China and the UK have agreed to hold the 10th Economic and Financial Dialogue on June 17 in the UK. Vice Premier of the State Council Hu Chunhua and British Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond will co-chair the dialogue.
At the invitation of State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign and Expatriates Minister Walid al-Moallem of the Syrian Arab Republic will visit China from June 16 to June 21.
Q: You just announced that Vice Premier Hu Chunhua will co-chair the 10th Economic and Financial Dialogue in the UK. Could you share with us the agenda and China's expectations for this dialogue?
A: Established in 2008, the China-UK Economic and Financial Dialogue (EFD) is an important mechanism for bilateral communication and policy coordination on strategic, long-term and overarching issues in the economic and financial fields. Since its launch, the EFD has strongly boosted economic and financial cooperation, strengthened bilateral relationship and served as a key platform for the China-UK relations in the Golden Era.
Topics to be discussed at this dialogue include the macro-economic situation, global economic governance, trade, investment and cooperation on major projects, finance and strategic and new areas.
As to China's expectation for this dialogue, first, we hope the two sides will enhance communication and coordination on major bilateral and international economic and financial issues for greater mutual trust and the sound and steady growth of economic relations. Second, we hope we will further deepen economic ties, step up multilateral policy coordination, jointly uphold multilateralism, support trade and investment liberalization and facilitation and contribute to an open world economy. Third, we hope the two sides will expand mutually-beneficial cooperation and advance all-round cooperation in trade, investment, finance, science and technology, agriculture and third-party markets, bringing China-UK economic and financial cooperation to a new height with more outcomes.
Q: In Hong Kong today, protesters have surrounded the Legislative Council building. The Hong Kong government has postponed the debate that they were supposed to have on the extradition law. Does the Central Government still support the Hong Kong government and specifically the Chief Executive Carrie Lam?
A: I answered this question several times in the past few days. I would like to stress once again that the central government firmly supports the Hong Kong SAR government in advancing the amendment to the two ordinances.
Q: Kazakhstan's newly-elected President Tokayev has been sworn in today as the head of state on June 12. What are China's hopes for future relations with Kazakhstan?
A: President Tokayev is an old friend of the Chinese people. After he was elected, President Xi Jinping congratulated him at the earliest time possible. We believe Kazakhstan will continue to enjoy political stability and economic growth, achieve greater progress in national development and play a bigger role in international and multilateral affairs.
China and Kazakhstan are friendly neighbors and comprehensive strategic partners. Our relations continue to grow at a high level with fruitful cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative. China attaches high importance to this relationship and stands ready to work with Kazakhstan to implement the consensus reached by our heads of state and carry forward the bilateral relationship for steady and sustained progress.
Q: Today Hong Kong's Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung said that protesters blocking the roads around the parliament must disperse and obey the law. What is the Central Government's response to this? Would the Central Government support use of force against protesters?
A: Indeed, the relevant officials of the Hong Kong SAR government have issued statement on the latest development and you may refer to that.
What I can tell you is that any move that undermines Hong Kong's prosperity and stability is opposed by the mainstream public opinion there.
Q: US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi today commented on the Hong Kong SAR government's amendment to the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance, saying that if it passes, the Congress may reassess whether Hong Kong is sufficiently autonomous under the framework of "one country, two systems". What's your response?
A: Like we said many times, Hong Kong affairs are purely China's internal affairs. No other country, organization or individual has the right to interfere. China deplores and firmly opposes the irresponsible and erroneous comments on the amendment and other Hong Kong affairs made by the US side. We urge the US to view the relevant amendment in a fair and just manner, exercise caution in its words and deeds, and stop in whatever form interfering in Hong Kong affairs and China's domestic affairs.
I have to point out that since the return of Hong Kong, policies including "one country, two systems", "Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong" and a high degree of autonomy have been earnestly implemented. Hong Kong people's rights and freedoms have been fully guaranteed. We hope that relevant people in the US will fully respect this fact.
Finally, I'd like to reiterate that the Central Government will continue to support the SAR government in advancing the amendment to the two ordinances.
Q: Yesterday US National Security Adviser John Bolton said that China, Russia, North Korea and several other countries are trying to spread disinformation about the US government administration's inner disagreements, especially between President Trump and his advisers. I wonder if you have any comment about this?
A: If I recall it correctly, these reports on the inner disagreements in the US government and among American officials are mostly carried by US media. The allegation that China and Russia spread disinformation is totally blame shifting.
I would like to remind you that in April this year, a certain US senior official -- I will not mention the name here because you all know who he is -- said in a Q&A session after delivering a speech at Texas A&M University that "we lie, cheat and steal, and this is the glory of experiment of America. "
If you take this into consideration and think about the invasion into Iraq by certain country in 2003 under the pretext that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, it's not difficult to find out who is spreading disinformation, violating international law and undermining international order. I believe the world has a fair judgment.
Q: Today marks the one-year anniversary of the summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, though there has not been much progress recently between the US and North Korea. Is China concerned that their relations are continuing to get worse rather than improving? How does China see the prospects of a settlement to this issue?
A: On this very day one year ago, with concerted efforts of all sides, leaders of the DPRK and the US had a historic summit in Singapore and released a joint statement, marking important progress towards political settlement of the Peninsula issue.
Despite the somewhat slacking pace of dialogue lately, the DPRK remains committed to denuclearization and the US and the DPRK are both committed to a settlement through dialogue. With this general direction unchanged, the Peninsula issue remains within the framework of political settlement.
As complicated factors are at play on the Peninsula issue, one cannot expect it to be solved overnight. We hope parties concerned will keep to the right direction, continue engagement, meet each other halfway and follow the dual-track approach in a phased and synchronized fashion as part of a package solution, address in a balanced way each other's legitimate concerns, and ultimately realize the denuclearization and lasting peace on the Peninsula. China will continue to work with the international community and make constructive efforts to this end.
Q: For some time certain people in the US have been accusing China of taking advantage of the US in trade and economic cooperation, preaching the "decoupling" from China. What's your response to this?
A: "Decoupling" is a very dangerous and irresponsible argument produced by a small number of people in the US, who cling to the cold-war mindset and zero-sum game mentality. Such viewpoint runs contrary to the win-win nature of China-US relations, disregards the people's will for friendly exchange and does not conform to the trend of the times for progress and development. It will in no way gain support or succeed.
Since China and the US established diplomatic ties four decades ago, our relationship has been mutually beneficial and our interests have become highly complementary and deeply interwoven. We are now each other's biggest trading partner and important investment destination. Almost all American big companies do business in China and all American states have cooperation with China. China and the US now have 50 pairs of sister states/provinces and 277 pairs of sister cities. Over 14,000 visits are made by flight across the Pacific every day. The sales revenue of American companies in China topped $700 billion and their profits reached over $50 billion in the year 2017 alone. Before decoupling the two economies, first you need to ask these businesses, provinces, states and people in the two countries whether they agree to it or not.
As two biggest economies in the world, both China and the US play important roles in global industrial chain, supply chain and value chain. A forced decoupling will surely disrupt the existing world economic chain, undermine global industrial labour division and lead to chaos in global market, which is the last thing the stakeholders want to see.
We advise certain people in the US to reflect upon what they did, abandon ideological prejudices, stop making outdated and biased remarks, and do not try to reverse the wheel of history.
It has been proved in the past and present that China and the US, as two major countries, stand to benefit from cooperation and lose from confrontation. Cooperation is the best choice for both sides. We hope that the US will meet China half way to expand cooperation on the basis of mutual benefit and manage differences on the basis of mutual respect, jointly advance the China-US relations featuring coordination, cooperation and stability to bring more benefits to the two peoples and the rest of the world.
Q: You just announced the visit of Syrian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign and Expatriates Minister to China. Could you provide more details on who he is going to meet and which topics he is going to discuss with State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi?
A: China and Syria enjoy a traditional friendship. Over the past 63 years after we established diplomatic relations, our bilateral ties have maintained sound and steady growth. During the visit of Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign and Expatriates Minister Walid al-Moallem, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will hold talks with him to exchange views on bilateral relations and the Syrian issue. China stands ready to work with Syria for greater development of bilateral relations. China will continue to play a constructive role on the Syrian issue.
Q: In his answer to a question on how Russia sees the China-US trade war at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, Russian President Putin quoted a Chinese proverb: "When the tigers fight in the valley, the smart monkey sits and watches how it will end." What's your comment on that?
A: I saw the reports of some media and I'd like to advise them to read what President Putin said carefully instead of quoting it out of the context.
In his answer to that question, President Putin first quoted Chinese proverb "sit on top of the mountain to watch the tigers fight", and then added that everything is changing, so is what is described in this Chinese proverb. The US has been labeling itself as a champion for free trade and democratic principles in world economy, but as its competitors become stronger, the US has imposed various restrictions, including waging a tariff war, which will harm world economy. Russia will work to gain more room for fair and democratic trading rules. I believe this is where President Putin and Russia really stand on this issue.
I would like to reiterate that China and Russia both oppose unilateralism, protectionism and bullying practices. During President Xi's visit, he held in-depth exchange of views with President Putin on the complex and fluid international landscape and they reached important consensus.
The two sides agree to further deepen comprehensive strategic coordination and continue to work together to build an open world economy, uphold the multilateral trading system and safeguard the international system with the UN at its core and the international order based on international law. Any attempt to sow discord between China and Russia is doomed to fail.
Q: There are media reports that some armed forces are heading towards Hong Kong. Has the mainland really sent forces to Hong Kong to maintain stability? If so, which forces have been sent?
A: I wonder what is your source of information? This is exactly the kind of disinformation mentioned by the journalist earlier.
I can assure you that it is a groundless rumor designed to mislead the public and incite panic. Such heinous intention must be condemned.
Q: Have you any announcement regarding the appointment of the new ambassador to India?
A: As we repeatedly stated, certain procedures must be gone through for the appointment and removal of Chinese ambassadors. As to the new ambassador to India, I have no information to offer at the moment.
Q: Will President Xi Jinping meet with President Trump during the G20 Osaka Summit?
A: I have been answering this question all these two days. Would you like me to repeat my answer?
We have noted that the US side has repeatedly stated in public that it looks forward to a meeting between the Chinese and US heads of state during the G20 Osaka Summit. We will release relevant information when we have it.
Q: Once again about Hong Kong. Did the Chinese government ask the Hong Kong government to make these amendments to the extradition bill? Or are these changes something that the Hong Kong government decided to make on its own initiative?
A: The Hong Kong SAR government has made many public statements and explained its considerations regarding the amendment to relevant ordinances. I'd refer you to them.
I would like to reiterate that the Central Government will continue to support the SAR government in advancing the amendment to the two ordinances.