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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on November 7, 2023

2023-11-07 21:30

At France’s invitation, Ding Zhongli, Vice Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC), will attend the Paris Peace Forum and relevant events on behalf of China from November 10 to 11.

China Daily: The Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents enters into force in China today. Is China fully prepared for compliance with the Convention? Could you share more information?

Wang Wenbin: On March 8, 2023, China acceded to the Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents. Since then, various agencies have coordinated with each other to complete the revision of relevant domestic laws and regulations, the system development of issuing Apostille Certificates stipulated by the Convention and the establishment of the verification mechanism, etc., and is now fully prepared for compliance with the Convention. The MFA and relevant local foreign affairs offices simultaneously held ceremonies for the issuance of the first Apostille Certificates this morning, officially announcing the entry into force of the Convention in China.

From today on, official documents sent between China and other contracting countries for use require only an Apostille Certificate issued by the countries they come from. Consular authentication is no longer required.

The MFA is the government agency responsible for managing Apostille Certificates and issues them for public documents issued in Chinese mainland. Entrusted by the MFA, relevant local foreign affairs offices may issue Apostille Certificates for public documents issued within their respective administrative divisions. For more information on the procedures of issuance and verification of the certificates, please refer to the official websites of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, China Consular Service, relevant local foreign affairs offices and Chinese embassies and consulates abroad.

The entry into force of the Convention in China will bring huge institutional benefits to China and other contracting parties. China looks forward to working with all parties to promote the application of the Convention in more countries and to further facilitate international travel and business cooperation.

AFP: Premier Li Qiang held talks with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in Beijing this morning. Can you brief us on the meeting?

Wang Wenbin: Premier Li Qiang held talks with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese this morning. For specifics, please refer to the readout that will be released soon.

Anadolu Agency: China, along with the United Arab Emirates, had called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council yesterday concerning the Israel-Palestine conflict. However, the meeting had failed to adopt a resolution to call for a humanitarian ceasefire. We have learned that the US side objected to the wording of the resolution and said they would pursue “humanitarian pauses” rather than a humanitarian ceasefire. Why do you think the US wants to pause the conflict rather than to cease the conflict? And can you describe more about China’s position during this debate in the emergency session of the UN Security Council?

Wang Wenbin: On your question about why the US only accepts “pauses” rather than a ceasefire, I think it’s more suitable if you put that question directly to them.

Let me say that as the rotating president of the Security Council, China will continue to work with relevant parties to galvanize responsible Security Council action and play an active and constructive role in ceasing the hostilities, easing the humanitarian situation, and ultimately realizing durable Palestinian-Israeli peace through the two-state solution.

Anadolu Agency: To follow that up, but during the meeting, was there a discussion? Because as we learned from sources, there was a discussion about the wording and I think China and the US were not in terms with the same wording. They say they want humanitarian pauses. The resolution, the offer for a resolution, was to call for a humanitarian ceasefire like in the United Nations General Assembly resolution on October 27. So can you give some information, some details about the conflict of position on wording?

Wang Wenbin: You may ask the US about its position.

Regarding China’s position, as we have said on a number of occasions, following this closed meeting of the Security Council, our Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Zhang Jun and UAE Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Nusseibeh had a joint press briefing about the meeting, which you may refer to.

Bloomberg: We reported today that the US Defense Secretary Austin has requested a meeting at the ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting Plus in Jakarta with the Chinese Defense Minister. Has the Chinese received that request and will you be sending someone to meet with the Defence Secretary?

Wang Wenbin: I’d refer you to competent authorities.

TASS: President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen yesterday at the EU Ambassadors Conference said that “every measure of influence that Beijing has on Hamas and on Iran needs to be used to prevent further escalation.” What is China’s comment?

Wang Wenbin: On the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, China remains on the side of peace, equity and justice. China has been in close communication with relevant parties and engaged in shuttle diplomacy to bring about a ceasefire and end of violence and call for the restoration of peace, which is clear to anyone with an objective view. The international community needs to take urgent action. Countries outside the region, especially major countries, need to form an objective and just position and play a constructive role in cooling down the crisis.

AFP: An estimated 80 percent of China’s loans to Belt and Road partners went to countries in financial distress, said a report released Monday by a US-based research institute. What’s the foreign ministry’s comment on the findings of this report?

Wang Wenbin: I have not seen the relevant report you mentioned, but as I understand, your question points to the perspective long shared by some Western media that “China creates debt traps for developing countries”. Let me elaborate on our response to this perspective.

“China-made debt-traps” are nothing but a narrative trap created by some forces to disrupt and jeopardize China’s cooperation with other developing countries. 

First of all, this “debt trap” rhetoric goes against economic common sense. As we all know, a healthy, right amount of debt is conducive to socioeconomic development. Many countries take government debt as an important form of raising funds and lever for economic development. Anyone who talks about only the negatives of debt without mentioning its benefits or even portrays it as a poison for development is simply being ill-informed or amateurish. 

This “debt trap” rhetoric also runs counter to facts. China’s investment and financing cooperation with other countries focuses on infrastructure and production sectors and has successfully helped developing countries address lack of funding, infrastructure and talents and other development bottlenecks and enhance their self-driven development capacity. A report by the US-based Boston University Global Development Policy Center noted that the investment and financing cooperation between China and fellow developing countries could help these countries to overcome bottlenecks in development, unlock growth potential and increase global real income by up to three percentage points. To describe development resources as a “debt trap” is to call white black.

This “debt trap” rhetoric wrongly pictures the will of the developing countries. Investment and financing cooperation between China and fellow developing countries is carried out in compliance with international rules, market laws and the principle of debt sustainability. Widely welcomed in the developing world, it offers a good choice for debt-laden countries to meet funding shortfalls and boost economic growth. Leaders of developing countries have noted that China shows up where and when the West will not or are reluctant to and is a true good friend. In fact, as we have seen, not a single cooperation partner has accused China of creating “debt traps”. It is a handful of Western countries who have been spreading the fallacy of “Chinese debt traps”. The multilateral financial institutions and commercial creditors these countries dominate are the major creditors of developing countries and constitute the major source of stress for them in terms of debt repayment. They are the ones that need to make substantive contributions to easing developing countries’ debt burden.

Anadolu Agency: Reports show that at least 37 journalists and media workers have been killed so far since the outbreak of war in Gaza and not only journalists, but also their family members have become the victim of attacks. We suffered from this in a sad incident where an Anadolu Agency cameraman lost four of his children and three of his siblings in an Israeli attack at Al-Maghazi refugee camp on Sunday. There were also UN relief workers and other civilians who lost their lives in the same attack. Will China have a message about the killing of journalists and other civilians during the conflict in Gaza?

Wang Wenbin: We extend our deep condolences over the loss of all civilian lives, including journalists and others, in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. China’s position on the conflict is consistent and clear. We stand on the side of peace, equity and justice. We call for an immediate ceasefire and cessation of hostilities, protection of civilians, opening of humanitarian aid corridors, deescalation, and an early return to the right track of the two-state solution.

AFP: The APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting will kick off in California. Can you confirm that Chinese leader will attend?

Wang Wenbin: China is a responsible country, and we are never absent from important multilateral fora of which China has always been a participant. Regarding the participation arrangements, we are in contact with all parties and will release official information in due course. 

CCTV: Yesterday the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development issued a report titled “The Role of China’s Pilot Free Trade Zones in Promoting Institutional Innovation, Industrial Transformation and South-South Cooperation”, which speaks highly of the success of China’s Pilot Free Trade Zones (FTZs) over the past decade and recognizes China’s fruitful efforts in deepening reform and expanding opening-up. The Pilot FTZs were a unique development in China and can offer a reference point to other developing countries, the report says. What’s your comment on this?

Wang Wenbin: We have noted the report. This is the first special report on China’s Pilot Free Trade Zones (FTZs) by an international organization. It reflects the growing international interest in China’s Pilot FTZs. According to the report, China’s Pilot FTZs, through promoting investment and trade facilitation, developing innovation and technological capability, and expanding opening-up in key sectors such as services and the digital economy, have effectively improved government services and business environment, driven industrial transformation and upgrading, boosted FDI inflow, and accelerated China’s reform and opening-up.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the launch of Pilot FTZs in China. A decade ago, President Xi Jinping came up with this strategic vision with an aim to enhance China’s domestic development and international cooperation. What started a decade ago has now grown into a constellation of 22 Pilot FTZs, providing a new pattern of reform and opening-up involving the coastal, inland and border regions. They have become a hallmark of China’s high-level opening-up. The growing number of Pilot FTZs also attests to the sustained progress in China’s in-depth and all-round opening-up and its determined steps in building an open economy at a higher level.

Openness is a key driving force behind the progress of human civilizations, an intrinsic path toward global prosperity and development, and also China’s hallmark in modern times. From launching the opening-up program 45 years ago to joining the WTO 22 years ago, from building the first Pilot FTZ 10 years ago to the inaugural CIIE 5 years ago, China has never stopped its effort to pursue opening-up, never wavered in its determination of sharing development opportunities with the world and never undermined its confidence in “joining hands” with each other instead of “letting go” of each other’s hands and “tearing down walls”, instead of “erecting walls”. 

China will remain an important opportunity for the world’s development, stay committed to high-level opening up, and make economic globalization more open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial for all. China stands ready to work with other countries to make the pie of the global market even bigger, strengthen the mechanisms for sharing benefits globally, and explore new ways of international cooperation. China hopes to work with the rest of the world to make efforts in the same direction and make mutual achievements on a grand stage of openness to achieve steady progress in building an open world economy and deliver benefits to the world through win-win cooperation.

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