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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on April 3, 2024

2024-04-03 22:08

At the invitation of the Chinese government, Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn of the Kingdom of Thailand will visit China from April 4 to 10. Aside from Beijing, HRH Princess Sirindhorn will also visit Sichuan.

Phoenix TV: What is China’s expectation for US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s upcoming visit to China? What topics will the two sides discuss?

Wang Wenbin: In the spirit of the important common understandings between the Chinese and US presidents and as agreed between the two sides, US Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen will visit China from April 4 to 9. For your specific question, I’d refer you to competent Chinese authorities. Let me say that China-US economic ties are rooted in the common interests of the two countries and are mutually beneficial in nature. We hope that the US will work with China in the same direction, properly handle differences, build up consensus and deepen cooperation for the steady growth of China-US economic ties.

China Daily: Can you share the program and China’s expectations for the visit by President of the Federated States of Micronesia to China?

Wang Wenbin: Over the past 35 years since China and the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) established diplomatic ties, bilateral relations have made steady progress with fruitful practical cooperation in various fields that has benefited the two peoples and contributed to peace, stability and development in the region.

This is the first state visit to China by President Wesley W. Simina since he took office. Leaders of the two countries will have in-depth exchange of views on bilateral relations and issues of mutual interest. China stands ready to work with the FSM and take this visit as an opportunity to enhance political mutual trust, deepen practical cooperation, expand cultural and people-to-people exchange, and further advance bilateral relations.

AFP: President Xi Jinping and US President Joe Biden had a phone call last night. President Xi said that if the US is adamant on containing China’s hi-tech development, China is not going to sit back and watch. Can the Foreign Ministry clarify what he meaned by saying “China is not going to sit back and watch”? 

Wang Wenbin: First, let me use this opportunity to brief you on the phone conversation between the two presidents. 

Last night, President Xi Jinping spoke with US President Joe Biden on the phone at the request of the latter. The two presidents had a candid and in-depth exchange of views on China-US relations and issues of mutual interest.

President Xi Jinping noted that his San Francisco meeting with President Biden last November opened a future-oriented San Francisco vision. Over the past months, their officials have acted on the presidential understandings in earnest. The China-US relationship is beginning to stabilize, and this is welcomed by both societies and the international community. On the other hand, the negative factors of the relationship have also been growing, and this requires attention from both sides.

President Xi Jinping stressed that the issue of strategic perception is always fundamental to the China-US relationship, just like the first button of a shirt that must be put right. Two big countries like China and the United States should not cut off their ties or turn their back on each other, still less slide into conflict or confrontation. The two countries should respect each other, coexist in peace and pursue win-win cooperation. The relationship should continue moving forward in a stable, sound and sustainable way, rather than going backward.

President Xi Jinping underlined three overarching principles that should guide China-US relations in 2024. First, peace must be valued. The two sides should put a floor of no conflict and no confrontation under the relationship, and keep reinforcing the positive outlook of the relationship. Second, stability must be prioritized. The two sides should refrain from setting the relationship back, provoking incidents or crossing the line, so as to maintain the overall stability of the relationship. Third, credibility must be upheld. The two sides should honor their commitments to each other with action, and turn the San Francisco vision into reality. They need to strengthen dialogue in a mutually respectful way, manage differences prudently, advance cooperation in the spirit of mutual benefit, and step up coordination on international affairs in a responsible way.

President Xi Jinping stressed that the Taiwan question is the first red line that must not be crossed in China-US relations. In the face of “Taiwan independence” separatist activities and external encouragement and support for them, China is not going to sit on its hands. He urged the US side to translate President Biden’s commitment of not supporting “Taiwan independence” into concrete actions. The US side has adopted a string of measures to suppress China’s trade and technology development, and is adding more and more Chinese entities to its sanctions lists. This is not “de-risking,” but creating risks. If the US side is willing to seek mutually beneficial cooperation and share in China’s development dividends, it will always find China’s door open; but if it is adamant on containing China’s hi-tech development and depriving China of its legitimate right to development, China is not going to sit back and watch.

President Xi Jinping stated China’s position on Hong Kong-related issues, human rights, the South China Sea, and other issues.

President Joe Biden noted that the US-China relationship is the most consequential relationship in the world. The progress in the relationship since the San Francisco meeting demonstrates that the two sides can advance cooperation while responsibly managing differences. President Biden reiterated that the United States does not seek a new Cold War, its objective is not to change China’s system, its alliances are not targeted against China, the US does not support “Taiwan independence,” and the US does not seek conflict with China. The US follows the one-China policy. It is in the interest of the world for China to succeed. The US does not want to curtail China’s development, and does not seek “decoupling” from China. The US will send Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen and Secretary of State Antony Blinken to visit China shortly to strengthen dialogue and communication, avoid miscalculation and promote cooperation, so as to advance the relationship on a stable path and jointly respond to global challenges.

The two presidents also exchanged views on the Ukraine crisis, the situation on the Korean Peninsula, and other issues.

The two presidents found the phone call to be candid and constructive. The two sides agreed to stay in communication, and tasked their teams to deliver on the San Francisco vision, including advancing the consultation mechanisms on diplomatic, economic, financial, commercial and other issues as well as mil-to-mil communication, carrying out dialogue and cooperation in such areas as counternarcotics, artificial intelligence and climate response, taking further steps to expand people-to-people exchanges, and enhancing communication on international and regional issues. The Chinese side welcomed visits to China by Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen and Secretary of State Antony Blinken in the near future.

You asked about China’s position on China-US economic ties. We have repeatedly pointed out that in recent years, China’s exports of electric vehicles, lithium batteries and photovoltaic products have increased. This is a result of international division of labor and market demand and has contributed to the green development of the world. It is quite clear to all whether it is “excess production capacity” that the US is truly concerned about. As for who is engaged in non-market practices, the fact is there for all to see. The US side has adopted a string of measures to suppress China’s trade and technology development. This is not “de-risking,” but creating risks. These are typical non-market practices. I believe people are quite familiar with China’s position on this. We will firmly safeguard our legitimate and lawful rights and interests and uphold the multilateral trade system.

Rudaw Media Network: Did President Xi express any concern about the Middle East crisis during his phone call with his counterpart President Biden, considering China’s and the US’s direct military and economic involvement in the region?

Wang Wenbin: We have just answered the question about the phone call between the two presidents. China’s position on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict has been consistent and clear. We call on the parties to the conflict to earnestly implement the UN Security Council Resolution 2728, stop the fighting immediately, do everything possible to prevent killing and wounding innocent civilians, and quickly bring the Palestinian question back to the track of reaching a political settlement on the basis of the two-State solution.

Xinhua News Agency: It was reported that Samdech Techo Hun Sen was elected as the president of the Senate of Cambodia at its first session on April 3. What is China’s comment?

Wang Wenbin: As a good neighbor and good friend of Cambodia, China warmly congratulates Samdech Techo Hun Sen on his election as the president of the Senate of Cambodia. China will continue to firmly support Cambodia in keeping to a development path that suits its national conditions, and support Cambodia’s effort to maintain stability and accelerate development. We believe Cambodia will make new, greater achievement in national development.

China-Cambodia relations are growing with a sound momentum. Under the strategic guidance of the leaders, the two countries have jointly ushered in a new era of building a high-quality, high-level and high-standard China-Cambodia community with a shared future. China stands ready to work with Cambodia to deliver on the important common understandings between the leaders of the two countries, enrich the “diamond hexagon” bilateral cooperation framework, accelerate the building of the “industrial development corridor” and the “fish and rice corridor”, jointly advance modernization and bring more benefits to the two peoples.

News 1 Korea: First question, as the Chinese and US presidents spoke on the phone and exchanged views on Korean Peninsula issues, the DPRK successfully test-fired a new type of hypersonic ballistic missile. What is China’s comment on this? And the second question, the giant panda Fu Bao, who was naturally bred and born in the ROK, will return to China soon. Can I have your comment?

Wang Wenbin: On your first question, we have shared relevant information. China’s position on the Peninsula issues is consistent. We have no other comment to add with regard to the relevant firing activity.

On your second question, giant pandas are a precious endangered wild species and are loved by people around the world. They are emissaries of friendship from the people of China. China and the ROK officially launched the joint research project on giant panda conservation in 2016. Since the giant pandas Yuan Xin and Hua Ni arrived in the ROK, the two sides have had fruitful cooperation in the raising and breeding, scientific research and technology exchanges with regard to giant pandas, which helped enhance mutual understanding and friendship between the people of the two countries. In accordance with the cooperation agreement signed between China and the ROK, Fu Bao will start her journey back to China today. We welcome Fu Bao’s return and express our thanks to Fu Bao’s caretakers in the ROK.

AFP: A magnitude 7.5 earthquake hit the waters near Taiwan this morning, causing heavy casualties. The Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council said that the Chinese mainland is paying close attention to the disaster and would like to provide disaster relief to the people in Taiwan. Is there any response so far from relevant departments of Taiwan?

Wang Wenbin: I’d refer you to competent authorities.

Reuters: Jonathan Malaya, the spokesperson of the National Security Council, said on Wednesday that the Philippines is committed to maintaining its position at the Second Thomas Shoal and there will be no let up in resupply missions to Filipino soldiers stationed on the grounded warship there. Does China have any comment on this?

Wang Wenbin: We have made clear China’s position on the issue many times. Let me say again that what caused the maritime disputes between the two countries to heat up is that the Philippines, backed by external forces, has been going back on its words and provoking China. The Philippines needs to immediately stop violating China’s sovereignty and provoking China, honor its commitments, act on the understandings and consensus between the two sides, observe the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea jointly signed by China and ASEAN countries, and return to the right track of properly managing the situation through dialogue and consultation. China remains unwavering in safeguarding our territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests.

Bloomberg: The US is asking South Korea to adopt curbs on chip technology exports to China similar to those that Washington has already implemented. This appears to be another sign that the Biden administration is stepping up efforts to thwart China’s chip ambitions for what it says are national security concerns. Does the Foreign Ministry have any response to this?

Wang Wenbin: I do not have knowledge of that. We always believe that trade and technology cooperation between countries should be conducive to keeping the global industrial and supply chains stable and unimpeded and to upholding the free and open international trade order, and such cooperation should not target any third party or harm the interests of any third party. To maintain its hegemony, the US has been politicizing trade and sci-tech issues and using them as a weapon and a tool, even if it means hurting the interests of its allies. 

China and the ROK have close economic ties and are highly embedded in each other’s industrial and supply chains. Our two countries take up segments next to each other on the semiconductor industrial chain. We hope that the ROK will make the right judgment and an independent decision, join others in safeguard the open, transparent, inclusive and non-discriminatory multilateral trading system centered on the WTO, and jointly oppose turning economic issues into political or security issues.

China News Service: According to the US side, during the telephone conversation between the Chinese and US presidents yesterday, President Biden mentioned Ren’ai Jiao, Hong Kong, Xinjiang and Xizang. The US also urged China to stop supporting Russia and play a bigger role in the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue. What is China’s response to this?

Wang Wenbin: I shared relevant information on the phone conversation between the two heads of state. With regard to your question, I would like to add the following:

During the call, the Chinese side stressed that China has indisputable sovereignty over Nansha Qundao and its adjacent waters. The sovereignty covers the islands, reefs, shoals and cays of Nansha Qundao, including Ren’ai Jiao. The root cause for the Ren’ai Jiao issue is that the Philippines has repeatedly gone back on its words and tried to build permanent outposts on the uninhabited reef which belongs to China, in an attempt to permanently occupy Ren’ai Jiao, which is illegal. The US is not a party to the South China Sea issue, and should not intervene in matters between China and the Philippines. China has a strong will and resolve to safeguard its territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests.

The Chinese side stated clearly that Hong Kong is China’s Hong Kong, and Hong Kong affairs are purely China’s internal affairs. Completing the legislation on Article 23 of the Basic Law of Hong Kong is the constitutional responsibility of the Hong Kong SAR for safeguarding national security. It will help protect the fundamental wellbeing of all Hong Kong residents, as well as the interests of investors from all over the world in Hong Kong. It will not at all undermine the rights and freedoms that Hong Kong residents enjoy in accordance with the law. The US needs to respect China’s sovereignty and the rule of law in Hong Kong, and should not disrupt, still less interfere in the process.

The Chinese side stressed that issues related to Xinjiang and Xizang are China’s internal affairs. No country has a monopoly on human rights. China attaches great importance to the protection of human rights. The people of a country are best positioned to judge the human rights conditions of the country. China would like to engage in exchanges with the US on human rights on the basis of mutual respect, but we firmly oppose interference in China’s internal affairs under the pretext of human rights.

On the Ukraine crisis, China’s position has been consistent, clear and transparent. There is a risk that the crisis will further deteriorate and escalate, and efforts should be made toward deescalation to bring the conflict to an end through negotiation rather than fighting. There should be no winner and loser in a political settlement. Rather, it should be peace that prevails. China will continue to play a constructive role to that end. China is neither the one that created the conflict nor a party to it, and has never provided lethal weapons or equipment to any party. We did not and will not seek gains from the conflict. Other countries should not smear and attack normal relations between China and Russia, should not undermine the legitimate rights of China and Chinese companies, and should not shift blame to China wantonly and provoke camp confrontation.

The Korean Peninsula issue has dragged on for years, and its root cause is clear. The imperative now is to desist from acts of deterrence and applying pressure, and move out of the spiral of escalating confrontation. The fundamental solution lies in resuming dialogue and negotiation; addressing the legitimate security concerns of all parties, especially those of the DPRK; and advancing the political settlement of the Korean Peninsula issue. Turbulence and fighting in Northeast Asia will be in no one’s interest. The core of the Korean Peninsula issue lies in the conflict between the US and the DPRK, and it is the US who holds the key to the issue.

CCTV: In an open letter published on April 2, Philippine Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. pointed to the “trap” set by Chinese propaganda of refocusing the debate on a so-called promise while deflecting attention away from China’s government, thereby freeing and allowing them to continue with their illegal activities in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone. What’s your comment?

Wang Wenbin: The Philippines keeps accusing China of “intimidating smaller countries” without mentioning at all the Philippine occupation of and encroachment on China’s territory in Nansha Qundao. That is a real propaganda “trap”. The Ren’ai Jiao issue is not a case of the big bullying the small but unfulfilled promises and deliberate provocations.

Right after the Philippines deliberately grounded its warship on Ren’ai Jiao in 1999, which seriously violated China’s sovereignty, China made démarches to the Philippines, and the Philippines promised to tow away the warship several times. A senior official of the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs made it clear that the Philippines had no intention of building any facility on Ren’ai Jiao and it doesn’t want to and will not be the first country to violate the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC). But 25 years on, not only hasn’t the Philippines fulfilled its promise to tow away the warship, it has even attempted to send construction materials for large-scale repair and reinforcement of the warship in order to build permanent structures on Ren’ai Jiao. The Philippines has gone back on its words, and stirred up trouble to provoke China. This is not only a breach of the understandings between the two sides on handling the Ren’ai Jiao issue, but also a violation of the DOC, especially its Article 5 on refraining from action of inhabiting on the presently uninhabited islands, reefs, shoals, cays, and other features. The Philippines is clearly responsible for the current tensions in the South China Sea.

China and ASEAN countries have long been committed to properly managing and resolving disputes through dialogue and consultation between states directly involved, and worked together to jointly maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea, which has kept the South China Sea generally stable. But for some time, the Philippines has been pulling non-regional actors into the South China Sea affairs to back the Philippines' provocations and violation of China’s sovereignty. The Philippines has been pursuing selfish gains at the expense of the consensus reached by countries in the region. This is the main reason why the situation in the South China Sea has escalated and become more complicated.

We once again urge the Philippines to respect the facts, observe the relevant understandings between the two sides and DOC provisions, follow the consensus reached between China and ASEAN countries, and return to the right track of properly managing and resolving disputes through dialogue and consultation as soon as possible.

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