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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang's Regular Press Conference on October 12, 2016
2016/10/12

Q: We have noted China's newly released announcement about Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's upcoming visit to China. Who will meet and hold talks with him during the visit? What will be discussed? What is China's expectation for the visit? What cooperation deals are going to be signed by the two sides?

A: As was announced by the Chinese Foreign Ministry, at the invitation of President Xi Jinping, President Rodrigo Duterte of the Republic of the Philippines will pay a state visit to China from October 18 to 21.

During his visit, President Xi Jinping will hold talks with him for discussion on bilateral relations, cooperation across the board, as well as international and regional issues of common interest. Premier Li Keqiang and Chairman Zhang Dejiang will meet with him on separate occasions.

The Chinese side hopes that the visit by President Duterte will help increase political mutual trust, strengthen pragmatic cooperation, extend traditional friendship, properly address differences through dialogue and replace the strategic cooperative relations for peace and development on the track of sound and steady growth.

The two sides are communicating with each other about the agenda and outcome documents of the visit.

Last but not least, I want to stress that China and the Philippines are neighbors of traditional friendship. People of the two countries have been friends with each other since ancient times. Since the establishment of diplomatic ties, bilateral relations have been developing smoothly, making constant progress in cooperation in political, economic, cultural and other aspects, and delivering tangible benefits to the two countries and two peoples. Amity between the two countries is not only what the people aspire for but also where the development trend of the two countries and the region leads. The Chinese side attaches importance to developing relations with the Philippines and stands ready to work with them to advance the bilateral relations in a sound and steady manner and create more benefits for both the two countries and peoples.

Q: Today the new Hong Kong legislators were sworn in. Some of the legislators used the opportunity to declare their support for "Hong Kong independence". At least one of them used a very rude expression to refer to the People's Republic of China. What is your response to that?

A: I'd point you to the competent authorities for the specific question. I want to point out that Hong Kong is a special administrative region of the People's Republic of China. This is crystal clear, without any doubt and subject to no change.

Q: According to the Australian media reports, foreign spies hacked an agency of the Australian government. Although the reports did not name any country as responsible, Chinese hackers have been accused of similar incidents in the past. Do you have any information to provide about this incident?

A: I am not aware of the particular incident that you mentioned. What I want to say is that China opposes all forms of cyber attacks and cracks down on these activities with concrete means in accordance with the law. We are also active about conducting cooperation with the rest of the world to safeguard the security of cyberspace.

Q: Ilham Tohti was given the Martin Ennals Award by a human rights group in Geneva on October 11. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights attended the award ceremony. What is your comment on that?

A: The Chinese side is dissatisfied with and opposed to the relevant human rights group giving the so-called human rights award to Ilham Tohti, who was found guilty of splitting the state based on clear facts and solid evidence. Teacher as Ilham Tohti once was, he publicly hailed extremist terrorists as "heroes", coaxed and coerced others into joining overseas East Turkistan separatist activities, and plotted, organized and conducted a series of criminal activities aiming at splitting the state. The Chinese judicial organ tried the case of Ilham Tohti in strict accordance with the law of China. China's domestic affairs and judicial sovereignty brook no interference.

I want to stress that the case of Ilham Tohti is not in any way about human rights. What he did was to justify violent and terrorist acts, split the state and spread hatred, none of which is tolerable in any country.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, a senior UN official, attended the so-called award ceremony to back up the separatist in disregard of the facts and what is right and what is wrong. It constitutes a breach of purposes and principles of the UN Charter and interference in China's domestic affairs.

There are always someones who choose to ignore crimes committed by some separatists or even violent terrorists against the Chinese people, and employ all possible means to crown them as human rights defenders. It cannot be anything but defiance of human rights and the rule of law.

Q: ROK media reported that the Deputy Minister for Political Affairs of the ROK Foreign Ministry summoned the Chinese Ambassador yesterday to protest against the Chinese fishing boat sinking an ROK coast guard speedboat in waters to the west of the ROK on October 7. What is China's response?

A: I took questions about this yesterday and the day before yesterday. As I said yesterday, there is a fishery agreement between China and the ROK. Related activities by the two sides shall be governed by the agreement. The Chinese side is trying to get more information on the incident.

Today, I can tell you that based on the information that we have got, the allegation by the ROK side cannot be justified. According to the coordinates given by the ROK side, it was at N 37°23'06" and E 123°58'56" that the Chinese fishing boat allegedly hit the ROK coast guard vessel. This location is within the waters where existing fishing activities shall be maintained as prescribed in the fishery agreement between China and the ROK. There is no term in the agreement that can justify law enforcement activities by the ROK coast guard in these waters. The Chinese side has lodged solemn representations with relevant departments of the ROK through diplomatic means, requiring the ROK side to handle the issue in a reasonable and cool-headed way.

What is more, we have noted the latest statement by the ROK side. The Chinese side believes that it won't help solve the problem but will only make it worse and cause disputes if the ROK keeps tightening sanctions or even resorts to the use of force as it declares. The Chinese side once again asks the ROK side to discipline its law enforcement staff and regulate their law enforcement activities so as to avoid the abuse of law enforcement power and violent behavior or approaches that may hurt or endanger Chinese personnel. Concrete measures must be taken to ensure the safety and lawful rights and interests of Chinese personnel.

I also want to point out that fishery cooperation is an important part of China-ROK relations. It serves the interests of people of the two countries to keep fishery cooperation in a good order. It is inevitable that China and the ROK may encounter some disputes or problems in the course of advancing fishery cooperation. What is important is that the two should act in accordance with the fishery agreement and relevant consensus, enhance communication and coordination, keep calm and rational, and take a long-term and objective view to properly treat and solve fishery problems.

Q: During Philippine President Duterte's visit to China, will the two sides talk about the issue of the South China Sea? What position does China expect the Philippine side to hold on this issue?

A: China's position on the issue of the South China Sea is consistent and clear. We are willing to peacefully address relevant disputes with countries concerned including the Philippines through consultation and negotiation, explore possible ways for pragmatic cooperation with them in the South China Sea and turn it into the sea of peace, friendship and cooperation.

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