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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on June 9, 2023

2023-06-09 19:50

AFP: Reports by US media outlets say that China and Cuba have agreed to set up a Chinese spy facility capable of monitoring communications across the southeastern part of the US. Officials in Washington and Havana have said these reports are not accurate. Does the Chinese foreign ministry have a comment?

Wang Wenbin: I am not aware of what you mentioned. It is well known that the US is an expert on chasing shadows and meddling in other countries’ internal affairs. The US is the global champion of hacking and superpower of surveillance. The US has long illegally occupied Cuba’s Guantánamo Bay for secretive activities and imposed a blockade on Cuba for over 60 years. The US needs to take a hard look at itself, stop interfering in Cuba’s internal affairs under the pretext of freedom, democracy and human rights, immediately lift its economic, commercial and financial blockade on Cuba, and act in ways conducive to improving relations with Cuba and regional peace and stability, not otherwise.

China News Service: On June 8, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said at a joint press availability with Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud of Saudi Arabia that “we’re not asking anyone to choose between the US and China.” What’s your comment?

Wang Wenbin: We take note of the words of the US top diplomat. We hope that US diplomatic missions across the globe will act on this commitment he made regarding “not asking anyone to choose between the US and China”, and be truly open-minded about other countries’ growing ties with China, stop bludgeoning Huawei and other Chinese firms, stop coercing allies into restricting chip exports to China, stop baiting and forcing other countries into turning away from cooperation with China and stop spreading disinformation about China such as the “debt trap” narrative.

George Washington once wrote, “actions, not words, are the true criterion of the attachment of friends.” We will listen to what the US says, but more importantly, we will be watching what it does.

NHK: The Philippines launched tourism routes to islands in the South China Sea this month. People of the Philippines and other countries including journalists can visit three islands under “actual control” by the Philippines. How does China respond to this? Will there be any specific countermeasures?

Wang Wenbin: China has indisputable sovereignty over Nansha Islands and the adjacent waters including Zhongye Island. We call on relevant parties to respect China’s sovereignty and refrain from actions that might complicate the situation in the South China Sea.

China Daily: China announced today that Palestinian President Abbas will pay a state visit to China. Can you share more about this visit and how China views the current China-Palestine relations and the Palestinian question? What does China expect to achieve through this visit?

Wang Wenbin: President Abbas is an old and good friend of the Chinese people and the first Arab head of state to be hosted by China this year. This speaks volumes about the high-level friendly relations between China and Palestine.

China and Palestine enjoy a traditional friendship. China is one of the first countries to recognize the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the State of Palestine. In recent years, thanks to the personal guidance of President Xi Jinping and President Abbas, the China-Palestine relations have maintained a good momentum of growth with stronger political mutual trust and deeper friendship between the two peoples. China stands ready to work with Palestine to follow through on the common understandings of leaders of the two countries and take the China-Palestine traditional friendship to new heights.

The Palestinian question is at the heart of the Middle East issue and matters to the region’s peace and stability and global equity and justice. China has all along firmly supported the Palestinian people’s just cause of restoring their legitimate national rights. For ten consecutive years, President Xi Jinping has sent congratulatory messages to the special commemorative meeting in observance of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. More than once he put forward China’s proposals for resolving the Palestinian question, stressing the need to resolutely advance a political settlement based on the two-state solution and intensify international efforts for peace. As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China will continue to work with the international community for a comprehensive, just and enduring solution to the Palestinian question at an early date.

Reuters: Reports are saying that the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is visiting China as soon as next week. Could the ministry provide any information about this?

Wang Wenbin: You may refer to my response to relevant questions earlier.

AFP: While on a visit to the US, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and President Biden announced what they call the Atlantic declaration: a new framework for US-UK economic cooperation. The document that they agreed upon states that the two countries “face new challenges to international stability from authoritarian states, including China”. How does the foreign ministry view this declaration?

Wang Wenbin: Exchange and cooperation between countries should be conducive to global and regional peace and stability and not target any third party or harm their interests. Those who seek to incite bloc confrontation based on the Cold War mentality are the real threat to international stability.

CCTV: It has been a decade since former US defense contractor Edward Snowden leaked secret documents to multiple media outlets, which revealed the shocking evidence that the US government has long been conducting massive surveillance and spying on other countries in the name of counterterrorism. This has been strongly condemned by the international community. On the tenth anniversary of the disclosure of the PRISM program, is there any comment you wish to make?

Wang Wenbin: The revelation of the PRISM program certainly brought down the facade of the US as a hacking empire. Tens years on, this champion of hacking, instead of showing any restraint, has doubled down on its hacking behavior and sought to expand its cyber theft targets. Various US eavesdropping and spying programs have surfaced – Irritant Horn, Stellar Wind, Project CAMBERDADA and Telescreen – to name just a few. The US has not only spied on the UN Secretary-General and leaders of its allies such as Germany, France, the ROK and Israel, but also legalized such practice through legislation. Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) allows the US intelligence agencies to conduct warrantless surveillance of foreign targets. That section is set to expire by the end of this year, but the White House has declared that reauthorization of Section 702 is a top priority for the administration. 

Over the past decade, it has become clearer to the international community that the US, a self-claimed champion of democracy and freedom, is in fact a violator of the rights and freedom of people across the world by abusing its high-tech prowess for theft of information. The US says it wants to keep the cyberspace safe, yet everything it does is about perpetuating its cyber predominance and expanding its cyber military alliance, which makes the US the biggest threat to cyber peace and stability. The US “Clean Network” is just another PRISM carefully disguised to create an unrivaled, unsupervised US-led global surveillance network. Since last year, Chinese cyber security institutions and firms have exposed US cyber attacks on China and some other countries in their reports. The US still hasn’t provided an explanation to these attacks and has instead tried to use disinformation as a distraction tactic.

Darkness prevails only in the absence of light. As more and more countries become aware of the US hypocrisy, there will be less and less room for the hacking empire to continue its malignancy. The light of truth and justice will eventually prevail.

Kyodo News: On US Secretary of State Blinken’s visit to China, what’s China’s attitude toward dialogue and cooperation with the US?

Wang Wenbin: We’ve stated more than once that China’s position on this issue has not changed. We are open to dialogue and communication. The important thing is that communication should not be carried out for the sake of communication, still less saying one thing but doing the opposite. The US needs to stop interfering in China’s internal affairs and stop harming China’s interests. It needs to stop eroding the political foundation of bilateral ties while claiming that it wants to put “guardrails” on the relationship. It needs to work together with China to bring bilateral relations back to the right track of sound and steady development.

CCTV: It was reported that on June 8, the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations approved the Ending China’s Developing Nation Status Act, asking to end the treatment of China as a developing nation. What is your comment?

Wang Wenbin: The US is not labeling China a “developed country” out of appreciation or recognition for China’s development success. The real motive behind ending China’s developing country status is to hold back China’s development. 

China’s status as the world’s largest developing country is rooted in facts and international law. It’s not something that can easily be wiped away by a US Congressional bill. The rights that China is lawfully entitled to as a developing country will not be deprived just because a few politicians on the Hill say so.

According to some US lawmakers, there is concern that China would use its developing country status to evade international responsibilities. That is completely unnecessary. China’s contribution to global economic growth and UN regular budget and peacekeeping assessments far outweighs that of most developed countries.

It’s not up to the US to decide whether China is a developing country. The US can neither deny the fact that China is still a developing country, nor stop China from moving towards national rejuvenation. Rather than try to figure out how to pin the label of “developed country” on China, the US might want to think about how to remove its own label of a bully and hegemon.

Yomiuri Shimbun: According to a People’s Daily report on June 4, the Chinese leader said while visiting the China National Archives of Publications and Culture that he knew of the long tradition of exchanges between Fuzhou and Liuqiu back when he was working in Fuzhou. What is the meaning of the remark?

Wang Wenbin: The Chinese side released a readout on the activity you mentioned. You may refer to that.

Beijing Youth Daily: The IAEA Board of Governors reviewed the AUKUS nuclear submarine cooperation recently. China made a statement at the meeting to point out relevant issues involved in the trilateral cooperation and called for joint efforts to advance the IAEA’s inter-governmental discussion process. Representatives of more than 20 countries including Russia, Pakistan, Egypt, South Africa, Indonesia, Brazil and Argentina echoed China’s position and proposition. What’s your comment?

Wang Wenbin: The IAEA has reviewed the AUKUS nuclear submarine cooperation for the eighth consecutive time. The review shows that the cooperation involves complex political, security, legal and technical issues and has led to serious concerns and controversy in the international community. The US, the UK and Australia claim to abide by the “rules-based international order”, but when it comes to their own fulfillment of non-proliferation obligations, they blatantly apply double standards and place selfish geopolitical interests above nuclear nonproliferation.

Looking back on past discussions at the IAEA, whenever the US, the UK and Australia sought to set the rules for other countries, they would always stress the importance of “the intergovernmental process led by member states.” However, when it comes to AUKUS nuclear submarine cooperation, all they do is thwart the intergovernmental process involving all parties, attempt to coerce the IAEA Secretariat into accepting their proposal and impose the so-called “rules” on other member states. What kind of “rules-based” behavior is that?

On the Iranian nuclear issue, the US, the UK and some other countries wouldn’t budge an inch and strictly prohibits Iran from obtaining highly-enriched uranium. However, the two countries plan to transfer to Australia tonnes of highly enriched weapons-grade uranium of over 90% purity through their nuclear submarine cooperation. The contrast once again laid bare their hypocrisy on the issue of nuclear non-proliferation.

We urge the US, the UK and Australia to earnestly fulfill their international obligations on nuclear non-proliferation and stop double standard and political manipulation. We call for joint efforts by all IAEA member states to advance an open, inclusive, transparent and sustainable inter-governmental discussion process to firmly defend the international nuclear non-proliferation system, uphold the international order underpinned by international law, and advance peace and security in the world. At the same time, we hope the IAEA Secretariat will follow through the IAEA Statute and its mandate from member states, fulfill its non-proliferation duty and help advance the inter-governmental discussion process.

Bloomberg: Will Beijing host the BRICS summit in place of South Africa? When will President Xi Jinping next speak to Cyril Ramaphosa? And will the BRICS summit be on the agenda for that conversation?

Wang Wenbin: I have no information to offer on these specific questions. As to the BRICS summit, I already stated China’s position. You may refer to it.

Reuters: The Taiwan “foreign minister” will reportedly make a visit to Europe next week. The “minister” is expected to visit Brussels and also to appear with the Czech president at one event. What is the ministry’s comment on this trip?

Wang Wenbin: Let me first point out that Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory. There is no so-called “Taiwan foreign minister” but the head of local foreign affairs department. 

The one-China principle is a universally recognized norm in international relations, a prevailing consensus among the international community and the prerequisite and political foundation for China to develop friendly ties with all countries around the world. We urge the EU to understand the real nature of the Taiwan question and follow through on the commitment it has made to China on the one-China principle. Do not support the Taiwan independence forces or have any official exchanges in any name with the Taiwan region. China never wavers in its resolve of safeguarding national sovereignty and territorial integrity. We also have a clear message for the Taiwan DPP authorities that any separatist moves and attempts to solicit foreign support are bound to fail.

The following questions were raised after the press conference:

Q: On June 8, Chinese Ambassador to the ROK Xing Haiming had a meeting with Lee Jae-myung, leader of the ROK main opposition Democratic Party. During the meeting, Ambassador Xing commented on the China-ROK relations and stressed that the current bilateral relations face considerable difficulties and the responsibility does not lie with China. The remarks made by Ambassador Xing Haiming attracted public attention in the ROK. The ROK foreign ministry expressed concerns to China over this. What’s China’s comment?

Wang Wenbin: The current difficulties and challenges in the China-ROK relations are not caused by China. It is part of Ambassador Xing’s job to have extensive engagement with the ROK government, political parties and people from all walks of life, exchange views on bilateral relations and issues of mutual interest and share China’s position and concerns. We hope that relevant parties in the ROK can put this into perspective and focus on how to face up to problems and realize the stability and growth of China-ROK relations.

Q: According to reports, an official with the ROK’s Office of the President said on June 7 that recent reports about a Chinese foreign ministry official conveying the “four noes” position during a visit to the ROK are not true. The official also clarified that the reported dialogue between the two sides never happened. The ROK government can continue consultations with the Chinese side on issues concerning the DPRK. China has never premised dialogue with the ROK on the THAAD issue or national security issues. What’s your comment?

Wang Wenbin: The current difficulties and challenges in the China-ROK relations are not caused by China. In the recent China-ROK diplomatic consultations at the director-general level, China has clearly and explicitly stated its position and concern. The ROK side is fully aware of this. It should have an in-depth understanding of the crux of the problem, take it seriously and work with China for the sound and steady growth of China-ROK relations.

Q: It was reported that Chinese officials warned ROK officials that if Seoul crosses Beijing’s red line on the Taiwan question and engages in military coordination with Tokyo and Washington, China will suspend high-level diplomatic engagements and cancel cooperation on policies related to the DPRK. What is your comment?

Wang Wenbin: The Taiwan question is purely China’s internal affair. It is at the core of China’s core interests. Resolving the Taiwan question is a matter for the Chinese, a matter that must be resolved by the Chinese. The 1992 joint communiqué on the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the ROK explicitly states that the Republic of Korea recognizes the government of the People’s Republic of China as the sole legal government of China, and respects China’s position that there is but one China and Taiwan is part of China. The ROK needs to act on the spirit of the joint communiqué, adhere to the one-China principle and handle Taiwan-related issues in a prudent way.

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