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


2023-08-22 18:27

CCTV: The plenary meeting of the Central American Parliament on August 21 local time adopted the resolution of revoking the “permanent observer status” of the so-called “Legislative Yuan” of the Taiwan region and accepting the National People’s Congress of China as a permanent observer. What’s China’s comment? Will China consider becoming a permanent observer of the Central American Parliament?

Wang Wenbin: China welcomes and commends the resolution of the Central American Parliament to revoke the “permanent observer status” of the so-called “Legislative Yuan” of the Taiwan region and accept the National People’s Congress of China as a permanent observer. This again shows that the one-China principle represents the unstoppable trend of the times and has the overwhelming support of the people. China stands ready to develop friendly cooperation with the Central American Parliament on the basis of the one-China principle.

Bloomberg: Japan announced today that it would begin releasing Fukushima waste water from as early as August 24. What is China’s response and will it take any further action on Japan or Japanese goods in the aftermath of the decision?

Wang Wenbin: In disregard of the strong concerns and firm opposition from the international community, the Japanese government announced the decision to start releasing the Fukushima nuclear-contaminated water into the ocean from August 24. This is extremely selfish and irresponsible, as the discharge will spread the risks of nuclear contamination to the rest of the world, and by doing so, Japan is putting its selfish interests above the long-term wellbeing of the entire humanity. China is gravely concerned and strongly opposed to this. We have made serious démarches to Japan.

For the past two years and more, the legitimacy, legality and safety of Japan’s ocean discharge plan has been questioned over and over again by the international community. Japan has yet to address major international concerns such as the long-term reliability of the purification facility, the authenticity and accuracy of the nuclear-contaminated water data, and the effectiveness of the monitoring arrangement. China and other stakeholders have pointed out on multiple occasions that if the Fukushima nuclear-contaminated water is truly safe, Japan wouldn’t have to dump it into the sea—and certainly shouldn’t if it’s not. It is unjustified, unreasonable and unnecessary for Japan to push through the ocean discharge plan.

Regrettably, Japan has given scarce response to international concerns. It has been trying to create an impression that the ocean discharge is safe and harmless. It has even made unfounded accusations against neighboring countries who have expressed legitimate concerns. All of this has caused outrage among people in neighboring countries and in Japan.

The ocean sustains humanity. It is not a sewer for Japan’s nuclear-contaminated water. China strongly urges Japan to stop its wrongdoing, cancel the ocean discharge plan, communicate with neighboring countries with sincerity and good will, dispose of the nuclear-contaminated water in a responsible manner and accept rigorous international oversight. China will take all steps necessary to protect the marine environment, ensure food safety and safeguard people’s life and health.

China News Service: On August 21 local time, giant panda cub Xiao Qi Ji turned three in the US. The National Zoo at Washington DC organized a “birthday party” for him. Many visitors came to celebrate his birthday. Do you have any comment on this?

Wang Wenbin: We are glad that Xiao Qi Ji had a happy third birthday. Based on what we have learned from relevant authorities, the three giant pandas at the National Zoo in Washington—Mei Xiang, Tian Tian and Xiao Qi Ji—will return to China at the end of this year as previously scheduled.

Since China and the United States began cooperation on giant panda conservation and research in 2000, we have achieved good results in conservation and breeding, disease prevention and control, technical exchanges and public awareness. This has played a positive role in protecting endangered species and enhancing the friendship between the Chinese and American people. Since the cooperation began, Mei Xiang and Tian Tian have given birth to four cubs, creating joy for the American people and bringing hearts closer between our two peoples. In particular, the birth of Xiao Qi Ji, whose name means “little miracle”, during the pandemic, brought encouraging news to panda lovers all over the world.

The family of three is overall in good health. The zoo provides professional treatment and care for the ones with common diseases of elderly pandas. China and the US are going through the relevant procedures and preparing for the transportation to ensure that the panda family will have a safe journey home.

Giant pandas are China’s national treasures and messengers of friendship in China’s cultural exchanges with the rest of the world. China is engaged in collaborative research on the conservation of giant pandas with 22 organizations in 19 countries, including the US. Such cooperation plays an important role in the conservation of pandas. There are currently 65 giant pandas outside China. Those exchanges and cooperation not only help overcome the technical difficulties in the protection and breeding of giant pandas, but also provide people in other countries knowledge about what has been achieved in giant panda protection and expand people-to-people exchanges. Available data shows that around the world, more than 1 billion tourists have viewed giant pandas, and hundreds of events for people-to-people exchanges on giant pandas have been organized. While bringing joy to people all over the world, giant pandas have also played a unique role in raising public awareness of wildlife conservation and promoting friendly people-to-people exchanges between China and the world.  

Reuters: It’s been reported that UK Foreign Minister James Cleverly will visit China at the end of this month. Can the foreign ministry confirm the schedule for this visit and let us know China’s hopes and expectations for this visit?

Wang Wenbin: China values growing stable and mutually beneficial relations with the UK and we are open to strengthening bilateral exchanges with the UK. For information about the visit, you may follow our ministry’s website.

The Paper: On August 22, Cambodia’s National Assembly elected Khuon Sudary as its new President and approved members of the new cabinet headed by Hun Manet as the Prime Minister, marking the official formation of the country’s new government. What’s China’s comment? What’s your expectation for the future growth of China-Cambodia ties?

Wang Wenbin: We extend warm congratulations to Cambodia’s newly-elected National Assembly and newly-formed government. We believe that under the leadership of Prime Minister Hun Manet, the new government will achieve greater success in national development.

China and Cambodia are ironclad friends. Our friendship has withstood the test of the changing international landscape and remained rock-solid. Going forward, we will continue to support Cambodia in its national development, and work with the new government to build a high-quality, high-level and high-standard China-Cambodia community with a shared future for the new era, deepen our comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership, and add new vitality and dynamism to our ironclad friendship to deliver more benefits to both peoples.

NHK: China tightened import controls on food from Japan before the release of nuclear-contaminated water from Fukushima. Today, the Japanese government officially decided to start the ocean discharge plan. Will China consider introducing new control measures? If the Japanese government provides China with relevant experts’ advice on the discharge of nuclear-contaminated water, will China accept that?

Wang Wenbin: The Chinese government puts the people first, and relevant departments will take measures necessary to safeguard food safety and the health of our people. We strongly urge Japan to reverse its wrong decision, cancel the ocean discharge plan, communicate with neighboring countries with sincerity and good will, dispose of the nuclear-contaminated water in a responsible manner and accept rigorous international oversight.

Bloomberg: This morning, the US announced that it was removing 33 entities, including 27 Chinese companies, from its unverified list. What is the foreign ministry’s reaction to this? And will China be making a reciprocal gesture?

Wang Wenbin: China welcomes the US decision to remove Chinese entities from the “unverified list”. It shows that the two sides can address specific concerns through communication based on mutual respect. China will continue to firmly defend the lawful rights and interests of Chinese companies and institutions.

Beijing Youth Daily: Recently, a delegation from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) visited China’s Xinjiang. Could you share some details?

Wang Wenbin: From August 16 to 21, a delegation from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) visited China and made a trip to Xinjiang at the invitation of the Chinese side. The delegation comprised representatives from 23 countries and two OIC Assistant Secretaries-General.

During its stay in Beijing, the delegation held meetings with officials from departments including the Foreign Ministry and the United Front Work Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and held exchanges with the China Islamic Association. During its trip to Xinjiang, the delegation met with member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Party Secretary of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) Ma Xingrui and Deputy Party Secretary and Chairman of the government of the XUAR Erkin Tuniyaz. The delegation traveled to Urumqi, Kashgar, the Kizilsu Kirgiz Autonomous Prefecture and Changji, where they saw an exhibition on counter-terrorism and de-radicalization and visited the Xinjiang Islamic Institute, the ancient city of Kashgar and projects of green development and rural revitalization. They also visited Uyghur families and religious figures and prayed together with local Muslims at a mosque.

Members of the delegation spoke highly of China’s economic and social progress and commended the Chinese government for its strong commitment to protecting the multi-ethnic culture in Xinjiang. They noted the success of China’s people-centered governance in Xinjiang, including the effective counter-terrorism and de-radicalization policy, which has brought peace and happiness to people of all ethnic backgrounds in Xinjiang. They also pointed out the huge gap between what they saw on this trip and how certain countries depicted the region and that the narratives and accusations attacking Xinjiang’s human rights conditions couldn’t be further from the truth.

The OIC delegation’s objective and just observations prove once again that people can tell right from wrong. A handful of countries’ scheme to manipulate Xinjiang-related issues and smear China will not succeed. We welcome more friends from around the world to visit Xinjiang and see for themselves the peace, dynamism, harmony and freedom in Xinjiang. 

Reuters: Earlier this year, five members of staff at Mintz were detained. Does the Chinese foreign ministry have any information about their current whereabouts? Are they still in detention? If so, for breach of which law and do they have access to lawyers, etc?

Wang Wenbin: I’d like to refer you to the competent authorities on this question. 

Let me stress that China is a country under the rule of law. Businesses operating in China need to abide by Chinese laws. Judicial authorities investigate suspected offenses in accordance with the law. China remains firmly committed to advancing high-level opening up and fostering a market-oriented, law-based and internationalized business environment for companies from other countries, including from the US. 

Reuters: A flight of Air Koryo, the North Korean state-owned airline, has arrived in China from North Korea. Does China have a plan along with North Korea to open the borders between the two countries? And also does the Chinese government have a comment on the near future for this air route between China and North Korea?

Wang Wenbin: You may refer to my response to a related question yesterday.

CCTV: In an interview with Yonhap News TV on August 21, ROK Foreign Minister Park Jin said Seoul explained in detail to China the results of the Camp David meeting through diplomatic channels. He stressed the trilateral gathering was not conducted to target any particular country. On bilateral ties with Beijing, Park said Seoul wants to foster a mature and healthy relationship with China on a foundation of mutual respect and mutual benefit. What’s China’s response?

Wang Wenbin: We have noted the remarks by Foreign Minister Park Jin. Following the US-Japan-ROK summit at Camp David, the ROK briefed China on the meeting and explained it through diplomatic channels.

In response to the trilateral meeting and the joint statement, especially the negative developments concerning China, China has immediately stated our serious position and concerns and made serious démarches to relevant parties. We urge relevant countries to be prudent with words and actions, stop smearing China’s image and harming China’s interests, stop stoking division and confrontation and harming regional peace and stability, and stop pursuing selfish gains at the expense of other countries’ strategic and security interests and the wellbeing of people in Asia-Pacific.

We attach importance to the desire expressed by the ROK to grow relations with China. We hope that the ROK will join China and other countries in the region in rejecting the outdated pattern of division, confrontation and bloc confrontation and opening up new prospects for solidarity, cooperation, development and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific.

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