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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang's Regular Press Conference on January 17, 2020

At the invitation of the German side, member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the CPC Central Committee Yang Jiechi will attend the Libya Conference in Berlin on January 19 as President Xi Jinping's special representative.

As agreed by both sides, the first meeting of the China-Brunei Intergovernmental Joint Steering Committee will be held in Beijing on January 21. State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Minister of Foreign Affairs II Dato Erywan Pehin Yusof of Brunei will co-chair the meeting.

Q: Russia's State Duma approved the nomination of Mikhail Mishustin as prime minister on January 16. President Putin later formally signed off on Mishustin's nomination. What is your comment?

A: China welcomes Mr. Mishustin's appointment as prime minister of the government of the Russian Federation. We believe that under the leadership of the new Russian government led by Prime Minister Mishustin, Russia will score new achievements on its road of development and rejuvenation. China stands ready to expand cooperation with Russia under the regular meeting mechanism between Chinese premier and Russian prime minister for new outcomes in bilateral relations and cooperation in all sectors.

Q: Taiwan announced that a US warship sailed through the Taiwan Strait on Thursday. Do you have a comment?

A: China paid close attention to and monitored from start to end the passage of the US military vessel through the Taiwan Strait. The Taiwan question is the most important and most sensitive issue in China-US relations as it bears on China's sovereignty and territorial integrity. We urge the US to abide by the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communiques, prudently and properly handle issues relating to Taiwan to avoid harming China-US relations and affecting peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.

Q: The EU ambassador in Beijing told reporters today that the EU will challenge the China-US trade deal at the WTO if it causes market distortions that harm EU companies. Do you have any comment on this?

A: As I said yesterday, conclusion of the phase one trade agreement between China and the US is good for China, for the US, and for the whole world. It serves the interests of producers, consumers and investors all over the world as it can add predictability and promote prosperity.

I'd also stress that this agreement is consistent with WTO rules and market principles.

Q: India has said that the Kashmir issue did not get much support from members of the UNSC after China raised the issue. India also said that China should review its position on the Kashmir issue. In fact, many members of the UNSC said that the forum is not a correct place to take up this issue. What is your comment?

A: China's position on the issue of Kashmir is consistent and clear. It is a dispute left over from history and should be resolved properly and peacefully in accordance with the UN Charter, relevant Security Council resolutions and bilateral agreements.

At the request of Pakistan, the UNSC reviewed the issue of Kashmir and heard a briefing by the UN Secretariat and other sides on January 15. Members of the Security Council are concerned about the current situation in Kashmir, and call for observance of the UN Charter and international law, and peaceful resolution of disputes through political dialogue. They believe relevant parties should exercise restraint and deescalate the tension.

I shall stress that the issue between India and Pakistan has all along been on the agenda of the UNSC, and the Security Council should continue to pay attention to Kashmir in light of new developments. The review at the Security Council will help ease the situation in the region and properly resolve the issue. As a permanent member of the Security Council, China will continue to play a constructive role in upholding regional peace and stability. India should give serious consideration and positive response to the request of UNSC members.

Q: Russian ambassador to India said today that Russia has never been in favor of bringing the Kashmir issue to the UN, and it should be addressed through bilateral channels. What is your comment on this with respect to Russia's position?

A: The Security Council reviewed the issue of Kashmir on January 15, during which the majority of the UNSC members expressed concerns over the current situation in Kashmir. They also called on relevant parties to exercise restraint and seek early deescalation while stressing the need to peacefully resolve disputes through political means such as dialogue. This is what I know about the UNSC review. I believe Russia's position has been fully reflected in the discussion as an important member of the UNSC.

Follow-up: Russian ambassador made this statement today in New Delhi.

A: What I talked about was the discussion that took place in New York.

Q: You said that the UNSC expressed concern over the situation in Kashmir. There was no statement from the UNSC, and this has been stated by just China alone and the other UNSC members are silent about it. Is it China's perception that members at the UNSC are concerned? Or was there any resolution or any kind of rather official expression of such a thing during the meeting?

A: It is true that the Security Council didn't issue any statement after it reviewed the issue of Kashmir on January 15. But like I just said, as a permanent member of the Security Council, China attended the review in a constructive manner. You may check with other UNSC members if you don't think what the Chinese side told is the fact.

Follow-up: I'm not questioning China's statement, but I just wanted to ask for your clarification on whether this is China's perception because there's lack of any announcement by the UNSC. The Chinese ambassador to the UN also said commenting on the meeting that concern has been expressed. But no other members have said the same thing.

A: Could you tell me which UNSC members have said something differently? Who said they weren't concerned about the situation?

Follow-up: None of the members other than China said anything like this.

A: They just didn't say that in public. I already talked about the UNSC review. If you don't believe in that, you may check with someone else to see if it is true.

Follow-up: What India said is that none of the members at the UNSC shared China's view. The majority of the members have expressed that the UNSC is not the forum at all to discuss the Kashmir issue.

A: We are aware of India's position, but what I talked about just now was China's position. As a matter of fact, China and India stay in touch on this issue.

Follow-up: This is the public perception prevailing in India about this particular issue. That is, there are very serious efforts made by India and China especially over the leadership to forge a kind of relationship. So it's been viewed very negatively in India that China's repeatedly raising this.

A: China has constructively participated in the discussion on the issue of Kashmir at the UNSC. Our purpose and consideration is to call for restraint and deescalation as soon as possible for regional peace and stability. This is entirely out of goodwill. I'm afraid the Indian side may have over-interpreted it if they see that in a different light.

Q: You said earlier that Kashmir is a matter inherent from history and it is a matter to be resolved by India and Pakistan. Then why is it that China now changes its stance and go to an international platform to raise this issue in a very partisan manner?

A: I just made it very clear that China's position on the issue of Kashmir is consistent and clear. It remains unchanged.

The issue between India and Pakistan has all along been on the agenda of the UNSC. It is only natural for the Security Council to pay attention to Kashmir in light of new developments. A UN military observer mission remains in Kashmir.

Q: It is a fact that India has been imposing curfew in the disputed region of Kashmir for the last five months. India has also deployed more than 700,000 troops there. Do you have any comment on that?

A: China's position on the issue of Kashmir is consistent and clear. It is a dispute left over from history and should be resolved properly and peacefully in accordance with the UN Charter, relevant Security Council resolutions and bilateral agreements.

China has been calling on India and Pakistan to exercise restraint, step up dialogue and enhance mutual trust to deescalate the situation as soon as possible. At the same time, as a responsible major country, China has been in close communication with both India and Pakistan and stands ready to play a constructive role.

Q: Despite all those on-going issues, Pakistan's Prime Minister has been invited by India for the upcoming SCO summit in New Delhi. Your comment on this, please.

A: I thought you were going to ask about Kashmir again.

India and Pakistan are both SCO members. It goes without saying that we hope the two sides will have close communication, coordination and cooperation under the SCO framework to contribute to the grouping's sound development and greater role in regional affairs.

India and Pakistan are both major countries in South Asia. We encourage them to strengthen communication, resolve outstanding disputes through dialogue and consultation, and constantly improve and grow bilateral relations.

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