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Lu Kang on Chinese Foreign Relations

Earlier today the U.S-China perception monitor was passed a statement* on the January, 25th 2017 CGTN interview with the Chinese Foreign Minister Lu Kang. Here you will find a unedited version of this statement below along with a link to the full interview.

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Lu Kang with CGTN on Chinese foreign relations

“CGTN talked to Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Lu Kang ahead of the Spring Festival for his views on Chinese foreign relations. He spoke of China-US relations, the Paris climate agreement and various regional issues.

When asked how he felt about the US withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, he said in principle China supports any kind of approaches or initiative that might be conducive to the economic regional integration in this area. However, some officials in the Obama administration had used TPP as a political tool rather than to promote free trade. If Trump prefers bilateral trade agreements, then China is OK with this because it also has many such agreements. But China feels it’s also necessary to have multi-lateral trade agreements. In the beginning, China trusted the WTO to play a central role in building these frameworks but it’s also open to regional agreements. That’s why China supports FTAAP and RCEP, so long as they’re conducive to the economic regional integration in the region.

Speaking of climate change, Lu said the Paris Agreement is a good framework that’s accepted worldwide. China would be concerned if the implementation of this agreement came to a halt. From China’s own perspective, their efforts on dealing with climate change, in promoting clean energy, are linked to China’s own domestic policies. That’s China’s commitment to its own public and industry at home. It has nothing to do with outside forces. With or without the Paris Agreement, China will do what it has committed to do.

On the Korean Peninsula issues, Lu said when the issue first emerged, it was not China’s fault. It emerged because of the conflict between the DPRK and the US. Relations between the DPRK and the US still have the cracks from the negotiations on this issue. Meanwhile, China established the six-party talks regime. This regime achieved the Sept 19th agreement in 2005. That’s the first and only time the DPRK agreed to abandon all its nuclear programs. the DPRK took out practical measures to denuclearize immediately afterwards. This Sept 19th agreement was very unfortunately set aside because of some incidental issues between the DPRK and the US. China could never achieve anything better in the past ten years. China has committed to the denuclearization of the Peninsula, peace and security on the Peninsula, and to achieving this through peaceful dialogues.

Looking at growing ties between the US and Japan, Lu said in general China has no problem with other countries trying to build relations between themselves. If a good relationship between the US and Japan could bring about more prosperity or the security of the region, that’s good. But if the very purpose is to bring about more rivalry in this region, which would especially affect China’s own interests, that would be something Beijing is against. If the focus of this relationship is to try to revitalize the obsolete so-called Allies from the Cold War years, China doesn’t think that would be helpful in bringing about peace and security in this region.

Regarding the THAAD deployment in South Korea, Lu said China is still very strongly opposed to the plan because if affects China’s own security interests. This isn’t just a concern for China, but also for Russia and other countries in the region. China and Russia have already explicitly announced their opposition, and said they will definitely take measures to protect their own security interests and preserve the strategic balance in North-East Asia. This is the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the China-ROK bilateral relationship. Ties have been strengthened on many fronts, which serves the interests of both peoples. China-ROK trade volume could reach around $300 bln every year. It would be very unfortunate if this was affected by something like the deployment of THAAD, but on this issue China’s stance is very clear and will remain so.

When asked about the right-wing books in Japan’s APA hotel chains, Lu said both the government and the Chinese people had already expressed their strong fury. He feels it’s a reflection of some forces in Japan who try to ignore the history, but that’s nonsense. History is history. Unless you take a correct attitude to all the neighboring countries that Japanese militarism carried out anti-humanity crimes on in WWII, this page will not be turned over. On this issue, the Chinese people and the Chinese government will carry out measures demonstrating their resolve on this.”

* An identical statement appeared today in the Global Times.