Q: British Prime Minister's office reportedly said yesterday that Prime Minister Theresa May will visit China within the year, as the two countries are moving even closer. Can you confirm that? There are also reports saying that Prime Minister May has to strengthen relations with other major countries by making overseas visits against the backdrop of "Brexit". How do you view the future growth of China-UK relationship?
A: The China-UK relationship enjoys a good momentum of growth. President Xi Jinping had his first meeting with Prime Minister May last September when the latter was in China for the G20 Hangzhou Summit. The two sides reaffirmed their commitment to a Golden Era for their bilateral relationship. This year marks the 45th anniversary of the establishment of ambassadorial-level diplomatic ties between China and the UK, blessing the bilateral relationship with new opportunities of development. The Chinese side welcomes a visit by Prime Minister May in due time. We are ready to work with the British side to advance our global comprehensive strategic partnership for the 21st century in a sustained, sound and steady manner.
We have repeatedly expressed our point of view on the issue of "Brexit". The Chinese side will follow the developments of negotiations between the UK and the EU. We believe that the two sides, as influential powers in the world, will reach a win-win agreement through negotiation. It is in the interests of all sides that the UK and Europe stay prosperous, stable and open. The Chinese side will work with the EU to move forward our partnership for peace, growth, reform and civilization.
Q: G20 foreign ministers are going to meet in Germany next week. What is China's expectation for the meeting? Will Foreign Minister Wang Yi attend the meeting?
A: The foreign ministers' meeting is an important ministerial meeting to be held by Germany who serves as G20's rotating chair this year. The Chinese side attaches great importance to the meeting. Information about China's attendance will be released in due course.
Q: The UN is going to hold an ocean conference in New York in June. A series of meetings will be held in advance in preparation for the conference. What has China done for the preparation and what is China's marine policy?
A: In accordance with the relevant resolution of the UN General Assembly, the UN will hold an ocean conference at its headquarters in New York from June 5 to 9 to draw the attention of the international community to issues regarding sustainable development of the oceans, and conservation and sustainable use of the oceans and marine resources. The Chinese side supports the conference and will join other parties in making active preparation for it and contributing to sustainable development of the oceans.
Q: Will the Chinese side invite British Prime Minister May to the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in May?
A: As I said, the Chinese side welcomes a visit by Prime Minister May in due time. I briefed the press last week about some details of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation to be held in Beijing in May. A lot of countries are keen to attend the Forum. Preparation for the meeting is well underway. We will invite leaders from regions such as Asia, Europe, Africa and Latin America to the meeting, and release details in due course.
Q: The ROK Lotte Group said Chinese authorities halted construction of a multi-billion dollar real estate project that it has in Shenyang. Do you know why? Is it related to the deployment of THAAD in the ROK?
A: I am not aware of the specific project.
It is our principle that we welcome foreign companies' investment in China, as long as their operations in China comply with laws and regulations.
On the issue of THAAD, China's firm opposition to the deployment of THAAD by the US and the ROK in the ROK remains unchanged.
Q: Reports say that China blocked a US move in the 1267 Committee of the Security Council to designate Masood Azhar as a terrorist. The move was backed by almost all members except China. This is not the first time for China to put a technical hold on the listing. How is it going to impact China-India relations? This particular application is filed by the US rather than India. How do you see this?
A: The 1267 committee of the Security Council discussed the listing issue last year with no consensus reached, as members of the Security Council held different views on this issue. As for the renewed application filed by the relevant country, conditions are not yet met for the committee to reach an agreement and make a decision. The Chinese side places a technical hold on that in a bid to allow more time for thorough consultation among relevant parties. It is in line with the Security Council resolution and the committee's rules of procedure.
The Security Council and its subsidiary organs have their own rules of procedure. I hope and believe that all members of the committee will act in accordance with these rules in handling applications, whoever the applicant is. China and India have also exchanged views on this issue. I do not want to see it impact China-India relations.
Q: How do you respond to the criticism that this blockade was carried out by China at the instance of Pakistan?
A: Actions taken by the Chinese side in the Security Council and its subsidiary organs are in line with their rules of procedure. We have, more than once, exchanged views with relevant parties including India on this issue. The purpose for China to place the technical hold is to allow enough time for discussion among relevant parties to reach a tenable decision widely accepted by the international community.
Q: It was in March last year that the listing issue was discussed at the 1267 committee for the first time. The Chinese side placed a technical hold at that time. It will be one and a half years since the first discussion when the committee meet and talk about this issue six months later. Do you think a year and a half is long enough for all parties to come up with a decision?
A: What matters is not how long it takes, but whether consensus can be reached based on thorough consultation.
Q: Yesterday, Foreign Minister Wang Yi suggested that the US brush up on the history of WWII. If the US refuses to stay neutral on the issue of the South China Sea, is there a possibility of China-US relations being affected and the two countries going to war?
A: I believe you have read reports on Foreign Minister Wang Yi's remarks at the joint press conference with Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop. There is no need for me to repeat it here.
China's position on the issue of the South China Sea is fairly clear. We have been saying that we do not want conflicts with any country. It serves the common interests of all parties to maintain peace, stability and security of the South China Sea.
Q: You said that consensus was not reached on listing Masood as a terrorist. What specific factors are blocking the consensus?
A: The Security Council and its subsidiary bodies have their respective rules of procedure for internal discussions. It is not the case that all details must go public. For years, relevant parties have been following these rules of procedure. We sincerely hope that all parties are given sufficient time for consultation to reach a tenable and widely acceptable decision.