|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang's Regular Press Conference on February 28, 2017|
At the invitation of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Vice Foreign Minister Ri Kil Song of the DPRK will visit China from 28 February to 4 March. Foreign Minister Wang Yi will meet with Vice Foreign Minister Ri Kil Song. Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin and Assistant Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou will hold talks with him. The two sides will exchange views on China-DPRK relations and international and regional issues of mutual interest.
On 28 February, Assistant Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou will co-host the China-Russia consultation on Northeast Asia security meeting in Beijing with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov. The two sides will exchange views on the situation on the Korean Peninsula and other issues of mutual interest.
Q: Today Vice Foreign Minister Ri Kil Song of the DPRK has arrived in Beijing. Is he here as a special envoy of DPRK Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un? Some say his visit is related to the case of Kim Jong Nam and China's suspension of coal import from the DPRK. What is China's comment?
A: As I said just now, the two sides will discuss China-DPRK relations and international and regional issues of mutual interest during Vice Foreign Minister Ri Kil Song's visit.
Q: US President Trump proposed a 10% increase in this year's defense budget, part of which will go to naval forces. US officials say that this will help enhance the presence of the US in the South China Sea region. Do you believe that the increase of the US defense budget is aimed at China?
A: We have noted recent reports on the proposed defense budget of the US. We hope that relevant policies and measures of the US will be conducive to world peace, stability, development and prosperity. China advocates an outlook of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security. We will work with other countries in the world to make this outlook a reality.
As for the link between the proposed budget increase of the US and the situation in the South China Sea mentioned by you, I will not comment on this as it is a hypothetical question.
We have emphasized many times that the situation in the South China Sea is moving in a positive direction towards greater stability. We hope relevant countries, especially non-regional ones will respect the efforts of China and ASEAN countries, and work together to maintain the current peaceful and stable situation in the South China Sea.
Q: Today, a Columbian drug trafficker was executed in China. Can you give more details? Why does China dismiss the request by the Columbian government to commute his sentence?
A: To my knowledge, the drug criminal from Colombia has been executed today.
Drug-related crime is a grave crime recognized by the world. Chinese judicial authorities are fighting such crime according to law and treat Chinese and foreign citizens committing such crime alike in the principle of equality before the law. China attaches importance to the protection of human rights and the right to life. The lawful rights and interests of the person involved in this case were guaranteed. The Chinese side has made relevant arrangements for consular visit requests of the Colombian side.
I want to say that the relationship between China and Colombia is advancing in a good momentum, with expanding exchanges and cooperation in various fields and close communication and collaboration in international affairs. China believes that individual judicial cases will not and should not affect the overall picture of China-Colombia friendship and cooperation.
The two sides cooperate closely in the judicial field. In the past, for humanitarian reasons, the Chinese side has transferred two drug-related criminals to Colombia. We hope foreigners in China will abide by Chinese laws and not breach laws and commit crimes.
Q: A kindergarten in Osaka spreads anti-China and anti-ROK materials among the parents. What is your comment?
A: I am not aware of the specific case you mentioned. As a principle, we maintain that the Japanese side should respect history, deeply reflect upon itself and educate its younger generation with a correct view of history.
Q: Will China hold briefings for the visits of Vice Foreign Minister of the DPRK Ri Kil Song and Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia Igor Morgulov?
A: Relevant information about the visits will be released in due course.
Q: A session of the UN Human Rights Council is underway. A report published by Amnesty International says that the human rights situation in China continues to deteriorate. Included in the report are also cases of the Chinese government cracking down on citizens and the civil society. What is China's response?
A: We are aware that the 34th session of the UN Human Rights Council is underway in Geneva. It is China's consistent view that we should not politicize the human rights issue or provoke confrontation on this issue. Reality has shown that applying pressure or adopting a confrontational approach on this issue leads to nowhere. All parties need to handle their differences through dialogue and exchanges and promote the development of the human rights cause of the world.
On the report's comments on China's human rights situation, I have not seen the report. The Chinese people, not a report by one organization, are in the best position to speak about the human rights situation in China.
Q: Is Vice Foreign Minister of the DPRK visiting at the initiative of the DPRK side or at China's invitation? Will he attend the other consultation between China and Russia you mentioned?
A: This visit is normal diplomatic exchange and interaction between China and the DPRK. We will release more details of his visit in due course.
As for whether he will attend the China-Russia consultation on Northeast Asia security, I want to say that consultation co-hosted by Assistant Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou and Vice Foreign Minister Morgulov is between China and Russia.
Q: State Councilor Yang Jiechi has met with US President Trump and will meet with Secretary Tillerson tomorrow. Is there some sort of initial agreement between China and the US with regard to a meeting between the two presidents? Will they discuss the Korean nuclear issue?
A: We have published a press release on President Trump's meeting with State Councilor Yang Jiechi. As for a possible meeting between the two presidents, you can have a close look at the release. During the meeting, State Councilor Yang Jiechi conveyed President Xi Jinping's regards to President Trump, who in turn expressed his appreciation and asked State Councilor Yang Jiechi to convey his greetings to President Xi. Both expressed their willingness to enhance high-level exchanges.
Follow-up: Did they talk about the Korean nuclear issue?
A: The release contains information about the meeting. If there is further information, we will release it in due course.
Q: Today, the Lotte Group will formally sign the land swap agreement with the Ministry of National Defense of the ROK for THAAD deployment. Many Chinese people say recently that they want to boycott the Lotte. Will the Chinese government take punitive measures against the Lotte Group?
A: I have stated China position yesterday. We are firmly opposed to and strongly dissatisfied with the fact that ignoring China's interests and concerns, the ROK insisted on working with the US to accelerate the deployment process. China is firm in its resolve to oppose the deployment of THAAD in the ROK and will resolutely take necessary actions to safeguard its own security interests. We strongly urge relevant parties to take China's interests and concerns seriously, stop the deployment process and not to go further down that wrong path. China has twice lodged solemn representations with the ROK for the latest developments.
As for the attitude of the Chinese people, I think relevant parties know full well the opposition of the Chinese people to the deployment of THAAD by the US and the ROK. I believe they have noted the voice of the Chinese people in recent days.
As for the attitude of the Chinese government, we have stated repeatedly that China welcomes foreign companies to make investments and do business in China, and always respects and protects the lawful rights and interests of foreign companies in China. At the same time, we want to emphasize that relevant companies operating in China must comply with laws and regulations.
Finally, I want to add that the Chinese market and consumers will determine whether a foreign company is successful in China.
Q: First, the new ambassador of the Philippines has arrived in Beijing. Can you confirm that? When will the ambassador present credentials to President Xi? Second, when will the new Minister of Commerce visit the Philippines now that the former Minister of Commerce Gao Hucheng has cancelled his visit?
A: I don't have the information for your first question yet and will check on it.
As for your second question, as we said, due to scheduling reasons the meeting of the China-Philippine Joint Commission on Economic and Trade Cooperation is postponed, not cancelled, which means it will be held in the future. The two sides are in close contact as to when we will have the meeting.