At the invitation of Premier Li Keqiang of the State Council, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras of the Hellenic Republic will pay an official visit to China from July 2 to 6.
At the invitation of Premier Li Keqiang of the State Council, Prime Minister Peter O'Neill of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea will pay an official visit to China from July 5 to 10.
Q: Cambodian People's Party (CPP) leader and Prime Minister Hun Sen made a statement on the South China Sea issue on June 28, saying that the CPP is against any declaration by ASEAN on the South China Sea arbitration. He called on countries outside the region to cease their interference in the South China Sea issue and relevant countries to faithfully fulfill the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC). What is China's comment on that?
A: The Chinese side highly commends Prime Minister Hun Sen and the CPP for their objective and impartial position on the issue of the South China Sea. The statement by the Cambodian side once again proves that countries that are trying to drive a wedge between China and ASEAN and sabotage peace and stability of the region by making use of the South China Sea arbitration case will find their attempt rejected and doomed to failure.
Q: Suicide bomb attacks at Istanbul's Ataturk airport last night killed and injured a lot. What is China's comment on that? Are there any Chinese citizens among the victims?
A: The Chinese side strongly condemns the terrorist attack against civilians. We oppose all forms of terrorism and call on the international community to step up coordination and cooperation on fighting terrorism, and safeguard peace and stability of the region. Foreign Minister Wang Yi has sent a message of condolences to Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu.
According to the Chinese Consulate-General in Istanbul, there has been no report of Chinese citizens killed or injured in the attack. Over 90 Chinese passengers were waiting for their flights when the explosions occurred. The Consulate-General has got in touch with Chinese citizens stranded in the airport and made sure of their safety. The Consulate-General will actively assist them.
Given the grim security situation in Turkey, the Chinese Foreign Ministry and diplomatic missions in Turkey advise once again that Chinese citizens think twice before visiting Turkey, and Chinese citizens already in Turkey stay on high alert, take extra precautions and prepare for emergency.
Q: Reports say that Chinese authorities are no longer allowing Canadian citizens born in Hong Kong to visit China on 10-year visas. Is that true?
A: First and foremost, in accordance with the visa reciprocity arrangement reached by the Chinese Foreign Ministry and the Canadian Embassy in China on February 28, 2015, the two sides would issue multi-entry visas with the validity of up to ten years and within the term of validity of the passports to each other's citizens coming for the purposes of business, tourism and family-visit, starting from March 9, 2015. China has been acting in strict accordance with the reciprocity arrangement.
Second, with regard to the issue of visas, travel documents and passports by Chinese diplomatic missions in Canada to Chinese citizens from Hong Kong living in Canada, reports about China making adjustment to or tightening its policy are not true. We handle visas, travel documents and passports applications by Chinese citizens from Hong Kong in accordance with the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (PRC), the Nationality Law of the PRC and the Interpretation by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress on Some Questions Concerning Implementation of the Nationality Law of the PRC in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the PRC. As for what will be granted in the end, it is based on the personal information about the applicant and related documents. Since the Chinese government resumed its exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong, the Chinese Foreign Ministry has been asking its overseas diplomatic missions to offer all-out services and assistance to Chinese citizens from Hong Kong living in foreign countries in accordance with the law, facilitating their travel, work and stay in all parts of the world.
Q: How will the resignation of British Prime Minister David Cameron affect the relationship between China and the UK?
A: China-UK relationship enjoys a sound momentum of growth. We will work in tandem with the UK to preserve and develop the bilateral relationship.
Q: The Human Rights Commission of the UK Conservative Party made groundless accusations against China's human rights condition in a report. What is your response?
A: The human rights condition in China has been improved remarkably. It is the Chinese people who have made it possible and who are in the best position to make a judgment. This so-called report, endorsed by a small number of MPs in the Conservative Party, shows no regard for facts, brims with prejudice, distorts China's human rights condition, and deserves no comment. We urge these MPs to stop interfering in China's domestic affairs in any way and take concrete actions to preserve the overall interests of China-UK relations.
After the press conference, the following question was raised: US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said on June 28 that if elected, he would label China a currency manipulator and impose punitive tariffs on Chinese goods entering the US. What is your response?
Hong Lei: Trade and economic cooperation between China and the US is what keeps the bilateral relationship steady and moves it forward. The essence of it is mutual benefit and win-win results. The exchange rate of Chinese RMB is not the culprit of China-US trade imbalance. It is hoped that relevant people in the US can objectively and rationally view China-US trade relations, do more to enhance mutual trust and cooperation, and jointly maintain the sound and steady development of bilateral economic and trade ties. This serves the common interests of the two sides.