|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang's Regular Press Conference on January 2, 2020|
At the invitation of Minister of Foreign Affairs of Egypt Sameh Hassan Shoukry, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Djibouti Mahmoud Ali Youssouf, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Eritrea Osman Saleh Mohammed, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Burundi Ezechiel Nibigira, and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade of Zimbabwe Sibusiso Busi Moyo, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will pay official visits to the aforementioned countries from January 7 to 13.
Q: You just announced State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi's upcoming visits to Africa. Chinese foreign ministers have been choosing Africa as the destination for their first overseas visits each year. What is the main goal of State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi's visit this year?
A: Since 1991, Africa has been the destination for Chinese foreign ministers' first overseas visits each year. State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang's visit this time will be the 30th consecutive year. The continuation of this fine tradition once again speaks volumes about the high priority China consistently attaches to developing its ties with Africa as well as ever stronger China-Africa friendship.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) and is an important year to implement the outcomes of the 2018 FOCAC Beijing Summit. State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi's upcoming visit will follow President Xi Jinping's ideal of upholding the principles of sincerity, real results, amity and good faith and pursuing the greater good and shared interests to strengthen communication and complementarity with the African countries, implement the important consensus reached by President Xi Jinping and African leaders and jointly follow through on the outcomes of the FOCAC Beijing Summit with a view to advancing China-Africa BRI cooperation, building on China-Africa traditional friendship and moving forward the bilateral ties between China and relevant African countries and China-Africa relations as a whole.
Q: The DPRK said it will continue to develop strategic weapons before the US withdraws its hostile policy against the country. I wonder if you could comment on that?
A: It serves the common interests of all sides to sustain dialogue, promote de-escalation and advance the political settlement of the Peninsula issue. Under the current circumstances, it is not advisable to take actions that lead to escalated tensions rather than dialogue. We hope relevant sides, the DPRK and the US in particular, will stick to dialogue and consultation, move towards each other, actively look for ways to break the deadlock, and make concrete efforts to advance political settlement.
Q: I've got two questions. First question, President Trump has said he's looking forward to signing a phase one trade deal with China on or before January 15. Will a Chinese delegation visit Washington to sign this phase one trade deal?
A: I'd like to refer you to the Commerce Ministry for questions regarding China-US trade talks.
What is your second question?
Journalist: The second question, sources say that the stock connect program between Shanghai and London has been temporarily halted because of political tensions with Britain. Could you please confirm this?
A: Who said that? Is the UK side saying that?
Journalist: It's by Reuters and other British media.
A: I'm not aware of the specific situation and you may ask relevant authorities and businesses. I want to stress that we hope the UK will provide fair, just, open and non-discriminatory business environment for Chinese enterprises and create enabling conditions for China-UK practical cooperation in various fields.
Q: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has postponed his upcoming travels which include Central Asian countries due to rising tensions in Iraq. He once said that he would raise Xinjiang-related issues in bilaterals and the C5+1 ministerial. What is your comment on this postponement?
A: I stated China's position on US announcement of planned discussions about Xinjiang in C5+1 ministerial the day before yesterday. China and Central Asian countries are friendly neighbors and strategic partners. Bilateral cooperation enjoys solid foundation, multiple dimensions and broad prospects. The five Central Asian countries are all close neighbors to Xinjiang. They have a better understanding of and are in a better position to tell the real situation in Xinjiang than the United States.
When meeting with the Chinese Ambassador to Tajikstan the other day, Tajikistan's Minister of Foreign Affairs Sirojiddin Muhriddin said that terrorism and religious extremism are the common enemy to the international community. All countries should join forces to condemn and combat them. No double standards should be tolerated in this area. Tajikistan supports the Chinese government's Xinjiang policies and the de-radicalization measures adopted to maintain prosperity and stability there. The Chinese side speaks highly of such remarks.
We firmly believe that the governments and people of the Central Asian countries are determined in developing good neighborly and friendly relations with China and in jointly combating the "three evil forces". Whether the visits by the US side materialize or not, nothing will shake the time-honored friendship and mutually beneficial cooperation between China and the Central Asian countries. Attempts at instigation, slander or discord-sowing between China and Central Asian countries will never succeed.
Q: In a statement issued on January 1, the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs noted that China's claims to the exclusive economic zone on the grounds that its fishermen have long been active there have no legal basis and have never been recognized by UNCLOS. Jakarta also noted that the argument had been refuted by the award of the Arbitral Tribunal in the South China Sea arbitration established at the request of the Philippines. What is your comment?
A: I elaborated on China's position and propositions on the South China Sea issue the day before yesterday and see no need to repeat them here.
I want to stress that China's position and propositions comply with the international law, including UNCLOS. So whether the Indonesian side accepts it or not, nothing will change the objective fact that China has rights and interests over the relevant waters. The so-called award of the South China Sea arbitration is illegal, null and void and we have long made it clear that China neither accepts nor recognizes it. The Chinese side firmly opposes any country, organization or individual using the invalid arbitration award to hurt China's interests.