Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang's Regular Press Conference on January 13, 2017

Good afternoon, friends from the press. To start with, I'd like to say thank you for attending last night's New Year Reception for foreign journalists in China co-hosted by the Foreign Ministry and the People's Government of Beijing Municipality. The turnout and the heat of the reception exceeded our expectation. We hope that you all had an enjoyable evening. Now the floor is open.

Q: It is learnt that Foreign Minister Wang Yi has concluded his visit to five African countries and arrived in Beijing. What is China's comment on his first trip in the new year?

A: For 27 years in a row, Africa has always been the destination of Chinese foreign ministers' first outbound visit in the new year. Foreign Minister Wang Yi's visit to the five African countries is a continuation of the fine tradition of Chinese diplomacy, indicating that a strengthened relationship of friendly cooperation with developing countries including Africa has always been a cornerstone of Chinese diplomacy. We will always stand with developing countries and African brothers regardless of China's development level.

During his stay there, Foreign Minister Wang Yi exchanged in-depth views and reached wide consensus with leaders and foreign ministers of the five African countries on following through on the outcomes of the Johannesburg Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation and consensus reached between leaders, and pressing ahead with the upgrading of China-Africa cooperation. Both China and African countries agreed to stay committed to implementing outcomes of the Summit and consensus between leaders, give full play to the three advantages of political mutual trust, economic complementarity and people-to-people friendship, continue to understand and support each other on issues bearing on core interests and major concerns, and stay as good friends, good partners and good brothers.

Leaders and foreign ministers of the five countries reaffirmed their commitment to the one-China policy and welcomed China's greater role in Africa's peace and development. China restated its adherence to its policy towards Africa featuring sincerity, real results, affinity and good faith and the right approach to friendship and interests proposed by President Xi Jinping, and would make joint efforts with African countries to upgrade China-Africa cooperation and deliver more benefit to people of both sides.

Q: I have a question about Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit to Indonesia. Officials there say he is going to reach a US$ 7.6 billion deal for Japanese companies to build tracks from Jakarta to Surabaya, as well as a US$ 3 billion deal for a port in west Java. Indonesian officials say that Chinese companies won't be allowed to participate in those deals as they are only reserved for Japanese companies. They also add that this is aimed at sparing the relationship further embarrassment after the high-speed rail bidding process with China in 2014. How do you comment on that?

A: I haven't seen this report. I can't make a comment until I see the report.

Regarding China or Japan or any other country's cooperation with countries in the region, as long as it meets the actual need of regional countries, takes into full account the comfort level of regional countries and deliver mutually beneficial and win-win results, it should be encouraged. On the Chinese part, we always pursue win-win cooperation based on mutual respect and mutual benefit.

Q: Malaysian Vice Prime Minister said the other day that Malaysia had repatriated to China 28 "East Turkestan" members who attempted to join the Islamic State via Malaysia. Are you aware of who these people are? How is the repatriation work going? Can you brief us on the counter-terrorism cooperation between China and Malaysia?

A: I am not aware of what you said and need to check on that. China and Malaysia maintain sound cooperation in law enforcement and security. When it comes to counter-terrorism, we would like to work with the international community to fight terrorist activities.

Q: Yesterday at his joint press conference with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe who was visiting the Philippines expressed his hope of listing the issue of the South China Sea as a topic for discussion at the ASEAN summit. Do you have any comment on that?

A: We have noted the remarks made by the Japanese leader. I believe you are all aware that the Philippine government has stated explicitly that during their serving as the rotating chair of ASEAN, the issue of the South China Sea won't be discussed at ASEAN meetings.

Q: First, it is reported that China and Russia agreed to take countermeasures against the deployment of THAAD by the US in the ROK. Will this escalate the tension or even trigger arms race? Second, incoming CIA director Rep. Mike Pompeo said something harsh about China in his confirmation hearing. What is your comment on that?

A: On your first question, we have been saying that the planned deployment of THAAD by the US and the ROK on the Korean Peninsula poses grave threat to China's strategic and security interests and impairs strategic balance of the region. It is totally understandable that countries in the region are firmly opposed to that. It goes without saying that we do not want any tension , still less the escalation of tension in the region. However, if China or other countries in the region have valid and legitimate concerns about security, and take necessary measures to protect their security interests, that is understandable.

On your second question, confirmation hearings for President-elect Trump's Cabinet picks have seen mixed messages from different people. I believe you are clear about China's position on China-US relations as well as bilateral cooperation in specific areas. I want to reiterate that as two major countries and permanent members of the Security Council, China and the US share a lot of common interests, shoulder important responsibility for world peace, security and development, and boast great potential for cooperation. Since the establishment of diplomatic ties nearly 40 years ago, cooperation between China and the US has brought enormous benefit to the two countries and people. We hope to maintain the good situation and momentum of cooperation.

Q: It is said that the Chinese government would give back Singapore's armoured vehicles only if Singapore promised to cut off all forms of formal communication with Taiwan including military activities. Can you confirm that? It is also said that those vehicles have been handed over to the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council. Can you confirm that?

A: On your first question, I want to reiterate China's position on that. First, all countries must abide by and honor their commitment to the one-China principle. This is the political prerequisite for the development of relations between China and the rest of the world. Second, countries should fully observe the law and regulation of the Hong Kong SAR.

I would refer you to the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council for your second question.

Q: US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said in Washington on January 11 that China should avoid actions that could lead to self-isolation in the South China Sea. What is China' comment on that?

A: It seems that some specific country outside the region is still clinging to their wishful claim. You may have already noticed that while doing so, they are putting themselves in isolation.

Q: Can you tell us the size of the delegation accompanying President Xi Jinping to the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2017?

A: President Xi Jinping's state visit to Switzerland, attendance at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2017, and visit to international organizations headquartered in Switzerland is the opening of China's diplomacy in the new year, and thus very important. I suggest that you follow closely information to be released during the visit for details.

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