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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on December 4, 2023

2023-12-04 21:55

At the invitation of Member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Vice Premier of the State Council Ding Xuexiang, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance of the Republic of Singapore Lawrence Wong will visit China from December 5 to 8. Vice Premier Ding Xuexiang and Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong will co-chair the 19th meeting of the China-Singapore Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation, the 24th meeting of China-Singapore Suzhou Industrial Park Joint Steering Council (JSC), the 15th meeting of the China-Singapore Tianjin Eco-City JSC and the seventh meeting of the China-Singapore (Chongqing) Demonstration Initiative on Strategic Connectivity JSC in Tianjin on December 7.

At the invitation of Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Angola Téte António and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mali Abdoulaye Diop will pay official visits to China from December 5 to 8 and from December 6 to 10 respectively.

AFP: US Commerce Secretary recently called China “the biggest threat we’ve ever had” and stressed “China is not our friend.” She also urged US business leaders to put national security above short term revenue. What is your comment on this?

Wang Wenbin: President Biden once noted that the US is not seeking to halt China’s economic development or scientific and technological progress. However, the remarks of the US official contradict this. It will hardly win the trust from China and the rest of the world, and reveals the deep-seated Cold-War mentality and hegemonic mindset of some in the US. China never bets against the US, and has no intention to challenge or unseat it. The US needs to have a right understanding of China, work with China to earnestly deliver on the important common understandings reached between the two Presidents in their meeting in San Francisco, stop viewing China as an enemy, correct the wrong move of carrying out major-country confrontation under the pretext of competition, and avoid saying one thing and doing another.

I read some comment on Chinese media platforms, which I would like to cite here and hope the US will seriously reflect on it. Going against the rules, principles and laws of free trade market is like building a dam of sieves—no matter how hard you try, the water will run through the sieves to where it is heading.

Yonhap News Agency: China’s General Administration of Customs has recently halted customs clearance on exports of urea to the Republic of Korea (ROK). The ROK government considers the Chinese action as an informal export restriction. Could the foreign ministry share more information with us?

Wang Wenbin: We noted relevant reports. The relevant departments of China and the ROK maintain communication on this. I’d like to refer you to the competent authorities for any specifics. 

The Paper: The United Arab Emirates (UAE), as the host country of the 28th session of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28), held the World Climate Action Summit (WCAS) in Dubai on December 1 and 2. President Xi Jinping’s Special Representative, Member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Vice Premier of the State Council Ding Xuexiang attended the meeting and delivered an address. Could you share some information with us on that?

Wang Wenbin: From November 30 to December 2, President Xi Jinping’s Special Representative, Member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Vice Premier of the State Council Ding Xuexiang attended the World Climate Action Summit (WCAS) in Dubai and delivered an address.

In his address, Vice Premier Ding first conveyed President Xi’s good wishes for the UAE in hosting the summit. He recalled that eight years ago, President Xi worked with leaders of other countries to reach the Paris Agreement with utmost political determination and wisdom, and embarked on a new journey of global cooperation to address climate change. He said that China has always kept its promise and made important contributions to global climate governance and put forward a three-point proposal on global climate governance, including practicing multilateralism, accelerating green transformation, and strengthening action implementation. He stressed that we need to adhere to the goals and principles set out in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement; actively increase the proportion of renewable energy, promote the clean, low-carbon and efficient use of traditional energy, and accelerate the formation of green and low-carbon production methods and lifestyles. He added that countries need to fully honor the existing commitments. In particular, developed countries should effectively increase financial, technological and capacity building support to developing countries. 

Vice Premier Ding’s address demonstrates China’s sense of responsibility as a major country in actively tackling climate change and leading in global climate governance, which will help COP28 achieve positive outcomes, boost full and effective implementation of the Paris Agreement and build a clean and beautiful world.

During the summit, Vice Premier Ding also attended and addressed the Group of 77 (G77) and China leaders’ summit on climate change, met respectively with leaders including the UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema, Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel, President of the Maldives Mohamed Muizzu and UN Secretary-General António Guterres. He shared with them what China has achieved in enhancing ecological conservation and China’s propositions on global climate and environmental governance, which has been widely recognized. 

NHK: Hong Kong “pro-democracy” activist Agnes Chow Ting, who is studying in Canada, said on social media on December 3 that she’s living in exile in Canada and won’t return to Hong Kong for the rest of her life. Do you have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: The Hong Kong police has responded to this and condemned her irresponsible behaviors that blatantly challenge law and order. China is a country with rule of law and Hong Kong is a law-based society where residents’ lawful rights and interests are fully protected. That being said, no one is entitled to extrajudicial privileges and all offenders shall be brought to justice.

Xinhua News Agency: Can you brief us on this year’s mechanism meetings between China and Singapore at the vice-premier level? What are the special highlights of this year’s meetings?

Wang Wenbin: The bilateral cooperation mechanisms between China and Singapore at the vice-premier level are the two sides’ institutionalized communication channel at the highest level, playing an important role for years in promoting China-Singapore cooperation in various fields in a coordinating way and facilitating socioeconomic development of the two countries. This year’s meetings to be held in Tianjin coincide with the 15th anniversary of the China-Singapore Tianjin Eco-City project and the two sides will hold commemorating activities.

China and Singapore are each other’s friendly neighbors and important partners, with a sound momentum of growth in bilateral relations. This March, President Xi Jinping and Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong jointly announced to elevate China-Singapore relations to an all-round high-quality future-oriented partnership, providing strategic guidance for China-Singapore cooperation. This year’s meetings are the first ones since the bilateral relationship was elevated. Thus the meetings have special significance. The two sides will focus on “all-round”, “high-quality” and “future-oriented” in the characterization, deliver on the important common understandings between leaders of the two countries, further dovetail development strategies, fully advance high-quality cooperation and jointly act on the new characterization of China-Singapore relationship.

Beijing Daily: On December 2, the first China International Supply Chain Expo (CISCE) was successfully concluded. We noted that many representatives from multinational corporations attending the expo said that holding the first CISCE demonstrates China’s firm determination in taking concrete actions to deepen international cooperation on industrial and supply chains. What is your comment on this?

Wang Wenbin: As the world’s first national-level expo themed on supply chains, the first CISCE attracted 515 companies and institutions from both home and abroad. Available data shows that over 200 cooperation deals and tentative deals worth more than RMB 150 billion were signed at the expo. The CISCE is a grand event that connects the world for a shared future. It reflects the common aspiration of all parties for building stable and resilient industrial and supply chains, sends out a clear message of China’s deeper engagement in building global industrial and supply chains, and shows that in global industrial and supply chain cooperation, China is not only a participant and beneficiary, but also a staunch defender and contributor.

During the CISCE, the international business community launched the Beijing Initiative for the Connectivity of Industrial and Supply Chains. Companies from home and abroad connected by industrial and supply chains showcased their advancements, deepened cooperation and gained substantively from the CISCE. The supply chains should be chains of win-win cooperation. China stands ready to share opportunities with all sides that stem from its huge market, the most complete industrial sectors, high-level opening up policy, and innovation factors gathering at a faster pace. China stands ready to work with all sides to build global industrial and supply chains that are secure, stable, smooth, efficient, open, inclusive and mutually beneficial, and provide strong safeguards for boosting global growth and increasing the wellbeing of people around the world.

AFP: The Philippine government said recently that it is deeply concerned about the over 130 Chinese boats around Niu’e Jiao. French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said recently that France is concerned by what the Chinese warship did to the Australian ship. She added that “stability must prevail in the Taiwan Strait, and certainly the world doesn’t need a new crisis.” What is your response to these?

Wang Wenbin: On your first question, Niu’e Jiao is part of China’s Nansha Qundao. Relevant waters of the South China Sea, including Niu’e Jiao and its adjacent waters, have always been important operating areas and shelters for Chinese fishing boats. It is justified and lawful for Chinese fishing boats to operate or shelter from wind in the area, and the Philippines is in no position to make irresponsible remarks.

On your second question, you may refer to China’s previous response. I would like to stress that the Taiwan question is purely China’s internal affair, and the solid anchor to cross-Strait peace and stability is the one-China principle. We hope relevant parties will adhere to the one-China principle, stand firmly with China against Taiwan independence, and safeguard peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait. 

TASS: Yesterday Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko started his visit to China. Does the foreign ministry have any comment? How does the foreign ministry comment on Belarus and China’s cooperative partnership?

Wang Wenbin: China and Belarus are all-weather comprehensive strategic partners and the two sides maintain close exchanges at all levels. As for the details of President Lukashenko’s visit, you may refer to the relevant press release the Chinese side has put out.

Bloomberg: Finland has said that it will demand that its investigators be allowed on board the NewNew Polar Bear, a Hong Kong-flagged vessel whose anchor ripped up a sub-sea gas pipeline in October. Finland’s President said that he requires that investigators from his country will be involved when the captain is questioned when he returns to China. How does the foreign ministry respond to this?

Wang Wenbin: China always attaches great importance to protecting the safety and security of undersea infrastructure, and strictly fulfills its obligations under international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and relevant treaties of the International Maritime Organization. Relevant Chinese authorities are conducting technical investigation on the incident and maintaining smooth communication and good cooperation with parties concerned, including Finland, in accordance with international law.

China Daily: On December 1, the High Constitutional Court of Madagascar announced the final result of the country’s presidential election. Andry Rajoelina was reelected as President with 58.96 percent of the votes. Do you have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: We noted the announcement of the election result by the High Constitutional Court of Madagascar and express our sincere congratulations to Mr. Rajoelina for his reelection as the President of Madagascar. We believe that under the leadership of President Rajoelina, Madagascar will achieve greater success in national development and economic and social progress.

China always values its traditional friendship with Madagascar. We stand ready to work with the new government of Madagascar to deepen and expand exchange and cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative and the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, and pursue new, greater development of the China-Madagascar comprehensive cooperative partnership.

Hubei Media Group: December 3 marks the second anniversary of the China-Laos Railway. Data shows the railway has served 24.2 million passengers and shipped 29.1 million tonnes of goods over the past two years, taking on an increasingly important role as a golden route. Do you have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: Over the past two years, the China-Laos Railway has become an important engine for economic and trade cooperation as well as people-to-people exchanges between China and Laos, a road of happiness, development and friendship for the benefit of the Chinese and Laotian people, and an artery linking China and countries on the Indochina Peninsula. The China-Laos Railway freight service could reach 12 Belt and Road partner countries, including Laos, Thailand, Viet Nam, and Myanmar. The Lancang-Mekong Express international freight train of the China-Laos Railway now runs 400 trains with fixed point, time, route and train number. The new transport model of China-Laos Railway plus China-Europe Railway Express has shortened direct rail shipping time from countries like Laos and Thailand to Europe to 15 days. The railway’s function as a major international corridor in increasing domestic and international connectivity, benefiting countries along the routes, leveraging complementarity of its destinations, and offering safe and efficient services is becoming more pronounced.

We hope that the China-Laos Railway, as an engine for China and countries on the Indochina Peninsula to promote high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, will continue to run at top speed and drive the development and prosperity of more countries in the region.

NHK: It is reported that the 24th China-EU Summit will be held in Beijing on December 7. Can you share more information and China’s expectation?

Wang Wenbin: The China-EU Summit is an annual meeting between the leaders of the two sides and provides strategic guidance for the development of China-EU relations. This year’s summit coincides with the 20th anniversary of the China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership and the 25th anniversary of the China-EU Summit mechanism. It is followed closely by people from various fields in China and the EU as well as the broader international community.

China attaches high importance to the summit. President Xi Jinping will meet with the President of the European Council Charles Michel and the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen. Premier Li Qiang will co-host the summit with the two Presidents of the EU. Leaders from the two sides will have in-depth exchange of views on strategic issues critical to the direction of China-EU relations and global issues of mutual interest to draw a blueprint for, identity the focus of and inject impetus to China-EU relations.

At present, the situation unseen in a century is evolving at a faster pace marked by increased volatility in international situation, sluggish world economy and emerging global challenges. The China-EU relationship is also facing new opportunities and challenges. China and the EU are partners, not rivals and our common interests far exceed differences. China hopes that the summit will play an important role by building on past achievements, enhance understanding and mutual trust through strategic communication, boost mutually beneficial cooperation through innovation, and discuss solutions through dialogue and consultation. China hopes that the two sides can work together to address global challenges, inject new impetus to the global economy, increase stability in international situation and provide strategic guidance for sustained and sound development of China-EU relations. This serves the fundamental and long-term interest of both China and the EU and meets the common aspiration of the international community.

Shenzhen TV: The Israel Defence Forces issued a statement on December 1 saying that Hamas violated the temporary ceasefire deal and attacked Israel. Israel resumed combat operations against Hamas. On the same day, Israeli officials said that intelligence department of Israel is making plans to hunt down Hamas leaders living in Lebanon, Türkiye and Qatar. What’s China’s comment?

Wang Wenbin: China is deeply concerned over the resumed fighting in Gaza. Under the current situation, the goal of ending the hostilities should not change and the principle of protecting civilians should not be violated. Facts prove once again that the use of force will never bring lasting peace. Heavier civilian casualties will only create more hatred and hasten the next round of escalation.

China strongly calls on relevant sides to exercise restraint and the international community, especially countries with influence on the Palestinian-Israeli issue, to earnestly play a responsible role, implement the Security Council’s Resolution 2712 and the resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly at its emergency session, promote a comprehensive and lasting ceasefire, protect civilians, ease the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, resume talks for peace as soon as possible and work relentlessly for the peaceful co-existence between Palestine and Israel and lasting peace in the Middle East.

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