|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang's Regular Press Conference on February 21, 2017|
Q: The Russian Foreign Ministry said on February 20 that Russia's Ambassador to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin passed away in New York on that day. What is your response to the death of Ambassador Churkin? How do you comment on China-Russia cooperation in the multilateral fields, including in the United Nations?
A: We are shocked and grieved by the sudden death of Ambassador Churkin and we want to express our deep mourning. Ambassador Churkin was a well-respected and outstanding diplomat. His death is a loss to Russia and to the cause of the United Nations as well.
China and Russia, enjoying the comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination and serving as two permanent members of the Security Council, are in close communication with each other on international and regional hotspot issues. We have been supporting each other and undertaking fruitful cooperation at international organizations and multilateral institutions, such as the United Nations. China would like to continue to work with Russia and jointly play a constructive role in upholding international peace and security and promoting world development and cooperation.
Q: On the weekend, it was announced that China will be blocking all DPRK coal imports. Can you explain what led to that decision? What is that move designed to achieve?
A: As you may have noticed, the competent departments in China issued the relevant notice last weekend. All UN member states are obligated to implement Security Council resolutions. Resolution 2321 puts clear restrictions on the amount and value of the DPRK's coal exports for December, 2016 and for the year 2017. According to statistics by competent departments in China, China's imports of coal from the DPRK have approximated the value limit put in place by the resolution. Therefore, a notice was issued to suspend coal imports from the DPRK for the remainder of this year. This is a move of China fulfilling relevant stipulations in Resolution 2321, honoring its international obligations, and acting in accordance with Chinese laws and regulations. It showcases China's responsible attitude toward the Korean nuclear issue and its sincerity in implementing Security Council resolutions.
Q: The United States has announced that it is sending an aircraft carrier battle group into the South China Sea to carry out regular patrols. What is China's response to that?
A: China has noted relevant reports. China always respects the freedom of navigation and overflight that countries enjoy in the South China Sea under international law. But we oppose relevant countries threatening and undermining the sovereignty and security of coastal states under the pretext of such freedom. We hope that relevant countries can do more for regional peace and stability.
Q: The US media reported that the US and the DPRK are working on a meeting between DPRK senior representatives and former US government officials. However, the recent missile launch by the DPRK added uncertainty to the holding of this meeting. What is your comment?
A: The root of the Korean nuclear issue lies in the differences between the DPRK and the US. China always supports relevant parties, including the DPRK and the US, in strengthening communication to enhance mutual understanding and in finding a way out through dialogue and consultation. Under the current circumstances, we hope that relevant parties can try harder in this direction and jointly play a constructive part in maintaining peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and properly resolving the Korean nuclear issue.
Q: What's China's response to the murder of Kim Jong Nam in Kuala Lumpur?
A: The media has been closely following this incident for some time, and we have been repeating our take on this. We have noted relevant reports as well as the statements given by the Malaysian side and will continue to follow this incident. This is a case about the death of a DPRK citizen in Malaysia. As things keep evolving, we hope that relevant parties can properly resolve the issue through dialogue and consultation.
Q: Will King of Saudi Arabia pay a visit to China in the near future?
A: China and Saudi Arabia have a friendly relationship with close high-level exchanges. During President Xi Jinping's state visit to Saudi Arabia in January 2016, the two countries established the comprehensive strategic partnership. China welcomes King Salman to visit China. The two sides are in close touch on this.
Q: Does the Chinese government believe that it is an escalation on the part of the United States because it is an entire aircraft carrier battle group, different from sending a ship there. What is China's response to that?
A: Thanks to the concerted efforts by China and ASEAN countries, the situation in the South China Sea is easing up toward stability and moving in a positive direction. We have said many times that we hope relevant countries, especially non-regional countries, can respect the efforts made by China and ASEAN countries, preserve and consolidate the current sound momentum, and contribute more to peace and stability in the South China Sea.
Q: There have been some speculations that the coal blockade is in some way linked to recent incidents. Can you confirm?
A: I have already given a detailed reply. The issuance of the notice by relevant departments in China is a step to implement DPRK-related resolutions of the Security Council in a comprehensive and effective manner.