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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on March 16, 2023

2023-03-16 23:05

CCTV: General Secretary Xi Jinping introduced the Global Civilization Initiative at the CPC in Dialogue with World Political Parties High-Level Meeting on March 15. Could you offer more information?

Wang Wenbin: On March 15, General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee and President Xi Jinping attended the CPC in Dialogue with World Political Parties High-Level Meeting in Beijing and delivered a keynote address entitled “Join Hands on the Path Towards Modernization”. He elaborated on the CPC’s understanding of exploring paths towards modernization, proposed the Global Civilization Initiative (GCI), and expressed the CPC’s sincere readiness to work with political parties of all countries to advance modernization with distinct national features, promote inter-civilization exchanges and mutual learning around the world and build a community with a shared future for mankind. This shows the CPC’s political courage and sense of responsibility to rise to the common challenges facing humanity and contributes China’s solutions to advancing global modernization and progress of human civilizations.

General Secretary Xi Jinping said that as the future of all countries are closely connected, tolerance, coexistence, exchanges and mutual learning among different civilizations play an irreplaceable role in advancing humanity’s modernization process and making the garden of world civilizations flourish. We advocate the respect for the diversity of civilizations, the common values of humanity, the importance of inheritance and innovation of civilizations, and robust international people-to-people exchanges and cooperation. We are ready to work together with the international community to open up a new prospect of enhanced exchanges and understanding among different peoples and better interactions and integration of diversified cultures. Together we can make the garden of world civilizations colorful and vibrant.

The GCI is yet another important public good China has shared with the world in the new era after the Global Development Initiative (GDI) and the Global Security Initiative (GSI), which will inject strong impetus into advancing humanity’s modernization process and building a community with a shared future for mankind.

The GCI has already been warmly received in the international community. People in many countries have said that this latest initiative proposed by President Xi Jinping will give a strong boost to exchanges and mutual learning among different civilizations and advance humanity’s modernization process.

From the GDI and the GSI to the GCI, China has always been a force for world peace, a contributor to global development, a defender of the international order, and promoter of progress of human civilizations. We remain committed to our mission of seeking progress for humanity and harmony for the entire world. On the journey ahead, Chinese modernization, as a new form of human advancement, will draw upon the merits of other civilizations and make the garden of world civilizations more vibrant. When China and the rest of the world join hands on the path towards modernization in the new era, it will surely make new and greater contribution to promoting peace and development and building a community with a shared future for mankind.

Yonhap News Agency: According to reports, the DPRK launched a ballistic missile, suspected to be an intercontinental ballistic missile, into waters off its east coast today. What’s your comment? 

Wang Wenbin: We have noted relevant reports. Recently, the US and some other countries have held large-scale joint military exercises in the region, constantly increased the frequency of strategic weapons deployment, and made arrangements to transfer nuclear submarines to another country. The negative impact of such moves on the Korean Peninsula situation is worrying. What the situation on the Korean Peninsula calls for is reducing the temperature, not fanning the flames. Relevant parties need to stay committed to the direction of political settlement, and move forward on the right path of easing tensions and resuming dialogue.

TASS: Russian deputy foreign minister Alexander Grushko said recently that the Black Sea grain deal had been extended on the previous conditions for 60 days. He stressed that the package deal consists of two parts, including the export of Ukrainian agricultural products via the Black Sea and the normalization of the export of Russian grain and fertilizers. Russia hopes that the deal can help normalize Russian exports within 60 days. What’s your comment?

Wang Wenbin: The Black Sea Grain Initiative is an important agreement reached by the UN, Russia, Türkiye and Ukraine after several rounds of negotiations. China hopes that the agreement will continue to be implemented in a balanced, comprehensive and effective manner. China has put forward the cooperation initiative on global food security, and would like to strengthen communication and cooperation with all parties over this to build up international consensus and contribute to world food security.

Kyodo News: According to reports, ROK President Yoon Suk-yeol visited Japan and had talks with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida today. This is the first time an ROK leader has traveled to Japan for such a meeting in 12 years, resuming regular visits between leaders of the two countries. Do you have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: As a close neighbor of both Japan and the ROK, China has noted the recent interactions between the two countries and the changes in their relations. The aggression and colonial rule of the Japanese militarism inflicted untold sufferings on China, the ROK and other Asian countries. Past experience, if not forgotten, is a guide for the future. We have all along asked Japan to deeply reflect on its history of aggression, properly handle historical issues with an honest and responsible attitude, and on this basis develop normal state-to-state relations with its Asian neighbors.

China, Japan and the ROK are each other’s important trade partners. To keep industrial and supply chains stable and unfettered is in the interest of all three countries and the entire region. China opposes certain countries’ attempts to form exclusionary cliques. We hope Japan-ROK ties will move forward in a way that is conducive to regional peace, stability and prosperity.

Global Times: The statistics released by the FBI showed that hate crime incidents increased 11.6% from 8,120 in 2020 to 9,065 in 2021 and involved 12,411 victims, setting a record high. Up to 64.5% of victims were targeted because of race or ethnicity bias. What’s your comment? 

Wang Wenbin: The numbers you cited are shocking. But the worsening hate crimes only represent the tip of the iceberg of systemic racism and human rights issues in the US. In fact, in the country that claims “All men are created equal”, white supremacy and xenophobia are still spreading. Minorities including the Indigenous community, people of African, Asian, and Latin descent, and Muslims have long endured widespread and systemic discrimination. Among all racial groups in the US, Native Americans have the shortest life expectancy and the highest poverty rate. African Americans lag far behind White Americans in terms of wealth, health, education and racial justice. In 2021, hate crimes targeting people of Asian descent soared by 339% compared to 2020. Up to 63% of Asian Americans believe violence against the Asian community is still on the rise. Latin Americans, representing 19% of the total US population, own only 2% of the wealth. And 75% of Muslim adults in the US believe they are subject to discrimination due to their religious belief.

The US government professes that it will defend everyone’s human rights. We wonder, is George Floyd who died from the knee-on-neck hold included? Are the record number of victims of hate crimes included? Are the 2,337 American people killed by gun violence this year included?

The US zooms out when viewing its own human rights issues yet zooms in when criticizing others’ human rights conditions, overtly practicing double standards on human rights. We want to remind the US that human rights issues are under its own nose. What the US government needs to do is immediately start working on the aggravating human rights issues like racial discrimination, hate crimes, gun violence and drug-related crimes, rather than profess the respect and protection of human rights under the cover of a human rights preacher.

Reuters: Taiwan’s “foreign ministry” warned Honduras that it should not be lured by China’s “poisonous” financial aid even though it faces a huge amount of debt. What’s your comment? A spokesperson for TikTok told Reuters that the Biden administration asked Byte Dance to sell its stakes, or face ban from the US. What’s your response?

Wang Wenbin: To start, let me say that Taiwan has no foreign ministry, but a foreign affairs department. The one-China principle is the political foundation and prerequisite for the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and other countries. In recent years, Panama, El Salvador, the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua have established or resumed diplomatic relations with China. The practical cooperation between China and these countries have made rapid progress, which has effectively promoted the socioeconomic development of relevant countries and delivered tangible benefits to the people. China is ready to grow friendly cooperative relations with all countries including Honduras on the basis of the one-China principle. We believe that this will create more opportunities for socioeconomic development and efforts to improve people’s wellbeing in Honduras.

As to the remarks made by the DPP authorities, let me say that Taiwan is an inalienable part of China. The DPP authorities’ obsession with “Taiwan independence” and separatist agenda will lead nowhere.

On your second question, we have noted relevant reports. China always believes that data security should not be used as a tool to abuse the national security concept and state power to hobble foreign companies.

The US has yet to prove with evidence that TikTok threatens its national security. It should stop spreading disinformation about data security, stop suppressing relevant companies, and provide an open, fair, just and non-discriminatory environment for foreign businesses to invest and operate in the US.

China Daily: Mr. Xue Bing, China’s Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,is on a visit to Ethiopia and the African Union. In the meantime, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is also in Ethiopia. Do you have any comment on cooperation between the Horn of Africa and countries in the world?

Wang Wenbin: Ethiopia is now in a crucial stage of restoring peace and focusing on development. We believe that countries should take concrete steps that benefit Ethiopia’s development and regional peace, rather than arbitrarily resort to sanction and coercion, or interfere in other countries’ internal affairs on hotspot issues. 

An important task in this visit of China’s Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa Affairs is to maintain close communication with regional countries on behalf of China on advancing the implementation of the initiative for peace and development in the Horn of Africa, and support regional countries in realizing development through solidarity as well as stability and prosperity. China stands ready to work with the rest of the international community to help make the Horn of Africa a region of peace, cooperation and common development.

AFP: Honduran foreign minister said that the country wants to sever diplomatic ties with Taiwan because Taiwan is reluctant to provide more financial aid to his country. What kind of aid policy will China take economically with regard to Honduras?

Wang Wenbin: You may find the answer in my response to Reuters. We are ready to grow friendly cooperative relations with all countries including Honduras on the basis of the one-China principle. We believe this will create more opportunities for economic development and people’s well-being in Honduras.

Reuters: First, the Japan Coast Guard said they were repeatedly warned off by China’s coast guard vessels that illegally entered the territorial waters around what Japan called the Senkaku Islands. Do you have any comment? Second, according to reports, China blocked the US from broadcasting on the internet an informal UN Security Council meeting on human rights conditions in the DPRK. Do you have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: On your first question, Diaoyu Dao and its affiliated islands are China’s inherent territory. The illegal intrusion of a Japanese yacht and the right-wing Japanese fishing boats into China’s territorial waters of Diaoyu Dao seriously violates China’s sovereignty. The China Coast Guard carried out law enforcement at the scene in accordance with the law, which is a legitimate step to uphold China’s sovereignty.

On your second question, the allegation that China is afraid to talk about human rights issues in public has no merit at all. Not long ago, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang delivered remarks via video conference at the High-level Segment of the 52nd Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, where he made a four-point proposal on how to better promote and protect human rights and how to enhance and improve global human rights governance. I would refer you to those remarks.   

As the Chinese side has repeatedly stressed, the UN Security Council, as a core institution to safeguard international peace and security, is not the appropriate venue to discuss human rights issues, still less should it be used by a few countries as a tool to smear and suppress other countries to serve their selfish political agenda. Our position remains unchanged.

The current situation on the Korean Peninsula is highly sensitive. The main reason is that the US has refused to respond to the DPRK’s denuclearization steps and instead ramped up pressure and deterrence against it. We hope Security Council member states will assume their responsibility and play a constructive role in facilitating a political settlement of the Korean Peninsula issues and realizing peace and stability on the Peninsula. 

AFP: Do you have any update on President Xi Jinping’s visit to Russia next week? Especially on which day is he going and what are China’s expectations for this visit?

Wang Wenbin: We already answered this question a couple of days ago and you can refer to that.

AFP: Japan and the ROK recently announced that Japan will lift export restrictions on materials for semiconductor chips to the ROK and the ROK will withdraw arbitration case filed against Japan in the WTO. What’s your response?

Wang Wenbin: I just stated China’s position on the recent developments in Japan-ROK relations. I would like to reiterate that we ask Japan to deeply reflect on its history of aggression, properly handle historical issues with an honest and responsible attitude, and on this basis develop normal relations with its Asian neighbors. We oppose certain countries’ attempts to form exclusionary cliques and hope Japan-ROK ties will move forward in a way conducive to regional peace, stability and prosperity.

Reuters: The US government has charged Chinese businessman Miles Guo of orchestrating over $1 billion dollar fraud conspiracy. What’s China’s comment? Second question, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has appointed former officials to look into suspected Chinese interference in Canada’s elections. Do you have a comment? 

Wang Wenbin: On your first question, I noted relevant reports.

On your second question, we consistently oppose interference in other countries’ internal affairs. We have no interest in and no intention of meddling in Canada’s internal affairs. The Canadian side should stop making irresponsible remarks. 

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