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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on August 31, 2023

2023-08-31 21:35

CCTV: This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative proposed by President Xi Jinping. President Xi has announced that China will hold the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation later this year. Could you give us more information on when the forum will be held and the considerations behind it?

Wang Wenbin: Focusing on connectivity as the main theme, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) aims to provide a new platform for international economic cooperation and add fresh impetus to participating countries’ development and world economic growth. Over the past decade, it has become a popular global public good and international cooperation platform.

China will hold the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing in October this year. This is not only the highlight in commemorative events to mark the BRI’s 10th anniversary, but also an important platform for all partners to plan high-quality Belt and Road cooperation. China is in communication with all parties concerned on the preparation for the forum. Relevant information will be released in due course.

CCTV: Today, China and Nicaragua officially signed a free trade agreement. Do you have any comment? 

Wang Wenbin: This morning, China and Nicaragua officially signed a free trade agreement, which is the most important achievement in the bilateral practical cooperation since the resumption of diplomatic relations. The milestone agreement will further stimulate the potential of investment and trade cooperation and open up broader prospects for practical cooperation between our two countries. The two sides have efficiently completed the negotiations on the free trade agreement within one year since the launch in July 2022, fully demonstrating the high-level mutual trust between the two countries and a shared readiness to step up practical cooperation.

Since the two countries resumed diplomatic relations, we have witnessed leapfrog development in bilateral relations, deepening political mutual trust and fruitful practical cooperation. The dividends of resuming diplomatic relations continue to be felt. These have fully proved that the resumption of diplomatic relations between China and Nicaragua is in line with the trend of history and the times, and serves the fundamental interests of the two countries and peoples. China is ready to work with Nicaragua to promote bilateral relations to a new height and bring more benefits to our peoples.

Reuters: The latest 2023 map released by China shows a 10-dash line in the South China Sea including two dashes east and southeast of Taiwan. In the map submitted by China to the UN in 2009, there were just 9 dashes. Malaysia, India as well as the Philippines have protested against this new map. Why is there a difference in the line on maps now currently released and the one in 2009? 

Wang Wenbin: China’s position on the South China Sea is consistent and clear. The competent authorities of China routinely publish standard maps of various types every year, which aims to make standard maps available to all sectors of society and raise public awareness of the standardized use of maps. We hope parties concerned can view it in an objective and rational light.

NHK: One week has just passed since Japan started releasing treated water. The Japanese government has been calling for China to engage in expert discussions based on scientific facts. So I’m wondering if the Chinese government has any intention to join the discussion? If no, could you give us the reason?

Wang Wenbin: We have been communicating our concerns to Japan on the basis of the science and facts and have engaged Japan bilaterally and multilaterally to repeatedly state the views and concerns from China’s professional agencies. In addition, China and Russia presented three joint lists of technical questions to Japan to demand clarifications regarding its ocean discharge plan. The Japanese side has failed to give a sincere reply and address our concerns. Instead, it has made groundless accusations against its neighbors over their legitimate concerns and eventually forcibly started the discharge of nuclear-contaminated water into the sea. This is not the right attitude or approach to solve the problem.

Let me stress that if Japan is truly sincere about this, it should immediately stop the ocean discharge and engage in full communication with all stakeholders, including its neighbors, on all relevant matters to address the concerns of neighboring countries and the international community.

Kyodo News: I want to confirm whether China thinks it’s important to engage in active communication with Japan regarding the issue of discharging the “treated water” into the sea?

Wang Wenbin: Like I stated clearly just now, if Japan is truly sincere about this and wants to act as a responsible country, it should immediately stop the ocean discharge.

CRI: Last week, the US imposed visa restrictions on some Chinese officials for their part in “forced assimilation” in Tibet. China said it would make a resolute response. Could you share the specific countermeasures China will take?

Wang Wenbin: The US imposed illegal sanctions on Chinese officials based on fabricated lies on Tibet in disregard of the facts. This move gravely interferes in China’s internal affairs, harms China’s interests, and violates basic norms governing international relations. We firmly oppose and categorically reject it. China will impose, on a reciprocal basis, visa restrictions on US individuals who spread rumors to smear China in this case or have long meddled in Tibet-related issues. We once again call on the US to respect facts, change course, stop spreading disinformation on Tibet, and stop using Tibet-related issues to interfere in China’s internal affairs.

AFP: The Biden administration has for the first time approved a direct US military aid to Taiwan under an assistance program aimed at foreign governments. Do you have any comment on this?

Wang Wenbin: The US decision to provide weapons to China’s Taiwan region under the so-called Foreign Military Financing used for sovereign states seriously violates the one-China principle and the stipulations of the three China-US joint communiqués, especially the August 17 Communiqué of 1982. This move seriously violates international law and basic norms governing international relations, undermines China’s sovereignty and security interests, harms peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, and sends gravely wrong signals to “Taiwan independence” separatist forces. China deplores and firmly opposes them.

There is but one China in the world and Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory. The Taiwan question is entirely China’s internal affair that brooks no foreign interference. We urge the US to earnestly abide by the one-China principle and the stipulations of the three China-US joint communiqués, stop enhancing military contact with the Taiwan region or arming it by any means or under whatever pretext, stop creating factors that could heighten tensions in the Taiwan Strait, and stop conniving at and supporting the separatists’ attempt to seek “Taiwan independence” by force. No one should underestimate the determination, resolve and capability of the Chinese people in safeguarding our sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Reuters: The ASEAN summit will be held in Jakarta, Indonesia next week. May we know who will China be sending as representatives to the meetings related to the summit?

Wang Wenbin: We will release relevant information in due course, please stay tuned.

Associated Press of Pakistan: According to media reports, on August 8, three former service chiefs of the Indian army, air force and navy visited Taiwan and attended a security dialogue organized by Taiwanese authorities. Do you have any comment on that?

Wang Wenbin: China firmly opposes all forms of official interaction between the Taiwan authorities and countries having diplomatic relations with China. This is our consistent and clear position. We hope the country concerned will abide by the one-China principle, prudently and properly handle Taiwan-related issues, and refrain from having any form of military and security cooperation with Taiwan. 

Kyodo News: According to Japanese media reports, Chinese and Japanese leaders are expected to attend the ASEAN Summit next week. Will the two sides talk to each other on the issue of the discharge of “treated water” on that occasion?

Wang Wenbin: I have no information to share on that.

The Paper: Following on the announcement that China will hold the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, can you share with us the achievements of Belt and Road cooperation in the past 10 years and China’s expectation for its future?

Wang Wenbin: Ten years ago, President Xi Jinping proposed the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Ten years on, the BRI has evolved from broad strokes to refined details, and become the most popular international public good and largest-scale international cooperation platform with remarkable achievements.

We have some slides here to give you some ideas about what has been achieved in a decade of BRI cooperation.

Over the past decade, the BRI’s circle of friends has continued to expand. China has signed Belt and Road cooperation documents with more than 150 countries and over 30 international organizations. The vision of high-quality Belt and Road cooperation supported by the spirit of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, open, green and clean cooperation, and a high-standard, people-centered and sustainable approach has been incorporated in the Joint Communique of the Leaders’ Roundtable of the 2nd Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. 

Over the past decade, Belt and Road cooperation has achieved fruitful outcomes. It has established more than 3,000 cooperation projects and galvanized nearly USD 1 trillion of investment, creating an array of national landmarks, livelihood projects, and milestones of cooperation. A large number of transport infrastructure projects have been launched, greatly boosting the development of BRI partners. Clean, efficient and quality green energy projects have lit up the road to future development of partner countries. Projects closely linked to people’s daily life and aimed at improving people’s wellbeing in areas of poverty reduction, agricultural technology and vocational education have effectively increased the living standards of people in BRI partner countries. According to the World Bank, by 2030, BRI transport infrastructure, if fully implemented, is expected to increase global real income by 0.7 to 2.9 percent, lifting 7.6 million people from extreme poverty and 32 million people from moderate poverty.

Over the past decade, high quality Belt and Road cooperation has progressed in solid steps. In implementing BRI projects, we actively fulfilled our duty for environmental protection, improved ecological environment and preserved biological diversity. China has signed over 50 cooperation documents on ecological environmental protection with relevant parties, established the Belt and Road Initiative International Green Development Coalition, and launched the Initiative for Belt and Road Partnership on Green Development with 31 countries. Former Under-Secretary-General of the UN Erik Solheim said that the BRI has become the biggest driving force for global green development. BRI partners have worked actively to carry out international cooperation in emerging areas, such as digital economy. The Digital Silk Road is becoming a digital bridge facilitating a new type of globalization. China has also worked with cooperation partners to actively promote the building of a clean Belt and Road, enhance anti-corruption international cooperation, and jointly launched the Beijing Initiative for the Clean Silk Road.

As we mark the 10th anniversary of the BRI, it is to set sail again. We will take the holding of the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation as an opportunity to take stock of what we’ve achieved and chart the course for the future, guide the continuous advancement of high-quality BRI cooperation, lay down a pathway toward common development and draw a beautiful picture of green development, and open up a chapter in the new era for the Silk Road featuring mutual benefit and win-win results between countries, friendship and cultural affinity between peoples and mutual learning between civilizations.

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