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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang's Regular Press Conference on March 27, 2019

At the invitation of State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Foreign Minister Beibut Bakirovich Atamkulov of the Republic of Kazakhstan will pay an official visit to China from March 28 to 29.

Q: Yesterday, Chinese customs announced that they've suspended canola imports from a second Canadian company. Is this part of a wider trade dispute and will it have any effect on the broader China-Canada relations which have already strained after Meng Wanzhou's arrest and continued detention of two Canadian citizens in China?

A: China's General Administration of Customs has issued a notice on halting imports of canola seeds from the Canadian company you mentioned. I want to stress that the Chinese side has taken these precautionary quarantine measures to ensure safety. These measures are scientifically-sound and reasonable that comply with the relevant Chinese laws and regulations and international practices. The competent department in China has notified the Canadian side of the issue regarding Canada's canola seeds exports to China and remains in communication with the Canadian side on technical matters.

As for China-Canada relations, we hope that the Canadian side could work with us to promote the sound and steady development of bilateral relations. The Canadian side should take some concrete measures to correct its previous mistakes.

Follow-up: Do you have any updates on Richardson International, the first one that got suspended earlier this month?

A: China has suspended importing canola seeds from this company. That is all I know.

Q: As we have noted, during President Xi's visit to France, a global governance forum was co-hosted by China and France, which was attended by President Xi, President Macron of France, Chancellor Merkel of Germany and President Juncker of the European Commission. An event like this is not commonly seen during Chinese leaders' visit to a foreign country, especially when you consider Chancellor Merkel specifically traveled to France for it. I wonder what is China's consideration behind this special arrangement?

A: The recently-concluded European visit by President Xi was a success injecting new impetus into China-Europe relations. The global governance forum co-hosted by China and France during this visit was closely followed by the international community. China has released relevant information, which you may look up for if you are interested.

Our two countries, by hosting this event and inviting German and EU leaders to attend, aim to uphold multilateralism in jointly advancing global governance and, on this basis, address global challenges and promote world peace and development.

With rising instability and uncertainties worldwide, China and Europe, as two important forces, share broad common position on and mutual interests in upholding an international system with the UN at its core and the basic norms governing international relations, promoting free trade, and fostering an open world economy. During President Xi's visit, China and France issued a joint statement on upholding multilateralism and improving global governance. Before that, similar voices had been heard from China, the EU and many European countries. It speaks volumes about how China and Europe, as major facilitators of and participants in globalization and multipolarization, carry out their historical mission and make proactive efforts under the new circumstances.

Europe is China's comprehensive strategic partner and an indispensable force worldwide. Guided by our vision on global governance of "consultation and contribution for shared benefits", China will work with Europe in practicing multilateralism, adding greater stability and certainty to the world and injecting more positive energy and impetus into international cooperation.

Q: Could you give us more details on the visit of Kazakhstan Foreign Minister? Is this visit connected with the recent changes in that country?

A: This is Foreign Minister Atamkulov's first official visit to China after taking office last December. During this visit, he will have meetings with Chinese leaders and have talks with State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi. The two sides will exchange views on bilateral relations, important high-level exchanges within this year, the Belt and Road cooperation and other issues of mutual interests.

As China-Kazakhstan relationship continues to deliver high-quality performance, it serves our common interests and is our common aspiration to increase mutual support and deepen win-win cooperation. Major political agenda was adopted just recently in Kazakhstan, which was closely followed by the international community. Foreign Minister Atamkulov's visit reflects the importance attached by the Kazakh government to developing our bilateral relations. China hopes this visit can help implement the important consensus reached by our leaders and advance the bilateral ties and cooperation in various fields.

Q: I have a couple of questions about New Zealand Prime Minister Adern's upcoming visit to Beijing. First of all, I want to ask what China hopes to achieve from meetings and talks with the prime minister? Second, the visit was originally scheduled for seven days but now is only going to be one day. Will that cause any issues or problems in the scheduling? Finally, as the relationship between New Zealand and China has been tense recently, do you think her visit will change that?

A: I announced New Zealand Prime Minister Ardern's visit the day before yesterday. This will be Prime Minister Ardern's first visit to China after taking office. During the visit, leaders of the two sides will have an in-depth exchange of views on China-New Zealand relations and other issues of mutual interest. We believe that her visit will contribute to enhancing mutual understanding and mutual trust, expanding exchanges and cooperation in various fields, and lending impetus to the development of the China-New Zealand comprehensive strategic partnership.

I would like to emphasize again here that China-New Zealand relations have long been a step ahead of relations between China and other developed western countries, setting many records along the way. Strengthening exchange and cooperation not only serves the fundamental interests of the peoples of China and New Zealand, but is also conducive to peace and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific. China stands ready to work with New Zealand to deepen mutual trust and cooperation on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit, to realize the sound and steady development of our comprehensive strategic partnership.

As to your question on the shortening of the visit from seven days to one day, Prime Minister Ardern has offered her explanation that the rescheduling had to be made in light of the Christchurch shooting. China and New Zealand have been in thorough communication regarding this and have made proper arrangements accordingly.

Q: A quick follow-up. Could you clarify what the main topic of discussion will be? There has been some speculation that there might be discussion about Huawei or 5G, considering that certain government ministries in New Zealand have warned against that. Could you clarify that they will talk about that?

A: As I said, leaders of the two sides will have an in-depth exchange of views on China-New Zealand relations and other issues of mutual interest. Various aspects of bilateral relations, such as political exchanges, economic cooperation and people-to-people and cultural interactions, I believe, will all be on the agenda.

Q: Do you have any updates on the visit of the US Special Representative for North Korea Biegun here?

A: As I said earlier, important information will be released in a timely manner.

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