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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on May 17, 2024

2024-05-17 21:01

Xinhua News Agency: The 33rd Ordinary Session of the Council of the League of Arab States at the Summit Level opened in Bahrain’s capital Manama on May 16. We noted that President Xi Jinping sent a congratulatory letter to King Hamad of Bahrain who is the rotating president of the session, and the King expressed his appreciation in his opening remarks. Can you share more details with us? What is China’s expectation for China-Arab relations in the future?

Wang Wenbin: On May 16, the 33rd Ordinary Session of the Council of the League of Arab States at the Summit Level opened in Bahrain’s capital Manama. President Xi Jinping sent a congratulatory letter to the rotating president King Hamad of Bahrain on the successful convening of the session. He noted that the China-Arab relationship is now at its best in history. China stands ready to work with Arab states to carry forward the friendship between the two sides, build a China-Arab community with a shared future at a higher level, and contribute to the building of a community with a shared future for mankind. Starting from the 24th Ordinary Session of the Council of the League of Arab States at the Summit Level in 2013, President Xi Jinping has sent congratulatory letters to each session, which fully reflects the great importance China attaches to developing relations with Arab states.

China and Arab states enjoy a traditional friendship. Our relations have stood the test of history and the evolving international landscape, setting a fine example of South-South cooperation. At the first China-Arab Summit in 2022, President Xi Jinping and leaders of Arab states agreed to work for a China-Arab community with a shared future in the new era, opening a new chapter for China-Arab friendship and cooperation. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum, and the 10th ministerial conference of the forum will be held in China. China looks forward to working with Arab states to take this as an opportunity to further deepen our traditional friendship, enhance political mutual trust, expand practical cooperation, step up coordination on international affairs, and deepen and substantiate the building of a China-Arab community with a shared future.

Shenzhen TV: We noted that in the Spring 2024 Economic Forecast released days ago, EU Commission adjusted up China’s growth forecast for this year by 0.2 percentage points to 4.8 percent. Many international financial institutions have also raised their forecast for China’s economic growth this year. What’s your comment?

Wang Wenbin: Since the beginning of this year, China’s economy has continued to pick up and the socioeconomic development has been off to a good start. In the first quarter this year, the economy grew by 5.3 percent and continued to enjoy greater momentum of rebound. In April, China’s manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) stood at 50.4 percent. The trade in goods with other countries grew year-on-year by 8 percent to RMB 3.64 trillion, a record high compared with the same periods of previous years.

The trend of China’s economic rebound further fuels international optimism about China and investing in China. International financial institutions, including Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Citibank and UBS, have recently revised upward China’s growth forecast in 2024. Asian Development Bank predicted that from 2024 to 2025, China will account for 46 percent of the economic growth of Asian developing countries. US management consulting firm Kearney said that China has a large economic size and a stable and positive policy environment. In recent years, China has taken steps to abolish all market access restrictions on foreign investment in manufacturing, which gives a strong boost to international investors’ confidence.

China’s development is open to the world, and our opportunities are shared by the world. An increasingly open China with a steadily growing economy will surely remain a driver of global economic growth and a popular destination for foreign investment. You are more than welcome to continue investing, flourishing and succeeding in China.   

Beijing Daily: It’s reported that today, Tokyo Electric Power Company will start dumping the sixth batch of Fukushima nuclear-contaminated water into the ocean. The discharge is expected to last until June 4 and reach nearly 7,800 tonnes. What’s China’s comment?

Wang Wenbin: We firmly oppose the discharge of Fukushima nuclear-contaminated water into the ocean. This position is consistent and clear. The ocean discharge bears on the health of all humanity, the global marine environment and the global common good. Japan has yet to resolve its neighbors’ concerns on the safety of the discharge, the long-term reliability of the purification system and the effectiveness of monitoring arrangement.

China urges Japan to cooperate fully in creating an independent, effective and long-term international monitoring scheme with substantive participation of Japan’s neighbors and other stakeholders, and seriously prevent irrevocable consequences stemming from the ocean discharge. When global well-being is at stake, Japan needs to take seriously the legitimate and lawful concerns at home and abroad and properly respond to them with a responsible and constructive attitude.

Global Times: It’s reported the Taiwan authorities have long been bribing Guatemala’s President and resorting to “dollar diplomacy” in exchange for political support. The Taiwan authorities have recently taken similar moves on Guatemala again. But the office of Guatemala’s President indicated that President Bernardo Arévalo might decline attending the so-called “inauguration ceremony” on May 20. What’s your comment?

Wang Wenbin: To squander taxpayers’ money for “dollar diplomacy” is the DPP authorities’ go-to tactic to buy foreign politicians’ presence to keep up appearance. Such moves are designed to serve “Taiwan independence” separatism and personal political calculations. Ultimately it’s the interests of the people in Taiwan that will suffer. Facts show that the DPP authorities’ “dollar diplomacy” not only brings no good to the development of relevant countries, but breeds corruption. We believe the government and people of Guatemala are clear-eyed about this.

We reiterate that upholding the one-China principle is the right thing to do and is where global opinion trends and the arc of history bends. This is not something you can put a price on. We hope and believe that Guatemala will make the right decision as early as possible that follows the prevailing trend and serves the interest of its people.

China Daily: US State Department spokesperson said on May 16 that “the People’s Republic of China cannot have its cake and eat it too. ... You can’t want to have ... relationships with Europe and other countries while simultaneously continuing to fuel the biggest threat to European security in a long time.” What’s your comment on that?

Wang Wenbin: Those words reflect a Manichean mindset of the United States, which drives a constant search for an enemy rather than peace. This is a reflection of the Cold War mentality that still dominates US thinking, which bears unshirkable responsibility for the eruption and escalation of the Ukraine crisis.

China is not the creator of or a party to the Ukraine Crisis. We have been on the side of peace and dialogue and committed to promoting peace talks. We actively support putting in place a balanced, effective and sustainable European security architecture. Our fair and objective position and constructive role have been widely recognized.

“Let the person who tied the bell on the tiger untie it,” to quote a Chinese saying. Our message to the US: stop shifting the blame on China; do not try to drive a wedge between China and Europe; and it is time to stop fueling the flame and start making real contribution to finding a political solution to the Ukraine crisis.

Hubei Media Group: Chad’s constitutional council confirmed the final result of the presidential election that interim President Mahamat Idriss Deby was elected as President of Chad with 61 percent of the vote. What’s China’s comment? 

Wang Wenbin: We noted the final result of the presidential election announced by Chad’s constitutional council. China extends sincere congratulations to President Mahamat Idriss Deby on winning the election. We are confident that under the leadership of President Mahamat Idriss Deby, Chad will achieve greater progress in realizing national stability and development. 

China deeply values its friendly ties with Chad and stands ready to work with the new government to enhance mutual support, advance mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields and bring more benefits to our two peoples.

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