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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on April 18, 2023

2023-04-18 22:20

CCTV: The G7 foreign ministers issued a communiqué after they held a meeting in Japan. They reaffirmed the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, and expressed concerns over the situation in the East and South China Seas and on issues related to Xinjiang and Tibet. They also urged China to ensure transparent, predictable, and fair business environments. Do you have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: Regardless of China’s strong position and existing facts, the G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting grossly interfered in China’s internal affairs and maliciously smeared and discredited China. The communiqué reflects the group’s arrogance, prejudice and deliberate desire to block and contain China. We deplore and reject this and have made a strong démarche to the host Japan. 

Taiwan is part of China’s sacred territory. The one-China principle is what underpins peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. To ensure real peace in the Taiwan Strait, it is absolutely essential to unequivocally oppose and stop any act for “Taiwan independence”. Matters related to Hong Kong, Xinjiang and Tibet are purely China’s internal affairs. No foreign forces may interfere in them in any way or under any pretext. The situation in the East China Sea and the South China Sea is generally stable. Relevant countries need to respect the efforts of regional countries to uphold peace and stability. They need to stop sowing discord and stop creating camp confrontation. As one of the most vibrant markets with the greatest potential, China is committed to providing a stable, fair, transparent and predictable investment and business environment for foreign investors. Certain G7 members have been oblivious to the principles of market economy and fair competition, overstretched and abused the concept of national security, and used every means possible to suppress foreign companies. They are in no position to jab fingers at China.

As a responsible major country, China firmly acts on the UN Charter and the basic principles of international law and is committed to building a community with a shared future for mankind. We once again urge G7 to reflect on their own problems and discard the Cold War mentality and ideological prejudices. They should stop running counter to the prevailing trend of today’s world, stop pointing fingers condescendingly, stop grossly interfering in other countries’ internal affairs and stop deliberately creating antagonism and division in the international community. 

Phoenix TV: We learned from an interview that after the armed conflicts in Sudan, the director and a teacher of a Confucius Institute were controlled by soldiers with guns. Now they have been rescued. What kind of protection will China provide for overseas Chinese and Chinese institutions in Sudan. Is there an evacuation plan?

Wang Wenbin: On April 15, conflicts between armed forces erupted in the capital of Sudan Khartoum and several other places, causing a grim security situation. The Chinese Foreign Ministry immediately activated the consular emergency response mechanism and instructed the Chinese Embassy in Sudan to make the utmost efforts to protect the safety and security of Chinese nationals and institutions there. The Chinese Embassy in Sudan has issued a safety notice for Chinese nationals in Sudan, got in touch with Chinese institutions in the country to verify their safety status and provide guidance for strengthening prevention against dangers, and offered help to Chinese nationals in need.

Given the current situation, our Ministry and Embassy in Sudan have reminded Chinese nationals not to travel to Sudan in the near future and asked those already in Sudan to follow closely the developments of the situation, stay inside, take extra precaution, be prepared for emergencies and register their personal information with the Embassy as soon as possible. In case of emergencies, they need to call the police at once and contact the Embassy for help.

As for your question, the moment our Embassy in Sudan learned the predicament of the two teachers from the Confucius Institute at the University of Khartoum, it took immediate action and engaged in close communication and coordination with relevant parties of Sudan. The two teachers have now returned to safety and have been transported to a relatively safe place.

Our Ministry and Embassy in Sudan will continue to follow local developments and do everything possible to protect the safety and security of Chinese nationals and institutions in Sudan. 

AFP: Media reported that Chinese President Xi Jinping called Kim Jong-un on April 12. Can the foreign ministry confirm this phone call? And if so, can you offer further details on its content?

Wang Wenbin: According to what I have learned, there is no such a call.

People’s Daily: We have learned that Assistant Foreign Minister Nong Rong will visit Singapore and Cambodia soon. Can you share more with us? 

Wang Wenbin: From April 19 to 25, Assistant Foreign Minister Nong Rong will visit Singapore and Cambodia. China’s relations with Singapore and Cambodia are in excellent shape. President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong jointly announced the decision to elevate China-Singapore relations to an all-round high-quality future-oriented partnership during the prime minister’s recent visit to China. President Xi and Prime Minister Hun Sen jointly announced the decision to build a high-quality, high-level and high-standard China-Cambodia Community with a Shared Future for the new era during the prime minister’s visit. Assistant Foreign Minister Nong Rong’s visit is aimed at comparing notes with Singapore and Cambodia on following through on the important common understandings between the leaders, deepening strategic mutual trust, expanding mutual benefits, and working toward more outcomes in bilateral relations and cooperation in various areas.

The Paper: According to reports, Twitter CEO Elon Musk said in an interview that he was shocked to find that the US government had full access to all users’ private direct messages. Do you have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: We noted relevant reports. The US has long eavesdropped on the phone calls of leaders of European countries. The recent leak of US military documents also exposes the US’s large-scale surveillance over its allies. For a country that doesn’t even respect the privacy of the leaders of its allies, it is hardly surprising that it would monitor the users’ private data on social media platforms.

Without hard evidence, the US has been accusing foreign companies of monitoring and stealing US users’ data. What Musk said again proves the belief shared by many online that “the US either has done or is doing what it accuses you of”. It is increasingly clear that protecting cyber security is just a pretext the US uses to perpetuate its cyber hegemony. 

China News Service: Brazilian President Lula da Silva shared his view on the Ukraine crisis during his visit to China, saying that the US needs to stop encouraging war and start talking about peace. On April 17, Coordinator for Strategic Communications at the US National Security Council John Kirby accused Brazil of “parroting Russian and Chinese propaganda without looking at the facts”. What’s your comment?

Wang Wenbin: As I recall, Mr. Kirby said not long ago that any call for a ceasefire between Russia and Ukraine would be “unacceptable”. But already more and more countries are calling for an end to the fighting and working for an early political settlement of the Ukraine crisis.

As voices for peace in the international community continue to build, the US needs to meet those growing expectations and play a constructive role in bringing about the political settlement of the crisis, rather than continue to go the other way and keep adding fuel to the fire. 

Xinhua News Agency: We have noted that State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang spoke over the phone with Palestinian and Israeli foreign ministers respectively yesterday. Can you share more information with us? 

Wang Wenbin: Yesterday, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang spoke over the phone with Riad Malki, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates of the State of Palestine, and Eli Cohen, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Israel, with a focus on exchanging views on the current Palestine-Israel situation.

State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang noted that China is concerned about the current tensions between Palestine and Israel. The urgent task at hand is to manage the situation to prevent conflicts from escalating or even spiraling out of control. Parties should stay cool-headed and exercise restraint and stop making aggressive and provocative moves. The fundamental way out is to resume peace talks and implement the two-state solution. It is never too late to do the right thing. China encourages both Palestine and Israel to show political courage and move toward the resumption of peace talks. China stands ready to provide facilitation to that end. President Xi Jinping has put forward the Global Security Initiative, and the idea of common security is what we believe to be the key to resolving the issues between Palestine and Israel. China has no selfish interests in the Palestinian question. We hope the two sides can coexist peacefully and defend regional peace and stability.

Both Palestine and Israel said that they value China’s influence. They thanked China for its readiness to support the resolution of the Israel-Palestine conflicts and looked forward to China playing a positive role.

Bloomberg: Secretary of State Antony Blinken said at the G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting that China must make its intentions clear in ties with the US. He said he expected that China and the US would make progress. But he said, “it does require China to make clear its own intentions”. How do you respond to Blinken’s remarks?

Wang Wenbin: China views and develops its relations with the US under the three principles of mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation. The root cause of current tensions in China-US relations is the misconceived China policy of the US which is based on a misguided China perception. The US needs to stop interfering in China’s internal affairs and stop harming China’s interests. It needs to stop eroding the political foundation of bilateral ties while claiming that it wants to put “guardrails” on the relationship.

Kyodo News: According to reports, federal prosecutors in New York arrested two Chinese nationals yesterday. They were accused of participating in police functions in the US, which gravely violates US sovereignty. What’s your comment? 

Wang Wenbin: China firmly opposes the US’s slanders and smears, its political manipulation, the false narrative of “transnational repression”, and blatant prosecution of Chinese law enforcement and cyber administration officials. The US has long suppressed dissent through secret surveillance, illegal wiretapping, global manhunts and behind-the-scenes deals. The “transnational repression” is an allegation that best matches the US’s own practices. 

We urge the US to reflect on itself, abandon its Cold War mentality and ideological prejudice, immediately stop the erroneous moves, end political manipulation and stop the smears and attacks against China.

NHK: To follow up on the question on the police station in New York, does your answer mean that the Chinese government does not think it’s a problem if other countries set up posts like police stations other than embassies and consulates general in China?

Wang Wenbin: The US drew malignant association between overseas Chinese service centers and Chinese diplomatic and consular officials and made groundless accusations against China. This is clearly political manipulation. About the “overseas police stations”, we have made it clear many times that the allegation has no factual basis. There are simply no so-called “overseas police stations”. China adheres to the principle of non-interference in other countries’ internal affairs, strictly observes international laws and respects the judicial sovereignty of all countries. We hope relevant parties will not hype up or dramatize this.

Global Times: The G7 foreign ministers said in their communiqué on April 18 that they are concerned about China’s expansion of its nuclear arsenal without arms control or risk reductions measures and urged China to engage in strategic risk reduction discussions with the US and to promote stability through greater nuclear transparency. What’s your comment?

Wang Wenbin: First let me reiterate that China is committed to a defensive nuclear strategy and a policy of “no first use” of nuclear weapons and keeps our nuclear capabilities at the minimum level required by national security. China is the only one among the five nuclear-weapon states to have made this pledge. For any country, as long as they do not use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against China, they don’t need to worry about being threatened by China’s nuclear weapons. This is the most meaningful transparency a country can provide. China also actively participates in multilateral arms control processes including under the cooperation mechanism of the five nuclear-weapon states, the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, and the First Committee of the United Nations General Assembly. In disregard of these facts, the G7 attempts to manipulate narratives to mislead the public. By no means can it speak for the international community.

The G7 puts itself in the seat of the judge and makes wanton remarks on other countries’ strategic security and arms control policies, while constantly undermining the international nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation system. How can such a behavior win the trust of the international community? The US sits on the largest and most advanced nuclear arsenal in the world. It has withdrawn from treaties and organizations concerning arms control, follows a first-use nuclear deterrence policy, keeps upgrading its nuclear triad, strengthens and attempts to replicate nuclear-sharing arrangements, and advances forward deployment of strategic forces. The US has become the single most disruptive element and largest source of risks for international peace and security. What’s more, the US and the UK are openly transferring nuclear-powered submarine reactors and weapons-grade highly enriched uranium to Australia, which constitutes grave nuclear proliferation risks and contravenes the object and purpose of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).

I would like to stress that Japan, which holds the G7 rotating presidency, has taken a very hypocritical policy stance in the field of arms control. Japan has long characterized itself as a victim of nuclear explosions and an advocate of a nuclear-weapons-free world. But in fact, Japan sits comfortably under the US’s nuclear umbrella, and it is against and hindering the US’s renouncing of the first use of nuclear weapons. Some Japanese politicians even suggest the possibility of nuclear sharing with the US. Besides, the Japanese government has ignored the international public interest by pushing ahead with the discharge of nuclear-contaminated water from Fukushima into the ocean. This move has imposed the unpredictable risk of nuclear contamination on people around the world.

We once again urge the G7 to stop maligning and slandering other countries and stop inciting antagonism and confrontation. They need to reflect on their own strategic security policies, earnestly fulfill relevant international arms control obligations, and shoulder their due responsibilities for world peace and security.

AFP: A Chinese supervisor at a dam construction project in Pakistan is currently being held in police protection after workers accused him of blasphemy against Islam. Has the Chinese side been in contact with this individual and are they working to achieve his release?

Wang Wenbin: The Chinese Embassy in Pakistan is verifying the information. The Chinese government always asks Chinese nationals overseas to abide by laws and regulations of the host countries and respect local customs and traditions. If the incident involves Chinese nationals, our Embassy will provide consular protection and assistance within the purview of its duty.

Bloomberg: Afghan Taliban-controlled media reported that a Chinese company that they refer to as Gochin is planning to invest some $10 billion in the country’s lithium reserves. They also say that Chinese representatives have met and talked with the Taliban’s minister of mines and a deputy prime minister. Can you confirm these reports and do you have any other details?

Wang Wenbin: China supports Chinese companies in cooperating with Afghanistan in line with market principles, and playing a constructive role in helping Afghanistan rebuild its economy and achieve self-generated and sustained development. As to the specific project you mentioned, I do not have information about it.

Bloomberg: Taiwan plans to buy as many as 400 US-made land-launched Harpoon missiles that are intended to repel any “Chinese invasion”. How does the foreign ministry respond to that?

Wang Wenbin: US military contact with Taiwan and its arms sales to the region seriously violate the one-China principle and the stipulations of the three China-US joint communiqués, especially the August 17 Communiqué. The move will harm China’s sovereignty and security interests and threaten peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. We deplore and firmly oppose them. What has happened proves that the root cause of the new round of tensions in the Taiwan Strait is the Taiwan authorities’ repeated attempt to solicit US support for “Taiwan independence”, the fact that some in the US intend to use Taiwan to contain China, and their joint attempt to change the status quo in the Taiwan Strait. This is an extremely dangerous trajectory no different from playing with fire. We urge the US to earnestly abide by the one-China principle and the stipulations of the three China-US joint communiqués, stop having military contact with and selling arms to Taiwan, stop creating factors that could cause tensions in the Taiwan Strait, stop seeking to change the status quo, and avoid going further down the wrong path of colluding with the Taiwan authorities. The Chinese side will take strong and resolute measures to firmly defend our sovereignty and security interests.

Bloomberg: The Netherlands’ spy agency said that Russia and China pose the greatest threat to the national security of that European nation. How does the foreign ministry respond to that?

Wang Wenbin: We’ve always asked Chinese companies and academic institutions to abide by international rules and local laws and regulations in their cooperation with other countries. It is irresponsible for relevant Dutch authorities to frame such mutually beneficial cooperation as an issue about security. This could sour the atmosphere for bilateral cooperation and does not serve the interest of the Netherlands. We hope the Netherlands will abandon the Cold War mentality, stop creating hypothetical pretexts to smear Chinese companies, academic institutions and their personnel, and be open-minded, rational and objective about having normal economic and academic cooperation with China.

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