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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on December 13, 2022

AFP: According to the Indian army, soldiers from India and China clashed last week along a disputed border in the Himalayas. According to the Indian side, there were minor injuries on both sides, the Indian side and Chinese side. Can you confirm it? What happened exactly?

Wang Wenbin: As far as we know, the China-India border areas are generally stable. The two sides have maintained smooth communication on boundary-related issues through diplomatic and military channels.

We hope that the Indian side will work with us in the same direction, earnestly deliver on the important common understandings reached by leaders of both sides, and act strictly in the spirit of relevant bilateral agreements signed by both sides and jointly preserve peace and tranquility in the border areas.

As to the specifics you asked about, I will refer you to the competent authorities.

CNR: Yesterday China announced that Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng held talks with visiting US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Kritenbrink and National Security Council Senior Director for China Laura Rosenberger in Langfang, Hebei, which has received a lot of attention. Can you share more details? Was the Taiwan question discussed during the talks?

Wang Wenbin: Yesterday I briefed you on the talks. On December 11 and 12, Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng held talks with visiting US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Kritenbrink and National Security Council Senior Director for China Laura Rosenberger in Langfang, Hebei. The two sides had in-depth communication on following through on the common understandings between the two heads of state in Bali, advancing consultations on the principles guiding China-US relations, properly handling important and sensitive issues in bilateral relations including the Taiwan question and strengthening interactions at all levels and cooperation in relevant areas. The two sides also had a broad exchange of views on international and regional issues of mutual interest.

The Chinese side noted during the talks that implementing the two leaders’ important common understandings reached in Bali should be front and center for both sides in stabilizing and growing China-US relations. Both sides need to firmly adhere to the strategic guidance of head-of-state diplomacy, follow through on the two presidents’ common understandings to the letter, spare no effort in the whole-process management of bilateral relations, and send an unequivocal positive message to the wider world. Both sides need to act with a great sense of responsibility to our two countries, the world and history, strengthen communication and dialogue, carry out mutually beneficial cooperation, properly manage differences and bring China-US relations back onto the track of sound and steady development. The zero-sum Cold War mentality must be abandoned, ideological antagonism and bloc confrontation must be rejected, and decoupling, supply disruption and sci-tech suppression must be stopped.

The Chinese side stressed that it has remained committed to the constructive approach of growing relations with the US on the basis of the three principles of mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation, and that China will not waver in its resolve to uphold its sovereignty, security and development interests. The Taiwan question is at the very core of China’s core interests, the bedrock of the political foundation of China-U.S. relations, and the first red line that must not be crossed in China-U.S. relations. The Chinese side reiterated its solemn position on the US side’s erroneous acts such as high-level exchanges with Taiwan, arms sales to Taiwan and Taiwan-related legislation, and urged the US to abide by the one-China principle and the three China-US Joint Communiqués with concrete actions.

The Chinese side noted that China does not shy away or flinch from competition. However, the Chinese side is against defining the entire China-US relations by competition and seeking containment and suppression in the name of competition. The US and China have their respective sets of values. What the two sides should do is respect each other, instead of imposing its values on others, still less interfering in other countries’ internal affairs. China is committed to upholding the UN-centered international system, the international order underpinned by international law, and the basic norms governing international relations built on the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. We do not accept the so-called “rules” defined by individual countries or a small group of them. China handles individual cases in accordance with the law, and the US should respect facts and the rule of law in China.

On matters such as the Ukraine issue and the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng reiterated China’s clear and consistent position.

The two sides agreed that the talks were candid, in-depth, and constructive, and agreed to maintain communication and follow through on the important common understandings between the two heads of state. 

China Daily: It is reported that on December 12, a hotel with Chinese nationals in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, was attacked by unidentified armed personnel. Three terrorists were killed and several Chinese civilians injured. An affiliate of the extremist group ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack. What is your comment?

Wang Wenbin: This is an extremely outrageous terrorist attack, and we are deeply shocked by it. China firmly opposes all forms of terrorism and strongly condemns this attack. We express our condolences for members of the Afghan security forces who lost their lives in this attack and sympathies to the people who have been injured.

In the wake of the attack, the Chinese Embassy in Afghanistan immediately lodged a serious representation with the Afghan interim government and asked the Afghan side to make every effort to search for and rescue Chinese nationals. The embassy also asked the Afghan side to look thoroughly into the attack, bring the perpetrators to justice, and effectively strengthen the protection for the safety and security of Chinese nationals and institutions in Afghanistan.

We appreciate the Afghan security forces’ sharp reaction to the attack and efforts to rescue Chinese nationals. China is closely following the security situation of Afghanistan and supports Afghanistan’s efforts to combat all forms of terrorism and violence and to defend national security and stability. We also call on the Afghan interim government to take strong and resolute measures to ensure the security of Chinese nationals, institutions and projects in Afghanistan.

TASS: According to the source cited by Russian newspaper Vedomosti, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping will hold a virtual meeting before the New Year. Could you confirm this? What is China’s comment?

Wang Wenbin: Our two countries’ presidents maintain close exchanges through various ways and timely and effective communication over bilateral relations and cooperation in various areas. As for the specific question you mentioned, I have no information to offer at the moment.

AFP: I also have a question on the attack in Kabul. How many people were killed and injured? Does China know the nationalities of the casualties? Are there any Chinese casualties?

Wang Wenbin: As we have learned, five Chinese nationals were injured and some Afghan security officers were killed in the terrorist attack. We mourn for the officers and extend our sympathies to those who were injured.

The Chinese Embassy in Afghanistan has made a serious démarche to the interim government of Afghanistan, and asked the Afghan side to make every effort to rescue the injured, get to the bottom of the attack, bring the violent terrorists to justice and take further steps to protect the security of Chinese nationals in Afghanistan. The task force of the Chinese Embassy in Afghanistan arrived on the scene at the hotel on the day of the attack, and is working with the Afghan side to conduct rescue, provide medical treatment and find shelter for the people affected.

Given the current security situation in Afghanistan, the foreign ministry once again reminds our fellow citizens and institutions in Afghanistan to leave and evacuate the country as soon as possible, report their identity information to the Embassy, and at the same time take extra safety precautions and enhance emergency preparedness. In case of an emergency, please contact our Embassy immediately. 

Shenzhen TV: The Institute for Global Dialogue of South Africa recently issued a report entitled “The Biden Administration and Africa in a Changing Global Order: Towards the 2nd US-Africa Summit”. According to the report, “the US engagement largely seeks to counter China and Russia” in Africa and globally rather than take a tangible approach to addressing Africa’s development challenges. Compared with the US’s bullying diplomacy, “China has been eagerly welcomed by African countries because of its stance on non-interference in internal affairs and win-win approach to its relations with Africa.” Do you have any comment on this?

Wang Wenbin: I have noted the report. This report, issued by a renowned academic institution of Africa, offers an African perspective on the US-Africa relations. The report also points out that the US policy towards Africa serves the US’s own interests and aims to force African countries to choose sides on issues of global security, international landscape and great power competition. The main author and Executive Director of the Institute noted at the report’s launch event that Africa is an independent continent regarding foreign policy, which opposes bullying and threat and refuses to choose sides. The US’s strong-arm diplomacy will not succeed on Africa. 

Supporting Africa’s development is the common responsibility of the international community. China has all along advanced its relations with Africa on the basis of the principles of sincerity, real results, affinity and good faith and with a commitment to the greater good and shared interests. Our partnership with African countries is always based on mutual respect, equality and sincere cooperation. With the US-Africa Summit to be held soon, we welcome greater international focus on Africa. Meanwhile, we firmly oppose turning Africa into a wrestling ground for major-country rivalry or using one’s Africa strategy as a tool to curb and attack other countries’ cooperation with Africa. The African people are clear-eyed about this, and African countries have the wisdom and capability to choose cooperation partners that help advance African interests. We hope that the international community will address the real needs of African countries by taking concrete actions and deliver for the continent’s socioeconomic development and the welfare of its people.

AFP: Another follow-up question on Kabul terrorist attack. Do you think, for Chinese businessmen, Afghanistan is still a safe place to do business?

Wang Wenbin: I just stated that we urge the Afghan interim government to take strong and resolute measures to ensure the security of Chinese nationals, institutions and projects in Afghanistan.

TV Tokyo: The Chinese government has filed a trade dispute with the WTO regarding the US semiconductor export controls. Does the foreign ministry have any comment on this? Please provide more details on this.

Wang Wenbin: The official of the Department of Treaty and Law of the Ministry of Commerce of China has already responded to the issue. 

The US’s abuse of export control measures has hindered normal international trade of chips and other products. It distorts the global supply chain of semiconductors and disrupts global trade.

In recent years, the US has been using national security as a pretext to disrupt normal international trade, which is widely rejected by the international community. The WTO recently took the view that the tariffs selectively imposed by the US in 2018 in the name of national security on steel and aluminum from some WTO members have violated WTO rules, and rejected the US’s defense invoking the WTO security exceptions. It shows that the security exceptions do not provide a safe haven for unilateral or protectionist practices. 

Countries need to stand up and say no to Washington’s unilateralism and protectionism. This is a cause that bears on the stability of the global trading system, and more importantly, whether international justice can prevail.

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