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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on July 21, 2022

CCTV: The Chinese side has released the announcement on Indonesian President Joko Widodo’s upcoming visit to China. Could you share more details on the program of and China’s expectations for the visit? How does China see the current state of China-Indonesia relations?

Wang Wenbin: President Joko Widodo is the first foreign head of state to visit China since the Beijing Olympic Winter Games, and China will be the first stop on his first trip to East Asia since the onset of COVID-19. This fully shows the high importance both countries attach to bilateral ties. During the visit, President Xi Jinping will hold talks with President Joko Widodo and Premier Li Keqiang will meet with him, and they will have an in-depth exchange of views focusing on bilateral relations and major regional and international issues.

China and Indonesia are both major developing countries and emerging economies. The two countries have extensive common interests and broad space for cooperation. In recent years, under the strategic guidance of the two presidents, our two countries have set the general direction of jointly building a China-Indonesia community with a shared future and established a new pattern of bilateral cooperation featuring “four-wheel drive” covering political, economic, cultural and maritime fields, continuing to enrich the dimensions of our comprehensive strategic partnership. We hope that through President Joko Widodo’s visit, the two sides will further deepen our strategic mutual trust and practical cooperation, and create an example of mutual benefit, a model of common development and pacesetters in South-South cooperation between major developing countries for the new era.

Indonesia holds G20 Presidency this year. China highly appreciates and firmly supports Indonesia’s constructive role as G20 chair. During his visit, President Joko Widodo will communicate with Chinese leaders face-to-face regarding the G20 Summit to discuss ways to respond to pressing global challenges, demonstrate solidarity and coordination among major developing countries, channel more positive energy to post-COVID global economic development and make more new contribution to promoting global equity and justice. 

China News Service: The first railway route of the China-Europe freight trains recently witnessed the 10,000th trip. Despite disruption in global circulation and insufficient freight capacity this year, the China-Europe freight service has done quite well. What is your comment on this?

Wang Wenbin: Since the beginning of this year, despite the ongoing pandemic and turbulence in the world, the China-Europe freight trains have managed to maintain safe and stable operation. In the first six months of this year, 7,514 trips were made, carrying 724,000 TEUs of goods. For 26 consecutive months, more than 1,000 trips were made each month. The China-Europe freight train service has become the stabilizer and accelerator of China-Europe trade. 

The China-Europe railway express has found more partners, creating new opportunities for the development of countries and regions along the routes. Today, its service has reached more than 190 cities in 24 European countries and provided a logistics network connecting Asia and Europe. Statistics show that from 2016 to 2021, the annual trips of China-Europe freight trains increased from 1,702 to 15,183, with an average annual growth of 55%. The annual value of goods transported increased from $8 billion to $74.9 billion. The railway delivers as many as 50,000 types of goods today, compared to IT products only in the early days. Since the beginning of this year, the overall ratio of laden containers on the departure and return trips of China-Europe freight trains has remained steady at a high level of around 98%. After transporting goods to countries along the routes, the China-Europe freight trains return to China loaded with foreign goods, promoting economic and trade cooperation among countries. In addition, the China-Europe railway express has given rise to many new logistics, industrial and trade centers and industrial parks, creating tens of thousands of local jobs. 

China-Europe freight trains have not only contributed to stabilizing the global industrial and supply chains and promoting world economic recovery, but also served as a “bridge of life” between China and Europe. By the end of June this year, the freight trains have delivered 14.17 million pieces of epidemic prevention articles, weighing a total of 109,000 tonnes. The railway express is a vivid illustration of the vision of a community with a shared future for mankind featuring mutual assistance and solidarity in times of need. 

Prasar Bharati: My question is regarding Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s speech at the World Economic Forum on Tuesday, where he said that China will be steadily improving visa and COVID testing policies, and further resuming and increasing international passenger flights in an orderly way. Can you now give a timeline for return of Indian students who have been waiting for more than two years?

Wang Wenbin: On July 19, Premier Li Keqiang attended the Special Virtual Dialogue with Global Business Leaders hosted by the World Economic Forum, delivered an address and exchanged views with business representatives from various countries.

Premier Li said at the dialogue that China’s economy has been deeply integrated into the global economy, and opening-up is China’s fundamental national policy. China cannot develop in isolation from the world, and the world also needs China for its development. We will deepen high-level opening-up, make continued efforts to foster a market-oriented, world-class business environment governed by a sound legal framework, and ensure foreign enterprises’ equal access to opening-up sectors in accordance with law to realize mutual benefit and win-win amid fair competition. China is ready to strengthen international cooperation against COVID-19, make COVID control measures more targeted and well-calibrated on the premise of ensuring safety against COVID infections, including steadily improving visa and COVID testing policies, further resuming and increasing international passenger flights in an orderly way, and advancing outbound commerce and trade activities and cross-border travel for labor services in a prudent and orderly manner so as to promote personnel inter-flow and exchanges and cooperation between China and the world. 

As to your specific question, we welcome the return of Indian and other foreign students to China and will make corresponding arrangement. 

NHK: President Biden said on Wednesday that he will be talking to President Xi within the next 10 days. Can you confirm this? What is China’s expectation of their meeting?

Wang Wenbin: The Chinese and US presidents have maintained communication through multiple means. On the question you raised, I don’t have any information to offer at the moment. 

CRI: According to reports, US top national security officials recently warned about the continuing threat of election interference from abroad, including China, Russia and Iran. FBI Director Christopher Wray said that “The Chinese are trying to manage our decline”. What is China’s comment?

Wang Wenbin: I have noted relevant reports. Just as a former US senior official recently admitted, overthrowing foreign governments and interfering in other countries’ internal affairs have become standard practice of the US government. What the US does has never been China’s style. China is committed to the principle of non-interference in other countries’ internal affairs, and never meddles in foreign elections. We urge the US to stop judging others according to its own practices, stop making groundless accusations against China, and focus instead on taking care of the US’s own problems.

AFP: The German foreign minister said in a recent interview that Germany is looking intensively into reducing its economic dependence on China, and she said she wants to make sure that Germany cannot be blackmailed over its dependency on China. Do you have any response to these remarks?

Wang Wenbin: The China-Germany economic and trade cooperation is mutually beneficial in nature. The fact that industrial chains of China and Germany have become integrated rather than mutually complementary only is the result of the combined force of the market and the choices of businesses and has been propelled by the contemporary international division of labor. Dependency is mutual. The notion of “reducing dependence” is a false narrative. With rising uncertainties and instability in the world economy, China and Germany, as major economies in the world, should expand two-way opening-up to channel positive energy to the high-standard and mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries and the maintenance of an open world economy. We hope that German politicians will put this in a right perspective and not mislead the people and harm Germany’s own interests.

MASTV: On US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s possible trip to Taiwan, White House Press Secretary said Pelosi’s visit has not been locked in. Do you have any comment? 

Wang Wenbin: The Chinese side has repeatedly stated its stern position on firmly opposing US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan. The US Congress is part of the US government and supposed to strictly adhere to the US’s commitment on the Taiwan question. If Speaker Pelosi visits Taiwan, it would seriously violate the one-China principle and the stipulations in the three China-US joint communiqués and harm China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. It will have a severe negative impact on the political foundation of China-US relations, and send a gravely wrong signal to “Taiwan independence” separatist forces. Should the US side insist on making the visit, China will act strongly to resolutely respond to it and take countermeasures. We mean what we say. 

AFP: CIA’s chief William Burns said at a security forum yesterday that Sri Lanka’s decision to take on debt-heavy Chinese investment was a factor in its economic troubles. He also said that Russia’s experience in Ukraine is making China rethink when and how to resolve the Taiwan question. Do you have any response to his remarks?

Wang Wenbin: China and Sri Lanka are close neighbors with traditional friendship. We have always respected, trusted and supported each other, established the strategic cooperative partnership based on sincere mutual assistance and ever-lasting friendship, and conducted comprehensive, mutually beneficial cooperation in various areas. China will as always follow a friendly policy toward Sri Lanka. We stand ready to support and help the efforts of the Sri Lankan government and people in stabilizing the situation and revitalizing the economy to the best of our capacity, and bring bilateral relations to new heights. 

The US official’s groundless accusation against China cannot hide the truth from people in Sri Lanka and elsewhere in the world, nor can it hold back the deepening of China-Sri Lanka friendly cooperation.

On Ukraine, we urge the US side to face up to its due responsibilities as the one that created the crisis, and work actively toward resolving the issue through dialogue and ending bloc confrontation, instead of fanning the flames. The Ukraine issue and the Taiwan question are fundamentally different. We urge the US side to abide by the one-China principle and not to interfere in China’s internal affairs. 

Yonhap News Agency: The foreign ministry spokesperson has just announced the upcoming visit to China by Indonesian President. Will he come to Beijing on this visit?

Wang Wenbin: We will release more information on the visit of the Indonesian President in a timely manner. Please stay tuned. 

Prasar Bharati: You just said that China will make arrangements for the return of students accordingly. Can this be expected anytime soon in the near future?  

Wang Wenbin: We have been working intensively for the return of foreign students to China, as you can see. Some foreign students have already returned to China to continue their studies. 

As for the return of Indian students, as we have said before, the relevant departments in China and India have been in contact and made progress on this. The responsible departments in both countries will stay in close communication and work for the early return of the first batch of Indian students. 

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