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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang's Regular Press Conference on January 13, 2020
2020/01/13

At the invitation of Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, and Guy Parmelin, Vice President of the Swiss Confederation, Han Zheng, Member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and Vice Premier of the State Council, will attend the 2020 Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos and visit Switzerland from January 20 to 21.

At the invitation of State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Jorge Arreaza, Minister of Popular Power for Foreign Affairs of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, will pay an official visit to China from January 15 to 19.

Q: Iranian military admitted that they mistakenly shot down the Ukrainian jetliner. I wonder what is China's comment on this?

A: We are deeply saddened by this tragic Ukrainian plane crash. We express deepest condolences to the victims and sincere sympathies to the bereaved families. Relevant parties are in communication regarding this and we hope to see a proper settlement to avoid further complication.

Q: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China started using Twitter from December 2019. Can you tell us its purpose?

A: First I would like to thank you for your interest in our Twitter account. As a matter of fact, many Chinese embassies and consulates as well as diplomats posted overseas have opened social media accounts. Just like other countries' diplomatic posts and diplomats, our presence in social media platforms overseas like Twitter aims to do a better job in telling the story of China, with its realities and policies, to the world. We hope to make use of such platforms to facilitate exchange and promote mutual understanding.

Q: Vice Premier Liu He is going to sign the phase one trade deal in the US, I believe on the 15th. We wanted to know if China will be releasing the text of the trade deal after this signature?

A: Please stay tuned for further updates.

Q: Human Rights Watch executive director Kenneth Roth said yesterday he was barred from entering Hong Kong. Is this true and was this an order from the central government? And if so, what was the reason?

A: China's central government and the Hong Kong SAR government handle border entry and exit matters in accordance with law. It is China's sovereign right to decide who shall be granted entry and who shall be denied it.

I also want to point out that abundant facts and evidence have shown that the NGOs concerned have been supporting anti-China rioters in Hong Kong through various means, inciting violence and inflaming separatist activities for "Hong Kong independence". They bear major responsibility for the current chaos in Hong Kong. Sanctions on these organizations are therefore fully justified as they should pay the price for what they've done.

Q: The US introduced new sanctions against Iran targeting eight high-level officials. The sanctions also included some Chinese entities. I wonder what's China's comment and if China is going to maintain cooperation with Iran in these areas?

A: To begin with, our principled position is clear-cut. We are against unilateral sanctions and the so-called "long-arm jurisdiction". We believe wanton use or threat of sanctions won't solve any problem. We hold that purposes and principles of the UN Charter and basic norms governing international relations should be complied with in state-to-state relations; differences should be properly handled in peaceful ways through dialogue and negotiation.

China calls on all parties concerned to view what has happened based on their own merits and stick to the general direction of political settlement. Concrete steps should be taken to defuse the Gulf situation and jointly uphold regional peace and stability.

As to the US sanctions on Chinese entities, I'd like to point out that for a long time, China and Iran have been conducting mutually-beneficial cooperation in various sectors within the framework of international law. Such cooperation, which is justified and lawful and doesn't harm any third party's interests, should be respected and protected. We urge the US to cease immediately the wrongful sanctions on Chinese businesses. We will continue to staunchly defend Chinese enterprises' legitimate rights and interests.

Q: To follow up on the earlier question about Human Rights Watch executive director Kenneth Roth being barred from entering Hong Kong, does your answer mean the central government liaised with the Hong Kong SAR government in this particular decision?

A: As I just said, China's central government and the Hong Kong SAR government handle border entry and exit matters in accordance with law. It is China's sovereign right to decide who shall be granted entry and who shall be denied it.

Q: State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi discussed the cooperation on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) with African leaders on his visit to Africa. Previously certain western politicians said China dragged African countries into "debt traps" with the BRI. Not long ago, the chief executive of the US International Development Finance Corporation claimed in an interview with Financial Times that China's international infrastructure investments are like a "House of Cards" because of debt overload and lack of transparency, which led him to predict that it's only a matter of time before it collapses. What's your comment?

A: I don't see any basis for the linkage certain people claim to see between the BRI and "debt traps", "house of cards" or whatnot.

What I know is that not a single country has fallen into a debt crisis because of Chinese investment. Criticism and slanders have never stopped BRI cooperation from growing and flourishing or dampened the enthusiasm in the BRI among the vast majority of countries.

To date we have signed 199 BRI cooperation documents with 137 countries and 30 international organizations, including 44 African countries and the African Union Commission. This is a vote of confidence from the international community including our African brothers and the best response to certain people's malicious smears.

State Councilor Wang Yi is visiting Africa as we speak. All the countries he's been to have spoken highly of BRI cooperation. During his stopover in Kenya last Friday, State Councilor Wang went on a trip aboard the Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) passenger train. During its construction, the railway project created a total of 30,000 local jobs, raising Kenya's economic growth by 1.5 percentage points. It meets local transportation needs at much lower costs while reaching high environmental standards. A ride on the SGR train has become a must-try experience in Kenya. Hailed as the "Tanzania-Zambia Railway in a new era", the Mombasa-Nairobi railway has become a new symbol of China-Kenya and China-Africa friendships and a new benchmark for win-win cooperation between China and Africa.

As an African proverb goes, "The croak of frogs will not stop a cow from drinking in the river." Regardless of smears and slanders by certain country or person, China will as always follow the principle of joint consultation and contribution for shared benefits and work with the African side to deepen high-quality BRI cooperation for more tangible outcomes and deliver more benefits to Africa and the people of this continent.

Q: Bloomberg reported that the US Army plans to deploy a specialized task force to the Pacific to help neutralize some capabilities China and Russia already possess and are intended to keep US carrier groups away from the Asian mainland, said US Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy in an interview. The decision is not just a military issue, but could impact the geopolitical equilibrium of the whole region. What's your comment?

A: I haven't seen the Bloomberg report and will need to get more information about it. What I can say is that China is committed to defending world peace, advancing global development and upholding international order. A stronger China will make greater contribution to peace and development throughout the world. We hope what the country concerned says and does will be conducive to enhancing regional countries' mutual trust and cooperation and maintaining regional peace and stability.

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