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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lin Jian’s Regular Press Conference on March 21, 2024

2024-03-21 20:31

Xinhua News Agency: The Indonesian General Election Commission announced the official presidential election results on March 20. Prabowo Subianto won the elections with about 58 percent of the votes. What’s China’s comments? 

Lin Jian: China congratulates Mr. Prabowo Subianto on winning the presidential election. President Xi Jinping has sent him a congratulatory message.

China and Indonesia are traditional friends and neighbors. China attaches great importance to its relations with Indonesia. We stand ready to work with Indonesia to carry forward our traditional friendship, deepen our comprehensive strategic cooperation and achieve greater progress in the building of China-Indonesia community with a shared future to bring more benefits to the two countries and the two peoples. 

Danish Broadcasting Corporation: I would like to ask about the visa waivers that have been expanding recently for European countries. So some countries have gotten visa free entry to China. Some have not. And there’s a bit of confusion among diplomats and business people about how you qualify and get this visa waiver from China. So do you help clarify what’s the criteria for getting a visa waiver and also help me and the audience understand what’s the difference between Netherlands, Denmark, Hungary and Sweden?

Lin Jian: China has always been open to expanding people-to-people exchange. We stand ready to enhance communication with relevant countries and make cross-border travel easier.

CRI: Foreign Minister Wang Yi is paying an official visit to Australia. Can you further brief us on the visit?

Lin Jian: On March 20, Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Foreign Minister Wang Yi visited Australia. Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese met with Foreign Minister Wang Yi. Foreign Minister Wang Yi held the seventh China-Australia Foreign and Strategic Dialogue with Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong. During his visit, Foreign Minister Wang Yi engaged extensively with people from various walks of life in Australia, including members of the Australia-China Parliamentary Friendship Group, the leader of the opposition Peter Dutton, former Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating and Premier of New South Wales Chris Minns. Foreign Minister Wang Yi also had discussions with those from Australian business and strategic communities.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi noted under the strategic guidance of leaders of our two countries and with joint efforts from both sides, China-Australia relations thawed and set sail again, and exchanges and cooperation in various fields have gradually resumed. The relationship between China and Australia realized the second important transition, which fully serves the fundamental and long-term interests of Australia and its people and is in line with the trend of the times. The ups and downs in this bilateral relationship over the past decade have not only left both sides with lessons to learn from, but also accumulated experience worth cherishing. The most fundamental thing is to uphold mutual respect. The most crucial thing is to stay committed to seeking common ground while shelving differences. The most important thing is to pursue mutual benefit and win-win results. The most precious thing is to remain independent. Since China-Australia relations are back on the right track, both sides should have no hesitation, no yawing and no backward steps. Since the course forward has been charted, both sides should strive to make steady, good and sustained progress. China stands ready to work with Australia to take the opportunity of the 10th anniversary of President Xi Jinping’s successful state visit to Australia and the establishment of the China-Australia comprehensive strategic partnership to further strengthen high-level exchanges, resume dialogue mechanisms between the two countries, deepen mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields, manage and rise above differences with the attitude of mutual respect, and jointly build a more mature, stable and fruitful comprehensive strategic partnership between China and Australia.

The Australian side said that Australia and China are comprehensive strategic cooperative partners living in the same region, so differences should not define Australia-China relations. The Australian side welcomes that the bilateral relations are on the right track. The Australian side spoke highly of China’s achievements in development and poverty alleviation, and stressed that Australia is and will remain committed to the one-China policy and Australia is willing to further strengthen dialogue and communication with China on the basis of mutual respect, wisely manage differences, leverage complementary advantages, deepen practical cooperation and strive for constructive development of Australia-China relations.

The two sides agreed to resume and establish dialogue in various fields and make it play a practical role, promote more cooperation between the two countries’ competent authorities of foreign affairs, economy and trade, science and technology, education and law enforcement, among others and actively consider launching a dialogue on maritime affairs. The two sides agreed to take further measures to facilitate personnel exchanges between the two countries.

CCTV: We noted that there were some criticisms in international media about the Chinese economy, including suspicion of China’s ability to achieve its growth target. Some believe that the Chinese economy is in trouble with an anemic growth in 2023, and it will get worse this year. At the same time, there are more positive voice that China’s economic growth goes beyond expectation amid rising uncertainties in the world. This shows that China’s economic governance is effective. What’s your comment?

Lin Jian: Last year, the Chinese economy grew by 5.2 percent, accounting for one third of global growth. The growth target of around 5 percent set by China this year brings more confidence to the international community amid uncertainties in the world economy. Since the beginning of this year, China’s economic fundamentals continue to improve, and positive factors bolstering economic rebound have accumulated and increased. Figures from the National Bureau of Statistics show that in the first two months, value added of industries over the designated size grew by 7 percent year on year, total retail sales of consumer goods was up by 5.5 percent year on year, investment in the manufacturing industry increased by 9.4 percent, and the total volume of imports and exports of goods grew by 8.7 percent, ushering in a promising year. We have appropriately expanded the output of our economy and effectively upgraded its quality with solid foundation for stability and wide space for progress. We believe that the Chinese economy has the conditions and support to achieve the growth target of around 5 percent.

Many international mainstream media outlets commented that the Chinese economy kicked off to a steady start this year. According to the forecast in the IMF report, China will be a major contributor to global economic growth in 2024. Executives from HSBC and other financial institutions believed that although facing challenges, the Chinese economy has entered a sound trajectory in the long term. China remains a popular destination for foreign investment. In January, there were 4,588 newly-established foreign businesses in China, up by 74.4 percent year on year, while investment from Western developed countries rose sharply. Recently, China released an action plan to steadily promote high-standard opening up and make greater efforts to attract and utilize foreign investment. China will continue to foster a market-oriented, law-based and world-class business environment, and strengthen services for foreign businesses.

The Chinese government will keep advancing Chinese modernization on all fronts through high-quality development and expanding high-standard opening-up to bring more benefits to the world, contribute more driving forces to global development, and share more development opportunities with other countries.

Bloomberg: According to US Admiral John Aquilino who is the leader of the Indo-Pacific Command in the address or speech given to the US House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday, China is building its military and nuclear arsenal on a scale not seen since World War II, and all signs suggest that China is sticking to its ambitions to be ready to invade Taiwan by 2027. Does the Foreign Ministry have any comment on this US Admiral’s testimony?

Lin Jian: The Asia-Pacific region is a pacesetter of peace and development, not an arena for geopolitical games. It is the US, not China, that stokes confrontation and creates division in the Asia-Pacific.

My solemn message to the US side: Taiwan is part of China and the Taiwan question is China’s internal affair. Resolving the Taiwan question is a matter for the Chinese ourselves and brooks no foreign interference. Our policy is quite clear—we will continue to strive for peaceful reunification with greatest sincerity. Our bottom line is also quite clear—we will never allow Taiwan to be separated from the motherland. Some in the US are attempting to play up the so-called “China threat”, heighten the tension across the Taiwan Strait and stoke confrontation. China firmly opposes this. To ensure cross-Strait peace, it is essential to unequivocally uphold the one-China principle and oppose “Taiwan independence”. No one should underestimate the determination, resolve and capability of the Chinese people in safeguarding our sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Dragon TV: Solomon Islands’ Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare reportedly praised China’s achievements in fueling the economy during a speech on March 20. He said that his country has been struggling to make headway in economic growth for the past several decades with the “diplomatic ties” with Taiwan. He added that his wise decision to break “diplomatic ties” with Taiwan and establish diplomatic ties with China put the Solomon Islands on the map. What’s China’s comment?

Lin Jian: Since the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Solomon Islands in September 2019, the two countries have enjoyed fast growth of bilateral relations, friendly cooperation in various fields, and fruitful results which have brought tangible benefits to the people in Solomon Islands. What has happened proves that the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries meets the expectation of the two peoples, follows the prevailing trend in the international community, and serves the common interests of the two peoples.

The fast growth of the bilateral relations since the establishment of our diplomatic ties fully demonstrates that establishing and developing relations with China based on the one-China principle is a right choice that stands the test of time and history. It’s never too late to welcome new friends. As long as we engage with each other, we will usher in a bright future. For a handful of countries who still maintain the so-called “diplomatic ties” with the Taiwan region, the example set by Solomon Islands deserves some serious thought.

TASS: Russian media reported that Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine said in a TV program that Special Representative of the Chinese Government on Eurasian Affairs Li Hui cannot decide on when Ukraine and Russia will sit at the negotiation table. What’s the Foreign Ministry’s comment?

Lin Jian: I’m not aware of that. Special Representative Li Hui recently visited Ukraine for shuttle diplomacy. He had sound communication with the Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, First Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, and other principal officials. Ukraine attaches high importance to China-Ukraine relations, highly commends the mediation effort made by Special Representative Li Hui and sincerely hopes that China will continue to play its constructive role in promoting peace. On the Ukraine crisis, China will continue to act in a responsible manner to promote talks for peace and work with relevant parties for an early political settlement of the crisis. 

Global Times: On March 20, the US State Department’s spokesperson said that the US recognizes Arunachal Pradesh (Zangnan of China) as Indian territory and strongly opposes any unilateral attempts to advance territorial claims by incursions or encroachments, military or civilian, across the Line of Actual Control. What’s your comment?

Lin Jian: China strongly deplores and firmly opposes this. The China-India boundary has never been delimited. Zangnan has always been China’s territory, a basic fact that is undeniable. The China-India boundary question is a matter between the two countries and has nothing to do with the US side. It is known to all that the US has consistently spared no efforts to provoke and take advantage of other countries’ conflicts to serve its selfish geopolitical interests.

AFP: I have a question on Pakistan. A terrorist group launched an attack near a complex at Pakistan’s Gwadar Port run by a Chinese company. The attack didn’t end until all terrorists were shot to death. What’s your response?

Lin Jian: We noted the reports. We strongly condemn the terrorist attack and mourn for the Pakistani personnel killed in the attack.

China is against all forms of terrorism and firmly supports national development and social stability in Pakistan. We firmly support Pakistan’s efforts to fight terrorism and defend national security and stability. 

Beijing Daily: The UN International Children’s Emergency Fund said that Israel’s military operation in Gaza has killed over 13,000 Palestinian children. Many children are suffering from severe malnutrition. A report released by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization showed that 70 percent of the population in northern Gaza is suffering from catastrophic hunger, far exceeding the famine threshold. If the cessation of hostilities doesn’t take place, Gaza will face a risk of famine. High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell mentioned that hunger is used as a weapon of war and Israel is causing a manmade disaster of famine. What’s China’s comment? 

Lin Jian: We are deeply grieved by the death of innocent civilians in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and heart-wrenched by the increasingly severe humanitarian disaster in Gaza. Since the escalation of the latest Palestinian-Israeli conflict nearly half a year ago, over 10,000 civilians in Gaza have been killed, most of whom are women and children. Their homeland is reduced to rubble, hospitals are frequently attacked, people are underfed and casualties are increasing every day. These scenes of human tragedy once and again cross the bottom line of human conscience and trample on the limits of fairness and justice. The extreme importance and urgency of ceasefire is all the more evident. Nothing can justify the inaction of the international community.

China firmly opposes and condemns all moves against civilians and international law. The international community needs to act urgently, set the ceasefire as an overwhelming priority and humanitarian aid as a pressing moral responsibility, and hold a more broad-based, authoritative, and effective international peace conference as early as possible. China stands ready to continue working in a responsible manner to end the fighting and save lives, and implement the two-State solution for lasting peace in the Middle East.

Bloomberg: The Philippines has said that a Chinese navy ship shadowed its coast guard vessel which was en route to a Philippines-occupied island in the South China Sea. The Philippine Coast Guard said that it issued radio challenges to the Chinese navy vessel that followed it, but didn’t get any response. Does the Foreign Ministry have any comment on this shadowing of the Philippine Coast Guard vessel by a Chinese navy ship in the South China Sea? 

Lin Jian: I am not aware of that.

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