The 8th World Peace Forum will be held from July 8 to 9 at Tsinghua University. Vice President Wang Qishan will attend and address the opening ceremony.
Q: British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt took an interview on July 2. He said that the Sino-British Joint Declaration remains legally binding. There will be serious consequences if it is not honored. The UK stands behind people in Hong Kong in defence of the freedoms that Britain negotiated for them. He expects all countries to honour their international obligations. The Hong Kong authorities must not use demonstrators' vandalism as a pretext for repression. What's your comment?
A: I have commented on Mr. Hunt's remarks on Hong Kong for two days straight. China deplores and firmly opposes those remarks. It seems that he is still immersed in the faded glory of colonialism. He is obsessed with condescendingly criticizing other countries. He keeps lying without remorse. Here I will say a few more words.
First, after Hong Kong's return to China, British rights and obligations as outlined in the Sino-British Joint Declaration were completed. On July 1, 1997, China resumed sovereignty over Hong Kong. The Chinese Government started exercising jurisdiction over Hong Kong in accordance with the Constitution and the Basic Law of Hong Kong SAR.
The UK has no sovereignty or rights to rule and supervise Hong Kong after the handover. There is no room for Britain to claim any so-called responsibility over Hong Kong whatsover. Claiming itself the guardian of Hong Kong is nothing more than self-entertaining.
Second, Mr Hunt says that the UK negotiated freedoms for Hong Kong. How brazen is that! Was there any democracy when the British governors were in Hong Kong? People in Hong Kong didn't even have the right to take to the streets then. It is only after the return that Hong Kong residents started enjoying unprecedented democratic rights and freedoms. The Chinese Government strictly follows the Constitution and the Basic Law. It earnestly implements the one country, two systems" policy. It ensures that the people of Hong Kong govern Hong Kong with a high degree of autonomy.
Third, the violent storming of the Legislative Council on July 1 is a grave illegal activity. It tramples on the rule of law and undermines social order. In total disregard of facts, Mr. Hunt called the SAR government's response "repression". That is entirely misleading. I want to ask Mr. Hunt, if it were the British Parliament that had been stormed and vandalized, what would the British government do? Will it sit by idly and let the protesters have their way? If this is the democracy he believes in, should the police guarding the Parliament withdraw to allow in protesters across the street? Will he call the British police's handling of the August 2011 riot in London "repression"?
I shall stress that Hong Kong is China's special administrative region. Its affairs are purely China's internal affairs. They brook no interference from any country, organization or individual in any form. We hope that the UK side, especially Mr. Hunt, will cease to overreach and interfere. Such attempts are doomed to fail.
Q: Can you tell us how the Chinese government has expressed its dissatisfaction about Mr. Hunt's comments? Have you lodged a complaint with the Foreign Office in Britain? Or have you summoned in any of the British diplomats in Beijing to express your dissatisfaction?
A: Like I just said, we deplore and firmly oppose Mr. Hunt's wrong remarks. We have lodged stern representations with the British side in London and Beijing. We hope the UK will treat our solemn position seriously and stop making such incorrect comments and grossly interfering in China's domestic affairs.
Q: Yesterday Premier Li Keqiang delivered a special speech at the opening ceremony of the 2019 Summer Davos Forum, announcing that China will lift ownership limits in the financial sector one year ahead of schedule. This has drawn much attention. Could you share more information?
A: Yesterday, Premier Li Keqiang delivered a special speech at the opening ceremony of the 2019 Summer Davos Forum, reiterating China's unwavering commitment to pursuing all-round opening-up and fostering an open economy at a higher level. Specific measures include further easing market access, creating a level playing field for domestic and foreign businesses regardless of ownership type, further lowering tariffs, improving legal framework that facilitates opening-up and better protecting intellectual property rights. What you just mentioned, namely scrapping ownership limits in securities, futures and life insurance, is also part of them.
I am sure you have noted that during the G20 Osaka Summit last week, President Xi Jinping announced a series of major steps in opening the market, expanding import, improving business environment and advancing free trade arrangement and regional economic integration, which have been welcomed and applauded by the international community.
A continuous flow of solid measures full of sincerity shows China's firm resolution and confidence in further opening up and improving investment and business environment. The Chinese market will be more open, transparent and predictable to foreign investment and the overall environment will get better and better. We would like to share opportunities and dividends with other countries and work together with them for high-quality and sustainable growth of the world economy.
Q: Yesterday Taiwan announced a one-year extension of its trial program concerning visa-free entry to Taiwan for Russian nationals. I wonder if the Foreign Ministry has any comment on that?
A: As China's comprehensive strategic partner of coordination, Russia fully understands the sensitive nature of issues relating to Taiwan. We trust the Russian side to properly handle relevant issues.
Q: The Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said yesterday that he was confident the US President Donald Trump has made good on his promise and raised the case of the two Canadians who have been detained here during his meeting with President Xi. Can you confirm that?
A: China has already issued a press release on the meeting between the Chinese and US heads of state. You may refer to it. I have nothing further to add.
I would like to caution the Canadian side against being too naive.
First, it shouldn't be so naive as to believe that asking its so-called ally to pressure China will work. China is a country with rule of law and the judicial authorities handle cases independently. China's judicial sovereignty brooks no interference.
Second, it shouldn't be so naive as to believe that its so-called ally will earnestly pursue a Canadian agenda. They will only pay lip service, at best. The matter is, after all, between China and Canada.
Finally, I will reiterate that Canada assumes full responsibility for the current difficulties in bilateral relations. It knows very well the root cause. We hope it will take prompt measures to bring relations back onto the right track.
Q: There are media reports that certain cooperation projects between China and African countries like Tanzania and Kenya have encountered some setbacks recently. The Economist recently said that performance of some projects is not satisfactory and African countries are becoming more alert to China's "debt trap". What is your comment on that?
A: There are countless success stories in the numerous projects jointly developed by China and African countries. It is only natural that some problems might arise in their market operation. China stands ready to step up dialogue and friendly consultation with African countries on the basis of respect. We believe proper solutions to relevant issues will be found.
As a good partner, good friend and good brother to African countries, China is committed to enhancing investment and financial cooperation with African countries based on their needs to help them improve infrastructure and extradite socioeconomic development. Such cooperation has delivered tangible benefits to African countries and peoples. In the process, China always gives full consideration to debt sustainability and seeks mutually-acceptable proposals through equal and friendly consultations. That is the fundamental reason behind the enormous popularity of China-Africa cooperation in Africa.
Actions speak louder than words. People can tell right from wrong. When it comes to the effects of China-Africa cooperation, African countries and peoples are in the best position to tell. During the recent meeting between Chinese and African leaders on the sidelines of the G20 Osaka Summit and the coordinators' meeting on the implementation of the FOCAC Beijing Summit outcomes, African leaders all spoke highly of our fruitful cooperation and expressed hope for stronger cooperation in investment and financing to contribute more to Africa's connectivity and sustainable development. Presidents of South Africa, Egypt and Senegal and many foreign ministers commended China for always honoring its commitment and matching its words with actions. They expressed confidence in a full implementation of the FOCAC Beijing Summit outcomes. I believe these leaders are speaking on behalf of all African people. It is also a strong rebuke to the so-called "debt trap" fallacy. We hope media friends will heed their voice and view China-Africa cooperation rationally and objectively instead of randomly speculating regardless of facts.
Q: It has been reported that the US Department of Defense said that China's recent missile testing in the South China Sea is worrying and that China is breaking its commitment of not militarizing the South China Sea. What is your response?
A: As I said yesterday, I would refer you to the PLA on relevant reports.
With respect to the US comments, I would like to remind you that it is the US who has sent aircraft carriers to the South China Sea. The international community sees plainly who is militarizing the South China Sea and disturbing its tranquility.
Q: According to reports, diplomats at the UN say that the US and Germany yesterday criticized China over its policies in Xinjiang during a closed-door meeting. Can you tell us what your response is?
A: I wonder how proceedings at a closed-door meeting of the UN Security Council were revealed to the media.
Based on my information, during internal consultations of the UN Regional Center for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia at the UN Security Council on July 2, the US and Germany deviated from the theme of the meeting and wantonly criticized China's Xinjiang policy. China firmly rejects that. Ambassador Ma Zhaoxu, China's permanent representative to the UN, strongly rebuked the wrong remarks of the US and Germany at the meeting.
We have stated China's position on Xinjiang repeatedly. I will emphasize the following:
First, Xinjiang affairs are purely China's internal affairs, which are totally unrelated to the Security Council agenda and brook no foreign interference.
Second, the Security Council is a solemn body upholding international peace and security. It is not and should not become a political theater of certain countries. We urge relevant countries to discard the double standards, abide by basic rules of international meetings, stop sabotaging Security Council solidarity and stop interfering in other countries' domestic affairs.