both China and the DPRK released the specifics of the meeting and talks between the two leaders, including what you quoted from the press release of the Chinese side. As friendly neighbors, China and the DPRK have long been respecting and supporting each other's socialist development.
As President Xi pointed out during his talks with Chairman Kim, the China-DPRK relationship has entered a new historical period. Faced with complex and profound changes in regional and international landscape, high-level exchange needs to be enhanced to guide the bilateral relationship. The two sides should maintain close communication and keep to the general direction of bilateral relationship. We need to step up strategic communication and have timely exchange of views on major issues. We should expand practical cooperation to deliver greater benefits to the two peoples and consolidate our friendship by deepening exchanges.
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the DPRK, an occasion of great significance. China is ready to carry out the plan with the DPRK to commemorate this occasion to advance traditional friendship and improve people's welfare.
I'd refer you to our detail-rich readout for more information.
Q: Recent reports on escalating US cyber attacks on Russia's electric power grid have drawn much attention. The New York Times quoted US security officials as saying that the US has put reconnaissance probes into the control systems of Russian grid since at least 2012. Reports also say that starting from last summer, the US has been easing legal authorization to allow crippling attacks on foreign networks should conflict break out. Many are concerned about an approaching cyber war. Does China have a comment?
A: We noted the report when it came out. You all know too well that there are numerous reports on cyber attacks. Some of you have also raised specific incidents allegedly involving China for verification here. But none of those were supported by evidence and the allegations turned out to be groundless. However, the New York Times report is different in the sense that it offers quite some details. I think American media has asked the US government for comments but there seems to be no official reply yet. Has anyone here heard about anything? No?
The report touched on threats posed by cyber attacks on infrastructure, in particular key infrastructure affecting people's welfare. Considering well-known cases such as the PRISM program, we can understand why, as you said, many are concerned.
Q: The plenary session of the Nuclear Suppliers Group is underway in Astana. It is likely that India's membership might figure in the meeting. Considering China has been blocking India's entry to the NSG, do you think this time China will change its stance?
A: First of all, no member was blocking any country. All NSG decisions are made following its rules of procedure.
The 2019 session of the NSG Plenary is being held in Nursultan, the capital of Kazakhstan. According to the agenda, member countries will continue to discuss the issue of technical, legal and political aspects of the admission of non-NPT states to the NSG. Before reaching a non-discriminatory plan acceptable to all NPT non-parties, the plenary meeting will not be discussing the entry of any specific NPT non-party. So there is no blocking of India.
China's position on NSG expansion is consistent and clear. We believe all countries need to follow NSG rules, uphold the authority and solemnity of the NPT and seek a non-discriminatory solution acceptable to all based on full consultation.
Q: A question on China's judgement about the situation in Iran. There are reports that the US was about to attack Iran but the plan was later canceled. It is also reported that the EU will hold a meeting on the Iranian nuclear issue in Vienna next week and China will participate. What is China's and position on the current situation?
A: On you first question, we note the report you mentioned. The Gulf situation is complex and sensitive at the moment. China has been calling on relevant parties to refrain from actions leading to further escalation. Do not, we repeat, do not open Pandora's box. It is China's consistent position that relevant sides should seek a proper solution through peaceful dialogue and consultation on the basis of mutual respect to uphold regional peace and stability, which is in the interests of the international community.
On your second question, I said yesterday that parties to the JCPOA will hold a Joint Commission meeting on June 28. China is in close communication with all sides. As State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said during a joint press conference with Syrian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign and Expatriates Minister Walid Al-Moualem a few days ago, the full and effective implementation of the JCPOA, which has been endorsed by the UN Security Council, is the only realistic and viable approach to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue.
We also pointed out that the IAEA has confirmed for the 15th consecutive time that Iran has fulfilled its nuclear obligations under the JCPOA. Other parties should respect Iran's legitimate demands and uphold the balance of rights and obligations under the JCPOA through concrete measures. We also hope Iran will not give up on the deal lightly.
Q: Entry of new members who are not members of the NPT is not on the agenda at the NSG meeting in Kazakhstan. Rather, it is more about rules and guidelines for the admission. Is that right?
A: As I just said, the agenda for the 2019 plenary of the NSG taking place in Kazakhstan will include technical, legal and political aspects of the admission of non-NPT states to the NSG. Specific admission of non-NPT states to the grouping will not be discussed at the plenary until a non-discriminatory solution applicable to all non-NPT states is reached.
Q: India's assertion is that the majority of NSG members have endorsed India's membership, and it is only China and probably other few countries that have been asking to block it on the grounds that India has not signed the NPT. Secondly, it has been about two years since China came out with the formulation of a specific plan for the entry of new members. How long will it take to form the plan?
A: You mentioned India's assertion, but I cannot speak on its behalf.
I would like to point out that the NSG is a multilateral non-proliferation export control mechanism. As such, it has rules that all members must abide by.
The NSG's rule is that it is consensus-based. Specific issues such as India or other countries' admission and positions on it should be discussed within the grouping. As a matter of fact, the NSG has been dealing with relevant matters in accordance with its rules.
You said it has been two years since India applied to join the NSG. I need to point out that admission of new members to a multilateral institution has to be on consensus reached through consultation. Nobody could foretell when a decision might be made. Consensus must be reached first through non-discriminatory discussions.
Today several Indian journalists have asked questions on the NSG. Let me reiterate, as we have stated in NSG plenary and working group discussions, the position by China and many other NSG members is not against any particular country. Rather, it is about NSG rules and multilateral principles. Our objective is very clear, that is, to uphold the authority and solemnity of the NPT, the cornerstone of multilateral arms control and non-proliferation.
Q: Would you have any information on whether Chinese officials have actually spoken by telephone with USTR Lighthizer? If not, when will they do? And when might the two negotiation teams meet at the G20?
A: As my colleague in the Ministry of Commerce said yesterday, following the consensus reached by the two heads of state in their telephone call, heads of the two negotiating teams should communicate before the two presidents meet in Osaka. I have nothing further to add.
Q: There is a bilateral dialogue between India and China on the non-proliferation issues. Is there any latest progress made in the bilateral talks?
A: I am not aware of what latest progress you might refer to. Based on my information, Director-General Fu Cong of the MFA's Department of Arms Control recently held a round of arms control and non-proliferation consultations in New Delhi with the Indian official in charge of disarmament and international security affairs. The two sides had an in-depth exchange of views on issues of mutual interest in international arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation.