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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang's Regular Press Conference on October 31, 2019

Q: According to Pakistani media reports, a senior Chinese foreign ministry official has said that China is opposed to blacklisting Pakistan by FATF. Is this the Chinese position in principle? Will that be the Chinese position even if Pakistan does not take necessary actions by February 2020 as prescribed by FATF?

A: FATF is an important platform for international cooperation in anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorist activities. Its purpose is helping countries better combat such illegal activities as money laundering and terrorist financing, rather than sanctioning or punishing any country.

Not long ago, the FATF plenary meeting decided to keep Pakistan's rating unchanged. It shows the FATF membership's recognition of Pakistan's progress in improving the system of countering the financing of terrorism, as well as encouragement for Pakistan's efforts. This is in line with the FATF purpose of fighting terrorist financing and upholding the security of the international financial system.

China supports Pakistan's efforts to improve its counter-terrorism financing system and will work with other FATF members to provide more constructive support and assistance to Pakistan.

Q: On October 30, Chilean President Piñera announced in a televised speech that due to continuous protests, Chile decided to call off the upcoming APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting in Chile. Does China have any comment on that? How does China see the APEC mechanism? What role is China going to play?

A: You've probably all noticed that Chile announced the cancellation of the planned APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting in November. China understands and respects Chile's decision. We believe the Chilean government and people have the capability to maintain national stability and social peace, and restore order at home at an early date.

As the host of this year's APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting, Chile has made much efforts to prepare for the event and advanced APEC cooperation in many key areas. China commends that.

As an important economic cooperation platform in the Asia-Pacific, APEC has made important contributions to promoting economic development and improving livelihood in this region. China attaches importance to it. We have long been deeply engaged in APEC cooperation in various fields with tangible contributions. APEC cooperation now faces both opportunities and challenges. China is ready to work with other parties to follow the spirit of Asia-Pacific partnership, stay committed to the principles and purposes of APEC cooperation, keep to the right course of Asia-Pacific cooperation and ensure that APEC will continue to play an important role in economic cooperation in the Asia-Pacific and beyond.

Q: Will the cancellation of the APEC summit affect the progress of the US-China trade deal? Is there a chance President Trump will come to China to sign the deal instead?

A: You may have noted the response from the spokesperson of the Ministry of Commerce this morning.

I would like to reiterate that regarding the economic and trade issues between China and the US, the two sides have all along maintained close communication. From October 10 to 11, the 13th round of talks was held. The heads of the two teams had a telephone call on October 25 and have another one scheduled this Friday. The consultations are progressing smoothly and both sides will press ahead with their work as planned. As we've been saying, it is China's hope that the two sides can find a way to resolve the economic and trade issues on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit.

As to whether the two heads of state will meet, I can tell you that they maintain contact through various means.

Q: The Indian government today established the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and the Union Territory of Ladakh following the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019. Lieutenant governors for the two UTs were sworn in respectively in Srinagar and Leh. I wonder if China has any comments?

A: The Indian government officially announced the establishment of the so-called "Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir" and "Union Territory of Ladakh", placing part of Chinese territory under Indian administration. China deplores and firmly opposes this. India is challenging China's sovereign rights and interests by unilaterally revising domestic law and administrative division. This is illegal, null and void. It will neither change the fact that the relevant region is under China's actual control nor produce any effect.

We urge India to respect China's territorial sovereignty, abide by bilateral agreements, and safeguard the peace and tranquility in the border region with concrete actions to create conditions for a proper settlement of the border issue with China.

China's position on the issue of Kashmir is consistent and clear. It is a dispute left over from history and should be resolved properly and peacefully in accordance with the UN Charter, relevant Security Council resolutions and bilateral agreements. Parties to the issue should resolve disputes through dialogue and consultation to maintain peace and stability in the region.

Q: US Secretary of State Pompeo delivered a speech at the Hudson Institute in New York on October 30, saying that the Chinese Communist Party is hostile to the United States and American values, posing challenges to the US and the world. What's your comment?

A: Mr. Pompeo's speech maliciously attacked the Communist Party of China and the Chinese government, tried to drive a wedge between the CPC and the Chinese people and deliberately distorted and slandered China's domestic and foreign policy. It fully exposes the deep-seated political prejudice and dark anti-communist mindset of a handful of American politicians. Such remarks are by no means an embodiment of confidence and strength, but rather reveal fear and arrogance.

Under the leadership of the CPC, China has made remarkable achievements and made more and more friends over the past seven decades since the founding of the New China. The Chinese people will firmly forge ahead along the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics to new glories. Good prevails over evil. Any attempt to vilify China and obstruct its steady development is futile and doomed to fail.

The past and reality has proven that China and the US stand to gain from cooperation and lose from confrontation. Mutual respect and seeking common ground while shelving differences is the right way for countries to get along. We urge US officials to reflect upon and correct their wrongdoing, and stop saying or doing things that harm China-US relations. They should meet us halfway, and following the principle and direction set by the two heads of state, manage differences on the basis of mutual respect, expand mutually-beneficial cooperation, and advance China-US relations featuring coordination, cooperation and stability.

Q: The DPRK's Moranbong Band is expected to go on a concert tour in 11 Chinese cities this December. I wonder if you have a comment? Is there a plan for Chinese and DPRK leaders to meet within this year?

A: I am not aware of what you said. Let me check afterwards. I can tell you that China and the DPRK maintain normal exchange and cooperation at various levels and in various sectors.

Q: According to reports, nearly 80 Japanese experts issued a joint statement on China's detention of a Hokkaido University professor, expressing deep concerns and urging China to reveal details. They claim that China detained the professor without disclosing any background or reason, which is unacceptable to the international community and will inevitably harm China's image, possibly leading to mistrust. Besides claiming to cancel visits to China, they also said that while exchange and cooperation between China and Japan increases, China's conduct has negatively affected academic exchange. I wonder if you have a response?

A: Who issued the statement you mentioned?

Journalist: Some Japanese academics.

A: Do you know who they are?

Journalist: Yes, I know their names in Japanese. They are researchers in Japan-China relations.

A: I haven't seen the statement and will check for it afterwards. But I would like to make two points. First, the academics may not be aware of the truth of this case. Second, they may have overstated the matter and read too much into it. There are open and effective channels for exchange between China and the international community, including Japan. This will not be affected by one or two cases.

Regarding the case about the Hokkaido University professor, as my colleague stated here, the Chinese side lawfully handles cases involving foreign citizens who have broken Chinese law. Pursuant to the Agreement on Consular Relations Between China and Japan, the Chinese side has offered necessary assistance to the Japanese side in fulfilling consular duties. You may verify that if you'd like to. We hope the Japanese side will remind its citizens in China to comply with Chinese laws and regulations and not conduct any illegal activities.

China's door to the world is wide open. Academics and tourists from other countries, including Japan, are welcome to China. But the precondition is that they need to comply with Chinese laws and regulations. Illegal and criminal activities will be dealt with in accordance with law.

Q: There's a head of Confucius Institute in Belgium, Song Xinning, who was recently denied visa and banned from the Schengen area for eight years based on suspicions that he was conducting espionage for the Chinese government. What kind of comment does the Chinese side have on this? In a follow-up related question, are you aware of any other cases of Chinese professors or staffers of Confucius Institutes being denied visas for possible spying?

A: I saw that in the news and specifically checked that with the competent authority.

Based on what I have learned, Mr. Song Xinning is a professor at the School of International Relations, Renmin University of China, and an expert on European studies. In 2010, he was awarded a Jean Monnet Chair by the European Commission. In April 2016, Professor Song was appointed the Chinese head of the Confucius Institute at Vrije Universiteit Brussel. On July 31, 2019, he returned to China upon completing his tenure there.

A recent Belgian media report falsely accused him of working as a recruiter for intelligence services in Belgium's business and academic sectors that involve the local Chinese community. That is a fabricated allegation driven by ulterior motives. We are firmly against such conduct that hampers academic exchange and education cooperation projects. I understand Professor Song has already written to the journalist to protest the false report. He has also appointed a Belgian lawyer to file a lawsuit, demanding the Belgian side to present evidence. We look forward to a just ruling from the court.

On your second question, I am not aware of the specific situation. I would like to say that Confucius Institutes serves as a window of China to the world. Their purpose is to help people of other countries to learn the Chinese language, get to know China, advance educational and cultural exchange and cooperation with China, and enhance mutual understanding and friendship. For some time, certain media, some Western ones in particular, have published fictitious reports on them, including stories about espionage. They have all been proven to be groundless. We hope relevant sides will base their decisions on facts instead of subjective interpretations, and stop slandering Confucius Institutes out of prejudice.

Q: According to some Pakistani media reports, a senior official from the Chinese foreign ministry has been quoted as saying that there is a trust deficit between China and India in contrast to that between Pakistan and China. Would you agree to this point of view in the light of the recently-concluded informal summit between President Xi and Prime Minister Modi in Chennai?

A: Regarding the informal meeting between President Xi and Prime Minister Modi in Chennai, both sides have issued press releases. It was a successful meeting where the two leaders had an in-depth exchange of views on overarching, long-term and strategic international and regional issues in a very friendly atmosphere and agreed to forge an even closer partnership.

The two leaders also planned to deepen cooperation in various sectors, including in people-to-people and cultural exchange. There has been rapid progress in this area in the past few years with many outcomes. Under exchange mechanisms in place, relevant departments on the two sides worked hand in hand and delivered fruitful results. All these are of extraordinary significance to promoting mutual understanding and trust between our two peoples. We stand ready to work with the Indian side under these mechanisms to further strengthen the cultural and people-to-people bond for better bilateral relations.

You also mentioned Pakistan. It is China's all-weather strategic cooperative partner. The China-Pakistan friendship is unbreakable.

Q: Chinese drone maker DJI has said that the US Department of Interior has grounded all non-emergency Chinese-made or part-made drones. Reports say this is affecting all Chinese-made drones or drone parts. Are you aware of this? Can you give the ministry's comment on this?

A: I noticed the report just before the press conference and will need to check for more information.

I can offer a principled response. We hope the US will discard its outdated Cold War thinking and zero-sum game mindset, stop abusing the concept of national security, stop weaving the "China threat" narrative, and stop the wanton oppression of Chinese enterprises. It should provide a fair, just and non-discriminatory environment for Chinese businesses in the US. In the meantime, we ask Chinese enterprises to observe international rules and local laws and regulations while doing business overseas.

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