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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on June 8, 2023

2023-06-08 19:04

CCTV: We have learned that on June 7, China, Pakistan and Iran held the first meeting of their trilateral consultation on counter-terrorism and security at directors general level. Could you share more information?

Wang Wenbin: On June 7, Director-General Bai Tian of the Department of External Security of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs held in Beijing the first meeting of the China-Pakistan-Iran trilateral consultation on counter-terrorism and security at directors general level with Seyed Rasoul Mosavi, Assistant to the Foreign Minister and Director General of South Asia of Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Abdul Hameed, Director General on Counter Terrorism of Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. China’s Assistant Foreign Minister Nong Rong met with the Pakistani and Iranian heads of delegation. The three sides held in-depth exchange of views on the regional counter-terrorism situation and joint efforts to tackle the cross-border movement of terrorists, among other issues, and decided to institutionalize the trilateral consultation on counter-terrorism and security. The meeting was a successful step taken by the three countries to act on the Global Security Initiative and enhance regional security and stability.

Terrorism is a common enemy of humanity. China firmly opposes and strongly condemns terrorism in all its manifestations. We stand ready to work in close collaboration with Pakistan, Iran and other regional countries to resolutely crack down on terrorist forces that endanger the interests of the three countries and regional security.

Reuters: China staged joint air patrols with Russia over the Pacific yesterday. Japan said it is concerned about the national security as a result of the joint air patrols. Does China have any comment on Japan’s concerns?

Wang Wenbin: On the China-Russia joint strategic air patrol, relevant Chinese department has released a readout, which you may refer to. The patrol is carried out in accordance with international law and norms and does not target any country.

CCTV: The Global Debt Monitor recently issued by the Institute of International Finance shows that the global debt stock has hit USD 305 trillion, USD 45 trillion higher than before the COVID-19 pandemic. The US has the world’s highest national debt, which stands at USD 31.4 trillion, raising further concerns about US government spending and borrowing costs. Do you have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: The US is the world’s largest economy and issuer of a major international currency. Hence the heavy spillover effect of its fiscal conditions and policy choices on the world economy and the importance for the US to adopt responsible fiscal and monetary policies. However, the US has long used its dollar hegemony, borrowed recklessly, shifted crises, and pursued quantitative easing which knows no limit. This has spread US inflation to other parts of the world, made debt problem and economic woes in some emerging economies and developing countries even worse and seriously held back global recovery. As the Treasury Secretary of the Nixon administration John Connally once put it, “The dollar is our currency, but it is your problem.”

We urge the US to opt for responsible fiscal and monetary policies, and work with other economies to enhance macroeconomic policy coordination, jointly safeguard international economic and financial stability and contribute to global recovery.

Yonhap News Agency: The ROK was recently elected to the UN Security Council as a non-permanent member. What’s China’s expectation for China-ROK consultation on the Korean Peninsula issues at the Security Council?

Wang Wenbin: The Security Council is at the core of the international collective security mechanism and has the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. The international community looks to the Security Council to fulfill its mandate, play its due role and facilitate the political settlement of international and regional hotspot issues. It is hoped that the ROK will use its Security Council membership to uphold equity, justice and independence, advocate dialogue, cooperation, solidarity and mutual trust, reject antagonism, confrontation and double standards, and contribute to the Council’s work and live up to the world’s expectations through concrete efforts. 

Reuters: Taiwan activated its air defense system today after 37 Chinese military jets entered the air defense zone of the island. Why did China decide to do this on the same week as it staged the joint air patrol with Russia? Are the two events connected?

Wang Wenbin: I am not aware of what you said. This is not a question about China’s foreign affairs. Taiwan is part of China. We never waver in our resolve and determination to uphold China’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity. On the China-Russia joint strategic air patrol, I have stated China’s position just now.

Bloomberg: The US, Taiwan and Japan will share real-time data from naval reconnaissance drones. This is according to the Financial Times citing four people familiar with the project. Does the foreign ministry have any comment on this report that the US, Taiwan and Japan will share real-time data?

Wang Wenbin: The one-China principle is a universally recognized basic norm in international relations, a prevailing consensus among the international community, and the political foundation of China-US and China-Japan relations. The Taiwan question concerns China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and is at the core of China’s core interests. We are firmly opposed to any form of military contact between the Taiwan region and countries that have diplomatic relations with China. We urge relevant countries to abide by the one-China principle and stop creating factors that could lead to tensions in the Taiwan Strait. China will firmly safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

China News Service: The latest reports issued by the World Bank and the OECD both revised up the growth forecast of the world and major economies for 2023. The World Bank predicted that China’s economy will grow by 5.6 percent in 2023 and the OECD set this figure at 5.4 percent. Both reports noted that China’s reopening will provide impetus for world economic growth. Do you have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: Several international organizations and institutions such as the UN, the World Bank and the IMF have recently raised their forecast for China’s growth. Some of them even revised up the forecast more than once. It shows their confidence in China’s economic prospect. The Chinese economy will continue to serve as an engine of growth and contribute to global economic recovery.

We have also seen senior executives of many transnational corporations coming to China recently, which is also a vote of confidence for China’s economy. Foreign businesses value the enormous opportunities brought by China’s robust economic recovery and consider the improving business environment here a favorable sign. They are upbeat about the Chinese market and ready to invest in all aspects in China. According to a recent report by the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, 97 percent of the surveyed foreign companies rated China’s foreign investment policy since the fourth quarter of last year “satisfied” or above. The satisfaction rate in terms of accessing financial services and market access exceeded 80 percent. A report issued by the EU Chamber of Commerce in China indicates that the size of China’s market, strong demand, the fast pace of commercialization of R&D results and ample local talents steer a large share of European companies towards deeper localization, and close to 60 percent of the companies surveyed said that they would increase R&D expenditure in China in the coming five years. An AmCham China survey shows that 66 percent of US companies in China will maintain or increase investment in China in the coming two years.

China will remain firmly committed to advancing high-level opening-up and providing a more market-oriented, law-based and world-class business environment for companies of all countries. We welcome more foreign companies to invest in China, explore the Chinese market and share in China’s development dividends.

Dragon TV: The latest poll by the European Council on Foreign Relations shows that the prevailing view is that China is a “necessary partner”. Many European leaders, including President of the European Council Charles Michel, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz have recently said that “decoupling” from China is neither viable nor desirable, and underlined the importance of maintaining contact and cooperation with China. Do you have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: China and the EU are two major forces, big markets and important civilizations in a multi-polar world. The China-EU relations, rooted in solid public support, extensive mutual interests and similar strategic aspirations, have withstood the test of time and shown strong resilience and potential. Since early this year, the two sides have maintained close high-level exchanges. Leaders of the two sides had in-depth communication and reached important common understandings on enhancing strategic mutual trust, deepening practical cooperation, stepping up international coordination and managing differences appropriately. As the poll shows, China and the EU are partners, not rivals. China stands ready to work with the EU to deliver on the common understandings of the leaders, keep to the right direction and underlining tone of China-EU relations, cement the positive momentum of growth of ties, fully resume in-person exchanges at all levels, galvanize mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields to enrich and expand the dimensions of China-EU cooperation, and provide more stability and certainty for a volatile and turbulent world.

Ukrinform News Agency: My question is about the situation in Ukraine. After Russian military blew up the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant dam on the Dnipro, many settlements were flooded and lives of thousands of people were at risk. Does China plan to provide humanitarian aid to the Ukrainians because of this disaster? 

Wang Wenbin: As I made clear yesterday, we are seriously concerned about the destruction of the relevant facilities and deeply worried about its humanitarian, economic and ecological impact. We call on all parties to the conflict to respect international humanitarian law and do everything possible to protect civilians and keep civilian facilities safe. The most urgent priority is for all parties concerned to make efforts to ease the situation on the ground and jointly respond to the disaster.

China has played a constructive role through our own way in easing the humanitarian situation in Ukraine. We put forward China’s proposals including a six-point initiative on the humanitarian situation in Ukraine and sent multiple batches of humanitarian supplies to the country. We are ready to continue making our efforts in this regard.

AFP: The US Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns on Wednesday accused China of failing to stop production of fentanyl. He said he will keep pressure on China to shut down the ability of black market Chinese firm to sell the drug. We have not seen progress on this issue from the Chinese government, he said. Is there something you want to say to address the US Ambassador’s concerns?

Wang Wenbin: Perhaps you can do me a favor and ask Ambassador Burns this following question. In May 2019, in a humanitarian spirit, China scheduled fentanyl-related substances as a class, which played an important role in preventing the illicit manufacturing, trafficking and abuse of the substance. The US has been a major beneficiary of this. This is how the US reciprocates—by sanctioning China’s Institution of Forensic Science of the Ministry of Public Security and National Narcotics Laboratory and indicting and sanctioning Chinese companies and individuals. This is seriously damaging to the foundation for China-US counternarcotics cooperation. Maybe you could ask Ambassador Burns this: what is the US exactly trying to do? Does it seek to solve its drug abuse problem through cooperation? Or does the US think it’s more important to suppress and contain China?

I would like to stress that the Chinese government has always been tough on drug-related crimes. China is the first country in the world to have officially scheduled fentanyl as a class and conducts the toughest regulation on precursor chemicals. The allegation of illicit flow of fentanyl precursors from China into the US via Mexico is sheer disinformation. The root cause of the US’s fentanyl crisis lies at home. The fundamental solution is to reduce domestic demand and supply. The US needs to reflect on itself, strengthen regulation and control of prescription drugs at home, step up public awareness campaigns about the harm of narcotics, and reduce domestic demand for drugs, instead of smearing and discrediting other countries to shift the blame.

Reuters: US lawmakers have asked the State Department to bar Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee from visiting San Francisco during November’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit due to his role in Hong Kong’s national security law. What is the Chinese side’s comment?

Wang Wenbin: APEC has a set of rules for the organization of its meetings. Host economies have the responsibility to ensure the smooth participation of the representatives of all members in the meetings. The US, as this year’s APEC host, has undertaken to fulfill its obligation, follow relevant rules and procedures of APEC, and facilitate the participation of all representatives of APEC members in the events to be held in the US. We believe the US will deliver on its commitments and make sure that representatives of all APEC members, including Hong Kong, China, will participate smoothly in the APEC events.

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