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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on August 12, 2022

Dragon TV: A latest survey on the business environment for foreign companies released by the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) shows that the vast majority of foreign companies in China remain optimistic about their development prospects. Do you have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: I noticed the relevant report. I’d like to share some latest statistics with you. According to statistics from the Ministry of Commerce, in the first six months this year, China’s paid-in FDI grew by 21.8% year on year. According to statistics from the CCPIT, 91% of foreign-invested companies maintained or expanded their operations in China in the second quarter. Nearly 90% of foreign-funded enterprises are relatively satisfied with the policies concerning market access, tax and fee reduction, easing difficulties of companies, implementation of major foreign-funded projects, and green channel. According to UNCTAD, China saw a record $179 billion of inflows – a 20% increase last year. Recent survey reports by AmCham China, the German Chamber of Commerce in China and the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry in China show that more than 60% American-invested companies and over 70% of German-invested companies plan to increase their investments in China. The performance of Japanese companies in China in 2021 was even better than pre-COVID-19 levels and reached a record high. Bloomberg News and other foreign media also reported recently that China has been considered a promising land for investment in recent years. All this shows that the vast majority of foreign businesses remain fully confident in the Chinese market.

Foreign companies believe that to invest in China is to invest in the future, for they are optimistic about the strong resilience and development prospects of China’s economy, its huge market, and its industrial and supply chain networks. Also, this comes as a result of our effort to firmly advance high-level opening-up, support the multilateral trading system and continuously provide foreign investors with a more market-oriented, law-based and internationalized business environment. No matter how the international landscape may evolve, we will not change our resolve to open wider at a high standard; we will not change our determination to share development opportunities with the rest of the world; and we will not change our commitment to economic globalization that is more open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial for all. 

We believe that with measures being put in place to ensure safety against COVID and promote socio-economic development, the Chinese economy’s great potential, strong resilience, robust vitality and enormous space will be further amplified. China will continue to open its door wide to the outside world, facilitate foreign investment and work together with other parties to build a future of shared prosperity. 

Global Times: The US magazine Newsweek reported on August 10 that Arab Barometer, a nonpartisan research network based at Princeton University in the US, conducted polling from October 2021 to April 2022 in countries including Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Palestine, Tunisia, and Sudan. The result shows that people in the Arab states have more positive opinions about China than the US. What is your comment?

Wang Wenbin: I have not read about the survey you mentioned, but I’m not surprised to hear its result. China has always been a sincere friend that the Arab states can trust. In recent years, China-Arab relations have seen robust growth. We have firmly supported each other on our respective core interests and set an example in combating COVID-19 in solidarity. Our friendship is strong both between governments and between our peoples, and both at the central and local levels.

China always follows the principle of non-interference in other countries’ internal affairs and stays committed to the principle of mutual respect and mutual benefit. China has always played a constructive role in the Arab world. We never seek geopolitical interests for ourselves, still less do we have any intention to fill up the so-called “power vacuum”. We support the Arab countries and other countries in the Middle East in addressing regional security issues through solidarity and coordination, and we support people in the region in independently exploring a path for development. We are ready to work with the brotherly Arab nations to support each other’s national development and revitalization, jointly safeguard peace and stability in the Middle East and steadily advance practical cooperation in various fields, so that as we deliver benefits to the Chinese and Arab people, we also inject more positive energy into defending true multilateralism and international justice and fairness.

China Daily: According to reports, protests occurred in places including Hargeisa, the capital of the Somaliland region in northern Somalia on August 11. The protesters were calling for elections for the region’s leadership to be held as scheduled. Clashes with security forces led to the death of several protesters. What’s China’s comment?

Wang Wenbin: Somaliland is an inalienable part of Somalia. What happens in Somaliland is Somalia’s internal affairs. China always follows the principle of non-interference in other countries’ internal affairs. We firmly support the Federal Government of Somalia’s efforts to safeguard national unity, security and stability. Continued stability and tranquility in Somaliland serves the interests of all the people of Somalia. At the same time, we ask the authorities of Somaliland to earnestly protect the safety and property of Chinese enterprises and nationals there.

CCTV: US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said at a recent press conference with the Congressional delegation to Asia that Taiwan is one of the freest “countries” in the world and their visit is to salute this democracy. She also noted that the visit signals no departure from the US government’s one-China policy and they are not trying to upset the status quo across the Taiwan Strait. What’s your comment?

Wang Wenbin: Pelosi’s remarks are further proof that her visit to China’s Taiwan region shows connivance and support for “Taiwan independence” separatist forces. She openly referred to Taiwan as a “country”. This is a serious political provocation that violates the one-China principle and the three Sino-US joint communiqués. The DPP authorities have redoubled efforts within the island to remove the Chinese identity of Taiwan and push for “incremental independence”, and sought every means to create “two Chinas” and “one China, one Taiwan” in the international arena. Against such a background, Pelosi chose to visit Taiwan and claimed in a high-profile fashion that she was there on behalf of the US. The visit was clearly official in nature and aimed to provoke cross-Strait confrontation and interfere in China’s internal affairs. This is an extremely egregious move. To defend our sovereignty and territorial integrity, to uphold the basic norm in international relations of non-interference in other countries’ internal affairs, and to truly safeguard peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, China has every right to take resolute countermeasures in response to the US’s provocations. Such measures are absolutely necessary under those circumstances.

Pelosi will achieve nothing by using democracy as a pretext for her visit. Her visit has nothing to do with democracy. It was a political stunt that went against the will of the more than 1.4 billion Chinese people, including our compatriots in Taiwan, and challenged the one-China principle widely accepted by the international community. Her visit tramples on democracy and shows how the US puts its selfish interests above international justice. If Pelosi truly cares about democracy and human rights, she should visit Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Libya instead, where she could express repentance over the hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians killed by the US military and vow to prevent such atrocities caused by US violation of UN Charter and norms in international relations from happening again.

China will stand together with friends in all countries who love peace and uphold principles to firmly oppose anything said or done that interferes in other countries’ domestic affairs, firmly resist all reckless moves that undermine regional peace, jointly defend the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, and safeguard regional stability and world peace.

AFP: Tomorrow marks two years since Australian journalist Cheng Lei was detained. We know that her trial took place earlier this year. Do you have any details on whether the verdict has been reached or what the details of this verdict might be? Could you tell us if Cheng Lei has been sentenced already?

Wang Wenbin: On March 31, 2022, the Beijing No.2 Intermediate People’s Court held a closed-door trial of first instance of Australian citizen Cheng Lei’s case of illegally providing state secrets to overseas parties. Cheng Lei and her defense lawyer were present. Currently, the case is under trial and the court will pass the judgment in due course. The Chinese judicial authorities have handled the case in accordance with law, fully protected Cheng Lei’s litigation rights under the law, and respected and facilitated the Australian side’s exercise of its consular rights including visiting the defendant and staying informed.

Hubei media group: According to reports, more than 70 economists and experts from other fields recently wrote to US President Biden and Treasury Secretary Yellen, criticizing the US government’s executive order that divided the $7 billion of frozen assets of the Afghan central bank into two and calling on the government to immediately return the assets in full. This open letter was published by the Center for Economic and Policy Research and co-signed by Nobel Laureate for Economics Joseph Stiglitz as well as other global scholars. What is China’s comment on that?

Wang Wenbin: I have noted that this open letter pointed out that the US government’s decision to seize Afghanistan’s $7 billion foreign exchange reserves “contributed mightily to Afghanistan’s economic collapse”. The US government’s “decision to divide these funds in two is arbitrary and unjustified” and “undermines the recovery” of the Afghan economy. 

I also noted that it has been almost one year since the US withdrew its troops from Afghanistan. Critics around the world have argued that the US still hasn’t stopped doing harm to the Afghan people. If anything, it has been aggravated. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that millions of Afghans are on the “verge of death”. An official of the World Food Program pointed out at 98% of Afghans are facing food insecurity and nearly half of the Afghan children under the age of five suffer from acute malnutrition.

Nearly 20 years of “forced transformation” imposed by the US on Afghanistan have not only failed to lift the Afghan people out of poverty and turbulence, but also worsened the crisis of human survival and national development. This is yet another textbook example of how US democracy destabilizes the world. Although US troops have left Afghanistan, the crimes done to the country still persist. Unless the US stops harming the Afghan people, their ordeal will not end. 

We urge the US to own up to its wrongdoing and take real action to heal Afghan people’s trauma, and show accountability to the world.

Reuters: South Korean officials have recently repeatedly said that the THAAD missile defense system is purely for national self-defense, mainly against potential North Korean attacks, while the foreign ministry here has emphasized that it has “three nos” demands regarding the system. I was wondering if the foreign ministry could perhaps explain whether there is sort of a balance to strike between South Korea’s need to protect  territory and China’s concerns that the missile defense system could be used by the US to perhaps repel or contain China?

Wang Wenbin: Does anyone else have a question about the issue of THAAD?

Beijing Youth Daily: ROK Defense Minister Lee Jong-sup said on August 11, “In the case of the radar location of the THAAD battery, if it faces China, there is a mountain right in front of it, so it is shielded so that it cannot be physically operated (to detect China).” He added that the THAAD system can only defend the Korean Peninsula, and it is not structured to play any role in the US defense system and doesn’t target China. Do you have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: China has always respected the sovereignty of the Republic of Korea (ROK) and understands its security concerns. However, since the US’s deployment of the THAAD anti-missile system in the ROK undermines China’s strategic security, the Chinese side cannot just look the other way. The Chinese and ROK foreign ministers held in-depth exchange of views on this issue during their recent meeting in Qingdao, where they elaborated on the two sides’ respective positions and agreed to take each other’s security concerns seriously and strive to properly handle the issue to make sure it does not become a stumbling block to bilateral relations. We hope the ROK side will continue to properly handle this issue in accordance with the two sides’ previous understanding and the common understandings reached between the two foreign ministers during their meeting in Qingdao. 

Phoenix TV: Rahul Gupta, Director of National Drug Control Policy at the White House, tweeted on China’s countermeasures in response to Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan that “it’s unacceptable” that China is suspending counternarcotics cooperation with the US “in light of an overdose epidemic ... that has claimed more than 100,000 lives in America last year”. What’s your comment?

Wang Wenbin: In disregard of China’s stern warnings and repeated representations, Nancy Pelosi visited China’s Taiwan region. This has dealt a heavy blow to the political foundation of China-US relations. The Chinese side announced eight countermeasures including suspending China-US counternarcotics cooperation. This is a firm and strong response to the US and “Taiwan independence” separatists’ provocation. It is completely justified, appropriate and proportionate. On the fentanyl abuse issue in the US, I would like to stress the following: 

First, the root cause of the fentanyl abuse crisis in the US lies in the US itself. The international community, China included, has been strengthening control of fentanyl-related substances, while in the US, abuse of synthetic opioids including fentanyl has been deteriorating. There have been more deaths from overdose. The US should seriously reflect on the underlying reason. According to data from the International Narcotics Control Board, the US is the world’s largest producer and consumer of fentanyl-related substances. With five percent of the world’s population, the US consumes 80 percent of opioids in the world. The US government has lost effective control over the management of prescription drugs. There aren’t enough public awareness campaigns about the harm of narcotics, and measures to reduce demand and ban narcotics have not worked well. The US must look squarely at its own problem instead of deflecting blame.

Second, China has made tremendous efforts to help the US solve its fentanyl issue. There is no immediate hazard or large-scale fentanyl abuse in China. China has always acted in a humanitarian and responsible way in helping the US solve the fentanyl abuse crisis and working with other countries to address new challenges in counternarcotics. The UN Conventions on drug control scheduled 27 categories of fentanyl substances. China was the first in the world to have scheduled fentanyl as a class, covering more categories than what are scheduled by the UN Conventions. In contrast, while the US has the most acute fentanyl challenge in the world, it has yet to officially schedule fentanyl-related substances as a class. China has shown utmost goodwill and sincerity and gone out of our way to work together with the US in this area, which is unprecedented in our drug control practice. This has not only played an important role in preventing the illicit manufacturing, trafficking and abuse of fentanyl-related substances, but also set a fine example for international counternarcotics cooperation and has been fully recognized by the international community.

Third, the responsibility for undermining China-US counternarcotics cooperation is entirely on the US. It has been over two years since the US put the Institution of Forensic Science of the Ministry of Public Security and the National Narcotics Laboratory of China, which are responsible for testing and controlling fentanyl-related substances, on the US’s “entity list” in the name of so-called human rights issues in Xinjiang. They still have not been removed from the list. The US has been publicly making irresponsible remarks and repeatedly rehashing old cases. The US has sanctioned Chinese companies in the name of controlling fentanyl-related substances and offered high reward for the arrest of certain Chinese citizens. The US has done this to mislead the public, deflect the blame, and shift away the responsibility for the botched response to narcotics abuse in the US. China has made démarches with the US side over this multiple times, but has received no response. All the consequences arising therefrom, including the damage caused to bilateral relations and China-US counternarcotics cooperation must be borne by the US side.

China takes a firm stance on counternarcotics. China has achieved notable results in counternarcotics governance despite the global spread of narcotics. As a responsible major country, China will as always actively participate in international and multilateral counternarcotics cooperation and contribute China’s expertise and effort to global counternarcotics efforts. We also sincerely hope that the US can find an effective solution to the fentanyl abuse in the country at an early date so that the American people can rid themselves of the scourge of narcotics sooner rather than later.

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