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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang's Regular Press Conference on April 23, 2019
2019-04-23

Q: We are still following the situation in Sri Lanka. The ninth explosive device was found and successfully defused in Sri Lanka yesterday. Do you have any comment on it? Can you tell us how many Chinese citizens were killed or injured in the blasts?

A: The Chinese people are concerned by the blasts that recently took place in Sri Lanka's capital Colombo and other cities. In this time of grief, we stand firmly with the Sri Lankan people and resolutely support the country in safeguarding its national security and stability. We strongly condemn the attack and express our deep condolences to the victims and sincere sympathy to the injured and the bereaved families. I'd like to stress again that we will work with Sri Lanka and the wider international community to enhance cooperation in counter-terrorism and safeguard peace and stability of the region and beyond.

According to the information I have, one Chinese citizen was killed and five were missing in the incidents. Five injured Chinese are now receiving medical treatment and two of them were seriously injured. After the blasts took place, the Chinese embassy kept in close contact with the Sri Lankan side. The Chinese ambassador had talks with the Sri Lankan Prime Minister and Speaker of the Parliament on the resettlement of and the follow-up work regarding the Chinese citizens who were injured, killed or missing. The Sri Lankan side said it would do its best to coordinate with China in the identification, rescue and treatment of Chinese citizens and the related follow-up matters. After the incidents, the Chinese foreign ministry issued a safety reminder at the earliest time possible advising Chinese citizens not to travel to Sri Lanka for the time being, and reminding those already in the country to take more precautionary measures and stay away from crowded areas for safety reasons.

We will continue to follow closely on the latest developments and provide more information when we have it.

Q: The US government announced its decision to stop issuing sanctions waivers to any country importing oil from Iran. Has China protested to the US? How will China secure its oil supply?

A: China firmly opposes the unilateral sanctions and so-called "long-arm jurisdictions" imposed by the US. The normal energy cooperation under the international law between Iran and other members of the international community, China included, is legitimate and lawful; thus it must be respected and protected.

We urge the US to earnestly respect China's interests and concerns, and refrain from taking wrong moves that will undermine our interests. We will continue to uphold the lawful and legitimate rights and interests of Chinese businesses.

The US move will inevitably increase turbulence in the Middle East and the global energy market. We urge the US to act in a responsible manner and play a constructive role instead of doing the opposite.

China has lodged representations with the US side.

Q: Another one on Iran. Yesterday the US State Department announced that they will not renew the sanctions waivers to Iranian oil importers. How will China respond to this unilateral movement and how will this decision affect global oil security?

A: As I said earlier, the normal energy cooperation under the international law between Iran and other members of the international community, China included, is legitimate and lawful; thus it must be respected and protected. We urge the US to earnestly respect China's interests and concerns and refrain from taking wrong moves that will undermine our interests. We will continue to commit to uphold the lawful and legitimate rights and interests of Chinese businesses.

Besides, as an important oil producer, Iran's crude oil export is of great significance to the stability of the global energy market. The relevant US sanctions will inevitably increase turbulence in the international energy market, just like what happened in the market yesterday that you may have noticed. We advise the US side to act in a responsible manner and play a constructive role rather than doing the opposite.

Q: Regarding Sri Lanka, what's the Chinese government's position with regard to Chinese citizens planning to visit Sri Lanka? Is China advising its citizens not to travel to Sri Lanka now and if so, for how long will such advice remain in place? And we understand that some foreign intelligence departments notified Sri Lanka about the possibility of this attack and some people are not happy because more should have been done. What's China's comment on this particular point?

A: To answer your first question, after the blasts, the Chinese foreign ministry issued a safety reminder at the earliest time possible advising Chinese citizens not to travel to Sri Lanka for the time being, and reminding those already in the country to take more precautionary measures and stay away from crowded areas for safety reasons. We will release new notifications when there is need to change the earlier reminder.

Regarding your second question, President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang and State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi sent messages of condolences to the Sri Lankan side after the blasts. We strongly condemn this attack and express our deep condolences to the victims and sincere sympathy to the injured and the bereaved families. At this very moment, we stand firmly with the Sri Lankan people and resolutely support the country in safeguarding its national security and stability.

Q: You just said that China urges the US to rethink what they are doing with regard to getting rid of these exemptions on Iranian oil for sanctions. If the US doesn't rethink and this policy stays in place, what exactly is China going to do to safeguard the interests of Chinese companies?

A: The normal energy cooperation under the international law between Iran and other members of the international community, China included, is legitimate and lawful; thus it must be respected and protected. Our position is firm and clear-cut. I believe the US knows it very well. This is also the shared position of the majority of the international community.

Q: There are reports that a high-level US trade delegation will come to China for more talks. Can you confirm that and offer us more details?

A: Substantive progress has been made in the high-level economic and trade consultations between China and the US. We are keeping in contact with each other.

As for the specific arrangements you asked about, I'd refer you to the competent authority on the Chinese side for more information.

Q: Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan will attend the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF) to be held from April 25 to 27 in China. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, as a flagship project of the Belt and Road Initiative, has made good progress in the past five years since its launch. How do you view the participation of Prime Minister Khan in the BRF?

A: We welcome Prime Minister Imran Khan's participation in the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in China. Like you said, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is an important flagship project of the Belt and Road cooperation. With the joint efforts of our two countries, the CPEC has yielded a lot of concrete outcomes and delivered tangible benefits to our peoples. We have every confidence that China and Pakistan working together will make more steady and sustained progress under the CPEC and more benefits will be felt by the two peoples. The cooperation under the CPEC, exemplary as it is, provides valuable experience for us in the Belt and Road cooperation with other countries and regions.

Q: We are wondering if China is telling its companies not to buy Iranian oil?

A: Like I said earlier, the normal energy cooperation between China and Iran under the international law is legitimate and lawful. China's legitimate rights and interests must be respected and protected.

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The opening ceremony of the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation will be held on Friday, April 26. The regular press conference will be adjourned on that day and resumed on Monday, April 29.

During the adjournment, if you have any question, you may contact the Spokesperson's Office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs via fax and e-mail.

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