At the invitation of Jean-Marc Ayrault, the French Chair of the China-France High-Level People-to-People and Cultural Exchange Mechanism and French Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Development, as well as Olga Golodets, the Russian Chair of the China-Russia Cultural Cooperation Committee and Russian Deputy Prime Minister, Vice Premier Liu Yandong of the State Council will travel to France for the 3rd meeting of the China-France High-Level People-to-People and Cultural Exchange Mechanism followed by a visit to Russia for the 17th meeting of the China-Russia Cultural Cooperation Committee and the completion ceremony of the permanent exhibition hall at the site of the 6th CPC national congress from June 29 to July 6.
At the invitation of Deputy Prime Minister of Vietnam Pham Binh Minh, State Councilor Yang Jiechi will travel to Vietnam from June 26 to 28 to co-host with Pham Binh Minh the 9th meeting of the China-Vietnam Steering Committee for Bilateral Cooperation and pay a visit to Vietnam.
Q: The UK voted to leave the EU today. What’s your comment?
A: China has taken note of the result of the UK referendum, and respects the choice made by the British people. China always views and develops its relations with the UK and the EU from a strategic and long-term perspective, and supports the development path of Europe’s own choice . We hope that the UK and the EU can reach an early agreement through negotiation. A prosperous and stable Europe is in the interests of all parties.
Q: You mentioned that Vice Premier Liu Yandong will attend the completion ceremony of the permanent exhibition hall at the site of the 6th CPC national congress during her visit to Russia. What’s China’s consideration for arranging this activity?
A: The 6th CPC national congress is the only national congress held overseas in the history of the CPC, bearing great significance to China’s revolution endeavor.
It is an important consensus reached between the two heads of state of China and Russia to revamp the site of the 6th CPC national congress and build a permanent exhibition hall on that. This exhibition hall will be completed and open to the public at the 95th anniversary of the establishment of the CPC. Vice Premier Liu Yandong and Russian Deputy Prime Minister Golodets will attend the completion ceremony. This will help carry forward the traditional friendship and bolster the long-lasting amicable relations between the Chinese and Russian people.
Q: I have a follow-up question on how the Brexit will influence China-UK relations, in terms of economy and trade in particular. China and the UK embarked on a “golden era” after President Xi Jinping’s visit to the UK last year, with China opening up the European market through the UK and the UK working on the EU to grant China the market economy status. Now the UK is leaving the EU, and how will bilateral relations, especially economic and trade ties be affected?
A: The UK’s decision to leave the EU is sure to have repercussions in various ways, including but not limited to bilateral relations between China and the UK. China respects the choice made by the British people and attaches great importance to bilateral relations with the UK. We are willing to join hands with the UK to maintain and press ahead with bilateral relations, and make new headway in pragmatic cooperation.
Q: Some people worry that other countries may follow the example of the UK to exit the EU, a move that risks weakening the EU. What’s China’s comment on this potential trend? Are you concerned that a weakened EU will affect China-EU relations?
A: All parties have to accept the new reality of an EU without the UK and a UK that leaves the EU. We hope that the UK and the EU can reach an early agreement through relevant negotiations and go through the transition period smoothly. Regarding the EU and the integration process of Europe, China’s position is consistent. We support the European integration process, and are happy to see Europe play a positive role in international affairs. We have faith in the prospect of China-EU relations.
Q: What is the arrangement for State Councilor Yang Jiechi’s visit to Vietnam? How do you see the current China-Vietnam relations?
A: I just announced State Councilor Yang Jiechi’s visit to Vietnam from June 26 to 28 to co-host the 9th meeting of the China-Vietnam Steering Committee for Bilateral Cooperation with Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh. This meeting is the first one under the China-Vietnam governmental coordination mechanism at the highest level after the new Vietnamese party and government leaders took office. Both the two sides attach great importance to this meeting. During his stay in Vietnam, State Councilor Yang Jiechi will co-host the meeting with Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh. The two sides will focus their discussion on the overall development of China-Vietnam relations under the new circumstances and explore concrete measures to deepen cooperation across the board. State Councilor Yang Jiechi is also scheduled to meet with the Vietnamese leadership. It is believed that this meeting will come to fruition with the joint efforts of both sides.
China-Vietnam relations currently enjoy a good momentum of development. The party general secretaries of the two countries paid mutual visits last year, reaching important consensus on deepening bilateral comprehensive strategic cooperation and charting the course for bilateral relations in the new age. The Chinese government sets great store by its relations with Vietnam, and stands ready to join hands with Vietnam to carry forward bilateral friendship, deepen all-round pragmatic cooperation and deliver more benefits to the people.
Q: It is known that China, Mongolia and Russia inked a development plan on establishing China-Mongolia-Russia economic corridor on June 23. What’s the content of the plan and what significance does it bear?
A: On June 23, heads of state from China, Mongolia and Russia bore witness to the signing of the development plan on establishing China-Mongolia-Russia economic corridor by relevant departments of the three countries in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. This is an important early harvest of the Belt and Road initiative and marks the official implementation of the first multilateral economic cooperation corridor under this initiative.
The development plan specifies the details, funding and implementation mechanism of the economic corridor. It identifies 32 priority projects of cooperation, covering ten major areas namely infrastructure connectivity, industrial cooperation, modernization and upgrading of ports, energy cooperation, customs and inspection and quarantine, ecological and environmental protection, technology and education, people-to-people exchanges, agricultural cooperation and public health.
The China-Mongolia-Russia economic corridor has made substantial progress. This fully demonstrates the resolve and confidence of the three countries to align their development strategies and push forward the Belt and Road initiative in the principle of joint undertaking, wide consultation and shared benefits. It is believed that the three countries will take the signing of the development plan as an opportunity, deepen cooperation in a wide spectrum of areas, enhance connectivity, and work for win-win cooperation and common development.
Q: President Putin is about to visit China tomorrow, which will be his fourth visit to China in three years. Given that he just met with President Xi Jinping in Tashkent yesterday, what is the particular goal of tomorrow’s visit?
A: China and Russia are comprehensive strategic partners of coordination at a high level. Frequent and routine mutual visits between leaders of the two countries are a full display of their strong desire to strengthen coordination.
When meeting with President Putin at Tashkent yesterday, President Xi Jinping said that this year marks the 15th anniversary of the signing of the China-Russia Treaty on Good-neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation and the 20th anniversary of the establishment of China-Russia strategic partnership of coordination. President Putin’s state visit to China is particularly important at such a moment. We hope to advocate the long-lasting friendship enshrined in the Treaty, further promote political and strategic mutual trust, enhance support to each other, align development strategies, dovetail the Belt and Road initiative with the Eurasia Economic Union, and step up coordination and cooperation on major international and regional affairs.
During President Putin’s visit, the two leaders will ink and issue a series of important political documents and witness the signing of cooperation pacts. This visit is sure to bear fruitful results and inject new impetus to China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination. We welcome your attention to this visit.
Q: The Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) Plenary Meeting is being held in Seoul. The entry application of India and other non-NPT countries has drawn wide attention. There are reports saying that China is the only country blocking India’s entry into the NSG. Do you have any response?
A: To help you better understand this issue, first of all I’d like to brief you on the NSG Plenary Meeting in Seoul.
The application of non-NPT countries including India is not an item on the agenda of the Seoul Plenary Meeting. The meeting was just concluded, and a statement was published saying that the NSG had discussions on the issue of “Technical, Legal and Political Aspects of the Participation of non-NPT States in the NSG” and decided to continue its discussion. The statement also reaffirmed the importance of the NPT as the cornerstone of the international non-proliferation regime. The entry of non-NPT countries into the group is a thorny issue, and all parties pay great attention to it. The NSG is still divided on the entry of non-NPT countries at the moment. China adheres to two principles when dealing with this issue. First, the rules of the NSG must be followed, as they are not targeted at any specific country. Second, consensus should be forged in a creative way of thinking. In this Seoul Plenary Meeting, China and other ten-odd countries pushed the group to discuss the issue of non-NPT states’ entry in an innovative format in a bid to uphold the NPT as the bedrock of the international non-proliferation regime. This is a major step forward taken by the Plenary Meeting regarding the entry of non-NPT countries, and China has made positive and constructive contributions to this.
That’s what I know about the Seoul Plenary Meeting. How can there be any support or opposition still less the objection from China when the entry of specific non-NPT countries was not on the agenda of this year’s Seoul meeting and all the previous ones? We have made our position crystal clear. We notice that certain media are keen on using such headlines, and it is hoped that they will ascertain the fact and avoid misleading the public when doing reports.
Q: I have another question on the Brexit issue. China has a number of financial service projects in the pipeline with Britain which may no longer make smooth progress or have access to the common market following the Brexit. Will these financial service projects remain attractive to Chinese companies and financial institutions? Does the Brexit undermine Britain’s attractiveness to Chinese investors?
A: The Brexit is something that just took place. I believe relevant countries need some time to study closely the new situation. As I just said, China views and deals with its relations with the UK and the EU from a strategic and long-term perspective. We will work alongside the UK for progress in pragmatic cooperation, and we will also work actively to develop relationship with the EU.
Q: Can you tell us more about the meeting between Indian Prime Minister Modi and President Xi Jinping at Tashkent? Indian media reported that the NSG issue came along in their talks. Can you give me more details?
A: We have released information on President Xi Jinping’s meeting with Indian Prime Minister Modi at Tashkent on June 23. President Xi Jinping pointed out that the current China-India strategic cooperative partnership is developing rapidly on the track jointly set by him and Prime Minister Modi. During Indian President Pranab Mukherjee’s visit to China last month, the two sides reached important consensus on developing bilateral relations. China is willing to work with India to develop bilateral relations in the right direction. The common interests shared by China and India far outweigh particular disputes. The two sides need to deepen pragmatic cooperation, and step up cooperation on trade, railway, industrial parks, energy and electricity, information technology, energy saving and environmental protection, etc. China welcomes Prime Minister Modi’s attendance at the G20 Hangzhou Summit in September. President Xi Jinping also looks forward to traveling to India for the BRICS leaders’ meeting in October. President Xi Jinping congratulates India on signing an MOU on honoring the obligations of joining the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) during this summit, and looks forward to stepping up cooperation with India under the SCO framework.
Prime Minister Modi said that India and China enjoy traditional friendship. Bilateral relations have been developing smoothly and the important consensus reached by leaders of the two countries is being implemented. India is willing to work with China to enhance all-round pragmatic cooperation, increase communication and coordination on international and regional affairs, and properly handle relevant issues. Prime Minister Modi also thanked China for supporting India’s accession to the SCO.
Regarding India’s entry into the NSG, we have said many times that China holds a clear stance on the accession of non-NPT countries including India. Group members still have varied opinions on the accession of non-NPT countries. China maintains that the group have full discussions on the accession of non-NPT countries and then make decisions based on consultation and consensus. China’s position does not target any specific country, but applies to all non-NPT countries. Since the Indian side follows this issue very closely and hopes to get first-hand information, Director General Wang Qun of the Department of Arms Control of China’s Foreign Ministry has given an interview with the Indian media in Seoul and briefed them on the meeting including the role China played in the discussions on the accession of non-NPT countries in the plenary meeting. We are willing to continue with relevant discussions in a constructive manner.
Q: British Prime Minister David Cameron just announced to resign, as the UK is in need of a new leader after the Brexit vote. What is China’s comment on that?
A: The Chinese side always respects other countries’ development path of their own choice. We respect the British people’s choice and Prime Minister Cameron’s choice.
Q: The Cambodian government will deport over 20 telecom fraud suspects from the mainland and Taiwan to China today. Will China appreciate that?
A: We have noted the statement by the Cambodian side which says that it will handle the relevant issue in accordance with the one-China principle. We hereby express our appreciation. The relevant department of China will work and communicate closely with its Cambodian counterpart to properly address this issue, and safeguard the rights and interests of victims in the telecom fraud cases.