Q: DPRK Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho has arrived in Beijing today. Will there be any meetings with him?
A: Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho is making a stopover in Beijing. State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will meet with him. We will release relevant information regarding their meeting in due course.
Q: Yesterday, Russian Foreign Minister said that the British side spread lies and misinformation about the Skripal incident to distract public attention from the talks to exit the EU. The Russian side has previously decided to expel diplomats from the UK and the US. What is your comment?
A: We know that the relevant parties have yet to reach a conclusion on the Skripal incident that all sides find acceptable, and in response to the collective actions by some countries and organizations to expel Russian diplomats, the Russian side has taken countermeasures accordingly.
China maintains that the relevant parties shall sort out the facts behind the Skripal incident at an early date and properly resolve disputes based on mutual respect and equal-footed consultation. The international community is challenged on so many fronts today. Cold War mentality and group confrontation is the last thing we need. We should all work together to preserve world peace, stability and security and build a new type of international relations featuring mutual respect, equality, justice and win-win cooperation.
Q: First, Russia says it was denied access to the investigation on this case. I wonder whether China believes that Russia should be granted access to the investigation? Second, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi is starting his visit to Russia tomorrow on the backdrop of this issue and diplomatic tensions between Russia and Western countries. I wonder what will be his message to the Russian government over this issue?
A: Regarding your first question, I just said that the relevant parties have yet to reach a conclusion acceptable to all. China maintains that the relevant parties shall sort out the facts behind the Skripal incident at an early date and properly resolve disputes based on mutual respect and equal-footed consultation.
Regarding State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi's visit to Russia, my colleague responded to similar questions last week. The visit will showcase the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination under the new circumstances. State Councilor Wang Yi will meet with President Putin and hold talks with Foreign Minister Lavrov. They will exchange views on bilateral relations and issues of mutual concern.
Q: China has decided to suspend its tariff concessions on 128 imports of US products on April 2. Chinese Ambassador to the US Cui Tiankai said in response to the US Section 301 investigation that China will strongly fight back with the same scale, amount, and strength, should the US announce its list. Are the two sides working to resolve the issue to avoid an escalation and head off any damage to China-US trade relations?
A: The Customs Tariff Commission of the State Council announced on April 1 to suspend tariff concessions on some US imports. This measure is a response to the US Section 232 measures which increase tariffs on steel and aluminum imports and aims to offset losses incurred by the Section 232 measures. You should understand that it is a response to the Section 232 measures, not to the Section 301 investigation.
We keep reiterating that China won't initiate a trade war, and a trade war is the last thing we want. However, we will not be afraid of it. If someone is bent on waging it and even closing in on our doorstep, then we will keep them company and let's see who last to the end. China has the determination and capability to take all necessary measures to safeguard its legitimate and lawful rights and interests. They may have their list, but we also have our own.
Another thing we keep stressing is that our door to negotiation is always open. We want to resolve trade disputes and properly deal with the relevant issues with the US side through dialogue and consultation, and we want to do that based on international law and trade rules, not on some domestic laws of the US. We want to do it while bearing in mind mutual respect, equal treatment, mutual understanding and give-and-take, instead of one party condescendingly threatening another with senseless and unreasonable demands.
We hope that the US side could remain level-headed and get a clear grasp of the situation here. It should listen to its business community and ordinary people and renounce its unilateralism and trade protectionism sooner rather than later. For the benefit of the people in our two countries, the US needs to work with China to settle the disputes and ensure the sound and steady development of China-US trade ties.
Q: According to reports, Japan recently announced that it is centralizing command of its army. This is the first time for Japan to take such kind of move after the Second World War. Explaining the move, the Japanese side said that they are expecting more situations where they will need to make coordinated response to ballistic missile launches and attacks on Japan's territory. What is China's comment on the implication that there is a heightened possibility of Chinese attacks on Japan's territory and the DPRK's missile launches?
A: Did you just say that China may attack Japan? Is this what the Japanese side said?
Q: Japan didn't specify China, but they said that there might be more ballistic missile launches and more attacks on the Japanese territory. This is how analysts interpret it regarding the DPRK. What is your response?
A: We all noted that recently there have been some positive signs with regard to the situation on the Korean Peninsula, thanks to the positive interactions between relevant parties. Some outcomes have been achieved as a result of the efforts made by relevant parties, including the US. The Japanese side may have felt left out during this process.
Recently, the Japanese side made some claims, saying that the DPRK is probably preparing for new nuclear tests and more ballistic missile launches. They succeeded in drawing some attention to themselves by sounding these alarms.
But when it comes to the clear and firm determination and resolve of the international community on promoting denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and comprehensively and fully implementing the DPRK-related resolutions of the UN Security Council, Japan has nothing to worry about.
Meanwhile, we also hope that all relevant parties can seize the opportunity of the moment and work together to improve the Korean Peninsula situation and bring the Korean Peninsula issue back to the right track of settlement through dialogue and consultation. Let's hope that while we are all making efforts to achieve something, no one is trying to bog us down.
Q: On April 2 local time, Egypt's national election commission announced that incumbent President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi won the 2018 presidential election. What is your comment? How do you view the prospect of China-Egypt relations?
A: China warmly congratulates President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi on his reelection. President Xi Jinping has sent congratulatory message to him. We support the choice of the Egyptian people and hope that under the leadership of President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, the Egyptian people can score more prominent achievements in exploring a development path suited to their national conditions.
In recent years, China-Egypt relations have experienced rapid development under the care and direct involvement of the two heads of state. China is willing to work with Egypt to sustain and strengthen this sound momentum, step up efforts to conduct exchanges and cooperation in various areas, and elevate our comprehensive strategic partnership to a new level.