|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang's Regular Press Conference on January 4, 2017|
At the invitation of the government of the Republic of Ghana, Vice Chairman Wang Zhengwei of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference will travel to Accra, the capital city of Ghana for the inauguration ceremony of President Nana Akufo-Addo on January 7 as the Special Envoy of President Xi Jinping.
Q: The Philippines is this year's rotating chair of ASEAN. Under the new circumstances, what does China expect from its cooperation with ASEAN?
A: The Chinese government always regards ASEAN as the priority of its neighborhood diplomacy. Last September when China and ASEAN celebrated the 25th birthday of their dialogue relationship in Vientiane, Laos, Premier Li Keqiang and leaders of the ten ASEAN countries agreed to upgrade and elevate China-ASEAN cooperation, fully demonstrating the determination of China and ASEAN countries to consolidate mutual trust and highlight cooperation.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of ASEAN, and is also the year of China-ASEAN tourism cooperation, presenting opportunities for the two sides to upgrade their relationship. China will work with ASEAN to enhance communication on policies, alignment of strategies and practical cooperation, deepen all-around cooperation covering trade, connectivity and production capacity, fully implement the 3rd Five-year Action Plan, and materialize the outcomes of the upgraded China-ASEAN Free Trade Area. Meanwhile, we will ensure the success of the tourism cooperation year so as to forge a new pillar for the people-to-people and cultural exchanges and breathe new life into China-ASEAN cooperation.
China stands ready to offer its support to the Philippines in executing its role as the ASEAN rotating chair and elevate China-ASEAN relations to a new height.
Q: Special Envoy Xie Xiaoyan of the Chinese government for Syria is going to visit Geneva, the EU, Turkey and Russia. Why does China send him on the visit at this time?
A: The Syrian government and main opposition forces have recently signed a ceasefire agreement and consented to restart peace talks, which marks a new opportunity for the political settlement of the Syrian issue. The Security Council has unanimously adopted a resolution on the ceasefire and launch of political process in Syria, demonstrating the international community's consensus on supporting the resumption of political process in Syria.
As a permanent member of the Security Council, China has been playing a positive and constructive role for the proper settlement of the Syrian issue. The visit by Special Envoy Xie Xiaoyan, which is made shortly after the previous one, is to enhance communication and coordination among relevant parties, give backing to the international community's peace-promoting efforts and press for an early restart of the process for political settlement.
Q: The so-called Taiwan "Foreign Ministry" yesterday expressed regret at and dissatisfaction with the deportation by the Vietnamese government of four Taiwanese suspected of transnational telecommunications fraud to the mainland on January 1. What is your response to that?
A: China and Vietnam have close cooperation on combatting cross-border crimes such as telecoms fraud. If you are interested in the specific case, you may contact the public security organ for an answer. Since remarks made by the Taiwan authorities do not belong to foreign affairs, I would point you to the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council for the mainland's official position on that.
Q: US President-elect Trump nominated Robert Lighthizer as the US trade representative. He used to be very critical of trade with China and also worked against steel imports from China. With this appointment, does China fear a trade war with the US?
A: As has been repeated multiple times and proven by facts, China-US economic cooperation is in its essence for mutual benefit and win-win results. After years of development, China and the US have been closely bonded by converging interests. For issues that crop up in our economic relations, proper solutions shall be found on the basis of mutual respect and equal treatment. China and the US should work together to ensure the sound and steady development of bilateral economic ties, as this serves the common interests of the two countries and peoples.
Q: According to media reports, China will send its Liaoning aircraft carrier which is now training in the South China Sea to sail northward through the Taiwan Straits and circle around Taiwan during or after Tsai Ing-wen's visit to Central America, for the purpose of intimidating Taiwan. What is your comment?
A: I wonder where you get this piece of information. Yesterday I responded to a similar question. As for the specifics concerning the training of the Liaoning aircraft carrier, you can ask the military for more if interested. What I can tell you is that the carrier and accompanying ships are testing weapons and equipment and running exercises in the relevant waters of the South China Sea in accordance with their plan.