|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang's Regular Press Conference on August 30, 2019|
At the invitation of the governments of the Republic of Kenya, the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Republic of Sierra Leone, President Xi Jinping's special representative Yang Jiechi, member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the CPC Central Committee, will pay official visits to the three countries in early September to exchange views on bilateral relations and international and regional issues of common interest.
At the invitation of Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will visit the DPRK from September 2 to 4.
Q: Was the Central Government involved in the decision by Hong Kong authorities to arrest several Hong Kong activists including Joshua Wong?
A: I note media reports on that. The Hong Kong SAR police has already commented on that.
Q: You just announced the visit of State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi to the DPRK. Could you provide more details on the meetings he is going to have there?
A: This year marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the DPRK. In June, General Secretary and President Xi Jinping paid a successful visit to the DPRK, marking a new historical era in bilateral relations. The upcoming visit by State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi is an important follow-up step to implement consensus at the highest level between our two parties and countries and to advance bilateral relations. During the visit, State Councilor Wang will hold talks with Foreign Minister Ri. We will release information on the visit in due course.
Q: My question is also about State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi's upcoming visit to the DPRK. Now there are still tensions between the DPRK, the ROK and the United States. Will the situation on the Korean Peninsula be discussed during State Councilor Wang's visit?
A: As you can see, the situation on the Korean Peninsula is generally in a state of amelioration and the political settlement of the Korean Peninsula issue is still on track. We hope parties concerned will strengthen contact and communication, meet each other halfway, follow the dual-track approach in a phased and synchronized manner, seek effective ways to achieve complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the establishment of a peace mechanism on the Peninsula, and properly resolve each other's legitimate concerns. China will continue to play a constructive role in realizing denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and lasting peace and stability in Northeast Asia.
Q: First question, President Trump said that there will be a call between the US and China today on trade. Can you confirm that and provide more details? Will you be releasing a statement on that? Second, what is your reaction on the statement yesterday from the UK, France and Germany calling on the South China Sea claimants to respect the arbitration ruling of 2016 as well as the rules-based framework laid out in the UNCLOS?
A: Regarding your first question, some journalists asked similar questions at the press conference in the Commerce Ministry yesterday, and the spokesperson already responded. What I can tell you is that the trade teams on the two sides have remained in effective communication.
As to the second question, with the concerted efforts of China and ASEAN countries, the situation in the South China Sea remains stable and is improving. The parties directly concerned stay in dialogue and communication to properly handle and resolve disputes. While implementing the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) in a comprehensive and effective manner, China and ASEAN countries have vigorously advanced and made important progress in the consultations on a code of conduct in the South China Sea (COC). We, the regional countries, have the will, wisdom and capability to properly resolve the South China Sea issue and achieve long-term stability, development and prosperity in this region.
On the other hand, however, some non-regional countries made unwelcome remarks and deliberately highlighted tensions in disregard of the efforts by regional countries to safeguard peace and stability in the South China Sea. China opposes that. We urge those countries to look at the South China Sea issue objectively, stop making negative comments, and create an enabling environment for regional countries to properly handle maritime disputes and advance cooperation.
Regarding the specifics in the statement, China's position remains clear and unchanged.
Q: President Trump has said that the US and Chinese trade officials were due to hold discussions on Thursday, days before Washington is due to raise tariffs on Chinese goods. Do you have any details on whether there is any scheduled discussion?
A: I can tell you that first, the Chinese and US teams have all along maintained effective communication. Second, we hope the US could demonstrate sincerity, take concrete actions and work with China in concert to find a solution on the basis of equality and mutual respect.
As to the specific arrangement you mentioned, I'd like refer you to the competent authority.
Q: A Reuters report today said the Central Government rejected the plan by the Hong Kong government to fully withdraw the extradition bill. What's the ministry's comment on this?
A: After the Hong Kong SAR government announced the suspension of the amendment bill on June 15, the Central Government stated that it supports, respects and understands the decision. I have nothing further to add.