Q: Former Gambian President Yahya Jammeh has arrived in Equatorial Guinea. A joint statement issued by the United Nations, the African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) said that they would cooperate with the Barrow administration. West African troops have entered Gambia to secure Barrow's take-over. What is China's comment on the current situation in Gambia?
A: We are pleased to see that with the concerted efforts of ECOWAS, the AU and the international community, the crisis in Gambia has been peacefully resolved. The Chinese side welcomes that and hopes to see that under the leadership of President Barrow, all parties in Gambia will act in the interests of the country and the people, and work together for peace, stability and development of the country.
Q: First, Donald Trump, the new US president vowed to put "America first" in his inauguration speech last Friday. It is said that the idea of "America first" will have an impact on the relationship between the US and the rest of the world including China. What is China's take on his speech? Second, the People's Daily devoted a full page last Sunday to an article about the badness and crisis of capitalism. Commentary interpreted it as China flaunting the superiority of its social system, against the backdrop of Trump's inauguration and crisis in the West. What is your response to that?
A: Since President Trump's speech is mainly about his domestic policies, you'd better ask the American people for comments.
On the Chinese part, we maintain that we should build a community of shared future for mankind, as we are living in a globalized world where countries are highly interdependent and have intertwined interests, and no one can stand aloof. China is ready to pull together with all parties through thick and thin, and contribute its share to resolving problems faced by the world and promoting common development and prosperity,
As for whether the policy of the new US administration will affect China, or China's domestic and foreign policies, if that is what you mean, I would say that China will follow through on its domestic and foreign policies in keeping with China's national realities.
I will not comment on the article carried by the People's Daily and the related commentary.
Q: Does President Trump's "America first" agenda set the stage for a trade war with China? Is that a possibility you are preparing for?
A: With regard to President Trump's inauguration speech, I have made my point when answering the question raised by your colleague with the CNN.
On the issue of China-US business ties, it is mutually beneficial in nature. The two-way trade between China and the US started from scratch over 40 years ago and has grown from strength to strength, bonding the two sides with increasing interconnected interests. The US-China Business Council released a report, saying that the two-way trade and investment in 2015 created 2.6 million jobs for the US and contributed US$ 216 billion to US economic growth, about 1.2% of US GDP. The Council also believes that apart from job opportunities, the two-way trade has also raised American people's living standard and secured the advantage of the US in the global industrial chain, calling on the new US administration to strengthen business ties with China. Trade wars or confrontation will produce no winner, but only harm the interests of both and all parties.
China and the US should work together to expand cooperation in trade, create a level playing field for trade on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit, properly handle trade frictions and maintain sustained, healthy and stable growth of China-US business ties.
Q: First, it is reported that a delegation of the Philippine government has come to China and signed with the Chinese side agreements on 30 cooperation projects. Would you give us more details? Will the issue of the South China Sea be touched upon in bilateral discussion? Second, does China have any timetable for a China-US summit, or any plan to send representatives or special envoys to engage with the new US administration?
A: On your first question, President Duterte's successful visit to China last October marked an all-round recovery in the bilateral relations and started a new stage of bilateral cooperation. The Philippines recently has sent a ministerial delegation to China to discuss practical cooperation in such areas as trade, infrastructure and energy, which fully reflects our increasing mutual trust and deepening cooperation. China supports President Duterte in leading the Philippine people to develop the country and grow the economy. We are willing to take an active part in and support the Philippines' economic growth and social progress, and carry out cooperation for common development. As for details of the cooperation agreements, I will refer you to the competent authorities.
On your second question, China and the US maintaining high-level exchanges is important to the healthy and stable growth of bilateral relations. As for whether there is any specific timetable, I don't have any details to share.
Follow-up: Will the South China Sea issue be brought forward?
A: Like I just said, the delegation is here for discussions about practical cooperation in trade, infrastructure and energy.
As for the South China Sea issue, the two sides have reached broad consensus during Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin's recent visit to the Philippines. Relevant news release has been made public, and shared with you on this podium.
Q: Is the Chinese side making any approach to President Trump's people to facilitate a meeting in the coming weeks or months?
A: As I said, high-level exchanges are important for healthy and stable growth of China-US relationship. I have no details to offer at the moment. We have said before that the Chinese side has stayed in touch with Mr. Trump's team since he won the election.
Q: Toshio Motoya, president of Japan's APA Group, claimed to have no intention to withdraw the right-wing book from hotel rooms, saying that people will forget what has happened months later. Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida also said that excessive focus on a specific episode of the 2000-year history of Japan-China interaction was not advisable. What is China's response to that?
A: I have elaborated on China's stance concerning issues about the APA hotel last week. To forget about history is betrayal, and to deny the guilt is doubling the crime. A small group of Japanese individuals are desperate to erase the historical crime. The more eager they are to do so, the more likely it will evoke people's memory of the past. These regressive behaviors have already triggered strong indignation of the Chinese people.
The Japanese government should not use "the freedom of speech" as an excuse to shirk its responsibilities, still less mislead the public with the so-called "excessive focus on the history". We urge the Japanese side to realize the gravity of the issue, shoulder its responsibilities, properly handle the related issues and avoid new disruptions to China-Japan relations.
Q: It is said that President Xi Jinping has sent a message of congratulations to President Trump. I wonder if you could share with us the content of the message.
A: President Xi Jinping has sent a message of congratulations to US President Trump, congratulating him on his official swearing-in.
Q: Pope Francis said yesterday in an interview with the Spanish media that he would like to visit China if invited. Is China planning to invite him over for a visit?
A: China's position on its relationship with the Vatican is consistent and clear. The Chinese side is sincere about improving relations with the Vatican and has made a lot of efforts to that end. There is a smooth and effective line of communication between the two sides. We would like to work with the Vatican to strive for new progress in constructive dialogues and improvement in the relations between the two sides.
Q: What is China's expectation for the China-US relationship after Trump's inauguration? Does China have any expectation or demand for the new US administration on the Taiwan question and territorial issues such as the South China Sea?
A: History and practice have shown that a sound and stable China-US relationship serves the fundamental interests of the two countries and peoples, and contributes to the peace, stability and development of the Asia-Pacific and beyond. Despite some disagreements, China and the US share important interests in a wide range of areas. The two sides should respect each other's core interests and major concerns, approach and manage the disagreements in a constructive way so that they will not affect the overall relations between the two countries. We will work with the new US administration to secure sound and steady growth of bilateral relations in keeping with the principle of non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation.
On issues of territory, you all know that China holds a firm position on issues concerning its sovereignty and territory. We hope that the Chinese and American sides will respect each other's core interests and major concerns, approach and manage the disagreements in a constructive way to prevent them from disrupting the overall bilateral relations.
On the Taiwan question, I want to stress that the one-China principle is the political foundation of China-US relations. Any US administration has the obligation to honor the commitment made by successive Republican and Democratic administrations to upholding the one-China policy, abiding by the three joint communiqués with China and strictly confining its relations with Taiwan to unofficial scope.
Q: Is climate change cooperation with President Trump going to be possible, given that he is not entirely convinced that is a real thing?
A: We have noted the adjustments to America's energy policy in the White House statement. I have no comment on that.
As for the issue of climate change, what I want to say is that it is a challenge to all mankind. The Paris Agreement, as a milestone of global governance on climate and a hard-won achievement, has pooled the broadest consensus of the international community and charted the course for green and low-carbon development. All countries should follow the trend, seize the opportunity, take active actions and make joint efforts to implement the agreement, in a bid to create a bright future for the coming generations. The Chinese side will carry on with its domestic policies on climate change, contribute to the multilateral processes and encourage related international cooperation. The Chinese side is ready for dialogue and cooperation with all parties including the new US administration on the issue of climate change.