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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on March 30, 2022

2022-03-30 21:32

CCTV: On March 29, the fifth round of negotiation between Russia and Ukraine was held in Istanbul. The representative of Russia said that the meeting was “meaningful”. The representative of Ukraine said that the Ukrainian side proposed to fix its status as a non-bloc and non-nuclear state in the form of permanent neutrality. What is your comment?

Wang Wenbin: We noted the positive signals sent by the two sides in the negotiation. It is China’s consistent belief that dialogue and negotiation is the only right way to resolve the Ukraine crisis. We call on both Russia and Ukraine to stick to the course of dialogue and negotiation, work in the same direction and reach consensus on a political resolution to avoid further escalation of the situation and restore peace at an early date. Under the current circumstances, the international community should speak and act in a way conducive to dialogue and negotiation, and support Russia and Ukraine in keeping the talks going to bring about outcomes for peace. It is important to stay wary of and prevent adding fuel to the fire and heightening tensions, which will only impede the diplomatic settlement of the issue.

TASS: Will China, a permanent member of the UN Security Council, serve as a guarantor of the Russia-Ukraine peace deal?

Wang Wenbin: China supports and encourages all diplomatic efforts for the peaceful settlement of the Ukraine crisis and is happy to see Russia and Ukraine in dialogue and negotiation. China always holds that the legitimate security concerns of all countries should be taken seriously. We are ready to work with the rest of the international community to uphold common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, and support the establishment of a balanced, effective and sustainable European security mechanism. China has been making an effort for peace and will continue to play a constructive role in its own way in promoting the deescalation of tensions in Ukraine. We will work with other parties toward the direction of the resolution of the Russia-Ukraine conflict and restoration of peace in Europe at an early date.

ARD German Television: It’s on the EU-China summit. The EU has sided with Ukraine and condemned Putin’s invasion whereas China refused to condemn it. Given these conditions, what are your expectations for the upcoming EU-China summit on Friday?

Wang Wenbin: As agreed by China and the EU, Premier Li Keqiang will hold the 23rd China-EU Summit with President of the European Council Charles Michel and President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen via videolink on April 1. 

The China-EU Summit has been successfully held for 22 times, playing an important strategic guiding role in the development of China-EU relations and bilateral dialogue and cooperation. During this upcoming meeting, President Xi Jinping will meet with President Michel of the European Council and President Ursula von der Leyen of the European Commission via videolink. Premier Li Keqiang will co-chair the meeting with President Michel and President Ursula von der Leyen via videolink.

The current international situation is unstable and volatile, with rising uncertainties. China and the EU are two major forces for world peace, two major markets for common development and two major civilizations for humanity’s progress. The two sides should strengthen strategic communication, enhance mutual trust, build consensus and conduct dialogue and cooperation on the basis of mutual respect, mutual benefit and win-win results, so as to promote the sustained and sound development of China-EU relations and inject stability and positive energy into the complex and turbulent international situation. 

On the issue of condemnation, we have stated China’s position on many occasions. I think it would be behind the curve to keep asking the question. We hope the international community will say and do more that are conducive to dialogue and negotiation and make joint efforts for realizing peace and seeking a political settlement of the Ukraine issue at an early date, instead of setting up obstacles.

AFP: According to reports, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi met Lavrov in Anhui today. Russian media reported that Lavrov informed Wang Yi about the progress of the special operation in Ukraine and of the negotiation process with Ukraine. Can you offer more details of this meeting?

Wang Wenbin: I announced a couple of days ago that Foreign Minister Lavrov will attend the third Foreign Ministers’ Meeting among the Neighboring Countries of Afghanistan in China. Further information on this meeting will be released in a timely manner. Please stay tuned.

Reuters: When will the extended troika talks on Afghanistan be held? Do you have any other details about these talks?

Wang Wenbin: We will release information on the extended meeting of the China-US-Russia consultation mechanism on the Afghan issue in a timely manner too. Please stay tuned.

CRI: According to media reports, armed conflicts broke out in some regions in South Sudan in recent days and the security situation was once tense. What is China’s comment?

Wang Wenbin: China has noted relevant reports. Since 2020, South Sudan’s peace process has seen important progress, which meets the fundamental interest of the people in South Sudan and benefits regional peace and stability. China calls on all parties to cherish the hard-won peace, bear in mind the interests of the country and the people, exercise maximum restraint and continue to resolve differences through dialogue and consultation so as to avoid further escalation of the situation. China is ready to work with the international community as always and contribute positively to the political transition process in South Sudan.

Reuters: During Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Sergey Lavrov’s meeting earlier, did China ask Russia to end its war in Ukraine?

Wang Wenbin: I answered relevant questions already. 

Bloomberg: Do you have any details on what the quarantine requirements the representatives from the NTSB and other investigators from the US who would be assisting in the China Eastern Airlines crash would face on arrival? Would they have to quarantine? If so, for how long and where?

Wang Wenbin: I would like to refer you to competent authorities. 

Dragon TV: On March 29, the Taiwan region’s leader Tsai Ing-wen met with Damon Wilson, President of the US National Endowment for Democracy (NED). Tsai said that she looks forward to sharing experience with the NED and jointly strengthen the resilience of democracy. What is your comment?

Wang Wenbin: The DPP authorities are apt at using democracy as a pretext to mask its true face of “Taiwan independence”. But no matter how they try to gloss it over, their nature of seeking Taiwan independence by refusing to recognize the 1992 Consensus which embodies the one-China principle or pursuing “de-sinicization” or seeking “de jure independence” is laid bare.

Last year, the DPP authorities tried to expand the space for their secessionist activities with the so-called Summit for Democracy, only to court a rebuff. This year, their attempts to put on a farce where the “Taiwan independence” forces hijack democracy in cahoot with the NED, or the “second CIA”, will only invite humiliation once again.

No matter how the DPP authorities try to cover things up, the international community cannot be fooled, and the ugly face of “Taiwan independence” will only be more nasty. 

Reuters: The Philippines have issued a protest about a Chinese Coast Guard ship entering and engaging in close distance maneuvering in its waters. Does China have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: I answered this question the other day. You may refer to that. 

China News Service: It is reported that the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology on Tuesday authorized textbooks for students in high schools, which downplayed and distorted the historical facts of Japan’s forced recruitment of “comfort women” and laborers and touted its unilateral claim over Diaoyu Dao. Do you have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: The forced recruitment of “comfort women” and laborers is a serious crime against humanity committed by the Japanese militarism during its aggression and expansion. This is a historical fact supported with iron-clad evidence and universally recognized by the international community, which cannot be altered. 

It is Japan’s old trick to play with words when authorizing textbooks in an attempt to obscure historical facts, understate and evade its historical responsibility, and deny and misrepresent its history of aggression. China deplores and rejects this and has lodged solemn representation with the Japanese side. We seriously urge Japan to face squarely and reflect on its history of aggression, make a clean break with militarism, properly handle problems left over from the past in a responsible manner lest it will further lose the trust of its Asian neighbors and the international community. 

I want to emphasize that Diaoyu Dao and its affiliated islands are China’s inherent territory, over which China has indisputable sovereignty. No matter how Japan meddles with textbooks, it can never change the fact that Diaoyu Dao is part of China. Any attempt to undermine China’s territorial sovereignty will be in vain.

Reuters: According to the Interfax agency, Russia’s foreign ministry said today that Russia and China have agreed to widen cooperation in challenging international conditions. What kind of cooperation will Russia and China have and will this include military cooperation?

Wang Wenbin: As permanent members of the UN Security Council, China and Russia develop bilateral relations following the principle of non-alliance, non-confrontation and non-targeting of any third party. Both sides will continue to practice true multilateralism, stay committed to the vision of a multi-polar world, and work to promote democracy in international relations.

Beijing Daily: A survey by the Asian American Federation (AAF) found that 75% Asian seniors in New York City said they are weary to leave their homes due to anti-Asian violence. Do you have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: I have seen relevant reports and am concerned about the discrimination against Asian Americans and hate crimes in the US.

Ethnic minorities of Asian descent have made important contributions to the economic and social development in the US. For example, it is reported that Chinese Americans contributed over $300 billion to US GDP in 2019 through consumer spending, supporting 3 million jobs. As of 2017, there are over 160,000 Chinese American-owned businesses in the US, generating approximately $240 billion in revenue and supporting 1.3 million jobs. Chinese Americans have also made important contributions to public health and social welfare in the US through active involvement in non-profits, volunteering and philanthropy. Since March 2020, more than 690 Chinese American grassroots organizations have raised over $18 million and delivered millions of items of personal protective equipment (PPE) and meals to agencies in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. However, such hard work and important contributions brought them no respect or protection they so richly deserve, but unabated discrimination and injustice. After COVID-19 broke out, several doctors of Asian descent said that the patients are more afraid of them than the virus. On March 16 last year, a shooting spree in Atlanta targeting women of Asian descent has resulted in the death of six Asian females. The case later triggered fear and anger among Asian Americans nationwide as the US law-enforcement authorities refused to label it as an incident of hate crime. A report published by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University San Bernardino revealed that anti-Asian hate crime increased by 339% in 2021 compared to the year before. Besides hate crime, Asian Americans are also subjected to various discrimination in employment, education, income, social welfare and cultural rights. According to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, only 54% of Asian American older adults surveyed said they were satisfied with their lives, significantly lower than respondents of other races.

It takes more than one cold day for the river to freeze three feet deep. At the heart of the persistent discrimination and hate speeches and acts against people of Asian descent lies the deeply entrenched white supremacism. Even worse, some US politicians instigate antagonism and confrontation and clamor for hostile anti-Asian policies to serve their selfish political interests, only to make things more difficult for Asian Americans. Former US leader openly called the coronavirus the “China virus” in a speech delivered at the UN General Assembly, sparking a public outcry in the international community. Six Republican congressmen in the US, who are also veteran anti-China politicians, voted against an anti-Asian hate crime bill. They even openly stigmatize and attack people of Asian descent by associating the coronavirus with them. The previous US administration’s infamous “China Initiative” fueled racial discrimination against Asians, especially Chinese Americans, and contributed to a 71% increase in violence against Asian Americans between 2019 and 2020. 

Although the “China Initiative” was suspended at request, the discrimination, stigmatization, suppression and attacks against Asian minorities, including those of Chinese descent, have continued. This is a stain on the US human rights record, an irony to the US’ reputation as melting pot of ethnic groups, and an affront to the US value of “freedom and equality”. UNHRC Special Rapporteur Fernand de Varennes said the US human rights system is leading to growing inequality. Stephen Walt, a professor at Harvard University, said “Americans must first fix what has gone wrong at home and rethink how they deal with the rest of the world.” At the 48th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, many countries blasted the United States for being the “biggest destroyer” of human rights in the world and urged the country to address its own severe human rights violations. We urge the US government to heed these appeals from the international community and stop being a textbook example of double standard of human rights. 

Bloomberg: US Trade Representative Katherine Tai said that it was time to forget about changing China’s behavior and instead take a more defensive posture towards the world’s second biggest economy. She said, “The United States has repeatedly sought and obtained commitments from China only to find that follow through or real change remains elusive”. Does the foreign ministry have a comment to this?

Wang Wenbin: As a staunch supporter of trade liberalization and facilitation, China is determined to continue to open wider to the outside world. The Chinese government always supports the multilateral trading system with the WTO at its core, respects market rules, opposes protectionism and is committed to promoting the sound and steady development of the global economy and trade. The label of market-distorting behavior cannot be pinned onto China.

It is the US that has to “turn the page on the old playbook”. It should stop stretching the concept of national security, abusing its technological strengths and global financial hegemony to oppress companies in other countries, and stop bullying practice and long-arm jurisdiction. Such actions seriously violate the principles of market economy and international economic and trade rules, harm the interests of other countries, undermine the security and stability of the global industrial and supply chains, and will only hurt others while doing no good to itself.

PTI: Who is attending on behalf of the United States at the troika meeting on Afghanistan in Tunxi?

Wang Wenbin: Special representatives for the Afghan issue of the US, Russia and Pakistan will attend the extended meeting of the China-US-Russia consultation mechanism on the Afghan issue chaired by Ambassador Yue Xiaoyong, Special Envoy for Afghan Affairs of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Global Times: In recent years, the Mekong Dam Monitor (MDM) program of the US has released data accusing China’s dams of “contributing to droughts in Southeast Asian countries”. But a team of hydrological experts from Tsinghua University recently found, with the help of satellite remote sensing monitoring technology and data from high-precision real-time monitoring, that MDM’s data is a far cry from the reality. For example, data on the Xiaowan Reservoir for three monitoring periods in 2020 published by the MDM deviates from the reality by three to ten meters. What is the foreign ministry’s comment on this?

Wang Wenbin: I also noted the research findings of the team of experts from Tsinghua University. The MDM later openly acknowledged the serious flaws with the data it published and made corrections. But some hydrological experts pointed out that the revised reading still has an error of up to eight meters from the actual water level measurement. Major errors like this could lead to wrong conclusion that “Chinese dams have intercepted water”, and may be hyped as “evidence” that “upstream dams are causing drought downstream in Southeast Asian countries”. 

We also noted that some media reported that the so-called dam monitoring program is financially backed by the US State Department, where some of the officials have been making unfounded accusations against China for years on issues related to the Mekong River.

In fact, the international science community and the Mekong River Commission (MRC) have already made a fair judgement on the role of dams on the upper reach of the Lancang River. The MRC acknowledged in its report that cascade reservoirs on the Lancang River store water in the flood season for later use in the dry season, which helps maintain the steady flow of the Mekong. Cooperation on information sharing on the Lancang River has seen thorough development. Since November 2020, China has been providing year-round hydrological information of the Lancang River to Mekong countries and the MRC, making important contributions to sharing the water resources and jointly responding to flood disasters to riparian people’s benefit.

Lancang-Mekong water resource cooperation requires mutual trust and real actions among regional countries instead of irresponsible remarks and moves to sow discord from outside the region. We hope the US can fully respect the efforts of Lancang-Mekong countries in promoting sustainable use of water resources in the region and do more positive and concrete things to boost regional economic and social development.

Reuters: Before the Beijing Olympics started, the Chinese and Russian Presidents said that the two countries’ cooperation would have no limits. Now if we are widening cooperation now, what does that mean and how much are we widening it in which areas?

Wang Wenbin: There is no limit to China-Russia cooperation in the pursuit of peace, no limit to our efforts to safeguard security, and no limit to our opposition to hegemony. China-Russia relations feature non-alliance, non-confrontation, and non-targeting of any third party.

Reuters: You talked a little about the China-EU virtual summit on April 1. What exactly is China hoping to get out of it? Is China hoping to rekindle the investment deal?

Wang Wenbin: I just shared with you the information on the upcoming 23rd China-EU Summit. I’d like to share more information with you. In his virtual meeting with High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell Fontelles yesterday, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi stressed that as two major forces in a world moving toward multi-polarity, China and the EU should maintain regular strategic communication, continuously enhance mutual understanding, constantly expand cooperation consensus and jointly address various global challenges. The two sides should make good preparations for high-level exchanges going forward to provide strategic guidance for bilateral cooperation and send a positive signal to the world.

The China-EU investment agreement is a win-win deal reached by the two sides through consultation on the basis of many years of mutually-beneficial cooperation and mutual trust. It is an economic and trade agreement with the highest level of openness, lowest market access threshold and the widest range of areas to date on the part of China. It is good for China, and even better for Europe.

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