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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on July 22, 2022

Hubei Media Group: According to a study released on July 19 by the Inter Region Economic Network, a Kenya-based think tank, a poll of more than 1,000 policy makers from 25 African countries finds that China’s infrastructure projects on the continent are seen as better than those of the EU in terms of completion speed and reliability. What is China’s comment?

Wang Wenbin: Infrastructure is one of the bottlenecks in Africa’s development. China has been doing its utmost to work with African countries to improve local infrastructure and contribute to Africa’s self-driven sustainable development. Since the establishment of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, Chinese companies have built over 10,000 kilometers of railway, up to 100,000 kilometers of roads, nearly 1,000 bridges and almost 100 ports in Africa, and many hospitals and schools as well. Some forces have been denigrating China-Africa cooperation and peddling what they call “quality infrastructure”. What counts as quality infrastructure? Who is truly committed to the well-being of African people? The people of Africa know better than anyone. China always sees Africa as a continent with great potential for international cooperation. All countries should respect Africa’s sovereignty and listen to Africa’s voice, and on that basis, use their respective strengths to deliver tangible benefits to the African people. 

CCTV: According to reports, Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority approved the Tokyo Electric Power Company’s plan to pipe nuclear-contaminated water from the Fukushima nuclear power station into the ocean at a meeting held today. Do you have any comment on this?

Wang Wenbin: Since the Japanese government made this wrong decision in April last year, the international community and the Japanese people have not stopped questioning and speaking out against it. There is widespread concern about the possible impact on the marine environment and public health of countries around the Pacific. Questions have been raised about the legitimacy of the disposal plan, the reliability of Japan’s data, the efficacy of the treatment system and the uncertainty of environmental impact. The IAEA technical task force has made two field trips to Japan and has yet to reach any conclusive opinion on Japan’s plan. The IAEA has made a list of clarification requests and improvement recommendations. China and Russia gave Japan a joint list of technical questions but have received no response. Not long ago, serious concern was also expressed at the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting and the Foreign Ministers Meeting. 

Regrettably, Japan has turned a deaf ear to the legitimate concerns and reasonable demands of the international community and its own people. Without adequate and meaningful consultations with stakeholders and relevant international institutions, Japan has pushed ahead with the construction of the discharge pipeline and the approval of the discharge plan. Japan is being extremely irresponsible by ignoring these concerns and trying to create a fait accompli. We are firmly against this. 

The disposal of nuclear-contaminated water in Fukushima could affect the global marine environment and the public health of Pacific-rim countries. It is by no means a private matter for Japan. The Chinese side once again urges the Japanese side to earnestly fulfill its due international obligations, dispose of the nuclear-contaminated water in a science-based, open, transparent and safe manner, and stop pushing through the plan to discharge the water into the ocean. Japan should not start the discharge of nuclear-contaminated water into the sea before consensus is reached through full consultation with stakeholders and relevant international organizations. If Japan insists on putting its own interests above the public interest of the international community and insists on taking the dangerous step, it will surely pay the price for its irresponsible behavior and leave a stain in history. 

Dragon TV: Over the course of this year, COVID-19, extreme weathers and geopolitical conflicts have been hitting the global food industrial and supply chains. Global food prices have been hovering at record levels, and many low-income countries are in a food crisis. Can you share China’s contribution to alleviating the world food crisis? 

Wang Wenbin: As we say in China, food is a paramount necessity for the people. As the world’s largest food producer, China grows a quarter of the world’s food with less than 9% of the world’s cultivated land and feeds about one fifth of the world’s population. This in itself is a major contribution to global food security. 

We not only have a secure food supply for the Chinese people, but also contribute actively to tackling global food security issues. Food security is listed as one of the eight priority areas of cooperation in President Xi Jinping’s Global Development Initiative. China has provided more funding and experts and undertaken more projects under the framework of the Food and Agriculture Organization’s South-South Cooperation Programme than any other developing country. We have set up the FAO-China South-South Cooperation Trust Fund to help developing countries to enhance their capacity in poverty alleviation, agricultural production and food security. We have actively participated in food assistance projects advocated by the UN. We supported the World Food Programme (WFP) in setting up a global humanitarian response depot and hub in China. We set up multinational food companies in recipient countries to drive local food economy. Since the beginning of this year, China has offered more than 30,000 tonnes of emergency humanitarian food aid to developing countries in need. 

Over the years, Chinese agro-tech expert teams have joined farmers and villages in developing countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the South Pacific region, including going into the fields, to teach them face-to-face farming techniques, no matter how difficult the task may be. They are warmly received in these countries. China has carried out agricultural cooperation with more than 140 countries and regions, and provided more than 1,000 agricultural technologies to other developing countries, driving their crop yield up by 30% to 60% on average and benefiting more than 1.5 million small agricultural households. 

At the recent G20 Foreign Ministers’ meeting, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi put forward China’s initiative on international food security cooperation to contribute Chinese solution to the current global food challenge. Facts have fully proved that China is a reliable partner of the UN and other developing countries when it comes to food security, and a positive force in safeguarding global food security.

NHK: The Japanese government released the Defense of Japan 2022 white paper, which says that China has become a grave security concern to the region and the international community. What is China’s comment?

Wang Wenbin: The new Defense of Japan white paper contains groundless accusations against China’s defense policy, normal defense development and legitimate maritime activities, deliberately plays up the so-called “China threat”, and grossly interferes in China’s internal affairs on the Taiwan question. China strongly deplores and firmly rejects this. We have made stern demarchés to the Japanese side. 

China is committed to the path of peaceful development, and follows a defense policy that is defensive in nature. China’s defense building is aimed at upholding our sovereignty, security and development interests. It is legitimate, reasonable and beyond reproach. Military cooperation including joint naval patrol between China and relevant countries is consistent with international law and established international practice. It does not target any particular country. Diaoyu Dao and its affiliating islands have always been part of China’s territory. The Chinese side’s maritime activities in the waters of Diaoyu Dao are legitimate exercise of sovereign rights. Taiwan is an inviolable and inalienable part of China’s sovereignty. The Taiwan question is purely China’s internal affair that brooks no foreign interference.

I would like to stress that due to the recent history of overseas aggression waged by Japanese militarism, Japan’s moves in the military and security fields have always been closely followed by its Asian neighbors including China and the international community. In this latest white paper, Japan has openly added content about revising relevant defense documents by the end of this year, further increasing its defense budget, and developing so-called counter-strike capabilities. All these give rise to the concern that Japan is deviating further from the path of pacifist and exclusively defense-oriented strategy. We urge the Japanese side to immediately stop the erroneous practice of arbitrarily hyping up security threats in the neighborhood to justify its military build-up, heed the voice of the international community, deeply reflect on the history of aggression, stay committed to the path of peaceful development, and earn the trust of its Asian neighbors and the international community with concrete actions.

CCTV: The spokesperson for Türkiye’s President said recently that the grain export agreement will be signed in Istanbul on July 22 under the auspices of President Erdoğan and UN Secretary General Guterres together with Ukrainian and Russian delegations. Do you have any comment on this?

Wang Wenbin: We welcome this.

We hope the parties concerned will maintain the momentum of dialogue and negotiation and accumulate conditions for a quick end to the conflict and early realization of peace. This is in the shared interest of countries in the region and the international community. 

There needs to be continued international support for the Russia-Ukraine dialogue and negotiation process for there to be more potential positive outcomes. 

Kyodo News: US President Joe Biden tested positive for COVID-19 yesterday. Do you have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: President Xi Jinping today sent a sympathy message to US President Joe Biden on his COVID-19 infection. In the message, President Xi said that he learned that Mr. President is infected with COVID-19, and “would like to extend my sincere sympathy and wish you a speedy recovery.”

Bloomberg: Did Xi call Biden to deliver this message or is it sent in a different way?

Wang Wenbin: As I just said, President Xi Jinping expressed sympathy to President Biden today by sending a message. 

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