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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang's Regular Press Conference on November 21, 2016


At the invitation of the government of the Federal Republic of Germany, Vice Premier Liu Yandong of the State Council will attend the 7th Hamburg Summit: China Meets Europe and events for people-to-people and cultural exchanges between China and Germany from November 23 to 26.

During her visit to Germany, Vice Premier Liu Yandong will deliver a keynote speech at the closing lunch of the Hamburg Summit, and meet with European and German leaders attending the Summit. She will also join German leaders in the closing ceremony of the China-Germany year of youth exchanges, China-Germany forum on higher education, scientific and technological innovation and other activities, for the purpose of promoting bilateral cooperation in people-to-people and cultural exchanges such as education, science and technology, and soccer.

China-Germany relationship has been developing with a sound momentum as was marked by the success of the fourth China-Germany governmental consultation last June which fostered political mutual trust and pragmatic cooperation in different fields, and further enriched the comprehensive strategic partnership between China and Germany. Vice Premier Liu Yandong's attendance at the 7th Hamburg Summit and other events for people-to-people and cultural exchanges is the continuation of this year's frequent high-level interaction between the two countries, which will help maintain the steady growth of bilateral relations at a high level and push for all-round progress in bilateral cooperation in education, science and technology, soccer, youth and other areas.

At the invitation of the Chinese government, incoming UN Secretary General António Guterres will visit China from November 28 to 29.

The Chinese side attaches great importance to the visit by incoming UN Secretary General Guterres. Chinese leaders and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will meet and hold talks with him on separate occasions. The two sides are in communication on the arrangement.

The Chinese side hopes that the visit by Mr. Guterres will be one about mutual trust, consensus and cooperation. There will be discussion on the current international landscape, the future development course for the UN, China's cooperation with the UN as well as international and regional hotspot issues of shared interest.

Q: Armed forces of Kokang, Ta'ang, Rakhine and Kachin exchanged fire with Myanmar government forces yesterday in Monekoe. Stray bullets were found falling in China. Were there any Chinese citizens hurt or killed? What has China done in response? How do you comment on the current situation in Myanmar?

A: On November 20, several ethnic armed groups in Myanmar exchanged fire with Myanmar government forces in Northern Myanmar close to the China-Myanmar border. Some stray bullets fell on the Chinese side of the border, and one Chinese border resident was hit in the arm. The Chinese side has lodged representations with the Myanmar side and taken measures to enhance border management and protect border residents and their properties. The Chinese Embassy in Myanmar has reminded Chinese citizens in Myanmar to watch out for their own safety and keep away from the conflict areas.

The Chinese side monitors closely the development of the situation while staying in touch with the Myanmar side. It is our strong hope that the conflicting parties can exercise restraint, immediately halt relevant military operations so as not to heighten the tension, take concrete actions to restore peace in the border area and prevent anything that is detrimental to China's sovereignty and life and properties of the border residents from happening.

Q: Australia is said to grant Chinese frequent travelers multiple-entry visas with 10 years' validity. Can you confirm that?

A: Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia has recently inked an amendment to Migration Regulation 1994. In accordance with the Migration Legislation Amendment, Australia will issue 10-year multiple-entry visas to Chinese frequent travelers. That will be the first time for Australia to issue this kind of visa to foreign citizens.

The Chinese side commends and welcomes the visa facilitation measure to be adopted by the Australian side. Both China and Australia are each other's major partners for cooperation in the Asia-Pacific. The Chinese side hopes to work jointly with the Australian side to make mutual visits more convenient for people from the two sides.

Q: It is said that China is tightening up its restriction on the ROK by requiring Chinese TV stations not to air advertisements casting pop stars from the ROK. Can you confirm that? What is your comment on that? Does China take the move because of THAAD?

A: First and foremost, I have never heard about any restriction on the ROK. Second, the Chinese side is always positive to people-to-people and cultural exchanges with the ROK. However, I believe you can all understand that such kind of exchanges should be based on public support. Third, the Chinese side's steadfast opposition to the deployment of THAAD by the US in the ROK is well known to all. The Chinese public has voiced their dissatisfaction as well. Relevant parties must have taken note of that.

Q: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the other day that Turkey might consider joining the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). What is China's comment on that?

A: Turkey is a major Eurasian country and an SCO dialogue partner that has long been in communication and cooperation with SCO members in regional affairs. The Chinese side highly commends that.

The Chinese side has noted the relevant report. Attaching importance to Turkey's aspiration to further deepen its cooperation with the SCO, the Chinese side is willing to consult with other SCO members about this and seek consensus through close study in accordance with legal documents and regulations of the SCO.

Q: Can you offer more information about President Xi Jinping's meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Lima, Peru?

A: On the sidelines of the 24th APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting, President Xi Jinping had a brief conversation with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the request of the Japanese side. President Xi stated China's principled position on developing China-Japan relations.

Q: The Xinhua News Agency has issued news releases about all the meetings between President Xi Jinping and leaders of other countries on the sidelines of the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting except the one with Prime Minister Abe. According to the Taiwan media, James Soong also met with President Xi Jinping, but we have not seen any official readout. Are these two meetings different from others?

A: As I said, President Xi Jinping had a brief conversation with Prime Minister Abe on the sidelines of the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting.

As for President Xi Jinping's meeting with Mr. Soong, the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council has their statement on that. I have nothing more to offer.

Q: The worsening situation in Northern Myanmar has driven a lot of refugees to the border area between China and Myanmar. Is China feeling the pressure? What is China going to do with the mounting refugees?

A: Due to the conflict between Myanmar ethnic armed groups and government forces in Northern Myanmar on November 20, some Myanmar citizens living in the border area fled to China to escape the warfare. Out of humanitarian concerns, the local Chinese government has afforded them temporary shelters and sent the injured to hospitals for medical treatment. As I said, we will monitor closely the development of the situation and stay in touch with Myanmar. We strongly hope that the warring parties can exercise restraint, halt military operations, prevent the situation from getting worse, take concrete actions to restore peace in the border area and refrain from anything that may jeopardize China's sovereignty and the life and properties of border residents.

Q: President Xi Jinping met with President Putin on the sidelines of the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting. Can you give us more details?

A: President Xi Jinping met with Russian President Putin in Lima, Peru on November 19 local time. President Xi Jinping underscored that this year marks the 15th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty on Good-Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation Between China and Russia and the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the strategic partnership of coordination. All-round strategic coordination has not only promoted both countries' development and prosperity but also strengthened the force of world peace and justice. China is ready to work alongside Russia to maintain high-level and close contact, enhance mutual support and consolidate political and strategic mutual trust in the upcoming year, align their development strategies, organize activities for people-to-people and cultural exchanges such as the year of media exchange, step up coordination and cooperation in international affairs and promote world peace and stability.

President Xi Jinping and President Putin also exchanged views on international and regional issues of common interest, agreeing to safeguard peace and security of Northeast Asia, Central Asia and other neighboring regions.

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