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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on June 23, 2022

2022-06-23 19:12

Shenzhen TV: The BRICS Business Forum opened on June 22 and President Xi Jinping delivered a keynote speech at the opening ceremony. Can you tell us more about it?

Wang Wenbin: The 2022 BRICS Business Forum was held in an online plus offline format in Beijing on June 22. President Xi Jinping attended the opening ceremony of the BRICS Business Forum in virtual format and delivered a keynote speech. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended and addressed the opening ceremony. You may refer to the readout that we have released. 

BRICS is an important platform for cooperation among emerging markets and developing countries, and BRICS countries have become engines driving world economic recovery and growth. This year is the BRICS China Year. Thanks to the active support of all sides, China, as the BRICS chair this year, has successfully held over 90 meetings and events at various levels 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. This week is indeed the BRICS Week, with the hosting of a series of BRICS events including the BRICS Business Forum, the 14th BRICS Summit and the High-level Dialogue on Global Development. These three important events will pool wide consensus on BRICS cooperation and inject strong impetus into the recovery of world economy.

Right now, our world is facing drastic changes and a pandemic both unseen in a century. Various security challenges keep emerging. The world economy still faces strong headwinds on its path toward recovery, and global development has suffered major setbacks. The world is confronted with important choices between peace and war, progress and regression, openness and isolation, and cooperation and confrontation. President Xi noted in his keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the BRICS Business Forum that we should embrace solidarity and coordination and jointly maintain world peace and stability; we should reach out to each other and jointly promote sustainable global development; we should tide over difficulties together and jointly pursue win-win cooperation; and we should be inclusive and jointly expand openness and integration. It is hoped that business leaders will continue to champion open, innovative and shared development so as to add new impetus to BRICS cooperation and see that more benefits of development will reach everyone in a more equitable way. 

President Xi’s speech gave an insightful answer to “where the world is headed” -- an important question of our times. The speech aims to bring confidence and strength to a volatile and unstable world and is warmly received by participants. Participants said the speech is rich in content and inspiring. It charts the course for deepening practical BRICS cooperation, points the way forward for upholding world security and stability, and paints the blueprint for promoting global openness and development. The speech enhances parties’ confidence in China’s economic prospect and sets the right direction for businesses to participate in and support BRICS cooperation. 

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi thanked President Xi Jinping and the Chinese side for the extensive preparation for hosting this business forum. They said that with the world focusing on post-pandemic recovery, the role of BRICS countries is further elevated. Fostering high-quality BRICS partnership is particularly important for advancing global development in the new era. BRICS countries will continue to deepen cooperation in economic integration, do their utmost to reduce the impact of poverty and food and energy crisis on people’s livelihood, and promote sustainable and inclusive development.

During the Forum, participants had panel discussions on world economic recovery, green transformation, digital economy, health cooperation and resilience of industrial and supply chains. They also released the Beijing Initiative of BRICS Business Community. 

Today, the 14th BRICS Summit will be held. We believe that with the concerted efforts of all parties, the Summit will be a full success. It will elevate BRICS cooperation to a higher level and make greater contribution to world peace and development. 

Dragon TV: A recent poll in the US shows that 49% of respondents believe the US will “cease to be a democracy in the future” and half of the surveyed think the country has “poor” values, an all-time high in 20 years. What is your comment?

Wang Wenbin: I also noted the reports. The US-style democracy has not only been seriously questioned domestically, but also gained notoriety overseas. This is fundamentally because for the US politicians, democracy is their tool to seek personal and partisan gains at home, and a weapon to serve US hegemony abroad. Polls suggest that 65% of Americans say most candidates for office are motivated by personal interests, and 44% of people surveyed globally see the US as a threat to democracy.

Although the popularity of US-style democracy has reached record lows both domestically and internationally, US politicians remain fervid and even obsessed with exporting US democracy and values. The US’s Summit for Democracy last year came to a hasty end, and yet it still plans to host another one in offline format this year. The US has put together values-based alliance groups such as AUKUS, QUAD, and the Five Eyes, and seeks to draw ideological lines and advocate Cold War mentality in economy, trade, science and technology and people-to-people exchange, which has disrupted normal international cooperation and established rules.

Those US politicians who seek personal gains and advance US hegemony in the name of democracy have betrayed the true spirit and values of democracy. They have thus made themselves the enemy of democracy, and will be opposed by the people in the US and the world.

Associated Press: The NATO military alliance plans to hold a summit from June 26 to 30. One question on their agenda is, what should the NATO alliance do to address challenges such as China’s growing influence and assertiveness. May I ask what the Chinese government’s reaction is to that? Also, leaders of Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand plan to attend this summit and will hold their own meeting. May I ask what the Chinese government’s reaction is to that as well?

Wang Wenbin: NATO is a product of the Cold War and the world’s biggest military alliance dominated by the US. It is a tool for the US to maintain its hegemony and influence Europe’s security landscape. This is clearly against the trend of our times. NATO claims itself to be a defensive organization, but it has willfully waged wars against sovereign countries that left a large number of civilians dead and tens of millions displaced. NATO, by definition, is a military organization in the North Atlantic, yet in recent years some of its members have flexed their muscles in the Asia-Pacific and sought to replicate the kind of bloc confrontation seen in Europe here in the Asia-Pacific. This is highly dangerous. Countries in the Asia-Pacific and elsewhere will no doubt keep a watchful eye and go against it.

China is a force for world peace, a contributor to global development and a defender of the international order. We never waver in our commitment to peaceful development. We urge NATO to stop drawing ideological lines which may induce confrontation, stop spreading disinformation about China, and not to seek to start a new Cold War.

NATO has already disrupted stability in Europe. It should not try to do the same to the Asia-Pacific and the whole world.

On your second question, our consistent view is that the development of relations between countries should be conducive to world peace and stability and not target or damage the interests of any third party. The Asia-Pacific is beyond the geographical scope of the North Atlantic. Countries and people in the Asia-Pacific are strongly opposed to anything said or done to extend military bloc to this region or stir up division and confrontation. 

PTI: What time is the BRICS summit to take place today?

Wang Wenbin: We will release relevant information on the 14th BRICS Summit when appropriate. Please stay tuned. 

China Daily: A cabinet meeting in Nepal recently decided not to move ahead on the State Partnership Program (SPP) with the US. Some analysts said the SPP is in essence designed to create a military alliance that would undermine the current foreign policy and national interests of Nepal. Do you have any comment on that?

Wang Wenbin: We’ve noticed the recent wide controversy over the State Partnership Program (SPP) in Nepal. Various political parties and factions, the government, the army and people across the Nepalese society see the SPP as a military and security initiative closely linked to the Indo-Pacific Strategy and they consider it against the national interests of Nepal and its long-held non-aligned, balanced foreign policy to be part of the SPP. Nepal’s Cabinet meeting has decided not to move ahead on the SPP.

As Nepal’s friendly and close neighbor and strategic cooperative partner, China commends the Nepali government’s decision. China will continue to support Nepal in upholding its sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity and support Nepal’s commitment to its independent and non-aligned foreign policy. China stands ready to work with Nepal to jointly safeguard regional security, stability and shared prosperity. 

CCTV: It is reported that the China-Horn of Africa Peace, Good Governance and Development Conference was held in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia on June 20 and 21. China’s Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, together with representatives of Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Uganda, etc. attended the conference. Ethiopia’s National Security Adviser to the Prime Minister said that solutions to the various regional crises “should come from within” and China was playing a “supportive role”. Do you have more on that? 

Wang Wenbin: During his visit to Africa in January this year, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi put forward the Outlook on Peace and Development in the Horn of Africa, which resonated positively among African countries. The China-Horn of Africa Peace, Good Governance and Development Conference was recently held in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. The conference is an important joint step between China and Africa to advance the Outlook on Peace and Development in the Horn of Africa. Mr. Xue Bing, China’s Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, attended the meeting upon invitation. Regional countries had an in-depth exchange of views on joint response to security, development and governance challenges and issued a joint statement, stressing the willingness to uphold the vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative, and sustainable security, and build a Horn of Africa where the guns are silenced for sustainable peace. The parties also undertook to adopt confidence building measures, manage differences and disputes between countries of the region, and pursue peaceful settlement through dialogue and negotiation in an effort to ease the security situation in the region. 

As a good friend and good partner of countries in the region, China always supports regional countries in independently resolving regional issues and has actively contributed its wisdom and efforts to regional peace and development. We are genuinely happy that this meeting has been a success and produced important consensus. We will continue to support regional countries in seeking strength through solidarity and realizing lasting peace and stability as well as development and prosperity in the region.

Reuters: Does China plan on giving any specific aid to the Taliban or any other bodies in Afghanistan following the earthquake there?

Wang Wenbin: Yesterday, China expressed sympathies to the Afghan side both in Beijing and Kabul immediately after the earthquake and expressed readiness to provide emergency humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan in light of its needs. The Afghan side expressed appreciation to China. We will release information about the assistance to be provided when appropriate. Please stay tuned. 

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