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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on July 14, 2023


2023-07-14 20:06

China Daily: Recently, Premier Li Qiang signed a State Council decree unveiling the Regulation of the People’s Republic of China on Consular Protection and Assistance. Could you share more details on this?

Wang Wenbin: The CPC Central Committee and the State Council attach great importance to protecting the safety of overseas Chinese citizens and institutions. As China expands its opening up and the Belt and Road cooperation advances steadily, an increasing number of citizens, companies and institutions go abroad. There is a growing need among the people for consular protection and assistance.

Given the complex and uncertain security situation abroad, formulating a special administrative regulation on consular protection and assistance, summarizing the experiences and outcomes of China’s practices of consular protection and assistance and institution building over the years, further clarifying responsibilities of all parties and formulating detailed measures, are conducive to making relevant work more law-based, institutional and standardized and better protecting the safety and legitimate rights and interests of overseas Chinese citizens, companies and institutions.

The regulation, with 27 items, covers the guiding principles, working mechanisms, plans under different circumstances, preventive measures, responsibilities and obligations of citizens and supporting and safeguard measures of consular protection and assistance. It will take effect on September 1, 2023. The Chinese Foreign Ministry and China’s diplomatic missions overseas will take the implementation of the regulation as an opportunity, uphold the people-centered development philosophy, improve the work on consular protection and assistance, and work with relevant departments and local governments to make every effort to safeguard the safety and legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens and institutions abroad.

Der Spiegel: Yesterday, the German government revealed its long-anticipated China strategy. How does China view this document and what effect would it have on bilateral relations?

Wang Wenbin: China noted the document released by Germany. We believe that it is counterproductive to compete and practice protectionism in the name of “de-risking” and “reducing dependence”, and to overstretch the concept of security and politicize normal cooperation. Such moves will only generate risks. Drawing a line according to values and ideologies and advocating so-called competition of systems, interests and values goes against the trend of the time and will only exacerbate the division of the world.

In fact, between China and Germany, there are far more common understandings than differences, and our cooperation far outweighs competition. The two countries are partners, not rivals. Under the complex and volatile international situation, we hope Germany will view China’s development in an all-round and objective way, adopt a rational and practical China policy, and work with China to respond to global challenges and contribute more certainty and positive energy to world peace and development.

CCTV: The ASEAN-China Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and the ASEAN Plus Three Foreign Ministers’ Meeting were held in Jakarta, Indonesia on July 13, sending the positive signal of jointly supporting the ASEAN-centered, open and inclusive regional cooperation architecture. Can you further elaborate on that?

Wang Wenbin: Director of the Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs Wang Yi yesterday attended the ASEAN-China Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and the ASEAN Plus Three Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia.

At the ASEAN-China Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, Director Wang Yi pointed out that in the past two decades, China and ASEAN have been following the purposes and principles of the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia and expanding all-round mutually beneficial cooperation and have successfully opened up the right way of long-term neighborliness and friendship and common development. The two sides have worked together to advance the building of a community with a shared future for mankind, promote the Belt and Road cooperation, boost regional economic integration, and enhance the foundation for peace and stability. China is committed to high-quality development and providing new opportunities for countries through Chinese modernization. China stands ready to work with ASEAN with stronger unity and coordination to carry forward the spirit of friendly cooperation, uphold open regionalism, tap on new cooperation potential, address global risks and challenges, safeguard regional peace and stability and advance the modernization drive in Asia.

Director Wang Yi stressed that China and ASEAN will always be neighbors, partners and brothers and sisters. Our histories are already linked, so are our futures. In keeping with the principle of amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness proposed by President Xi Jinping, China will stay committed to the friendly cooperation policy towards ASEAN and work with ASEAN countries for common development and rejuvenation. We look forward to the two sides jointly advancing the China-ASEAN comprehensive strategic partnership and making new contribution to regional peace and prosperity.

Parties thanked China for supporting ASEAN centrality and community building, commended China for being the first country to express readiness to sign the Protocol to the Treaty on Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone and welcomed the important progress achieved in the consultations on a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC). All sides expressed readiness to work with China to speed up negotiations on the upgrade of the Free Trade Area and enhance connectivity. All sides hope to bring the China-ASEAN comprehensive strategic partnership to new heights and strive for new results.

The meeting adopted the ASEAN-China Joint Statement on Commemorating and Reflecting on the 20th Anniversary of China’s Accession to the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia and the guidelines accelerating the conclusion of the COC. 

At the ASEAN Plus Three Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, Director Wang Yi said that this year is the first year for implementing the newest ASEAN Plus Three (APT) Cooperation Work Plan. Countries in the region should have the long-term vision of building an East Asia Community, uphold ASEAN centrality, improve the inclusive regional cooperation architecture, expand cooperation scope and inject stronger East Asian strength into the economic recovery of the region and beyond.

Director Wang Yi made a three-point proposal for the APT cooperation in the next phase. First, we should stay committed to open cooperation, speed up the process of regional integration and build a regional industrial and supply chain system that is stable, smooth and based on comparative advantages. Second, we should stay committed to common security, enhance the efficiency of responding to crises, reinforce food security in the region and build a stronger regional financial safety net. Third, we should stay committed to innovation-driven development, fully tap on the potential of sustainable development, expand cooperation in emerging sectors and provide more impetus for development.

Foreign ministers from Japan, the ROK and ASEAN countries agreed that the APT mechanism should progress with the times and we should fully leverage the ASEAN Plus Three Emergency Rice Reserve (APTERR), actively promote the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralization (CMIM), implement RCEP for high-quality results, build new growth drivers in such areas as digital economy, innovative science and technology, energy transition and electric vehicles, inject new energy for regional connectivity and greater resilience and help ASEAN to forge a global epicentrum of growth. 

CCTV: Yesterday, Director of the Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs Wang Yi met with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken upon invitation in Jakarta, Indonesia. A US official said that the US side said at the meeting that the US government network was hacked and the US will hold the hackers accountable with proper measures. Do you have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: Director Wang Yi made clear China’s principled position on the issue of cyber security. The Chinese government agencies face numerous cyber attacks every day, most of which come from sources in the US. We’ve shared relevant facts with the international community on multiple occasions. China is the biggest victim of cyber attack. The US needs to stop slapping false labels on China.

CCTV: US officials said that the two sides spent a fair amount of time talking about fentanyl. In particular, Blinken emphasized the importance of the US and China working together to disrupt the global flow of synthetic drugs, particularly fentanyl, and their precursor chemicals into the US. And the issue of establishing a working group on the illicit drug was discussed in depth. Do you have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: The two sides talked about fentanyl-related issues in the meeting, during which the Chinese side expressed our principled position and concerns. Director Wang Yi said that in terms of counter-narcotics, China has the strongest determination, most thorough policies and one of the best records in the world. To accommodate US concerns plus in the interest of the overall China-US relations, China decided several years ago to schedule fentanyl as a class. No other country has done the same. US attempt to take similar action has met with strong obstacles domestically. Instead of fully acknowledging China’s effort, the US has discredited and scapegoated China on fentanyl, and hunted Chinese citizens through “sting operations”. This is not at all constructive. The US needs to address this issue with an attitude based on equality, respect and cooperation, lift sanctions on Chinese counter-narcotics institutions as soon as possible, and remove obstacles for dialogue and cooperation.

Dragon TV: The Japanese government has reportedly set up a special fund of JPY 80 billion to subsidize the fishing industry in Fukushima. Do you have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: If the release of the nuclear-contaminated water is indeed harmless, why presume that the fishing industry in Fukushima will be affected? If not for a guilty conscience, why would the Japanese government try to placate the people by giving out compensations? The only logical answer is that there is indeed something very wrong about the ocean discharge. About 40 percent of Japanese people and those who live around the Pacific rim are strongly against Japan’s pushing through the ocean discharge plan, including people in China, the ROK, Russia, the Pacific Island countries, the Philippines, Indonesia and Peru. Regrettably, the Japanese government has so far acted indifferently to the opposition from both at home and abroad.

Japan’s use of compensation to buy silence domestically and disregard for the safety and wellbeing of people living next to Japan and in the Pacific Island countries will only invite stronger criticism and opposition from the international community.

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