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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on May 15, 2023


2023-05-15 21:51

Reuters: Special Representative on Eurasian Affairs Li Hui will visit Ukraine, Russia, Poland, France and Germany this week. Can you confirm any more details on his itinerary and the order of the countries he will visit and who he will meet? Will he go to Ukraine today?

Wang Wenbin: We have provided information a few days ago on Special Representative of the Chinese Government on Eurasian Affairs, Ambassador Li Hui’s visit to Ukraine, Poland, France, Germany and Russia. We will share more about the visit in due course. Please check back for updates. China will continue to work with the rest of the world to play a constructive role in the political settlement of the Ukraine crisis.

CCTV: According to reports, informed sources say that the G7 Hiroshima Summit may issue a separate statement on economic security, which will stress the importance of countering economic coercion, maintaining supply chain resilience, ensuring fair competition, and ending dependency on China in semiconductors, critical minerals and other sectors. What’s your comment?

Wang Wenbin: No one is more qualified than the US to be called out for economic coercion. Japan surely knows this best from its experience with the Plaza Accord of the 1980s. If G7 members truly care about economic security, they should ask the US to stop bludgeoning and curbing other countries in the name of national security, stop bullying others and coercing allies to form exclusive blocs, stop disrupting the security and stability of global industrial and supply chains, and stop dividing the world into two markets and systems, which is the world’s No.1 economic threat right now. The US has been browbeating relevant countries into economic decoupling from China, imposing sci-tech blockade on China, and suppressing Chinese companies. This is not about fair competition, but a serious violation of market principles and WTO rules.

If G7 members truly care about economic security, they should ask the US not to try to avoid default by keeping raising the debt ceiling, to correct its aggressive adjustment of monetary policies and not to shift domestic risks to the rest of the world. 

If G7 members truly care about economic security, they should immediately find out who’re responsible for the Nord Stream pipeline blast and hold them accountable to safeguard the security of important transnational infrastructure.

We urge the US, Japan and other G7 countries – all members of the club of the rich – not to harm the interests of the many for the selfish interests of the few in the world of nations. We hope they will follow the trend of our times for inclusiveness and openness and think of tangible ways to contribute to world peace, stability and development. Japan must not be complicit in economic coercion as G7 chair.

CCTV: The fifth Review Conference of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) will be held today in Hague, Netherlands. What’s China’s expectation for the conference?

Wang Wenbin: The conference evaluates the CWC’s implementation status and sets out priorities for the upcoming five years. It is of great significance for enhancing global security governance and safeguarding international peace and security.

In recent years, the CWC faces severe challenges. The destruction of Japan’s abandoned chemical weapons (ACWs) in China has been delayed for multiple times, which becomes the most realistic challenge to realizing a world free of chemical weapons. Out of selfish political interests, some countries used the hotspot issues of chemical weapons to engage in political manipulation, severely disrupted the political settlement of certain issues and plunged the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) into political confrontation. Certain countries abuse export control and obstruct the peaceful use of science and technology in the chemical field, causing serious concern from developing countries.

China calls on States Parties to face up to problems and challenges, bolster unity and cooperation and jointly safeguard the authority of the CWC. To this end, efforts should be made in three aspects. First, to realize the common goal of building a world free of chemical weapons, we should urge Japan to earnestly fulfill its obligation, fully and faithfully implement the new destruction plan in its entirety and make every effort to accelerate the disposal process of ACWs in China. We should also maintain and enhance monitoring and verification on Japan. Second, we should take stock of the lessons learned on issues such as chemical weapons in Syria, turn the tide on political manipulation and create conditions for settling hotspot issues on chemical weapons and upholding regional and international peace and stability. Third, we should focus on long-term concerns of developing countries, further prioritize the peaceful use of science and technology in the chemical field and formulate effective action plans.

As an original State Party to the CWC and the second largest contributor to the OPCW, China always faithfully fulfills its international obligations and is committed to upholding the authority of the CWC. China will continue to follow the Global Security Initiative proposed by President Xi Jinping, practice true multilateralism, deeply involve itself in the CWC review process and work with all parties for positive outcomes of the conference through consensus.

TASS: Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary Péter Szijjártó starts his visit to China today. He once commented on social media that there is a war raging in the neighbor, and Europe is gripped by war psychosis, which is why pro-peace efforts are of the utmost importance and must be continuously strengthened. He also said that the Hungarian side supports the peace plan put forward by the Chinese. Do you have any comment on this? And what is your expectation for the visit?

Wang Wenbin: China appreciates Hungary’s commitment to peace in Europe, and would like to work with Hungary and the rest of the world to continue to play a constructive role in the political settlement of the Ukraine crisis. 

China welcomes Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó to the third China-CEEC Expo held in Ningbo, Zhejiang Province in China from May 15 to 16. We are glad to have this opportunity to exchange views with him on a broad range of issues including bilateral relations, China-CEEC cooperation and China’s relations with Europe. Hungary is an important partner of China in Europe. The bilateral relations have enjoyed excellent growth in recent years. We believe that the Foreign Minister’s visit to China will lead to more good results in bilateral friendly cooperation.

Shenzhen TV: The Arab League recently convened a special foreign ministers’ meeting, which agreed to readmit Syria to the group, which has received extensive attention from various quarters. A US official stated that the US-Syria relations will not be normalized and US sanctions against Syria are still valid in full. There are comments that Syria’s return to the Arab League is not what the US wants to see. Though Washington is obviously unhappy, Syria made a significant step towards the end of the decade-long isolation. What’s your comment?

Wang Wenbin: As what China pointed out before, Syria’s return to the Arab League is conducive to the strength and unity of Arab states, and accelerated development and revitalization of the Arab world and peace and stability in the Middle East. This serves the long-term interests of Arab states. 

From whatever angle, Syria’s return to the Arab League is something to be happy about except for a certain country. The US unabashedly criticized it and exerted pressure. The Spokesperson for the US Department of State openly opposed the readmission of Syria into the Arab League and the normalization of relations between US allies and Syria. US lawmakers even openly denounced the Arab League. In fact, it is because of the US pressure and sanctions that Syria has suffered 12 years of war with related catastrophic consequences lasting until now.

Syria’s return to the Arab League once again proves that when the shadow of the US shrinks, the light of peace spreads. The US and a handful of countries call their way of playing the game “the rules” and regime change in other countries “spring”, and condemn every action that does not serve their selfish hegemonic interests. This kind of twisted “political correctness” will not get them anywhere anymore.

We noted that the Syrian Foreign Ministry emphasized “dialogue, mutual respect, and the common interests of Arab countries” in its latest statement, which reflects the common aspiration of regional countries. We believe that with concerted efforts of all parties, Arab countries will realize solidarity and revitalization.

Bloomberg: On the sentencing to life in imprisonment for a Hong Kong resident and US passport holder, a man by the name of John Xin John Shing-wan Leung. Does the foreign ministry have any more details on the life sentence given to this US passport holder? Any more details about the crime and so on?

Wang Wenbin: The Suzhou Intermediate People’s Court has released a readout on the case you mentioned, which you may refer to.

Xinhua News Agency: It was reported that US Senator John Neely Kennedy made offensive remarks on Mexico saying that “without US support, Mexicans would be eating cat food out of a can and living in a tent”. The senator urged the US to send troops to crack down on drug trafficking in Mexico during a Senate hearing on Fentanyl. As a response, Mexico’s Secretary of Foreign Affairs Marcelo Ebrard on May 11 announced John Kennedy “persona non grata” and called him “ignorant and racist”. What’s China’s response?

Wang Wenbin: We noted relevant remarks from the US side, which once again reflects the arrogant and hegemonic nature of some in the US. On treating Mexico and other countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, the US has always adopted a beggar-thy-neighbor approach and recently claimed to crack down on drug problems in Mexico by force, showing no respect to other countries’ sovereignty.

I want to stress that the US has itself to blame for its domestic drug abuse. The US needs to respect facts, reflect on itself, correct its wrongdoing, and stop shifting the blame. Resolving drug problems needs concerted efforts of the international community, instead of claiming to interfere in other countries by force. China supports Mexico in defending independence and sovereignty and opposing foreign interference. We’re ready to work with Mexico and the rest of the world to counter cross-border drug crime and contribute to global counternarcotics governance.

Reuters: Canada’s minister for public safety said that there may be many more secret Chinese police stations operating in Canada. Can the spokesperson provide any comment?

Wang Wenbin: We have stated our position on such rhetoric multiple times. There is no so-called overseas police stations. The relevant institutions helped overseas Chinese who could not return to China due to the pandemic renew their driving licence and perform physical examination. They are not so-called police stations or police service centers at all. The local Chinese groups who helped provide venues for the services and the volunteers are Chinese from the local communities who are willing to help their compatriots, not Chinese police personnel. In light of the evolving COVID situation and relevant services now available online, the relevant service centers have been closed. China always upholds the principle of non-interference in other countries’ internal affairs, strictly observes the international law, and respects the judicial sovereignty of all countries. We urge Canada to stop spreading disinformation and stop smearing and discrediting China.

TRT: Unofficial results from Türkiye’s presidential election on Sunday show President Erdoğan leading but not able to get 50% of the vote in the first round while securing a majority in the parliament. Does China have any comment about the initial results of the Turkish election?

Wang Wenbin: We have noted the presidential and parliamentary elections in Türkiye. China and Türkiye enjoy a strategic cooperative relationship. We stand ready to work with Türkiye for the sound and steady growth of bilateral relations.

The Paper: According to reports, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women considered the ninth periodic reports of the Chinese delegation on the implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) on May 12. Could you share more details on this? 

Wang Wenbin: On May 12, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women reviewed the ninth periodic reports on China’s implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). Huang Xiaowei, head of the delegation and deputy head of the National Working Committee on Women and Children under the State Council, led representatives from the Central Government, the Hong Kong SAR Government and the Macao SAR Government to attend the event.

The Chinese side noted that the Chinese government attaches great importance to gender equality and the all-round development of women. At the Global Leaders’ Meeting on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment and the High-level Meeting on the Twenty-fifth Anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 2020, President Xi Jinping put forward the important propositions that protecting women’s rights and interests should be integrated into national rules and norms and that women can and should advance at the forefront of our times. Since the last review in 2014, China has continued to improve its legal system for the comprehensive protection of women’s rights and interests, implement the national action plan for the all-round development of women, and significantly improve the survival and development of women. The Chinese government has put life first and foremost, significantly improved women’s health, robustly protected girls’ and women’s equal right to education, endeavored to eliminate all forms of violence against women, and actively promoted women’s broad participation in decision-making and management. The women’s cause in China has made historic achievements and scaled new heights.

The Chinese side pointed out that the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China drew up a blueprint for promoting national rejuvenation through a Chinese path to modernization. It’s impossible to advance the Chinese modernization drive and build a culturally-advanced and harmonious world without the extensive participation of women, and the endeavor in these areas will open up broader prospects for women’s all-round development in return. China will make further effort to guarantee women’s equal exercise of democratic rights in accordance with the law, equal participation in economic and social development, and equal access to the fruits of reform and development.

The representatives of Hong Kong and Macao SARs shared the positive progress in the implementation of the Convention in Hong Kong and Macao respectively.

During the review process, experts of the Committee recognized China’s achievements in the development of women’s cause and the implementation of the Convention, noted the implementation of China’s Anti-Domestic Violence Law, the promulgation of the Civil Code, the revision of the Law on the Protection of Women’s Rights and Interests and the formulation of the ten-year program for women’s development for the new cycle, and raised questions on issues of concern to them. The delegation responded earnestly to their questions one by one and shared with them the facts they know and told them what the Chinese government has done to implement the Convention through detailed data and specific cases. As a result, the Committee experts have got a more comprehensive and in-depth understanding of how China has come a long way in its women’s cause. 

The Chinese government attaches great importance to international exchanges and cooperation in the field of women, and will respond positively to and carefully study the constructive recommendations from the review process, and continue to work with the international community to promote the development of the global women’s cause.

Phoenix TV: The Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) recently held a hearing on Hong Kong and published a report, saying that the Chief Executive of Hong Kong appointed 29 judges to hear cases involving national security, which undermines Hong Kong’s much-cherished rule of law and independent judicial system. The CECC urged the US government to impose sanctions on the 29 judges. What’s China’s comment?

Wang Wenbin: The institution that you mentioned has always been judging China’s internal affairs, deliberately distorting facts and attacking and smearing China. It has little, if any, political credibility. I want to stress that Hong Kong affairs are purely China’s internal affairs, which brook no foreign interference. Hong Kong is a society with rule of law. Judges of the Hong Kong SAR exercise their judicial power on crimes suspected to endanger national security in accordance with laws including the Basic Law and the National Security Law, which brooks no interference. The Chinese Central Government firmly supports judicial authorities and personnel of Hong Kong to perform their duty in accordance with the law and makes utmost efforts to safeguard lawful rights and interests of judicial staff of the Hong Kong SAR. We urge the US to stop meddling in Hong Kong affairs in any form, undermining prosperity and stability in Hong Kong and interfering in China’s internal affairs.

Global Times: According to reports, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell said on May 12 after the informal meeting of foreign affairs ministers (Gymnich) that foreign ministers gave broad backing to the EU’s planned re-calibration of its strategy on China while continuing also to see Beijing both as a partner on global issues and an economic competitor. Borrell stressed that the EU, while sticking to the triptych of rival, partner and competitor, has to compete with China. He said that de-risking means to review economic relations with China and the aim is not to “de-couple” the European and Chinese economies but to rebalance the relationship. What’s your comment?

Wang Wenbin: China always views its relations with Europe from a strategic height and long-term perspective. We see Europe as a comprehensive strategic partner and follows a Europe policy featuring stability and continuity. While appreciating the EU’s statement of not subscribing to zero-sum game, we see its perception of China — the triptych of rival, partner and competitor — as self-contradictory. In fact, China and Europe have broad common interests with cooperation and consensus far surpassing competition and disagreements. We hope the European side will not be biased by ideological difference, rise above external disruption, uphold strategic autonomy, form its independent and objective perception of China, and adopt a positive and rational China policy. This best serves its interests. As the Chinese side has stressed repeatedly, the “de-risking” rhetoric is based on a false narrative. China-Europe economic and trade cooperation enjoys a sound foundation, fruitful outcomes and enormous potential. The dependencies are mutual and our cooperation is mutually beneficial. China can be an important partner for the EU in the face of risks and challenges. We hope the European side will provide a fair and non-discriminatory business environment for Chinese companies and avoid politicizing economic and trade issues or approaching them from an untenable security angle.

In a world of profound changes and fluid international landscape, the global significance and strategic influence of relations between China and Europe, two constructive forces and sources of stability, has become even more pronounced. Just as State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang said during his recent trip to Europe, China and Europe need to keep an open mind and respect and support the development paths independently chosen by the people of all countries around the world. We need to view history correctly and progressively, jointly reject a new Cold War, and lead by example in promoting coordination and sound interaction between major countries. We need to stay committed to win-win cooperation, oppose decoupling and supply chain disruption, and keep global industrial and supply chains stable and unimpeded.

As we mark the 20th anniversary of the establishment of comprehensive strategic partnership between China and the EU, we stand ready to work together with the EU to fully resume exchange at all levels, revitalize dialogue and cooperation across the board, ensure the sound and steady growth of our relations, and inject new impetus into world peace, stability and prosperity.

Reuters: Yonhap reported today that South Korean football player Son Jun-ho has been detained in Liaoning Province. Can the foreign ministry provide any information about the case or any comment?

Wang Wenbin: I’m not aware of what you mentioned.

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