|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson GengShuang's Regular Press Conference on January 5, 2017|
Q: At yesterday's press conference, you mentioned that Special Envoy Xie Xiaoyan of the Chinese government for Syria will soon visit Geneva, the EU, Turkey and Russia to engage in communication and coordination with relevant parties and promote an early relaunch of the political settlement process. But it is reported that several Syrian opposition groups have jointly declared their boycott of all the discussions relating to the Astana dialogue on the Syrian issue, citing violation of the ceasefire agreement by the Syrian government as a reason. How do you comment on this latest development?
A: On the last day of 2016, the Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2336 on the ceasefire in Syria, laying an important foundation for resolving the Syrian issue in a political way in 2017.
We hope that the Syrian government and opposition groups can cherish this hard-won outcome, work towards the same direction, and strive together to translate the agreement into actions. Setbacks and difficulties are unavoidable in the process of implementing the agreement, but the key is to show good faith and goodwill and maintain the situation of having no more fires. What is needed is more self-restraint and less finger-pointing. We hope that all parties in Syria can act in accordance with the UN resolution, earnestly fulfill their obligations, resume the peace talks and relaunch the political process at an early date.
China will continue to uphold an unbiased and objective position and work with all relevant parties to play a positive and constructive role in seeking a comprehensive and political settlement of the Syrian issue, restoring regional peace and stability, and safeguarding the interests of people in Syria and the rest of the region.
Q: The Global Times reported that the US drone attack in Syria killed the head of the Turkestan Islamic Party, a branch of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM). Can you confirm this man's identity? Did you cooperate with the US in this operation?
A: I am not aware of the relevant situation.
Colluding with international terrorist groups, the East Turkestan terrorist forces with the ETIM as the representative, have been wreaking havoc across conflict zones in the Middle East, posing grave threat to security and stability of relevant countries and regions.
Fighting the ETIM is a crucial component of the international campaign against terrorism. China opposes terrorism in all its manifestations, and stands ready to enhance coordination and cooperation with relevant countries to jointly address the threat of terrorism and preserve peace and security in the region and beyond.
Q: Media reports said that the man at large behind the attack in Istanbul may be a Chinese Uyghur. Can you confirm? What is your comment?
A: I have noted relevant reports, but the Turkish police is yet to release the investigation results. China will continue to follow their investigation.
Q: Yesterday, Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with visiting lawmakers from the Democratic Party of Korea when they exchanged views on the THAAD issue. We also noticed that the ROK government said they would proceed with the deployment of the THAAD system. What is your comment?
A: Relevant parties must be well aware of our concerns and clear opposition on the issue of THAAD which has been repeatedly expressed. The THAAD deployment by the US in the ROK severely disrupts regional strategic balance, undermines the strategic security interests of regional countries including China, and does no good to peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.
We urge relevant parties to quit the deployment and stop travelling any farther down the erroneous path. We also hope that a proper solution that accommodates each other's concerns can be found through communication and consultation between China and the ROK.
Q: According to the New York Times, the American company Apple removed two apps created by the New York Times from its App Store in China. Apple's spokesman said that the request came from the Chinese authorities. Can you confirm?
A: I haven't learnt of this, but I can tell you that the Chinese government encourages and supports Internet development. The development of Internet in China must follow the principle of conforming to Chinese laws and regulations.
Q: Yesterday, two Indian Ministers of State for External Affairs held a press briefing on China-India relations. One talked about differences at the 1267 Committee with China, saying that as a responsible and mature country, China should not apply "double standards", and called on China to take a relook on its stance on the listing matter. Another minister spoke positively of China-India relations, saying that India should expand ties with China over a wide range of areas, especially people-to-people connections, despite the differences. What is your response?
A: The allegation that China adopts "double standards"on the UN Security Council 1267 Committee listing matter does not stand. Because China uses one standard only on this matter, which is taking solid evidence as the basis, and China has been participating in a positive and constructive way in the relevant discussions in the 1267 Committee following the spirit of objectivity, fairness and professionalism.
Members of the committee differ on the listing application submitted by the relevant country. China once put forward a technical hold so as to create more time and conditions for the committee to deliberate on the matter and the relevant parties to have further consultations. Regrettably, no agreement has been reached so far. The actions we have taken at the committee, out of a sense of responsibility, fully comply with the resolution of the Security Council and the rules of procedure of the committee, and will safeguard the authority and effectiveness of the committee on the listing matter.
China will stay in touch and coordination with relevant parties including India on this issue in accordance with the resolution of the Security Council and the rules of procedure of the committee.
I also want to add that China and India both suffer from terrorism. We share the same counter-terrorism goals and have been working together in this field. We are willing to enhance our cooperation with India on fighting terrorism and jointly maintain regional peace and security.
As for China-India relations, China and India are two largest developing countries and major emerging economies. Forging a more closely-knit partnership serves the interests of the two countries and peoples as well as regional peace and stability. We stand ready to improve our strategic partnership for cooperation with India. This position has not changed.
Follow-up: they also said that 14 out of the 15 members of the 1267 Committee support India's listing application, China being the only exception. What is your comment?
A: As I just said, the committee has yet to agree upon this issue. China's actions, which are objective, unbiased and professional, are in line with the resolution of the Security Council and the rules of procedure of the committee. China will stay in touch and coordination with relevant parties including India on that.
Q: Media reports said that China agreed to send several thousands of construction workers to Israel. What is your comment?
A: You need to ask the competent authorities for the details.
What I want to say is that since the establishment of diplomatic ties, practical cooperation between China and Israel has made positive progress in the fields of trade, science and technology and people-to-people and cultural exchanges. China stands ready to deepen practical cooperation with Israel and deliver more benefits to the two countries and peoples.
Follow-up: will these Chinese workers take part in building Jewish settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories? Will this change China's position on the Palestine-Israel issue?
A: China's position on the Palestine-Israel issue is consistent, clear and unchanged. We oppose building Jewish settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories including East Jerusalem and West Bank. The Resolution 2334 recently adopted at the Security Council also has clear stipulations on this.