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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on October 30, 2023

2023-10-30 22:10

CCTV: On October 28, the UN General Assembly adopted at its emergency special session on the Palestinian question a resolution calling for an immediate humanitarian truce in Gaza. China voted in favor and co-sponsored the resolution. Could you share China’s position?

Wang Wenbin: The UN General Assembly adopted at its recent emergency special session a resolution on the Palestinian-Israeli situation tabled by an Arab country. It calls for an immediate humanitarian truce in Gaza, condemns all acts of violence aimed at civilians, and demands that all parties comply with their obligations in regard to the protection of civilians and civilian objects. It reaffirms the importance of finding a just and lasting solution to the Palestinian question on the basis of the two-state solution.

Since the Palestinian-Israeli conflict escalated, China has been calling for a ceasefire and cessation of hostilities, protection of civilians, opening a humanitarian aid corridor and averting a larger-scale humanitarian disaster. We have played an active and constructive role in promoting the comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the Palestinian question. Based on the above-stated position, China, as a co-sponsor of the draft resolution tabled by the Arab country, voted in favor of it. The General Assembly voted overwhelmingly for the resolution. This reflects the international community’s strong call for the fighting to stop and where it stands on the question of war and peace. China hopes the new UNGA resolution will be fully implemented, so that peace and stability will return and the humanitarian situation on the ground will be eased soon, civilians will be protected, and the Palestinian question will find a comprehensive, just and enduring solution at an early date.

China News Service: We noted that visa appointment service has seen improvement recently at Chinese embassies and consulates. At some embassies and consulates, appointments are no longer required for visa application. The Foreign Ministry and relevant diplomatic missions overseas have issued notice to further improve visa policies. Can you share more about what has been done and achieved in facilitating cross-border travel?

Wang Wenbin: Since early this year, to provide smooth channels for foreigners travelling to China and facilitate efforts to achieve high-quality development and high-level opening-up, the Chinese Foreign Ministry has improved visa policies and launched a series of measures in collaboration with other government agencies to make sure that channels are smooth for foreigners travelling to China.

Following the decision to manage COVID-19 with measures against Class-B infectious diseases, the Foreign Ministry has directed our embassies and consulates to extend office hours, reduce materials required for visa application, increase staff and issuance of multiple-entry visas, exempt applicants temporarily from fingerprinting and improve the visa application form, so that the visa process can become more efficient. Green lanes are added for groups with important and urgent business or humanitarian affairs. Most Chinese embassies and consulates now provide visa appointments down to two working days in advance. There are also quite a few Chinese missions which no longer require an appointment for visa applications.

These measures have achieved good results. The numbers of visa issuance has gone up rapidly, and more and more foreigners are coming to China. Going forward, the Foreign Ministry will continue to improve visa policies, and actively create more favorable conditions for boosting cross-border travel to and from China. 

Prensa Latina: Cuba will soon present its report to the UN, calling for an end to the US blockade on the island. Every year, the international community supports Cuba on this. Could you please share your opinion on the US blockade on Cuba?

Wang Wenbin: Since 1992, for 30 consecutive times, the UN General Assembly has adopted with overwhelming majority a resolution calling for an end to the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed on Cuba by the US. This shows that the vast majority of countries in the world are gravely concerned about and firmly opposed to the US’s arbitrary unilateral sanctions on Cuba that seriously threaten the basic human rights of the Cuban people, and that they support Cuba’s just fight for its sovereignty and against the blockade.

This should prompt the US to listen and respond to the international community’s call for justice and put an immediate end to the economic, commercial and trade restrictions and embargo on Cuba. China will continue to firmly support the Cuban people’s efforts to oppose external interference and blockade and defend sovereignty and national dignity.

AFP: Zhai Jun, Special Envoy of the Chinese Government on the Middle East issue, visited Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates last week. Is there any plan for him to attend other meetings related to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in this region this week?

Wang Wenbin: Since the escalation of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict began, China has been in close contact with relevant parties, actively participated in the consultations at the UN Security Council, and made every effort to promote peace talks and help deescalate the situation. The international community, especially the many Arab countries, commends China’s just position and the role it has played as a responsible major country. It is widely held that the vision of building a community with a shared future for mankind advocated by President Xi Jinping helps identify the direction for resolving the Palestinian-Israeli issue. Countries also consider the proposal put forward by Foreign Minister Wang Yi on ending the conflict to be well-targeted and commend China’s important role in promoting a political settlement of the Palestinian issue and preserving peace and stability in the Middle East.

China will firmly support all efforts that are conducive to dialogue, ceasefire and peace and will do its best on everything conducive to the implementation of the two-state solution and a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the Palestinian question. China is ready to work together with the international community to make relentless efforts to that end.

Bloomberg: According to a recent report from The Wall Street Journal, there has been a wave of anti-Semitic comments sweeping through Chinese social media. My question is, does the foreign ministry have a comment on this type of online comments aimed at the Jewish community?

Wang Wenbin: The position of the Chinese government on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is very clear-cut. We call for ending the fighting as soon as possible, protecting civilians, establishing an independent state of Palestine, and realizing the peaceful coexistence of Palestine and Israel based on the two-state solution. 

China’s laws unequivocally prohibit disseminating information on extremism, ethnic hatred, discrimination and violence via the internet.

The Paper: The UN announced a few days ago the launch of the High-level Advisory Body on Artificial Intelligence to undertake analysis and advance recommendations for the international governance of artificial intelligence (AI). Two Chinese scholars were selected as members of the Body. Do you have any comment on this?

Wang Wenbin: AI governance bears on the common wellbeing of all mankind and requires the joint contribution of the international community. As a Permanent Member of the UN Security Council and a responsible member of the international community, China supports efforts to discuss AI governance within the UN framework, increase the representation and say of developing countries, and develop AI governance frameworks, norms and standards based on broad consensus.

At the Opening Ceremony of the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, President Xi Jinping introduced the Global AI Governance Initiative, demonstrating China’s leading role in global AI Governance. The Initiative outlines China’s proposals on the development, security and governance of AI, and puts forward principles of a people-centered approach, the development of AI for the good of humanity, respect for sovereignty and joint governance. It embodies China’s deep understanding on AI as well as visions and appeals widely recognized, including by the vast developing world. The Initiative calls on all countries to enhance information exchange and technological cooperation on the governance of AI, work together to prevent risks, and develop AI for the good of humanity. The Initiative opposes using AI technologies for the purposes of intervening in other countries’ internal affairs and holding back other countries’ development. We welcome governments, international organizations, companies, research institutes, and civil organizations to jointly promote the governance of AI under the principles of extensive consultation, joint contribution, and shared benefits.

Reuters: The US has begun buying Japanese seafood to supply its military in Japan, in a response to China’s ban on those products. The US Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel said in an interview with Reuters that Washington should also look more broadly into how it could help offset China’s ban, which he said was part of Beijing’s “economic wars”. My question is, what is the foreign ministry’s response?

Wang Wenbin: China’s opposition to Japan’s ocean discharge of the nuclear-contaminated water from the Fukushima power plant is consistent and clear. China has stated its position to Japan at the recent director-general-level consultations between the two foreign ministries. The precautionary measures taken by China and some other countries in response to Japan’s move to protect food safety and people’s health are entirely legitimate, reasonable and necessary. After Japan dumped two batches of nuclear-contaminated water into the Pacific Ocean, there is now a stronger call from the international community for an international monitoring arrangement that will remain effective for the long haul and has the substantive participation of Japan’s neighboring countries and other stakeholders. Japan needs to fully cooperate in this and strictly prevent the discharge from causing irreversible consequences.

As for the remarks of the US Ambassador to Japan, It needs to be pointed out that the duty of diplomats is to deepen friendship between countries, rather than smear other countries and sow discords.

Ukrinform News Agency: The third meeting regarding the Ukrainian peace formula was held in Malta last weekend. Representatives of 66 countries and international organizations gathered there. China did not take part. Does it mean that China refuses to play an active role in finding ways to stop the Russian-Ukrainian war?

Wang Wenbin: China’s position on the Ukraine crisis is consistent and clear. We have played a constructive role for putting an end to hostilities and seeking a political settlement. We will continue to promote talks for peace in our own ways and work for a political settlement of the Ukraine crisis.

AFP: China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi recently said that the preparation work for the meeting between President Xi Jinping and President Biden cannot be left to autopilot. What conditions need to be met to confirm the meeting?

Wang Wenbin: Thank you for raising that question. To answer your question, let me briefly go over the visit to the US by Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Foreign Minister Wang Yi at US invitation. During the visit, Wang Yi met with US President Joe Biden and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan respectively and held two rounds of talks with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Wang Yi also met with representatives of the US strategic and business communities.

Wang Yi said that the purpose of this visit is to communicate with the US to follow through on the important common understandings between the two heads of state. Noting the Bali meeting and the upcoming meeting in San Francisco, Wang Yi said the two sides should work to stabilize the China-US relationship from further deterioration, and bring it back to the track of sound and stable development at an early date. Wang Yi said that the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communiqués, the most important political foundation of the bilateral relationship, must be earnestly maintained with efforts to steer clear of disruptions. China attaches importance to the US side’s desire to stabilize and improve its relations with China. Wang Yi stressed the need to take on the responsibilities to the world, history and people to truly stabilize and improve China-US relations in line with the three principles of mutual respect, peaceful coexistence, and win-win cooperation proposed by President Xi Jinping. This not only serves the fundamental interests of both countries and their peoples, but also meets the common expectations of the international community.

Wang Yi said, looking back at the twits and turns in the course of China-US relations since the beginning of this year, the experience is worth summarizing and the lessons need to be drawn. The key is to follow the “five musts”. The two sides must follow the common understandings reached by the two heads of state; must stabilize bilateral relations; must keep communication channels open; must properly manage differences, disputes and frictions; and must promote mutually beneficial cooperation. Wang Yi stressed, to stabilize and improve China-US relations, the two sides should also have objective understandings of each other’s strategic intentions, correctly view the competitive factors in the exchanges between China and the US, and define the concept of national security.

Wang Yi stressed that the biggest threat to peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait is “Taiwan independence”, which is also the biggest challenge facing China-US relations. Wang Yi said it must be resolutely opposed and such efforts must be reflected in specific policies and actions. Wang Yi also elaborated on China’s solemn position on the South China Sea issue. The two sides also had an exchange of views on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Ukraine and the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, among others.

The US side noted that the US government values its relations with China. The US and China have maintained exchanges and interactions in recent months, and conducted candid and constructive communication, achieving positive results. The US side hopes that bilateral relations will be stable and sustainable, and is willing to strengthen communication with China to prevent miscalculation, explore cooperation in areas where cooperation is needed, make good preparations for the next phase of high-level exchanges between the US and China, and jointly address global challenges. 

During the visit, the two sides, in the spirit of equality and mutual respect, held in-depth, constructive and substantive strategic communication over various issues of mutual interest and jointly sent out a positive signal of stabilizing and improving China-US relations. Both agree that it is useful and necessary for our two major countries to keep up dialogue. Both hope to see the bilateral relationship stabilizing as soon as possible and moving towards improvement. The two sides agreed to work together for the meeting between the two heads of state in San Francisco. As for your question, I want to stress that it won’t be plain sailing to San Francisco, nor can we leave it to autopilot to get us there. Both sides need to earnestly return to what was agreed in Bali, act on the common understandings of the two Presidents, rise above disruptions, overcome obstacles, expand common understandings and accumulate outcomes.  

In the coming days, the two sides will hold separately China-US consultations on maritime affairs, China-US consultations on arms control and non-proliferation, China-US consultations on foreign policies, and China-US Coordination Meeting on Disability Affairs and discuss the signing of a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in disability affairs. The two sides agreed to further increase direct passenger flights. 

Bloomberg: What was the nature of the talks between China’s special representative on the Korean Peninsula Liu Xiaoming with his US counterpart Sung Kim?

Wang Wenbin: On October 30, Special Representative of the Chinese Government on Korean Peninsula Affairs Liu Xiaoming had a virtual meeting with the US Special Representative for the DPRK Sung Kim at the invitation of the US side. The two sides exchanged views on the situation on the Korean Peninsula. Let me repeat that the current deadlock regarding the situation on the Korean Peninsula stems from the remnant of the Cold War and the absence of a peace mechanism. Parties need to face up to the root cause, work to address each other’s legitimate concerns in a balanced manner, create conditions for dialogue to resume, and maintain peace and stability on the Peninsula.

AFP: A mob looking for Israelis and Jews overran an airport in Russia’s Caucasus Republic of Dagestan yesterday. The US has condemned this incident, calling it “antisemitic protests”. How does China view this?

Wang Wenbin: I have repeated China’s position on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict just now and I will just not go over it again. 

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