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

I want to start today’s press conference by wishing all of you a Happy Lantern Festival. I’m sure you have noticed that here with us today are Bing Dwen Dwen and Shuey Rhon Rhon, the mascots of the Beijing Olympic Winter Games and Paralympic Winter Games. This pair of lovable mascots have been showered with love without borders or distinctions from athletes, media and the public all over the world ever since the opening of Beijing 2022.

Sport knows no borders and humanity shares deep bonds. Bing Dwen Dwen and Shuey Rhon Rhon have exemplified the meaning of “together” in the Olympic motto by presenting enthusiasm, openness, optimism and confidence that runs in the Chinese culture and blood and building bridges of exchange over the world. Hope we can deepen understanding and strengthen friendship in the presence of smiling Bing Dwen Dwen and Shuey Rhon Rhon, and move together for a shared future.

CCTV: We have noticed that the executive order signed by US President Biden regarding the $7 billion frozen assets of the Central Bank of Afghanistan has been opposed by various sides. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman called the US decision absurd, adding it is actually exacerbating the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan and obstructing the work of the new authorities in Kabul to establish a normal life. The Afghan Taliban issued a statement comparing the US move to theft. The foreign ministries of Pakistan and Iran also opposed the US decision. Does China have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: Without the consent of the Afghan people, the US willfully disposes of assets that belong to the Afghan people, even keeping them as its own. This is no different from the conduct of bandits. This latest example has once again laid bare that the “rules-based order” the US claims to champion is not the kind of rules and order to defend the weak and uphold justice, but to maintain its own hegemony.

As the culprit of the Afghan crisis, the US should not exacerbate the suffering of the Afghan people. It should unfreeze their assets, lift unilateral sanctions on Afghanistan as soon as possible, and assume its due responsibility to ease the humanitarian crisis in the country.

Phoenix TV: We noted that in a joint statement on February 14, the G7 finance ministers said that they are prepared to impose economic and financial sanctions on Russia. What is China’s response?

Wang Wenbin: China opposes wanton use or threat of unilateral sanctions in international relations. Under the current circumstances, unilateral sanctions will only intensify division and confrontation. China calls on all parties to remain rational, work for the comprehensive resolution of the Ukraine crisis and issues concerned through dialogue and negotiation, and refrain from making moves that may escalate the tensions and play up and sensationalize the crisis.

CRI: It is reported that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has sent a team of experts to visit Japan from February 14 to 18. The experts will evaluate the safety of the release of nuclear contaminated water from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into the ocean on February 15. Do you have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: I noted relevant reports. The Chinese side hopes that the IAEA technical working group can follow the objective, just and science-based principle to conduct independent assessment, monitoring and verification on the disposal of the Fukushima nuclear contaminated water throughout the whole process in order to ensure absolute safety. Japan should cooperate fully with the IAEA including by accepting monitoring and verification on the safety of the nuclear contaminated water, data accuracy and efficiency of the means of disposal. China will keep following the progress of the technical working group, and hopes it will keep the international community, especially stakeholders, informed in a timely manner.

I also want to stress that Japan does not agree to the IAEA technical working group’s assessing disposal plans other than ocean discharge. China’s support for the work of the technical working group does not mean we endorse Japan’s wrong policy to release the nuclear contaminated water into the sea. Japan should face up to the international community’s concerns, revoke the erroneous decision on ocean discharge, and stop advancing relevant preparatory work. Unless consensus is reached with stakeholders including neighboring countries and relevant international organizations through full consultation, the Japanese side mustn’t wantonly start the ocean discharge.

AFP: A Pentagon spokesperson said yesterday that China’s tacit support for Russia on the Ukrainian issue was deeply alarming. And he said that was destabilizing to the security situation in Europe. Does China have any response to this?

Wang Wenbin: Under the current circumstances, exaggerating and hyping up the possibility of warfare is not responsible behavior. Resorting readily to sanctions and pressure won’t help with deescalating the situation. Clamoring for bloc confrontation will only lead to the old path of the Cold War. We call on all sides to adopt an equal and open attitude, and work for the earnest implementation of the Minsk-2 agreement through dialogue and negotiation so as to create conditions for a political resolution of the Ukraine crisis.

Associated Press of Pakistan: Prime Minister Imran Khan, while talking to former ambassadors and representatives of think tanks and media, said his visit to China has strengthened bilateral relations and also opened windows of investment. I wonder if you have any comment on it?

Wang Wenbin: Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to China and attendance at the opening ceremony of Beijing 2022 carries on the fine tradition of mutual support between China and Pakistan. President Xi Jinping met with the Pakistani Prime Minister, and Premier Li Keqiang had talks with him. Leaders of the two countries reached important consensus on such areas as the development of CPEC, more cooperation in science and technology, agriculture and livelihood, building a corridor for green development, health and digital economy, encouraging Chinese companies to invest in Pakistan, leveraging the protocol to the China-Pakistan Free Trade Agreement, and increasing the import of agricultural products from Pakistan.

China is ready to work with Pakistan in implementing the above important consensus, further deepen strategic mutual trust, expand bilateral practical cooperation and inject new impetus into the all-weather strategic cooperative partnership.

Reuters: Just now on Ukraine, you said China calls on all parties to follow an equal and open attitude and encourages dialogue. Has China been having any dialogue with Vladimir Putin in recent days asking him not to invade Ukraine?

Wang Wenbin: China’s position on Ukraine is consistent and clear, and stays unchanged. We believe all parties should earnestly follow the Minsk-2 agreement and work toward the comprehensive resolution of the Ukraine crisis and issues concerned through dialogue and negotiation.

Beijing Daily: Today, the Chinese naval formation delivering relief supplies to Tonga has arrived in Nuku’alofa, the capital of Tonga, according to reports. Can you share more information?

Wang Wenbin: This morning, the Chinese naval formation loaded with relief supplies from China has successfully arrived in Tonga. The shipment weighs more than 1,400 tonnes in total, which includes portable cabins, tractors, power generators, water pumps, water purifiers as well as emergency food and anti-pandemic supplies. This is the fourth batch of relief supplies China has delivered to Tonga in the wake of natural disasters of volcanic eruption and tsunami that hit the country. Besides, the 119 pieces of China-assisted heavy machinery reached Tonga yesterday. Tonga’s political figures including Prime Minister Siaosi Sovaleni and Foreign Minister Fekitamoeloa Katoa ’Utoikamanu welcomed the arrival of the vessels at the port, where they expressed sincere gratitude to China and praised Tonga-China friendship.

Cooperation between China and Tonga in disaster relief has demonstrated the vision of a community with a shared future for mankind and deepened China-Tonga comprehensive strategic partnership. China will continue to provide assistance for Tonga to the best of its capability for post-disaster reconstruction in light of Tonga’s needs.

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