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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on July 20, 2022

Hubei Media Group: This morning, the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association and the China Institute of Nuclear Industry Strategy issued a research report on the nuclear proliferation risk of AUKUS cooperation on nuclear submarines. Since China has been following the US-UK-Australia nuclear submarine cooperation, do you have any comment on this latest report?

Wang Wenbin: I have noted the report. This is the first research report issued by Chinese research institutes which focuses on the AUKUS nuclear submarine cooperation. According to the report, the nuclear submarine cooperation between the three countries will set a bad precedent of nuclear-weapon states transferring tons of weapons-grade nuclear materials to a non-nuclear-weapon state, which poses heavy proliferation risks. With detailed statistics and facts, the report provides in-depth analysis on how the three countries’ nuclear submarine cooperation seriously violates the purposes and principles of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), directly breaches the Statute of the IAEA and challenges the IAEA’s safeguard and monitoring mechanism. The report also looks into the way the cooperation undermines global strategic stability, impacts the international non-proliferation system, intensifies arms race and damages peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region. The report is further evidence that the international community’s concerns over the AUKUS nuclear submarine cooperation are well founded. The US, the UK and Australia need to respond to the concerns of the international community, faithfully fulfill their non-proliferation obligations and revoke the erroneous decision of nuclear submarine cooperation. 

Bloomberg: According to a report from Reuters, China is asking the UN Human Rights chief to bury or halt her report on Xinjiang. This report from Reuters is citing foreign diplomats who have received a letter from the Chinese side on the matter. Does the foreign ministry have any comment on the reports?

Wang Wenbin: During her visit in China, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Madame Michelle Bachelet saw first-hand China’s human rights path and progress. She experienced in person what a real Xinjiang is like: a region that enjoys security and stability and sustained robust development, and its people live a happy and fulfilling life. China firmly opposes smears and attacks against China using disinformation. The just position of China has gained strong support of the international community, especially the developing countries. The calculations of a small number of countries to use Xinjiang to engage in political manipulation, tarnish China’s reputation and contain and suppress China will not succeed. 

Beijing Daily: According to reports, US occupying forces have recently again smuggled stolen oil from Syria into northern Iraq, the third time in this month alone. Do you have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: What the US has done borders on banditry.

As we speak, 90 percent of the Syrian population are living below the poverty line, two thirds rely on humanitarian assistance, and over half are food insecure. The US troops still occupy Syria’s principal oil fields and wheat-producing breadbasket regions. US army’s plunder of Syrian resources has aggravated the humanitarian crisis on the ground. Some angry Syrians have complained that the US came for profit and would leave when all profit is gone. They say the US presence in Syria itself is a type of terrorism.

The US claims to hold itself to the "highest standards" on human rights and rule of law. But what it did in Syria is clear evidence that these standards mean little to the US. The US must respect Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, respond to the appeal of the Syrian people, lift at once unilateral sanctions on Syria, immediately stop plundering Syria’s national resources, and take real actions to remedy the harm it has inflicted on the Syrian people. 

CCTV: Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir said in an interview with CNBC that China is Saudi Arabia’s largest trading partner and a big investor in the country. It’s a huge market for energy. Saudi Arabia’s ties to China and the US are not mutually exclusive and Saudi Arabia will continue to strengthen its relationships with both China and the US, he said. Do you have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: China highly appreciates Saudi Arabia’s desire to deepen relations with China. China and Saudi Arabia are comprehensive strategic partners. Our friendly cooperation in various areas has brought tangible benefits to the two peoples. As the international and regional landscape undergoes profound and complex change, China is ready to join hands with Saudi Arabia, consolidate friendship and exchanges and strengthen cooperation in trade, energy and other areas to deepen China-Saudi Arabia comprehensive strategic partnership.

Bloomberg: The use of export controls against Russia could serve as a template for tackling threats from China, the US Commerce Under Secretary said in a testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Tuesday. What is the foreign ministry’s comment on the Commerce Under Secretary’s statement citing export controls as a possible template for dealing with China?

Wang Wenbin: I noticed that this US official used the word “successful” when describing the move to drive down exports to Russia. I do not know what made him say so. 

What the world has seen inside the US is its inflation hitting a four-decade high, soaring food and gas prices weighing its people down and consumer sentiment plunging to an all-time-low since 1952. A recent survey finds that 85% of US adults say that things in the country are headed in the wrong direction.

As the one who created the Ukraine crisis, the US has now been fanning the flames and escalating tensions through sanctions and economic coercion. This has not only undermined normal exchanges between countries, violated common rules of international trade, but also complicated and escalated the Ukraine crisis. Now, the stock markets, forex markets, and markets on crude oil, natural gas, food and nonferrous metal futures have been kept volatile. This is taking a heavy toll on people across the world, especially those in developing countries with a weak economic foundation. 

Facts have proven time and again that the Cold War mentality and bloc confrontation are no recipe for success, but will only backfire and make the world less peaceful and secure. This is something for the US to know about. 

Kyodo News: The European Parliament Vice President said when meeting the leader of the Taiwan region in Taipei that the EU urges China to “refrain from its threatening gestures” against the Taiwan region, and expressed support for Taiwan. Do you have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory. The one-China principle is a widely recognized basic norm in international relations and the political foundation of China-Europe relations. The European Parliament is an official institution of the European Union. Hence its members and senior officials are expected to abide by the one-China principle. 

Over the past two years, the European Parliament has adopted multiple Taiwan-related resolutions to support and embolden “Taiwan independence” forces. Such moves have gravely violated the one-China principle and poisoned the atmosphere of China-Europe relations. China firmly opposes all forms of official interactions between the EU side and the Taiwan region. We urge the EU side to earnestly abide by the one-China principle, speak and act with prudence on issues related to Taiwan, and prevent any serious disruption in China-Europe relations. 

AFP: Belgium’s foreign ministry said this week that Chinese hacker groups are responsible for cyber attacks against the Belgian government. Do you have any knowledge of these attacks or any response to this allegation?

Wang Wenbin: We have noted the declaration by the Belgian side. China opposes and fights all forms of hacking in accordance with the law. We do not encourage, support or connive at cyber attacks. We reject the Belgian side’s irresponsible assertion that “Chinese hacker groups” carried out the “malicious cyber activities” when it had neither put forward any request related to the issue nor presented any factual evidence.

Ensuring cybersecurity is a common challenge for countries. We hope parties will demonstrate greater strategic independence and join efforts to safeguard cybersecurity through dialogue and cooperation.

CCTV: On July 19 local time, the US Department of State issued the annual Trafficking in Persons Report that again ranked China on Tier 3, the worst performing countries and regions, and framed China for so-called “forced labor” in Xinjiang. What is China’s comment?

Wang Wenbin: Year after year, the US side has generated disinformation-based reports on human trafficking to mislead the world. The truth is, the US is the No.1 country on human trafficking.

No matter how hard the US tries, it cannot erase its sin as a slave trade country historically. Slavery remained legal in the US for a third of the country’s 246-year history. Between 1514 and 1866, about 36,000 slave voyages brought millions of black slaves to the US. 

No matter how hard the US tries, it cannot justify or change the reality that it is a source, transit, and destination country for victims of forced labor. Human trafficking can be found in any sector, legal or otherwise. According to the US Department of State, up to 100,000 people are trafficked into the US for forced labor annually. Over the past five years, forced labor and human trafficking were reported in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, the number of cases reported increased significantly from about 3,200 in 2012 to about 11,500 in 2019. 

Of all the 100,000 people trafficked into the US for forced labor each year, half are minors. A few weeks ago, at least 50 bodies were found in the migrant death truck in Texas. Yet the US still places itself onto Tier 1, the highest ranking in its report. The US is clearly embarrassing itself. 

The Chinese government follows the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime  and the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons Especially Women and Children, supplementing the convention to the letter. We launched the National Plan of Action on Combating Trafficking in Women and Children (2008-2012) in 2007, the Action Plan on Combating Human Trafficking (2013-2020) in 2013 and the Action Plan on Combating Human Trafficking (2021-2030) in 2021. The Chinese government has established a joint meeting mechanism of 35 departments and agencies on combating human trafficking at the State Council, improved the working mechanism that is led by the government and widely participated by various social sectors, and provided a sound mechanism for preventing and fighting human trafficking and helping and protecting victims. Efforts made throughout the years in this area have produced notable progress. 

China urges the US to eliminate human trafficking, forced labor and other human rights violations that widely exist in the US if it does care about human rights, and make sure that the US itself is bound by the “highest standards” instead of smearing and denigrating other countries.

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