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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on February 22, 2023

China News Service: There has been a lot of media coverage on China’s Global Security Initiative Concept Paper released by the foreign ministry. Foreign Minister Qin Gang said that the concept paper demonstrates China’s sense of responsibility for safeguarding world peace and firm resolve to defend global security. Could you share more on that?

Wang Wenbin: Yesterday China held the Lanting Forum on the Global Security Initiative: China’s Proposal for Solving Security Challenges. Foreign Minister Qin Gang attended the opening session and delivered a keynote speech. 

Foreign Minister Qin said that China’s Global Security Initiative Concept Paper expounds on the core ideas and principles of the Global Security Initiative (GSI), identifies the priorities, platforms and mechanisms of cooperation, and demonstrates China’s sense of responsibility for safeguarding world peace and firm resolve to defend global security. Security is a right for all countries. It is not a prerogative of some, still less should it be decided by any individual country. The GSI intends to serve the interests of all and protect tranquility for all. Its advances need the unity and cooperation of the international community.

Foreign Minister Qin noted that the GSI is rooted in the fine traditional Chinese culture that values peace above everything else, and is inspired by China’s independent foreign policy of peace and its practices. China is committed to the path of peaceful development. No matter how much it develops, China will never seek hegemony, expansion or sphere of influence, or engage in arms race, but remain a defender of world peace.

Foreign Minister Qin stressed that China is committed to following a Chinese approach to resolving hotspot issues. China believes in promoting peace through talks, emphasizes addressing both the symptoms and root causes, calls on the involved parties to meet each other halfway, and pursues fairness and justice. On the Iranian nuclear issue, China has actively promoted the resumption of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), to uphold the legitimate rights and interests of relevant countries and the international nuclear non-proliferation regime. On the Korean Peninsula issue, China stands for pursuing in parallel the establishment of a peace mechanism and the denuclearization of the Peninsula, and addressing the legitimate concerns of all parties in a balanced manner, to safeguard peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula. On the Middle East, China welcomes and supports security dialogues among regional countries including Saudi Arabia and Iran, as well as regional efforts to build a Middle East security architecture that suits the realities of the region and accommodates the interests of all parties. On the Ukraine issue, China has taken an objective and impartial stance based on the merits of the issue, and has played a responsible and constructive role in easing the situation and deescalating the crisis. China will continue to promote peace talks, contribute its ideas for a political settlement of the crisis, and join the international community to promote dialogue and consultation, address the concerns of all parties and seek common security. In the meantime, we urge certain countries to immediately stop fueling the fire, stop shifting blame to China, and stop touting “Ukraine today, Taiwan tomorrow”.

Foreign Minister Qin noted that the development of China cannot happen without a secure international environment. Likewise, world security would not be possible without the security of China. At present, external suppression and containment against China keep escalating, posing a serious threat to China’s sovereignty and security. We stand firmly against any form of hegemonism and power politics, against the Cold War mentality and bloc confrontation, and against any foreign interference in China’s internal affairs. We will resolutely safeguard China’s sovereignty, security and development interests, and international fairness and justice.

AFP: Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said that China, as a country that respects sovereignty and territorial integrity, should ask Russia to withdraw its troops from Ukraine. Will the position document that China is about to release follow this principle? 

Wang Wenbin: China’s position on the Ukraine issue is consistent and clear. We will continue to stand firmly on the side of dialogue and peace. As we have shared with you, China will release a position document on seeking political settlement of the Ukraine crisis. We will keep you posted if anything comes up. Please stay tuned.


CCTV: At Russia’s request, the UN Security Council held an open debate on the explosions last September along the Nord Stream natural gas pipelines linking Russia and Germany. What’s your comment? 

Wang Wenbin: China’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Zhang Jun has stated China’s position in his remarks.

The Nord Stream gas pipelines are major transboundary infrastructure and energy transportation arteries. The explosions had a major negative impact on the global energy market and the ecological environment. It also caused energy shortages for businesses and households in many European countries this winter. China believes that there should be an objective, impartial and professional investigation into the explosions, and those responsible must be held to account. China supports speeding up the investigation, so as to swiftly find out the truth. As the most authoritative and representative international organization, the UN can play an active and constructive role in conducting an international investigation. China has noted and welcomes the draft resolution tabled by Russia in the Council.

Let me also stress that the Nord Stream explosions concern not just the economy, but also people’s livelihood. More importantly, it is a political issue which concerns the security and stability of the entire Europe. In the context of the Ukraine crisis, the explosions have intensified tensions in the region, escalated antagonism and confrontation, and made dialogue and negotiation even more difficult and hopes for a balanced, effective and sustainable security architecture in Europe even more elusive.

It is increasingly clear that what happened to Nord Stream pipelines was by no means an accident, but rather a deliberate act. Failure to find out why it happened and who is behind the destruction may leave the malign actors an opportunity and encourage them to do whatever they want and may even instigate more terrorist activities, which could further destabilize the already troubled global security landscape. This puts the interests of every country at stake.

Presented with those detailed accounts and an intact chain of evidence, a simple statement of “utterly false and complete fiction” is obviously not enough to answer the many questions and concerns raised around the world and does not mean that truth can be hidden away. We hope relevant parties can heed the call for urgent investigations and uncovering the truth, engage in objective and impartial investigations to get to the bottom of this as soon as possible, safeguard the security of major transboundary infrastructure, and strive for peace and tranquility of the region and the wider world.  

Yonhap News Agency: The ROK decided to cancel nucleic acid tests upon entry for travelers coming from China starting from March 1. Will the Chinese government take reciprocal measures on travelers from the ROK?

Wang Wenbin: We have noted media reports on this. Discriminatory restrictions targeting China need to be lifted as soon as possible to create enabling conditions for normal cross-border travel. China is willing to consider corresponding steps at an appropriate time.

Global Times: It has been learned that a Chinese student, who held a lawful visa issued by the US government and planned to do cancer research in the US, was refused entry and repatriated by the US side. What is your comment?

Wang Wenbin: We have noted this and express our grave concern over this, which is yet another case of the US law enforcement department’s wanton harassment and bullying of Chinese students. We have lodged a strong démarche to the US side.

People-to-people exchanges form the foundation for public support to China-US relations, of which academic, educational, scientific and technological exchanges are an important part. The US side claims to welcome Chinese students, but in fact has continued the wrong practice of the previous administration of restricting and thwarting Chinese students planning to study or do research in the US. This seriously harms the lawful rights and interests of Chinese students in the US and undermines normal people-to-people exchanges and educational cooperation between the two countries. 

We urge the US to genuinely welcome Chinese students as it has said, withdraw the biased and discriminatory Proclamation 10043, stop overstretching the concept of national security, stop interrogating, harassing or repatriating Chinese students in the US, and avoid similar incidents from happening again. China will continue to support Chinese students in defending their legitimate and lawful rights and interests in accordance with law and remind our students heading for the US to be mindful of such risks.

TASS: Russian President Vladimir Putin announced yesterday the suspension of Russia’s participation in the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START). Do you have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: The New START treaty is an important bilateral treaty on nuclear disarmament reached between Russia and the US in this century, and the only remaining US-Russia arms control treaty, which is important for maintaining global strategic stability, promoting international and regional peace, and realizing the goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world. China notes the differences on compliance between the two countries, and hopes the two sides can properly resolve the differences through constructive dialogue and consultation to ensure the treaty’s sound implementation. 

AFP: NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that NATO members “are also increasingly concerned that China may be planning to provide lethal support for Russia’s war”. What’s China’s comment? 

Wang Wenbin: On the Ukraine issue, China always stands on the side of peace. We have followed the four principles, called for joint efforts in four areas and shared three observations on Ukraine as outlined by President Xi Jinping, taken an objective and just position, and worked actively to promote peace talks.

It is a known fact that NATO countries including the US are the biggest source of weaponry for the battlefield in Ukraine, yet they keep claiming that China may be supplying weapons to Russia. This is a familiar trick used and exposed soon after the Ukraine crisis broke out. While claiming itself to be a regional defensive alliance, NATO has ignored others’ security concerns, and constantly sought to reach beyond its traditional defense zone and scope, and stoke division and tension. What role has NATO played in the Ukraine crisis? The rest of the world surely has its answer.

We urge NATO to quit groundless speculation and smears against China on the Ukraine issue, grow out of the Cold War mentality of zero-sum game and bloc confrontation, stop instigating antagonism and fanning the flames, and actually do something conducive to European and global peace and stability.

CCTV: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken recently tweeted, “I condemned the incursion of the PRC surveillance balloon.” During an interview, he again claimed that China’s surveillance balloon violated the US’s sovereignty and international law. What’s China’s comment? 

Wang Wenbin: China has explicitly told the US multiple times that the entry of a Chinese civilian unmanned airship into the US airspace was an entirely unintended, unexpected and isolated event caused by force majeure. We have repeatedly asked the US side to properly handle the matter in a calm, professional and rational manner.

However, the US ignored facts and fabricated the “spy balloon” narrative. President Biden personally gave the order to brazenly shoot down a civilian airship by firing a missile from an advanced fighter jet. This is a hundred percent an abuse of force, act of hysteria and overreaction. It gravely violates customary international practice and relevant international conventions. Instead of reflecting on and acknowledging what it has done wrong, the US chose to smear and attack China, sanction Chinese companies and keep escalating the situation. Those irresponsible remarks made by Secretary Blinken were a clear misrepresentation of the facts. It is the US who is the number one country in the world in violating other countries’ sovereignty, breaking international law and massively eavesdropping and spying on other countries. We strongly condemn the egregious behavior of the US and have repeatedly protested it strongly to the US side.

President Biden has pledged openly many times that the US does not seek a new Cold War with China and that it has no intention to seek a conflict with China. We hope that as the leader of a major country, President Biden will keep his word rather than say one thing but do another. We once again urge the US side to demonstrate sincerity, rectify its wrongdoing, and acknowledge and resolve the damage its abuse of force has done to China-US relations. As a Chinese saying goes, it’s inappropriate not to reciprocate. If the US continues to fuss over, dramatize and escalate the crisis, it should not expect the Chinese side to flinch and should be prepared to bear all potential consequences.

Reuters: It is reported that there is a planned visit for the Chinese leader to Russia. Is there any other information about this visit?

Wang Wenbin: China and Russia have maintained close communication at all levels on advancing the development of bilateral relations and contributing to world peace and development. As for interactions between the two presidents, I have nothing to share at the moment. 

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