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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on January 29, 2024

2024-01-29 21:19

CCTV: January 27, 2024 marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and France. President Xi Jinping and French President Emmanuel Macron delivered video speeches and exchanged congratulatory messages a few days ago on the occasion. What’s China’s comment and expectations on China-France relations? 

Wang Wenbin: France is the first major western country to establish diplomatic relations at the ambassadorial level with New China. This year marks the 60th anniversary of the diplomatic ties. As President Xi stressed, 60 years ago, China and France broke the ice of the Cold War, bridged the divide between different blocs, and pushed the global landscape to evolve in the right direction of dialogue and cooperation, which still offers inspiration for today. Over the past 60 years, the two countries have adhered to independence, achieved common development through mutually beneficial cooperation, promoted mutual learning among civilizations through exchanges on an equal footing, and jointly addressed global challenges through multilateral coordination. We have not only benefited the people of both countries but also played a vital role in maintaining global peace and stability, promoting a multipolar world, and advancing greater democracy in international relations. The current China-France relations maintain sound growth. In particular, since last year, the bilateral interactions at various levels have rebounded quickly and cooperation across the board has borne fruitful results, demonstrating the vigor of China-France relations in the post-COVID era.

The two countries both value the 60th anniversary and will jointly hold events throughout the year to celebrate the anniversary and mark the China-France Year of Culture and Tourism. The reception celebrating the anniversary was held in Beijing and attended by Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and over 200 Chinese and French from various sectors who are committed to China-France friendship. Standing at the new starting point of historic importance, China stands ready to work with France to stay true to the original aspiration of establishing diplomatic relations, undertake the historical mission, make China-France comprehensive strategic partnership more solid and dynamic and contribute wisdom and efforts to global peace, security, prosperity and progress.

Bloomberg: Donald Trump has discussed with his advisers the possibility of imposing a flat 60 percent tariff on all Chinese imports. This is according to people familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity and reported by the Washington Post. Does the Foreign Ministry have any comment on Mr. Trump’s plans to impose 60 percent tariff on all Chinese imports?

Wang Wenbin: We don’t comment on unverified information. I want to stress that the economic and trade relations between China and the US are mutually beneficial and win-win in nature. Upholding sound and steady growth of China-US economic and trade ties serves the fundamental interests of both countries and our peoples and is conducive to global economic growth.

Sky News: China was questioned on the deportation of “defectors” from North Korea at the UN Human Rights Council’s Periodic Review last week. How does China justify the deportation?

Wang Wenbin: First of all, there is no so-called “DPRK defectors” in China. People who illegally enter China for economic reasons are not refugees. They violate Chinese laws and the entry and exit order of China. China handles these illegal entries under the principles of both domestic and international laws and the spirit of humanitarianism. 

Taking this opportunity, I’d like to brief you on the UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR). On January 26, the 45th session of the UN Human Rights Council’s UPR Working Group adopted unanimously its report on the fourth cycle of the UPR of China. After the session, representatives from many countries sent congratulations to China. The delegation of the Chinese government attended the UPR session on January 23 and had constructive dialogue with representatives of other countries in an open and candid manner. More than 120 countries spoke highly of China’s human rights progress, and fully acknowledged China’s effort in advancing and protecting human rights. 

China is advancing the cause towards a strong and prosperous country and national rejuvenation in all respects through Chinese modernization. In achieving this grand goal, we will deliver more gains of modernization to all people more fairly, continue to better safeguard human rights and strengthen the free and well-rounded development of our people. While China promotes high-quality development of its own human rights cause, it will always hold high the banner of peaceful development and win-win cooperation, seek others’ success as well as ours with a global vision, and advocate an equal and orderly multipolar world and a universally beneficial and inclusive economic globalization. China will work with the international community to unswervingly advance and protect human rights, proactively take part in global human rights governance, champion humanity’s common values, and build a community with a shared future for mankind to jointly make the world a better one.

Nikkei: The Chinese government and the Thai government yesterday signed the agreement on visa mutual exemption for holders of ordinary passport. Why the Chinese government has not yet resumed the pre-pandemic visa-free policy to Japan? Many Japanese companies hope to see the visa-free policy resumed soon. What’s the condition for the policy to resume?

Wang Wenbin: China always attaches high importance to facilitating foreigners’ visits to China, including Japanese citizens. We will intensively look into the request from all sectors in Japan for resuming the visa-free policy to travel to China. We hope that Japan can work with us in the same direction to make cross-border travel between our two countries easier.

News 1 Korea: First, Vice Foreign Minister Sun Weidong concluded his recent visit to the DPRK. Will there be any high-level dialogues between China and the DPRK in the future? Second, after ROK Foreign Minister Cho Tae-yul took office this month, the Chinese Foreign Minister sent him a congratulatory message but has not had the first telephone call with him. When will they have their first call?

Wang Wenbin: China released readouts on Vice Foreign Minister Sun Weidong’s visit to the DPRK. You may look it up. I have nothing more to share with you on the plan of China-DPRK exchanges for the next stage.

After Foreign Minister Cho Tae-yul took office, Foreign Minister Wang Yi sent him a congratulatory message. China is willing to keep in touch with the ROK on the plans of future exchanges between the two foreign ministers.

Bloomberg: Bloomberg is reporting that the US wants cloud computing firms to reveal the names of their foreign clients who were developing artificial intelligence apps on their platforms. That means that Washington could use those requirements to choke off a major avenue, through which Chinese firms access crucial servers for AI training and hosting. Does the Foreign Ministry have a comment on these plans for the US to ask cloud computing companies to reveal the names of their foreign clients?

Wang Wenbin: AI development and governance bears on the future of humanity. It requires concerted and coordinated response, not decoupling, severing of chains or fence-building. We urge the US side not to act contrarily to the laws of sci-tech advancement, earnestly respect the principles of market economy and fair competition, and create favorable conditions for strengthening international AI coordination and cooperation.

Nikkei: China implemented a visa-free policy for Germany, France, Italy and some other European countries last December but they have yet to waive visas for Chinese travelers. It seems that reciprocity is not a must in China’s visa-free policy. What’s your comment?

Wang Wenbin: Countries make independent decisions on their visa policy. We welcome other countries to work with China to facilitate cross-border travel. Recently, Singapore and Thailand signed with China visa mutual exemption agreements. France and Switzerland also announced to provide more visa facilitation for Chinese citizens. We believe that these measures will effectively promote cross-border travel and mutually beneficial cooperation between China and relevant countries.

CCTV: It’s reported that the UN International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordered provisional measures on South Africa’s “genocide” case against Israel. The order asks Israel to take all measures within its powers to prevent any incitement to “genocide” in the Gaza Strip and improve the humanitarian situation there. What’s China’s comment? Does China support the ICJ order?

Wang Wenbin: China noted the provisional measures issued by the ICJ. The order, supported by the majority of judges of the court, responds to the international community’s concern on protecting civilians, deescalating the situation and easing the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. We hope that the ICJ’s provisional measures can be effectively implemented.

China’s position on the Palestinian question is consistent and clear. We condemn all acts against civilians and oppose all moves that violate international law. China urges parties to the conflict to realize a comprehensive ceasefire at once, abide by the international humanitarian law and prevent an even worse humanitarian disaster from happening. The fundamental way out of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is to implement the two-State solution and promote the comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the Palestinian question at an early date.

Shenzhen TV: The Comoros Supreme Court recently confirmed the re-election of the incumbent President Azali Assoumani who secured 57.02 percent of the vote. What is your comment?

Wang Wenbin: We noted that the Comoros Supreme Court has released the result of the presidential election and extend our sincere congratulations on Mr. Azali Assoumani’s re-election as the President of Comoros. We believe that with the continued leadership of President Azali Assoumani, greater progress will be made in national building and economic and social development of Comoros.

China attaches importance to growing its friendly relations with Comoros, and will work with the new government to deepen mutually beneficial cooperation in all areas and inject new impetus into the sound and stable development of the bilateral relations.

Reuters: Papua New Guinea is in an early negotiation with China on a potential security and policing deal, its Foreign Minister said in an interview with Reuters. The Minister said that China has approached Papua New Guinea with an offer to assist its police force with training, equipment and surveillance technology. Could we confirm with the Ministry if these talks are true and at what stage are these talks?

Wang Wenbin: I'm not aware of the specifics and would refer you to competent authorities. Papua New Guinea is China’s good friend and partner in the Pacific islands region. Our comprehensive strategic partnership has developed well. Over the years, China has carried out friendly cooperation with Papua New Guinea in policing and other fields on the basis of equality, mutual respect, mutual benefit, openness and inclusiveness. China stands ready to continue to work with Papua New Guinea to promote cooperation in related fields and advance common development.

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