|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang's Regular Press Conference on December 30, 2019|
At the invitation of Premier Li Keqiang of the State Council, Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith will pay an official visit to China from January 5 to 9.
China and the Laos are friendly socialist neighbors with time-honored traditional friendship. In April 2019, General Secretary and President Xi Jinping and Lao President and General Secretary of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party (LPRP) Central Committee Bounnhang Vorachit signed an action plan to build the China-Laos community with a shared future, which ushers in a new era for China-Laos relations and serves as a guidance for the long-term development of bilateral relations.
President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang and Chairman Li Zhanshu of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress will meet and hold talks with Prime Minister Thongloun separately to exchange views on China-Laos relations and other issues of mutual interest. Besides Beijing, Prime Minister Thongloun will also visit Shaanxi.
We believe that Prime Minister Thongloun's visit will further consolidate political mutual trust, deepen practical cooperation and promote the building of the China-Laos community with a shared future.
At the invitation of State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif of the Islamic Republic of Iran will pay an official visit to China on December 31.
Q: Discussions are due later today at the UN Security Council on the proposal by China and Russia to ease the sanctions on North Korea. Can you give us any details on these discussions? Has China been coordinating with North Korea on the content of this proposed resolution, including the sanctions that you are suggesting be lifted?
A: Recently China and Russia jointly proposed a draft resolution to the UN Security Council regarding political settlement of the Peninsula issue, and I talked about our considerations in this room. The purpose for China and Russia's draft resolution is to maintain peace and stability on the Peninsula, stick to resolution through dialogue and consultation, and advance the establishment of a permanent peace mechanism and complete denuclearization on the Peninsula in parallel. Our proposal to adjust some of the sanctions on the DPRK is to meet the reasonable humanitarian and livelihood needs of the DPRK people in support of the process of political dialogue.
China and Russia are now in contact with other Security Council members and relevant parties of the Peninsula issue on the content of the draft resolution. We expect members of the Security Council to shoulder their responsibility and take active moves to support political settlement, encourage talks and safeguard peace and stability on the Peninsula.
Q: US Secretary of State Pompeo tweeted on December 29 that from Tibet to Xinjiang, the Chinese Communist Party's repressive campaigns are not about combating terrorism but attempting to erase citizens' faiths and cultures. The US State Department tweeted something similar on the same day. I wonder if you could comment on their tweets?
A: What the US said is pure rumor and slander. It is completely inconsistent with the facts and ill-intentioned. We are firmly opposed to that.
Xinjiang is enjoying sustained economic development, social stability, better living standards, unprecedented cultural vivacity and a harmonious coexistence of religions. Uyghur population in Xinjiang has reached 11.65 million or 46.8 percent of the total. There are over 24,000 mosques in Xinjiang, which means there is a mosque for every 530 Muslims on average.
In the past 60 years or so after its peaceful liberation, Tibet has enjoyed economic vitality, social harmony and stability. Its culture and tradition have be protected and promoted. The Tibetan language was China's first minority written language with international standard. There are more than 1,700 sites for religious activities in Tibet, and over 46,000 resident monks and nuns. Millions of pilgrimages to Lhasa are made every year.
By repeatedly telling lies, the US will only find itself in mounting deficit in morality, credibility and reputation. Political stability, economic growth, ethnic solidarity and social harmony in Xinjiang and Tibet are our best response to slanders from the US side.
By the way, I just saw some data jointly published by the Associated Press, USA TODAY and Northeastern University of the United States. In 2019 there were 41 mass killings in the US, defined as when four or more people are killed. Of those, 33 were mass shootings. More than 211 lives were lost, the highest since the 1970s. Throughout the year 2019, gun-related cases took 14,800 lives. Frequent violent crimes, including shootings on campus and in public places, have long been shadowing Americans with fear of gun violence.
We urge the US to put its own house in order and fix its deep-seated problems first, at least ensuring the "freedom from fear" for its people, rather than arbitrarily stretch its arms into other countries' domestic affairs. A word of advice to the US: those who overreach, should prepare to be crippled.
Q: The US Congress approved a 2020 budget that contains a provision that authorized the denial of entry to Philippine officials who are involved in the incarceration of Philippine Senator Leila de Lima. On December 27, President Rodrigo Duterte's spokesperson said that the Philippines has banned those US lawmakers who introduced the provision from visiting, and that they will not sit idly if the US continues to interfere with its processes as a sovereign state. I wonder if you have any comment on that?
A: China believes state-to-state relations should be based on mutual respect and non-interference in each other's internal affairs. We oppose foreign interference under whatever pretext, and we support efforts to safeguard a country's national sovereignty and dignity.
Q: Does China have any response to the recent US air strikes in Iraq and Syria against pro-Iran forces?
A: China opposes the use of force in international relations and stands for compliance with the purposes and principles of UN Charter and basic norms governing international relations. The sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Iraq and Syria should be earnestly respected and upheld. We call on relevant parties to remain calm and restrained to avoid escalating tensions.
Q: You have just announced the visit of Foreign Minister Zarif to Beijing. Can you provide more details about his visit here? What's he going to discuss with State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi? As we know today he's going to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov in Moscow today. Are there any plans of phone talks between Russian and Chinese foreign ministers after Foreign Minister Zarif visited Beijing?
A: I remember that Foreign Minister Lavrov just talked with State Councilor Wang Yi over the phone not long ago.
As comprehensive strategic partners of coordination, China and Russia have been in close communication and coordination on the Iranian nuclear issue and other major international and regional hotspot issues.
During Foreign Minister Zarif's stay in China, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will hold talks with him and exchange views on the Iranian nuclear issue and other issues of mutual interest. China would like to work with Iran to ensure the steady development of the China-Iran comprehensive strategic partnership, safeguard the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, and uphold peace and stability of the Gulf Region in the Middle East.
We will release relevant information on the visit in due course.