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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on November 27, 2023

2023-11-27 20:00

As the rotating president of the UN Security Council for November, China will hold a Security Council high-level meeting on the Palestinian-Israeli issue on November 29. Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will travel to New York to chair the meeting.

Xinhua News Agency: Could you elaborate on the considerations behind the Security Council high-level meeting on the Palestinian-Israeli issue to be chaired by Foreign Minister Wang Yi and China’s expectation for the meeting? 

Wang Wenbin: The latest round of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict has caused massive civilian casualties and a humanitarian disaster. The international community has been watching the situation with great concern and looks to the UN Security Council to fulfill its primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security and play a constructive role. 

The Security Council adopted Resolution 2712 on the Palestinian-Israeli issue not long ago, which is the first Security Council resolution adopted after the latest round of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict broke out and also the first Security Council resolution on the Palestinian-Israeli issue adopted since the end of 2016. It started initial steps towards promoting a ceasefire and is conducive to averting an even graver humanitarian crisis and disaster.

As the rotating president of the UN Security Council for November, China hopes that, by holding this Security Council high-level meeting on the Palestinian-Israeli issue, we can do our part by bringing parties together for in-depth exchanges to build up consensus and take further concrete steps to alleviate the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, realize ceasefire and cessation of hostilities, protect civilians and ultimately promote the comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the Palestinian question through the two-state solution. 

Yonhap News Agency: The ROK-China-Japan Trilateral Foreign Ministers’ Meeting was held in the ROK yesterday. China’s readout released by the foreign ministry says that the three sides agreed to create conditions for a leaders’ meeting of China, Japan and the ROK. Can you specify the conditions for the leaders’ meeting?

Wang Wenbin: The 10th China-Japan-ROK Trilateral Foreign Ministers’ Meeting was held in Busan, the ROK yesterday. The three sides agreed that it is important to deliver on the consensus reached by leaders, including the Trilateral Cooperation Vision for the Next Decade. The three sides agreed to create conditions for a China-Japan-ROK leaders’ meeting and speed up preparation. The three sides need to work together in the same direction and create a favorable environment for achieving positive outcomes at the leaders’ meeting. 

Taking this opportunity, I would like to brief you on the China-Japan-ROK Trilateral Foreign Ministers’ Meeting. On November 26, Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Foreign Minister Wang Yi attended the 10th China-Japan-ROK Trilateral Foreign Ministers’ Meeting with ROK Foreign Minister Park Jin and Japanese Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa in Busan, the ROK.

This is the first China-Japan-ROK Trilateral Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in four years. Foreign Minister Wang said that as we are renewing the trilateral cooperation, we need to keep in mind our original aspiration and stick to the right direction and implement our leaders’ common understandings including the Trilateral Cooperation Vision for the Next Decade. The top priority is to continue to respect each other’s development path and core interests in the spirit of facing up to history and looking forward to the future, maintain sound bilateral relations, and lay a solid foundation for a comprehensive restart of trilateral cooperation featuring steady and long-term progress. The three countries need to stick to mutual benefit and win-win results, restart negotiations on the trilateral free trade agreement among China, Japan and the ROK as soon as possible and maintain the momentum of regional economic integration. The three countries need to continue to deepen scientific and technological innovation, keep the industrial and supply chains stable and smooth and optimize and upgrade them. The three countries need to strengthen exchanges and cooperation, expand people-to-people exchanges, facilitate cross-border travels and jointly address common challenges such as climate change. The three countries need to pursue common development, continue to build more Trilateral+X Cooperation projects based on the principles of voluntariness, equality, openness, win-win results, transparency and sustainability, and promote common and sustainable development both inside and outside of the region.

Park Jin and Kamikawa Yoko spoke positively of the progress of China-Japan-ROK cooperation, noting that the three countries are close neighbors and the trilateral cooperation has great significance and enormous potential. In face of the new situation, the three countries need to think about what we hope to achieve through cooperation, step up communication and exchange, work closely together in various fields, and bring more tangible outcomes for the peoples of the three countries. China-Japan-ROK cooperation can reach beyond Northeast Asia and contribute to peace and prosperity in the region and the world. The ROK and Japan are open to China-Japan-ROK+X cooperation to benefit more countries and regions.

Amid changes and instabilities in the world and the sluggish world economic recovery, countries in the region and beyond have stronger aspirations for solidarity, coordination and common development. Foreign Minister Wang Yi noted that as important countries in the Asia-Pacific, China, Japan and the ROK need to act in the interest of peace and development and the wellbeing of the people in the region, deepen regional cooperation, jointly respond to risks and challenges and safeguard the region’s peace and prosperity. The three countries need to act as frontrunners of East Asia cooperation, drive East Asia cooperation through cooperation among the three countries, uphold open regionalism, oppose drawing ideological lines, and reject blocs in regional cooperation. The three countries need to act as stabilizers for the region’s peace and security, act on the vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, and address differences and disputes in peaceful ways through dialogue and consultation. The three countries need to act as relief valves in addressing hotspot issues. Continued tensions on the Korean Peninsula do not serve the interest of any side. It is imperative to cool down the situation, create conditions needed to resume dialogue and adopt meaningful actions. 

Foreign Minister Wang Yi stressed that China will continue to uphold the policy of building friendship and partnership with its neighbors and work with the ROK and Japan to bring the trilateral cooperation back to the right track, maintain sound and steady sustainable development and make new contribution to regional and global peace and prosperity.

CCTV: From November 23 to 24, French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna paid a visit to China and the 6th meeting of the China-France high-level dialogue mechanism on people-to-people exchanges was held in Beijing. Do you have more information to share about the visit and the outcomes of the meeting? What’s your expectation for China-France relations going forward?

Wang Wenbin: Recently we have seen frequent high-level exchanges between China and France. President Xi Jinping had a phone conversation with French President Emmanuel Macron and reached new important common understandings on promoting the further development of China-France and China-EU relations. Premier Li Qiang met with visiting French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna, where they reviewed good practice in growing bilateral relations and agreed to further deepen mutually-beneficial cooperation. Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna held talks and co-chaired the 6th meeting of the China-France high-level dialogue mechanism on people-to-people exchanges. The two sides agreed to make joint efforts in the following aspects:

First, we will work together for a successful year in bilateral ties. To mark the year 2024 as the China-France Year of Culture and Tourism and the 60th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral diplomatic relations, the two sides will hold a host of commemorative events, act on the important common understandings reached by the two heads of state, have closer high-level exchanges and deepen practical cooperation.

Second, we will deepen all-round high-quality cooperation. Both sides will continue to make full use of the three high-level dialogue mechanisms, namely the strategic dialogue, the economic and financial dialogue, and the dialogue on people-to-people exchanges. We will also open new channels of exchanges and dialogue, deepen cooperation in traditional sectors of strength including civil nuclear energy, space and aviation, tap into potentials in emerging sectors such as education, scientific research, energy transition and sustainable development, explore third-market cooperation, and advance high-quality Belt and Road cooperation.

Third, we will expand opening-up to each other. China stands ready to work together with France to turn the mechanism of “from French farms to Chinese tables” into a highlight in bilateral cooperation. As China continues to advance high-quality development and high-level opening-up, it stands ready to offer more opportunities to French companies interested in the Chinese market. It is hoped that France will continue to provide a sound business environment for Chinese companies.

Fourth, we will jointly respond to global challenges. The two sides agreed to uphold the institutional framework of the Paris Agreement and support a successful 28th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP28) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Dubai. In April this year, the Chinese and French Presidents reached important common understandings on jointly building a China-France carbon neutrality center. During Foreign Minister Colonna’s visit, the center was officially launched with an inauguration ceremony attended by the two foreign ministers, which sent a strong message of China and France strengthening green tech cooperation and jointly responding to climate change.

At the meeting of the China-France high-level dialogue mechanism on people-to-people exchanges, the two foreign ministers jointly witnessed the signing of cooperation documents on education, scientific research, culture and tourism, and health, and the release of the list of high-quality cultural exchange activities between China and France in 2024. They also unveiled the logo of the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and France and the China-France Year of Culture and Tourism. China will grant 15-day visa-free entry for French travelers and France will issue longer visas to Chinese postgraduate students.

Standing at a new historical starting point, China is ready to work with France to renew our traditional friendship and open up new prospects to make sure our comprehensive strategic partnership will be stronger and more dynamic and our cooperation will continue to lead the world.

China News Service: After China announced the unilateral visa-free policy for Malaysia on November 24, Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim said on November 26 that Malaysia will grant 30-day visa-free travel for Chinese citizens starting from December 1. What is your comment?

Wang Wenbin: We welcome Malaysia’s 30-day visa-free policy for Chinese citizens. China and Malaysia are neighbors with time-honored friendship. Earlier this year, the two countries reached important common understandings on building a China-Malaysia community with a shared future, and next year marks the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries. We believe that the recent visa facilitation policies of China and Malaysia will further boost cross-border travel between the two countries. China stands ready to work with Malaysia to continue stepping up mutually-beneficial cooperation as well as cultural and people-to-people exchange so as to deliver more fruitful outcomes through friendly cooperation.

Dragon TV: The new government of New Zealand was officially sworn in on November 27. National Party leader Christopher Luxon was sworn in as New Zealand’s Prime Minister. Winston Peters, leader of New Zealand First Party, became Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister. What’s China’s comment?

Wang Wenbin: China congratulates the new government of New Zealand on being sworn in. Premier of the State Council Li Qiang and Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Foreign Minister Wang Yi sent congratulatory messages to Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Winston Peters respectively.

China and New Zealand are each other’s important cooperation partners. China always values the development of China-New Zealand relations and stands ready to work with the new government of New Zealand to uphold mutual respect, equality and mutual benefits, enhance dialogue and communication, expand practical cooperation, properly settle differences and further advance the China-New Zealand comprehensive strategic partnership.

Ukrainian News Agency: The Washington Post reports that Russian and Chinese executives discussed Russia-Crimea tunnel project. But it is known that China officially recognizes Crimea as the Ukrainian peninsula, so such construction will be illegal. What is the comment of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs?

Wang Wenbin: What the report says is groundless. I will not comment on that.

CCTV: According to reports, the Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, announced that it would delay the release of hostages until Israel  allows aid trucks to enter northern Gaza, accusing Israel of violating the terms regarding aid in the ceasefire agreement and continuing to open fire. The Israeli military said that it will immediately return to striking and operations in the Gaza Strip once the truce ends and that the fighting would continue until all hostages are freed and Hamas itself is dismantled. Do you have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: Since Israel and Hamas reached the ceasefire agreement, both sides have released three groups of detainees. Steps towards peace, however small, should be encouraged. Difficulties in protecting civilians, however daunting, must be overcome with every possible effort. This round of Palestinian-Israeli conflict has continued for more than 50 days, causing great casualties and serious humanitarian disasters. As we have repeatedly stressed, violence does not bring true security and the use of force will not create lasting peace. China welcomes all efforts that are conducive to bringing about ceasefire and deescalating the situation. We urge parties to the conflict to earnestly implement UN Security Council Resolution 2712 and the resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly at its emergency special session, jointly and effectively implement the temporary ceasefire agreement and enable it to be extended, and realize a true and lasting ceasefire. 

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