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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on August 15, 2022

2022-08-15 20:00

Phoenix TV: Today marks the 77th anniversary of Japan’s defeat in World War II. August 15 also marks a special day in China-Japan relations. Also today, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida sent a ritual offering to the Yasukuni Shrine. Certain member of Japan’s Cabinet also visited this place the other day. Do you have any comment on this?

Wang Wenbin: The Yasukuni Shrine, where World War II Class-A war criminals are honored, is a spiritual tool and symbol of the wars of aggression launched by Japanese militarists. The negative move of Japanese political leaders on the issue of the Yasukuni Shrine once again shows the Japanese side’s erroneous attitude toward historical issues. The Chinese side has lodged solemn démarches to the Japanese side.

Today marks the 77th anniversary of Japan’s defeat and unconditional surrender. Seventy-seven years ago, the Chinese people, together with the people of the world, defeated the Japanese militarist aggressors and fascism. It was a decisive battle between justice and evil, between light and darkness, and between progress and reaction. This great victory will forever be remembered in the history of the Chinese nation and the pursuit of justice for all humanity.

Facing up to and deeply reflecting on history is an essential prerequisite for Japan to restore and develop normal relations with its Asian neighbors after World War II. For quite some time, some Japanese politicians have kept using various means to distort and glorify its history of aggression and openly acted against important legal instruments including the Cairo Declaration of 1943, which clearly stipulates that Taiwan shall be restored to China. This constitutes serious defiance to the outcomes of the victory of the World Anti-fascist War and the post-war international order. This is unacceptable to anyone who loves peace and stands for justice. Those who try to turn back the wheel of history are bound to find themselves on the wrong path again. Only by sticking to the path of peaceful development can Japan find the right direction. We urge the Japanese side to draw lessons from history, make a clean break with militarism and avoid further losing the trust of its Asian neighbors and the international community.

China-Arab TV: How does China assess its relations with Saudi Arabia?

Wang Wenbin: China and Saudi Arabia are comprehensive strategic partners. In recent years, with the commitment and guidance from the leaders of both countries, China-Saudi Arabia relations have grown robustly with fruitful cooperation in various areas. We are ready to work with Saudi Arabia to keep cementing mutual trust and deepening cooperation and further advance our comprehensive strategic partnership.

China Daily: As we understand, China has handed the Instruments of Ratification of the Forced Labour Convention, 1930 and the Abolition of Forced Labour Convention, 1957 to the International Labour Organization for their deposit and registration. Can you share more information? 

Wang Wenbin: On August 12, 2022 local time, Ambassador Chen Xu, Permanent Representative of the People’s Republic of China to the United Nations Office at Geneva and other International Organizations in Switzerland, handed the Instruments of Ratification of the Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (No. 29) and the Abolition of Forced Labour Convention, 1957 (No. 105) to the Director-General of International Labour Organization (ILO) Mr. Guy Ryder for the purpose of their deposit and registration.

Convention No. 29 and Convention No. 105 are core ILO conventions. They are the most important international legal instruments in the area of forced labor elimination. On April 20, 2022, the 34th session of the Standing Committee of the 13th National People’s Congress decided to ratify these two conventions. The Chinese government is consistently against forced labor. By completing the ratification of the two conventions of its own accord, the government of China has once again made clear its resolute position on opposing and fighting against forced labor.

The Hindu: This is a question on the visit of the Chinese vessel Yuanwang-5 to Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka on Saturday said it cleared the visit for August 16, tomorrow, after extensive consultations were held and concerns were addressed. Can you share some information on the visit and the consultations that were held with Sri Lanka? And what were those concerns that have to be addressed?

Wang Wenbin: As you said, Sri Lanka has given Yuanwang-5 the permission to berth at its port. As for the specific questions that you raised, we have mentioned China’s position quite a few times. 

CCTV: Do you have anything to say about the first anniversary of the “Kabul moment”?

Wang Wenbin: One year ago, the US troops ended its 20-year-long invasion of Afghanistan by hastily pulling out of the country from Kabul. The “Kabul moment” became a byword for the US’s debacle in Afghanistan.

The “Kabul moment” marks the failure of the “democratic transformation” imposed by the US. A country’s path to democracy can only be explored by that country’s own population independently in light of their national conditions. The path to democracy varies from country to country, and will not work if it is imposed from the outside. Forcing the US-style democracy on a country has invariably led to dysfunction and failure of its implementation. 

The “Kabul moment” also marks the failure of the US’s favored approach of mustering small, exclusive groups. The US and its allies have occupied Afghanistan for 20 years only to flee it in a botched withdrawal. The so-called “leader of the West” left its reputation in tatters when it decided to ditch its allies in the hurried retreat.

More importantly, the “Kabul moment” marks the failure of the US’s strategy of hegemony. Since the end of the Cold War, the US has been invading and interfering in countries across the world under the pretext of democracy and human rights, sowing discord and stoking confrontation for the sake of its own geopolitical objectives. The people in the world is widely against this.

The US has failed in Afghanistan. But it clearly has not learned the lesson. It froze US$7 billion of Afghanistan’s foreign exchange assets to hamper Afghanistan’s reconstruction and development. What’s more, the US has never ceased to engage in political interference and manipulation worldwide in the name of democracy and human rights. It has even tried to build “small circles” in economic and technological spheres. Acting against the trend of the times will only lead to more “Kabul moments”.

Bloomberg: Does the Chinese foreign ministry have any comment on the visit to Taiwan by the US lawmakers group led by US Senator Ed Markey that arrived in Taipei on Sunday?

Wang Wenbin: The delegation led by US Senator Ed Markey, in disregard of China’s serious démarches and firm opposition, insisted on visiting the Taiwan region of China. It is a blatant violation of the one-China principle and the stipulations of three Sino-US joint communiqués. It also infringes on China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and sends a seriously wrong signal to the “Taiwan independence” separatist forces.

The one-China principle is a prevailing consensus in the international community and a basic norm in international relations. It is also the political foundation for the establishment and development of diplomatic ties between China and the US. China’s national reunification is an unstoppable historical trend and the formidable common will of the Chinese people.

China once again urges the US to abide by the one-China principle and the three joint communiqués, prudently and properly handle Taiwan-related issues and stop fudging, hollowing out and distorting the one-China principle to prevent further damaging China-US relations and peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. China will take resolute and strong measures to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity. Associating themselves with the separatists in Taiwan and attempting to challenge the one-China principle is a misjudgment and will get these small number of US politicians nowhere. 

Global Times: In a letter to the Financial Times on August 12, Bangladesh’s Ministry of Finance made clarifications on a distorted report published by FT on Bangladesh’s Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal’s remarks concerning the Belt and Road cooperation and developing countries’ debt to China. Minister Kamal made clear that any country should think twice when taking loans from other countries and he was not targeting China. Do you have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: I have seen the clarification made by Finance Minister Mustafa Kamal on the misquotes. It shows the mutual trust between China and Bangladesh. As we often say, facts speak louder than words and truth will always prevail. 

I want to stress once again that as the largest developing country, China always stands firmly with fellow developing countries. And we always consult, carry out and benefit together when it comes to Belt and Road cooperation. Over the years, in light of the needs of developing countries, China has provided substantial sums of low-interest-rate and long-maturity concessional loans to support their efforts to improve infrastructure and people’s wellbeing. These countries owe far less debt to China than to international capital markets and multilateral financial institutions dominated by Western countries. According to the debt bulletin released by the Ministry of Finance of Bangladesh last September, for fiscal year 2021, the country’s debt to the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank accounted for 59% of its total external debt while debt to China only accounted for 7%. As the Bangladeshi side noted in the letter to Financial Times, “Bangladesh owes approximately $4bn to China — a trifling amount compared with Bangladesh’s gross domestic product of $416bn, and its external debt of $51bn”. 

Facts have proven time and again that the so-called “China’s debt trap” is nothing but a narrative trap designed with ill intentions to disrupt and undermine China’s mutually beneficial cooperation with other developing countries. The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has received wide support and seen active participation of many developing countries. Our fruitful cooperation keeps delivering tangible benefits to people in all countries. Facts are the most powerful rebuttal to any disinformation designed to tarnish the BRI and China’s cooperation with fellow developing countries. China is ready to continue to work with the developing world to implement the Global Development Initiative, pursue high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, and deliver more benefits of common development to people in all countries more effectively and equitably. We call on the relevant media to uphold the principle of impartiality, fairness, truthfulness and accuracy, fully respect facts, faithfully reflect the voice of developing countries and do more thing that are conducive to solidarity, cooperation and win-win results among all countries, rather than the opposite. 

Xinhua News Agency: According to reports, a fire engulfed a Coptic Orthodox church in Giza, Egypt and caused a stampede on August 14, claiming 41 lives so far. What is China’s comment? Are there any Chinese casualties?

Wang Wenbin: China deeply mourns those who lost their lives in the fire at the Egyptian church, and extends our sincere sympathies to the bereaved families and the injured. As we have checked with our embassy in Egypt, no Chinese casualties have been reported so far.

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