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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on May 19, 2023
2023-05-19 22:09

At the invitation of Premier of the State Council Li Qiang, Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Mikhail Mishustin will pay an official visit to China from May 23 to 24. 

At the invitation of State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang, Vice Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Christophe Lutundula of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) will pay an official visit to China from May 21 to 24.

At the invitation of State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang, Dutch Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra will pay an official visit to China from May 23 to 24.

China News Service: Could you share the program of Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin’s visit and China’s expectations for the visit?

Wang Wenbin: We welcome Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin to visit China. During the visit, both sides will have an in-depth exchange of views on bilateral relations, practical cooperation and issues of mutual interest. Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin will also travel to Shanghai besides Beijing.

China and Russia are each other’s largest neighbors and major emerging markets, and the cooperation between the two countries boasts strong resilience, ample potential and wide space. In March this year, President Xi Jinping paid a successful state visit to Russia, and the two heads of state reached important common understandings on the growth of bilateral relations and cooperation in various fields. We hope that Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin’s visit will further enhance our cooperation, deepen cultural and people-to-people and sub-national exchanges, and give a strong boost to global economic recovery.

Kyodo News: G7 leaders visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum this morning. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida expressed hopes for the leaders to understand the tragedy caused by the atomic bombs the US dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 so as to work for a world free of nuclear weapons. Do you have any comment on this?

Wang Wenbin: The tragedies caused by nuclear weapons should never happen again. Japan has characterized itself as an advocate of a nuclear-weapons-free world. But in fact, Japan sits comfortably under the US’s nuclear umbrella, and it is against and hindering the US’s renouncing of the first use of nuclear weapons. We also hope that Japan will no longer take a hypocritical position on the relevant issue.

AP: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will be attending the G7 Summit this weekend. Do you have any comments? Does China see this as a positive development? The second question, a defense agreement is reportedly being discussed between the US and Papua New Guinea. Is there any comment? Is China considering any countermeasures?

Wang Wenbin: On your first question, we hope relevant international cooperation follows the principles of openness and inclusiveness and play a constructive role in promoting peace, stability and development of the region and the world, rather than inciting division and confrontation.

On your second question, China does not object to normal exchange and cooperation between relevant parties and Pacific island countries. China believes the rest of the world needs to give more attention to and support for the development and prosperity of Pacific island countries. Any cooperation document to be negotiated and signed should serve this purpose. We oppose bringing geopolitical contest into the region of Pacific island countries by any nation.

CCTV: Registration for the 76th World Health Assembly will close this week. Taiwan has not received an invitation. What’s your comment?

Wang Wenbin: There is only one China in the world. The PRC government is the sole legal government representing the whole of China. Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory. China’s position on the Taiwan region’s participation in the activities of international organizations, including the WHO, is consistent and clear. It must be handled in accordance with the one-China principle. This is a fundamental principle affirmed in UNGA Resolution 2758 and WHA Resolution 25.1. 

For eight consecutive years from 2009 to 2016, the Taiwan region participated in the WHA as an observer in the name of “Chinese Taipei”. This is a special arrangement made through cross-Strait consultation on the basis of adherence by both sides of the Taiwan Strait to the 1992 Consensus, which embodies the one-China principle. The one-China principle is the political foundation for the peaceful development of cross-Strait ties and for the special arrangement for the Taiwan region’s participation in the WHA. After coming into power in 2016, the DPP has placed political calculations before the Taiwan people’s welfare and remained headstrong on “Taiwan independence”. As a result, the political foundation for the Taiwan region to participate in the WHA no longer exists. To uphold the one-China principle and the sanctity and authority of relevant UNGA and WHA resolutions, China has decided not to agree to let the Taiwan region participate in this year’s WHA. 

The Taiwan authorities claim that its absence from the WHA will cause a “gap” in global anti-epidemic efforts. That’s not true. They are just using this false assumption as a pretext to get into the WHA. The Chinese Central Government attaches great importance to the health and well-being of our compatriots in the Taiwan region, and has made proper arrangement for Taiwan’s participation in global health affairs on the condition that the one-China principle is upheld. According to the arrangement agreed on between China and WHO, Taiwan’s medical and health experts can participate in WHO technical meetings given that the one-China principle is upheld. Over the past year alone, medical and technical experts from China’s Taiwan region took part in WHO technical activities 24 times, which involved 26 participants. Taiwan has timely access to WHO information on global public health emergencies and reports to WHO in a timely manner the information of public health emergencies in Taiwan. Till now, the Chinese Central Government has updated the Taiwan region on COVID-19 over 500 times, including information about confirmed cases who are Taiwan residents staying in the mainland. These arrangements have ensured that Taiwan can promptly and effectively deal with any local or international public health emergency. The DPP authorities are hyping up Taiwan’s WHA participation not because this is necessary for epidemic response, but because they see it as a potential way to expand international space for “Taiwan independence”.

China’s decision of not agreeing to let the Taiwan region participate in this year’s WHA has received broad-based support and understanding from the international community. Recently, nearly 140 countries have communicated to China that they stand for the one-China principle and oppose Taiwan’s participation in the WHA. Nearly 100 countries wrote to the WHO Director-General or issued public statements to make that clear. This once again shows that the one-China principle has international support and represents the prevailing trend. It shows that the overwhelming majority of countries uphold the just and right position on Taiwan’s WHA participation. People around the world are sharp-eyed. Any attempt to play the “Taiwan card” to contain China will be firmly rejected by the overwhelming majority of members of the international community and will not succeed.

Bloomberg: The US and Taiwan agreed to boost trade ties, the first tangible results under an initiative announced last year. What’s the foreign ministry’s comment on this latest development?

Wang Wenbin: China strongly opposes official interaction of any form between China’s Taiwan region and countries that have diplomatic relations with China. That includes negotiating or signing any agreement that implies sovereignty and has an official nature. The US move gravely violates the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communiqués, and contravenes the US’s own commitment of maintaining only unofficial relations with Taiwan. China deplores and strongly opposes this move. 

The US needs to abide by the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communiqués with concrete actions, stop official interaction of any form with Taiwan, refrain from negotiating or signing any agreement with implications of sovereignty and of official nature with China’s Taiwan region, and stop sending any wrong message to separatist forces seeking “Taiwan independence” in the name of economy and trade.

Reuters: The Zambian President Hichilema has said this month that he wants to meet with President Xi in order to get Zambia’s debt restructuring done. Does China expect to agree relief terms at the next meeting of official creditors? If not, why not?

Wang Wenbin: China takes Zambia’s debt issue seriously. China is the first international official creditor that provided debt relief for Zambia and has played a constructive role in treating Zambia’s debt as the co-chair of the Creditor Committee for Zambia. According to data from Zambia’s Ministry of Finance and National Planning, the debt of multilateral financial institutions and predominantly Western commercial lenders account for 70% of Zambia’s foreign debt. They need to take stronger actions in the treatment of Zambia’s debt to comprehensively, systematically and effectively help Zambia emerge from the debt crisis. China has stayed in close communication with Zambia and relevant parties, and will continue to jointly work for the best solution.

AFP: Does the foreign ministry have any new information today on the capsized Chinese fishing boat in the Indian Ocean?

Wang Wenbin: After the fishing boat “Lupeng Yuanyu 028” capsized in the central part of the Indian Ocean on May 16, following General Secretary Xi Jinping’s instruction, the Foreign Ministry immediately activated the emergency mechanism for consular protection and worked in full collaboration with competent departments including those responsible for transport and fisheries and relevant local people’s governments to jointly carry out the search and rescue operation. On May 18, the Chinese naval vessels retrieved two bodies from the area where the accident occurred. 

The search and rescue operation is underway. More professional rescuers, including divers sent by Sri Lanka, are on their way. Australia, India, Sri Lanka and other countries have sent vessels and aircraft to assist in the search and rescue, and we appreciate this. We will continue to work with all parties to do everything necessary and do our utmost to search for the missing.

Al Jazeera: The G7 this weekend is reportedly discussing additional sanctions on Russia. Next week Russian Prime Minister Mishustin is reportedly leading a delegation to China. Is this timing intentional? Does China hope to balance the actions of the G7 by increasing business relations with Russia? Second question, there are reports that US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will be visiting Beijing soon. Do you have any confirmation or details for this?

Wang Wenbin: On your first question, China always opposes unilateral sanctions and long-arm jurisdiction that have no basis in international law or mandate from the Security Council. China has always carried out normal economic and trade cooperation with Russia and other countries on the basis of equality and mutual benefit. China-Russia cooperation does not target any third party and shall be free from disruption or coercion by any third party.

On your second question, China and the US maintains necessary communication.

Beijing Youth Daily: You just announced that Dutch Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra will visit China. How does China view the current China-Netherlands relations and what expectations does China have for this visit?

Wang Wenbin: China and the Netherlands boast an open and pragmatic partnership for comprehensive cooperation. Last year, our two countries celebrated the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations at ambassadorial level. In 2014, President Xi Jinping paid a historic visit to the Netherlands, which ushered in a new era of comprehensive and rapid growth for bilateral relations. In recent years, China and the Netherlands have sustained close high-level exchanges and achieved fruitful outcomes in cooperation across the board. The two countries share extensive common understandings in such aspects as protecting free trade and upholding multilateralism. 

During Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra’s visit, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang will exchange views with him on China’s relations with the Netherlands and the EU and international and regional issues of mutual interest. China stands ready to work with the Netherlands through this visit to further follow through on the important common understandings between the leaders of our two countries, deepen mutual political trust, expand practical cooperation, take the open and pragmatic partnership for comprehensive cooperation to new heights and jointly contribute to keeping the global industrial and supply chains stable and boosting the world economic recovery.

NHK: Japan, as chair of the Summit, is considering including the following in the joint statement, that is, given Russia and China’s actions, it is important to safeguard and strengthen the law-based international order. Do you have any response to this?

Wang Wenbin: Before talking about rules and order, Japan needs to first stop the irresponsible act of pushing through the plan of dumping nuclear-contaminated water into the ocean, explicitly recommit itself to the post-war international order, and unequivocally stop those within Japan trying to turn back the wheel of history by whitewashing the history of aggression, honoring the militarists and justifying their crimes.

CCTV: It is reported that Special Representative of the Chinese Government on Eurasian Affairs Ambassador Li Hui who is on a visit to Ukraine and other countries plans to visit the headquarters of the European Union. Can you confirm this and provide more information?

Wang Wenbin: At the invitation of the EU, Special Representative of the Chinese Government on Eurasian Affairs Ambassador Li Hui will visit the EU headquarters.

China stands ready to continue to promote talks for peace and make China’s contribution to the political settlement of the Ukraine crisis.

Xinhua News Agency: We noted a report titled “America’s Coercive Diplomacy and Its Harm” published by the Xinhua News Agency yesterday, which has been reposted on the website of the Foreign Ministry. On the same day, a senior US government official said that concerns would be expressed over what they call China’s “economic coercion” in the joint statement to be released by the G7. Do you have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: The US often accuses other countries of using great power status, coercive policies and economic coercion to pressure other countries into submission and engage in coercive diplomacy. This is how the US projects its own poor track record onto others. The fact is, the US is the very origin of coercive diplomacy. It is the US and the US alone who owns the copyrights of coercive diplomacy. Coercive diplomacy has now become an essential part of the US foreign policy toolbox. The US would resort to all kinds of political, economic, military, cultural or other types of measures as tools for coercive diplomacy to curb and bludgeon countries around the world for selfish interest. Victims to US coercive diplomacy are found across the world, with developing countries bearing the brunt of it.

By enacting the “CHIPS and Science Act”, the US government forbids semiconductor companies that receive federal financial aid from making substantive expansion in China, forces allies into imposing export restrictions on China and seeks to split up the global chips industrial and supply chains. The US uses state power to suppress China’s high-tech enterprises and even intimidates countries into not cooperating with Chinese 5G suppliers.

Not even US allies have been spared from such ruthless coercion. Companies such as Toshiba from Japan, Siemens from Germany and Alstom from France, are all its victims. If the G7 Summit is to discuss response to economic coercion, perhaps it should first discuss what the US has done to the other members of the group.

The report issued by Xinhua News Agency contains abundant facts and data that reveal the deplorable US record of coercive diplomacy on the world. It shows the world the hegemonic, domineering and bullying nature of US coercive diplomacy, and the serious damage it does to countries’ independence and development, to regional stability and to world peace. The report is worth a good read.

China has no taste for coercion and bullying. We have always taken a clear-cut stand against hegemony, unilateralism and coercive diplomacy. We urge the G7 to adapt to the prevailing trend of openness and inclusiveness in today’s world and stop carrying out coercive diplomacy or building small, exclusive circles. 

AFP: There are reports that China will boycott meetings and events next week for the G20 focused on tourism and they’re planned to be held in Indian-administered Kashmir. Can the foreign ministry confirm if the Chinese side is or is not planning to attend?

Wang Wenbin: China firmly opposes holding any form of G20 meetings on disputed territory. We will not attend such meetings.

Dragon TV: According to reports, a US official stated that this year’s G7 summit communiqué will stress on “de-risking” rather than “decoupling” from China. What’s your comment?

Wang Wenbin: Before talking about “de-risking”, one must know what the risks are and where they come from.

The biggest risks facing the world today are: the hegemonic act of using military advantage to launch barbaric invasions of vulnerable countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, the bullying act of undermining the principle of market economy and international trade rules by overstretching the concept of national security and wantonly going after foreign companies, and trying to turn back the wheel of history by hyping up “democracy versus authoritarianism” narratives and dragging the world back to the era of the Cold War. Clearly, none of these risks come from China. They all come from a handful of countries that have sought to pin various labels on China.

China is committed to the path of peaceful development and a win-win strategy of opening-up. Over the past decade, China accounted for more world economic growth on an annual, average basis than G7 members combined. China brings to the world opportunities, stability and assurance, not challenges, turmoil and risks.

Decoupling is unrealistic for today’s world, which does not need so-called “de-risking” that targets China. What the world truly needs to get rid of are ideology-based mentality, opposing blocs and exclusive circles.

Xinhua News Agency: The China-Central Asia Summit was successfully held in Xi’an this morning. Could you elaborate further on this Summit?

Wang Wenbin: This morning, President Xi Jinping chaired the inaugural China-Central Asia Summit in Xi’an, Shaanxi Province. President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev of Kazakhstan, President Sadyr Zhaparov of Kyrgyzstan, President Emomali Rahmon of Tajikistan, President Serdar Berdimuhamedov of Turkmenistan and President Shavkat Mirziyoyev of Uzbekistan attended the Summit. In an amicable atmosphere, the presidents reviewed the history of friendly exchanges between China and the five Central Asian countries, took stock of cooperation experience in various fields, and envisioned future cooperation directions. With the future in mind, they agreed to work together for an even closer China-Central Asia community with a shared future.

President Xi delivered a keynote speech entitled “Working Together for a China-Central Asia Community with a Shared Future Featuring Mutual Assistance, Common Development, Universal Security and Everlasting Friendship”. He noted that changes of the world, of our times, and of the historical trajectory are taking place in ways like never before. Central Asia is at a crossroads connecting the East and West, the South and North. 

The world needs a stable Central Asia. The sovereignty, security, independence and territorial integrity of Central Asian countries must be upheld; their people’s choice of development paths must be respected; and their efforts for peace, harmony and tranquility must be supported.

The world needs a prosperous Central Asia. A dynamic and prospering Central Asia will help people in the region achieve their aspiration for a better life. It will also lend strong impetus to global economic recovery.

The world needs a harmonious Central Asia. solidarity, inclusiveness, and harmony are the pursuits of the Central Asian people. No one has the right to sow discord or stoke confrontation in the region, let alone seek selfish political interests.

The world needs an interconnected Central Asia. Central Asia has the right foundation, condition and capability to become an important connectivity hub of Eurasia and make unique contribution to the trading of goods, the interplay of civilizations and the development of science and technology in the world.

President Xi pointed out that last year, China and Central Asian countries announced the vision of a China-Central Asia community with a shared future. It was a historic choice made for the fundamental interests and bright future of all peoples in the new era. In building this community, it is important to stay committed to four principles.

First, mutual assistance. It is important to deepen strategic mutual trust, and always give each other unequivocal and strong support on issues concerning a country’s core interests such as sovereignty, independence, national dignity, and long-term development. The countries should work together to ensure that their community features mutual assistance, solidarity, and mutual trust.

Second, common development. It is important to continue to set the pace for Belt and Road cooperation and deliver on the Global Development Initiative. The countries should fully unlock their potentials in traditional areas of cooperation. And they should forge new drivers of growth in such areas as poverty reduction and green and low-carbon development. They should work together to ensure that their community features win-win cooperation and common progress.

Third, universal security. It is important to act on the Global Security Initiative, and stand firm against external attempts to interfere in domestic affairs of regional countries and strive to resolve security conundrums in the region. They should work together to ensure that their community features no-conflict and enduring peace.

Fourth, everlasting friendship. It is important to implement the Global Civilization Initiative. The countries should do more to share their experience in governance, deepen cultural mutual learning, and cement the foundation of the everlasting friendship between the Chinese and Central Asian peoples. They should work together to ensure that their community features close affinity and shared conviction.

President Xi underscored that this Summit has created a new platform and opened up new prospects for China-Central Asia cooperation. China would take this as an opportunity to step up coordination with all parties for good planning, development and progress of China-Central Asia cooperation.

First, it is important to strengthen institutional building. China has proposed the establishment of meeting and dialogue mechanisms on industry and investment, agriculture, transportation, emergency response, education, and political parties, which will be platforms for all-round mutually beneficial cooperation between the countries.

Second, it is important to expand economic and trade ties. China will take more trade facilitation measures, upgrade bilateral investment treaties, and open “green lanes” for streamlined customs clearance of agricultural and sideline products at all border ports between China and Central Asian countries. China will also hold a live-streaming sales event to further promote Central Asian products, and build a commodities trading center.

Third, it is important to deepen connectivity. China will strive to increase the volume of cross-border cargo transportation, support the development of the trans-Caspian international transport corridor, promote the opening of the air transportation market, and build a regional logistics network. China will also step up the development of China-Europe Railway Express assembly centers, encourage capable enterprises to build overseas warehouses in Central Asian countries, and build a comprehensive digital service platform.

Fourth, it is important to expand energy cooperation. China would like to propose the establishment of a China-Central Asia energy development partnership. The countries should expedite the construction of Line D of the China-Central Asia Gas Pipeline, expand trade in oil and gas, pursue cooperation throughout the energy industrial chains, and strengthen cooperation on new energy and peaceful use of nuclear energy.

Fifth, it is important to promote green innovation. China will work with Central Asian countries to conduct cooperation in such areas as improvement and utilization of saline-alkali land and water-saving irrigation, build together a joint laboratory on agriculture in arid lands, and tackle the ecological crisis of the Aral Sea. China supports establishing high-tech firms and IT industrial parks in Central Asia. China also welcomes Central Asian countries to participate in special cooperation programs under the Belt and Road Initiative, including programs on sustainable development technologies, innovation and start-up, and spatial information science and technology.

Sixth, it is important to enhance capabilities for development. China will formulate a China-Central Asia special cooperation program for poverty reduction through science and technology, implement the “China-Central Asia technology and skills improvement scheme”, set up more Luban Workshops in Central Asian countries, and encourage Chinese companies in Central Asia to create more local jobs. China will provide Central Asian countries with financing support and grant.

Seventh, it is important to strengthen dialogue between civilizations. China invites Central Asian countries to take part in the “Cultural Silk Road” program, and will set up more traditional medicine centers in Central Asia. The countries will speed up establishment of cultural centers in each other’s countries. China will continue to provide government scholarships for Central Asian countries, and support their universities in joining the University Alliance of the Silk Road. The countries will launch the “China-Central Asia Cultural and Tourism Capital” program, ensure the success of the Year of Culture and Arts for the Peoples of China and Central Asian Countries, and open special train services for cultural tourism in Central Asia.

Eighth, it is important to safeguard peace in the region. China is ready to help Central Asian countries strengthen capacity building on law enforcement, security and defense, support their independent efforts to safeguard regional security and fight terrorism, and work with them to promote cyber-security. The countries will continue to leverage the role of the coordination mechanism among Afghanistan’s neighbors, and jointly promote peace and reconstruction in Afghanistan.

Presidents of the five Central Asian countries thanked China for initiating and successfully hosting the inaugural China-Central Asia Summit, and spoke positively of the fruitful outcomes of their all-round cooperation with China. They noted that, sharing a millennia-old friendship and deep bonds, Central Asian countries and China have always been good neighbors, good friends and good partners of mutual support and mutual trust, and that Central Asian countries are China’s most sincere old friends west beyond the Yangguan Pass. China has now become a crucial force for ensuring global security and stability and for promoting scientific, technological and economic development. Cooperation with China is an important factor indispensable for countries’ pursuit of sustainable development. To further deepen the relations between the five Central Asian countries and China meets the common aspirations of all their peoples and the fundamental and long-term interests of the countries. The China-Central Asia Summit provides a new platform for their cooperation, bringing their relations into a new era. The parties welcome and commend China’s policy of friendship and cooperation toward Central Asia. They expressed readiness to keep fully harnessing the strategic and leading role of head-of-state diplomacy, expand and strengthen the Central Asia-China Summit Mechanism, enhance top-level planning and coordination, and deepen their all-round practical cooperation with China. The goal is to deliver more benefits to the people, help the countries achieve common development and prosperity, and make due contributions to regional security and stability. 

The five presidents voiced firm support for each other to choose a development path compatible with their national conditions, firmly uphold their core interests including sovereignty, independence, security and territorial integrity, and oppose interference in others’ internal affairs. They spoke highly of the vision of a community with a shared future for mankind, the Global Security Initiative, the Global Development Initiative and the Global Civilization Initiative put forth by President Xi. They expressed readiness to earnestly implement the important common understandings and outcomes of this summit, use the 10th anniversary of Belt and Road cooperation as an opportunity to further synergize their development strategies with Belt and Road cooperation, advance regional connectivity and deepen practical cooperation in such areas as trade, investment, agriculture, energy, science and technology, and security, and scale up people-to-people exchanges. Together, they would rise to challenges, achieve win-win cooperation and build an even closer China-Central Asia community with a shared future. 

President Xi signed with presidents of the five Central Asian countries the Xi’an Declaration of the China-Central Asia Summit and adopted the List of Outcomes of the China-Central Asia Summit.

This Summit has been a good start for cooperation. We believe that with our joint efforts, China’s relations with Central Asian countries will forge ahead like a ship braving all winds and waves, offer new vitality to the development and revitalization of the six countries, and inject strong, positive energy to peace and stability of the region.

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