Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying’s Regular Press Conference on October 21, 2016
Q: China and the Vatican will assign representatives to discuss the appointment of Chinese mainland bishops in Rome before the end of this month. Can you confirm this? Whom will China send? What expectations does China have for that?
A: I have nothing to offer regarding what you said.
We have stated our position on China-Vatican relations many times. China is sincere in improving China-Vatican relations and has made unremitting efforts to that end. The channel for contact and dialogue between the two sides is open and effective. We are willing to work together with the Vatican, meet each other half way, engage in constructive dialogues, and make headway in improving bilateral relations.
Q: Leaders of Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine held a meeting on the Ukrainian issue. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on October 20 that all parties agreed on a road map of peacefully resolving the Ukrainian issue. How do you comment?
A: China supports and speaks highly of the constructive efforts made by the four countries’ leaders to politically resolve the Ukrainian crisis. We believe that it helps to implement the new Minsk Agreement. It is hoped that relevant parties can boost confidence, work towards the same direction, earnestly fulfill the new Minsk Agreement, and realize peace and tranquility in Ukraine at an early date.
Q: The Court of Appeal of Singapore ruled on an investment arbitration case filed by a Macao-based company against Laos, holding that the 1993 China-Laos Agreement Concerning the Encouragement and Reciprocal Protection of Investments applies to Macao. How do you respond to this ruling? How does China handle the application of treaties to Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions (SARs)?
A: I have noted the ruling made by the Singaporean court. The geographical scope of application of the China-Laos investment agreement is a question of fact concerning acts of state, which is up to the contracting parties to decide. China has confirmed twice in diplomatic notes that the China-Laos investment agreement does not apply to Macao SAR. The ruling made by the Singaporean court on this question of fact is incorrect.
The Chinese side handles the application of treaties to Hong Kong and Macao SARs in line with the “one country, two systems” policy and the Basic Laws in Hong Kong and Macao. To be specific, the Chinese central government decides whether or not the international treaties to which the People’s Republic of China is or becomes a party apply to the SARs based on the circumstances and their needs after seeking the views of the governments of the SARs. The SARs can conclude agreements with foreign countries on their own in the appropriate fields, including economy, finance, trade and investment, in accordance with the Basic Laws or under specific authorization of the central government. Therefore, as a principle, the investment agreements between the central government and foreign countries do not apply to SARs, unless otherwise decided by the central government after seeking the views of the SAR governments and consulting with the other contracting parties of the agreement.
Q: New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister canceled a meeting with Hong Kong democracy supporters Martin Lee and Anson Chan this week on advice from his foreign office. Please confirm. Is China pleased about this?
A: I am not aware of this.
Q: According to Kyodo News report, the Japanese government is increasingly worried and plans to urge the Philippines to respect the South China Sea arbitration ruling as Chinese and Philippine leaders agreed to set aside relevant disputes in the South China Sea. As reportedly said by Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga yesterday,the South China Sea issue is a common concern of the international community and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe hopes to urge the Philippines to enhance cooperation with the US and Japan when President Duterte comes to Japan. How do you comment on these remarks?
A: We have noted relevant reports. What the Japanese side said can only be interpreted as ignorant of the times. It is in the fundamental and common interests of the Chinese and Philippine people that China and the Philippines improve and develop their relations across the board and the South China Sea issue be brought back to the track of bilateral dialogue and consultation, which is also conducive to regional peace and stability. Some people in Japan keep talking about regional peace and stability, yet they get anxious and uneasy when regional peace and stability is about to be realized. Japan’s true intentions behind its desperate interference in the South China Sea issue is laid bare for all to see. It is believed that anyone who upholds justice and objectiveness will have a sensible view on this. We urge the Japanese side to immediately stop driving a wedge among regional countries and play a constructive role to regional peace and stability.
Q: President Duterte of the Philippines announced a separation from the US, which is upset about this. Does China take his words seriously or just as a joke?
A: President Duterte is elected by the Philippine people. We believe that he will make independent foreign policies and choices with the interests of his country and the people in mind. The Chinese side respects the Philippines in making foreign policies as a sovereign state based on its own judgment and the fundamental interests of the country and the people.
We believe that countries should not hold a cold-war or zero-sum mentality in today’s international relations. We always develop our relations with other countries in an open, inclusive and mutually beneficial spirit, not targeting, excluding nor affecting the normal relations with third countries. We hope that relevant countries can develop normal, friendly and cooperative relations featuring equality and mutual respect, and that such relations will inject positive energy to regional peace, stability and development.
Q: China and the Philippines agreed to resume talks on the South China Sea issue. Are there conditions that the Philippines must meet before the talks?
A: For the past 41 years since China and the Philippines set up diplomatic relations, successive governments of the two countries have had consensus on the South China Sea issue, namely properly handling relevant disputes through bilateral dialogue and consultation. We should pass on this political wisdom, follow this successful practice and regard it as an important consensus and foundation for the sound and steady development of bilateral relations. There were twists and turns in China-Philippines relations in the past few years due to obvious reasons. President Duterte’s visit to China will help fully recover and develop China-Philippine relations and bring the South China Sea issue back to the track of bilateral dialogue and consultation. This is an important contribution to regional peace and stability and in line with the common aspiration of relevant parties.