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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lin Jian’s Regular Press Conference on May 7, 2024

2024-05-07 20:55

China News Service: President Xi Jinping is paying a state visit to France. Can you share with us more details on his visit?

Lin Jian: President Xi Jinping is paying a state visit to France at the invitation of French President Emmanuel Macron. He issued an arrival statement at Paris Orly Airport on May 5. Yesterday, President Xi attended a welcoming ceremony held by President Macron and the two presidents held talks before jointly meeting the press. The two presidents attended the closing ceremony of the sixth meeting of the China-France Business Council and delivered remarks. In the evening, President and Mme. Macron hosted a welcoming ceremony for President Xi and Mme. Peng Liyuan. During the visit, President Xi held a China-France-EU Trilateral Meeting with President Macron and President Ursula von der Leyen of the European Commission. 

During his talks with President Macron, President Xi said that it gives him great pleasure to pay the third state visit to France as the two countries mark the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations. The precious journey of 60 years of China-France relationship will help us embark on a new journey for the next 60 years of China-France relations. The two sides should be committed to the principle of independence and work together to avoid a new cold war or bloc confrontation. The two sides should uphold mutual understanding and jointly promote harmonious coexistence in this diverse world. The two sides should be committed to a long-term vision to promote an equal and orderly multipolar world. The two sides should uphold win-win cooperation and jointly oppose decoupling. China is ready to maintain strategic communication with France, respect each other’s core interests and consolidate the strategic stability of bilateral relations. The two sides will explore the great potential for mutually beneficial cooperation and strive for upward balance in bilateral trade. They will connect their development strategies more closely, deepen cooperation in traditionally competitive areas including aviation and aerospace, strengthen cooperation in such areas as nuclear energy, innovation and finance, and expand cooperation in emerging areas such as green energy, smart manufacturing, bio-medicine and artificial intelligence (AI). The two sides should accelerate people-to-people exchanges and continue to organize events to celebrate the China-France Year of Culture and Tourism. China supports France in hosting a great Paris 2024 Olympic Games and will send a high-level team to participate in the games. China stands ready to work with France to deepen cooperation on climate change, biodiversity and other issues and to enhance dialogue and communication in the global governance of AI, reform of the international financial system and other fields. The two sides released four joint statements on the situation in the Middle East, AI and global governance, biodiversity and maritime and agricultural communication and cooperation. The two sides signed about 20 bilateral cooperation documents on areas including green development, aviation, agrifood, business and people-to-people exchanges.

At the trilateral meeting of China, France, and the European Union, President Xi Jinping stressed that China always views its relations with the EU from a strategic and long-term perspective. As the world enters a new period of turbulence and transformation, China and the EU, as two important forces, should continue to see each other as partners, stay committed to dialogue and cooperation, deepen strategic communication, enhance strategic mutual trust, build strategic consensus, carry out strategic coordination, work for the steady and sound growth of China-EU ties, and continue making new contributions to world peace and development. China-EU relations enjoy strong internal driving force and bright prospects of development. This relationship does not target any third party, nor should it be dependent on or dictated by any third party. It is hoped that the EU institutions will develop the right perception of China and adopt a positive China policy. China-EU cooperation is in essence complementary and mutually beneficial. The two sides have extensive common interests and broad space for cooperation in green and digital transition. It is necessary that the two sides properly address economic and trade frictions through dialogue and consultation, and accommodate each other’s legitimate concerns.

President Xi had an in-depth exchange of views with President Macron and President von der Leyen on the Ukraine crisis, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and other international and regional issues of mutual interest. He stressed that China, France, and the EU all wish to see an early ceasefire. As permanent members of the UN Security Council, both China and France need to speak for the peaceful settlement of hotspots and contribute to building a world with lasting peace and common security. China stands ready to keep communicating with relevant parties.

CCTV: During the visit to France, the Chinese leader announced the decision to extend the short-stay visa-exemption policy for citizens of 12 countries, including France, to the end of December 2025. Could you share more details with us?

Lin Jian: To further promote cross-border travel, China decides to extend the short-stay visa-exemption policy for citizens of 12 countries, namely France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Malaysia, Switzerland, Ireland, Hungary, Austria, Belgium, and Luxembourg, to December 31, 2025. Ordinary passport holders from the above-mentioned countries can be exempted from visa to enter China and stay for no more than 15 days for business, tourism, family visit and transit purposes.

Bloomberg: UK armed forces personnel have their personal data accessed in a cyberattack that was likely carried out by hostile foreign state actor, people familiar with the matter have told Bloomberg News. British government officials blame China for the attack and the UK security services are investigating whether China was trying to build profiles of members of the armed forces and people in other sensitive roles through a series of hacks of different databases holding personal information. How does the Ministry respond to this?

Lin Jian: The UK politicians’ accusation is purely unfounded. China firmly opposes and fights all forms of cyberattacks. We also firmly reject using the cybersecurity issue politically to smear and vilify other countries.

News 1 Korea: When ROK Foreign Minister Cho Tae-yul had a phone call with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi this February, China invited Foreign Minister Cho Tae-yul to visit China. According to ROK media reports, the two countries are in the final stage of talks on Foreign Minister Cho’s visit to Beijing. Could you share details on ROK Foreign Minister’s upcoming visit to China?

Lin Jian: China and the ROK maintain communication on ROK Foreign Minister’s visit to China. I have nothing specific to share at the moment.

Reuters: The Australian government said yesterday that a Chinese fighter jet threatened and intercepted an Australian military helicopter above the Yellow Sea. They also criticized the dangerous actions of the Chinese fighter jet. What is China’s comment? 

Lin Jian: What truly happened was, an Australian military aircraft deliberately flew within close range of China’s airspace in a provocative move that endangered China’s maritime and air security in the name of enforcing UN Security Council’s resolutions. The Chinese military took necessary measures at the scene to warn and alert the Australian side. The way the situation was handled was consistent with our laws and regulations, professional and safe. China has lodged serious protests to the Australian side on its risky moves. We urge Australia to immediately stop the provocations and hypes to prevent misunderstanding and miscalculation.

CCTV: It’s reported that on May 5 local time, Panama held the general election. Panama’s Electoral Tribunal announced that presidential candidate José Raúl Mulino of the party Realizing Goals is elected as Panama’s President with the highest votes. What’s your comment on the result? What are China’s expectations for the future of China-Panama relations?

Lin Jian: China notes the announcement of Panama’s Electoral Tribunal on Mr. Mulino’s election as Panama’s new President. We congratulate Mr. Mulino on his victory.

China highly values its relations with Panama. We stand ready to work with Panama to strengthen political mutual trust, advance mutually beneficial cooperation and steadily deepen bilateral relations.

Reuters: President Xi Jinping will visit Serbia soon. Will President Xi visit the site of the Chinese Embassy in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia that was bombed by NATO?

Lin Jian: As the visit proceeds, more details will be released. You may follow our updates on that. 

On NATO’s bombing of the Chinese Embassy in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, let me say that 25 years ago, the US-led NATO forces illegally attacked the sovereign state of Yugoslavia without the authorization of the UN Security Council, killing thousands of innocent civilians, including three Chinese journalists. The Chinese people will never forget this barbaric atrocity committed by NATO and will never accept such tragic history repeating itself. Each year, commemorative events are held by Serbia and the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade.   

Bloomberg: The US and the Philippines are sinking a Chinese-made ship as part of the military drills that they’re holding. Does China have any comment on this matter?

Lin Jian: I answered the question yesterday. No military drill should target or harm the interests of any third party, nor should it undermine the trust between countries and affect peace and stability in the region.

Relevant countries need to stop infringement and provocations at sea, stop stoking confrontation, and contribute to peace and stability in this region, rather than resort to the “method of spiritual victory” in a self-comforting move. 

AFP: The Israeli army said today that it has taken control of the Palestinian side of the Rafah border crossing. This comes after Israel called yesterday for Palestinians in eastern Rafah to evacuate the area ahead of the ground incursion. Does China have any comment on these latest actions by the Israeli military?

Lin Jian: China is gravely concerned over Israel’s plan to carry out ground military operation in Rafah. We strongly call on Israel to listen to the overwhelming appeal of the international community, stop attacking Rafah, and do everything possible to avoid an even worse humanitarian catastrophe in the Gaza Strip.

It has been over 200 days since the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict broke out. The horrific humanitarian catastrophe it has caused is testing the moral conscience of humanity. War and violence are not the way to fundamentally solve a problem. They will never bring true security, and will only deepen hatred. The international community must take action. The immediate priority is to implement UNSC Resolution 2728, realize ceasefire at once, ensure humanitarian relief, and return to the right track of seeking a political settlement of the Palestinian question on the basis of the two-State solution as soon as possible.

Global Times: In an interview with Japanese media on May 2, Paraguay’s President Santiago Peña said that he faces the pressure from domestic agricultural groups who asked the country to establish diplomatic ties with China and that he has been advised by Brazilian President Lula da Silva to establish diplomatic relations with China. What’s your comment?

Lin Jian: On issues related to the relationship between China and Paraguay, we’ve recently stated China’s position on multiple occasions. I want to stress that standing up for the one-China principle is the right thing to do and is where global opinion trends and the arc of history bends. We hope that the leader of relevant country will follow the trend of history and aspiration of the people, stand on the right side of history as early as possible, join the overwhelming majority of the international community and make the right decision that serves the fundamental and long-term interests of the country.

Dragon TV: The recent heavy rains in the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul triggered flooding that killed over 80 people and injured more than 300. Will China extend sympathies to Brazil?

Lin Jian: Massive flooding caused by torrential rains in the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul has caused serious fatalities and damage. We mourn for the loss of lives and extend our sympathies to the bereaved families, the injured, and people in the disaster-stricken areas. China believes that under the leadership of President Lula da Silva and the Brazilian government, those hit by the disaster will get through this difficult time and rebuild their homes.

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