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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang's Regular Press Conference on October 16, 2019

Invited by Minister Naledi Pandor of International Relations and Cooperation of South Africa, Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian for Europe and Foreign Affairs of France and Ignazio Cassis, member of the Swiss Federal Council and Switzerland's foreign minister, from October 17 to 23, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will pay an official visit to South Africa, co-chair the fifth meeting of China-France High-Level Cultural and People-to-People Exchange Mechanism in France, and co-chair the second round of China-Switzerland Foreign Ministers' Strategic Dialogue in Switzerland.

Q: You just told us about State Councilor Wang's visits to South Africa, France and Switzerland and some meeting arrangements. Could you give us more details on the arrangements?

A: During his visit to South Africa, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will meet with President Ramaphosa and hold talks with Foreign Minister Pandor. The aim of the visit is to implement the consensus of the two presidents, deepen mutual political trust, boost mutually beneficial cooperation under the BRI and the FOCAC, enhance coordination and collaboration in multilateral institutions including the BRICS, the G20 and the United Nations, and elevate China-South Africa comprehensive strategic partnership to a new height in the new era.

During his stay in France, State Councilor Wang will meet with French leadership, have talks with Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and co-chair with him the fifth meeting of China-France High-Level Cultural and People-to-People Exchange Mechanism. This is the first time for State Councilor Wang to chair this meeting in France after he became the Chinese chair of this mechanism. The two sides will have in-depth exchange of views on people-to-people and cultural cooperation, bilateral ties and international and regional issues of mutual interest. Through this visit, we hope the two sides will enhance mutual political trust, boost cooperation and elevate China-France relations to a new height in the new era.

During his visit to Switzerland, State Councilor Wang will meet with President Ueli Maurer and co-chair the second round of China-Switzerland Foreign Ministers' Strategic Dialogue with Ignazio Cassis, member of the Swiss Federal Council and Switzerland's foreign minister. The Foreign Ministers' Strategic Dialogue is an important mechanism to develop China-Switzerland innovative strategic partnership, and the first round of dialogue was held in Beijing in April, 2018. We believe State Councilor Wang's chairing of this dialogue will be a step to further implement the consensus of the two presidents, cement mutual political trust and deepen China-Switzerland innovative strategic partnership.

Q: Two questions. First, in response to the passing of the so-called Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act in the US House of Representatives, the Chinese mentioned that it would take strong countermeasures. What are these measures specifically? Second, according to Vietnamese media reports, President Nguyen Phu Trong mentioned the disputes in the South China Sea between China and Vietnam in an interview, saying that he hoped parties could exercise restraint and that Vietnam would firmly defend its independence and territorial and sovereign security. What's your comment?

A: As to your first question, we express strong indignation on and firm opposition to the US House of Representatives' passage of the so-called Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act. This morning, the Foreign Ministry and other departments already made remarks on this. The Chinese side has given a thorough response.

I want to reiterate that in response to the wrong decisions and wrong behaviors by the US side that harm our interests, China will definitely take strong countermeasures to defend its sovereignty, security and development interests. Regarding the specific measures, please follow up on that.

Regarding your second question, the situation of improvement in China-Vietnam relations is hard-won. We hope the Vietnamese side will work with the Chinese side to manage maritime disputes through dialogue and consultation, uphold peace and stability in the South China Sea with concrete actions and maintain mutual trust and cooperation between the two countries. This serves the shared interests of the two sides and meets the common aspiration of the two peoples.

Q: Regarding your statement yesterday about agricultural purchases, specifically that China has purchased 700,000 tons of pork within this past year, the question is the USDA's most recent data shows the discrepancy of a little bit more than 250,000 tons of pork, so their data is saying purchase show about 435,000 tons. Is there a reason for this discrepancy?

A: First of all thank you for your interest in my statement yesterday. Like I said, we tried to gather information from relevant Chinese competent authorities, and made the statement based on the preliminary information we got from them. As to these very specific questions you asked, I would like to refer you to the competent authorities.

Q: I was wondering if the foreign ministry had any number of Turkistan Islamic Party members in Syria?

A: I'm not aware of the specifics you asked about.

The East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) is a terrorist organization listed by the UN Security Council. In recent years, many ETIM members went to operate in areas ravaged by wars and chaos, and colluded with international terrorist forces. They have severely undermined security and stability in relevant countries and regions. Fighting the ETIM and other East Turkestan forces is part and parcel of the international counter-terrorism campaign. Those forces, wherever they are and whatever name they are in, should be combated by concerted international efforts. China supports the Syrian government's counter-terrorism endeavors, and is ready to enhance communication and collaboration with all relevant sides to jointly deal with terrorist threats and safeguard regional and international peace and stability.

Q: An American official said that he hopes China will strengthen the implementation of sanctions against the DPRK and take measures to pressure it, so that the DPRK will be more constructive in its dialogue with the US. I wonder if you have any comment?

A: As a permanent member of the UN Security Council and a responsible major country, China has been earnestly fulfilling its international obligations, including the implementation of DPRK-related Security Council resolutions. The relevant countries should also implement those resolutions to the full extent. The peace talks on the Peninsula are currently at a critical stage. We hope the relevant parties can preserve the hard-won amelioration and momentum for dialogue, and work together for political settlement of the issue.

Q: Hong Kong's Chief Executive Carrie Lam was planning to make a policy speech but ended up being shouted down by opposition lawmakers. I wonder if the foreign ministry had any comments on this?

A: Clearly that's not a diplomatic matter. I'd refer you to the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council.

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