Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang's Regular Press Conference on May 17, 2019
2019/05/17

At the invitation of Foreign Minister Muhriddin of Tajikistan, Foreign Minister Aidarbekov of Kyrgyzstan, Foreign Minister Mammadyarov of Azerbaijan, Foreign Minister Zalkaliani of Georgia and Foreign Minister Mnatsakanian of Armenia, from May 20 to 27, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will pay visits to the five countries and attend the meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Kyrgyzstan.

Q: Martin Lee from Hong Kong met with the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo yesterday. Secretary Pompeo expressed concerns about Hong Kong's rule of law and the amendment of the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance. Does China believe this is an interference in China's internal affairs?

A: First I need to point out that Hong Kong affairs are purely China's internal affairs. No other country, organization or individual has the right to interfere. The US should respect the Hong Kong SAR government's efforts to lawfully amend its ordinances and improve its legal system. It is wrong to try and interfere in Hong Kong's affairs in any way. Any attempt to incite chaos in the SAR by hyping up this issue has no support and will not succeed.

Since the return of Hong Kong, policies including "one country, two systems", "Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong" and a high degree of autonomy have been earnestly carried out. Hong Kong people's rights and freedoms have been fully guaranteed. Those are unquestionable facts.

By amending the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance and the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Ordinance, the SAR government aims to better deal with individual cases and plug the loopholes in the legal system, so that Hong Kong can better cooperate with other countries and regions in the transfer of fugitives and mutual legal assistance in criminal matters. It will help them join efforts in fighting crimes and upholding the rule of law, and ensure that Hong Kong will not become a safe haven for criminals. I can assure you that the Chinese central government firmly supports the Hong Kong SAR government in amending the ordinances.

Q: On May 16, when asked about the US imposing restrictions on Chinese tech companies in 5G network building, French President Macron said that it was inappropriate to launch a technological war or a trade war, that France was committed to multilateralism and cooperation, and that it was not the aim of France to block Huawei or any other company. We know that you criticized the US for its restrictions on Huawei. How do you view the different positions of the US and European countries?

A: We have noted President Macron's remarks, and we applaud the unbiased attitude of the French side on Chinese tech companies in 5G network building.

Premier Li Keqiang recently attended the 21st China-EU Leaders' Meeting in Europe, and two sides said in a joint statement that they welcomed the progress in bilateral communication in 5G network building. They also held the fourth China-EU Innovation Cooperation Dialogue and agreed on the extension of the China-EU Science and Technology Cooperation Agreement, which will further advance bilateral cooperation on scientific and technological innovation.

In an era of globalization, the development and application of 5G technology depends on communication and cooperation between countries. However, out of political motives, the US chooses to hinder 5G development, application and cooperation. It even abuses the "national security" concept, politicizes this issue and oppresses certain companies. Such discriminatory practice not only undermines 5G development but also runs counter to fair competition. In the end no country will gain from it.

We encourage more countries to independently make fact-based policy decisions that serve their interests, and to uphold a market environment that is fair, just and non-discriminatory.

Q: Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif is reported to visit China on Friday. He is scheduled to meet with Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi. Can you give us any details of this meeting and what questions will be discussed?

A: China and Iran keep friendly exchanges. We often exchange views on bilateral relations and issues of mutual concern. I can confirm that Foreign Minister Zarif begins his visit to China today and will meet with State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi. More information on his visit will be released in due time.

Q: Italian Minister Gian Marco Centinaio of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies said in a press interview that projects under the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) were not at all dangerous, and that it was a charming choice for Italy to strengthen bilateral relations with China. I wonder if you have any comment?

A: We have noted relevant reports and we applaud Minister Centinaio's remarks.

China and Italy are at the two ends of the ancient Silk Road. During President Xi Jinping's recent visit to Italy, the two sides signed an MOU under the BRI, which gives a boost to deeper bilateral cooperation. Italy pressed ahead with its participation in the BRI cooperation because it sees the opportunities brought by China's development and the bright prospect of China-Italy cooperation. I believe this is the charm described by Minister Centinaio in stronger China-Italy relations.

Q: According to reports, the Norwegian government is now mediating for a dialogue between the ruling and opposition parties of Venezuela. What's your comment?

A: We noted relevant reports. The essence of the Venezuela issue is whether the UN Charter and non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries, a basic norm governing international relations, should be adhered to. China's position on the Venezuela issue is consistent and clear-cut. Upholding the UN Charter and the basic norms governing international relations, China believes that this issue should be independently resolved by the Venezuelan government and the opposition through inclusive political dialogue within the framework of its constitution. We hope the international community can observe international law and make constructive efforts in helping the relevant parties meet each other halfway, so that political settlement can be reached at an early date. We welcome Norway's effort to promote talks.

China stands ready to stay in communication and coordination with all parties to promote peace and facilitate talks, jointly seek a peaceful solution for the Venezuela issue, uphold international fairness and justice and safeguard peace and stability in Venezuela and the region.

Q: Former Australian Prime Minister Hawke recently passed away. How do you view his contribution to China-Australia relations?

A: Mr Hawke had long been caring for and supporting China-Australia relations. He made important contributions to bilateral exchange and cooperation and played a key role in Asia-Pacific economic integration and regional cooperation. We express deep condolences on the passing of Mr Hawke and sincere sympathy to his family.

Q: On May 16, the US Department of Commerce officially added Huawei and its 68 affiliates to the department's Entity List. I wonder if you have any comment on it?

A: My colleague from the Ministry of Commerce and I myself both made clear responses to this question yesterday. We believe this is a wrong practice of the US side. Out of political motives, the US abuses export control measures and takes discriminatory measures on certain companies while making "national security" a catch-all phrase. This is entirely against market rules and the principle of fairness, which does not serve the interests of the US either. It is only natural for China to take all necessary measures to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies.

Q: Chinese media seem to be indicating that new trade talks with the US are off the table for now. Can you confirm that is also the official position? Could you update us on whether there is any possibility that President Xi will meet President Trump at the G20 summit?

A: To answer your second question, like we said at this podium, the two Presidents have maintained contact through various means. I have nothing to update you at the moment.

Regarding your first question, I stated China's position yesterday that in principle, China stands for dialogue and consultation when dealing with differences in international affairs. It is the same with regard to China-US economic and trade relations.

As we believe, it takes sincerity to make a consultation meaningful. Judging from what the US did in previous talks, there are two things we have to make clear. First, we need to follow the principle of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit. Second, words must be matched with deeds.

Q: The world-renowned Chinese-born architect Ieoh Ming Pei passed away yesterday. Do you have any comment?

A: As a world-renown Chinese-born architect, Mr Ieoh Ming Pei made important contributions to mutual understanding between the Chinese and American people, and exchanges and mutual learning between Eastern and Western cultures. We'd like to offer deep condolences on the passing of Mr Pei and sincere sympathy to his family.

Q: It is said that President Xi Jinping's planned visit to Japan in this fall may be postponed to next year. Can you confirm that?

A: I don't have anything to say about that. High-level exchange certainly serves as an important driver for China-Japan relations. I hope both sides can make joint efforts to create favorable atmosphere and environment for it.

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