|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang's Regular Press Conference on November 11, 2019|
Q: I'd like to know China's opinion about the latest events in Bolivia after the resignation of President Evo Morales.
A: We note the latest developments in Bolivia and hope that relevant parties will peacefully resolve the disputes within the framework of constitution and law and restore social stability at an early date.
Q: The China Youth Daily published US Ambassador Branstad's article entitled Chinese Students Are Welcome. What's your comment?
A: I have read the article by Ambassador Branstad in Today's edition of the China Youth Daily. As an important part of China-US people-to-people and cultural exchange, the exchange between students has strongly promoted two peoples' communication and mutual understanding. President Trump and senior US officials recently said on multiple occasions that Chinese students are welcome to the US. We welcome their statements. More importantly, we hope the US side will translate these positive statements into concrete actions and create favorable conditions for cooperation in this area so as to bring bilateral people-to-people and cultural exchange to new heights.
Q: An Italian foundation invited Joshua Wong to an event in Milan. Wong is also expected to meet some Italian politicians in Rome. What's your comment?
A: I haven't seen the news. But this person's evil plotting for "Hong Kong independence" is clearly seen by all.
I need to stress that Hong Kong affairs are purely China's internal affairs. No foreign government, organization or individual has the right to interfere. We firmly oppose any attempts to provide platforms for "Hong Kong independence" forces.
Q: The Afghan government has finalized the list of participants attending the intra-Afghan meeting in Beijing. When will this meeting be held? What role is China going to play?
A: China firmly supports the broad and inclusive process of peace and reconciliation that is "Afghan-led, Afghan-owned". We support the constructive dialogue involving all parties in Afghanistan, including the Afghan government and the Afghan Taliban. We are ready to provide a platform for dialogue and exchange and facilitate the peace and reconciliation process on the basis of respecting the will of all Afghan parties. At present we are in communication with all Afghan parties on convening the intra-Afghan meeting in China.
Q: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi thanked Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan in a televised speech on November 9 for the inauguration of a special Sikh corridor for pilgrimage in Pakistan, expressing appreciation for Prime Minister Khan's respect for the sentiments of India and cooperation. Reports say it is a rare message of thanks from India to Pakistan. What's your comment?
A: We noted the reports and welcome the positive interaction between India and Pakistan.
India and Pakistan are both important countries in South Asia. Good neighborliness between them meets the fundamental interests of both sides and the shared aspiration of the international community. We hope the two sides will continue to exchange goodwill and meet each other halfway, properly settle differences through dialogue, make efforts to improve relations and jointly uphold regional peace and stability.
Q: Again about Joshua Wong's visit to Italy. Do you think his visit could have consequences on bilateral relations between Italy and China, considering the very warm meetings last week between Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio and China's State Councilor and Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi? And if yes, how?
A: I may need to check on the specifics you just raised. As I said explicitly, this individual is a plotter for "Hong Kong independence" in and out. We firmly oppose any government, organization or individual to lend platforms to words and deeds for "Hong Kong independence". Our position on this cannot be clearer.
Q: US President Trump said over the weekend that he has not agreed to a tariff roll-back as a condition of a phase one trade agreement. Do you have any comment on this?
A: Regarding the China-US trade issue, including the tariff roll-back you asked about, the Spokesperson of the Ministry of Commerce has stated China's position thoroughly. I have nothing further to update you.
Q: US chief technology officer Michael Kratsios at the recent 2019 Web Summit in Portugal again tried to dissuade countries from using Huawei equipment, saying that the Chinese government has been transferring data from the African Union's headquarters to China over the past five years using Huawei IT equipment. What's your comment?
A: Since last year Western media have tried to churn out stories of "Beijing spying on AU headquarters", a rumor that was publicly refuted by many African state leaders and the AU Commission chairperson. It is nothing but fake news cooked by Western media and has long been thrown into the dustbin by our African friends. This time, the US official again tried to hype up "China using Huawei to steal AU data". It is apparently a despicable ploy driven by ulterior motives. What is worth mentioning is that the US has long been running a planned and organized campaign of theft of secrets, monitoring and surveillance on foreign governments, businesses and individuals. Those are already open secrets, for which the US still owes the world an explanation.
China and Africa are good friends, partners and brothers. Being upright and aboveboard, China pursues no selfish interests in its cooperation with Africa. Many African leaders have commended the practical, efficient and fruitful China-Africa cooperation and lauded China as the most trustworthy partner for Africa's development and revitalization on such occasions as the FOCAC and the UN. We hope the US will correct its mindset and look at China-Africa cooperation in an objective and unbiased manner. Fabricating lies to slander others will only harm its own credibility and bring disgrace to itself.
I want to reiterate that China is firmly opposed to rumor-mongering by the US. The African people will not accept that either. I'd like to remind the US once again to not overestimate its rumors or underestimate others' judgment.
Q: US Secretary of State Pompeo launched a new round of attacks on the Communist Party of China (CPC) and China's political system in a speech delivered in Berlin, Germany on November 8. He alleged that China has taken measures in sensitive technology and the world's next networks that go against the values of democracy and freedom. He called on other countries to stand together to confront regimes that pose such ideological threat. I wonder if you have a comment?
A: Last Friday I stated China's solemn position on Mr. Pompeo's provocative remarks in Germany. As we can see, out of personal political calculations, he has been venomously attacking the CPC and the Chinese government, smearing China's domestic and foreign policies, and playing up the so-called "China threat" narrative wherever he goes. We are watching curiously how far he intends to carry this farce.
During the past 70 years since the founding of the New China, the CPC has led the Chinese people in realizing the historic leap from finding our feet to building a prosperous and strong country. It enjoys the wholehearted support of the entire Chinese people. Leadership of the CPC is the defining feature of socialism with Chinese characteristics. It is a historical choice made by the Chinese people who have every confidence in their path, theory, system and culture. We will stay firmly on the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics and strive for new glories. Nobody should dream of shaking our faith and obstructing our progress. Mr. Pompeo, with his head full of Cold-War thinking, attempts to negate China's socialist system and sow discord between the CPC and the Chinese people to serve his own political agenda. Such attempts are doomed to fail.
In the 21st century, peace and development is the trend of our times. And as has been proven, progress in science and technology is impossible without openness and cooperation. However, it is alarming how a few individuals in the US have for a while disregarded these facts and politicized technological issues and commercial cooperation by claiming that they are national security issues in an attempt to set up an ideological barrier between domestic and foreign businesses. They have time and again slandered Chinese enterprises without any factual basis and disrupted their development and international cooperation. Such behaviors are detrimental to others and the US itself. China is not alone in firmly opposing this. Businesses from the US and other countries will not accept it, either.
Again we urge Mr. Pompeo to abandon the ideological prejudice and obsolete Cold-War mentality, return to rationality, stop pursuing his own political gains at the cost of Chinese and American peoples' interests, take a break in his anti-China rattling, and instead do something befitting his position as secretary of state.
Q: On the intra-Afghan meeting, the Taliban in the past has refused to hold talks with Afghan officials or the Afghan government. So can we presume that the Taliban has agreed to these talks and the talks are soon going to take place here?
A: Like I said, at this point China is in communication with all parties in Afghanistan on convening the intra-Afghan meeting in China, including the Afghan government and the Afghan Taliban. You may follow us for more specifics that will come out in due course.
Q: First, do you have any information or comments on President Xi's trip to Athens? And second question, the US ambassador-at-large Brownback said that he hoped the UN will take up the issue of the Dalai Lama's succession, which should not be determined by the Chinese government. Do you have any comment on this?
A: On your first question, President Xi Jinping is paying a state visit to Greece. Given the time difference, today's official events have not started yet. For more information about this visit, please follow our timely updates.
On your second question, the 14th Dalai Lama is a political exile who has long been engaging in anti-China separatist activities overseas using religion as a cover. China firmly opposes any form of contact between foreign officials and him.
The reincarnation of Living Buddhas is an institution of succession unique to Tibetan Buddhism and is governed by fixed religious rituals and historical conventions. The Chinese government implements the policy of freedom of religious belief. The reincarnation system is respected and protected by Regulations on Religious Affairs and Measures on the Management of the Reincarnation of Living Buddhas. The institution of reincarnation of the Dalai Lama has been in existence for several hundred years. The 14th Dalai Lama himself was found and recognized following religious rituals and historical conventions and his succession was approved by the then central government. Therefore reincarnation of Living Buddhas including the Dalai Lama must comply with Chinese laws and regulations and follow religious rituals and historical conventions.
The UN is a solemn platform where member countries work to promote world peace and development and uphold international equity and justice on the basis of equality and mutual respect. The US attempts to use religious freedom as a cover to launch wanton allegations against China and even interfere in China's internal affairs using the UN platform. This goes against the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and basic norms governing international relations. It is doomed to fail and bound to be opposed by the international community.
Q: The US Defense Secretary Mark Esper is meeting Chinese State Councilor and Minister of Defense Wei Fenghe in Bangkok next week. The US said Esper will ask for more Chinese cooperation on repatriating US soldiers' remains from the second World War. Do you have any details from the Chinese side on this upcoming meeting?
A: I'd refer you to the Ministry of National Defense for the meeting between State Councilor and Minister of Defense Wei Fenghe and the US Defense Secretary.