Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang’s Regular Press Conference on October 24, 2016
Q: The Foreign Ministry said that President Alpha Condé of Guinea is about to visit China. Can you give us more details about his agenda in China? How do you comment on the current China-Guinea relations?
A: As was announced by the Foreign Ministry, at the invitation of President Xi Jinping, President Alpha Condé of the Republic of Guinea will pay a state visit to China from October 26 to November 4.
During his stay in China, President Xi Jinping will hold talks with him, and Premier Li Keqiang and Chairman Zhang Dejiang will meet with him on separate occasions. The two sides will exchange views on bilateral relations and international and regional issues of common interest. Apart from Beijing, President Condé will also travel to Shaanxi and Sichuan and attend the opening ceremony of the 16th Western China International Fair in Chengdu.
Regarding bilateral relations, we all know that China and Guinea enjoy generations of friendship which has been consolidated with the passing of time. The fight against Ebola, when people of the two countries fought side by side, witnessed us sharing weal and woe as brothers. In recent years, mutually beneficial cooperation between China and Guinea have made considerable headways in various fields with fruitful outcomes. You may have noticed that the Kaleta Hydropower Station undertaken by the Chinese enterprise is now the largest one in Guinea, standing as a new monument to China-Guinea friendship. China and Guinea have complementary advantages. We offer opportunities to each other. Our cooperation promises great potential. We hope that President Condé’s visit will elevate China-Guinea friendly cooperation to a new height.
Q: On October 21, a train in Cameroon had a serious derailing accident, killing at least 55 and injuring almost 600. Has China expressed its sympathy? Was there any Chinese people among the casualties?
A: We express our sincere sympathies over this tragic accident in Cameroon which has caused massive casualties. Our condolence goes to the victims, and we wish all the injured a speedy recovery. President Xi Jinping has sent a message of condolences to President Biya. So far, there has been no report of Chinese people hurt or killed in the accident.
Q: It is reported that Vice Chairman of the Workers’ Party of Korea for International Affairs Ri Su Yong arrived in Beijing this morning. Does China have any plan of meeting with him?
A: We have noted relevant reports. Vice Chairman Ri Su Yong is en route to Indonesia for a meeting. We don’t have any information other than that.
Q: It is reported that from October 21 to 22, officials from the DRPK and the US met for unofficial talks, including DPRK Vice Foreign Minister Han Song-ryol and Robert Gallucci, former chief US negotiator on the Korean nuclear issue. According to officials from the ROK, the US government explained that it was a non-official meeting, having nothing to do with the US government. What is your comment?
A: We have noted relevant reports as well as the comments made by the ROK side. As we have said from this podium before, the conflict between the DPRK and the US is what brought the Korean nuclear issue into being and remains the crux of this issue. We have been encouraging relevant parties, the US and the DPRK in particular, to have contact, consultation and talks so as to enhance the likelihood of properly resolving the Korean nuclear issue through negotiation.
We support all efforts, whatever form they may take, as long as they are conducive to restoring the issue back to the track of negotiation.
Q: The US ambassador to India said on October 21 that he recently visited the Tawang region along the China-India borderline, which we know belongs to the disputed areas. Has China raised this issue with India and the US?
A: As you noted correctly, the place he visited is disputed. We are strongly opposed to the US senior diplomat attending activities in the disputed areas along the China-India borderline.
China’s position on the eastern section of the China-India borderline is consistent and clear. China and India are working to resolve territorial disputes through negotiation and consultation. Any third party with a sense of responsibility shall respect such bilateral efforts for peace, stability, and reconciliation, instead of undermining them. What the US did, which runs counter to the hard work by China and India, will only complicate the issue, sabotage the hard-won peace and tranquility in the China-India border areas, and disrupt peace and stability of the region. We urge the US to stop meddling in the territorial disputes between China and India, and do more to enhance regional peace and stability.
The China-India boundary question is very complex and sensitive. Intervention by a third party will only stir up and aggravate tension. It is the people of the two countries that will end up getting hurt. We believe that China and India, as two major countries, can spare enough political wisdom to ensure peace and stability of their border areas and uphold the fundamental interests of their people.
Q: The Philippines was recently hit by Typhoon Haima. Has China done anything in response to that?
A: Typhoon Haima has caused the Philippines great life and property losses. When meeting with President Duterte last week, President Xi conveyed his sympathy to the Philippine government and people. Foreign Minister Wang Yi also expressed his sympathy to Foreign Minister Yasay. The Red Cross Society of China will offer US$100,000 humanitarian assistance. The Chinese government will help to the utmost of its capacity. We hope and believe that led by the Philippine government, the Philippine people will surmount difficulties, overcome disasters, and resume their normal life at an early date.
Q: First, during President Duterte’s visit last week, Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin said that Huangyan Dao was not touched upon. Now there are reports saying that Philippine fishermen can fish in Huangyan Dao very soon. What is your response? Second, regarding more than 20 Asian sailors, including some from the mainland and Taiwan who were kidnapped by Somali pirates, how did the Foreign Ministry rescue them? What is the arrangement for their return? Will the Taiwanese crew return to Taiwan via the mainland?
A: On your first question, President Duterte’s visit last week was a historic one. In the past five years, China-Philippine relations were held back due to reasons known to all. The two sides demonstrated enough political willingness and exchanged views on resuming and improving bilateral relations in an all-round way, further enhancing cooperation, and controlling disputes. I can tell you that the two sides talked a lot and agreed a lot on a wide range of subjects. As for the specific issue you asked concerning the South China Sea, President Xi told President Duterte that for the most part of bilateral relations since China and the Philippines established diplomatic ties, the two sides were able to properly control disputes through bilateral dialogues on the South China Sea issue. Such successful practice can be repeated and the political wisdom it exhibited worth carrying forward. It is an important basis for China and the Philippines to develop their relations in a sound and steady way. With this basis, the two sides can have candid exchange of views on everything, manage disputes and give full play to cooperation. I also want to point out for you that in the joint statement issued during President Duterte’s visit, the two sides made clear that they will remain in consultation on the South China Sea issue and other concerns. I can assure you that relevant issues between China and the Philippines will be properly settled as long as the two sides keep their political willingness going on.
On your second question, yesterday, the Foreign Ministry has given details about these 26 crew members rescued after spending more than 4 years as hostages to Somalia pirates. There were Chinese fishermen from both the mainland and Taiwan.
It is up to the State Council Office for Taiwan Affairs to answer cross-Straits-related issues, as the Spokesperson of the Office just did this morning. He said that in accordance with the choice made by the Taiwan fisherman and the requests made by his family members, the Taiwan fisherman will travel to Guangzhuo from Nairobi along with other fishermen from the mainland. His family members will take him back to Taiwan from Guangzhou.
Q: The Foreign Ministry said that 10 hijacked crew members from China has arrived in Kenya. Do you have any update on their conditions?
A: On October 22, all the surviving 26 crew members were rescued and arrived in Kenya on October 23 with the assistance of relevant UN agencies. Ten of the 26 rescued crew members, as you mentioned, are Chinese citizens. The working group sent by the Chinese government has set off to bring these Chinese crew members back. After necessary physical checks, psychological counselling and proper settlement, they will return to China and unite with their families under the escort of the working group.
Q: This hijacking incident was only resolved four and a half years after it happened. Why did it take so long?
A: “People comes first, and diplomacy serves the people” is the long-held position of the Chinese government. We have been putting the safety of these hijacked crew members in the first place. A hostage rescue operation has never been easy, especially when we need to ensure first and foremost the safety of the hostages, which makes our rescue work more complex and difficult. However difficult it may be, and whatever amount of patience it may need, the Chinese government is determined to do its utmost and bring our brothers back home, as is shown by this incident
Hereby, we would like to express our heartfelt thanks to all the institutions and personnel involved in the rescue mission.
Q: Italian football coach Marcello Lippi was officially named the head coach of the Chinese team. Do you think he will lead the Chinese team to the World Cup again?
A: This is not a diplomatic issue. I believe that many Chinese people, me included, wish for better scores of our national team. One good match is not enough. We want them to improve their skills and performance all the time.