At the invitation of the federal government of Germany, Vice Premier of the State Council Sun Chunlan will travel to Germany for the China-Germany Vocational Education Innovation Dialogue Forum from June 24 to 27.
Q: China announced yesterday that it believes President Xi's visit to the DPRK will surely be a success. What does China hope to achieve through this visit regarding the political settlement of the Peninsula issue?
A: I believe you have learned much about President Xi's upcoming state visit from the press briefing yesterday by the International Department of the Central Committee of the CPC and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
As officials from the two ministries announced, President Xi will meet and hold talks with DPRK leader Kim Jong-un. On the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties, they will review the progress in relations over the past seven decades and chart the course for future bilateral relationship in the new era. They will talk about domestic development and further exchange views on the Peninsula situation to work for new progress in its political settlement. At this stage, you may need to be more patient as the visit has not begun yet.
Q: Former Egyptian President Mursi died at trial. During his presidency, he attached importance to bilateral relations with China and chose it for his first foreign visit as president. How do you see the impact of his death on Egypt's political landscape?
A: We note the relevant media reports. No matter what happens, China hopes Egypt will maintain stability and development.
Q: Yesterday China announced President Xi's upcoming state visit to the DPRK. Against the backdrop of the 70th anniversary of diplomatic ties, this visit is of great significance for the two countries to build on past achievements and strive for new progress. Can you tell us any specific plans and considerations for the 70th anniversary celebration?
A: President Xi's upcoming state visit to the DPRK has drawn a lot of attention. Yesterday we announced this visit. Officials from the International Department of the Central Committee of the CPC and the Ministry of Foreign affairs also provided information at a press briefing.
China and the DPRK are friendly neighbors with long-term exchange and cooperation. It is our tradition to have close exchange between leaders of the two parties and countries. A new era for China-DPRK relations is ushered in by President Xi and Chairman Kim through their four meetings in one year. Both sides are positive about further economic and trade cooperation, which has a solid foundation and bright prospect thanks to our geographical proximity, good political ties, friendship between two peoples and economic complementarity. People-to-people exchange is an important bond of bilateral relations. Our two peoples have long cherished a natural and deep friendship. We will work with the DPRK to carry forward our friendly traditions, and advance communication and cooperation in various areas.
Just as you mentioned, this year marks the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations and the two sides have agreed to hold commemorative activities to mark the occasion. We will jointly look back on the past, carry forward our friendship, chart the course for the future and inject new impetus into the China-DPRK relationship in a new era. More information on relevant activities will be released in due course.
Q: According to reports, the US began a hearing on proposed plans to impose additional tariffs on 300 billion US dollars worth of Chinese goods on June 17. The American Apparel and Footwear Association, Qualcomm, Intel, among others, voiced their opposition and said the tariffs would hurt US companies, consumers and working families. They also told the hearing that they have few alternatives other than China for producing clothing, electronics and other consumer goods and that sourcing from other countries will raise costs. Moving operations to Vietnam and other countries would not be feasible for years due to a lack of skills and infrastructure in those locations and it would mean higher costs. According to an estimate by Trade Partnership Worldwide LLC., the US measure would result in the loss of more than two million American jobs. Would you like to comment on that?
A: We notice that while the hearing on additional tariffs on Chinese goods is being held, opposition in the US is becoming more and more vociferous. Even Larry Kudlow, Director of the National Economic Council, openly admitted recently that US companies and consumers will pay for additional tariffs. According to a recent report by Goldman Sachs, the US government's tariffs on Chinese products last year were completely transferred to US businesses and households and had a greater impact on prices at home than expected.
The mutually-beneficial economic, trade and investment cooperation has long brought enormous benefits to businesses and consumers in China and the US. Past experience has proven time and again that economic and trade friction between the two countries could be properly resolved through consultations, as long as they are based on mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit. Anything against this principle will lead nowhere.
Q: How does China see the current situation on the Korean Peninsula especially after the unsuccessful Hanoi summit between the US and DPRK leaders February? Some from the US and the ROK believe that it is highly likely for the US and the DPRK to resume dialogue. What is China's view on this?
A: That will be great! China has been encouraging the US and the DPRK to resume dialogue. Right after the Hanoi summit in February, we stated that we hope the two sides will strengthen faith, remain patient, show flexibility, accommodate each other's legitimate concerns and work towards progress towards a political settlement. In fact, both the US and the DPRK expressed willingness to continue dialogue, and China will continue to call on the international community to encourage that.
It has been our belief all along that political settlement through dialogue is the only way out of the Peninsula issue. The US and the DPRK, as two key parties to this issue, should seek proper solutions on the basis of mutual accommodation on legitimate concerns. That is also something the international community should encourage.
Follow-up: How do you see the current situation?
A: We hope all relevant parties, especially the US and the DPRK, can advance dialogue, achieve progress and give peace a change by reasonably accommodating each other's legitimate concerns and taking phased, synchronized steps as part of a package plan.
Q: Last month a Uighur family traveled to Beijing to apply for a visa at the Belgian Embassy. I wonder if you are aware of this case?
A: Many journalists have asked about individual cases relating to Xinjiang at our press conferences. However, after we invested a lot of time and efforts to obtain more information and offered responsible feedback, those same journalists failed to give it open and accurate coverage. Frankly speaking, that is not fair.
That's why I would like to reiterate here that if you promise to cover our feedback in an open and accurate manner, we will try to get more information from relevant departments for you.
Q: As we know, President Xi is going to visit North Korea. A week later he's supposed to meet President Trump at the G20 Osaka Summit. So is China trying to send a message with the timing of this visit, for example that China is using the visit as "leverage"?
A: We have made a statement on whether President Xi is going to meet with President Trump at the G20 Osaka Summit. So far the statement remains unchanged.
As for whether China is using President Xi's state visit to the DPRK as some kind of "leverage", I must say people with such an idea are just over-thinking. Like what was said at the press briefing by officials from the International Department of the CPC Central Committee and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, China and the DPRK are close neighbors with a long tradition of friendly relations. Leaders of both parties and countries have kept close communication. Developing a China-DPRK relationship in the new era is our firm direction and goal, which is quite essential. I am sure you will fully grasp the important significance of this visit itself. It is unnecessary to read too much into it.
Q: Yesterday, the China Securities Regulatory Commission and the British Financial Conduct Authority made a joint announcement on the official launch of the Shanghai-London Stock Connect. It is believed that this is one of the most long-awaited measures between China and the UK in recent years. I wonder if you have any comment on that?
A: Vice Premier Hu Chunhua co-chaired the tenth China-UK Economic and Financial Dialogue in the UK. Yesterday, he and British Chancellor of the Exchequer Hammond attended the launch ceremony of the Shanghai-London Stock Connect at London Stock Exchange. Chinese and British securities regulators also signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in cross-border regulation and law enforcement under the Shanghai-London Stock Connect program. The Chinese side has released detailed information on this. I'd refer you to the competent authority for more specifics.
I would like to point out that financial cooperation has always been a highlight in China-UK practical cooperation. The launch of the Shanghai-London Stock Connect is an important approach to implement the outcomes of President Xi's visit to the UK in 2015 and serves the interests of both sides as it will facilitate capital market development. In particular, as the world faces growing protectionism, the launch of the Shanghai-London Stock Connect will inject positive energy into the building of an open world economy.
It once again demonstrates China's resolve in deepening reform and opening wider to the world. We will continue to make steady progress in pursuing mutually beneficial and open development.
Q: You said that China is not using the DPRK visit as "leverage" in consultations with the US. Why has China chosen this "sensitive time" for the visit?
A: Why do you think it is a sensitive time now? Where does the sensitivity lie?
Journalist: As the US is suppressing China on various fronts more and more vehemently, the China-US trade friction is escalating and negotiation between the DPRK and the US still faces uncertainty.
A: I am sure you are aware that it has been over a year since China-US trade friction started and the two sides began to hold consultations. I don't see why the present is any more sensitive than any time between then and now.
On the Hanoi meeting between the US and DPRK leaders in February, perhaps to many people it ended in an unexpected way. Ever since then, China has been hoping to see the situation heading toward resumption of dialogue. I fail to see how the present is any more sensitive than February.