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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on March 3, 2022

2022-03-03 19:53

Hubei Media Group: It is reported that on March 2, the internet security company named 360 released a report on the indiscriminate cyberattack launched by the US National Security Agency’s APT-C-40 group over the past decade or so. The report reveals that the NSA used cyberweapons to launch cyberattacks against 403 targets in 47 countries and regions around the world, including China, the UK, Germany, France, Poland, Japan, India, the Republic of Korea, the United Arab Emirates, South Africa and Brazil. Actually, 360 earlier released a report on APT-C-39 who works under the US Central Intelligence Agency and launched large-scale cyber attacks on China. Do you have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: We have noted the report released by 360. China condemns the malicious cyber activities exposed in the report. We strongly urge the US to give an explanation and stop such activities immediately. China will take necessary measures to safeguard its cybersecurity and interests. 

From 360’s APT-C-39 report to Beijing-based Qi An Pangu Lab’s report on US cyberattacks against China released last week and this latest APT-C-40 report, they show that the US has conducted large-scale and systemic cyberattacks on China for a long time. Such activities have gravely endangered the security of China’s critical infrastructure, personal data, intellectual property, trade secrets and confidential business information, and seriously undermined China-US mutual trust in cyberspace. The relevant reports reveal that the US did not abide by any international rule in cyberspace and completely abandoned the bilateral consensus on cybersecurity reached in 2015. 

The US is unrivalled in malicious cyber activities. Ironically, it presents itself as a victim, misleads the international community and attempts to dominate the international agenda of cybersecurity. The US launched the International Counter-Ransomware Initiative, brewed the establishment of the Alliance for the Future of the Internet, and put together small cliques of all sorts to discuss the security of supply chain. It is worth noting that the US recently stepped up cybersecurity cooperation with some of China’s neighboring countries, including those in East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia and Central Asia, in the name of enhancing cyber capabilities. Many countries in cooperation with the US are also targets of US cyber attacks, according to report series by Chinese cybersecurity companies.

Cyberspace is a shared homeland for humanity, and cyberattacks are a common challenge faced by all countries. China again strongly urges the US to stop cyber theft and attacks on China and the whole world, and join others to jointly safeguard peace and security in cyberspace with a responsible attitude.

China Daily: It is reported that the US Mission to the UN recently said in a statement that the US decided to expel 12 Russian diplomats of the Russian Permanent Mission to the UN for “espionage activities that are adverse to our national security” in accordance with the UN Headquarters Agreement. Do you have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: China is concerned about the US action and hopes the US can offer a detailed explanation. As a host country of the United Nations, the US should implement the United Nations Headquarters Agreement with good will, and provide due convenience and facilitation for the normal fulfillment of duty by diplomats of UN member states, instead of abusing its capacity as a host country and willfully making unilateral decisions. 

Bloomberg: On Wednesday, the UN General Assembly voted to condemn Russia for its invasion of Ukraine and demanded it withdraw its forces. China abstained from that vote. Does the foreign ministry have a comment on why China abstained from that vote?

Wang Wenbin: Ambassador Zhang Jun, Permanent Representative of China to the UN, already gave an explanation of the vote. 

China’s basic position on the Ukraine issue is consistent and clear. We always advocate respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries, and peaceful resolution of international disputes based on the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. The top priority right now is to ease the situation on the ground as much as possible, and prevent the conflicts from escalating or even getting out of control.

Any action by the UN and the relevant parties should give priority to regional peace and stability and the universal security of all parties. It is important to play a positive role in cooling the situation and facilitating diplomatic resolution. Regrettably, the draft resolution submitted to this emergency special session for vote has not undergone full consultations within the whole membership. Nor did it take into full consideration the history and complexity of the current crisis. It did not highlight the importance of the principle of indivisible security, or the urgency of promoting political settlement and stepping up diplomatic efforts. These are not in line with China’s consistent position. Therefore, China had to abstain in the voting. 

We call on the international community to take a responsible attitude, and bring the relevant parties back to the track of political settlement as soon as possible, and rely on dialogue and consultation to seek a comprehensive resolution of the Ukraine issue. China is ready to continue its constructive role in this regard.

Kyodo News: According to Taiwan media reports, former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Tsai Ing-wen in Taipei today. Do you have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: This act of Mike Pompeo is simply shameless and futile. 

Global Times: The New York Times on March 2 citing a Western intelligence report said that senior Chinese officials told senior Russian officials not to invade Ukraine before the end of the Winter Olympics in Beijing. The report indicated that senior Chinese officials had some level of knowledge about Russia’s plans for military actions. What is your comment on this?

Wang Wenbin: The report by the New York Times is pure fake news. Such practice of diverting attention and blameshifting is despicable. The ins and outs of the developments of the Ukraine issue are very clear. The crux of the issue is known to all.

International media lately mentioned many times that George Kennan, former US ambassador to the Soviet Union, suggested to the US government in the 1990s that expanding NATO up to Russia’s borders would be the most fateful error of American policy. Regrettably, the US government turned a deaf ear to this. Thomas Friedman, a famous US expert on international relations, wrote in a recent article that ill-considered decision by the US to expand NATO has undermined the relations with Russia and the US government in early years deserves much of the blame. Tulsi Gabbard, former member of the US House of Representatives, said that the crisis could have been ended and the war easily avoided if President Biden had simply promised not to accept Ukraine’s becoming a member of NATO. But they chose not to do so.

Those who created the problem should be the ones to undo it. We hope the culprits of the crisis can reflect upon their roles in the Ukraine crisis. They should earnestly shoulder due responsibilities and take real actions to ease the situation and resolve the problem instead of shifting the blame to others.

NHK: The Ukrainian President visited China in 2013 and signed a joint statement with China saying that the Chinese government will provide security assurances to Ukraine. According to the statement, China will offer relevant security assurances to Ukraine when it is invaded with the use of nuclear weapons or threatened by such invasion. Now, Russian President Putin has ordered the country’s nuclear forces to stay on high alert. Do you think Ukraine is now facing the threat of an invasion of nuclear weapons? Do you have any response to this? Will China take measures to protect Ukraine’s security?

Wang Wenbin: According to documents such as statements made by states and the UN Security Council Resolution 984, nuclear-weapon states give security assurances to non-nuclear-weapon states such as Ukraine. The security assurances have clear limitations on the content and are triggered under specific conditions. On the Ukraine issue, the pressing task now is for all sides to remain calm and exercise restraint, deescalate the situation and promote the political settlement.

Shenzhen TV: According to a report run by the US media outlet CNBC, the UK Home Office found that BNO visa holders from Hong Kong said the costs of moving to the UK have been high. Many professionals from Hong Kong are overqualified for new low-skill jobs in the UK. And in most cases, BNO visa holders are not eligible for welfare benefits. Do you have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: The UK side manipulated the so-called new BNO passport policy. Some Hong Kong residents were induced to leave their home, only to become second-class UK “citizens” whose rights and interests are not fully protected. I believe people are clear-eyed about whether the UK did so to “protect” people in Hong Kong or destabilize the SAR. 

China has stated its position on the issue of BNO passports on many occasions. China announced long ago that it does not recognize BNO passports as valid travel or identity documents. The ins and outs of the problem are quite clear. The UK side, clinging onto its nostalgic colonial dream and breaking its promise, grossly interfered in China’s internal affairs and gravely violated international law and basic norms governing international relations. We express our strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition to this. 

We urge the UK side to stop meddling in Hong Kong affairs, otherwise it will only shoot itself in the foot. 

Bloomberg: Does the ministry have any update on evacuations of Chinese nationals?

Wang Wenbin: The Chinese government attaches great importance to the safety of Chinese citizens in Ukraine and holds dear to heart their safety all the time. State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi stressed in his phone conversation with his Ukrainian counterpart that all Chinese citizens in Ukraine are envoys of China-Ukraine friendship and friends of the Ukrainian people. We appreciate the opening of special trains for the evacuation of foreign nationals by the Ukrainian side, which conforms to the international humanitarian spirit. We hope that the Ukrainian side will take all necessary measures to ensure the safety of Chinese citizens in Ukraine and continue to provide guarantee and facilitation for the evacuation of Chinese citizens.

I would also like to take this opportunity to share with you more information on the evacuation of Chinese citizens from Ukraine. The Foreign Ministry is working with the Chinese Embassy and Consulate General in Ukraine to assess the situation, consider various factors and possibilities, and formulate feasible plans to ensure the safe evacuation of Chinese citizens. So far, more than 3,000 Chinese citizens have been safely relocated to neighboring countries of Ukraine. China thanks relevant countries for facilitating Chinese citizens’ entry and temporary stay there.

Kyodo News: The International Paralympic Committee has just decided that athletes from Russia and Belarus will not compete in the Beijing Paralympic Games. Do you have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: I would like to point you to the Beijing Organising Committee for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (BOCOG).

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