|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang's Regular Press Conference on July 10, 2017|
Q: In a word-for-word transcript released by the White House of the opening talks of the meeting between President Xi Jinping and President Trump in Hamburg on July 8, China was addressed as "the Republic of China". Has China expressed its dissatisfaction with the US? Do you think this is unintentional or otherwise? Did the US explain to China how this gaffe happened?
A: As far as I know, the Chinese side has lodged representations with the US side. The US side apologized for this technical error and has made corresponding correction.
Q: ROK President Moon Jae-in talked about his vision for peace on the Korean Peninsula in Germany on July 6, proposing that the two Koreas halt all hostile activities along the inter-Korean border from late July and family members on each side need to reunite on this year's Mid-Autumn Festival. He also said that when the right conditions are fostered and when there is a chance to reverse the current tension and situation of confrontation on the Korean Peninsula, he is ready to meet with Kim Jong Un and discuss all issues of mutual concern, including the nuclear issue and peace agreement. What is your comment?
A: We have noted relevant reports. The ROK side has laid out a clear policy framework and released positive signals on improving relations with the DPRK, improving the situation on the Korean Peninsula, and seeking settlement of the Peninsula issue. China welcomes that. China firmly supports the ROK and the DPRK in improving relations through dialogues. We hope that they can all demonstrate goodwill towards each other, work for reconciliation and cooperation, and make positive efforts for ameliorating tension and safeguarding peace and stability on the Peninsula. We also would like to see more understanding and support from the international community in response to these constructive efforts made by the ROK.
Q: On July 9, the PM's office of Iraq released a statement saying that the Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi arrived in Mosul which was liberated and congratulated the armed forces and its people for their victory over terrorism. What is your comment?
A: China congratulates Iraq on the successful liberation of Mosul, which is a major victory for Iraq's counterterrorism war and a positive step forward for the international counterterrorism campaign. China will continue with its efforts in supporting Iraq in maintaining national stability and realizing economic rebuilding. We hope that Iraq can realize national stability and development at an early date.
Q: On July 7, the extremists attacked a checkpoint in the Egyptian town of Rafah of the Sinai Peninsula, killing 23 Egyptian soldiers and injuring 33. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for this attack. What is your comment?
A: China strongly condemns this severe terrorist attack in Rafah. China opposes all forms of terrorism and will staunchly stand with Egypt in its efforts to fight terrorism and maintain national security and stability.
Q: The Ministry of External Affairs of India says that President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi met in Hamburg during the G20, and a range of issues were discussed. Can you give us more details and was the border standoff also discussed?
A: President Xi Jinping hosted the BRICS Leaders' Informal Meeting in Hamburg, Germany when he was there for the G20 Summit. Leaders of the BRICS countries, including Prime Minister Modi, attended the meeting. As far as I know, President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Modi did not hold a bilateral meeting.
As for the Donglang issue, China has said multiple times that the immediate withdrawal of Indian troops who committed trespassing back to the Indian side of the border comes before any meaningful talk.
Q: The Indian government said very clearly that a range of concerns were discussed between Prime Minister Modi and President Xi. Are you saying that this has not happened?
A: Like I said, the two leaders did not have a bilateral meeting in Hamburg.
As for concerns the two sides, I believe everyone knows that the greatest concern is the illegal trespassing of Indian border troops. We ask these people to immediately retreat to their side, which is the prerequisite and basis for any meaningful dialogue.
Q: The Indian side did not say that the bilateral meetings took place, but the conversation took place before or after the BRICS meeting. So, the question is not about whether the bilateral meeting took place, it's about whether they had a conversation on a range of issues at the venue the BRICS meeting took place?
A: What I can tell you is that they did not have any bilateral meeting in Hamburg.
Q: On July 7, Khaltmaa Battulga of the Democratic Party of Mongolia emerged from the presidential run-off election as the winner. He also made some comments on China many times during the campaign. What is your comment?
A: Mr Battulga has been elected as the 7th President of Mongolia and is officially sworn in today. China expresses its congratulations. We noted that during the course of the election, some politicians made some irresponsible and baseless remarks on China-Mongolia relations and bilateral cooperation. China also is concerned about that.
I want to stress that as close neighbors, China and Mongolia in recent years have seen their bilateral ties making great strides on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit, bringing real benefits to the two countries and peoples. Everyone bears witness to this. Going forward, we will continue with our neighborhood diplomacy of amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness and focus on developing amicable relationship of cooperation with Mongolia. We look forward to seeing the same from the Mongolian side and we certainly believe they will make such constructive efforts.
Q: Reports from India say Indian troops at the Doklam area are preparing for the long haul. There is no sign of withdraw and the supplies lines are open for the troops and it appears that India is also looking for a diplomatic solution with China. Are there any talks going on to find kind of solution to pull both sides to step back?
A: If these reports turn out to be true, they just attest to the fact that the illegal trespassing of the Indian border troops was organized and premeditated as a deliberate act to disrupt the status quo in the Sikkim section. If the Indian troops are preparing for the long term with no intention to leave, then how can there be room for diplomatic solutions?
We have been reiterating that India went against the basic norms guiding international relations and the international order, and severely undermined peace and stability along the China-India border region. India should immediately withdraw its people without any condition. That comes before any substantial dialogue. The diplomatic channels between the two sides are open, but we would like to see some real efforts and concrete actions from the Indian side.
Q: If India pulls out the troops, will China also stop its attempts to build roads so that a solution can be found?
A: It is legitimate and legal for China to carry out normal constructions on its own territory, and in this case, it is building roads in Donglang. India trampled on international law and infringed on China's territorial sovereignty by illegally entering into China' territory, citing our normal construction work as security concerns for them. We ask India to immediately withdraw its troops to the Indian side of the China-India border.
Q: The Twitter account of the Spokesman of the foreign ministry of India shows a picture of President Xi and Prime Minister Modi apparently in conversation along with the interpreters. Are you then saying that no meeting took place or no structured meeting took place on the sidelines?
A: I have said repeatedly that they did not have a bilateral meeting. As you know, President Xi Jinping also hosted the BRICS Leaders' Informal Meeting, which was attended by BRICS leaders including Prime Minister Modi.
Q: A former deputy Secretary of State of the US under former President Obama said when he had an interview in China that the DPRK's successful launch of the ICBM has left the Trump administration with fewer options, and President Trump may be forced to take more extreme measures. Do you agree with him? If China's suggestion fails to work, what kind of a next step will be taken by China?
A: The knot of the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue was tied long time ago and has become too complicated today to be untied easily, a reality we have been explaining continuously.
To settle this issue needs to take into account the legitimate concerns of all parties and address them in a balanced way. That is how China came up with the dual-track approach and the "suspension for suspension" proposal. Earlier, China and Russia issued a joint statement on the Korean Peninsula situation in which we laid out our joint proposals. These proposals are legitimate, reasonable, practical and feasible in our eyes. We hope that all relevant parties can play their role, assume responsibilities and adopt a pragmatic attitude while bearing in mind peace and stability as well as the denuclearization of the Peninsula. They should work with China, be flexible and practical, and restore the issue to the right track of peaceful settlement through dialogue and consultation at an early date. War is in no way the right choice to make if the goal is to resolve the nuclear issue.