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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying's Regular Press Conference on December 26, 2016

On December 26, Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his counterpart Urbino Botelho of Sao Tome and Principe signed in Beijing the Joint Communiqué between the People's Republic of China and the Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe on Resumption of Diplomatic Relations as representatives of the two countries respectively. The two governments have decided to resume diplomatic relations at the ambassadorial level as of the date of the signing of this Joint Communiqué.

The resumption of diplomatic relations is what the people in the two countries aspire for and serves the fundamental interests of the two countries and the people. It reflects the acceptance of the one-China principle as the will of the people and the trend of the times and goes with the general direction of China-Africa friendship. We welcome Sao Tome and Principe's return to the big family of China-Africa friendship, standing ready to grow and deepen friendly cooperation with Sao Tome and Principe across the board to benefit the two peoples based on the five principles of peaceful coexistence and the one-China principle.

Q: How does China see its future ties with Sao Tome and Principe after resuming diplomatic ties with it?

A: China welcomes Sao Tome and Principe's return to the big family of China-Africa friendship. Foreign Minister Wang Yi had an amicable and productive meeting with his Sao Tome and Principe counterpart this noon, during which they exchanged views on the future development of bilateral relations and reached wide consensus. They agreed that the one China principle is the prerequisite and political basis of developing bilateral relations. The two sides should enhance personnel exchanges, step up political mutual trust, press ahead with cooperation in agriculture, fishery and tourism as the priority, push for win-win cooperation and common development, carry out people-to-people exchanges in culture, education, health, youth, women and media,reinforce mutual understanding and friendship and lay a solid public foundation for bilateral friendship. We believe that the resumption of diplomatic ties between China and Sao Tome and Principe is in the fundamental interests of the two countries and their people and will surely bring benefits to the people.

Q: Russian President Putin once again lauded Russia-China relations at the end-of-year press conference on December 23, describing Russia's relations with China as more than just a strategic partnership and the two countries' shared views on global affairs as a major stabilizing factor. What is your response to this?

A: China has taken note of President Putin's high evaluation of Sino-Russian relations at the end-of-year press conference. We speak highly of Russia's positive attitude towards growing ties with China. The China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination is at its best in history. The comprehensive cooperation across the board has delivered benefits to the two countries and peoples, and also generated positive energy to regional and global prosperity and stability. The strategic coordination between the two countries has extended far beyond a bilateral scope, serving as a force of stability to uphold world peace and stability. China stands ready to work with Russia to reinforce and develop the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination and safeguard regional and world peace, security and stability in the coming year.

Q: US President Barack Obama signed into law the US National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017, which included a section on senior military exchanges between the United States and Taiwan. Do you have any comment on this?

A: We are firmly against the Taiwan-related contents in the US act and have lodged solemn representations with the US. We are strongly discontent with the US for signing this act.

The Taiwan question bears on China's sovereignty and territory integrity and falls entirely within China's domestic affairs. Although the Taiwan-related content in the US Act has no legal binding force, it still severely violates the three joint communiqués and interferes in China's domestic affairs. China will by no means accept this. We urge the US side to honor its commitment on the Taiwan question, put an end to military exchanges with and arms sales to Taiwan and avoid undermining China-US relations or cross-Straits peace and stability.

Q: Taiwan said that China's aircraft carrier Liaoning sailed through waters to the south of Taiwan today, please confirm. It is heard that Liaoning may head towards the South China Sea in the future. Could you provide more specific information?

A: According to Spokesperson Liang Yang of the PLA Navy,the Liaoning aircraft carrier battle group has set off for the Western Pacific on December 24 where it will take part in an open-sea exercise as part of an annual routine exercise plan. As for where else will the group head, I would refer you to the PLA Navy spokesperson.

Q: Former US national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski reportedly said that it is not in America's interest to antagonize Beijing, it is much better for American interests to have the Chinese work closely with them. In today's world, China can't lead alone. Neither can the US. A world in which America and China are cooperating is a world in which American influence is maximized. Do you have any comment?

A: We have noted relevant reports. Mr. Brzezinski is a prestigious strategist, and we set great store by his words. The Chinese government maintains that as the largest developing and developed countries respectively and the two largest economies in the world, China and the US shoulder special and major responsibilities and boast wide common interests in upholding world peace and stability and promoting global development and prosperity. Cooperation is the only right choice for the two countries. The two countries should stay committed to no confrontation, no conflict, mutual respect and win-win cooperation, step up mutual trust, highlight cooperation, properly manage differences and strive for further development of China-US relations and more benefits to people in the two countries and beyond.

Q: You just stated that foreign ministers of China and Sao Tome and Principe signed a joint communiqué to resume bilateral relations, economic ties and trade included. How large will the bilateral economic and trade cooperation get? Many see Sao Tome and Principe's switch to Beijing as an end to the "diplomatic truce" between the mainland and Taiwan, and I am wondering what's your take on this?

A: On your first question, as I have said, the resumption of diplomatic ties between China and Sao Tome and Principe accords with the trend of the times and will of the people. We welcome Sao Tome and Principe's return to the big family of China-Africa friendly cooperation. We stand ready to act in accordance with the principle of win-win cooperation and common development, and carry out friendly and mutually beneficial cooperation with Sao Tome and Principe in various fiends with agriculture, fishery and tourism as the priority under the framework of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation and the Forum for Economic and Trade Cooperation between China and Portuguese-Speaking Countries. The two countries are unequivocally positive about cooperation. And the scale of future cooperation depends on how specifically it is carried out.

On your second question, there is only one China in the world, the government of the People's Republic of China is the only legitimate government representing China, and Taiwan is an integrated part of the Chinese territory. The Chinese government is committed to growing friendly cooperative ties with other countries following the five principles of peaceful coexistence and the one-China principle.

Q: It is reported that a Tu-154 plane of the Russian Defense Ministry en route to Syria crashed on December 25, killing all on board. What is your response to this?

A: We are deeply shocked to learn about the Russian military plane's crash into waters near Sochi and the deaths of all passengers and crew staff on board on December 25. The Chinese side conveys its deep sympathies with this tragic incident. President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang have respectively sent messages of condolences to President Putin and Prime Minister Medvedev. Foreign Minister Wang Yi also expressed condolences to his Russian counterpart Lavrov. We deeply mourn all the victims and send sincere solicitude to the bereaved families.

Q: The 9th National Congress of the Chinese Catholic Representatives will be convened this week. Can you tell us more about it? How do you comment on China's relations with the Vatican?

A: It is known that the Chinese Catholic Church will hold its 9th national congress from December 27 to 29, which is believed to help Catholicism better adapt to and integrate into the Chinese culture and society and move forward the evangelization of Catholicism in China.

Regarding China's relations with the Vatican, we have taken this question multiple times recently and stated our position. We are sincere about improving relations with the Vatican and have made relentless efforts to this end. China is willing to work alongside the Vatican to make new headway in conducting bilateral constructive dialogues and improving bilateral relations.

Q: After passing through the Miyako Strait, the Chinese aircraft carrier went on sailing southwest, which has raised concerns among some countries including Japan. What is the purpose of this training? Is it meant to target US President-elect Trump's attitude towards Taiwan?

A: Like I said, the PLA Navy spokesperson has put it clear that the training of the Liaoning group is part of the annual routine exercises.

You mentioned that some countries have expressed concerns about the purpose of this training. I don't think there is any need to read too much into it, such as assuming that it is targeted against anyone. I have seen a lot of reports including some carried by the Japanese media saying that the only way for Japan to reach consensus on any policy, action and public opinion is to make it target against China. But on the Chinese part, we develop policies and take actions according to our own needs. Relevant training by the Chinese side complies with international law and practices, and the Liaoning aircraft carrier is entitled to the freedom of navigation and overflight under international law. And we hope that all parties will respe ct this.

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