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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying's Regular Press Conference on December 11, 2019

2019/12/11

At the invitation of the government of the Kingdom of Lesotho, the government of the Republic of Kenya and the government of the Republic of Seychelles, State Councilor Wang Yong will pay official friendly visits to these three countries from December 12 to 21. During his visit to Kenya, State Councilor Wang Yong, as the Special Envoy of President Xi Jinping, will attend the launch ceremony for the freight service of the Nairobi-Malaba Standard Gauge Railway project (phase one).

Q: At a joint press conference with his Russian counterpart Lavrov, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that today's threat to strategic stability go far beyond missiles and submarines. China has to be brought in to a wider arms control discussion. Though China is estimated to have far fewer nuclear weapons than the United States and Russia, the arms control talks are not intended to restrict the nuclear power of any country, but to have constructive dialogue and uphold global security and stability. What's your comment?

A: China has repeatedly reiterated that it has no intention of participating in the so-called trilateral arms control negotiations with the US and Russia. This position is very clear and has been widely understood by the international community including Russia. The US constantly makes an issue of China on nuclear disarmament issue to shirk and shift the responsibility for nuclear disarmament. China is firmly opposed to that.

China believes that as a country that possesses the world's largest and most advanced nuclear arsenal, the United States should take the special responsibility for nuclear disarmament, respond to Russia's call to extend the New START Treaty, and further downsize its huge nuclear arsenal, so as to create conditions for other nuclear weapon states to join multilateral disarmament talks.

If the US really cares about the global strategic stability, it should stop withdrawing from international treaties and agreements, stop negative moves that undermine global strategic balance and stability, and stop playing up power competition and confrontation. It should immediately return to the right track of multilateralism, safeguard international order based on international law and uphold the authority and effectiveness of the legal system of international arms control and non-proliferation regime.

I want to stress that China is consistently committed to upholding the international arms control and non-proliferation regime, advancing international arms control and disarmament process and safeguarding global strategic balance and stability. China stands ready to work with all parties to strengthen communication and coordination within the framework of the Conference on Disarmament and the mechanism of five nuclear-weapon states, discuss a wide range of issues concerning global strategic stability and make positive contributions to international peace and security.

Q: US Secretary of State Pompeo said in a statement yesterday that China continues to repress members of religious and ethnic minority groups. In order to regain moral authority in the eyes of freedom-loving nations, China must rededicate itself to protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms. What's your comment?

A: What the US says reminds me of the foolish emperor in Andersen's fairy tale "the Emperor's New Clothes". It cannot be more ironic that a naked man is so proud of his imaginary clothes.

The US today is in no position to talk about human rights or morality with China. Yesterday I detailed the great achievements in China's human rights progress over the past seven decades since the founding of the PRC. Its vast land of 9.6 million square kilometers is free from war, terror and displacement. People of all 56 ethnic groups live in harmony. 850 million people have got out of poverty and 1.4 billion people lead happy and fulfilling lives. For over ten consecutive years, China has contributed to over 30% of global GDP growth. It has created a development miracle in human history and made huge contribution to world human rights cause, winning worldwide acclaim.

In stark contrast, the US faces rampant and serious racial discrimination at home. Besides, it has a hand in other countries' internal affairs wherever it can, instigates "color revolutions" and regime change, stages wars and kills innocent lives in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. How many bad things has it done under the pretext of freedom and human rights all round the world? Apart from that, It abuses state power and the concept of national security to oppress certain enterprises, wantonly wields the big stick of sanction, willfully practices unilateralism, pulls out of international treaties and organizations and undermines international multilateral mechanisms without a shred of credibility left. However, the US is so proud rather than ashamed when such behaviors raise eyebrows across the world. It is no longer a city upon the hill but still acts so arrogantly without even knowing that. In the meantime, we noticed more and more rational reflection and voice at home in the US.

Knowing oneself is a wisdom and merit. We hope the US will get to know this point.

Q: A recent Washington Post article "At War with the Truth" reveals that senior U.S. officials failed to tell the truth about the war in Afghanistan throughout the 18-year campaign, making rosy pronouncements they knew to be false to mislead the public. The report said that the US government pathetically knows nothing about who is the enemy. This most prolonged war in US history which costs $1 trillion and 2,400 lives of US service men and women in fact led to thousands needlessly killed. According to UN statistics, 3,804 Afghan civilians were killed in 2018. In the first 10 months this year, US-backed airstrikes have killed 579 civilians. What's your comment?

A: For the US, a self-claimed "defender of human rights and morality", this report is such a loud slap in the face. And I'm afraid this is only the tip of the iceberg for what the US has done.

As you may recall, under the pretext of Iraq hiding weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), the US launched attacks in Iraq that caused hundreds of thousands of innocent casualties and over a million displaced people. It was years later that the US admitted errors in its intelligence and that the so-called evidence for WMDs was merely a small bag of washing powder. Claiming that the Syrian government used chemical weapons against its people, the US launched air strikes in Syria, leaving tens of thousands injured, killed and displaced. However, later it was found out that the "evidence" that the US presented to prove the Syrian government used chemical weapons to kill its citizens was nothing more than a video that was self-choreographed, self-directed and self-acted by the White Helmets.

Sadly, the US apparently didn't learn the lessons at all. It is still striking everywhere under trumped-up pretexts. Tragedies are still ongoing. This country has become the most dangerous threat against world peace, security and stability.

Our world is at a critical crossroads, and we cannot afford losing international justice. We hope the US will sincerely reflect on its deeds and restore rules, order, peace and tranquility for the world.

Q: According to UN sanctions, all DPRK workers abroad must return home by December 22. Could you tell us how many DPRK citizens are currently working in China? What will happen to them after the December 22 deadline? Will they be deported to the DPRK?

A: I'm not aware of the number you asked about. But I can tell you responsibly that as a responsible member of the international community, China earnestly implements UN resolutions.

Q: In 2017, State Councilor Wang Yong attended the launch ceremony for the Mombasa-Nairobi Railway as the Special Envoy of President Xi Jinping. This time and in the same capacity, he will witness the inauguration of the Nairobi-Malaba Standard Gauge Railway project (phase one). Why does China believe that it is important to do this? How does China view its railway cooperation with Kenya? What is China's expectation for bilateral cooperation in this area?

A: Since its completion, the Mombasa-Nairobi Railway has seen a safe and smooth operation and played a positive role in driving Kenya's economic and social development, speeding up its industrialization and promoting regional connectivity. Phase one of the Nairobi-Malaba Railway is an extension of the Mombasa-Nairobi Railway as it stretches into the inland areas of Kenya. It is another important outcome of China-Kenya and China-Africa cooperation on industrial capacity and the Belt and Road Initiative. During the construction of the Nairobi-Malaba Railway, as with the Mombasa-Nairobi Railway, China and Kenya have been cooperating under the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits for common development and win-win-results and living up to the green and environment-conscious development concept, which stands as a shining example for China-Africa infrastructure building cooperation.

The completion of Phase one of the Nairobi-Malaba Railway will further reduce the logistics and transportation costs for Kenya and East Africa. China and Kenya will work together to ensure the safe and efficient operation of the Mombasa-Nairobi Railway and the Nairobi-Malaba Railway and fully tap into the economic and social potential brought along by the railway projects.

Q: According to reports from Danish media, China's ambassador to Denmark said that Beijing would drop a free trade agreement with Faroe Islands if they don't secure a contract with Huawei. Are these reports true? And is China using trade agreements to pressure other countries to use Huawei?

A: There is a factual error in your question. China and the Faroe Islands are not in talks for a free trade agreement. How could it be canceled? Why would the Chinese ambassador threaten to cancel it? If you see how senior U.S. officials smear and attack Chinese companies wherever they go and threaten others to stop doing business with these companies, you will get an idea of what the real threat is.

China and the Faroe Islands of Denmark enjoy good cooperative relations. When the Chinese ambassador to Denmark met with officials from the Faroe Islands, he was performing his duties, talking about friendship and cooperation and safeguarding the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese enterprises. The media reports you mentioned are wrong and ill-intentioned.

Q: According to reports, after two judges' term ended on December 10, the WTO Appellate Body will stop functioning today because the US obstructs the selection and appointment of new judges. What's your comment?

A: Unfortunately the WTO Appellate Body has become another victim of US unilateralism and protectionism. The Appellate Body, an important component of effective WTO dispute settlement mechanism, will temporarily go lights out. This is no doubt the most severe blow to the multilateral trading system since its establishment. For the world trade order, the paralysis of the Appellate Body may bring irreparable damages and unintended consequences.

I don't know if you noticed that Chinese Ambassador to the WTO Zhang Xiangchen chose to wear a black tie to the 5th General Council Meeting of the WTO. Nevertheless, he said he did not want to show even the slightest frustration, since the setback could help us to stay cool, stay reflective, and push us forward.

Over the past 25 years since the establishment of the WTO, the dispute settlement system has played an outstanding role. Panels and Appellate Body have rendered decisions in almost 200 disputes and most have been settled smoothly and effectively. But the US persists to go its own way and obstruct the process, finally paralyzing the whole Appellate Body. This reveals the fragility of the multilateral trading system. What is the Appellate Body worth? For those who uphold multilateralism, it is invaluable. For those who prefer laws of the jungle, perhaps it is worthless.

But the international community cannot afford to lose justice. Nobody and no country should be allowed to do whatever they want. This is the shared view of the vast majority of the international community. We note that 117 Members have called for the immediate launch of selection process which is a strong testimony of the majority membership's political will to restore the Appellate Body. China will continue to work with like-minded members to address the challenge facing the Appellate Body.

Q: A question on journalists. A report has been published today by the US-based Committee to Protect Journalists. The report says that at least 48 journalists are currently jailed, detained in China. It says it's the largest number of any country in the world. Does China confirm this number of 48 journalists jailed?

A: First, you said it's a US-based organization, right? After all that has happened, there is no credibility left to US-manipulated organizations. Do you agree?

Second, you said 48 journalists were detained. I wonder if you were talking about Chinese or foreign journalists? Nearly 600 foreign journalists are leading a happy life here in China. In fact, I think it's fortunate that you work in Beijing instead of Washington D.C. I noted some media saying that journalists there were fired just because they didn't report or misreported certain things. Fortunately you are working in China.

During the recent disturbances in Hong Kong, media reports showed that some fake journalists did illegal things. But I don't recall seeing relevant organizations condemning their behaviors that tainted the reputation of the press community.

I'm not aware of the details of the US-based committee you talked about, and I cannot verify the number for you. But since China is a country based on rule of law, no one is above the law. No matter you are a journalist or a public servant, if you violate the law, you will be punished. Before asking this question, I think you need to first know if those people breached the law.

Q: According to the latest statistics from the US House of Representatives, the US government contributed $2.32 million to the World Anti-doping Agency (WADA), making it the largest patron of the organization. There are also reports saying that WADA has always been cutting American athletes some slack. In 2015, 402 American athletes were granted Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) among 653 who applied for it, while only 20 Russian athletes were granted TUE in the same year. This revelation brings us to what's happened to Chinese athletes recently. What is your comment?

A: I am not aware of the specifics. If these reports are true, then the ugly and foul dealings revealed by these reports are really repulsing and alarming.

China's stance on anti-doping is very clear. We have been adopting a zero-tolerance attitude towards the use of stimulants and we oppose politicizing sports events. The legitimate rights of all clean athletes must be protected and the fairness, justice and purity of the international sports events should be safeguarded.

Q: One more question on the Hong Kong police. International experts overseeing an investigation into allegation of excessive force used by Hong Kong police have said they are stepping down over the lack of powers. Do you have any comment to make on this decision?

A: This question is not for the MFA spokesperson to answer.

If we look back on what happened during the past months, we can see it is the greatest lie to claim that Hong Kong police resorted to excessive use of force. Is there a single demonstrator killed by the police's excessive use of violence? What we have seen is innocent civilians' lives threatened by rioters' rampant use of violence. What we have seen is several hundred members of a great police force sustaining different degrees of injuries from rioter violence including throat-slashing, petro bombs, sling shots, etc. If you have been paying attention to these facts, you wouldn't even have asked the question. Is there another police force in the world, the US and France included, equally restrained as the Hong Kong police force?

Journalist: The word I used is "allegation", not "fact".

A: Okay, but you need to refute such a groundless allegation in your report, because this is clearly wrong. Anyone alleging so is telling lies against their conscience. Responsible media agencies should applaud the restraint and professionalism of the Hong Kong police. They are the defender of Hong Kong's rule of law. Their professional spirit, sacrifice and contributions should be saluted by all.

Q: A follow-up on that. I think in relation to that question was that an international panel appointed by the Hong Kong government reportedly resigned because the Hong Kong government which appointed the experts would now not listen to their advice. Do you have any comment on that?

A: I already said this is not a question for me to answer. But I believe the answer is only too obvious to anyone who is upright and has a conscience. I don't think your reports on Hong Kong were fair or just. Suppose you were injured there, suppose one of your family members works in the Hong Kong police force, what would you think? A journalist must be first and foremost an upright person upholding press ethics.  

Q: The reports coming out of Denmark are saying that there is a recording of these conversations with the Chinese ambassador and members of the Faroe Islands government. Did the conversations take place? And in those conversations did the Chinese ambassador recommend using Huawei 5G?

A: I took a similar question earlier. Did you hear officials of the Faroe Islands making statements or accusations?

As I said, if you look at the threats, smears and attacks made by American senior officials against Chinese companies worldwide, you will understand what real threats are. The Chinese ambassador was only fulfilling his duty. As China and the Faroe Islands enjoy good cooperation, the ambassador was only talking about friendship and cooperation.

Follow-up: So it may just have been a misunderstanding. It is possible he referred to the use of Huawei 5G as an option in the same conversation which maybe involved talks about a future free trade agreement. It could be a misunderstanding, that these things were discussed, but maybe not the way it is interpreted.

A: Whether they talked about Huawei or not, does it make a difference? While American officials and ambassadors are free to slander Huawei wherever they go, why is it that a Chinese ambassador cannot even mention the name of a Chinese company during discussions on cooperation with host country officials? Does it make any sense?

Do you think China is still in an era where the US can do all it can to smear, attack and oppress us while we cannot even mention a name, much less talk back? Well, that era is long gone. It is our responsibility to defend the legitimate rights of Chinese nationals and companies.

Q: We were wondering if there is any preparations or communication that China and the US have made to seal the deal before the next round of tariffs takes effect on December 15, and what, if any plans, are there for a call between the leaders of the two countries?

A: You may need to ask the Commerce Ministry.

Q: Reports quoting Iranian sources say that Iran will hold joint naval exercises with Russian and Chinese forces somewhere in the Indian Ocean. Is this true?

A: I'm not aware of that. I'd refer you to the National Defense Ministry.



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