|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang's Regular Press Conference on November 6, 2019|
Q: In tomorrow's plenary session of the 74th UN General Assembly, representatives will be voting on Cuba's draft resolution to end US blockade against it. What is China's comment?
A: The resolution of Necessity of Ending the Economic, Commercial and Financial Embargo Imposed by the United States of America against Cuba has been adopted by an overwhelming majority at the UN General Assembly for 27 consecutive years. This resolution urges all countries to observe the UN Charter and international law, repeal or invalidate those laws and measures that have extraterritorial effects, which affect the sovereignty of other States, the legitimate interests of entities or persons under their jurisdiction and the freedom of trade and navigation. Regrettably, those resolutions haven't been implemented. The US embargo against Cuba continues and intensifies.
China respects all countries' right to independently choose their social system and development path, upholds international order based on international law, safeguards international fairness and justice, and opposes unilateral sanctions through military, political, economic and other means. China supports this draft resolution proposed by Cuba and will take the same stance as most UNGA members do.
China urges the US to remove its embargo on Cuba as soon as possible, which is also what the world is calling for. We hope the US and Cuba will develop normal state-to-state relations following the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and the basic norms governing international relations. This will serve the interests of both American and Cuban people and contribute to peace and stability in the Americas.
Q: The Canadian Prime Minister says that the Chinese government has now resumed imports of Canadian beef and pork. Can you confirm that is the case?
A: In June this year, we found that there were obvious safety loopholes in Canada's certificate issuance system of meat exports, and the safety of Canadian meat exported to China cannot be guaranteed. In light of that, we ask the Canadian side to suspend the issuance of veterinary health certificates for meat exported to China since June 25, to investigate into related cases and to take corrective measures.
The Chinese customs and the Canadian competent authority have been in close communication on this matter and working for a solution. Recently Canada proposed an action plan as a corrective measure for certificate issuance and delivery. After reviewing it, we believe this plan will meet our safety requirements and agree to accept veterinary health certificates for meat products exported to China issued by the Canadian authority.
We hope Canada will earnestly fulfill its regulatory responsibility, ensure the safety of its meat products exported to China, and guarantee smooth trade.
Q: President Xi and French President Macron had talks today in Beijing and witnessed the signing of a joint statement on concluding negotiations on an agreement of geographical indications between China and the EU. Can you tell us more about the "geographical indications" and the significance of concluding the negotiations?
A: This morning President Xi had talks with President Macron who's currently on a state visit to China. After the talks, the two leaders witnessed the signing of outcome documents, including the joint statement on concluding negotiations on an agreement of geographical indications between China and EU.
Since the "geographical indications" you asked about is a highly technical matter, I'll leave that to the competent authority if you are looking for a thorough answer. Here I'll just briefly tell you that a "geographical indication" (GI), considered as an intellectual property right, is an important sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin.
China and the EU both have a long history and a rich variety of GI products. In China's third policy paper on the EU published in December last year, it was stated that China will further enhance communication and cooperation on intellectual property rights with the EU and support early conclusion of the Agreement on Geographical Indications.
The China-EU agreement on geographical indications is the first comprehensive and high-standard bilateral agreement negotiated between China and foreign countries. It indicates the high importance China attached to its trade relations with the EU. The agreement also reflects the Chinese government's determination of deepening reform, opening up and protecting IPR. Conclusion of the negotiations on this agreement will further deepen mutually beneficial cooperation, consolidate China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership, and strengthen mutual political trust between us.
China hopes to work with the EU to jointly uphold the rules-based system of free trade and an open economy. In the spirit of mutual respect, fairness, justice and win-win cooperation, we will make greater strides in China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership, social development, economic growth and people's welfare.
Q: Just a quick follow-up question on the Canadian beef and pork imports. Do you have information about when exactly the decision was made?
A: The information in my earlier response was provided by the competent authority, so I'd refer you to them for more details.
Q: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo yesterday made yet more critical comments about China's treatment of the Uighur people, saying that China was threatening family members of those who had been at the "internment camps". How do you respond to this criticism?
A: I'd like to stress that there are no so-called "internment camps" in Xinjiang. Under the pretext of human rights, the US has once and again smeared China's Xinjiang policy and made fact-distorting comments. China deplores and firmly opposes that.
As we said repeatedly, Xinjiang affairs are China's domestic affairs. Xinjiang-related issues are not about ethnicity, religion or human rights. They are issues against violence, terrorism and separatism. China didn't start a war to combat terrorism. Instead, we provide education and training opportunities for those affected by extremist and terrorist ideologies to return to society and normal life. As a region once plagued by terrorism, Xinjiang hasn't suffered from a single violent terrorist case in almost three years. This is the best way to respect human rights. Thousands of foreign diplomats, international organization officials and media personnel visited Xinjiang and saw with their own eyes the remarkable achievements there on preventive counter-terrorism and de-radicalization.
We hope certain US politicians will reject bias and double standards, stop using Xinjiang-related issues to attack China and do things that are conducive to mutual trust and cooperation between China and the US.
Q: On the issue of resuming meat import from Canada, is this a sign that other agricultural products like canola may be allowed in soon? And is it a sign that the relationship between China and Canada is improving?
A: We responded to questions on Canadian canola exports to China at previous press conferences. The Chinese competent authority found problems in the regular quarantine and inspection process, and we took measures on those imports in light of that.
I also talked about meat products earlier. There were loopholes in Canada's certificate issuance system. After addressing those loopholes, we agree to resume imports of Canadian meat products as they now meet our standards.
With regard to the resumption of import of Canadian meat products, it's good for Canada to make corrections whenever there is a mistake.
As for China-Canada relations, the current difficulties were not caused by the Chinese side. We urge the new Canadian government to face up to China's solemn position and concerns, release Ms. Meng Wanzhou at once, ensure her safe return to China and take concrete actions to move our relations back onto the right track.
Q: Iranian President Rouhani announced on November 5 that beginning from November 6, Iran will start injecting uranium hexafluoride gas into 1,044 centrifuges at Fordow as part of Iran's fourth step to reduce its nuclear commitments to the JCPOA. Do you have any comment on that?
A: I noted President Rouhani's statement. Iran also stressed all its measures are reversible and monitored by the IAEA.
China believes that to eliminate the root cause of current Iranian nuclear crisis, the US needs to give up unilateral sanctions and maximum pressure against Iran. In the meantime, parties to the JCPOA should exercise restraint, implement the deal effectively and in full, and refrain from complicating the matter.
We hope relevant parties can move in the same direction, make greater diplomatic efforts, seek a long-term solution and work for de-escalation. China will continue to make efforts towards this end.
Q: A meeting of regional security cooperation mechanism between China and Afghanistan was held in Beijing last week. Can you share some detail of this meeting?
A: On November 1, External Security Commissioner of the Chinese Foreign Ministry Cheng Guoping and First Deputy Adviser on National Security Council of Afghanistan Atiqullah Noshir co-chaired the third meeting of the China-Afghanistan Inter-departmental and Regional Security Cooperation Mechanism. Both sides exchanged views on counter-terrorism and security situation in the region and beyond, as well as China-Afghanistan cooperation in this field.
Terrorism is a menace to the entire human society. Faced with increasingly severe threats and challenges of terrorism, China is ready to step up cooperation with Afghanistan, Pakistan and other relevant countries to jointly uphold security and stability of the region and beyond.