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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on May 9, 2023

2023-05-09 20:19

CCTV: President Xi Jinping’s special representative Vice President Han Zheng attended the coronation ceremony of King Charles III in the UK. Can you share more with us? 

Wang Wenbin: President Xi Jinping’s special representative Vice President Han Zheng attended the coronation ceremony of King Charles III and relevant activities in London upon invitation a few days ago. The UK attached high importance to his attendance, received the Chinese delegation with premium courtesy and made thoughtful arrangements. King Charles III expressed appreciation to President Xi Jinping and his wife Professor Peng Liyuan for their congratulatory messages to him and the Queen, and welcome to Han Zheng attending the coronation ceremony as President Xi’s special representative. Han Zheng also met with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, The Prince of Wales and Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden, and attended a welcome dinner hosted by the business community.

During those events, Han Zheng shared China’s economic situation and policy orientation, highlighting the immense potential in China-UK cooperation and the need for the two governments to respond to businesses’ call for cooperation, keep bilateral relations stable and provide more policy support for a sound basis for mutually beneficial cooperation. Han stressed the need for the UK to provide an open, fair and non-discriminatory business environment for Chinese companies investing in the UK, and protect the safety of Chinese students and tourists and facilitate their travel and stay. The British side said it values UK-China relations and looks forward to high-level exchanges. It noted the two countries enjoy broad prospects for cooperation in areas such as green economy and sustainable development. It is important to build a stable and constructive bilateral relationship and make Chinese companies, students and tourists feel safe and welcome.

Han Zheng’s trip marked the first face-to-face exchange between Chinese and UK leaders since China’s “two sessions”. The delegation had deep-going exchanges with people from various sectors in the UK, reached broad common understandings on cooperation and achieved the purpose of the trip. China is ready to work with the UK for the sustained, sound and steady growth of bilateral relations.

Bloomberg: Reports in Japanese media say that the US, Japan and South Korea are planning to link their radar systems to better track missiles from North Korea. So is China concerned that this will also allow greater surveillance of China by the US and its allies? And does this violate the “three noes” policy that was agreed on by China and the previous Moon administration? 

Wang Wenbin: The issues on the Korean Peninsula are essentially political and security issues. They stem from the remnant of the Cold War and the absence of a peace mechanism. Using issues on the Korean Peninsula as a pretext to boost US-Japan-ROK military cooperation will not help remove the remnant of the Cold War or bring about a peace mechanism. It will only drive up the risks of bloc confrontation, take away the already fragile trust among parties in the region and hurt the strategic security interests of other countries. The parties concerned will be culpable if the Peninsula slides into a cycle of tension and arms race.  

You mentioned what was agreed to between China and the ROK on THAAD. Let me reiterate that when the Chinese and ROK foreign ministers met in Qingdao in August last year, they agreed that the two countries would properly handle the THAAD issue and make sure it does not become a stumbling block in bilateral relations. We hope the ROK will act on what was agreed to and continue to properly handle and manage this issue to prevent unnecessary disruption to bilateral relations.

AFP: The Chinese foreign ministry declared a consul at Canada’s Consulate General in Shanghai persona non grata this afternoon and asked her to leave China no later than May 13. Could you offer more information on the reason behind this decision?

Wang Wenbin: Despite China’s serious démarches, Canada declared a Chinese diplomat “persona non grata” based on the false accusation of Chinese interference in Canada’s internal affairs. We strongly condemn and firmly oppose this. China has lodged serious démarches and strong protests to Canada.

China never interferes in other countries’ internal affairs. The interference claims about China are unfounded. They are ideology- and politically driven manipulation designed to slander and denigrate China. Canada’s ill-founded decision to declare our diplomat “persona non grata” is an egregious move that violates the basic norms governing international relations, and a deliberate blow to Canada’s relations with China.  

For quite some time, Canadian media and senior politicians have cited so-called CSIS “classified documents” to smear the Chinese diplomatic and consular missions in Canada. None of the accusations are based on facts. They are trumped up with hidden agenda.  

In reaction to Canada’s unscrupulous move, China has decided to take a reciprocal countermeasure by declaring Jennifer Lynn Lalonde, consul of the Consulate General of Canada in Shanghai persona non grata, who has been asked to leave China no later than May 13. This is a move to uphold China’s lawful rights and interests and is fully justified and necessary.

I want to stress that the Chinese diplomatic and consular missions and our diplomats and consular personnel in Canada abide by relevant international conventions and Canada’s laws and regulations. They have performed their duty in accordance with the law. The Canadian government’s ill-founded and erroneous action seriously harms the lawful rights and interests of Chinese diplomatic and consular personnel. China does not accept this. We will not waver in our resolve to uphold China’s interests. We urge Canada to stop its provocation at once. If Canada decides to continue its wanton act, China will react firmly and all consequences arising therefrom must be borne by Canada.

Kyodo News: Why was the consul from the Consulate General of Canada in Shanghai declared persona non grata? Can you elaborate on the reason and background?

Wang Wenbin: This is a reciprocal countermeasure taken in reaction to Canada’s provocation to protect China’s lawful rights and interests. This is consistent with established diplomatic practice and completely justified and necessary. We urge Canada to stop its unscrupulous provocation at once.

CCTV: State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang attended the fifth China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Foreign Ministers’ Dialogue in Pakistan a few days ago. This is the first foreign ministers’ dialogue among China, Afghanistan and Pakistan in the past two years. Do you have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: A few days ago, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang attended the fifth China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Foreign Ministers’ Dialogue in Islamabad. Pakistani Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari chaired the Dialogue and Acting Foreign Minister of the Afghan interim government Amir Khan Muttaqi attended the Dialogue. This is the first foreign ministers’ dialogue among China, Afghanistan and Pakistan since the profound change in the situation in Afghanistan in 2021. It marked the resumption of the trilateral cooperation mechanism. During the Dialogue, the three foreign ministers had candid and in-depth exchanges of views on issues of good neighborliness, mutual trust, security cooperation, counter-terrorism, connectivity, trade and investment and reached a number of common understandings.

The three sides issued the Joint Statement of the Fifth China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Foreign Ministers’ Dialogue, resolving to further deepen and expand their cooperation in the security, development and political domains based on the principles of mutual respect, equal-footed consultation and mutual benefit.

The three sides agreed to coordinate and cooperate on security, organized crimes, drug smuggling, etc. They stressed on the need of not allowing any individual, group or party, including the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM), to use their territories to harm and threaten regional security and interests, or conduct terrorist actions and activities. All three sides underscored the need to refrain from intervening in the internal affairs of Afghanistan, and to promote Afghan peace, stability and reconstruction.

The three sides reaffirmed their resolve to fully harness Afghanistan’s potential as a hub for regional connectivity and their commitment to further the trilateral cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), and to jointly extend the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor to Afghanistan. They emphasized the need to push forward the “hard connectivity” in infrastructure and “soft connectivity” in norms and standards, and further explore facilitating measures for the movement of people and trade activities between the three countries. The Ministers agreed to strengthen cooperation in such fields as agriculture, trade, energy, capacity building, etc.

The Ministers called upon the international community to engage constructively with the Afghan side. The three sides urged the relevant countries that are responsible for the current situation in Afghanistan to lift their unilateral sanctions against Afghanistan and return the assets overseas for the benefit of the Afghan people, and create opportunities for economic development and prosperity in Afghanistan.

As State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang noted, China is ready to, through the China-Afghanistan-Pakistan trilateral cooperation channels, strengthen strategic communication and policy coordination among the three countries, enhance good-neighborliness, friendship and strategic mutual trust, strengthen counter-terrorism and security cooperation, and deepen the bond and connection of interests among the three countries. By doing so, we can set a good example of cooperation  through mini-multilateral engagement among neighbors on hotspot issues, and advance regional stability and prosperity.

Bloomberg: This question is regarding the investigation into Capvision, which was detailed in a CCTV news item extensively last night. My question is, has there been any arrest made at Capvision? Can you tell me what other firms, if any, have been targeted for such raids and investigations? 

Wang Wenbin: Recently, Chinese national security authorities and departments concerned have jointly taken public law enforcement actions on relevant company. These are normal law enforcement actions consistent with Chinese laws that aim to promote sound and well-regulated growth of relevant sector and safeguard national security and development interests.

Financial Times: Just following up on Capvision, such a highly publicized investigation, what message is intended to send to the consultancy industry? And how can foreign investors feel confident to conduct due diligence? 

Wang Wenbin: As I just said, these are normal law enforcement actions consistent with Chinese laws that aim to promote sound and well-regulated growth of relevant sector and safeguard national security and development interests.

Bloomberg: A question regarding China’s participation in the inaugural virtual meeting of Sri Lanka’s creditors. My question is, will China be joining an inaugural virtual meeting of Sri Lanka’s creditors regarding the nation’s debt restructuring, which is set to take place this evening at 8pm China time? 

Wang Wenbin: We have stated our position multiple times on the Sri Lanka debt issue. Let me reiterate that we support Chinese financial institutions in actively working out the debt treatment with the Sri Lankan side. We have been in close communication with the Sri Lankan side and taken concrete steps. We will continue to play a positive role in this regard. At the same time, we call on commercial and multilateral creditors to take part in Sri Lanka’s debt restructuring based on fair burden-sharing. As to your specific question, I would refer you to relevant authorities.

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