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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on June 17, 2022

2022-06-17 22:16

CCTV: Since the beginning of this year, China, as the rotating chair of BRICS, has successfully held many activities despite the impact of COVID-19. As we understand, the relevant activities will run throughout the year. Can you share with us BRICS’ progress and its significance under China’s chairship?

Wang Wenbin: As you said, this year is indeed the BRICS China Year. Thanks to the active support of all sides, China has successfully held over 70 meetings and events so far this year, covering political, security, economic, trade, financial, people-to-people and cultural fields as well as sustainable development and public health. These activities have enabled important progress in BRICS cooperation in various sectors. The tangible outcomes have enriched BRICS cooperation and laid a solid foundation for the 14th BRICS Summit.

Since the inception of the BRICS cooperation mechanism 16 years ago, BRICS countries have stood the test of changing international landscape and become an important force to be reckoned with on the international stage. As our world faces drastic changes and a pandemic both unseen in a century and enters a new period of volatility and transformation, it is all the more important to deepen BRICS cooperation, and emerging markets and developing countries have a stronger desire to participate in BRICS cooperation.

China is ready to work with other BRICS members and emerging markets and developing countries to act on the BRICS spirit of openness, inclusiveness, cooperation and win-win results, deepen the BRICS partnership under the theme of “Foster High-quality BRICS Partnership, Usher in a New Era for Global Development”, and discuss ways to conduct “BRICS Plus” cooperation at higher levels, in wider areas and in larger scope, so as to inject more BRICS strength into global development and more positive energy into a world facing turbulence and challenges.

Associated Press of Pakistan: In a recent interview with Chinese media, Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif spoke highly of China-Pakistan relations. He also said that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is manifestation of the two sides’ mutual benefit and win-win cooperation. Do you have any response?

Wang Wenbin: China highly appreciates the remarks made by Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif. As the Prime Minister said, China and Pakistan are two great friends, and we have been together for more than seven decades through thick and thin. No matter how the international landscape may evolve, China-Pakistan all-weather strategic cooperative partnership will always be rock-solid and unshakable.

Over the years, guided by the principles of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, China and Pakistan have advanced the development of CPEC, which has contributed to economic development and people’s livelihood in Pakistan, and made important contributions to regional connectivity and economic integration. CPEC has been widely commended and endorsed by people of all sectors.

China stands ready to work together with Pakistan to carry forward the traditional friendship, strengthen strategic communication, enhance strategic mutual trust, deepen practical cooperation across the board, promote safe, smooth and high-quality CPEC cooperation, and unleash CPEC’s potential in accelerating growth and improving people’s wellbeing. We will continuously consolidate the ironclad friendship between China and Pakistan, advance the building of a China-Pakistan community with a shared future, and enable China-Pakistan cooperation to provide more robust vitality for the development and revitalization of the two countries and the region.

Prasar Bharati: According to news agency PTI, China has put a hold on a US-India joint proposal to list an individual as a global terrorist. My question is, can you share what were the considerations for China to put this hold?

Wang Wenbin: First I would like to say that China opposes all forms of terrorism. China’s actions at the UN Security Council 1267 committee are always consistent with relevant rules and procedures. China will continue to conduct its work in a constructive and responsible manner.

Shenzhen TV: According to reports, the US Federal Communications Commission said recently that two-thirds of applications to reimburse US carriers for removing equipment from Chinese companies such as Huawei and ZTE were found to be “materially deficient”. The cost estimated to replace the equipment is $5.3 billion, much higher than the $1.9 billion budget Congress set aside last year. Do you have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: I have taken note of relevant reports. I have also read comments that the US companies that cannot get reimbursement will have a hard time and may have to replace the equipment at their own cost. Some US politicians, driven by selfish interest, overstretch the concept of national security and mobilize state power to wantonly suppress certain Chinese companies. But ultimately, the US business community and ordinary Americans will have to swallow the bitter fruit.

As facts have shown time and again, the US has constantly sought to politicize, instrumentalize and weaponize economic cooperation. It has intimidated, cajoled and coerced other countries into banning Chinese companies’ equipment to build what it calls “small yard, high fence”. This has not only severely hurt the interests of Chinese companies, but also gravely undermined the interests of the US itself and seriously affected the stability of global industrial and supply chains. China firmly opposes it. These unpopular moves of the US politicians will end in failure.

It is hoped that the US will mend its ways as soon as possible, stop the erroneous acts that harm others without benefiting itself, and provide an open, fair, just and non-discriminatory market environment for Chinese companies.

Bloomberg: We reported the last day or so that the US is looking to arrange a phone conversation between President Xi and Biden. Do you have any comment on these reports?

Wang Wenbin: I don’t have any information on what you mentioned.

PTI: You have elaborated on China’s stand on this issue which my colleague raised about listing of terrorists. Do you think that this particular issue is going to set China and India apart? Secondly, about the announcement today of the BRICS Summit on June 23, what exactly are the main issues that the summit is going to discuss? And also, there is a mention of the emerging countries other than BRICS taking part in the High-level Dialogue on Global Development on June 24. Can you please name them? How many countries and what are those countries that are taking part in this dialogue?

Wang Wenbin: On the listing of the person you mentioned, I just stated China’s position. On China-India relations, our attitude is consistent and clear. We hope the Indian side will work with us for the sound and steady development of bilateral relations.

As to the BRICS Summit, we have announced this morning that President Xi Jinping will host the 14th BRICS Summit and the High-level Dialogue on Global Development and attend the opening ceremony of the BRICS Business Forum. I would like to take this opportunity to share more information with you.

BRICS is an important cooperation mechanism for emerging markets and developing countries and a South-South cooperation platform with global influence. As the rotating BRICS chair for this year, China looks forward to working with fellow BRICS members to further deepen and substantiate BRICS cooperation, cement the BRICS strategic partnership, draw up a new blueprint for BRICS cooperation, and make greater contributions to safeguarding peace and stability and promoting development and prosperity by hosting the 14th BRICS Summit under the theme of “Foster High-quality BRICS Partnership, Usher in a New Era for Global Development”.

Apart from the 14th BRICS Summit, President Xi Jinping will also host the High-level Dialogue on Global Development. The theme of the Dialogue is “Foster a Global Development Partnership for the New Era to Jointly Implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”. Other than BRICS leaders, the meeting will also be attended by leaders of emerging markets and developing countries. China looks forward to discussing development with all parties, express the common aspiration of developing countries, call on and work on the international community to put development issues high on the agenda, and contribute wisdom and pool strength for accelerating the implementation of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and fostering a global community of development with a shared future.

President Xi Jinping will also attend the opening ceremony of the BRICS Business Forum and deliver a keynote speech. He will elaborate on China’s position and propositions on major and pressing issues facing the world and chart the course forward for business cooperation.

As to which foreign leaders will attend the Dialogue, China is having close communication with relevant parties. We will release information when appropriate.

Global Times: According to reports, Taiwan’s foreign affairs office admitted in a statement that it had long been the island’s practice to employ public relations companies in the US to help consolidate Taiwan-US ties. The DPP authorities have paid $140,000 in service fees to political lobbying agents for pulling strings to get former US leader to receive Tsai Ing-wen’s phone call. They also paid lobbyists to organize the attendance by Taiwan’s representative at the inauguration of US government officials. Do you have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: We’ve noticed that the Taiwan authorities only admitted to this and disclosed the figures after being probed by the press. In fact, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the big bucks paid to the US. According to media reports, US politicians like former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pocketed $150,000 for a four-day visit to Taiwan. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham openly asked the Taiwan authorities to buy Boeing airplanes worth $8 billion while visiting Taiwan.

How much of Taiwan people’s hard-earned money have the DPP authorities squandered for such activities? The DPP authorities wouldn’t even dare disclose a complete list of payments. The US says others are engaged in political infiltration against the US. What then is the US’s attitude over these activities? Will it take punitive action against them? 

Prasar Bharati: You mentioned that there was something related to the procedures regarding the listing of global terrorists under the UN Security Council 1267 committee. Can you elaborate a little bit on this?

Wang Wenbin: I have made China’s position clear. I’m not going to repeat myself.

Hubei Media Group: The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) just released a report on the mission to Japan in March by its Task Force established to review Japan’s discharge of the nuclear-contaminated water from Fukushima. Do you have any comment? 

Wang Wenbin: We have noted the IAEA report and are looking at it. The initial impression is that the report is focused on assessing whether Japan’s “Nuclear Regulation Authority’s review and approval process is conducted in accordance with the relevant IAEA international safety standards”. No conclusion has been reached yet. At the same time, the report put forward suggestions for improvement with regard to the responsibilities of the government, the authorization process, source monitoring and environmental monitoring, and involvement of interested parties.

Judging from the two reports the IAEA has released so far, we can see that the international community’s concerns over the reliability of data on the nuclear-contaminated water, the efficacy of the treatment system and the uncertainty of environmental impact are indeed well-founded. Regrettably, however, the Japanese side has yet to offer any thorough and convincing explanation on these accounts. When the IAEA Task Force was still working on its mission and no conclusion has been reached, the Japanese side forcibly pushed forward the review process for its ocean discharge plan and even started building facilities for that purpose. Such acts that disregard other parties’ concerns and attempt to create a fait accompli are extremely irresponsible.

China once again urges the Japanese side to take seriously the legitimate and justifiable concerns of the international community and the Japanese people and have full consultation with relevant international institutions and stakeholders including its neighboring countries to seek a proper way of handling the nuclear-contaminated water and stop pushing forward the ocean discharge plan. It needs to be pointed out that updating countries unilaterally on its preparation for the discharge does not count as full consultation, but an attempt to impose its wrong decision on others. Not long ago, China and Russia provided to Japan a joint list of technical questions which was also disseminated at the IAEA. The sheet includes many questions over Japan’s ocean discharge plan from scientific and technical perspective. Japan needs to look into that in a responsible manner and give an answer as soon as possible to address our concerns.

Bloomberg: Ambassador Nicholas Burns made some comments yesterday at a panel discussion he was on. He said that China’s COVID-zero policies are chilling foreign investment in China. Do you have any comment on that?

Wang Wenbin: First, I would like to say that the reason why China adopted the dynamic zero-COVID approach is that we put the 1.4 billion people’s lives and health before anything else. It’s a testament to the governance philosophy of the CPC and the Chinese government, which is to give top priority to protecting our people and their lives. For over two years since the start of the pandemic, the infection rate and mortality rate of China remain the lowest in the world. Whereas the average life expectancy in some developed countries, such as the US, declined during the pandemic, China’s average life expectancy has steadily gone up in the past two years. A research paper of Nature Medicine estimated that if China stops putting up a tough fight over COVID as some other countries did, it may lead to more than 112 million infections and nearly 1.6 million deaths. That’s why we say China’s epidemic prevention and control policy is science-based, correct and effective, a responsible thing it has done for its people.

Second, China’s COVID containment measures are constantly adjusted to better respond to the latest developments in the COVID situation, which have proven to be effective. We have gone through four stages: emergency response to sudden outbreaks, exploratory practices of normalized prevention and control, whole-chain precision prevention and control, and integrated prevention and control. Each outbreak handled provided experience for further improvement. At the current stage, we focus more on science-based and precise measures for dynamic zero-COVID scenario. As you may see, the overall epidemic metrics in China have been stable. We have effectively brought virus transmission under control in Shanghai and other places, where life and work are going back to normal. Facts have proven that the existing anti-epidemic protocols can help to achieve the dynamic zero-COVID goal. China’s COVID policy suits its national reality and can stand the test of history.

Third, thanks to China’s science-based, precise and effective epidemic prevention and control measures, China has not only mitigated the impact of the coronavirus on economic and social development to the greatest extent, but achieved steady economic growth. According to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics, China’s economy has gradually emerged from the shadow of COVID-19, with major indexes showing better performance in May. China’s economy has shown momentum of recovery. China’s foreign trade went up 8.3% and FDI expanded 17.3% year-on-year in the period from January to May. During the same period, investment from the Republic of Korea, the US, and Germany climbed by 52.8%, 27.1% and 21.4% respectively. These specific figures reflect foreign investors’ genuine interest in investing in China and confidence in China’s socioeconomic development. It’s clear evidence that effective COVID response provides a good foundation for socioeconomic development and an important condition for fostering a favorable business environment. We are fully confident in ensuring effective COVID control, stable economic performance and safe and secure development.

Bloomberg: The US is looking to announce a new infrastructure plan at the upcoming G7 meeting which appears intended to counter China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Do you have any comment on this?

Wang Wenbin: Global infrastructure development requires cooperation, mutual support and complementarity between all countries, instead of confrontation against or replacement of each other. The US initiative misuses countries’ shared aspiration for common development and win-win cooperation. It is driven by zero-sum mentality and a desire to stoke confrontation. That would hardly get any support.

China believes that the room for cooperation is broad enough for global infrastructure cooperation. There is no such thing as different initiatives countering or replacing each other. The world needs more bridges to be built rather than torn down, more connectivity rather than decoupling or building fences, and mutual benefits rather than isolation and exclusion. China welcomes all initiatives that can help pool synergy and promote global infrastructure development. Any calculation to advance geopolitics in the name of infrastructure development will win no support and will never succeed.

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