عربي Español Русский Français 简体中文

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on March 12, 2024

2024-03-12 21:32

AFP: Media outlets from the Maldives reported that the first batch of Indian military personnel have left the Maldives. What’s China’s response?

Wang Wenbin: I’m not aware of what you said. China supports the Maldives in safeguarding its territorial sovereignty and carrying out friendly cooperation with all sides on the basis of independence.

CRI: China announced that the President of Angola will visit China. Can you share the arrangement and China’s expectation for the visit? How does China view the current relations with Angola?

Wang Wenbin: China and Angola share a traditional friendship. Last year, the two countries celebrated the 40th anniversary of the diplomatic relations. At the moment, the China-Angola relations are growing with a sound momentum, with deepening political mutual trust and fruitful outcomes of practical cooperation, which have brought tangible benefits to the peoples of the two countries.

During President Lourenço’s visit, President Xi Jinping will host a welcome ceremony and a welcome banquet for him. The two presidents will hold talks and attend the signing ceremony of cooperation documents. Premier Li Qiang and Chairman Zhao Leji will meet with President Lourenço respectively. President Lourenço will also visit Shandong Province. We believe that President Lourenço’s visit will provide new impetus for the comprehensive growth and deepening of the China-Angola relations and promote new progress in the friendship and cooperation between the two countries.

TASS: CIA Director William Burns told the Senate that the US will continue its support for Ukraine to bolster the Ukrainian government, indirectly contain China and send a message to China about Taiwan or the South China Sea. What’s your comment?

Wang Wenbin: These remarks show that what the US truly cares about is not Ukraine, but using the Ukraine crisis to realize its own geopolitical strategic goals.

Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory. The Taiwan question is purely China’s internal affair, which brooks no foreign interference. Any attempt by anyone of meddling in the Taiwan question is doomed to failure.

Reuters: The Philippine Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday it had received several concept papers from China on territorial disputes in the South China Sea, but added China’s proposals could not be considered because they were against the Philippines’ sovereignty. What’s China’s comment? 

Wang Wenbin: China has indisputable sovereignty over Nanhai Zhudao. There’s no territorial disputes between China and the Philippines in the South China Sea. Proceeding from its bilateral relationship with the Philippines and peace and stability in the South China Sea, China has made proposals to the Philippines on managing the situation at sea and carrying out maritime cooperation. It fully shows China’s sincerity and goodwill in standing ready to manage differences through negotiation and consultation. Regrettably, the Philippines has not yet responded to most of the proposals and made frequent infringements and provocations at sea. Such moves seriously undermine the atmosphere of communication and cooperation between China and the Philippines. China’s position on the South China Sea issue is consistent. We stand ready to continue to work with the Philippines to properly handle differences through dialogue and consultation. At the same time, we will take resolute measures to firmly safeguard our territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests.

RIA Novosti: A Pentagon official said earlier that the administration of US President Joe Biden in the defense budget for the year 2025 for the first time requested the authority to provide weapons from American warehouses to aid Taiwan. What’s China’s comment on this?

Wang Wenbin: We have noted relevant reports. We’ve made clear time and again that competition is not the defining feature of China-US relations and that competition between major countries cannot solve the problems facing China and the US. By claiming to “outcompete” others, what the US refers to is not healthy competition of becoming one’s better self and making progress together but vicious competition of trying to trip the other and recklessly gamble at the cost of the fundamental interests of the two peoples and even the future of humanity. It will only push the two countries toward confrontation and conflict. 

As Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Foreign Minister Wang Yi pointed out last week, if the US is obsessed with suppressing China, it will eventually harm itself. We hope the US will correct its wrong perception of China, discard the mentality of zero-sum game, and give up the illusion of “outcompeting China.” We hope that the US will work with China in the same direction, gradually translate the San Francisco vision into reality and promote the sound, steady and sustainable development of China-US relations. 

I would like to stress that China is firmly opposed to US’s military ties with Taiwan and its effort of arming Taiwan. We urge the US to abide by the one-China principle and stop interfering in China’s internal affairs. China will take steps to firmly uphold its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Kyodo News: On China’s suspension of the import of all aquatic products originating from Japan, Japanese Prime Minister Kishida said yesterday that they cannot accept these regulations that are not based on scientific evidence and that the government will call for the immediate lifting of such regulations by China. What is China’s comment? 

Wang Wenbin: The ocean discharge of the Fukushima nuclear-contaminated water impacts the health of all humanity, the global marine environment and the international public interest. It’s entirely legitimate, reasonable and necessary for China and other countries to take precautionary measures to protect food safety and people’s health in response to the discharge.  

After Japan’s discharge of nuclear-contaminated water, incidents at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station where nuclear-contaminated water was splashed onto workers and leaked from the purification system spotlight Fukushima’s grave safety problems, Tokyo Electric Power Company’s management deficiency and inadequate government oversight. It aggravates the concerns of international community and demonstrates again that Japan’s claim that the discharge is “safe” and “reliable” is not convincing.

China urges Japan to attach great importance to the concerns of international community and provide full cooperation in setting up an independent international monitoring arrangement that remains effective in the long haul and has the substantive participation of Japan’s neighboring countries and other stakeholders, so as to avoid irrevocable consequences stemming from the ocean discharge.

Dragon TV: On March 7, the spokesperson for the Republic of Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed deep concerns on the dangerous situation caused by collision between the Chinese and the Philippine vessels and use of water cannons against the Philippines' vessels in the South China Sea. The ROK side said it supported peace, stability and rules-based order in the South China Sea, including freedom of navigation and overflight according to the principles of international law, including UNCLOS. What’s your comment?

Wang Wenbin: We noted the statement of the ROK’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson and are gravely concerned about it. On the illegal intrusion of the Philippines’ vessels at Ren’ai Jiao on March 5, China has released relevant information and stated our solemn position. I would like to stress once again that what caused the event is that the Philippine side went against its pledges and infringed upon China’s territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests. China took necessary management and control measures in accordance with the law. The maneuvers were professional, restrainted, reasonable and lawful. The responsibility lies completely with the Philippine side. The ROK is not a party to the South China Sea issue. However, in recent years, it has changed its prudent and neutral position that it had adhered to for years, and alluded to or blamed China on the South China Sea issue on multiple occasions. China has lodged representations immediately to state our opposition. We once again urge the ROK to make the right choice, refrain from following others to hype up the matter, and avoid adding unnecessary burden to the China-ROK relations.

Kyodo News: Official materials from China show that Chinese nuclear power plants released wastewater containing tritium in 2022 at levels higher than the highest amount expected to be found in the planned annual discharge of “treated water” from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Some Japanese people have expressed their disapproval against this. What is China’s comment?

Wang Wenbin: We noted the reports by some Japanese media outlets. It needs to be pointed out that the nuclear-contaminated water produced in the Fukushima accident is in nature different from the liquid effluent from normally functioning nuclear power plants around the world. They could not be put in the same category. This is common sense. The nuclear-contaminated water in Fukushima comes from the cooling water injected into the damaged reactor cores, as well as seepage of groundwater and rainwater after the nuclear disaster. It contains various radionuclides released from the damaged reactor cores and is difficult to deal with. Relevant reports focus one-sidedly on tritium in an attempt to create a false impression that the Fukushima nuclear-contaminated water contains only tritium. This is distorting facts and misleading the public. Relevant media outlets should stop such unprofessional and irresponsible reporting. 

CCTV: For more than a week, the world has focused on the two sessions. Several foreign media quoted analysis by international institutions and experts, and stated that the two sessions send positive signals of China’s economic pickup. What’s your comment on that?

Wang Wenbin: The annual two sessions is a major political event of China. It also offers an important window, through which the international community observes China’s major policies. Whether it is the expected GDP growth of 5 percent set in this year’s Report on the Work of the Government, or such keywords as “new quality productive forces”, “higher-standard opening up”, and “high-quality development”, all of them attracted attention from the international media. Through the two sessions this year, the world sees a China with steady advancement, trail-blazing innovation, openness, confidence and solidarity. It holds an even more positive view on China’s enormous potential for economic and social development, and expects more opportunities brought about by China’s high-quality development to the world.

The growth target of around 5 percent demonstrates the resilience, potential and vitality of China’s economy. It exceeds not only the forecast by the IMF and World Bank on China’s economic growth this year, but also the IMF forecast on the growth rate of the US and Europe. The international media comments that, against the backdrop of an uncertain world economy, China’s growth target of around 5 percent is ambitious. Since the beginning of this year, factors for a stronger Chinese economy have been accumulating. During the Spring Festival this year, China witnessed over 2.293 billion cross-region trips, with domestic tourists spending more than RMB 632.6 billion yuan, an increase of 7.7 percent on a comparable basis than the same period in 2019. In the first two months this year, China’s total trade in goods hit RMB 6.61 trillion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 8.7 percent. With China’s economy rebounding with sound momentum, the first quarter is expected to kick off with a good start.

The important notion of new quality productive forces guides the Chinese economy to break new ground. When attending the deliberation of the delegation of Jiangsu Province, General Secretary Xi Jinping stressed that we should stay committed to the priority of high-quality development, and develop new quality productive forces based on local conditions. For the first time, it is put forward in this year’s government work report that we should strive to modernize the industrial system and develop new quality productive forces at a faster pace. Last year, exports of the “new trio,” namely, electric vehicles, lithium-ion batteries, and photovoltaic products exceeded RMB one trillion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 30 percent. Last year also witnessed accelerated development of digital economy, with half of the population using 5G. The application of international patents by Chinese applicants through the Patent Cooperation Treaty topped the world for four consecutive years. The new quality productive forces have taken into shape and strongly boosted and supported high-quality development.

New ways to expand higher-standard opening-up showcase China’s resolve to share opportunities with the world. It is pointed out in the Government Work Report that we should pursue higher-standard opening up and promoting mutual benefits, promote alignment with high-standard international economic and trade rules, steadily expand institutional opening up, work to steadily increase the volume and raise the quality of foreign trade, intensify efforts to attract foreign investment, strive for solid progress in high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, and deepen multilateral, bilateral, and regional economic cooperation. In January, 4,588 foreign-invested businesses were established in China, which marks an increase of 74.4 percent year on year. According to the latest survey by the German Chamber of Commerce in China, 91 percent of German businesses will continue to invest in China. According to a report by the American Chamber of Commerce in South China, 76 percent of the companies interviewed plan to invest again in China in 2024. More and more multinational businesses are recognizing that investing in China is investing in the future, and the next China is still China.

The blueprint is drawn up, and the clarion is sounded. We have every confidence, condition, and capability to accomplish all the targets and missions of economic and social development for this year. Chinese economy is getting bigger and stronger. The development of China will break waves and embrace a even brighter future. 

Bloomberg: The former President Donald Trump who is a Republican candidate to the next election said that he plans to increase tariffs on Chinese products if he is elected for a second term. And he also didn’t mind if China retaliated with its own tariffs in that case. Do you have any comment about his comment that they might impose tariffs on all Chinese exports up to 60 percent? Would China retaliate again with further tariffs on US products at that time or would China respond by taking actions at the WTO or making other steps?

Wang Wenbin: The presidential election is the US’s internal affairs. We will not comment on that. What I would like to tell you is that the economic and trade relations between China and the US are mutually beneficial and win-win in nature. Waging wars of tariffs and trade does not serve the interests of China, the US and the world at large.

Global Times: It’s reported that Special Representative of the Chinese Government on Eurasian Affairs Li Hui just concluded the second round of shuttle diplomacy. Can you brief us on Special Representative Li Hui’s trip? During the visit, did parties reach any consensus on any issue? What’s China’s take on the prospects of peace after the visit?

Wang Wenbin: Special Representative of the Chinese Government on Eurasian Affairs Li Hui visited Russia, the EU headquarters, Poland, Ukraine, Germany and France from March 2 to 12. He held talks with relevant parties on the political settlement of the Ukraine crisis, had in-depth exchanges of views, and traveled intensively to mediate among different parties and convey information. All sides attached high importance to Special Representative Li Hui’s visit and commended China’s effort of promoting talks for peace. 

It has been more than two years since the full escalation of the Ukraine crisis began. Over the past two years and more, China has always followed an objective and impartial position and worked to build consensus for ending the conflict and pave the way for peace talks. As the conflict drags on and the situation faces the risk of escalation and spillover, the most urgent priority now is to restore peace. China sincerely hopes that relevant sides can show political will, deescalate the situation and make concerted efforts for an early ceasefire and a balanced, effective and sustainable European security architecture. China will continue to promote peace talks and play a constructive role for a political settlement of the Ukraine crisis.

CCTV: Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary Peter Szijjarto reportedly said that it’s a good news that China offers visa-free policy on a trial basis to Hungarian nationals visiting China for tourism or business. Based on the principle of mutual benefits, from that day on, the Hungarian government will offer long-term visa for senior executives of Chinese companies travelling to Hungary for investment cooperation. Foreign Minister Szijjarto also stressed that the measures will further enhance economic, tourism, and cultural cooperation and people-to-people exchanges between Hungary and China. What’s your comment? 

Wang Wenbin: China and Hungary are comprehensive strategic partners. The two countries have achieved fruitful outcomes in cooperation in various areas. We noted that immediately after China announced the pilot visa-free policy for six countries, including Hungary, Hungary announced that it will issue five-year multiple-entry visas to relevant Chinese people from the business community. This facilitation arrangement is yet another vivid example of how the China-Hungary relations have been strong and robust. China welcomes this. We believe these measures will further boost cross-border travel between the two countries, deepen the mutually-beneficial cooperation in various areas, and bring the bilateral relations to an even higher level. China welcomes more visa facilitation measures for Chinese nationals from relevant countries to enhance people-to-people exchange and mutually-beneficial cooperation.

Bloomberg: Previously, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has complained about countries that are not party to or not part of the region interfering in questions such as the South China Sea. And just now you criticized South Korea for doing the same. What countries can actually comment on issues in the South China Sea if the Republic of Korea cannot? Previously, Japan has been criticized for doing that. The US obviously is not part of this region, according to the Chinese definition. Which countries exactly do have a right to discuss the issues in the South China Sea?

Wang Wenbin: Last week, Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Foreign Minister Wang Yi responded to relevant questions when he met the press on the margins of the two sessions. I would like to quote Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s relevant statement here, which will help understand the situation in the South China Sea, and how to better maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi stressed that with joint efforts of China and the ASEAN countries, the South China Sea has remained peaceful and stable  in a turbulent world. It is hard-won and should be treasured by all. One of the most important experience we have drawn on is that we must adhere to two principles. First, differences should be properly managed and resolved through dialogue, consultation, or negotiation between states directly involved. Second, peace at the sea should be upheld by China and ASEAN countries working together. It is also the core essence of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea signed in 2002.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi also pointed out that on maritime disputes, China has been exercising a high degree of restraint. We maintain that parties should find solutions that are acceptable to each and all by working in the spirit of good-neighborliness and friendship, and on the basis of respecting historical and legal facts. But abusing such good faith should not be allowed. Distorting maritime laws cannot be accepted. In face of deliberate infringements, we will take justified actions to defend our rights in accordance with the law. In face of unwarranted provocation, we will respond with prompt and legitimate countermeasures. We also urge certain countries outside this region not to make provocations, pick sides, or stir up troubles and problems in the South China Sea.

On your question, I want to reiterate here that if certain countries truly want to safeguard peace and stability in the South China Sea, they should respect the effort of China and relevant ASEAN countries to properly address disputes through dialogue and consultation and safeguard peace and stability in the South China Sea, and refrain from stirring up troubles in the region. 

Bloomberg: You are saying that South Korea shouldn’t intervene in this issue because they are not part of this region. So my question is, what countries do have a right to intervene in this question? Is it just China and the ASEAN 10 countries or the claimants to the South China Sea or there are other countries as well who have a right to express their opinions on the questions?

Wang Wenbin: What I can tell you is that if certain countries outside the region truly want to safeguard peace and stability in the South China Sea, they should support China and relevant ASEAN countries in properly addressing disputes through negotiation and consultation, and they should support the efforts jointly made by China and ASEAN countries in safeguarding peace and stability in the South China Sea.

BRTV: UN Secretary General António Guterres yesterday called for immediately ceasing hostilities in Gaza and removing all obstacles to ensure the delivery of humanitarian aid during Ramadan. What’s your comment? 

Wang Wenbin: The latest Palestinian-Israeli conflict has lasted for over five months, which has outlasted previous Middle East wars except the first Middle East war and has killed more people, especially civilians, than previous Middle East wars. As Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Foreign Minister Wang Yi stressed, this is a tragedy for humanity and a disgrace for civilization. 

The killing of civilians in Gaza must be stopped. Injustice done to the Palestinian people must be corrected. The double standards against human rights and international humanitarian law must be abandoned. The longer the flames in Gaza flare up, the more the humanity is scourged by conscience, the more the cornerstone of justice is eroded.

The international community must act urgently to set the immediate ceasefire as an overwhelming priority and the humanitarian aid in Gaza as a pressing moral responsibility.

Suggest to a friend