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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on April 19, 2022

Xinhua News Agency: It is reported that China and Solomon Islands have officially signed a framework agreement on bilateral security cooperation. Can you offer more information on that?

Wang Wenbin: As approved by the governments of China and Solomon Islands, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Minister of Foreign Affairs and External Trade Jeremiah Manele, on behalf of the governments of China and Solomon Islands respectively, officially signed the inter-governmental framework agreement on security cooperation between the two countries the other day. China has shared information on China-Solomon Islands security cooperation on many occasions and I would like to take this opportunity to stress a few points:

First, China-Solomon Islands security cooperation is in nature the normal exchange and cooperation between two sovereign and independent countries and an important part of China-Solomon Islands comprehensive cooperation. 

Second, China-Solomon Islands security cooperation follows the principle of equality and mutual benefit, and is based on respecting the will and actual need of Solomon Islands. The two sides will conduct cooperation in such areas as maintenance of social order, protection of the safety of people’s lives and property, humanitarian assistance and natural disaster response, in an effort to help Solomon Islands strengthen capacity building in safeguarding its own security. 

Third, China-Solomon Islands security cooperation aims at promoting social stability and long-term tranquility in Solomon Islands, which conforms to the common interests of Solomon Islands and the South Pacific region. 

Fourth, China-Solomon Islands security cooperation is open, transparent and inclusive, and does not target any third party. It proceeds in parallel with and complements Solomon Islands’ existing bilateral and multilateral security cooperation mechanisms. China stands ready to work with relevant countries to leverage respective strengths to form international synergy. 

Reuters: Sources say the Chinese foreign minister has visited Solomon Islands in recent days to complete the signing of the agreement. Can you confirm that the agreement now has been fully signed?

Wang Wenbin: Let me say this again. Foreign ministers of China and Solomon Islands officially signed the inter-governmental framework agreement on security cooperation between the two countries the other day. I haven’t heard of a visit by the Chinese Foreign Minister to Solomon Islands.

Shenzhen TV: China’s National Bureau of Statistics released Chinese economic data for the first quarter of 2022 yesterday, which shows a 4.8 percent GDP growth year on year. Foreign media have reported on the growth “despite headwinds” with many indices above analysts’ forecasts. Do you have any comment on that?

Wang Wenbin: China’s National Bureau of Statistics released the data of national economic performance in the first quarter of 2022 yesterday, which shows that China’s national economy has continued to sustain the momentum of recovery and development. Major macro indicators remained within an appropriate range, industrial and agricultural production was stable on the whole, the economic structure was adjusted and improved, and the national economy got off to a generally steady start. The growth rate of 4.8 percent in the first quarter is achieved as the world is entering a new period of turbulence and transformation and the utmost effort is made to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on economic and social development. It is achieved with stable employment, prices and international balance of payments, despite the influence of the complex international environment and sporadic COVID-19 cases at home. Such hard-won growth fully indicates that the momentum of the sustained recovery in China’s economy remains unchanged, the fundamentals sustaining China’s sound economic growth in the long run remains unchanged and the Chinese economy’s features of great potential, full resilience, strong vitality and enormous space remain unchanged. We are fully capable and well-positioned to overcome difficulties, meet challenges and realize sustained sound economic development. 

It is worth mentioning that the total value of imports and exports of goods grew by 10.7 percent and the paid-in FDI expanded by 25.6 percent in the first quarter year on year. These double-digit growths in foreign trade and foreign investment underscore China’s positive contributions to stabilizing global supply and industrial chains and promoting the sustained recovery of the world economy. Foreign companies have cast a vote of confidence in China’s economic prospects. Recent survey reports by German Chamber of Commerce in China and AmCham China show that 71 percent of German-invested companies and over 60 percent American-invested companies plan to increase their investments in China. FDI inflow into the high-tech industries and the high-tech service sector specifically grew by more than 50 percent and nearly 60 percent year on year respectively. These all embody the conviction of foreign investors that investing in China is investing in the future.

Facts have proven and will continue to prove that with a comprehensive industrial system, a huge market with ample space, immense dividends from reform and opening-up and strong economic governance capabilities, China is capable of effectively coping with various risks and challenges, achieving sustained and sound economic development and injecting more positive energy into world economic recovery.

Associated Press of Pakistan: Addressing the inauguration of a mass transit bus project yesterday, Prime Minister Sharif said that China has greatly contributed to strengthening Pakistan’s economy and expressed gratitude to President Xi Jinping for the launch of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Do you have any comment on that? 

Wang Wenbin: We have noted that Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif has made positive remarks on China-Pakistan relations and the CPEC on various occasions recently. This fully demonstrates the emphasis the Pakistani side attaches to China-Pakistan all-weather friendship and all-round cooperation. We highly appreciate it.

CPEC is an important pilot project under the BRI. Since its launch, the project has made important contributions to Pakistan’s economic development and livelihood improvement, and won wide acclaim and recognition from all sectors. China stands ready to work together with Pakistan to ensure the continued progress in programs under construction and the smooth operation of completed ones, so as to unleash CPEC’s positive effect on promoting growth and improving people’s wellbeing and build it into a demonstration project of high-quality BRI development.

Beijing Youth Daily: On April 16 local time, Michael Hancock, Mayor of Denver, Colorado signed a letter officially apologizing to the Chinese community for the anti-Chinese riot that took place in the city in 1880. CBS commented that Denver is “the fifth city to issue an apology of this sort to the Chinese community in the United States, and the first city outside of California to do so”. Do you have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: I noted relevant reports. Such moves are laudable. Tragedies will repeat themselves if historical lessons are not learned. I need to point out that over some time, racial discrimination and violence targeting Asian Americans in the US, far from being addressed, has grown rampant. It has become a persisting and deep-seated problem in the US society. Statistics from US research institutions revealed that anti-Asian hate crimes increased by 339% in 2021. The US is no longer a land of promise for immigrants, but a haven for racial discrimination and violence. The world should be clear-eyed about this. 

In recent years, certain US politicians and anti-China forces, out of zero-sum game mentality and ideological bias, have been wantonly fabricating and spreading lies and disinformation on China, instigating racism and racial hatred, and conniving at discrimination against Chinese citizens including students in the US. China is gravely concerned over this. The US should face up to its own problems and take concrete measures to eradicate racial discrimination and safeguard the safety and legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens in the US. 

AFP: The White House has said that the US will co-chair a global summit to chart an end to the COVID-19 pandemic and plan for future upheavals. This virtual summit will be co-chaired with countries like Germany and Indonesia, and will take place on May 12. Will China be taking part and does it plan to do so? And if so, will the Chinese leader be participating?

Wang Wenbin: We have noticed that. China welcomes all efforts conducive to promoting international solidarity and science-based response to COVID-19.

Reuters: You said that China and Solomon Islands have signed the framework for the security agreement, so that means the actual security agreement itself hasn’t been completely signed, has it? There are a few elements remaining to be signed? That’s the first part. And the second part is we understand the Solomon Islands’ parliament was told today that Chinese officials would visit in May to complete the signing process. Is that right? And if so, who’s gonna be going?

Wang Wenbin: On your first question, I just offered my answer. I don’t think your understanding is correct.

On your second question, I already gave my answer just now.

CCTV: The US State Department recently released its 2022 report on Adherence to and Compliance with Arms Control, Nonproliferation, and Disarmament Agreements and Commitments, accusing China of failing to adhere to its nuclear testing moratorium and missile nonproliferation commitment and questioning China’s compliance with the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC). Do you have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: We have taken note of the report. Year after year, the US concocts the so-called report on Adherence to and Compliance with Arms Control, Nonproliferation, and Disarmament Agreements and Commitments, styling itself as a judge to wantonly criticize other countries’ arms control and nonproliferation policies and practice. It is just preposterous for the US to exalt its own “exemplary” behavior.

As a matter of fact, the US has a deplorable track record in compliance with arms control and nonproliferation agreements and commitments. In recent years, it has been selective in complying with international arms control treaties and mechanisms as it sees fit. It has withdrawn from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and the Open Skies Treaty, unsigned the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) and flip-flopped on the Iranian nuclear issue. The US provides nuclear submarine technology to Australia, a non-nuclear-weapon state, with whom it also works to develop hypersonic weapons, and sells to other countries Tomahawk cruise missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads. All this heightens proliferation risks and impacts the international nonproliferation system. It is the only country to stand in the way of negotiations for a protocol that includes a verification regime to the BWC. It runs biological labs around the world and conducts biological military activities. The US is also the only state party to the Chemical Weapons Conventions (CWC) that has not destroyed its stockpiles of chemical weapons. What the US has done gravely undermines global strategic balance and stability, and impedes the international arms control and disarmament process, and therefore has been widely condemned by the international community. However, instead of reflecting upon itself, the US keeps slinging mud at other countries in a bid to create excuses for freeing itself from its bound obligations and scapegoat others. The international community, including insightful people in the US, can see through it all.

It needs to be pointed out that the US is merely chasing shadows and its accusations against China are nothing but fabrications. With a responsible attitude, China fulfills its international obligations and commitments in earnest, stays committed to multilateralism and upholds the international system with the UN at its core and the international order based on international law. In recent years, China has actively participated in the review process of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), the BWC and the CWC, joined the ATT, promoted the negotiation process for a legal instrument on arms control in space, put forward the Global Initiative on Data Security, and submitted to the UN a position paper on regulating the military applications of artificial intelligence. All this has made important contributions to strengthening and improving the international arms control and nonproliferation system and safeguarding world peace and security. The international community has its fair judgment on whether China or the US is the one who abides by arms control treaties. 

Bloomberg: Just on the framework agreement on bilateral security cooperation. Did this take effect immediately? Is there any more details that you could give us on the agreement?

Wang Wenbin: I just made clear China’s position and shared relevant details. I don’t have anything else to add.

China Daily: US Vice President Harris announced while visiting the Vandenberg Space Force Base on April 18 that the US “commits not to conduct destructive direct-ascent anti-satellite missile testing” and will “work with other nations to establish this as a new international norm for responsible behavior in space”. On the same day the White House released a statement stressing that prohibiting direct-ascent anti-satellite missile testing should become an international norm. It also criticized China and Russia for conducting anti-satellite tests. Does the Chinese side have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: We noted the relevant report. The US has long pursued a strategy for dominance in space and openly defined outer space as a war-fighting domain. To this end, it has made vigorous efforts to develop and deploy a variety of offensive outer space weapons such as directed energy and Counter Communications System, and comprehensively advanced military buildup and preparedness in outer space. The US was the first country to carry out direct-ascent anti-satellite missile testing and has so far conducted the largest number of such testing. Now, the US announced that it would bar tests of ground-based direct-ascent anti-satellite weapons. But why not announce that it will not use such weapons? Why not announce to stop testing air-based, co-orbital and other types of anti-satellite weapons, and stop anti-missile testing of anti-satellite nature? Why not commit itself to banning the use of force against outer space objects?

China advocates peaceful use of outer space, opposes weaponization of and arms race in outer space and calls for the building of a community with a shared future in outer space. Dating back to as early as 2008, China and Russia jointly submitted a draft treaty on arms control in outer space to the Conference on Disarmament, which explicitly prohibits the placement of weapons in outer space and the threat or use of force against outer space objects. The draft treaty aims to eradicate threats to outer space security in a legally-binding package approach, including kinetic energy anti-satellite missile testing, so as to fundamentally safeguard peace and security in outer space. However, this proposal has long been opposed by the US side. 

We hope the US will truly assume its due responsibility as a major country, fully reflect upon its negative moves in the field of outer space, stop the hypocritical practice of expanding unilateral military superiority in the name of arms control, stop obstructing the negotiation process of the legal instrument on outer space arms control and play its due role in safeguarding the long-term peace and security in outer space. 

Reuters: So does that mean Solomon Islands’ saying today that Chinese senior officials will visit next month to sign the agreement is false? Are they wrong there?

Wang Wenbin: China and Solomon Islands maintain smooth communication and exchange at various levels. If there is any information on such exchange or visit, we will release it in a timely manner.

Reuters: The US is planning on sending a couple of senior officials to Solomon Islands in the next few days and China will be discussed. What’s your comment?

Wang Wenbin: As we have said on multiple occasions, the security cooperation between China and Solomon Islands is the embodiment and the outcome of deepening bilateral ties, increasing mutual trust and expanding bilateral cooperation. It helps to improve Solomon Islands’ capability of maintaining stability, promoting social stability in the country and advancing the shared interest and well-being of the local people and foreign citizens there. The cooperation has won understanding and support from Solomon Islands and other Pacific Island Countries (PICs). 

I have also noticed that according to reports, the US Embassy in Solomon Islands has been closed for 29 years. The most recent visit to Fiji made by a US Secretary of State was 37 years ago. Several senior US officials now fancy a visit to some PICs all of a sudden after all these years. Are they doing so out of care for PICs or ulterior motives? People are keen to get an answer to this question.

PICs are not the backyard of anyone, still less chess pieces in a geopolitical confrontation. PICs have the actual need to diversify their cooperation with other countries and the right to independently choose their cooperation partners. Deliberately sensationalizing an atmosphere of tension and stoking bloc confrontation will get no support in the region. Attempts to meddle with and obstruct PICs’ cooperation with China will be in vain. 

China is always a builder of peace and a promoter of stability in the South Pacific region. Certain countries, including the US, groundlessly smear China while creating the so-called trilateral security partnership, which has brought nuclear proliferation risks and Cold War mentality to the South Pacific region and posed a severe threat to regional security and stability. The label of “undermining regional security” suits them better than anyone else. 

Reuters: Thanks to this security agreement, does China hope to one day build a military base on Solomon Islands?

Wang Wenbin: We have repeatedly answered this question. You may refer to previous answers.

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