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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang's Regular Press Conference on October 17, 2019
2019/10/17

The 2019 Taiyuan Energy Low Carbon Development Forum will be held from October 22 to 24 in Taiyuan, Shanxi Province. Han Zheng, member of the Standing Committee of the Politburo of the CPC Central Committee and Vice Premier of the State Council, will be attending the forum's opening ceremony and other activities.

Q: Two Americans, Jacob Harlan and Alyssa Petersen, were detained in Jiangsu last month. I wonder if the foreign ministry could offer any details and confirm that they have been formally charged with illegally moving people across borders?

A: As the competent authority told us, compulsory measures of criminal detention and release on bail were taken against Alyssa Petersen and Jacob Harlan, both American nationals, by the public security authority of Jiangsu Province on September 27 and 29 respectively for suspicion of illegally moving people across borders. The relevant organ handling the case has timely notified the US Consulate-General in Shanghai and arranged consular visits of American consular officials. The two Americans' legitimate rights and interests have been lawfully guaranteed.

Q: A few cabinet-level Japanese officials visited the Yasukuni Shrine today. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sent a ritual offering to the shrine without paying a visit. Could you comment on that?

A: We noted the negative developments from the Japanese side related to the Yasukuni Shrine, and we lodged stern representations to the Japanese side for that. I'd like to emphasize that the Yasukuni Shrine, where 14 convicted class-A war criminals are honored, is a spiritual tool and a symbol of the aggression war conducted by the Japanese militarists. The act of some Japanese politicians again shows the country's erroneous attitude towards its history of aggression. We urge the Japanese side to faithfully honor its statements and commitments on facing up to and reflecting upon its past aggression, and to win the trust from its Asian neighbors and the world by taking concrete actions.

Q: A follow-up on the two Americans detained. Can you tell us whether this is related in any way to the current state of China-US relations?

A: I don't see any connection between this case and the current China-US relations.

Q: A Norwegian politician has nominated the people of Hong Kong for the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize. I wonder what the foreign ministry thinks about this suggestion and whether or not China will take any action if the people of Hong Kong win the prize next year?

A: Hong Kong affairs are China's internal affairs that allow no interference from foreign governments, organizations or individuals. We urge the relevant person to exercise caution in her words and deeds based on a fair and just attitude, and to stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs and China's internal affairs.

Q: The US ordered Chinese diplomats to notify the State Department before meeting with local officials. They have called this a reciprocal move. I was wondering if the Chinese side agrees that this decision reciprocates with what US diplomats have to do in China?

A: The US Department of State raised extra requirements on and deliberately set obstacles for US-based Chinese diplomats in their official activities. China opposes this move and has lodged stern representations to the US side.

China supports and provides necessary convenience for official activities of US diplomats in China. The US side's claim of restrictions on American diplomats' activities in China is simply not true.

We urge the US side to correct its mistake, withdraw this decision and provide support and convenience for US-based Chinese diplomats in carrying out their job instead of erecting barriers.

Q: Australia's intelligence agency reportedly said it wants more resources to investigate and look out for China's attempts to interfere in Australia's internal affairs. Do you have a comment on that?

A: As we repeatedly emphasized, China upholds the principle of non-interference in other countries' internal affairs. This is what we say and what we do. So-called "China's interference in Australia's internal affairs" is just a fabricated, clumsy and baseless claim by a small group of people in Australia to serve their hidden political agenda.

I'd like to reiterate that China develops relations with other countries based on principles including mutual respect and non-interference in others' internal affairs. A sound and stable China-Australia relationship serves the fundamental interests of both countries and peoples. We hope the Australian side will work with China in the same direction and contribute to mutual trust and cooperation.

Q: The New York Times has reported that a Chinese company has secured "exclusive development rights" for all of Tulagi Island last month following the meeting with the Solomon Islands. I was wondering if the foreign ministry could confirm this or share any details about the planned development?

A: I'm not aware of the situation you mentioned. What I can say is that the Chinese government encourages Chinese enterprises to conduct overseas business cooperation in accordance with market principle and international rules and on the basis of abiding by local laws.

Q: A question about the China-US trade talks. US Treasury Secretary Mnuchin said he was willing to travel to China to work on the so-called phase one deal ahead of a possible meeting between President Trump and Chinese leader next month. Will China invite or is China willing to invite the US trade delegation?

A: Regarding the trade and economic issues between China and the US, I already responded to that repeatedly. We hope the US will meet China halfway and work together following the principle and direction determined by the two heads of state, properly address each other's concerns on the basis of equality and mutual respect and promote the healthy and steady development of our trade and economic relations. As to the specifics you are interested in, I'd like to refer you to the Ministry of Commerce.

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