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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on December 7, 2023

2023-12-07 22:03

At the invitation of the government of Argentina, President Xi Jinping’s Special Envoy and Vice Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress Wu Weihua will attend the inauguration of the incoming President of Argentina Javier Milei in Buenos Aires on December 10.

ANSA: Italy has formally informed Beijing of its decision to end its participation in the Belt and Road Initiative it joined in 2019. Is it possible to get any comment on this topic? What does it mean from the Chinese point of view? What does it mean for the Sino-Italian relations?

Wang Wenbin: The Belt and Road Initiative, proposed a decade ago, has delivered benefits to over 150 countries, becoming a most popular international public good and largest platform for international cooperation. In October this year, the Third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation was held in Beijing. A total of 151 countries, including Italy, and 41 international organizations sent representatives to the event, which produced 458 deliverables. The success of the forum sends out a clear message of seeking solidarity, collaboration, openness and win-win results and demonstrates the enormous appeal and global influence of Belt and Road cooperation. China firmly opposes attempts to smear and sabotage Belt and Road cooperation or stoke bloc confrontation and division.

Xinhua News Agency: At the recent 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), more than 100 countries agreed to triple the installed capacity of renewable energy before 2030. Foreign media commented that China is the only major country at COP28 that is expected to achieve that goal. What’s your comment? 

Wang Wenbin: China attaches great importance to the development of renewable energy, and turned from “followers” to “forerunners” and even “pacesetters” in a short timespan. New heights are constantly achieved in installed capacity, power generation, and industrial competitiveness. We are making solid strides in deepening the energy revolution, contributing to the global response to climate change. China’s investment in renewable energy has topped the world for seven years in a row. The installed capacity of renewable energy also topped the world, exceeding 1.4 terawatt, higher than the coal-fired energy. More than half of the NEVs are in China. Green and low-carbon development has become part of the life of the Chinese people. At the Hangzhou Asian Games successfully held not long ago, the conventional power of all the stadiums was generated with green energy. More than 100 million people contributed their “green energy” with low-carbon activities, making the Hangzhou Asian Games the first ever carbon-neutral Asian Games.

We are actively promoting green energy internationally, assisting more developing countries in writing green chapters in their development. From the Karot Hydropower Project in Pakistan to the De Aar Wind Power Project in South Africa, and to the Al Dhafra PV2 Solar Power Plant in the UAE, China-contracted renewable projects are all over the world, lighting up the dreams of green and low-carbon development of more countries. Currently, 50 percent of the world’s wind power equipment and 80 percent of the PV equipment are from China. By September this year, China had signed 48 South-South MOUs on climate change with dozens of developing countries, built four demonstration zones on low-carbon development, carried out 75 projects on the mitigation and adaptation of climate change, and brought the benefit of green and low-carbon development to more countries.

China will continue to promote green and sustainable development, contributing to the global response to climate change to the best of our capabilities. We also hope that members of the COP28 could fully implement the consensus, making corresponding contributions to achieve relevant targets according to their national conditions, and jointly addressing the challenges and bottlenecks facing the development of the renewable energy, making relentless efforts in implementing the Paris Agreement fully and effectively to build a clean and beautiful world.

Beijing Daily: Japan’s National Institute for Defense Studies issued the China Security Report 2024 recently, which says that as China builds up its military strength, including nuclear power, and deepens strategic coordination with Russia, the US will have to face more intense rivalry from China and Russia in the future. The report also says that Japan must further strengthen the necessary defense capabilities to deter China’s attempts to change the status quo in the Taiwan Strait through reliance on force. What is China’s comment?

Wang Wenbin: China is committed to peaceful development and adheres to a national defense policy that is defensive in nature. China’s growth means a stronger force for world peace. Taiwan is part of China and the Taiwan question is China’s internal affair. How to resolve the Taiwan question is a matter for the Chinese and brooks no external interference. The report of the Japanese think tank pointed fingers at China’s internal affairs, modernization of China’s military and China’s relations with other countries. The comments are irresponsible and don’t hold water.

For historical reasons, Japan’s military and security moves have been closely watched by its Asian neighbors and the international community. In recent years, Japan has greatly increased its military expenditure and sought to develop offensive weapons, which has caused grave concern from its neighbors and the international community. We urge Japan to earnestly respect the security concerns of its neighbors, profoundly reflect on its history of aggression, stop hyping up the “China threat” narrative and using it as a pretext for its own military buildup, and take substantive steps to earn the trust of its Asian neighbors and the international community.

The New York Times: Have the talks so far with EU leaders produced any substantive progress on relations?

Wang Wenbin: This morning, President Xi Jinping met with President of the European Council Charles Michel and President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen who are in China for the 24th China-EU Summit. I’d like to take this opportunity to share some information on that with you.

President Xi noted that since the end of last year, the China-EU relations have shown a sound momentum of consolidation and growth, and the high-level dialogues between the two sides in strategic, economic and trade, green and digital fields have produced rich results, which meets the interests of both sides and the expectations of our people. China and the EU are two major forces advancing multipolarity, two major markets in support of globalization, and two major civilizations championing diversity. In the current international landscape of increasing turbulence, the China-EU relations are of strategic significance and global influence, bearing on world peace, stability and prosperity. The two sides have the responsibility to jointly provide the world with more stability and impetus for development.

President Xi stressed that this year marks the 20th anniversary of the China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership. Both sides need to take stock of past experience, navigate the trend of the world, and uphold the comprehensive strategic partnership. The two sides need to consolidate the political foundation, view each other from a strategic perspective, give full play to the leading role of the leaders’ meeting and the five high-level dialogues, strengthen strategic communication, and enhance understanding and properly handle differences through constructive dialogue. The two sides need to form a correct perception, enhance mutual understanding and trust, honor commitments with good faith, and focus on growing our relations. We should not regard each other as rivals just because we have different systems, reduce cooperation just because there is competition, or engage in confrontation just because we have differences. The economies of China and Europe are highly complementary, and the two sides need to do more to cement the bond of shared interests between China and Europe through deeper and broader cooperation. China’s economic growth has maintained a momentum of steady and sound growth. China is pursuing high-quality development and high-level opening-up, and is willing to regard the EU as a key partner in economic and trade cooperation, a priority partner in scientific and technological cooperation, and a reliable partner in industrial and supply chain cooperation, in pursuit of mutual benefit and common development. The two sides need to enhance complementarity in market, capital and technology, promote the upgrading of traditional industries and the development of emerging industries, explore new models of cooperation, create new growth areas, and work together to improve industrial and supply chains. The two sides also need to strengthen people-to-people exchanges and facilitate cross-border travels.

President Xi Jinping stressed that the Chinese modernization and the integration of the EU are strategic decisions made by China and the EU with an eye to the future. China and the EU should respect and support each other, strengthen the synergy of development strategies and achieve common development. The Belt and Road Initiative is an open platform that has brought tangible benefits to more than 150 countries and people around the world. China is ready to continue to promote high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, including synergizing with the EU’s Global Gateway initiative, to help developing countries accelerate their development. The two sides should strengthen communication and coordination under the frameworks of the United Nations, the Group of 20 and others, adhere to multilateralism, oppose bloc confrontation, promote political solutions to international and regional hotspot issues, and carry out dialogues and cooperation on major issues concerning the future of mankind, such as artificial intelligence, so as to contribute to the well-being of mankind and addressing global challenges.

President Charles Michel and President Ursula von der Leyen said that the EU and China are the world’s two major forces, and are important economic and trade partners for each other, with the field of cooperation getting increasingly broader. EU-China cooperation is reciprocal and equal-footed. Sound management and development of the EU-China relationship is directly related to the interests of the two peoples, and the world’s prosperity and security. The EU attaches great importance to its relationship with China, does not want to decouple from China, and looks forward to building long-term, stable, predictable and sustainable development with China. It is hoped that this meeting will give new impetus to the future development of EU-China relations. The EU is pleased to see the results of the high-level dialogues in various fields since this year, and believes that the long-term and stable development of China’s economy is in the interests of the EU. It hopes that the two sides will continue to strengthen dialogues and cooperation in economy and trade, green and digital development, and so on, and make joint efforts to safeguard the stability and security of the supply chain and industrial chain, strengthen dialogues and seek cooperation on such major global issues as climate change and artificial intelligence, which concerns the future of mankind. The EU is committed to the one-China policy. It stands ready to step up communication with China on differences in the spirit of mutual respect, openness and candidness to enhance mutual understanding. The two sides shoulder shared responsibilities for and have common interests in peace and stability in the world. The EU is ready to have close communication and collaboration with China to uphold multilateralism and the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and to facilitate the resolution of regional hotspot issues including in Ukraine and the Middle East.

As we can see from the readout, it was a useful meeting where both sides sent out a positive message of China and the EU working together for further progress in our relations. Later on, Premier Li Qiang will jointly chair the 24th China-EU Summit with the two EU leaders. We will release information on that in a timely manner as well. Please stay tuned.

AFP: A US State Department official said yesterday that Washington was monitoring reports of Chinese warships docking at a Cambodian port. Could you confirm this? Which are the warships that have docked at the Cambodian port? Is this the first time that Chinese warships have docked in Cambodia? Is there a plan for them to participate in military exercises?

Wang Wenbin: China and Cambodia enjoy a profound friendship. Our two countries have had fruitful cooperation in various sectors. As to the visit by Chinese navy ships to Cambodia, I’d refer you to the competent authorities. 

CCTV: China just announced that General Secretary and President Xi Jinping will pay a state visit to Viet Nam. How does China view the current China-Viet Nam relations? Can you share what’s on the agenda of the visit and China’s expectation?

Wang Wenbin: China and Viet Nam are both socialist countries and neighbors. After the 20th CPC National Congress at the end of last year, General Secretary and President Xi Jinping invited General Secretary of the Communist Party of Viet Nam Central Committee Nguyen Phu Trong for a visit to China. The two leaders jointly charted the course for the China-Viet Nam comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership. This year has seen frequent high-level interactions, close exchanges between various departments and regions, and deeper cooperation in various fields, which have brought tangible benefits to the peoples of the two countries.

The world is in a new period of disorder and transformation, with increasing instabilities and uncertainties. China and Viet Nam are both socialist countries and both are advancing reform and transformation that fits their respective national realities. Greater solidarity, closer friendship and deeper mutually-beneficial cooperation is in the common interests of both sides and conducive to peace, stability and prosperity of the region and the wider world.

During the visit, General Secretary Xi Jinping will hold talks respectively with General Secretary of the Communist Party of Viet Nam Central Committee Nguyen Phu Trong and State President Vo Van Thuong and meet with Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh of Viet Nam and Chairman of the National Assembly Vuong Dinh Hue. The two sides will discuss upgrading the China-Viet Nam relations, focus on six major areas including politics, security, practical cooperation, public support, multilateral affairs and maritime issues, and work to deepen and substantiate the comprehensive strategic cooperation between the two countries. This will help both countries to jointly follow their modernization paths with respective features, enrich the paths to modernization for developing countries and bring more benefits to the two peoples. 

The New York Times: Europe has been expressing more concern this year about security issues in connection with China. Is Europe following America’s views on security and Ukraine instead of assessing Europe’s own interests? What is China’s view?

Wang Wenbin: China always views its relations with Europe from a strategic height and long-term perspective and sees Europe as a comprehensive strategic partner and an important force in a multi-polar world. We support the EU in upholding strategic autonomy, working together with China to practice true multilateralism and jointly striving to safeguard world peace, promote common development and tackle global challenges.

Bloomberg: Singapore and China will establish a 30-day visa-free travel arrangement between the two countries. This is according to an official visiting from Singapore. Do you have any details on this? Can you confirm what he said? 

Wang Wenbin: Stronger people-to-people exchange between China and Singapore serves the fundamental interests of both peoples. The two sides have agreed on mutual visa exemption for holders of ordinary passport. As we speak, competent departments of the two countries are having close communication over the specifics. The full mutual visa exemption between China and Singapore will be great news for our two peoples. Both sides are looking forward to the early implementation of the relevant arrangement.

AFP: Australia has signed a security agreement with Papua New Guinea. Considering the deepening relationship between China and Papua New Guinea in recent years, what is China’s position on this latest security deal?

Wang Wenbin: China welcomes normal exchange and equal cooperation between Pacific island countries and countries in and outside the region. China maintains sound cooperative relations with Pacific island countries based on the principles of equality, mutual respect, win-win cooperation, openness and inclusiveness. Relevant cooperation runs in parallel and is complementary with other bilateral and multilateral cooperation. China stands ready to work with countries that truly care Pacific island countries to leverage respective strengths and jointly form an international synergy to support Pacific island countries in enhancing their capability for self-driven and sustainable development. 

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