(The following is transcript of China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying’s regular press conference in Beijing on December 30, 2016)
Q: According to media reports, the Syrian government and the opposition signed three documents yesterday, namely a nationwide ceasefire deal, a list of control mechanisms to ensure the ceasefire and a statement to begin peace talks. The Syrian military declared that the ceasefire will be officially starting from the zero hour of December 30 local time. What is China’s comment?
A: China maintains that realizing ceasefire and ending violence is an important guarantee for the political settlement of the Syrian issue. This will help conflicting parties in Syria accumulate mutual trust, abate the humanitarian situation in Syria and give a boost to counter-terrorism work. China welcomes the signing of documents between the Syrian government and the opposition, and supports the positive efforts by parties concerned to reach these agreements. Inking deals is just step-one, and what happens to implement the deals is still more important. China hopes that the Syrian government and relevant opposition parties can fully implement the ceasefire. We also call on other opposition groups to join the ceasefire and the process of politically resolving the Syrian issue as soon as possible, address their own concerns peacefully and finally come to a political solution conducive to national stability and people’s well-being in Syria.
Q: US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Wednesday that only a “two-state solution” can resolve the conflicts between Palestine and Israel and bring enduring peace, warning that the “two-state solution” is now in jeopardy. Do you have any comment on this?
A: China holds a consistent position on the Palestinian issue. We stand by all peace-promoting efforts that can bring peace to Palestine and Israel and win recognition of relevant parties. We welcome and support efforts that can help ease the tension between the two countries and realize the “two-state solution” at an early date. China will continue to make relentless efforts for peace between Palestine and Israel and regional stability.
Q: New UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres will officially take office on January 1. How do you comment on this?
A: The UN is the most universal, representative and authoritative inter-governmental organization, and the UN Secretary General assumes major responsibilities. China congratulates Mr. Guterres, a man with a wealth of experiences and capabilities, on serving as the UN Secretary General. During Mr. Guterres’s visit to China not long ago, we had an in-depth exchange of views and reached important consensus with him on the UN’s future development and China’s cooperation with the UN. We hope and believe that Mr. Guterres will fulfill his responsibilities under the UN Charter and lead the UN to play a major role in upholding world peace, promoting common development and advancing global cooperation.
This year marks the 45th anniversary of the restoration of China’s lawful seat in the UN. For the past 45 years, China has taken an active part in an array of UN work on security, development, society, human rights, law, arms control and disarmament, making enormous contribution to world peace and development. China will continue to participate in and support the UN cooperation across the board, firmly endorse the UN endeavor, practice multilateralism, and staunchly uphold the international order with purposes and principles of the UN Charter at its core. We will maintain close cooperation with the new Secretary General and move forward China-UN relations.
Q: Relations between the US and Russia have been strained for quite a time with President Obama making the latest move yesterday of imposing sanctions on Russia and expelling 35 Russian diplomats stationed in the US. But some people believe that once President-elect Trump takes office, the US-Russia relations will improve and relations between Russia and China will accordingly be affected. Do you have any comment on that?
A: Both the US and Russia are major countries with great significance and shoulder great responsibilities on promoting world peace and development. We hope that the two sides can properly resolve their differences through friendly negotiation handle bilateral relations based on mutual respect and develop bilateral ties smoothly.
You mentioned that the improvement of US-Russia relations might affect China-Russia relations. China stands for the building of a new model of international relations featuring win-win cooperation following the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. As I just said, we believe it is good for world peace and stability that the US and Russia properly address differences and improve relations based on equality and mutual respect. China, the US and Russia are all major countries with worldwide influence and permanent members of the UN Security Council. Strengthened cooperation and sound interactions among the three meets the fundamental interests of their countries and people, and contributes to world peace, stability and development. We would like to step up cooperation with the US and Russia and work together to promote world peace and development and address challenges faced by the world.
Regarding China-Russia relations, as we said many times before, President Putin once again spoke highly of the bilateral comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination at the end-of-year press conference, showing a positive attitude towards growing ties with China. The two countries agree that the bilateral relations are mature, stable and capable of standing the test of international vicissitude and will not be changed by any single event at a particular time. China stands ready to work alongside the Russian side to reinforce and develop the comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination and jointly safeguard peace, security and stability of the region and beyond.
This is the last regular press conference of the Foreign Ministry this year. China’s diplomacy has made great strides and China’s voice spread farther and wider on the international arena over the past year, which would not have been possible without the dedication of our friends from the media and the support to the Foreign Ministry. We hereby express our appreciation and hope for further communication and good cooperation with you in the coming year. On behalf of my colleagues Lu Kang and Geng Shuang, I’d like to wish you all the best with your health, work and family in a happy new year.