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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on May 16, 2024

2024-05-16 20:26

At the invitation of Kazakhstan’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Murat Nurtleu and Tajikistan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sirojiddin Muhriddin, Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi will attend the meeting of the SCO Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs and pay official visits to Kazakhstan and Tajikistan from May 18 to 21.

Beijing Youth Daily: Can you share more about the background and consideration of Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s visits to Kazakhstan and Tajikistan as well as China’s expectation for the visits? 

Wang Wenbin: Kazakhstan and Tajikistan are China’s friendly neighbors and important partners in high-quality Belt and Road cooperation. Under the strategic guidance of President Xi Jinping, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev and President Emomali Rahmon, China-Kazakhstan relations and China-Tajikistan relations have enjoyed robust growth and witnessed active efforts in building a China-Kazakhstan community with a shared future and a China-Tajikistan community with a shared future.

To carry forward traditional friendship between China and Central Asian countries, cement political mutual trust and build an even closer China-Central Asia community with a shared future, Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi, apart from attending the meeting of the SCO Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs, will visit Kazakhstan and Tajikistan. During his trip, Foreign Minister Wang Yi will meet with leaders of the two countries, hold talks with foreign ministers of the two countries and exchange views with them on bilateral relations and international and regional issues of mutual interest.

China believes that the visits will fully deliver on the common understandings between President Xi Jinping and the presidents of Kazakhstan and Tajikistan, deepen cooperation in various fields, promote high-quality Belt and Road cooperation and make new contribution in upholding peace, stability and development of the region. 

Kyodo News: It’s reported that former Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso met yesterday with visiting Taipei Mayor Chiang Wan-an in Tokyo and they discussed people-to-people exchanges between Japan and Taiwan. What’s your comment?

Wang Wenbin: China’s position on the Taiwan region’s external exchanges is consistent and clear, that is, they must be handled in line with the one-China principle. We urge Japan to abide by the principles and spirit of the four political documents between China and Japan, and act on its commitment of adhering to the one-China principle and only maintaining people-to-people and sub-regional exchanges with Taiwan.

CCTV: Can you brief us on the program and China’s expectation for the meeting of the SCO Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs? 

Wang Wenbin: The meeting of the SCO Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs will be held in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, from May 20 to 21. During the meeting, Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi will exchange views with foreign ministers of other member states on the current international and regional landscape, the prospect of the SCO’s growth, cooperation in various fields and other issues of mutual interest, and make full preparation for this year’s meeting of the SCO Council of Heads of State.

Since its establishment, the SCO has always followed the guidance of the Shanghai Spirit. SCO member states have followed the trend of the times, practiced true multilateralism, enhanced good-neighborliness and political mutual trust and deepened cooperation in security, economy, and people-to-people and cultural exchange, setting a good example of a new type of international relations and of building a community with a shared future for mankind. China stands ready to work with other member states to carry forward the Shanghai Spirit, enhance solidarity and coordination, join hands to respond to challenges, share development opportunities and enable the people of every member state to benefit more from SCO cooperation. 

NHK: The US keeps criticizing China saying that China has been exporting dual-use materials, especially nitrocellulose to help Russia’s production of ammunition and rocket propellants. How would China respond to this US accusation?

Wang Wenbin: China does not accept the US blame-shifting. China always handles the export of military products in a prudent and responsible way, and strictly controls the export of dual-use articles, including drones for civilian use. The US makes false accusations against China’s normal trade with Russia, just as it continues to pour unprecedented military aid into Ukraine. This is typical double standard, and extremely hypocritical and irresponsible.

The US is in a bind in the Ukraine crisis but that is not the doing of China. What has happened shows that those who fuel the flames will only get bogged down deeper and deeper in it, and political settlement is the only right way forward to end the Ukraine crisis. Blaming it all on China will not end the crisis, nor will it get the US out of its tricky situation. It will only further complicate things and most likely won’t deliver the result that relevant parties would like to see.

China is committed to promoting talks for peace. But we reject being the scapegoat, still less will we foot the bill for others’ actions. We will firmly defend our legitimate rights and interests.

Dragon TV: On May 15, Lee Hsien Loong stepped down and Lawrence Wong was sworn in as the 4th Prime Minister of Singapore. What’s China’s comment? How does China foresee its relations with Singapore? 

Wang Wenbin: China congratulates Prime Minister Lawrence Wong on his inauguration and believes that under his leadership, Singapore’s national, economic and social development will continue to go from strength to strength. Prime Minister Lawrence Wong has long been a supporter of China-Singapore cooperation and the co-chair of the China-Singapore Bilateral Cooperation Mechanism. We believe that during his term in office, our bilateral relations will continue to grow, bring more benefits to the two peoples and make greater contribution to regional peace, stability, development and prosperity.

Mr. Lee Hsien Loong is a senior leader of Singapore and a long-standing friend of the Chinese people. Last year, President Xi Jinping and him jointly elevated bilateral relations to an all-round high-quality future-oriented partnership. We hope and believe that Mr. Lee Hsien Loong will continue to make positive contributions to deepening China-Singapore friendship.

China Daily: It’s reported that on May 15, Israeli Prime Minister’s Office released a statement which says that the Israeli government unanimously approved Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s proposal to reject the UN General Assembly decision of May 10 to give Palestine additional privileges. What’s your comment on this? 

Wang Wenbin: To this day, the historical injustice long suffered by the Palestinian people still hasn’t been redressed. This is the root cause of the cycle of Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The fundamental solution lies in  implementing the two-State solution, supporting full UN membership for Palestine, and realizing peaceful coexistence between the two states of Palestine and Israel. At the UNGA Emergency Special Session, countries voted overwhelmingly in favor of the resolution to give Palestine new rights to participate in UN activities. This shows exactly where the global opinion trends. China supports the UN in making relevant arrangements in line with the resolution, and supports the Security Council in reconsidering Palestine’s application to join the UN as recommended by the UNGA resolution. We hope relevant country will demonstrate political courage, heed the call of the international community, bear in mind the fundamental and long-term interests of its own people and people in the region and make the right decision of supporting the two-State solution.

AFP: We are hearing that China is hosting talks between the Myanmar army and alliance of ethnic rebel groups residing the territory along the border with China. Can you confirm it?

Wang Wenbin: Maintaining the momentum of ceasefire and peace talks in northern Myanmar serves the interests of all parties in Myanmar and is conducive to keeping the China-Myanmar border area peaceful and tranquil. China stands ready to continue to provide as much help and support as we can for the peace process in northern Myanmar. 

AFP: Just a follow-up question. Can you confirm that China is hosting talks?

Wang Wenbin: I have answered the question.

CCTV: The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs released a statement on May 13, claiming that the Department of Foreign Affairs will look into any reports of illegal and unlawful activities by diplomatic officials, and undertake the necessary action. Some media outlets believe that the move has something to do with the text of the recording on Ren’ai Jiao released last week by the Chinese Embassy in the Philippines. What’s your comment?

Wang Wenbin: Last week, my colleague made clear China’s position regarding the comments of Philippine senior officials on Chinese diplomats in the Philippines. The information released by the Chinese Embassy is entirely factual. Whether it’s the “gentlemen’s agreement”, or the internal understandings, or the “new model” on properly managing the situation in the South China Sea, they all have clear timelines and are supported by solid evidence. No one can deny their existence. The Philippines’ persistent denial and breach of commitment—and blaming it all on China—shows exactly who is acting in bad faith, infringing the other side’s sovereignty and making provocations on Ren’ai Jiao.

Over the years, China and ASEAN countries, including the Philippines, have maintained close communication and cooperation, signed the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), been committed to advancing the consultations on a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC), and kept the South China Sea generally stable. But in recent years, the Philippines has breached agreements and understandings with China, acted against the spirit of the DOC, and frequently encroached on China’s rights with provocative behavior that creates new tension. The Philippines has escalated tensions in the South China Sea by involving non-regional actors in trying to create trouble. What the Philippines has done undermines solidarity and mutual trust among regional countries and peace and stability in the South China Sea. These actions bring no good but only harm to regional countries. 

We once again urge the Philippines to face the facts, honor its word, stop infringement and provocations at once and return to the right track of properly settling maritime differences through negotiation and consultation. If the Philippines does not change course, China will take necessary measures to firmly defend our legitimate rights and interests. 

Reuters: Given the news of President Putin’s visit, what kind of new material support is China offering to Russia for its so-called “war economy”?

Wang Wenbin: Just now I made our position clear on the US accusation against China’s normal trade with Russia. Your question, same as that of the Japanese journalist, is about shifting the blame to China. 

So let me stress once again that we do not accept blame-shifting. Making China the scapegoat does not solve anything, nor will it help those who find themselves in a tricky position. China is committed to promoting talks for peace. But we refuse to be the scapegoat, still less will we foot the bill for others’ actions.

As for China-Russia relations, our message is that to steadily advance our relations with Russia not only serves the fundamental interests of the two countries and two peoples, but also contributes to peace, stability and prosperity of the region and the world. As President Xi emphasized during his talks with President Putin this morning, China will work with Russia to always be each other’s good neighbor, good friend and good partner who trust each other, continue to consolidate the ever-lasting friendship between our two peoples, realize our respective national development and rejuvenation together and jointly uphold fairness and justice in the world.

AFP: The Prime Minister from Slovakia was shot during the attack yesterday and his life is in danger. What’s China’s comment on this?

Wang Wenbin: China is deeply shocked by the attack on Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico and extends sincere sympathies to him and his family. China strongly condemns the violent attack.

Reuters: The Wall Street Journal reported that Microsoft is asking hundreds of employees in its China-based cloud-computing and artificial-intelligence operations to consider transferring to other countries. Do you have any comments on this?

Wang Wenbin: I am not familiar with what you mentioned.

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