At the invitation of Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, Premier of the State Council Li Keqiang will attend the 7th Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Leaders' Summit to be held via videoconference on September 9.
At the invitation of Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh and Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son, Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Prak Sokhonn, Singaporean Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, and ROK Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will pay official visits to Vietnam, Cambodia, Singapore and the ROK and co-chair the 13th Meeting of the China-Vietnam Steering Committee for Bilateral Cooperation with Vietnamese DPM Pham Binh Minh from September 10 to 15.
CCTV: You just announced that Premier Li Keqiang will attend the 7th GMS Leaders' Summit. How does China see the current progress in GMS cooperation? What are your expectations for this summit?
Wang Wenbin: Since its launch 29 years ago, the Greater Mekong Subregion Economic Cooperation Program has led to fruitful cooperation in infrastructure development and regional economic integration, making significant contributions to sustainable development in the subregion. As COVID-19 continues to rage across the globe, it has dealt a heavy blow to people's wellbeing and national socioeconomic development in the subregion. The 7th GMS Leaders' Summit, with the theme of "Renewed Strength to Face the Challenges of the New Decade", is of great significance for subregional countries' concerted efforts to combat the virus and boost economic recovery.
China and Mekong River countries, linked by mountains and rivers, have closely-intertwined interests and share the same future. As such, we are uniquely positioned to conduct cooperation. China has long been playing an active role in advancing practical GMS economic cooperation in various sectors. We hope all sides will take this upcoming summit as an opportunity to carry forward the partnership spirit, deepen understanding of a community with a shared future, make joint plans for fighting COVID-19 and resuming economic growth, usher in a new chapter of subregional development and cooperation, and add fresh impetus to all countries' pursuit of prosperity and revitalization.
Xinhua News Agency: Could you share with us the main purposes of and considerations behind State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi's visits?
Wang Wenbin: Vietnam, Cambodia, Singapore and the ROK are all China's close neighbors and important cooperation partners. In the face of COVID-19, China and neighboring countries have been working together to overcome difficulties with mutual assistance, and leading the world in combating the virus and boosting recovery. The visits by State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi fully embody the great emphasis China attaches to and its sincere hope of enhancing friendly relations and deepening mutually-beneficial cooperation with the four countries.
During the visits, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will have in-depth strategic communication with the other parties and advance implementation of the important consensus reached between President Xi Jinping and leaders of the four countries. They will focus on anti-epidemic and development cooperation, seek greater synergy between China's endeavor to foster a new development paradigm and the four countries' development strategies, and deepen BRI cooperation and the building of a community with a shared future for mankind. China stands ready to work together with the four countries to achieve new progress in bilateral relations, jointly defend multilateralism and international equity and justice, and inject more positive energy into promoting regional and global peace, stability and prosperity.
Global Times: According to reports, Honduran presidential candidate for the left-wing Liberty and Refoundation Party Xiomara Castro said on September 6 that she would open diplomatic relations with China if she wins elections in November. Relevant Taiwan authorities in charge of foreign affairs issued a statement to warn Honduras against "flashy and false" promises by the mainland, adding that it is a usual trick to undermine ties between Taiwan and its "allies". Do you have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: There is only one China in the world and the Taiwan region is an inalienable part of China's territory. The one-China principle is a universally recognized norm governing international relations and the consensus of the international community. Following the one-China principle is the overriding trend with popular support. China welcomes all moves that endorse and support the one-China principle.
We solemnly warn the Taiwan authorities that "Taiwan independence" is a dead end, "dollar diplomacy" is rejected by all, and attempts to reverse the historical trend by soliciting foreign support is bound to fail.
CCTV: It is reported that think tanks in Taiwan said that the region should prioritize joining the CPTPP, because if the mainland joins the trade pact first, it would obstruct Taiwan's accession and its participation in regional trade integration. Do you have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: The Taiwan region's participation in regional economic cooperation must be handled in accordance with the one-China principle. We firmly oppose the discussion and signing of agreements with implications of sovereignty and of official nature between any country and the Taiwan region. China's position on this issue is clear and resolute.
China Daily: A team headed by Lydie Evrard, IAEA Deputy Director General, will travel to Japan this week to discuss safe disposal of nuclear contaminated water from Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station with Japan's Nuclear Regulation Authority, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, and Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The team will also conduct a field trip to the power station. I wonder if China has any comment on this?
Wang Wenbin: I've noted relevant reports. We hope the IAEA will act in an objective, impartial and responsible manner, follow the science, attach importance to the views of stakeholders, and assist the international community in the review and monitoring before, during and after Japan's disposal of nuclear contaminated water to ensure absolute safety. Japan should cooperate fully with the IAEA by having thorough consultations on all possible means of disposal, and accepting monitoring and verification of data accuracy and the efficiency of the disposal.
The Japanese government is pushing ahead preparatory work for discharging the nuclear contaminated water in disregard of concerns from the international community. We hope Japan can revoke the wrong decision immediately, and refrain from starting the discharge process before reaching consensus with stakeholders and relevant international organizations after thorough consultation.
TASS: NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Monday at a NATO conference on arms control issues urged China to join international efforts to limit the spread of nuclear weapon. He said China's nuclear capability lacks transparency. I want to know if you have any comments?
Wang Wenbin: China is gravely concerned about and firmly opposes the "China nuclear threat theory" NATO has been hyping up lately. China follows a self-defensive nuclear strategy, with nuclear forces always kept at the minimum level required to safeguard national security. We are committed to no first use of nuclear weapons at any time or under any circumstances and pledge unconditionally not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapon states or nuclear-weapon-free zones. China has never taken part in any form of nuclear arms race, nor has it deployed nuclear weapons overseas. No country will be threatened or should feel threatened by China's national defense capability as long as it does not intend to threaten or undermine China's sovereignty, security and territorial integrity.
What the international community should be really concerned about is NATO's nuclear sharing policy. As a political and military organization formed during the Cold War, NATO has the largest nuclear arsenal enabled by the nuclear sharing arrangements till this day. Moreover, some NATO members are ramping up efforts to modernize nuclear power. Many countries share the view that NATO's nuclear sharing arrangements violate the stipulations of the NPT and that its nuclear capability lacks transparency, which exacerbate risks of nuclear proliferation and conflicts. It is typical double standards when NATO chooses to be evasive about its own issue while trying to mislead the public and hyping up the so-called "China nuclear threat". If NATO truly cares about nuclear arms control, it should abandon the Cold War mentality, abolish nuclear sharing arrangements, and pull out the large number of nuclear weapons deployed in Europe. It should urge the US to earnestly fulfill its special and primary responsibilities in nuclear disarmament and further drastically and substantively reduce its nuclear stockpile, so as to create conditions for realizing comprehensive and complete nuclear disarmament.
Beijing Youth Daily: Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said on September 6 that China's combination of economic power and global connection poses "new and significant challenges for many countries", and Australia is facing this pressure more sharply than most other countries. He said Australian businesses should not overly rely on one country and should always be looking to diversify their markets, essentially, adopting a "China-plus" strategy." Do you have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: In the spirit of openness, inclusiveness and mutual benefit, China is committed to building an open world economy and sharing development opportunities with other countries. Australia has benefited immensely from its cooperation with China and is a beneficiary of China's development. China has never done anything detrimental to Australia's sovereignty. The label of so-called "economic coercion" can never be pinned onto China. Instead, it is Australia that stands guilty of the following. It has taken measures against market principles and even bullying acts, and imposed restrictions on normal exchanges and cooperation between the two countries without cause, disrupting the good momentum of bilateral practical cooperation. Meanwhile, it has played the victim to put the blame on China, ganged up to pressure China, and grossly interfered in China's internal affairs and harmed China's core interests in violation of international law and basic norms governing international relations.
The current difficulties in China-Australia relations are entirely of Australia's own making. It is imperative that Australia face up to the crux of the setbacks in bilateral relations, abandon the Cold War mentality and ideological bias, respect basic facts, take an objective and rational look at China and its development, earnestly follow the principles of mutual respect and equality when handling bilateral relations. The Australian side should also stop playing up "coercive China" narrative for selfish political gain and do more to enhance mutual trust and promote practical cooperation between the two countries, rather than the opposite.
Associated Press of Pakistan: The first and biggest power transmission line completed under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has started commercial operation in Pakistan last week. Do you have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: I think you were referring to the first power transmission project under CPEC, the Matiari to Lahore ±660kV HVDC Transmission Line Project in Pakistan. I noted relevant reports. As an important pilot project of the Belt and Road Initiative, CPEC has made significant progress in various sectors including energy since its launch. This has not only vigorously boosted Pakistan's faster economic and social development, but also played a positive role in promoting regional connectivity.
I'd like to stress that the BRI came from China, but it creates opportunities and benefits for all countries in the world. To date, over 140 partner countries have signed BRI cooperation documents with China. The BRI has truly become the world's broadest-based and largest platform for international cooperation. China is ready to join hands with Pakistan and other countries to continue our high-quality BRI cooperation to generate more opportunities and dividends for all.
TASS: According to Indian paper "The Pioneer", Taliban can hand over Afghan airbase Bagram to China, and Kandahar base to Pakistan for operational purposes. According to the source of this paper, China and Taliban are discussing this matter, and Pakistan Air Force engineers are inspecting all the five former US airbases in Afghanistan. Do you have any comments?
Wang Wenbin: I can tell you this is purely fake news.
Yonhap News: You just released the information that State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will visit the ROK. Could you also tell us the agenda and China's expectation for the visit?
Wang Wenbin: During his visit to the ROK, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will meet with the ROK leadership, hold talks with Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong, and meet with principal members of the ROK side of the Committee for Future Development of China-ROK Relations.
The China-ROK relations are seeing sound development. This year and the next are the China-ROK Year of Cultural Exchanges, and the year 2022 will mark the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between our two countries. We are facing an important opportunity for deepening bilateral relations. China stands ready to work together with the ROK side to implement the two heads of state's important consensus through this visit, enhance communication, mutual trust, cooperation and friendship, and ensure sustained, healthy and steady development of our strategic cooperative partnership.
Follow-up: When will State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi visit the ROK?
Wang Wenbin: I already announced the information. State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will pay official visits to the relevant countries from September 10 to 15.