Q: Recently Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin paid a visit to the Philippines. Did they talk about the South China Sea issue? How do you see the future development of China-Philippines ties?
A: Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin visited the Philippines from January 17 to 18, during which he co-hosted the 20th China-Philippines foreign affairs consultation with Philippine Foreign Affairs Under Secretary Enrique Manalo and met with Philippine President Duterte. Relevant news release has been made public.
While meeting with Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin, President Duterte spoke highly of the progress achieved in the rapprochement of China-Philippines relations since last year, saying that he was satisfied with the overall development of bilateral ties following his visit to China last year. He will travel to Beijing in May for a high-level forum on international cooperation of the Belt and Road initiative and looks forward to having another meeting with President Xi Jinping.
The two sides had candid and in-depth exchanges and forged broad consensus on the South China Sea issue. We have come to an agreement that the South China Sea is only a tiny part compared to the overwhelmingly friendly relations between China and the Philippines that keep growing, and should be peacefully resolved through dialogue and consultation. Pending the final settlement of relevant issues, the two countries should properly manage disputes, press ahead with maritime practical cooperation and create a favorable environment for the sound and steady development of bilateral ties. They agreed to work alongside other ASEAN countries to fully and effectively implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), move forward the negotiation process of the code of conduct in the South China Sea (COC), complete the draft framework of the COC before the mid of this year, and strive to reach the COC at an early date based on consensus. They also assented to set up a bilateral negotiation mechanism on the South China Sea issue to discuss issues of common concerns and foster maritime cooperation and security.
China is ready to join hands with the Philippines to implement the important consensus reached by leaders, sustain close exchanges at a high level, resume relevant cooperation mechanisms, push for practical cooperation across the board in order to deliver more benefits of cooperation to the two countries and their people and elevate the bilateral relationship to a new height. China will offer full support to the Philippines in fulfilling its duties as this year's rotating chair of ASEAN, and hopes that China-ASEAN cooperation will make greater strides as ASEAN celebrates its 50th birthday this year.
Q: Tsai Ing-wen confirmed today that the Taiwan delegation will attend President-elect Trump's inauguration ceremony. What is China's comment on that?
A: I have answered this yesterday. We oppose any moves by the Taiwan authority for whatever excuses to send people to the U.S. to conduct activities that will disturb or undermine Sino-U.S. relations. We once again urge relevant parties in the U.S. to allow no delegation sent by the Taiwan authority to attend the inauguration ceremony of the president, and not to have any official contact with Taiwan.
Q: First, the U.S. Commerce Secretary-designate Wilbur Ross said in a testimony before the Senate that China is the most protectionist major economy who talks more about free trade then it actually practices. What is China's comment on that? Second, Malaysia's former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad criticized a Chinese property investment project in Malaysia the other day. What is China's comment on that?
A: For your first question, in the past two days, everyone has been talking about President Xi Jinping's keynote speech at the opening plenary of the 2017 annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos. People from all walks of life in the international community spoke highly of and warmly responded to President Xi's important views and propositions in the speech, exalting China's actions and sense of responsibility. In today's world, it is clear to all who is sincere in promoting trade and investment liberalization and who is practicing protectionism. The answer might contradict the remarks by Mr. Ross.
As for your second question, China and Malaysia enjoy close economic and trade cooperation and increasing bilateral investment over the years, which has brought tangible benefits to the two peoples. China supports Chinese enterprises in conducting economic, trade and investment cooperation with Malaysia in line with business principles for win-win outcomes and common development. As for remarks made by Mr. Mahathir, we noticed that the Malaysian government has made a response.
Q: Trump's inauguration is tomorrow. What is your comment? How will China move forward bilateral relations with the new US administration?
A: We are also following the January 20th inauguration ceremony closely. As for our expectations for bilateral relations under the new US administration, recently we have talked about that a couple of times.
The China-US relationship is one of the most important relations in the world. China and the US are the world's top two economies as the largest developing country and the largest developed country respectively. A sound and stable development of bilateral ties meets the common interests of the people in the two countries. The growth of bilateral ties over the last few years has fully demonstrated that China and the US have far more common interests than differences, and when China and the US join hands, great deeds can be done for the benefits of the two countries and the world. Whether it is for the interests of China and the US and the two peoples, or for world peace, stability and development, we have every reason to believe and expect that China and the US can work together to ensure that bilateral ties move forward along the right track in a sound and stable way.
For the specific issues and differences between the two countries, China and the US should approach each other in a constructive way to enhance mutual understanding, avoid misinterpretation and misjudgment, manage differences in a constructive way, making sure that China-US relations can grow in a sound and stable manner. We wish to work with the new US administration, uphold the principles of non-confrontation, non-conflict, mutual respect and win-win cooperation, and expand all-over cooperation on bilateral, regional and global issues, so that bilateral relations can make greater strides at a new starting point.
Q: On the APA hotel's refusal to withdraw right-wing books denying the Nanjing Massacre, Japan's chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga said on 18th that excessive attention should not be paid to the tragic past. What is China's comment on that?
A: I have expressed China's position the day before yesterday. Responding to Mr. Suga's remarks, I would like to say that only by remembering the past can we find the way to the future. To forget the past is to betray, and to deny the crimes is to relapse. I suggest those in Japan who stubbornly cling to their wrong view of history come to China to visit the Memorial Hall of the Victims in Nanjing Massacre by Japanese Invaders to recall their conscience.
Q: During his speech in Geneva, President Xi Jinping announced that China would provide humanitarian assistance to help the Syrian refugees. Who will receive the assistance?
A: China pays close attention to the humanitarian situation in Syria and has been providing various support and help to ease the humanitarian crisis caused by the Syrian issue. Yesterday President Xi Jinping announced that China would provide additional humanitarian assistance for refugees and the displaced of Syria. You can ask the competent authority for details of the arrangement.
Q: Gambia's impasse in transition of power has got the Economic Community of West African States to consider sending troops. Do you have any comment?
A: The Chinese side has noticed the post-election situation in Gambia. We call on relevant parties to keep calm, properly resolve the current political crisis and ensure peace and stability through dialogue and political consultation while bearing in mind the interests of the country and people.
Given the complex situation following Gambia's general election and the possible security risks of rising emergencies, Gambia has declared a 90-day long state of emergency starting from January 7. The Chinese Foreign Ministry and the Chinese Embassy in Gambia have warned Chinese citizens against traveling to Gambia in the near future.
Q: This week is Obama's last week in office. How do you comment on China-US relations and the legacy of the Obama administration?
A: Since President Obama took office, China-US relations have made significant and positive progress under the concerted efforts of the two sides. Over the past three years or so, in particular, President Xi Jinping and President Obama met for nine times in California, Beijing, Washington D.C. and Hangzhou. The two sides have been engaging with each other closely at various levels including between the leadership, and remarkable achievements have been seen in all-around cooperation at bilateral, regional and global levels. The amount of China-US trade volumes, bilateral investment and mutual visits of personnel all hit record highs. The two sides also made great progress in combating climate change, moving forward negotiations on the bilateral investment agreement, establishing mutual-trust mechanism between the two military, striking against cyber crimes, and responding to the Ebola epidemic in Africa. All these testify to the strategic weight and global influence carried by the China-US relationship. China and the US have far more common interests than differences, and when China and the US cooperate, great deeds can be accomplished for the benefits of the two countries and the world.
Reviewing how China-US relations have fared over the past eight years allows both China and the US to learn something valuable. The first lesson is to stick to the right direction. Boasting greater common interests than differences, the two sides should try their best to be friends and partners, not adversaries and enemies. The second is to make the pie of bilateral cooperation bigger. The two countries working together can accomplish great deeds, not just win-win for China and the US, but win-win for all. The third is to manage sensitive issues in a constructive way. We should look at things through the other party's perspective, respect each other's core interests and major concerns, pursue in-depth dialogues and communication on the basis of equality and mutual respect so that misinterpretation and misjudgment can be avoided, mange differences in a constructive way and make sure that China-US relations can grow in a sound and stable manner. These helpful experiences are worth carrying forward.
We look forward to working with the US to uphold the principles of non-confrontation, non-conflict, mutual respect and win-win cooperation, expand bilateral cooperation in various fields and properly manage disputes so that bilateral relations can make greater strides at a new starting point.