|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang's Regular Press Conference on October 29, 2019|
Q: Botswana's incumbent President Mokgweetsi Masisi and Mozambique's incumbent President Filipe Jacinto Nyusi recently won general elections at home respectively with a large margin. Do you have any comment on this?
A: In the recent general elections held successfully in Botswana and Mozambique, President Masisi and President Nyusi were both re-elected to a new term. China extends warm congratulations to them. We are convinced that under their leadership, Botswana and Mozambique will make greater progress in national development.
The friendship between China and Botswana dates back to a long time ago. Since President Masisi took office, he has attached high importance to relations with China. With the guidance of leaders of the two countries, China-Botswana relations have grown in a sound and steady manner as evidenced by remarkable outcomes in cooperation across the board. China stands ready to work with Botswana to build on the momentum of implementing the consensus between our heads of state and the outcomes of the FOCAC Beijing summit to scale new heights in bilateral relations.
China and Mozambique are comprehensive strategic cooperative partners. President Nyusi attaches great importance to relations with China and has paid visits to and attended international conferences in China for many times, actively promoting exchanges and cooperation between the two sides. China highly values its relationship with Mozambique and is ready to work with Mozambique to step up mutually beneficial cooperation under the framework of the BRI and the FOCAC to bring greater benefits to the two countries and peoples.
Q: The US Federal Communications Commission plans to vote in November to designate both Huawei and ZTE as national security risks. That means they will not be able to participate in a 8.5 billion US dollar government fund to help US rural mobile carriers. What is your comment on this?
A: China has stated its position on this issue repeatedly. We firmly oppose the US abusing national power to target certain Chinese companies with trumped-up charges in the absence of evidence. Such economic bullying practice is a denial of the market economy principles the US claims to champion. It will not get the recognition or support from the international community.
It is worth mentioning that according to US media reports, the US Rural Wireless Association (RWA) estimates that 25% of its members had Huawei or ZTE equipment in their networks. It would cost 800 million to one billion US dollars to replace the equipment, which means basic communications could immediately disappear from some rural areas. Banning the purchase of Huawei and ZTE equipment or services by rural operators, as some in the US preach, would end up harming the interests of American businesses and consumers. I wonder how the US sees the risk it will cause.
As to some remarks from the US side, I would like to point out that most countries still have fresh memories about such precedents as the PRISM and the Alstom case. The US has yet to offer an explicit explanation to the world.
We once again urge the US side to stop abusing the concept of national security, stop smearing and accusing China, and stop oppressing certain Chinese enterprises. It should provide a fair, just and non-discriminatory environment for the Chinese businesses in the US, and work to promote mutual trust and cooperation between the two sides.
Q: US Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback met with the Dalai Lama in India recently. He said that the US stands with the people of Tibet and the Dalai Lama, and that the role of picking a successor to the Dalai Lama doesn't belong to any government or any entity. He added that the Tibetan people are not allowed to practice their religious belief freely in Tibet. What's your comment?
A: The 14th Dalai Lama is a political exile who has long been engaging in anti-China separatist activities using religion as a cover. China firmly opposes any form of contact between foreign officials and him. What the US official has said and done violates US commitment on recognizing Tibet as part of China and not supporting the so-called "Tibetan independence". China is firmly opposed to that.
The reincarnation of Living Buddhas is an institution of succession unique to Tibetan Buddhism and is governed by fixed religious rituals and historical conventions. The Chinese government implements the policy of freedom of religious belief. The reincarnation system is respected and protected by Regulations on Religious Affairs and Measures on the Management of the Reincarnation of Living Buddhas. The institution of reincarnation of the Dalai Lama has been in existence for several hundred years. The 14th Dalai Lama himself was found and recognized following religious rituals and historical conventions and his succession was approved by the then central government. Therefore reincarnation of Living Buddhas including the Dalai Lama must comply with Chinese laws and regulations and follow religious rituals and historical conventions.
We strongly urge the US side to stop any form of contact with the Dalai clique, stop issuing irresponsible remarks and stop using Tibet-related issues to interfere in China's internal affairs. It should do more to promote rather than undermine mutual trust and cooperation between China and the US.
Q: US President Trump said yesterday that a very big portion of a trade deal with China will probably be signed ahead of schedule, and he said specifically that this will help US farmers. Do you have any comment on this?
A: Regarding the economic and trade issues between China and the US, the two sides made substantial progress in some of the consultations towards an agreement in the recently-concluded 13th round of talks. On October 25, the heads of the two teams agreed in a telephone call to properly address each other's core concerns and affirmed that technical consultations on part of the text has been basically completed. They will have another telephone call shortly. In the meantime, working-level consultations will be continued at a fast pace. It is China's hope that the two sides can find a way to resolve the economic and trade issues on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit.
As to the specifics you are interested in, I would refer you to the competent authority.
Q: According to media reports, as Solomon Islands terminated an island development agreement between a Chinese company and Solomon Islands' Central Province, US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper applauded the move in a statement on October 25, calling it "an important decision to reinforce sovereignty, transparency, and the rule of law" and criticizing China of using economic and military means to expand influence. Do you have a comment on this?
A: What you mentioned is an isolated commercial case which has received much attention from the press. We understand that the local government in Solomon Islands did not seek the approval of the central government before entering into cooperation with the Chinese company, hence the cooperation project in question has been terminated by the latter. The Chinese government always asks Chinese enterprises to abide by international rules, market principles and local laws and regulations in conducting global investment and cooperation. We encourage the Chinese company involved to maintain communication with Solomon Islands to properly resolve the issue.
I would like to add that it is only natural to encounter some issues when Chinese enterprises invest, operate and look for business opportunities overseas, including in Pacific island countries. However, the US appears to be highly excited about this incident, going as far as issuing a statement in the name of the Secretary of Defense to smear relations between China and Pacific island countries. Although such ploys came as no surprise to us, we cannot help asking: does the US truly care about the development of Pacific island countries and their people's interests? Or does it solely care about its own geopolitical interests? We believe it owes us a clear explanation.
Q: Can you confirm if the intra-Afghan talks are taking place in Beijing this week? What is China's role in the talks?
A: China firmly supports the broad and inclusive peace and reconciliation process that is Afghan-led and Afghan-owned. We support dialogue between all parties in Afghanistan including the Afghan government and the Afghan Taliban. We stand ready to, on the basis of respecting the will of all parties in Afghanistan, provide facilitation and assistance to the peace and reconciliation process, including intra-Afghan dialogue and negotiation. We will keep you updated if there is any information on this.