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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on May 18, 2022

The Meeting of the BRICS Ministers of Foreign Affairs/International Relations will be held on May 19 in a virtual format. The meeting will be hosted by China’s State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, and attended by South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Naledi Pandor, Brazil’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Carlos Alberto Franco França, Russia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov and India’s External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar. During the meeting, BRICS foreign ministers will also have a dialogue with foreign ministers of emerging markets and developing countries in the “BRICS+” format.

Phoenix TV: According to media reports, on May 17 local time, more than 250 Ukrainian fighters walked out of their barricade at the Azovstal steel factory and surrendered, which symbolizes the end to the fiercest siege battle since the beginning of fighting between Russia and Ukraine. What is the Chinese side’s comment on this?

Wang Wenbin: China’s position on the Ukraine issue is consistent and clear. We hope the conflict will come to an end as soon as possible, and support Russia and Ukraine in properly resolving relevant issues through negotiation and consultation.

CCTV: Can you share China’s expectation of the virtual conference of BRICS foreign ministers' meeting?

Wang Wenbin: BRICS is a cooperation mechanism of emerging markets and developing countries with global influence. In the face of the once-in-a-century pandemic and changes, the BRICS mechanism is of special and important significance for deepening cooperation among emerging markets and developing countries, and promoting post-COVID world economic recovery.

During China’s chairship of BRICS in 2017, President Xi Jinping proposed the idea of holding the foreign ministers’ meeting of BRICS countries. Under the strategic leadership of BRICS leaders, the foreign ministers’ meetings have played an important role in strengthening political mutual trust and deepening political security cooperation among the five BRICS countries. As the BRICS chair for 2022, China looks forward to enhancing communication and coordination with fellow BRICS partners on the new features and challenges of the current international situation and major international and regional issues. We will send a clear message of BRICS countries working together in solidarity, upholding true multilateralism, staying united in fighting COVID-19, and promoting peace and development. More importantly, we will make good preparations for the BRICS Summit.

On the sidelines of this year’s foreign ministers’ meeting, a “BRICS+” dialogue will be held for BRICS foreign ministers and foreign ministers of some emerging markets and developing countries to have an in-depth exchange of views on global governance, among other things. We believe this dialogue will further enhance solidarity, build consensus, and give emerging markets and developing countries a bigger say in global governance so as to better safeguard common interests.

AFP: The US Justice Department has sued Las Vegas and Macao casino mogul Steve Wynn to force him to register as an agent for the Chinese government. Does the foreign ministry have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: The US move is based on nothing but hearsay to deliberately hype up the “China threat” theory. China always develops relations with other countries based on such principles as mutual respect and non-interference in each other’s domestic affairs. We hope the US will discard the Cold War and zero-sum mentality and stop making an issue of China at every turn.

Global Times: The Global Times just released results of two polls on perception of and attitude toward ASEAN among Chinese citizens and Chinese college students respectively. Do you have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: We have seen relevant reports. According to the first survey, over 90 percent of the respondents said China-ASEAN relations are “friendly”; 95.7 percent said they support good-neighborly and friendly relations between China and ASEAN; and 64.1 percent believed ASEAN’s contribution to peace and development in the Asia-Pacific ranks only after China. Besides, 77.8 percent said that the US is the biggest disruptor of the development of China-ASEAN relations. The other survey among Chinese college students showed similar results.

The results reflect the Chinese people’s friendly sentiment toward and positive impression of ASEAN nations, support for the development of good-neighborly friendship between China and ASEAN, and confidence in the future of China-ASEAN relations. This is the result of China’s long commitment to a neighborhood diplomacy of good-neighborliness and friendship. It also demonstrates the broad popular support for the development of China-ASEAN ties.

China attaches high importance to relations with ASEAN and always sees ASEAN as a priority in its neighborhood diplomacy. With the concerted efforts of China and ASEAN countries, China-ASEAN ties have flourished with remarkable achievements. Last year, the two sides commemorated the 30th anniversary of the establishment of China-ASEAN dialogue relations and officially announced the establishment of a China-ASEAN comprehensive strategic partnership. On January 1, 2022, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement officially took effect, bringing new impetus to regional and global peace, stability, development and prosperity.

The polls indicate that the Chinese public fully recognizes ASEAN’s positive contributions to peace and stability in Asia-Pacific and is fully aware of certain non-regional forces’ deliberate attempts to disrupt China-ASEAN relations. ASEAN countries are not chess pieces in a geopolitical contest, but important chess players who will promote regional development and prosperity. Any move to revive opposing blocs or stoke division and confrontation in the region will find no support.

President Xi Jinping pointed out in his speech at the Special Summit to Commemorate the 30th Anniversary of China-ASEAN Dialogue Relations that, “The gains in China-ASEAN cooperation over the past 30 years are attributable to our unique geographical proximity and cultural affinity and, more importantly, to the fact that we have actively embraced the development trend of our times and made the right historic choice.” China was, is, and will always be ASEAN’s good neighbor, good friend and good partner. China stands ready to work with ASEAN to take the important consensus of the Special Summit as a guidance, flesh out our comprehensive strategic partnership, deepen practical cooperation across the board, cherish and cement public support for bilateral friendship, build a closer China-ASEAN community with a shared future and make new contributions to regional peace, stability and prosperity.

Bloomberg: It has been almost two months since the China Eastern crash. Does China have any information to share about the incident?

Wang Wenbin: The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) has responded to this. You may refer to that. CAAC has said that it will maintain close communication with all parties participating in the investigation, conduct the investigation in a science-based, meticulous and orderly manner, and release the progress and other relevant information about the investigation in a timely and accurate fashion in accordance with the Convention on International Civil Aviation (CICA) and government information disclosure requirements.

Hubei Media Group: According to the latest data, the China-Europe Railway Express registered steady growth with 1,170 services in April, 36 more than in March. This is no mean feat considering the impact of COVID-19 and the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. What’s your comment on this?

Wang Wenbin: Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic and the turbulent international situation, the China-Europe Railway Express has made remarkable achievement despite impeded flow of goods and insufficient freight capacity globally, which is truly commendable. This is China’s contribution to world economic recovery and testifies to the high-quality development of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

The China-Europe Railway Express has made over 1,000 trips each month for 24 months in a row. With stable, reliable and efficient logistics service, the railway has become a strong link in the global industrial and supply chains, demonstrated resilience and sense of responsibility, and sent a message of confidence and strength. The China-Europe Railway Express now has routes reaching 185 cities in 23 European countries. It is not only a transportation route and a network of logistics service connecting Asia and Europe, but also a bond of mutual benefit for countries and regions along the routes. It is reported that the number of freight train services between China and France doubled in 2021 from the figure of 2019.

The growth is not only in terms of quantity, but also of quality. The China-Europe Railway Express has solved problems in resources redeployment in its early operation, made notable improvement on the empty container issue, found a more mature and science-based operation mode, and achieved more optimistic medium-to-long-term profitability. The mix of goods has also seen improvement. New service models such as door-to-door delivery, freight train supermarket and special delivery keep emerging, a sign of the robust innovation in the sector.

The bustling China-Europe Railway Express against the headwind fully demonstrates the strong vitality of the BRI. In the first four months of this year, China’s import from and export to BRI countries increased by 15.4 percent over the same period last year, with 12.9 percent for export and 18.6 percent for import. The BRI development acts as a powerful engine driving participating countries’ economic recovery.

China stands ready to work with all sides to uphold the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, make new progress with the China-Europe Railway Express, and pursue high-quality BRI development, so as to revitalize the global economy.

CCTV: The 2022 American Business in China White Paper released by the American Chamber of Commerce in China (AmCham China) said that, “We remain opposed to any effort at outright decoupling of the US-China relationship”. It added that the US tariff exemption program for China should be expanded and the COVID-19 pandemic and pandemic response should not be politicized. AmCham China Chair said that “what has made China attractive to our member companies has been the country’s clear long-term strategic development goals, significant market opportunity, and a highly supportive and predictable business environment.” Do you have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: China-US economic and trade ties are mutually beneficial and win-win in nature. In a world of economic globalization, opening-up and integration represents an invincible historical trend. Attempts to build walls and decouple run counter to economic laws and market rules, and will harm others without benefiting oneself. I noticed that the White Paper shows US businesses’ firm opposition to any effort at outright decoupling of the US-China relationship as the costs of decoupling from losing trade and foreign investment benefits for both countries would be significant and are unlikely to generate clear winners. We hope the US will listen attentively to the sensible and pragmatic voice of US companies, meet China halfway in the spirit of mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation, and bring bilateral relations back onto the right track of sound and steady development as soon as possible.

The White Paper noted that China is among the largest and fastest growing markets in the world, and constitutes an important market for US products and services. China’s market also has a robust R&D and innovation ecosystem, and many leading American companies generate a substantial portion of their revenue from the Chinese market. China is a key source and supplier of a vast number of products and components, often at lower cost and in larger scale than available elsewhere, which benefits US consumers. More than two thirds of the surveyed report China as one of their company’s top three investment priorities.

The White Paper also raised some suggestions. The Chinese side will take a close look at them. Looking ahead, the Chinese economy has strong resilience and ample potential, and the fundamentals sustaining its sound growth in the long run remain unchanged. China will continue to deepen reform and expand opening-up, create a market-oriented, law-based and internationalized business environment, and provide more opportunities for international businesses including US companies to operate and invest in China.

Bloomberg: US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said that Western democracies have become too vulnerable to countries that use their market positions as geopolitical leverage. And she also called for the US and Europe to coordinate their approach toward China after having united against Russia. What is the foreign ministry’s response to Yellen’s comments?

Wang Wenbin: The international community can see very clearly which country keeps talking about dealing with other countries from a position of strength and abuses its hegemonic status in economy, finance and technology as leverage to suppress and contain other countries and seek selfish geopolitical gains.

Peace, development and win-win cooperation is the trend of our times and the shared aspiration of people in all countries. Some in the US spend all their time on coercing allies to form small cliques aimed at containing China. Their moves run counter to the trend of the times, find no support, and will lead nowhere.

We urge the US to match its words with actions, earnestly act on the US leader’s statement that the US does not seek a new Cold War with China and that the revitalization of its alliances is not targeted at China, and do more things conducive to enhancing China-US mutual trust and cooperation as well as world peace and development.

AFP: UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet is set to arrive in China soon for a visit. Can you confirm this?

Wang Wenbin: China welcomes Ms. Michelle Bachelet, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, to visit China in May and take a trip to Xinjiang. We will release information on the visit in due course.

Bloomberg: The US’ top naval officer Admiral Michael Gilday said that Taiwan must protect itself against potential Chinese aggression through military deterrence that includes acquiring the right weapons and proper training. Does the foreign ministry have any comments about his remarks?

Wang Wenbin: The relevant remarks of the US side fly in the face of US commitment to China on the Taiwan question and constitute an interference in China’s internal affairs. China is firmly opposed to them.

The China-US Joint Communiqué on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations and the August 17 Communiqué clearly noted that the United States of America recognizes the Government of the People’s Republic of China as the sole legal government of China, and it acknowledges the Chinese position that there is but one China and Taiwan is part of China. In the Shanghai Communiqué, the US side also declared that, “The United States acknowledges that all Chinese on either side of the Taiwan Strait maintain there is but one China and that Taiwan is a part of China. The United States Government does not challenge that position.” The US admits that Taiwan is part of China, but keeps talking about the mainland’s potential “aggression” of Taiwan. It says it doesn’t support the independence of Taiwan, but removed such expressions as “Taiwan is part of China” and “The United States does not support Taiwan independence” from the State Department’s website. Such self-contradictory moves only lead people to question the seriousness and efficacy of the US claim that it adheres to the one-China policy.

Those who break faith not only tarnish their own reputation, but will also pay the price for doing so. Breaking commitments on the Taiwan question will incur historical punishment. We urge the US to abide by the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communiqués and earnestly act on its statement of not supporting “Taiwan-independence”, to prevent severe damage to China-US ties and peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.

Reuters: The first one, and it’s a repeat from yesterday’s questions. Is China planning on sending a representative to the World Health Assembly next week? And if so, could you tell us who it is? Second question, the US State Department said on Tuesday that Taiwan should be allowed to attend this assembly, arguing that the island’s exclusion at China’s behest was unwarranted. Does the foreign ministry have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: On your first question, I have nothing to add to my response yesterday.

To answer your second question, there is but one China in the world and Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory. On the Taiwan region’s participation in the activities of international organizations, including the WHO, China’s position is consistent and clear, that is, it must be handled in accordance with the one-China principle. UNGA Resolution 2758 explicitly recognizes the representatives of the Government of the People’s Republic of China as the only legitimate representatives of China to the United Nations. WHA Resolution 25.1 explicitly recognizes the representatives of the People’s Republic of China as the only legitimate representatives of China to the World Health Organization. The one-China principle affirmed in these two resolutions has received universal support from the international community and represents an unstoppable trend with overwhelming public support.

The Chinese Central Government attaches great importance to the health and well-being of our compatriots in the Taiwan region, and has made proper arrangement for Taiwan’s participation in global health affairs on the precondition of following the one-China principle. By April 28, the Central Government had given the Taiwan region 386 updates about the COVID-19 situation, and over the past year, it approved the participation of 47 public health experts in 44 groups from the Taiwan region in WHO technical activities. The channels for Taiwan to obtain information and participate in the international COVID-19 response are unimpeded. The so-called serious health concern of the US is untenable. We advise the US to stop exploiting the WHA to play up Taiwan-related issues. Any attempt to play the “Taiwan card” to contain China will be firmly rejected by the overwhelming majority of members of the international community and is doomed to fail.

Kyodo News: Japanese and Chinese foreign ministers had a video meeting, according to information from the Chinese foreign ministry. Can you share more details on that?

Wang Wenbin: As you said, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi held a virtual meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi today.

State Councilor Wang Yi said that this year marks the 50th anniversary of the normalization of China-Japan diplomatic ties, which is an important milestone in the development of bilateral relations. Last year the leaders of the two countries reached important common understanding on building a China-Japan relationship in keeping with the times. The two sides should be guided by this consensus and take the 50th anniversary of the normalization of ties as an opportunity to cement the political foundation for bilateral relations, and safeguard, consolidate and deepen the hard-won friendship cultivated by our predecessors and the people of both countries.

State Councilor Wang Yi pointed out that the pressing task now is to do three things well. First, we need to steer bilateral relations in the right direction. The four political documents between China and Japan set the general direction of peace, friendship and cooperation and laid down a series of important principled consensus including the one that the two countries are cooperative partners and do not pose a threat to each other. They underpin the steady and sound development of China-Japan relations. The more complicated and challenging our relations become, the more we need to stay true to our original aspiration and unswervingly adhere to the principles and spirit enshrined in the four political documents. We should have a correct understanding of each other, actively engage in positive interactions, make good plans for the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic ties, strengthen exchanges and cooperation at all levels and in various fields, and foster a positive public opinion and social atmosphere. Second, we need to strengthen the impetus driving the bilateral relations forward. Economic and trade cooperation is the ballast and propeller of bilateral relations. China’s accelerated efforts to foster a new development paradigm with domestic circulation as the mainstay and domestic and international circulations reinforcing each other will provide more opportunities for Japan and the world at large. The two sides should tap the potential of cooperation, strengthen coordination and cooperation in digital economy, green and low-carbon development and climate change governance, in order to achieve win-win results at a higher level. Third, we need to remove disturbances in a timely manner. Recently, Japan’s negative moves on Taiwan and other issues concerning China’s core interests and major concerns have become increasingly visible. Some political forces have wantonly smeared and attacked China, severely undermining mutual trust and shaking the foundation of bilateral relations. The lessons of history should never be forgotten. The Japanese side should honor the commitments it has made, keep faith with China, prevent forces trying to undermine China-Japan relations from gaining ground, and work with China to maintain the achievements made over the past 50 years since the normalization of diplomatic ties.

Foreign Minister Hayashi said that Japan and China share extensive common interests and enjoy huge potential and broad prospects for cooperation. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic relations between Japan and China. The two sides should develop constructive and stable bilateral relations in accordance with the important consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries. Japan is ready to work with China to remain true to the original aspiration of normalizing the diplomatic relationship, keep up candid communication, reduce misunderstanding and miscalculation, properly handle sensitive issues and enhance political mutual trust.

The two sides also exchanged views on regional and international issues of mutual interest and agreed to maintain communication.

During the meeting, State Councilor Wang Yi also made clear China’s position on the negative moves targeting China by Japan and the US. On the QUAD summit to be held by Japan, he pointed out that what is concerning and alarming is that even though the US leader has yet to travel to Japan, the argument that Japan and the US should join hands in confronting China has already been widely circulated, creating pandemonium. Japan and the US are allies. China and Japan have signed a treaty of peace and friendship. When pursuing bilateral cooperation, Japan and the US should not provoke bloc confrontation, still less undermine China’s sovereignty, security and development interests. We hope that the Japanese side will learn from history, bear in mind regional peace and stability, act with prudence, refrain from acting as a cat’s paw, and avoid adopting the ill-conceived beggar-thy-neighbor approach.

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