Q: We have learned that the foreign ministers of China and Mongolia held telephone talks yesterday. Could you offer some information on that?
A: The telephone call was made at the request of the Mongolian side. It has been confirmed through the diplomatic channel that Mongolia’s commitment to not permitting any future visit by the Dalai Lama to the country is an important step toward overcoming interruptions and promoting a healthy relationship. I believe you have already seen media reports of the talks. It serves the fundamental interests of the two countries and two peoples to ensure a sustained and steady growth of China-Mongolia relations on the basis of respecting the one-China principle. China hopes and believes that Mongolia will learn lessons, honor its commitment, and see the talks as an opportunity to continue improving the bilateral relationship.
Q: The Hong Kong SAR government has decided to release the Singaporean armored personnel carriers that were impounded a few weeks ago. Was this decision reached only by the SAR government? Or did the central government in Beijing instruct them to do so?
A: It was a violation of Hong Kong law to ship Singaporean armored vehicles to Hong Kong without acquiring a permit. The Hong Kong SAR government handled the incident in accordance with the law and provided details of the developments. It is hoped that Singapore will cooperate with the SAR government in the follow-up procedures and draw lessons from the incident.
Let me re-emphasize that the Taiwan question concerns China’s core interests. And the one-China principle is the prerequisite and political foundation for China to establish and develop relations with other countries. The Chinese government firmly opposes any forms of official interactions, including mil-to-mil exchanges and cooperation, between Taiwan and countries that have diplomatic ties with us. China has made representations to Singapore over the relevant incident and hopes that the government of Singapore will faithfully adhere to the one-China principle.
Q: We learned that plans of two Korean artists, soprano Sumi Jo and pianist Kun-woo Paik, to stage in China were recently canceled on short notice. In an interview, they suggested that the cancellation may be a result of the deployment of THAAD in the ROK. What is your comment on this? Will the deployment have a greater impact on people-to-people exchanges between China and the ROK?
A: I am not aware of what you mentioned.
On the deployment of THAAD anti-missile system by the US in the ROK, China has expressed its serious concern and firm opposition many times. We maintain that it will undermine China’s strategic and security interests and the strategic balance in the region. It is our hope that relevant sides will take China’s concern seriously and stop the deployment process.
We always support friendly people-to-people exchanges with other countries. It is our view that exchanges and friendship between the people are very important for relations between countries. Under current circumstances, we hope the ROK will take China’s concern seriously and create better conditions for the normal friendly exchanges between our people.
Q: The ambassador of the European Union to China expressed his concern about the new Chinese law on foreign NGOs, saying that it might be difficult for these organizations to find associates in China so they could be expelled. What’s your comment on that?
A: I have not seen reports on that. As for the law on management of foreign NGOs, there have been reports about the first batch of registered licenses being issued to representative offices of overseas NGOs in Beijing. We have made it clear that the enactment of the NGO law was an important practice of governing the state by law. We are ready to provide greater facilitation and a better environment for overseas NGOs to conduct lawful activities in China, as long as they comply with Chinese laws and regulations.
Q: The Syria talks in Astana have concluded. What is China’s analysis on that?
A: The Syria talks in Astana was held as scheduled, with representatives of both the Syrian government and opposition attending and hearing each other’s demands. This alone carries positive significance for a political settlement of the Syrian issue. We believe the important meeting has paved the way for the next phase of Syrian peace talks in Geneva and will generate positive energy which is priceless for the peace talks.
China supports the UN as the major channel for mediation on the Syrian issue. We support the UN efforts to prepare for the Geneva peace talks in accordance with Resolution 2254 of the Security Council and push for the resumption of the political process in Syria. China urges the Syrian government and opposition to keep the momentum for political dialogue, offer more political goodwill, show courage, actively engage in peace talks without setting preconditions, and resolve differences and build mutual trust through dialogue and negotiation. We encourage other opposition parties in Syria to take part in the political settlement of the Syrian issue and make positive contributions. It is also our hope that relevant parties of the international community will bear in mind the larger picture of regional stability and the long-term interests the world, and jointly play a constructive role in the undertaking for a political settlement. The window of hope for the Syrian crisis is opening. We will work with all parties to push the window wider open and let the sunshine in.
Q: It was reported yesterday that the Chinese army deployed Dongfeng-41 missiles in Heilongjiang Province. The Kremlin spokesman said that China and Russia are strategic partners, and Russia does not see China’s military buildup as a threat. What is your comment on that?
A: I saw the reports on the Internet and have taken note of the positive response from the Russian side. According to the information provided by the Ministry of Defense, reports of the so-called military deployment are nothing more than speculation circulated on the Internet. China highly values and commends the high-level performance of the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination. Strategic mutual trust between the two sides is increasing. We will work with Russia to further deepen and expand our comprehensive strategic coordination in various fields.