Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang’s Regular Press Conference on October 14, 2016
Q: On October 13, the 71st session of the UN General Assembly officially appointed former Prime Minister of Portugal and former U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres as the next Secretary-General of the UN. Do you have any comment?
A: China congratulates the appointment of former Prime Minister of Portugal and former U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres to serve as the next UN Secretary-General. President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang have sent messages of congratulations to Portugal President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa and Prime Minister Antonio Costa. Foreign Minister Wang Yi has sent his congratulations to Mr. Guterres.
Mr. Guterres is experienced, able and an old hand with international affairs. He is a fit candidate to assume the office of the next UN Secretary-General. We hope and believe that during Mr.Guterres’s tenure as the Secretary-General, the United Nations will play an important role in maintaining world peace, promoting common development, building a new type of international relations featuring win-win cooperation and forging a community of shared future for mankind.
As a permanent member of the UN Security Council and responsible actor in the international community, China will continue to support and work with the UN Secretary-General.
Q: Philippine President Duterte will visit China next week. Considering his comments in the past few weeks, it seems that he is shifting the focus of the Philippines away from the traditional alliance with the US and more towards China. Do you agree with this? Do you think that the Philippines is becoming increasingly estranged from the US and more in favor of China? Separately, can you confirm that he will receive an honorary degree from the Peking University while visiting China?
A: I have repeatedly commented on China-Philippines relations and President Duterte’s visit to China.
You asked about US-Philippines relations and China-Philippines relations. China develops bilateral relations with all countries based on openness, inclusiveness and win-win results, and such relationships do not target, exclude nor affect normal relations and cooperation with third countries. We are willing to see that relevant countries can develop normal relations and cooperation based on equality and mutual respect.
Regarding China-Philippines relations, as I have said before, the Philippines is a traditionally friendly neighbor of China and their people enjoy long-established friendship. Amity between the two countries is not only what the people aspire for but also where the development trend of the two countries and the region leads. China values its relations with the Philippines, and stands ready to work alongside the Philippines to bring bilateral relations back to the track of sound and steady development and deliver benefits to the two countries and peoples.
The two sides are in close communication on the arrangement of President Duterte’s visit to China.
Q: According to media reports, former Philippine President Fidel Ramos wrote on a newspaper about China-Philippines relations, saying that the two countries should re-establish the kind of long-term, mutually beneficial bilateral relationship that they enjoyed in the past and that there are plenty of incentives to make progress. He also suggested the two countries enhance cooperation in fishery, anti-drug trafficking, infrastructure and other areas and commit themselves to avoiding violent confrontation of any kind. How do you comment on this?
A: The Chinese side has noted the article written by former Philippine President Fidel Ramos, and welcomes his helpful advice on developing China-Philippines relations. China looks forward to working alongside the Philippines to recalibrate bilateral relations for sound and steady development which will benefit the two countries and peoples.
Q: The King of Thailand passed away yesterday. We notice China’s remarks on this. Has the Chinese government decided that which leader or special envoy will attend the funeral in Thailand?
A: The Chinese side is deeply saddened by the passing of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej. President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang and Chairman Zhang Dejiang have sent messages of condolences to Her Majesty Queen Sirikit, Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha and President Pornpetch Wichitcholchai of the National Legislative Assembly.
Details of the funeral have yet to be released by the Thai side. The Thai Embassy in China has launched an open memorial event, and one Chinese leader will offer condolences there on behalf of the Chinese government.
Q: As reported by the Indian media, China has once again put a hold to India’s application to list Jaish-e-Mohammed on a UN Security Council blacklist. India has expressed discontent to the Chinese side, saying that this indicates China’s double standards on anti-terrorism issues. Why did China do so? How do you comment on the Indian reports?
A: My colleagues have responded to the listing matters many times here. I would like to re-emphasize what have been said.
The UN Security Council 1267 Committee works under the mandate of relevant Security Council resolutions. China maintains that the 1267 Committee should deal with listing matters in an objective, just and professional way, and make decisions based on solid evidence and the consensus among Security Council members.
As we speak, various parties are still divided on India’s application to list certain individuals. The technical hold to the listing application gives more time to the Committee for deliberation and relevant parties for further negotiations. This also shows that China is serious and responsible for this issue.
Q: According to media reports, the Philippine Secretary of Health said that a large drug rehabilitation center is scheduled to operate in November in Manila. The Philippine government will also build more large drug rehabilitation facilities nationwide. We are aware that President Duterte attaches great importance to the anti-drug campaign which has drawn criticism from western countries and human rights organizations. What specific measure will the Chinese side take to support their anti-drug campaign?
A: Drug is the common enemy of mankind. All nations share the responsibility of cracking down on drug crimes. The Chinese government is steadfast on fighting drug crimes, playing an active part in international anti-drug cooperation. We understand and support the Philippine government’s policy to prioritize anti-drug campaigns under the leadership of President Duterte. We would like to strengthen anti-drug cooperation with the Philippines and create a healthy living environment for people of the two countries and the region.
According to my knowledge, there will be arrangement for President Duterte to attend activities related to anti-drugs during his stay in Beijing. The two sides now maintain close communication on that. Drug control agencies of the two countries have initiated cooperation talks, which are expected to deliver outcomes very soon.
Q: According to Indian media reports, India is dissatisfied about China’s opposition to India joining the Nuclear Suppliers’Group (NSG). Has China’s position on this issue changed? Will President Xi Jinping talk about this issue with Indian Prime Minister Modi during their meeting? Is China ready for talks with India for a solution to this issue?
A: China’s position has not changed regarding the accession to the NSG by India and other non-NPT countries.
As for the China-India leaders’ meeting, President Xi Jinping will meet and talk with relevant leaders including Indian Prime Minister Modi on the sidelines of the BRICS Summit to be held in Goa, India. Relevant arrangements are still under discussion, and we will release information in due course.
I would like to underscore that China-India relations have been developing rapidly in recent years. The main stream of bilateral relations remains upward, with common interests and cooperation far outweighing differences and competition. We hope that the two sides can have a candid exchange of opinions on some disputes through dialogue and consultation, seek solutions to specific issues and put them under proper management. We will join hands with the Indian side to follow through the consensus reached by our leaders, stick to the direction of bilateral amity and cooperation, enhance communication and dialogue, build up mutual trust and deepen pragmatic cooperation across the board.
Q: The 3rd UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development will be held in Ecuador, 20 years after the previous one held by the UN. Urban development and human settlement have drawn wide interest. Whom will China send to the conference? What do you expect from it?
A: The 3rd UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development will be held in Quito, Ecuador from October 17 to 20. The Conference is a great global gathering on human settlement, establishing a new urban agenda and charting the course and setting up goals for global urban development in 20 years. Minister of Housing and Urban-Rural Development Chen Zhenggao will attend the conference as special representative of the Chinese government.
Sustainable urban development is an integral part of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Chinese government attaches great importance to sustainable urban development and commits itself to a new mode of urbanization with people at its core. China has played an active part in the preparatory work of the Conference and donated 500,000 US dollars to a trust foundation of the Conference. We are willing to join hands with all parties and contribute to the successful convening of the Conference and deepening international cooperation on human settlement.