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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on May 22, 2024

2024-05-22 20:53

President Xi Jinping’s Special Representative, Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Vice Premier of the State Council Zhang Guoqing will attend the memorial service for Iran’s late President Ebrahim Raisi in Tehran on May 22.

At the invitation of President Azali Assoumani of the Comoros, President Xi Jinping’s Special Envoy and Vice Chairperson of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference He Baoxiang will attend the inauguration of President Azali Assoumani in Comoros’ capital Moroni on May 26.

AFP: Spain and Ireland just said they’re gonna recognize the Palestinian State. What’s China’s reaction and is China planning to do the same?

Wang Wenbin: China always firmly supports the just cause of the Palestinian people in restoring their legitimate national rights, supports the two-State solution and is one of the first countries to recognize the State of Palestine. China’s stance on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is consistent. We believe the immediate priority is to implement UNSC Resolution 2728, realize ceasefire at once, end the unprecedented humanitarian crisis in Gaza 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. China will continue to work with the international community to play a constructive role for ending the Palestinian-Israeli conflict as early as possible and promoting a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the Palestinian question.

CCTV: Foreign Minister Wang Yi attended the meeting of the SCO Foreign Ministers Council yesterday. Can you share more details with us?

Wang Wenbin: On May 21 local time, Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Foreign Minister Wang Yi attended the Meeting of the Council of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Member States in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi noted that the Shanghai Spirit of mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, consultation, respect for diversity of civilizations and pursuit of common development has become a fundamental guidance for the SCO to grow from strength to strength and a banner in building a new type of international relations. The more fluid and turbulent the world is, the more important that we stay committed to the Shanghai Spirit, keep to the right direction, and safeguard common interests, respond to various challenges and uphold fairness and justice more effectively through making the SCO more substantive and stronger.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi made four proposals. First, uphold strategic independence, maintain solidarity and coordination, and never allow external forces to turn the region into an arena for geopolitical games. Second, jointly protect security and guard against risks, step up coordination, follow the guidance of the Global Security Initiative, and make relentless effort to safeguard world peace. Third, work for universal benefit and achieve development through cooperation. China stands ready to work with all parties to enable high-quality synergy between the Belt and Road Initiative and the development strategies of all SCO member states, and create more opportunities for development. Fourth, uphold openness and inclusiveness, deepen exchanges and mutual learning, respect each unique civilization, and deepen mutual understanding among people of various countries.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi stated China’s solemn position on the Taiwan question. He noted that the Taiwan question is at the very core of China’s core interests. “Taiwan independence” separatist activities are the biggest disrupting factor to cross-Strait peace. Those like Lai Ching-te have betrayed their nation and ancestors. What they have done is simply disgraceful. No matter what gimmicks they play, they will not stop China’s complete reunification and Taiwan’s return to the embrace of the motherland. All “Taiwan independence” separatists will see their names written on the wall of shame. China appreciates SCO member states’ firm commitment to the one-China principle. We believe SCO member states will continue to support the Chinese people’s just cause of opposing “Taiwan independence” separatist activities and striving for national reunification.

Foreign ministers attending the meeting spoke highly of the role and development achievements of the SCO. They agreed that in face of the complex international and regional landscape, member states need to carry forward the Shanghai Spirit, tap the potential for cooperation, uphold openness and inclusiveness, step up cooperation in political, economic and security areas, promote connectivity, work for common development and prosperity, and make new contribution to world peace and sustainable development. The foreign ministers condemned all forms of terrorism, and agreed to intensify fighting against terrorism, separatism and extremism, and safeguard peace and stability in the region. Parties expressed the belief that we need to address hotspot issues through political and diplomatic means, respect countries’ sovereignty and territorial integrity, uphold the authority of the UN Charter, oppose unilateralism, and build a multipolar world.

The meeting made full preparation for the meeting of the SCO Council of Heads of State in Astana in July.

Bloomberg: The Philippine President over the weekend said he plans to order the investigation over the taped conversation between a ranking naval officer from the Philippines and a Chinese diplomat in Manila on reaching agreement on resolving issues concerning the South China Sea. The naval officer told the Philippine Senate inquiry today that he denies entering into any agreement with Beijing. What’s the Foreign Ministry’s comment? 

Wang Wenbin: Whether it’s the “gentlemen’s agreement”, or the internal understandings, or the “new model” reached between China and the Philippines 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’ replacement of the official concerned is exact evidence that China and the Philippines did reach agreement on managing the situation at Ren’ai Jiao. The Philippines’ persistent denial and breach of commitment—and blaming it all on China—shows exactly their guilty conscience and who is acting in bad faith, infringing the other side’s sovereignty and making provocations on Ren’ai Jiao. 

We once again urge the Philippines to abide by the already reached agreements and understandings, observe the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea and respect the common will of regional countries in keeping the South China Sea peaceful and stable, rather than heighten tensions in the region.

Global Times: Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari stated during a recent interview that Pakistan firmly upholds the one-China principle and stressed that Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory. What’s your comment?

Wang Wenbin: President Zardari has, on behalf of Pakistan, reaffirmed Pakistan’s firm commitment to the one-China principle and opposition to “Taiwan independence.” His remarks reflect the firm support for China’s legitimate stance and, more importantly, the common aspiration of countries that uphold fairness and justice, and fully demonstrate that the commitment to the one-China principle is where global opinion trends and the arc of history bends. China commends President Zardari for his remarks.

China and Pakistan are all-weather strategic cooperative partners and ironclad friends. We will firmly support each other on issues concerning our respective core interests and major concerns, and jointly build a closer China-Pakistan community with a shared future.

Reuters: The Vatican has said it would like to establish a permanent office in China that would be a major upgrade of diplomatic relationship with Beijing. What conditions does the Vatican need to create in order for this to happen? And will China allow the Vatican to open an office in Beijing without full diplomatic relationship being established?

Wang Wenbin: In recent years, China and the Vatican have maintained engagement, had in-depth communication on bilateral relations and international hotspot issues and increased understanding and trust. China is ready to work with the Vatican for the steady improvement of relations.  

Shenzhen TV: Today marks the 24th International Day for Biological Diversity with the theme “Be part of the Plan.” Could you share with us China’s contributions to biodiversity protection and global governance?

Wang Wenbin: We humanity are the stewards of our home planet Earth, and biodiversity is the key to keeping our planet healthy and making sure that humanity and the global economy will continue to thrive. As one of the first parties to sign and ratify the Convention on Biological Diversity, China highly values biodiversity conservation. Under the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Ecological Civilization, biodiversity conservation has become a national strategy and good progress is made by improving policies and regulations, implementing major steps, regulatory capacity building, and encouraging public engagement. According to the Catalogue of Life China 2024 released by the Chinese Academy of Sciences today, China added 6,423 species and 267 infra-specific taxa compared with last year.

China is dedicated to building a community of all life on Earth. By embracing openness, inclusiveness and cooperation, we are committed to working with the rest of the world to open up new prospects in global biodiversity governance. In 2021, China hosted the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP15) and relevant activities. We were able to bring all parties together for the adoption of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework with a package of supporting policy measures, which provided a new blueprint for global biodiversity governance in the next 10 years and beyond. In January this year, the Ministry of Ecology and Environment released the China National Biodiversity Conservation Strategy and Action Plan (2023-2030), which made China one of the first countries to update biodiversity conservation strategies and actions after the adoption of the Framework. Since 2019, China has been the largest contributor to the core budget for the Convention on Biological Diversity and its protocols, as well as the largest developing country contributor to the Global Environment Facility.

China’s action speaks to its contribution and commitment and makes us an advocate and champion in global biodiversity governance. We will remain part of the global effort to uphold a fair and equitable global order, form stronger and cohesive global synergy and establish coordinated and effective global dynamics on biodiversity protection for a beautiful world of harmony between humanity and Nature.

Reuters: What conditions must the Vatican create if it wants to elevate ties with China?

Wang Wenbin: As I just said, China is ready to work with the Vatican for the steady improvement of China-Vatican ties. 

AFP: European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen hinted yesterday that the EU might impose tariffs on China’s electric vehicles, but will take a different approach from the US. She said that should it be confirmed that China’s subsidies on electric vehicles are illicit, the EU will impose targeted duties. What’s your comment on her remarks?

Wang Wenbin: China’s development and openness bring the EU and the world opportunities rather than risks. Protectionism does not solve the EU’s problems, but only protects backwardness and costs the EU its future. China and the EU are each other’s second largest trading partners. Both are major contributors to an open world economy. It’s important for the two sides to handle specific economic and trade issues through dialogue and consultation. We noted the EU side’s remarks and hope that the EU will act on its commitment to supporting free trade and opposing protectionism, and work with us to uphold the overall economic and trade cooperation between the two sides.

Beijing Daily: The Foreign Ministry announced on its website the decision to take countermeasures against former US Congressman Mike Gallagher. What message does the Foreign Ministry hope to send?

Wang Wenbin: Over the past few years, driven by selfish interest and bias, former member of the US Congress Mike Gallagher grossly interfered in China’s internal affairs, which seriously undermined China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, disrupted China-US relations and harmed China’s interests as well as the common interests of China and the US. His actions were egregious in terms of both their nature and impact.

In accordance with China’s Anti-Foreign Sanctions Law, China decided to take countermeasures against Mike Gallagher, including banning him from entering China, freezing his property in China, and prohibiting organizations and individuals in China from transactions and cooperation with him. The details have been released in the decree of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

It must be stressed that China has unwavering resolve in upholding national sovereignty, security and development interest. China will bring the full weight of the law to bear against anyone or any organization bent on countering and containing China.

AFP: My question is about a former Royal Marine charged with assisting the Hong Kong intelligence service. He was found dead in a park in southeastern England last Sunday. What’s your comment?

Wang Wenbin: We noted the report. We have previously made clear China’s position on the UK’s so-called “Chinese spy” cases. We firmly oppose the vilification of China under the pretext of so-called “spying” and urge the UK to stop the political manipulation aimed at China.

CCTV: It’s reported US Treasury Secretary Yellen said yesterday Chinese production in areas such as electric vehicles, batteries and solar panels “significantly exceeds global demand,” the US and Europe need to respond in a “strategic and united way” and the subject will be a focus at the forthcoming meeting of G7 finance ministers this month. What’s your comment? 

Wang Wenbin: We have made it clear that China’s new energy sector has thrived because of our companies’ decades-long technology accumulation and participation in open competition. They competed their way to excellence rather than relied on industrial subsidies. That’s fully consistent with the principles of market economy and fair competition. China’s new energy sector offers advanced capacity urgently needed for the global economy’s green transition. It’s not “overcapacity.” 

The US “overcapacity” narrative against China’s new energy sector is diametrically opposed to facts and the laws of economics. It is pure protectionism. According to US logic, any large export of a particular product means an “overcapacity.” If so, shouldn’t US soy, plane and natural gas exports in large amounts be considered overcapacity? Shouldn’t the G7 finance ministers meeting first and foremost focus on US overcapacity in those areas?

“Overcapacity” is just a pretext the US uses to try to coerce G7 members into creating fences and restrictions for Chinese new energy products. This could mean building a coalition for protectionism which is completely against the trend of the times that calls for openness and mutual benefit. It will not only hurt the consumers in those countries but also impede global green transition.

We need to point out that green double standard is not an option. It does not get anyone the best of both worlds and will only backfire. If you want to deal with climate change, then you must say no to protectionism. If one resorts to protectionism, there will be no real solution to climate change. The US can’t just wave the banner of climate response and ask China to take on greater responsibility on the one hand, while wielding the stick of protectionism and not letting Chinese green products benefit the world on the other.

China stands ready to work with all countries to deepen cooperation on new energy industrial and supply chains, and promote tech innovation and industrial development. We hope that countries will embrace open cooperation, reject protectionism, strive for win-win and prevent lose-lose.

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