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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on May 14, 2024

2024-05-14 20:12

Xinhua News Agency: China has just announced President Putin’s state visit to China. Can you share the arrangement and China’s expectation for the visit?

Wang Wenbin: At the invitation of President Xi Jinping, Russian President Putin will pay a state visit to China from May 16 to 17—the first state visit since his new term as president began. During the visit, President Xi and President Putin will exchange views on bilateral relations, cooperation in various fields, and international and regional issues of mutual interest in light of the 75th anniversary of China-Russia diplomatic relations. Details about the visit will be released in a timely way.

TV Asahi: It’s reported that the first meeting of China-US government talks on AI is being held today in Geneva, Switzerland. Can you share with us the topics and significance of the meeting?

Wang Wenbin: To deliver on the common understandings reached by the two presidents in San Francisco, as agreed by the two sides, China and the US will hold the first meeting of China-US government talks on AI in Geneva, Switzerland, on May 14 local time to exchange views on the risks and global governance as well as other issues of respective concern on AI.

CRI: It’s reported that a ceremony was held in Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia, for the official transfer of the Addis Ababa-Djibouti Railway. The event also reviewed the performance of the railway over the past six years and envisioned its future. What’s China’s comment?

Wang Wenbin: The Addis Ababa-Djibouti Railway is the first standard gauge electrified transnational railway in East Africa. It is also a flagship project of Belt and Road cooperation between China, Ethiopia and Djibouti. We have prepared some slides to share more with you about the cooperation on the project.

Since its operation, the railway has created over 55,000 local jobs, greatly boosted connectivity between Ethiopia and Djibouti and injected strong impetus into the economic and social development of the two countries.

As we in China often say, it is more important to teach people how to fish than just giving them fish. The Addis Ababa-Djibouti Railway is the best example in this regard. China not only worked with Ethiopia and Djibouti to build a modern railway, but also trained and accredited more than 2,800 local workers in the past six years, helping to build a capable local team. The handover ceremony marked the successful completion of the Chinese team’s participation in the operation and maintenance of the railway and a new beginning of the railway as the African team fully took over its operation. China will continue to work with the two countries to continue the success of this railway, so that it leads to more prosperity and mutually beneficial cooperation and progress of high-quality Belt and Road cooperation between China and Africa, and contribute to our common development.

AFP: According to reports, the US and Taiwan “navies” conducted some joint drills in the Pacific last month. Can you confirm that?

Wang Wenbin: I noted that it's reported that the US and Taiwan vessels had “unplanned encounters.” I want to stress that China is firmly opposed to the US’s military contact with Taiwan. This position is consistent and unequivocal. We urge the US to earnestly abide by the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communiqués and stop its wrong behavior of having military contact with Taiwan. We also have a clear message for the DPP authorities: seeking “Taiwan independence” and resisting reunification with force is bound to fail. They can be assured of that. 

NHK: Yuan Keqin, a former professor of Hokkaido University of Education, was detained by the Chinese government for suspicion of espionage when he came back to China in May 2019. Can the Foreign Ministry tell us about his current conditions?

Wang Wenbin: I’d refer you to competent authorities for the specifics. What I can tell you is that China is a country under the rule of law and handles the relevant case in accordance with the law.

CCTV: In a recent interview with US media, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen again mentioned the so-called “Chinese overcapacity” in electric vehicles and other new energy sectors. When questioned by the interviewer, Yellen said that the US is “very explicitly subsidizing investments in these important strategic areas. And what we don’t want to see is massive Chinese subsidies to firms with huge overcapacity.” What is your comment on this?

Wang Wenbin: We noted the media coverage. Based on US logic, US subsidies are “investment in critical industries,” whereas other countries’ subsidies are seen as “worrying unfair competition”; US exports with comparative advantage constitute “free trade,” whereas other countries’ exports with comparative advantage are signs of “overcapacity.” There’s a Chinese saying for that logic, “The magistrate allows himself to set fire but bans everyone else from lighting candles.” Or, to use a US expression, “Do as I say, not as I do.” The US is essentially using the “overcapacity” narrative to kneecap other countries’ strong industries and practice protectionism and trample on market principles and international trade rules in the name of “fair competition.” This is nothing but bullying.

Let me reiterate that the rapid growth of China’s new energy industries, including electric vehicles, lithium batteries and photovoltaic products, are built on continuous tech innovation, full-fledged industrial and supply chains and full market competition. Our leading edge is a result of comparative advantage and the laws of the market combined, not by so-called “subsidies.” By contrast, in recent years, the US signed into law the CHIPS and Science Act and the Inflation Reduction Act to directly intervene in the allocation of market resources through direct and indirect subsidies totaling hundreds of billions of US dollars. It’s the US who is a big subsidizer to its industries.

Subsidies do not guarantee industrial competitiveness. Protectionism does not nurture real business champions. The fast-growing Chinese new energy industries are what the world economy needs for green transition. It serves the interest of China, the US, and the whole world. We urge the US to abandon its hypocrisy and double standard, and not to make the same mistake of resorting to protectionism.

Bloomberg: There is report that the British government arrested operatives from Hong Kong accusing them of being spies. Can you tell us more? 

Wang Wenbin: China is gravely concerned over the arrest and prosecution of the Chinese citizens. We strongly urge the UK to earnestly protect the lawful rights and interests of Chinese citizens in the UK. For quite some time, the UK has repeatedly hyped up the so-called “China spies” and “China’s cyber attacks.” All these accusations are groundless and unacceptable vilification. China firmly opposes such despicable, politically-driven ploys in the name of legal justice and national security.

AFP: Some media reports said US President Joe Biden will announce on Tuesday additional tariffs on products from China, targeting Chinese EVs, medical supplies and solar products. What’s China’s comment?

Wang Wenbin: I’d refer you to competent authorities for the specifics. I would like to tell you that China opposes unilateral tariffs that violate WTO rules and will take all measures necessary to defend our legitimate rights and interests.

AFP: Yesterday, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) decided to hold an extraordinary meeting this week to discuss the case involving 23 Chinese swimmers who tested positive for prescription heart medication. Will China be cooperative if there is a request for relevant materials in advance of the meeting?

Wang Wenbin: I’d refer you to competent authorities for your specific question. We’ve made clear China’s position on the matter. 

It should be pointed out that recently, some foreign organizations and media outlets deliberately ignored China’s firm stance against doping in sports and the achievements of China’s anti-doping campaign. With a serious bias against China’s anti-doping work, they issued reports and comments that are clearly unfactual and seriously violate the athletes’ privacy. Their goal is to mislead the public with disinformation through the media in order to attack WADA and China and shake the existing and well-functioning global anti-doping system. We strongly condemn those attempts.

China is committed to the fight against doping and supports WADA’s independent, fair, consistent and effective governance worldwide.

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