|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang's Regular Press Conference on April 12, 2017|
At the invitation of State Councilor Yang Jiechi, Phạm Bình Minh, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam will visit China from April 16 to 18 and co-host with State Councilor Yang Jiechi the tenth meeting of the China-Vietnam Steering Committee for Bilateral Cooperation.
Q: An online video has recently received wide attention. It is about a passenger with the United Airlines being dragged out of the plane forcibly because the flight had been overbooked. It is reported that this passenger is a Chinese. Can you confirm that? What's China's comment on this?
A: We are aware of this unfortunate incident happened in the US and have noted the intensive attention it has received within and without the US. Initial information suggested that the man hurt in the incident was a Vietnamese-American. As the White House Spokesperson said yesterday, relevant authorities in the US are reviewing this case. We hope that this case can be properly resolved.
Q: First, although just met each other at Mar-a-Lago, President Xi Jinping and President Trump again had a phone call this morning. Why a call so soon after the meeting? Is it due to a position shift on the part of China? Or is there any new proposal? Last night, President Trump tweeted about the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula, saying that "North Korea is looking for trouble. If China decides to help, that would be great. If not, we will solve the problem without them! I explained to the President of China that a trade deal with the US will be far better for them if they solve the North Korean problem!" What's China's comment on this? Was that mentioned in the call? Second, will China-US trade be linked to the settlement of the nuclear issue?
A: About your first question, don't you think that it is good that the two leaders stay in close contact. Why must there be a position shift? What I can tell you is that during the Mar-a-Lago summit, the two heads of state had long and in-depth exchanges on many issues of mutual interest. They also agreed to stay in close contact with each other, through meetings, calls and letters, to have timely discussions on issues of mutual interest as well as those that need to be discussed. I think frequent contact like this is a very good thing. I believe you would agree with me.
As for the second question, I believe you've read the news release. At the phone call this morning, the two leaders exchanged views on issues of mutual interest. They talked about bilateral relations. Both sides are committed to implementing the consensus reached at the Mar-a-Lago summit and advancing cooperation in a wide range of areas. Of cause, they also discussed some international and regional issues of mutual interest, including the situation on the Korean Peninsula and the Syrian issue. About the issue of the Korean Peninsula, President Xi made clear China's position that we are still committed to denuclearization of the Peninsula, peace and stability on the Peninsula and a peaceful settlement through dialogue and negotiation. The US is very clear about this position of China.
Q: It is reported that on April 10, Wu Dawei, the Chinese Government's Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Affairs, met with Kim Hong-kyun, the Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs of the ROK in Seoul. Can you talk about the details of the meeting?
A: On April 10, Wu Dawei, the Special Representative of the Chinese government for Korean Peninsula Affairs, met with ROK Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se, and had talks with Kim Hong-kyun, the Special Representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs of the ROK in Seoul. They exchanged views on China-ROK relations, the situation on the Korean Peninsula and the efforts to achieve denuclearization of the Peninsula. Wu Dawei reiterated China's principled position on the nuclear issue of the Korean Peninsula, that is, commitment to denuclearization of the Peninsula, peace and stability on the Peninsula, and a peaceful settlement of the issue. Wu Dawei once again made clear China's firm opposition against the deployment of THAAD by the US in the ROK.
I want to point out that now the situation on the Korean Peninsula is complex and delicate. Any move that may escalate the tension would be irresponsible and dangerous. All relevant parties should remain calm and restraint, work to deescalate the situation rather than provoke each other or add fuel to the flame.
The issue on the Peninsula has been there for many years. To find a fundamental solution requires a holistic approach that addresses both the symptoms and the root cause and takes into account and accommodates the legitimate concerns of all parties in a comprehensive and balanced manner. China has put forward the "dual-track" approach and the "suspension-for-suspension" proposal. The only purpose of these proposals is to deescalate the situation, create conditions for a peaceful settlement of the nuclear issue and provide a viable way to achieve peace, stability and security in the region. It is based on China's own need for security. And it also serves the fundamental interests of all relevant parties in the long run. We expect serious consideration by and constructive feedback from relevant parties.
Q: After the meeting between Special Representative Wu Dawei and his ROK counterparts, the ROK said an agreement was reached that should there be a sixth nuclear test by the DPRK, there would be even stricter sanctions. Can you confirm that?
A: I've elaborated on China's position that our special representative has made clear with the ROK side. Apart from the "three commitments", China also maintains that all members of the international community should strictly and faithfully implement all UN Security Council resolutions in their entirety.
Q: It is reported that the international conference on the issue of Afghanistan is going to be held in Moscow on April 14. Who will attend the conference on behalf of China?
A: Special Envoy on Afghan Affairs of the Chinese Foreign Ministry Deng Xijun will attend this conference.
I want to stress that peace and stability of Afghanistan bear on security, development and prosperity of its neighboring countries and the region. As a close neighbor, China has always supported the process of peaceful reconstruction and reconciliation in Afghanistan. We are ready to work with all parties to advance the inclusive political reconciliation process that is "Afghan-led and Afghan-owned", and make our due contribution to realizing peace, stability and development of Afghanistan at an early date.
Q: US Defense Secretary Mattis has called the deployment of the carrier strike group a prudent move in the face of the nuclear threat of the DPRK. Do you see this as a prudent move?
A: As I've said, the situation on the Korean Peninsula is very complex and delicate now. We don't want to see any irresponsible move from any side. Because, given the current situation, it would be very dangerous. We hope that all relevant parties can help deescalate the tension in the region instead of being provocative and adding fuel to the flame. We believe that it is in everyone's interest to deescalate the tension and preserve peace and stability of the region.
Follow-up: Are you saying that the deployment of the aircraft carrier is irresponsible, and adding fuel to the fire?
A: I've been very clear about our position and I believe that it's not hard for you to understand.
Q: Is it possible to tell us who initiated the call, President Xi or President Trump?
A: If you're truly interested, I can tell you that President Xi answered the call from President Trump. But I think what really deserves your attention is the substance of the call while the way it was carried out is not very important.
Q: What is the government's response to President Trump's tweet that without China's help, the US will go it alone and solve the DPRK problem?
A: I've been very clear with the "three commitments". And I believe that you are all very clear about it as well. We hope that all parties can work to bring the issue back to the track of negotiation. That is conducive to peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and serves the real interests of all sides.
Q: First, President Trump tweeted that the issue on the Korean Peninsula is linked to trade issues. Does China accept it? Or do you think these two issues should be viewed separately? Second, what's China's comment on President Trump's choice of twitter as a platform to publicize US foreign policy?
A: Both during the Mar-a-Lago summit and today's call, the two heads of state talked about their observations of bilateral relations, including trade relations as you mentioned. They also shared thoughts and positions on issues of mutual interest, such as the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula. I can tell you that they listened to each other attentively. Their talks during the summit and the call were both very in-depth and candid.
About the second question, I've said on many occasions that we normally don't comment on the personal style or featured ways of conduct of foreign leaders.
Q: State Secretary Tillerson recently said that the DPRK should put an end to all nuclear and missile tests before the US considers further dialogue with it. The US has made clear that its objective is denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula other than the regime change of the DPRK. Therefore, the reason that the DPRK uses to justify its development of nuclear weapons can't stand. Reports say that this comment is in contradiction with his previous remarks that diplomacy has failed. What's China's comment on this? Do you welcome this comment?
A: I have noted Secretary Tillerson's public statement that the US doesn't see a regime change in the DPRK its objective.
About the US objective of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula that Secretary Tillerson mentioned, it is China's objective as well. In fact, I've said again and again that China always maintains that denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula should be achieved in a peaceful way through dialogue and consultation, and peace and stability on the Peninsula should be preserved. This is our consistent position. China welcomes and expects all parties to enhance mutual understanding and mutual trust through contact and communication. We also hope that all parties can keep in mind their fundamental interests and seriously consider the "dual-track" approach and the "suspension-for-suspension" proposal initiated by China so as to bring the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula back to the track of a negotiated settlement at an early date.
Q: Indian media reported that during his activities in the disputed eastern section of the China-India boundary, the Dalai Lama bashed the Chinese government again on the issues of reincarnation and about Tibet. At the same time, some Indian officials repeatedly made inappropriate remarks about the boundary question. What's China's comment on this?
A: Recently, in disregard of China's concerns, the Indian side insisted to arrange activities for the 14th Dalai Lama in the disputed eastern section of the China-India boundary and indulged the provocative political remarks by the 14th Dalai Lama and specific Indian officials. It shows that activities by the 14th Dalai Lama far exceeded the scope of the so-called "religious activities". It is against the solemn commitment that the Indian government has made on Tibet-related issues and will have negative impact on the proper settlement of the territorial dispute between China and India through negotiations. China has lodged solemn representations with the Indian side. We will take further steps to preserve our territorial sovereignty and national security.
In the past, the 14th Dalai Lama had disgraceful performances on the boundary question. This time, he called himself "the son of India", backed up the unfounded remarks of officials from the so-called Arunachal Pradesh, bashed the Chinese government on Tibet-related issues and advertised its political pursuit of splitting China. It is clear that those of the Dalai clique completely view themselves as foreigners. Dalai's performance can't affect China's position on the boundary and Tibet-related issues. It can't change the historical fact that the local government of Tibet of China has exercised effective administration over the eastern section. It can't change the fact that Tibet has enjoyed rapid progress with the support of the big family of China. His performance will only reveal his attempt to split China and undermine the interests of the Chinese people, including those of the Tibetan ethnic group under the disguise of religion.
I must stress that the boundary question and Tibet-related issues bear on the political foundation of China-India relations. Both sides have already reached important consensus to address the boundary question through negotiation and consultation. The Indian side has made solemn commitment on Tibet-related issues. We urge the Indian side to bear in mind the fundamental interests of the two countries and two peoples, maintain the political foundation for the development of bilateral relations, refrain from provocative actions that undermine boundary negotiations and bilateral relations and preserve the larger picture of China-India relations with concrete actions.
Q: President Trump suggested in his tweet that unilateral US action on the DPRK was possible. US Secretary of State Tillerson has previously suggested that all options are on the table including military options. What is China's bottom line for unilateral US action on the Korean Peninsula? What kind of actions from the US would China find unacceptable?
A: I believe I don't have to reiterate China's principled position of "three commitments". For your question, I want to add one more principle. China maintains that it is important to strictly adhere to the international law and norms governing international relations, including the basic norms governing state-to-state relations provided by the UN Charter.
Q: Can you clarify in terms of what does China think would be the negative impact of Dalai Lama's visit on the settlement of the boundary question? You said that India violated its commitment on Tibet-related issues. Was it the commitment that India won't allow its territory to be used for anti-China activities?
A: First, I must correct you. Where the 14th Dalai Lama visited under the disguise of religion and with the indulgence of the Indian government is the disputed eastern section of the China-India boundary. You can't just call it the Indian territory.
As for the commitment of India, the Indian government has made solemn commitment with the Chinese government on the boundary question and Tibet-related issues. There're historical lessons of damage to bilateral relations when the Indian side broke its commitment. I've made clear China's positions just now. China is strongly against the Indian side's indulgence toward Dalai Lama's visit to the disputed section of China-India boundary and especially the connivance of the provocative remarks by the Dalai Lama and specific Indian officials. We've lodged serious representations with India. What India has done will have negative impact on the efforts to properly settle boundary disputes through negotiations between the two sides.
Q: How long did the phone call between President Xi Jinping and President Trump last? Were any other officials also on the call?
A: I didn't count the time. But the two heads of state had in-depth exchanges during the Mar-a-Lago summit. They had a good conversation this morning as well. As for whether there are any other officials present, there're customary arrangements on both sides for diplomatic activities of leaders.