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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on November 6, 2023


2023-11-06 19:55

Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Vice Premier of the State Council Zhang Guoqing and Russia’s Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoy to the Volga Federal District Igor Komarov will hold the fourth meeting of the council of cooperation between the upper and middle reaches of the Yangtze River and the Volga Federal District in Nanchang, Jiangxi Province on November 8.

CCTV: To follow up on your announcement of the meeting of the Yangtze-Volga cooperation council between China and Russia, can you share China’s expectation for the event?

Wang Wenbin: Under the strategic guidance of President Xi Jinping and President Putin, China-Russia relations have been growing at a high level with steady progress of cooperation in various sectors, including at sub-national level. The meeting of the Yangtze-Volga cooperation council is one of the important sub-national cooperation mechanisms between China and Russia. The council has held three successful meetings in China and Russia, which played a positive role in coordinating and advancing cooperation in trade, culture and people-to-people exchange between the two regions.

The fourth meeting of the council, to be held by Vice Premier Zhang Guoqing and Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoy Igor Komarov in Nanchang, will focus on delivering on the common understandings between the leaders of the two countries, review the progress made in cooperation between the two regions, provide guidance for deeper and more substantive cooperation, and contribute to the growth of the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era.

Anadolu Agency: Over the past weekend Israeli forces had targeted a convoy of ambulances near Al-Shifa Hospital and hit Al-Maghazi and Al-Shati refugee camps and a UN-run school, Al-Fakhoura school, among other civilian facilities in Gaza Strip. Attacks have resulted in heavy casualties including children. Targeting refugee camps, schools, hospitals clearly violates Geneva Convention on the protection of civilian persons in time of war. China has taken over the presidency of Security Council in the UN this month. What’s China’s position on these violations of international law and international humanitarian law in Gaza? And what would you offer to stop these actions that could amount to war crimes?

Wang Wenbin: The current Palestinian-Israeli conflict has resulted in over 11,000 deaths, mostly civilians. The past few days in particular have seen Palestinian civilian casualties rocketing and catastrophic humanitarian situation engulfing Gaza. This tragedy is a challenge to human conscience and affront to the basic norms of international relations. The international community must not allow it to continue. China condemns and opposes acts that harm civilians and damage civilian facilities and violate the international humanitarian law. We urge relevant parties to exercise maximum calm and restraint, immediately stop fighting, do everything possible to ensure the safety and security of civilians and hospitals as well as other civilian facilities under the special protection of the Geneva Convention, open up humanitarian aid corridors, and prevent the humanitarian disaster from getting even worse.

A week ago, the UN General Assembly held an emergency special session and adopted a resolution with overwhelming majority. The resolution calls for an immediate humanitarian truce, demands that all parties immediately and fully comply with their obligations under international law and respect and protect all civilians and civilian objects as well as humanitarian personnel and facilities in accordance with the international humanitarian law, and reaffirms the two-state solution. This resolution reflects the strong call of the international community and where it stands on the issue. As the current UN Security Council president, China will do its utmost for restoring peace in Palestine, and get the Security Council to fulfill its responsibility, play its role, build up consensus and take prompt, responsible and meaningful action to ease the current crisis and keep civilians safe. We will continue working with the rest of the international community and make relentless effort to mediate the conflict, ease tensions and bring the Palestinian question back to the track of the two-state solution.

TASS: China and the US are meeting for arms control talks in Washington today. Could you tell us about China’s basic position and the main goals of the talks this time?

Wang Wenbin: As we said last week, China stays in close contact with the world’s major countries on arms control and non-proliferation. China and the US will be holding consultations on arms control and non-proliferation at the director-general’s level in Washington D.C. soon. The two sides will exchange views on a wide range of issues such as the implementation of international arms control treaties and non-proliferation. As for more information about the consultations, we will release it in due course. Please check back for updates.

The Paper: The fifth China-US Sister Cities Conference was successfully held last week. Can you further elaborate on the event and what’s your comment?

Wang Wenbin: The fifth China-US Sister Cities Conference was held in Suzhou, Jiangsu Province on November 3. President Xi Jinping sent a message to the Conference, saying that the foundation of China-US relations lies in the people and the source of strength lies in the friendship between the people. Sister provinces/states and sister cities are important platforms for deepening friendship and cooperation that benefits both sides. Over the past four decades and more, sister provinces/states and sister cities in the two countries have engaged in close and fruitful cooperation and benefited both peoples in concrete ways. President Xi called on participants of the conference to continue to serve as a bridge for sub-national exchanges and enable provinces/states and cities to reach out to each other over the vast Pacific and together play a greater role in facilitating sound and steady growth of bilateral relations and enhancing the well-being of both peoples. 

Sister city cooperation started when China and the US established diplomatic ties. Since 1979, our two countries have set up 284 pairs of sister provinces/states and cities, providing strong support for growing China-US relations. This Conference is a major event in China-US sub-national and people-to-people exchanges since COVID-19. The Conference and sideline events attracted about 200 participants, including representatives from over 10 Chinese provinces and cities and nearly 20 county supervisors and city mayors from 22 US states. Under the theme of “Build Green Cities for the People”, participants had in-depth exchanges of views, shared experience, explored opportunities for cooperation and achieved good results. The conference reflects the keen interest and strong dynamism in sub-national and people-to-people exchanges. It also shows that friendly cooperation is wanted by people from both countries.

China will continue to support and encourage sub-national and people-to-people exchanges. We also hope that the US will work with us to create favorable conditions and the atmosphere for sub-national and people-to-people exchanges and cooperation.

Anadolu Agency: Israeli finance minister Bezalel Smotrich in an interview said that “Israeli army will control Gaza after the war”. From the amount of that war budget and the minister’s remarks, we understand that there are signs that Israel plans to expand its occupation to the whole of Gaza Strip and has the intent to make it permanent. As a member of the UN Security Council, what will China’s position be if that would be the case? 

Wang Wenbin: China’s position on the Palestinian question is consistent and clear. We support the establishment of an independent state of Palestine that enjoys full sovereignty on the basis of the 1967 borders and with East Jerusalem as its capital on the basis of relevant UN resolutions. China will work relentlessly with the international community to this end. 

Shenzhen TV: According to reports, over 150 people were killed and hundreds injured after an earthquake of magnitude 6.4 hit western Nepal late on Friday. Do you have any comment on this? Is there any Chinese casualties?

Wang Wenbin: We’re deeply saddened by the fatalities and serious damages caused by the earthquake in Nepal. Nepal is China’s traditional friendly neighbor, and China feels deeply for Nepal as it copes with the disaster. Immediately following the earthquake, President Xi Jinping sent a message of condolences to Nepal’s President Ram Chandra Poudel. He expressed deep condolences for the victims and sympathies to the bereaved families and the injured, and wished the injured a speedy recovery. China is willing to provide necessary disaster assistance to Nepal. Premier Li Qiang and Foreign Minister Wang Yi sent messages of condolences to their Nepali counterparts respectively. Chinese emergency aid supplies will be delivered to Nepal’s quake-hit areas.

Up till now, there have been no deaths or injuries of Chinese nationals during the earthquake. 

Dragon TV: Yesterday the sixth China International Import Expo (CIIE) opened in Shanghai. President Xi Jinping sent a letter to the expo. Premier Li Qiang delivered a keynote speech at the opening ceremony. It is believed that the CIIE is becoming an important platform for China’s opening-up to the world. What do you think of the significance of the expo for promoting China’s high-level opening-up?

Wang Wenbin: The sixth China International Import Expo (CIIE) opened in Shanghai on November 5. President Xi Jinping sent a letter to the expo, reiterating China’s firm determination to advance high-standard opening up and facilitate the building of an open world economy. Premier Li Qiang attended the opening ceremony and delivered a keynote speech, stressing that China sincerely hopes to work with other countries to make efforts in the same direction and make mutual achievements on a grand stage of openness.

For the first time since COVID-19, all CIIE events are once again held physically. A total of 289 Fortune 500 companies and industry leaders are participating, including 15 major global automobile brands, ten leading industrial electrical companies, ten major medical device companies, three mining giants, four major grains dealers, and five major shipping companies. The Business Exhibition area reached a new record level of 367,000 square meters. This CIIE also saw other “firsts”—the first delegation of American small and medium companies, the first designated area for African agricultural products and the first match-making event for small and medium enterprises. Many exhibitors said they hope to showcase their latest and best products and let more people see what their home countries have to offer at the CIIE, which certainly demonstrates the expo’s ability to attract.

As the world’s first national-level expo dedicated to import, the CIIE seeks to further connect China with the rest of the world. It is an increasingly important platform for international procurement, investment promotion, people-to-people and cultural exchange, and openness and cooperation. It is a showcase of China’s new development paradigm, a platform for high-standard opening up, and a public good for the whole world. The fact that more quality products from around the world have entered the Chinese market is good news not only for the Chinese consumers, but also for integrating Chinese and foreign goods, services and technologies. It also drives industrial upgrade and make life better in relevant countries and regions. Thanks to the CIIE, more and more foreign companies are able to access the vast Chinese market made available by China’s high-level opening-up, share in the huge dividends brought by China’s high-quality development, and see China’s readiness to share opportunities with the whole world.

The CIIE is hosted by China for the benefit of the whole world. Its growing success witnesses China’s progress in opening-up and strengthens the world’s confidence and faith in pursuing a shared future. Openness, cooperation and win-win results is the smartest and most natural choice. China will continue to advance opening-up featuring more market opportunities, better harmonization of rules, stronger innovation drive and greater inclusiveness. We are ready to work with all countries to foster, promote and contribute to an open world economy, and contribute more to world economic recovery and global development and prosperity.

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