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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang's Regular Press Conference on September 20, 2019

Q: On September 20, the Kiribati government announced in a statement its decision to recognize the one-China principle, sever its "diplomatic ties" with Taiwan authorities and resume diplomatic relations with China. What's your comment?

A: China highly commends the decision by the government of Kiribati to recognize the one-China principle, sever the so-called "diplomatic ties" with the Taiwan authorities and re-establish its diplomatic relations with China. We support Kiribati in making such an important decision as a sovereign and independent country.

There is but one China in the world and the government of the People's Republic of China is the sole legitimate government representing the whole of China. Taiwan is an inalienable part of China's territory. These facts are recognized by UN resolution and constitute the universal consensus of the international community. On the basis of the one-China principle, China has established official diplomatic relationships with 178 countries. Recently, Pacific Island countries including the Solomon Islands and Kiribati decided to recognize the one-China principle, sever "diplomatic ties" with the Taiwan authorities and establish or re-establish diplomatic relationships with China. This again fully shows that the one-China principle meets the shared aspiration of the people and is an irresistible trend of the times.

The relations between China and Pacific Island countries maintain a momentum for rapid development. Despite setbacks in the relations between China and Kiribati, the two peoples have long-cherished friendship towards each other. We welcome Kiribati's early return to the big family of China-Pacific Island countries for cooperation on the basis of the one-China principle. We stand ready to work with Kiribati to turn a new page in our bilateral relations.

Q: Taiwan says that China has managed to win back Kiribati by offering a large amount of money to buy aircraft and ships for Kiribati, is this true?

A: After the Solomon Islands decided to sever the so-called "diplomatic ties" with the Taiwan authorities, certain people in Taiwan also tried to mislead the public with similar rhetoric.

I'd like to reiterate that such remarks by certain individuals in Taiwan again fully reveal how they've presumed others' behavior by their own pattern. Indeed, those used to "dollar diplomacy" may not understand that principles cannot be bought with money, neither can trust.

The government of Kiribati's decision to recognize the one-China principle and resume diplomatic relationship with China again shows that the one-China principle meets the shared aspiration of the people and is an irresistible trend of the times.

We're convinced that the resumption and development of diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China, the world's second largest economy with more than 1.4 billion people and a bright future, will surely bring unprecedented development opportunities for Kiribati. We stand ready to work with it to turn a new page in our bilateral relations.

Q: The US-China Business Council recently released the 2019 District Export Report, showing with abundant data changes in US states and voting districts' export of goods and services to China in the past decade. The report concludes that China remains a critical export market for American manufacturers and service providers. However, rising uncertainty in trade disputes and bilateral tensions are negatively impacting the commercial opportunities China presents for American companies. What's your comment?

A: We note this report. Its findings are representative to some extent, showing the concerns of the US business community and localities about the worsening trade friction with China, and expectations for a proper settlement through negotiation.

According to the report, due to China-US trade disputes, the year 2018 saw falling export of goods to China in 265 voting districts, of which 157 had double-digit falls. The mid-west region and plains exporting soybean and other agricultural products are the worst hit.

In 2017, 100 voting districts registered decreases in export of services to China, whereas in 2016, 380 districts enjoyed double-digit or faster growth.

Over the same period, export from the EU, the ROK and Japan to China all increased rapidly. In 2018, US export to China grew by a mere 0.75% while the figure for the ROK, Japan and the EU stood at 15.3%, 14.3% and 11.7% respectively.

The statistics is further testament to the mutually beneficial, highly complementary and deeply intertwined relations between China and the US. The escalating trade war is increasingly costing the US shares in the Chinese market. It harms the interests of the US business community and localities, and the interests of the general public at the end of the day. Indeed it serves no one's interests.

We hope the US will heed the rational voice at home and work with China for a mutually-beneficial deal on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit. That serves the interests of both China and the US and the two peoples and is the shared aspiration of the international community.

Q: Recently negotiations between the US and Afghanistan's Taliban have stalled, a setback to the peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan. There have also been frequent terrorist attacks lately. On September 17, an explosion near President Ghani's campaign rally caused at least 24 deaths. On September 19, a car bomb attack in the southern city of Qalat killed more than 20. What's your comment on the current situation in Afghanistan?

A: At present, the situation in Afghanistan is at a critical stage. China opposes and condemns terrorism in all forms and supports all efforts and measures conducive to realizing peace and stability in Afghanistan. We stand ready to enhance coordination and cooperation with all parties concerned to contribute to the national reconciliation, peace and stability in Afghanistan at an early date.

Q: A pilot who works for FedEx has been detained in Guangzhou. Do you have any more details on this case and why he's not allowed to leave China at the moment?

A: According to the information we learned from relevant departments, on the morning of September 12, the customs inspectors of the Guangzhou Baiyun Airport found what was suspected to be a box of 681 air gun pellets in the luggage of an American outbound passenger, who was identified as a FedEx pilot. He flied a FedEx cargo plane into Guangzhou as a co-pilot on September 11 and was to leave Guangzhou for Hong Kong by flight on September 12. Compulsory measures were taken by the airport customs to summon him by warrant and release him on bail pending trial for suspected crimes of smuggling weapons or ammunition.

On September 13, the Chinese side already made consular notification to the US Consulate-General in Guangzhou. The case is till under investigation.

Q: The Maldivian foreign minister is currently visiting China. Can you give us some details?

A: State Councilor Wang Yi will hold talks with Foreign Minister Shahid of the Maldives this afternoon. The press release will be out soon.

This is the first visit to China by the foreign minister of the Maldives after the new government was formed at the end of 2018. It is of important significance for advancing bilateral relations. The Maldives is China's friendly neighbor and important development partner. With mutual respect, and mutual understanding and support on issues concerning each other's core interests, we have set up an exemplary relationship between big and small countries featuring equality and mutually-beneficial cooperation. Recent years have witnessed sound development in bilateral relations, with expanding exchange and cooperation bringing tangible benefits to both countries and peoples. China hopes to take this visit as an opportunity to deepen political trust and practical cooperation and bring the future-oriented all-round friendly and cooperative partnership between the two sides to a new height.

Due to scheduling reasons, our regular press conference will be held here earlier at 2:30 p.m. on Monday, September 23.

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