|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang's Regular Press Conference on May 10, 2019|
At the invitation of the Kazakh government, Han Zheng, member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Vice Premier of the State Council, will visit Kazakhstan from May 14 to 16 for the 12th Astana Economic Forum and the second China-Kazakhstan Sub-national Cooperation Forum.
Q: As we understand, the International Forum for Trilateral Cooperation 2019 between China, Japan and the ROK is held in Beijing today. Could you give us some details on that? Also, this year marks the 20th anniversary of China-Japan-ROK cooperation mechanism. As this year's chair, what is China's expectation for the trilateral cooperation going forward?
A: The International Forum for Trilateral Cooperation 2019 is co-hosted today by the China Public Diplomacy Association and the Trilateral Cooperation Secretariat of China, Japan and the ROK. On the occasion marking the 20th anniversary, this forum aims to take stock of cooperation in the past two decades, chart the future and pool new ideas and suggestions. State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi attended and addressed the opening ceremony. More than 300 experts, scholars and delegates from various sectors from the three countries attended the forum and offered their opinions and recommendations for deeper cooperation.
After 20 years of development, the China-Japan-ROK trilateral cooperation is now functioning with the leaders' summit at its core and under 21 ministerial-level meeting and more than 70 dialogue mechanisms. The joint efforts of the three countries over the past 20 years have yielded remarkable outcomes. As the world is challenged by protectionism and unilateralism and grappling with setbacks in multilateralism and the free trade system, it is all the more necessary and urgent for us to enhance trilateral cooperation. We need to conclude the negotiation on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership as early as possible and speed up the negotiation on a trilateral free trade agreement, which will send out positive signals of our commitment to openness.
Japan and the ROK, as important junctures along the ancient Silk Road, are well-positioned to take a more active part in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and share in the outcomes. Following the approach of consultation and collaboration for shared benefits, China is ready to take the fair suggestions from the two sides. We believe the BRI will create broader space for deeper cooperation and become a source of growth and a highlight in the future. As the chair, taking the 20th anniversary as an opportunity, China will work with Japan and the ROK to bring more benefits to our peoples and contribute to world peace and development through better strategic plans, new ways of cooperation and common development.
Q: Are you able to give us any information on whether a phone call between President Xi and President Trump might have already taken place or when it will be scheduled or whether there will be any discussion about that?
A: I am not aware of what you mentioned. I can tell you that the two Presidents have maintained contact through various means.
Q: A question about fentanyl. Some US officials and former officials have expressed some doubt that China is serious about cracking down on the fentanyl productions here. Some officials said that China only wants to be helpful on fentanyl to gain more leverage in the trade talks. What's your comment?
A: In April, relevant departments of the Chinese government have already issued an announcement and offered detailed information on the class scheduling of fentanyl-related substances. Relevant measures took effect on May 1, winning the acclaim of American people from all walks of life.
I would like to emphasize that China always honors its pledges. The class scheduling of fentanyl-related substances is an important move by the Chinese government to ward off the risk and potential harm of new-type drugs to guarantee people's well-being and to participate in global drug control to safeguard security and stability of the world. The root cause of the fentanyl issue in the US, I am afraid, does not lie with China. To solve the problem, the US should look harder for the cause at home.
You referred to some people's view that the fentanyl issue is related to the economic and trade consultations. I can only marvel at the imagination of those behind such wild remarks. China's position on the economic and trade consultations is very clear. The Commerce Ministry Spokesperson has already released a statement on this, so I won't repeat it here.
Q: On the trade talks, what impact do you see this have on diplomatic relations between China and the US regarding a whole range of issues, not just trade but also in other fields. Will it have a strong negative impact?
A: On the economic and trade consultations between China and the US, we have repeatedly stated our position and I won't repeat it here.
On China-US relations, I would like to say that their sound and steady development serves the interests of both sides and is the shared expectation of the international community. We hope the US side will work with China for a bilateral relationship featuring coordination, cooperation and stability. To achieve this goal, the two sides need to meet each other halfway.
Q: Media say that the EU, the UK, France and Germany issued a joint statement on May 9, saying that they remain committed to the preservation and full implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), strongly recommend Iran to implement the JCPOA in full, and regret the re-imposition of sanctions by the United States after it withdrew from the deal. President Trump said on the same day that he is open to talks with the Iranian side. I wonder if you have any comment?
A: China has been closely following the developments on the Iranian nuclear issue. We have taken note of the latest statements from various parties.
I'd like to emphasize that the JCPOA, a multilateral agreement endorsed by the UN Security Council, should be implemented fully and effectively for its vital importance in the international non-proliferation regime and peace and stability in the Middle East. Iran has been verified by the IAEA for 14 times so far that it faithfully implemented the JCPOA, and China highly applauds that.
We regret that the US escalated tensions by withdrawing from the JCPOA and imposing unilateral sanctions and "long-arm jurisdictions" on Iran. I'd like to stress again that dialogue and consultation, rather than conflict and confrontation, hold the key to the issue. We call on all parties to exercise restraint, step up dialogue, make all possible efforts to support and uphold the JCPOA and refrain from taking any moves that violate the deal so as to prevent a spiral of escalation of tensions.
We do not wish to see fluctuations in the global energy market or escalated tensions in the Middle East. China will continue to fulfill its obligations under the JCPOA and work with all relevant parties for its preservation and implementation.
Q: US regulators decided yesterday to block China Mobile in the US market citing national security reasons. Has China officially protested to the US?
A: We have taken note of relevant reports. The Chinese government always asks Chinese enterprises to abide by international rules and market principles and local laws and regulations in conducting global investment and cooperation.
Regarding the case you mentioned, I would like to say that we urge the US to abide by market economy principles, stop the wrong practice of featuring national security in every issue, stop unjustified oppression of Chinese enterprises and provide a fair, just and non-discriminatory environment for their investment and operation in the US.
Q: Can you give us any details at all on the retaliatory measures China intends to impose in response to tariffs raised by the US?
A: Perhaps you have noted the statement by the Commerce Ministry Spokesperson at noon today. You may follow up on more information to your interest.
Q: First, what's your response to North Korea's launch of "ballistic missile"? And second, do you have any information on when China might announce any plans for retaliation it said might be coming?
A: Let me take your second question first. The Commerce Ministry Spokesperson has already released a statement at noon today, which you may have noticed. You may follow up on more information regarding specific measures.
On your first question, we have taken note of relevant reports. At the moment I have no specific information on the category and nature of the projectiles launched by the DPRK. What I would like to emphasize is that the hard-won momentum for dialogue and deescalation on the Korean Peninsula is the result of concerted efforts. We hope all parties will stay committed to the right path of dialogue and contribute further to denuclearization and political settlement of the Peninsula issue.
Q: The US Department of Justice announced yesterday the indictment of members of a Chinese hacking group that allegedly stole the personal information of more than 78 million people. I wonder what is your response? Do you condemn the hackers for their behaviors?
A: I'm not aware of the specifics you mentioned. Cybersecurity is a global issue that bears on the common interests of all countries. It needs to be safeguarded by all members of the international community. China's position is consistent and clear. We are a staunch defender of cybersecurity. We oppose and combat all forms of cyberattack and cybertheft. In response to relevant challenges and threats, China calls on the international community to engage in dialogue and cooperation on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit.