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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on June 6, 2023

2023-06-06 17:19

CGTN: On June 5 local time, the Chinese Embassy in Honduras held an inauguration ceremony. The Chargé d’Affaires of the Chinese Embassy in Honduras and the Honduran Foreign Minister jointly unveiled the plaque for the embassy. Do you have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: On June 5 local time, the inauguration ceremony of the Chinese Embassy in Honduras was held in Honduran capital Tegucigalpa. All the Chinese diplomats at the embassy, representatives from the Honduran government and National Congress, renowned figures from various sectors, members of the diplomatic corps and representatives from Chinese institutions and the Chinese community in Honduras attended the event.

Since the establishment of diplomatic relations over two months ago, China and Honduras have been delivering on their commitments and working together to get bilateral relations off to a strong start on the basis of mutual respect, equality, mutual benefit and common development. The two sides have already achieved some early harvests. It fully shows that to stand for the one-China principle is the right thing to do, which has the overwhelming support of the international community and represents the prevailing trend of the world. The establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Honduras serves the fundamental and long-term interests of the two peoples.

The newly opened Chinese Embassy in Honduras will serve as a bridge between the two countries for deeper political mutual trust, more practical cooperation and closer friendship between the two peoples. Honduras is working intensively to set up its embassy in China. China is ready to vigorously support and facilitate that effort.

China stands ready to work with Honduras to step up friendly exchanges, deepen political mutual trust, promote practical cooperation, and let the China-Honduras friendship flourish to the benefit of both countries and peoples.

AFP: US Republican Party presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy has suggested recently that every family in Taiwan should own and be trained to use AR-15 rifles to protect against what he sees as a potential invasion by Beijing. Does the foreign ministry have any comments on these remarks specifically, or more generally, how does it view the tough rhetoric towards China used by many US presidential candidates lately?

Wang Wenbin: The Taiwan question is purely China’s internal affair. We urge relevant US politicians to abide by the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communiqués. Taiwan people should not be treated as cannon fodder.

China Daily: According to reports, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said in a speech on June 5 that “The small-scale alliance relevant to nuclear-powered submarines among the US, Britain and Australia is becoming a concern for ASEAN and countries in the region because ASEAN is a nuclear weapon-free zone, and we oppose nuclear weapon proliferation.” He said the military alliance is the “starting point of a very dangerous arms race” and “if this situation continues, the world will face a bigger danger”. What’s your comment?

Wang Wenbin: Prime Minister Hun Sen’s remarks speak to the concerns widely shared by regional countries, including the ASEAN nations. The AUKUS security partnership and related nuclear submarine cooperation creates nuclear proliferation risks, threatens the international nuclear non-proliferation system, undermines the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty, and undercuts ASEAN countries’ efforts to establish a Southeast Asia nuclear weapon-free zone. According to estimates by international arms control experts, the weapons-grade nuclear materials the US and the UK plan to transfer to Australia would be sufficient to build as many as 64 to 80 nuclear weapons. If the three countries are set on advancing their nuclear submarine cooperation, it is bound to deal an irreversible heavy blow to the integrity, efficacy and authority of the international nuclear non-proliferation system and trigger similar behavior in other non-nuclear-weapon states, thus turning the region into an arena of arms race. Such practice of seeking one’s own security at the expense of other countries’ security and plunging other countries into “security anxiety” is extremely irresponsible and dangerous. 

As ASEAN’s comprehensive strategic partner and friendly neighbor, China firmly supports ASEAN nations’ efforts to establish the Southeast Asia nuclear weapon-free zone. China is the first nuclear-weapon state to openly support the Treaty on the Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone and have expressed readiness to sign the Protocol to the Treaty.

We once again call on the US, the UK and Australia to heed the concerns of the international community, stop acts of nuclear proliferation such as their nuclear submarine cooperation, stop undermining the international nuclear non-proliferation system by applying double standards, and stop brewing storms over the Pacific Ocean. 

CCTV: According to reports, on June 2, Ambassador Geng Shuang, Deputy Permanent Representative of China to the United Nations, criticized the US and the ROK’s issuance of the Washington Declaration to strengthen extended deterrence, which runs counter to the goal of promoting the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. A senior official at the ROK embassy in China responded on June 5 by saying that China should not only stress the DPRK’s legitimate security concerns, but should also consider the ROK’s legitimate security concerns, adding that the ROK will continue to urge China to play a role consistent with international norms in realizing the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. What’s your comment?

Wang Wenbin: Regarding the Washington Declaration and “extended deterrence”, we’ve stated our position more than once. China opposes relevant parties’ military exercises that could be perceived as provocative and creation of blocs to exert pressure and engage in confrontation around the Korean Peninsula. These practices are the result of a Cold War mentality. They will only exacerbate tensions and fuel escalations in the region without contributing to diffusing conflict or enhancing mutual trust.

On the issues of the Korean Peninsula, China decides its position based on the merits of the matter itself and believes that the legitimate concerns of all parties should be addressed in a balanced manner. There’s no such thing as caring only about the concerns of one particular party. China has been working actively for the political settlement of the issues of the Peninsula and has played a constructive role to this end. The international community sees our efforts. That will remain our position and the basis for future efforts to play our due role in this process. 

Reuters: According to a news report, French President Emmanuel Macron has objected to NATO’s proposal to open an office in Tokyo, saying NATO should remain focused on its own north Atlantic region. What is the ministry’s comment on this? 

Wang Wenbin: We have noted relevant reports. NATO has publicly stated on many occasions that it remains a regional alliance and does not seek a geopolitical breakthrough. Asia lies beyond the geographical scope of the North Atlantic and has no need for a replica of NATO. However, we have seen NATO bent on going east into this region, interfering in regional affairs and inciting bloc confrontation. What is NATO really up to? This calls for high vigilance among countries in the world, particularly in Asia. As I said yesterday, the attitude of the majority of countries in the region is very clear. They oppose the emergence of military blocs in the region. They don’t welcome NATO’s outreach in Asia. They don’t want a replica of bloc confrontation in Asia. And they certainly will not allow any Cold War or hot war to happen again in Asia. NATO needs to have a sober understanding of this. Japan should make the right call in keeping with the region’s stability and development interests and refrain from doing anything that may undermine mutual trust between regional countries and peace and stability in the region.

Associated Press of Pakistan: Last week, Pakistan’s first-ever seafood cargo container arrived in Kashgar, Xinjiang. What is its significance and do you have any comment on that?

Wang Wenbin: As all-weather strategic cooperative partners, China and Pakistan have engaged in close cooperation in trade and other fields. We welcome quality agricultural products from Pakistan into China’s market and stand ready to continue to work with Pakistan to boost our trade through land transportation, achieve sustained growth of bilateral trade and deliver more benefits to our two peoples.

Bloomberg: The US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters that military interception maneuvers by Chinese ships and planes suggest a growing aggressiveness from Beijing and could lead to an accident. What’s the foreign ministry’s comment on Mr. Kirby’s remarks?

Wang Wenbin: I responded to relevant remarks by the US side yesterday. Let me make clear again that the truth is, the US has been sending warships and military aircraft halfway around the world to China’s doorsteps and engaging in close-in reconnaissance and showoff of military muscle near China’s territorial sea and airspace. This is not about “freedom of navigation”, but hegemony of navigation and distinct military provocation. And such hegemonic practice is the root cause of security risks on the sea and in the air.

China respects the right of navigation and overflight that all countries are entitled to under international law, but firmly opposes acts that undermine China’s sovereignty and security in the name of freedom of navigation and overflight. The Chinese military responded to the situation in accordance with laws and regulations. These actions are completely professional, lawful and justified.

Reuters: A Chinese research ship and its escort left Viet Nam’s EEZ on Monday night after nearly a month of operations that prompted protests from Hanoi. What was the reason for this withdrawal?

Wang Wenbin: China has sovereignty over Nansha Islands and its adjacent waters and sovereign rights and jurisdiction over relevant waters. It is legitimate and lawful for Chinese scientific research vessels to carry out normal research activities in waters under China’s jurisdiction. There is no such thing as entering in other countries’ exclusive economic zones.

Kyodo News: On June 5, US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel J. Kritenbrink met with Vice Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu, on which the foreign ministry has released a readout. Do you have more information to share?

Wang Wenbin: China has released a readout on the talks and meeting between Chinese and US diplomatic officials in Beijing. Yesterday, US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel J. Kritenbrink and White House National Security Council’s senior director for China affairs Sarah Beran visited China. Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Ma Zhaoxu met with them. Director-General of the Department of North American and Oceanian Affairs of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Yang Tao held talks with them.

The two sides had candid, constructive and productive communication on improving bilateral relations and managing differences appropriately in accordance with the common understandings between the two presidents reached in Bali last November. China stated its serious position on Taiwan and other major issues of principle. The two sides agreed to maintain communication.

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