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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on November 1, 2023

2023-11-01 21:01

Reuters: According to reports, North Korea will close as many as a dozen diplomatic outposts, including its consulate in Hong Kong. Given that Hong Kong’s foreign affairs are handled by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, please could you share the explanation given by the North Korean side for closing its consulate in Hong Kong?

Wang Wenbin: Countries have the right to decide, in the light of their realities and needs, to establish or abolish their consular missions abroad. China respects the DPRK’s decision to close its Consulate-General in Hong Kong.

Xinhua News Agency: We noted that the Cuban government has announced the upcoming visit to China by Cuban Prime Minister Manuel Marrero Cruz. Can you confirm this and share more information? How does China view the current China-Cuba relations?

Wang Wenbin: China welcomes Prime Minister Manuel Marrero Cruz to visit China from November 2 to 9 and attend the sixth China International Import Expo. This is the first visit to China by Comrade Manuel Marrero Cruz after assuming the office of Cuban Prime Minister. Chinese leaders will meet and hold talks with him to have in-depth exchanges of views on bilateral relations and international and regional issues of mutual interest.

The Prime Minister’s visit to China is yet another important high-level exchange between the two countries, after the state visit to China by First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba and Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel last November, the meeting between President Xi Jinping and President Miguel Díaz-Canel in South Africa in August this year, and the attendance at the Havana Summit of the Group of 77 and China and visit to Cuba by Li Xi, President Xi Jinping’s special representative, Member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and Secretary of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection earlier in September. The Prime Minister’s visit is of great significance for delivering on the common understandings between the two heads of state and further deepening bilateral relations.

China and Cuba are good friends on a shared journey and comrades with a shared vision. China is ready to work with Cuba and take this visit as an opportunity to deepen the special friendly relationship in the new era and jointly build a China-Cuba community with a shared future.

Anadolu Agency: Gaza Health Ministry reported yesterday that the death toll from ongoing Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip has reached 8,525, of whom 3,542 are children. Israel Defence Forces targeted Jabalya Refugee Camp in the north side of the Strip and Nuseriat Refugee Camp and other places populated by civilians. In an interview with CNN, an Israeli army spokesperson admitted strikes that caused heavy civilian casualties and called it “a tragedy of the war”. China is taking over presidency of the Security Council in the UN this month. What would you plan to offer to stop those ongoing violations of international law and actions that could amount to war crimes?

Wang Wenbin: China is deeply shocked by the attacks on the refugee camps in Gaza that have caused heavy civilian casualties and strongly condemns this. China calls for utmost calm and restraint from relevant parties, especially Israel, and urges them to implement the UN resolution adopted on October 27, stop fighting immediately, protect civilians, open up corridors for humanitarian assistance as soon as possible and avert an even worse humanitarian disaster. China will play a positive and constructive role at the UN Security Council to help end the fighting, ensure the safety of civilians and strive for a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the Palestinian question at an early date.

Kyodo News: It’s reported that a US official said that China and the US have agreed in principle on a meeting between the two presidents in San Francisco. Can you confirm this?

Wang Wenbin: China and the US agreed to work together for a meeting between the two heads of state in San Francisco. As Director Wang Yi pointed out during his visit to the US, we can’t leave it to autopilot to get us there and both sides need to earnestly return to what was agreed in Bali, act on the common understandings of the two Presidents, rise above disruptions, overcome obstacles, expand common understandings and accumulate outcomes. 

The Paper: We have noted that a delegation of the Flying Tigers is currently visiting in China. Members of the delegation include the Chairman of the Sino-American Aviation Heritage Foundation and Flying Tigers veterans who wrote to President Xi and received a reply in September this year. Could you offer more information on this? What role does the spirit of Flying Tigers play in China-US people-to-people friendship?

Wang Wenbin: An event was held recently to commemorate the 80th anniversary of US 14th Air Force’s Participation in China’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression in the Museum of the War of Chinese People’s Resistance Against Japanese Aggression in Beijing. Chairman of the Sino-American Aviation Heritage Foundation Jeffrey Greene and Flying Tigers veterans Harry Moyer and Mel McMullen came to China for the event together with over 30 descendants of Flying Tigers. Vice President Han Zheng met with the delegation.

The Flying Tigers is a symbol of the Chinese and American people helping each other in times of need. Over 2,000 members of the flying tigers made the ultimate sacrifice while assisting China’s fight. At the same time, thousands of Chinese laid down their lives while rescuing American pilots in distress.

Just as President Xi Jinping noted not long ago while replying to the letter from the Chairman of the Sino-American Aviation Heritage Foundation and Flying Tigers veterans, the sound and stable development of China-US relations in the new era needs the participation and support of the Flying Tigers in the new era. It is hoped that the spirit of the Flying Tigers will be carried on from generation to generation between the two peoples. We support more friendly exchanges between Chinese and Americans from all walks of life to add new chapters of friendship and cooperation between our two countries.

Dragon TV: On October 25, radioactive waste water was splashed onto workers at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, which captured public attention. TEPCO, the company concerned, recently revealed that the actual amount of radioactive waste water that was splashed is not the initially announced 100ml, but several liters, which is dozens of times what the company initially claimed. What’s your comment?

Wang Wenbin: The incident again exposes the long-existing problems with TEPCO’s internal management and its habit of deceiving the public. In the past 12 years since the Fukushima nuclear accident, TEPCO’s handling of the aftermath has been highly problematic. There have been several revelations about TEPCO’s delays in reporting and covering up of accidents or tampering with important data, which means the company puts business interests far ahead of environmental safety and people’s health. Right on the next day of the splash incident, TEPCO announced it will soon start the third round of nuclear-contaminated water ocean discharge. How would a company with such a bad record ensure safety and be responsible in the discharge management that will last for 30 years or even longer? How exactly does Japan’s self-claimed “safe and transparent” ocean discharge scheme make people feel safe?

The incident once again highlights the importance of an international monitoring arrangement that will remain effective over the long run. We urge Japan to respond to international concerns with all seriousness, dispose of the nuclear-contaminated water in a responsible way, and offer full cooperation in setting up an effective international monitoring arrangement that has the full and substantive participation of Japan’s neighboring countries and other stakeholders. The IAEA should also play a constructive role, step up to its responsibility of providing rigorous supervision on Japan’s ocean discharge and prevent the ocean discharge from causing long-term damage to the marine environment and people’s health.

AFP: Australian writer Yang Jun has been detained in China since 2019, accused of spying. Could the foreign ministry explain the current situation of the case?

Wang Wenbin: We have repeatedly made clear China’s position on the case. China is a country under the rule of law. The Chinese judicial authorities try cases in strict accordance with the law and make sure that the lawful rights of the individual concerned are protected and Australia’s consular rights, including the right to visit, are respected and exercised. 

CCTV: Special Envoy of the Chinese Government on the Middle East Issue Zhai Jun just concluded his visit to relevant Arab countries. Can you share more on China’s recent efforts to ease the Palestinian-Israeli situation and consideration for next steps?

Wang Wenbin: Since the Palestinian-Israeli conflict broke out, China has been in close communication with relevant parties to call for ceasefire, end of violence and restoration of peace. When meeting with Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly who was in China for the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, President Xi Jinping stressed that the top priority is to stop the fighting as soon as possible, and prevent the conflict from spreading or even getting out of control and causing a severe humanitarian crisis. The fundamental way out of the recurring Palestinian-Israeli conflict is to implement the two-state solution, establish an independent State of Palestine and achieve peaceful coexistence between Palestine and Israel. 

Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Foreign Minister Wang Yi has had extensive and in-depth communication with foreign ministers and political figures 14 countries and international organizations, including the UN Secretary-General. He noted that China condemns and opposes all acts that harm civilians and violate international law, and calls for an immediate ceasefire and the opening of corridors for emergency humanitarian assistance to avert an even worse humanitarian disaster. He stressed that the fundamental reason for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is that for too long, the Palestinian people’s right to statehood has been shelved, their right to survival has not been ensured, and their right to returning to their home has been ignored. Such historical injustice must be put to an end as soon as possible. The international community needs to take urgent action. The UN Security Council needs to step up to its responsibility. Countries outside the region, especially major countries, need to take an objective and just position and play a constructive role in cooling down the crisis.

Recently, Special Envoy of the Chinese Government on the Middle East Issue Zhai Jun visited Egypt, Qatar, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Jordan, attended the Cairo Peace Summit on the Palestinian question, and met with Secretary-General of the League of Arab States and Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). He called for ceasefire and efforts to prevent the conflict from spreading, expressed China’s support for Arab countries’ mediation efforts, and pointed out that the international community needs to shoulder their responsibility and create conditions for the resumption of the peace process.

China has had extensive participation in relevant UN meetings and consultations on the basis of objectivity and impartiality. China supports the UN and its Security Council to play their due role, and co-sponsored and voted in favour of the resolution on the Palestinian-Israeli situation at the UNGA emergency special session to echo the strong international call for a ceasefire, especially among Arab states.

To ease the humanitarian situation in Gaza, China has provided emergency humanitarian assistance in cash to the Palestinian National Authority and the UNRWA and emergency humanitarian assistance such as food and medicine to Gaza.

China has no selfish interest in the Palestinian-Israeli issue. We call for efforts to protect civilians, end hostilities, and open corridors for humanitarian assistance to avert an even worse humanitarian crisis, and resume political dialogue and negotiations so as to bring the Palestinian question back to the right track of the two-state solution and realize lasting peace and stability in the Middle East. As this month’s president of the Security Council and a responsible member of the international community, China will continue to work relentlessly with the international community to deescalate the situation, protect civilians, promote humanitarian aid and resume talks for peace.

Hubei Media Group: On October 31, the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) of the 78th session of the UN General Assembly approved two resolutions titled “No first placement of weapons in outer space” and “Further practical measures for the prevention of an arms race in outer space”. The concept of building “a community of shared future for humankind” proposed by China was again included in the resolutions. What’s your comment?

Wang Wenbin: On October 31, the First Committee of the 78th session of the UN General Assembly approved with strong support the resolutions titled “No first placement of weapons in outer space” and “Further practical measures for the prevention of an arms race in outer space” co-sponsored by countries including China and Russia. Both stress the importance of preventing an arms race in outer space and joint efforts to build a community of shared future for humankind.

In our world today, peace, development and cooperation for shared benefits is an unstoppable trend and the future of all people lies in building a community of shared future for humankind. The approval of the two resolutions serves as a litmus test. It shows that the concept meets the common aspiration of the international community, serves the common interest of all humanity, and has gained the broad support and recognition of the vast majority of countries, especially developing countries. A handful of countries, based on ideological considerations, have time and again shown disregard for international consensus and tried everything they could to smear and misrepresent this concept and block the approval of relevant paragraphs of the resolutions. Such moves run counter to the overriding trend and it’s clear where they’ll end up.

China is both a champion and a doer in building a community of shared future for humankind. We will firmly uphold the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, stay committed to a global governance vision featuring extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, actively participate in and guide global governance system reform, promote peace and development, and work together with all countries to address global challenges and create a better future for all.

Reuters: China’s coast guard today urged Japanese vessels cruising in the territorial waters of the Diaoyu Island to stop all illegal activities in the area. The coast guard said three Japanese ships and several patrol ships illegally entered the territorial waters of the island, also known as the Senkaku Island and its ships took necessary control measures in accordance with the law. What is your comment on this?

Wang Wenbin: The spokesperson of China Coast Guard (CCG) has shared information on that. Diaoyu Dao and its affiliated islands have always been part of China’s territory. The illegal intrusion of right-wing Japanese vessels into China’s territorial waters of Diaoyu Dao seriously violates China’s sovereignty. The CCG vessels carried out law enforcement on the scene in accordance with the law. This is a legitimate action to uphold China’s sovereignty. Relevant parties in Japan need to stop infringing on China’s sovereignty and making provocations in the waters of Diaoyu Dao to prevent further complicating the situation.

Reuters: In follow-up to the question on the Special Envoy to the Middle East Zhai Jun, can you confirm whether he is back in China? If he’s not back in China, does he have plans to meet with Hamas while in the Middle East?

Wang Wenbin: From what I know, Special Envoy Zhai Jun has concluded his visit. China will continue to work with the international community to play a positive and constructive role in deescalating the situation, promoting a ceasefire, and averting an even worse humanitarian crisis.

Shenzhen TV: The government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) issued a press release, noting that Hong Kong, China had, according to convention, received the invitation from the host economy to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting to be held from November 15 to 17 in San Francisco, United States. Due to scheduling issues, the Financial Secretary, Mr Paul Chan, would attend the meeting on behalf of Chief Executive John Lee. Do you have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: This year’s APEC economic leaders’ meeting will be held in San Francisco from November 15 to 17. Chief Executive of the Hong Kong SAR John Lee has received US invitation for the meeting. Based on what we’ve learned, due to scheduling issues, the Financial Secretary of the Hong Kong SAR will attend the meeting on behalf of the Chief Executive.

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