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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on January 4, 2022

2022-01-04 20:40

CCTV: We noted that the 2022 New Year address by President Xi Jinping drew much attention from the international community. It has been given full coverage by international mainstream media quoting some of the most cited lines. So what is the significance of this address in guiding China’s diplomacy?

Wang Wenbin: Like many of you, I listened to President Xi Jinping’s New Year address on the new year’s eve. President Xi’s address, with powerful words, courageous pledges, tender solicitude and good wishes, encapsulates his profound thinking about the future of China and beyond, demonstrates the responsibility of a major country’s leader for the world, inspires the over one billion Chinese people to fight for the future, and is warmly received by the international community. 

Just as President Xi Jinping noted in his New Year address, “The past year has been a year of exceptional significance.” In 2021, we experienced milestone events in the history of our Party and the Chinese nation, and also wrote a splendid new chapter in China’s diplomacy. Under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core and the strategic guidance of head-of-state diplomacy, China has made its contributions to promoting international anti-epidemic cooperation, presented opportunities for the realization of global economic recovery and provided strength for upholding international justice. This further demonstrates China’s role as a builder of world peace, a contributor to global development, a defender of the international order and a provider of public good. China has secured a complete victory in its fight against poverty and created a miracle in the history of poverty alleviation, making an important contribution to the world. China has provided two billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines to over 120 countries and international organizations, demonstrating its sense of responsibility as a major country.

President Xi Jinping pointed out that only through unity, solidarity and cooperation can countries around the world write a new chapter in building a community with a shared future for mankind. In the coming year, we in the Chinese diplomatic service will follow the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy and hold high the banner of building a community with a shared future for mankind. Putting people first and with the well-being of the world in our mind and through vigorous and determined endeavor, we will press ahead with high morale and take concrete actions to create sound external environment for the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation and work together with all countries for a shared future and jointly open up a bright prospect for a community with a shared future for mankind.

CCTV: On January 3, the leaders of the five Nuclear-Weapon States, namely China, Russia, the US, the UK and France, issued a Joint Statement on Preventing Nuclear War and Avoiding Arms Race, which has attracted international attention. What is China’s comment?

Wang Wenbin: At 9 p.m. on January 3, Beijing time, the leaders of the five Nuclear-Weapon States, namely China, Russia, the US, the UK and France, simultaneously issued a Joint Statement on Preventing Nuclear War and Avoiding Arms Race. The leaders affirmed that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought and reaffirmed that none of their nuclear weapons are targeted at each other or at any other State. They committed themselves to preserving and complying with bilateral and multilateral arms control agreements, and emphasized that the five States should avoid military confrontations and prevent arms race.

China believes that this first Joint Statement by the leaders of the five Nuclear-Weapon States demonstrates the States’ political will to prevent a nuclear war. Their shared voice of maintaining global strategic stability and reducing the risk of nuclear conflicts is also conducive to forging major-country relations featuring overall stability and balanced development. China hopes that the five States can continue to enhance strategic mutual trust and strengthen communication and cooperation, and play a positive role in building a world with lasting peace and universal security. 

China has been advocating the principle that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought. It effectively steered the five States toward joint actions. During the consultations of the Joint Statement, China made the case for including in the Joint Statement such key content as reaffirming that none of the nuclear weapons are targeted at each other or at any other State, thus playing an important role in reaching a positive and substantial statement among the five States.

I want to stress that China follows a self-defensive nuclear strategy, stays committed to no first use of nuclear weapons, and keeps its nuclear forces at the minimum level required to safeguard national security. This in itself is a major contribution to global strategic stability. China will continue to provide its wisdom and solution to promote global nuclear governance, and stands ready to cooperate with all peace-loving countries. 

Reuters: According to reports, Vietnam has asked authorities in Guangxi to take urgent measures to ease congestion at the border caused by strict COVID control measures. Do you have any comment on these reports? Second, there’s also been an increase in airlines canceling flights due to strict COVID measures. Should we expect China’s border controls to tighten further over the Winter Olympics period?

Wang Wenbin: On your first question, I am not aware of the specific situation and refer you to competent authorities. I want to point out that China adopts necessary COVID-19 protocols in light of the global COVID-19 situation with a responsible attitude toward the life and health of Chinese and foreign citizens. China’s huge food consumer market is open to all countries. 

On your question related to the Beijing Winter Olympics, I would like to refer you to the Beijing Organising Committee for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (BOCOG). As far as I know, BOCOG is in close communication with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and International Paralympic Committee (IPC) to ensure sound epidemic prevention and control work based on scientific analysis and in light of the changing situation. Recently, the IOC, the IPC and the BOCOG published the second edition of the Beijing 2022 Playbooks. The epidemic control measures outlined in the Playbooks are formulated in accordance with the latest COVID-19 scientific research, expert opinions and the experience of other international competitions. These countermeasures are aimed to effectively reduce the risk of COVID-19; ensure the safety of and convenience for athletes and all Olympic and Paralympic participants during the Beijing 2022 Games; and protect the health and safety of the local population. We hope everyone can strictly abide by the Playbooks.

China has secured a strategic victory in the fight against COVID-19 at home and put in place an efficient and effective epidemic prevention and control system. We are confident that we will overcome the challenges posed by Omicron and deliver a streamlined, safe and splendid Olympic Games for the world.

Xinhua News Agency: The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) came into effect on January 1 in 10 countries including China. It marks the formal launch of a free trade area featuring the largest population, biggest economic and trade scale and greatest development potential. Do you have any comment on the role and influence of the RCEP?

Wang Wenbin: Your description of the RCEP is very accurate. The 15 members of the RCEP account for 30% of the world’s total population, economy and trade, making the RCEP the largest free trade area in the world. With the RCEP officially coming into force, the proportion of zero-tariff products between China and ASEAN, New Zealand and other member countries increases significantly, and we are moving toward the goal of making more than 90 percent of trade in goods eventually tariff-free. This will unleash huge potential for trade growth in the region and represent a major step forward in promoting global trade and investment liberalization and facilitation. 

The coming-into-effect and implementation of the RCEP has enabled regional countries to deepen cooperation. In addition to tariff preferences, the RCEP has set a benchmark for economic and trade rules in the Asia-Pacific region in terms of rules of origin, customs procedures, inspection and quarantine. The RCEP’s commitment to high-level opening-up in service trade and investment will facilitate the smooth flow of various economic factors and further consolidate and develop the industrial, supply and value chains in the region. By simplifying administrative procedures and reducing trade barriers, the RCEP will give a strong boost to regional economic integration with higher quality and at deeper levels. 

The coming-into-effect and implementation of the RCEP is a major victory for multilateralism and free trade. To achieve global economic recovery and prosperity, we must rely on multilateralism, greater openness and innovation sharing. Putting oneself first, seeking monopoly with one’s advantages and closing the door on others will only be counterproductive. In the post-COVID era, openness and integration are the trend of the times, and multilateralism and greater openness are the right path to take. We must remove barriers, not erect walls. We must open up, not close off. We must seek integration, not decoupling. This is the shared voice of all RCEP members in addressing global economic governance issues. 

As one of the first members to formally complete the RCEP ratification process, China is committed to open regionalism. We uphold the multilateral trading system, promote regional economic integration with firm determination and concrete actions and boost regional trade and investment. Going forward, China will work with other parties to actively participate in the institutional building of the RCEP, jointly improve the overall implementation of the agreement and make new contributions to promoting regional prosperity and world economic recovery. 

Bloomberg: The South China Morning Post has reported that a Taiwanese company bought a shipment of Lithuanian rum that China would not allow to be imported. This is meant as a way of showing support to the Baltic nation. Does the foreign ministry have any comment on this story about the Lithuanian rum?

Wang Wenbin: I’m not aware of the situation you mentioned. I would like to tell you that the Taiwan authorities’ attempt to maintain “the room for Taiwan independence activities” through dollar diplomacy will prove to be all in vain.  

Associated Press of Pakistan: On January 3, Prime Minister Imran Khan launched the Pakistan-China Business Investment Forum in Islamabad. It aims at increasing Chinese companies’ investment in Pakistan. What is your comment?

Wang Wenbin: The Chinese side appreciates the great importance Prime Minister Imran Khan and the Pakistani government attach to China-Pakistan business cooperation and the positive efforts they’ve made in this regard. China and Pakistan are all-weather strategic cooperative partners and our all-round cooperation has yielded fruitful results. As an important pilot project of the Belt and Road Initiative and a key platform for all-weather cooperation between the two countries, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has entered a new stage of high-quality development. Going forward, the project will focus on industrial, scientific and technological, social and livelihood cooperation. We are glad to see more interactions and exchanges between Chinese and Pakistani businesses, and to deepen and expand bilateral economic, trade and investment cooperation for the benefit of the two peoples.

China News Service: At the reopening ceremony of the Chinese Embassy in Nicaragua on December 31 local time, Nicaragua’s Foreign Minister Denis Moncada said to the Chinese side that “You are welcome in our Nicaragua … with the certainty that both countries have ahead of us a future of successes and victories in our brotherly relations.” He added that there is an ideological affinity between the two countries. Moncada also thanked China for donating one million doses of the Sinopharm coronavirus vaccine. Do you have any response to that?

Wang Wenbin: On December 10, 2021, China and Nicaragua officially resumed their diplomatic relations on the basis of the one-China principle, which opened a new chapter in the bilateral relations. In just less than one month after that, both sides have secured fruitful early harvests with speedy actions and the China-Nicaragua relations have got off to a good start. The Chinese Embassy in Nicaragua officially reopened in the early hours of January 1, 2022 Beijing time. China has provided active anti-epidemic support to Nicaragua and the two sides have witnessed rapid progress in and enjoy broad prospect for practical cooperation.

China firmly supports Nicaragua in pursuing a path of independent development. On the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit and win-win cooperation, it stands ready to deepen mutual trust and expand cooperation with Nicaragua, promote steady and sustained progress in China-Nicaragua relations and deliver benefits to the two countries and peoples.

Macau Monthly: On January 3, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with foreign ministers of the Bucharest Nine (B9) group over the phone. They highlighted their solidarity with Lithuania in the face of escalating political pressure and economic coercion by China. Do you have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: The ins and outs of the Taiwan-related issues on the part of Lithuania are very clear. Acting in bad faith, Lithuania created the false impression of “one China, one Taiwan” and undermined China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. This is the crux of the difficulties in China-Lithuania relations. 

The US side not only defends Lithuania’s erroneous act of creating the false impression of “one China, one Taiwan”, but also attempts to put together a small clique condoning the “Taiwan independence” forces under the pretext of supporting Lithuania. This will only lead the international community to question the US’ sincerity in upholding its one-China policy and its true intention on the Taiwan question. This act of the US will not erode China’s firm determination to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity, but will only send a wrong message to the “Taiwan independence” separatist forces and undermine peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. 

We urge the US to earnestly abide by the one-China principle and the three China-US Joint Communiqués. We also hope relevant sides can tell right from wrong, uphold an objective and fair position and avoid being misled and misguided by the US. 

CRI: China and the five Central Asian countries are celebrating their 30th anniversary of diplomatic ties in early January, which will be a major event in the relations between China and the countries. What is the foreign ministry’s comment?

Wang Wenbin: China and the five Central Asian countries are celebrating their 30th anniversary of diplomatic ties from January 2 to 6. Over the past 30 years, the relations have experienced leapfrog development and reached a historic high. Landmark breakthroughs and achievements with historical significance have been achieved, making the relations an example of a new type of international relations, and contributing to building a community with a shared future for mankind. At a new historical starting point, China stands ready to work with the Central Asian countries to build on past achievements and forge ahead for the future, and keep deepening political mutual trust and expanding mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields. Together, we will further upgrade and elevate the bilateral relations to new heights.

The Paper: According to reports, on January 3, people in Iran gathered at events to honor former IRGC Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani, who was killed in a US airstrike two years ago. Iran’s permanent representative to the UN previously condemned the US assassination as an act of state terrorism. President Ebrahim Raisi said those in the US responsible for this should face justice for their actions. What is China’s comment?

Wang Wenbin: I noted relevant reports. The assassination of Qasem Soleimani is another example of how the US wantonly undermined the norms governing international relations based on the UN Charter. It is also one of the war crimes the US has committed with abuse of force. The US could go as far as to conduct “targeted killing” in a sovereign state through terrorist means in violation of international law, and also to kill hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians around the world. All these illegal and brutal acts in the eyes of people around the world have been hidden by the US behind the facade of “the rules-based international order” it claims. 

The US repeats the mantra of “upholding the rules-based international order”, but facts have proven time and again that what the US really cares about is no more than the rules that meet its needs and serve its interests. What it is committed to is nothing but an order that maintains the US’ hegemony and enables it to override the voices of the international community. But such rules and order that violate international law will not be accepted by the people in the Middle East and the rest of the world.

  

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