|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang's Regular Press Conference on September 25, 2019|
Q: According to reports, on September 24, US President Trump mentioned China several times in his speech at the General Debate of the United Nations General Assembly. He accused China of failing to fulfill the commitments it made when joining the WTO and said he hoped China would properly resolve issues in Hong Kong. What's your comment?
A: The General Debate of the United Nations General Assembly is a key platform for UN members to voice opinions and exchange views on major issues bearing on world peace and development, and an important opportunity for the international community to discuss how to uphold multilateralism, settle international and regional hotspot issues and address global challenges, rather than an occasion for verbal attack and interference in others' internal affairs.
On this important occasion, what the US should do is listen to others' views on the current international landscape and the call for multilateralism, freedom and openness and justice and fairness, and developing countries' appeal for faster development and peace and stability and opposition to bullying practices.
As to the false comments on China by the US side, the Chinese delegation to this session of the UNGA has made a detailed response. You might want to read that carefully.
Regarding China-US relations, our position is consistent and clear. China and the US stand to gain from cooperation and lose from confrontation. Mutual respect and seeking common ground while shelving differences is the right way for us to get along. The US should look at China's development with an open, inclusive and win-win mentality and meet China halfway. We should manage differences with mutual respect and expand cooperation on the basis of mutual benefit and advance our relations featuring coordination, cooperation and stability. This serves the fundamental interests of the two peoples and meets the shared aspiration of the international community.
Q: The United States yesterday led about 30 countries in criticizing Chinese policies in Xinjiang, condemning what they call "the horrific repression of Muslims" in Xinjiang. Has China expressed its oppositions to the US about these comments?
A: I already stated China's solemn position on the US initiative to organize this so-called "human rights crisis in Xinjiang" event when taking questions yesterday. I have to point out that the US and other relevant parties, in disregard of China's objection, obstinately held such a panel discussion under the flag of religion and human rights to smear and vilify China's policies in Xinjiang, and interfere in China's internal affairs. We deplore and firmly oppose that.
I shall stress that the issues in Xinjiang are not about religion or human rights, but about fighting separatism and violent terrorism. The Chinese government has all along attached importance to Xinjiang's stability and development and to protecting the freedom of religious belief and preserving the culture of people of all ethnic groups. Human rights in Xinjiang are fully guaranteed. Our preventive counterterrorism and deradicalization measures in Xinjiang are all for the safety and happiness of the 25 million people of different ethnic groups in Xinjiang, and for contributing a greater share to the international fight against terrorism.
Regardless of external noises and disturbances, we in China will continue to manage our affairs properly and implement our Xinjiang policies to ensure its sustained development. Xinjiang continues to enjoy stability, prosperity, ethnic unity and social harmony. That is there for all to see. All attempts by the US and others to vilify and smear China will be in vain, and all lies will eventually crumble before facts and truth.
Q: On September 23, Russia announced its decision to join the Paris Agreement and fulfill its obligations under the agreement. Russia's Special Presidential Representative on Climate Issues said that Russia is becoming a "full-fledged participant" of this international instrument. What is China's comment on this?
A: China welcomes Russia's decision and believes that this fully demonstrates its positive attitude and sense of responsibility in meeting the challenges of climate change. This will help strengthen the international community's joint efforts in this area.
Climate change is a common challenge to mankind. As President Xi Jinping's special representative State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi stressed in his speech at the United Nations Climate Action Summit, to address this issue, we need to be determined to win the fight, be prepared to take sustained actions and be committed to cooperation. China stands ready to work with all members of the international community, including Russia, to participate constructively in the multilateral global process on climate change following the principles and provisions under the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement, and to promote the full and effective implementation of the Paris Agreement and green, low carbon and sustainable development.
Q: A Canada-based internet research company says it has evidence that Chinese hackers have been targeting exiled Tibetans and exiled Uighurs. What's your response?
A: We have answered many questions on cyber attacks.
I will reiterate that China is a staunch upholder of cybersecurity. We firmly oppose and combat all forms of cyber attacks. The cyberspace is highly virtual and filled with multiple actors whose behaviors are difficult to trace. When investigating and determining the nature of a cyberspace activity, one should present abundant evidence instead of making random assumptions or pinning blames irresponsibly. We call on the international community to jointly deal with threats to cybersecurity through dialogue and cooperation on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit.
Q: Australian Prime Minister Morrison in a speech in Chicago earlier this week said China should be considered as a developed country, not a developing country for WTO purposes. Can you tell us what your view is on that and also on the fact that he chose to make such a comment during a visit to the US?
A: We have noted the remarks of the Australian side. Who are the developing countries at the WTO? What are the standards and procedures in determining that? This should be decided through consultations among WTO members. In particular, the opinions of developing countries should be respected. A recent study published by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development concluded that development is a multidimensional concept and that current classifications for developing countries are reasonable.
Since the founding of the People's Republic of China 70 years ago, especially since the reform and opening up 40 years ago, China has made great strides, but the development is still inadequate and unbalanced, and there are such problems concerning the quality and efficiency of development. China is still a developing country, which is a broad consensus of the international community. By adhering to its developing country status, China is standing for the basic rights of fellow developing countries and maintaining international fairness and justice.
As the world's largest developing country, China will continue to make contributions commensurate with its own capabilities and development level in WTO negotiations. It will, as always, help other developing countries achieve common development and contribute its share to upholding the multilateral trading regime.
Q: According to reports, on August 30, then US National Security Adviser John Bolton declassified a memo dated 1982, which was sent by then U.S. President Ronald Reagan to his Secretary of State George P. Shultz and Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger after the August 17 Communiqué was signed. The document said that the quality and quantity of the arms provided to Taiwan depend entirely on the threat posed by China, and that both in quantitative and qualitative terms, Taiwan's defense capability relative to that of the PRC will be maintained. I wonder what's your comment on this?
A: The Shanghai Communiqué of 1972, the Joint Communiqué on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations of 1979, and the August 17 Communiqué in 1982 established the guiding principle for China and the US to handle bilateral relations, including the Taiwan question. In particular, the August 17 Communiqué sets out clear provisions on US arms sales to Taiwan. The US explicitly states that it does not seek to carry out a long-term policy of arms sales to Taiwan, that its arms sales to Taiwan will not exceed, either in qualitative or in quantitative terms, the level of those supplied in recent years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the United States and China, and that it intends gradually to reduce its sale of arms to Taiwan, leading, over a period of time, to a final resolution. As facts have shown, US arms sales to Taiwan seriously breach the three joint communiqués, especially the August 17 Communiqué, go against the commitment made by the US itself, and seriously undermine China-US relations.
The unilateral and internal memo you mentioned is a serious breach of the one-China principle, the three joint communiqués and basic norms governing international relations. It is completely wrong and null and void. The US should abide by the three joint communiqués, not some unilateral memo.
We strongly urge the US side to stay true to its solemn commitment to China, abide by the one-China principle and the three communiqués, stop interfering in China's internal affairs, stop arms sales to Taiwan, and properly handle issues relating to Taiwan, to prevent new disruption and damage to China-US relations and peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.
Q: The Democrats yesterday announced the opening of an impeachment inquiry against Donald Trump. Does China have any opinion on this initiative?
A: This is an internal affair of the US. We have no comment on it.
Q: It is reported that 27 countries recently issued a joint statement on responsible state behavior in cyberspace. What is China's comment?
A: We have noticed this statement.
China has long been proposing to formulate a widely-accepted code of behavior in cyberspace under the framework of the United Nations. China, Russia and other members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization jointly put forward the world's first draft of International Code of Conduct for Information Security to the UN back in 2011. With these countries' joint efforts, the UN set up a group of governmental experts (GGE) to discuss this issue and reached important consensus. Core content of the draft document was adopted in the GGE reports which emphasizes that countries should abide by international law based on the UN Charter and strive to uphold peace and cooperation in cyberspace.
This statement misinterprets the reports of GGE, deliberately sidesteps the international consensus to build a peaceful cyberspace, and artificially divides cyberspace into "peaceful time" and "non-peaceful time". This is an attempt to justify certain countries' offensive military operations in cyberspace and to turn the cyber domain into a new theater of war. This will heighten risks of cyber conflicts and frictions between countries. And it will not help uphold peace and security in cyberspace. We call on all countries to get back to former consensus reached in the UN.
We would reiterate that international community should strengthen dialogue and cooperation following the principle of shared responsibility and prosperity to build a peaceful, secure, open, cooperative and orderly cyberspace in an effort to build a community with a shared future in cyberspace.
Q: US President Trump mentioned Hong Kong in his address at the UNGA. He called on China to honor the Sino-British Joint Declaration and protect Hong Kong's freedom, legal system and democratic ways of life. Would you like to respond to that?
A: We have repeatedly stated our position on issues relating to Hong Kong. I stress again that Hong Kong affairs are purely China's internal affairs. No foreign government, organization or individual has any right to interfere. Hong Kong is an important global hub for finance, trade and shipping. Disrupting Hong Kong is in no one's interest, including the US side. We urge the US to abide by international law and basic norms governing international relations, earnestly respect China's sovereignty, stop meddling in China's domestic affairs, and stop making irresponsible remarks. We hope it will do more things conducive to promoting Hong Kong's stability and prosperity and advancing China-US relations.
You also mentioned the Sino-British Joint Declaration. I will reiterate that the Joint Declaration has resolved the Hong Kong issue left over from history. With Hong Kong's return to the motherland, China resumed exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong and the Chinese government started administering Hong Kong based on the Constitution and the Basic Law. Under international law, the Joint Declaration gives no country any right to interfere in Hong Kong affairs.
Q: Reports say a 5.8 magnitude earthquake hit Pakistan on September 24. The number of casualties are still rising. Would you like to comment on that? Will China provide assistance to Pakistan?
A: China is following the aftermath of the earthquake in Pakistan closely. We mourn the lost lives and extend sympathy to the bereaved families and those injured. China and Pakistan have a tradition of mutual assistance. We will provide timely assistance to the best of our capabilities based on Pakistan's needs.
Q: The government of the Marshall Islands has within the last thirty minutes just issued a statement expressing its support for Taiwan and criticism of China. The Marshall Islands' president said that China's attempts to expand its influence in the Pacific Island region should be of great concern to democratic countries. Can you tell us is the Chinese government currently discussing with the Marshall Islands whether or not to establish ties with China and abandon Taiwan? How do you respond to the criticism from the the Marshall Islands?
A: First, there is but one China in the world. The government of the People's Republic of China is the sole legal government representing the whole of China. Taiwan is an inalienable part of China's territory. The one-China principle is a consensus of the international community. Adhering to this principle is an irresistible trend of the times with wide recognition. We are convinced that more and more countries will join the ranks of those supporting the one-China principle. I would like to reiterate that China stands ready to develop friendly cooperative relations with other countries on the basis of the one-China principle.
As to China expanding influence in the Pacific Island region, we have stated repeatedly that our cooperation with Pacific Island countries is based on mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit. It has brought tangible interests to Pacific Island countries and is welcomed by the their governments and peoples. Any fair-minded people will not fail to see the plain facts.
Q: According to reports, UN Secretary General António Guterres in his address to the general debate of the 74th UNGA called on all 193 UN members to "do everything possible to avert the Great Fracture and maintain a universal system - a universal economy with universal respect for international law; a multipolar world with strong multilateral institutions."I wonder what's your comment on that?
A: China is a staunch defender of the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and multilateralism. We uphold the UN-centered international system, the global order based on international law, and the multilateral trading regime with WTO rules as the cornerstone. We stand ready to work with other countries towards forging a new type of international relations featuring mutual respect, fairness, justice and win-win cooperation, and building a community with a shared future for mankind.