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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on May 11, 2023

2023-05-11 17:49

AFP: Australia’s trade minister arrived in China today. He said that he “will be advocating strongly for the full resumption of unimpeded Australian exports to China”. What’s your comment on the visit?

Wang Wenbin: I would like to refer you to the competent Chinese authorities for the Australian trade minister’s visit to China. More broadly, let me say that China and Australia are both important countries in the Asia-Pacific with highly complementary economies and mutually beneficial business ties. To improve and maintain the sound growth of bilateral ties serves the fundamental interests of both countries and peoples. China stands ready to work together with Australia to deliver on the important common understandings reached by our leaders, build mutual trust, deepen cooperation, properly handle differences and work for the sustained, sound and steady development of bilateral relations. In this process, the two sides may be able to find a balanced way to resolve each other’s concerns on economic and trade issues through constructive consultation to the benefit of both peoples.

Bloomberg: On Wednesday, US President Joe Biden said that a call with President Xi Jinping was “in the works”. Can you confirm that such a call is being planned? If so, can you share more details? That’s the first part of my question referring to this specific call between President Xi and President Biden. Separately but related, I would like to ask about a broader push that’s been reported on the US side, whereby the US is pushing for calls and meetings with various Chinese officials and across different departments. So my question on this is, how does China view the US push for engagement? Some have described China’s response as tepid. Is this a fair characterization?

Wang Wenbin: On your first question, I have nothing to share. 

On your second question, I can tell you that China and the US are in communication. What matters is that the US cannot keep raising the issue of communication on the one hand, while on the other, keep suppressing and containing China. The US cannot say one thing but do another. We urge the US to form a correct perception of China, respect China’s red lines, stop undermining China’s sovereignty, security and development interests, and work with China in the same direction to bring bilateral relations back on the track of sound and stable growth.

TASS: According to the Financial Times, China told the US that it is highly unlikely that the defence ministers of the two countries would meet at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore. What is China’s comment on this?

Wang Wenbin: I’d refer you to the competent authorities for your question.

CRI: According to reports, Israel launched air strikes against the Gaza Strip on May 10, resulting in casualties. Armed groups in the Gaza Strip fired about 400 rockets at Israel. Egypt is now mediating a ceasefire. Does China have any comment? 

Wang Wenbin: China is deeply concerned about the escalation of conflict between Israel and Palestine and the deaths and injuries of many innocent civilians. We urge relevant parties, Israel in particular, to stay calm and exercise maximum restraint and immediately end hostilities to prevent any further escalation. China commends the mediation efforts by Egypt and others. We call on the international community, especially countries with influence, to play an effective role and work together to cool down the situation.

Yonhap News Agency: According to the South China Morning Post, the China-DPRK border will be fully reopened on June 10, and trade in goods and personnel exchange will be resumed. What’s China’s comment on this?

Wang Wenbin: I am not aware of what you mentioned. China and the DPRK will continue to carry out border-related cooperation in accordance with the border-related agreements between the two sides.

Global Times: It was reported that the G7 Summit to be held in Japan will ask China to abide by international rules. Do you have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: Before discussing international rules, we need to first of all make clear what exactly the international rules are. For the overwhelming majority of countries in the world, international rules consist of the basic norms governing international relations based on the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and all countries must abide by them. The G7 hardly ever mentions the UN Charter, but keeps talking about “democracies” and the so-called “rules-based international order”. However, when the G7 countries talk about international rules, they mean the Western rules that draw lines according to ideologies and values and the US-first and G7-dominated rules of a small circle. Those rules serve the vested interest of a very few countries, including the G7, rather than the common interests of the international community.

While asking China to abide by international rules, the G7 itself has constantly violated and disrupted rules. In recent years, the US walked away from 17 international organizations and treaties, including UNESCO and the Paris Agreement. The US has spied indiscriminately on countries globally, not least its G7 allies, strong-armed countries diplomatically, and applied economic coercion and military interference. The US has blatantly invaded Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria and other countries that are smaller and weaker than the US, killing and displacing tens of millions of innocent civilians. When it comes to international rules, the US’s place is in the dock. It is in no position to point fingers at other countries.

The first thing the US and Japan can do as G7 members would be to pay their arrears to the UN, withdraw the troops illegally occupying Syria, stop insisting on dumping nuclear-contaminated water into the ocean, stop inciting division and confrontation, and stop using the international rules as a pretext to pursue primacy and selfish interests.

CCTV: We noted that State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang visited the site of the Potsdam Conference during his visit to Germany. What is the consideration behind this specific arrangement?

Wang Wenbin: On May 10 local time, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang visited the site of the Potsdam Conference in Berlin and delivered remarks.

State Councilor Qin noted that the Potsdam Conference in 1945 played an important role in establishing the post-World War II international order and is of special historical significance to the Chinese people. The Potsdam Proclamation issued after the meeting reaffirmed the terms of the Cairo Declaration, which states that all the territories Japan has stolen from China, such as Taiwan, shall be restored to China. This is a major outcome of the World Anti-Fascist War that was won after 35 million Chinese soldiers and civilians were either killed or wounded during that war.

Today, the US claims itself to be a champion of the “rules-based international order”, while ditching the Potsdam Proclamation it drafted, supporting and conniving at “Taiwan independence” separatist activities, undermining the post-war international order and China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The Chinese people will not accept this.

If there is any consideration for State Councilor Qin’s visit to the site, I would say that it is about reminding the world of the need to remember the lessons of history — that the post-war international order must be preserved and international fairness and justice must be upheld. To engage in “Taiwan independence” separatism, challenge international justice and order and try to reverse the trend of history will lead nowhere. China’s national reunification must and will be realized.

AFP: French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna told State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang during his trip to Europe this week that China needs to leverage its ties with Russia to help it understand the stalemate it is facing and tell it to come back to senses. What’s your response to this?

Wang Wenbin: On the Ukraine issue, China has been committed to promoting peace talks and bringing about a political settlement of the Ukraine crisis. China is neither the one that created the conflict nor a party to it. It is hoped that all parties would seriously reflect on the Ukraine crisis and jointly explore ways towards lasting peace and security in Europe through dialogue. We will continue to play a constructive part in facilitating a political settlement of the Ukraine crisis.

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