From September 16 to 18, invited by Russian Prime Minister Medvedev, Premier Li Keqiang will pay an official visit to Russia and have the 24th regular meeting with Prime Minister Medvedev.
Q: German Chancellor Merkel just concluded her visit to China last weekend. How do you view her visit this time?
A: I see you are all interested in Chancellor Merkel's visit. This is her 12th visit to China, which makes her one of those Western leaders that visit China more often and have a wider knowledge of China than others. During Chancellor Merkel's visit, both sides signed cooperation documents and are pleased with the outcomes. The Chinese side has issued press releases on the details of the visit. I think there are at least three consensuses made this time.
First, both sides demonstrated a sense of responsibility to uphold multilateralism and free trade. In a world filled with uncertainties, instability and rising protectionism and unilateralism, to deal with challenges faced by mankind, the need for better strategic communication and coordination between China and Germany is greater than ever. As Chancellor Merkel noted, unilateralism and protectionism have negative impacts on Germany, too. China also has the right to development, and its development process should not be impeded. In the spirit of multilateralism and free trade, Germany is ready to step up communication and coordination with China in international affairs.
Second, both sides reaffirmed the commitment to openness and inclusiveness to facilitate greater mutual openness of our markets. China reiterated that we will keep our word on opening the Chinese market even wider, which I believe will deliver more opportunities to Germany and other countries. A number of German companies have already benefited from China's further opening-up. Being the sole investor of a fine chemical industry complex in Guangdong, BASF is advancing its investment of $10 billion to build this project. German automobile companies including Volkswagen and BMW are also increasing investment in China and R&D cooperation with their Chinese counterparts. Chancellor Merkel said Germany welcomes investment by Chinese companies as always.
Third, both sides reiterated the readiness to deepen mutually beneficial cooperation. Germany is China's third largest economic and trade partner in Europe, and China has been Germany's biggest trading partner for three consecutive years. During this visit, both sides met with representatives of the China-Germany Economic Advisory Committee and the representatives of the China-Germany Dialogue Forum 2019 meeting, and made propositions for cooperation in six major areas. Both sides share a bright prospect for cooperation in emerging sectors, such as new-energy automobiles, smart manufacturing, artificial intelligence, and digital and 5G technologies. We believe our cooperation will bring more tangible benefits for our companies and peoples.
China is ready to work with Germany to respect each other's development path, accommodate each other's core interests, continue to be each other's strategic partners of equal-footed dialogue, win-win cooperation and mutual learning, and deliver greater benefits to our peoples.
Q: According to reports, on September 7, spokesperson of Iran's nuclear agency announced specific measures in its third stage of nuclear obligations reduction, including developing an array of advanced centrifuges to further increase uranium enrichment capabilities. The spokesperson also stressed that the European side should earnestly fulfill its obligations under the JCPOA. Once diplomatic mediation to salvage the JCPOA gains progress, Iran could resume fulfillment of its obligations anytime. Do you have a comment?
A: I note relevant reports. China always holds that the US maximum pressure is the root cause of the current tensions surrounding the Iranian nuclear issue. The US should renounce its wrong approach of unilateral sanctions and maximum pressure. In the meantime, other parties to the JCPOA should be committed to full and effective implementation of the deal. We hope relevant sides will meet each other halfway and work for amelioration. China stands ready to work with others to this end.
Q: Last week on Friday, US Secretary of State Pompeo said that the United States will persuade other countries to "call out", as he said, China for its treatment of the Uighur people in Xinjiang. What is your response to this?
A: Since you visited Xinjiang before, I believe you do not agree with Mr Pompeo on this.
It is not the first time that US officials wantonly criticized China's Xinjiang policy in total disregard of facts. That is flagrant interference in China's internal affairs. We deplore and firmly oppose that.
Xinjiang affairs are purely China's domestic affairs. No foreign country has any right to interfere. The Chinese government issued a white paper not long ago, giving a full account of the vocational education and training centers in Xinjiang. By lawfully establishing those centers, the local government in Xinjiang aims to save the people who are deceived by or even have joined terrorist forces and committed minor offenses to help them get rid of extremist ideologies. These measures are no different in nature from the de-radicalization and preventive counter-terrorism measures taken by many other countries. Thanks to these measures, Xinjiang now enjoys social stability, sound economic momentum, harmony between ethnic groups and it has not seen a single terrorist attack in the past three years. People of all ethnic groups there support the government's measures to fight terrorism and safeguard stability.
Ambassadors and representatives of many foreign diplomatic missions recently visited Xinjiang to know more about its socio-economic development, including the vocational education and training centers. They made positive comments on the Chinese government's work in fighting and preventing terrorism, and believed Xinjiang's successful experience is worth learning. Ambassadors from 50 countries to the UN Office at Geneva including Russia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Algeria co-signed a letter to the president of the UN Human Rights Council and High Commissioner for Human Rights. They support China's position on Xinjiang-related issues. Many of them visited Xinjiang, saw a real Xinjiang with their own eyes, and developed totally different opinions on Xinjiang compared with what was described by Western media. They commend the enormous achievements China has made in human rights, and believe Xinjiang's counter-terrorism and de-radicalization measures including the establishment of vocational education and training centers have effectively protected basic human rights. They urge the relevant countries to stop wantonly criticizing China.
As the saying goes, "A clean hand wants no washing." Instead of fooling the world, the lies of American politicians will only further reveal their hidden political agenda. We urge them to abandon bias and the outdated Cold-War mindset, stop using Xinjiang-related issues to interfere in China's internal affairs, cease their smear campaign against China, and contribute to rather than undermine trust and cooperation between China and the US.
Q: Earlier you announced Premier Li Keqiang's visit to Russia. Could you share more information about the 24th China-Russia prime ministers' regular meeting? Also what's China's expectation for the visit?
A: Later there will be a specific press briefing about Premier Li's visit, so I will just give you a brief outline here.
As we mark the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relationship, China and Russia are enjoying ever stronger ties constantly renewed with fresh vitality. In particular, during his historic visit to Russia in June, President Xi Jinping announced together with President Putin that the two countries are developing a comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era, opening a new chapter of bilateral relations of a higher level with greater progress.
The China-Russia prime ministers' regular meeting, now in its 24th year, is an effective platform for coordinating, planning and advancing practical cooperation and people-to-people exchange. This upcoming meeting, also the first between the two prime ministers since bilateral relations entered a new era, is of great significance as it will build on the past and open up new prospects. During the visit, Premier Li and Prime Minister Medvedev will hold talks and attend a joint press conference, a signing ceremony and a welcome banquet. They will exchange ideas on implementing the two presidents' important consensus and enhancing mutually-beneficial cooperation in various areas. By steering future work in the right direction and setting clear goals, they will promote greater development in China-Russia relations at a new historical threshold. Premier Li's visit will surely inject stronger impetus into bilateral relations and the shared development and revitalization of China and Russia, and provide an even stronger safeguard for our joint efforts to deal with external risks and challenges.
Q: Apple said on Friday that some iPhones have been targeted by hackers. It was an attack against websites that have contents related to the ethnic minority of the Uyghurs. Is China aware of this attack mentioned by Apple? Are you aware of any attack done by Chinese citizens against these Uyghur websites?
A: I noticed the report you mentioned, but I'm not aware of the things it described.
China's position on cybersecurity is consistent. I'd like to reiterate that China is a staunch defender of cybersecurity. We firmly oppose and combat cyber attacks of any kind. We advocate international efforts through dialogue and cooperation to tackle cybersecurity threats on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit.
Q: According to media reports, Italy's former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economic Development Luigi Di Maio has assumed the office of Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in the new Italian government. What is China's expectation for bilateral relations and cooperation between the two foreign ministries?
A: Mr. Luigi Di Maio, an eminent official in Italy's previous government, has paid multiple visits to China and signed with the Chinese side an MOU on BRI cooperation between the two governments. China highly appreciates that. After he assumed the office of Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi sent a congratulatory message to him at the earliest time possible, wishing him greater achievements in his new, important role.
China-Italy relations are growing with a sound momentum and the two foreign ministries maintain good communication and coordination. China stands ready to deepen cooperation with the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, to give full play to the role of the China-Italy Government Committee in coordinating and promoting exchange and cooperation, and to deepen consultation in international affairs. We will work for a multi-polar world, trade liberalization, and fruitful win-win cooperation between our two countries.
The Foreign Ministry and the People's Government of Hunan Province will hold a promotion event in the MFA South Building at 4:30pm on September 12. The theme is "China in the New Era: Innovative Hunan Embracing the World". State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will attend and address the event. Secretary of the CPC Hunan Provincial Committee Du Jiahao and Governor Xu Dazhe will also deliver speeches to promote the province. Representatives of foreign diplomats in China are invited to interact with the audience.
With innovation-driven openness and growth as its overarching strategy for development, Hunan has been committed to innovation in science and technology, products, culture and poverty alleviation and has achieved many outcomes in high-quality growth. This promotion event will showcase Hunan's major economic and social achievements in the past 70 years. Through this event you will learn about Hunan's active role in Belt and Road cooperation and how it develops a new development pattern by leveraging its advantageous location between eastern China and central and western China, and between the Yangtze Economic Belt and the coastal opening-up economic belt. This event will serve as a platform for you to have an in-depth understanding of and expand cooperation with Hunan. You are most welcomed to attend and cover it.