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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lin Jian’s Regular Press Conference on March 20, 2024

2024-03-20 20:11

At the invitation of Premier Li Qiang of the State Council, Prime Minister of Dominica Roosevelt Skerrit will pay an official visit to China from March 23 to 29.

CCTV: On March 19, the Legislative Council of the Hong Kong SAR unanimously voted in favour of the passage of the Safeguarding National Security Bill. The US, the UK, Japan, the EU and other parties pointed fingers at this. What’s the Foreign Ministry’s comment? 

Lin Jian: We strongly deplore and firmly oppose individual countries and organizations’ slandering and smear against the Safeguarding National Security Bill of Hong Kong.

The Legislative Council of the Hong Kong SAR unanimously voted in favour of the passage of the Safeguarding National Security Bill, which further implements the SAR’s constitutional responsibility of safeguarding national security, further cements the security foundation for Hong Kong’s development and serves as a landmark in advancing the cause of One Country, Two Systems on our new journey in the new era.

Security is the prerequisite for development, and the rule of law is the cornerstone of prosperity. The Safeguarding National Security Bill of Hong Kong strikes a balance between safeguarding national security and upholding rights, freedoms and economic development, and fully draws on other countries’ legislation experience in the same field. The bill helps the SAR to further coordinate between development and security, better harness Hong Kong’s unique status and advantage, and deepen closer and more open exchanges and cooperation between Hong Kong and countries and regions in the world.

With high-level security guarantee, we are fully confident in Hong Kong achieving high-quality development and high-standard opening up and we are fully confident in the sound implementation of One Country, Two Systems in the long run and Hong Kong’s stability and thriving development!

I want to stress that the Chinese government has unwavering resolve in safeguarding its national sovereignty, security and development interests, in implementing One Country, Two Systems and in opposing any external interference in Hong Kong’s affairs. Any attacks and smears against the Safeguarding National Security Bill will not have their way and are doomed to failure.

RIA Novosti: Media reports, citing some officials, said that the Chinese leader will meet with French President in Paris. Can you confirm it?

Lin Jian: In recent years, the China-France relations have enjoyed a good momentum of growth. The two sides maintain close high-level strategic communication. This year marks the 60th anniversary of China-France diplomatic ties. The two sides have held a series of celebration events to mark the anniversary and are in communication on bilateral exchanges at various levels and in various fields in the next phase. As of the specific visit you mentioned, I have nothing to offer.

CCTV: You just announced that Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit will pay an official visit to China. Can you brief us on the arrangements of the visit? What’s China’s expectation of the visit?

Lin Jian: This year marks the 20th anniversary of diplomatic ties between China and Dominica. China welcomes Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit to pay an official visit to China at this special time. During the visit, President Xi Jinping will meet with Prime Minister Skerrit. Premier Li Qiang will hold a welcome ceremony for and hold talks with Prime Minister Skerrit and they will jointly attend a signing ceremony of cooperation documents. Chairman Zhao Leji will meet with Prime Minister Skerrit. The two sides will have in-depth exchange of views on bilateral ties and issues of common interest, and jointly chart the blueprint of future development of China-Dominica relationship.

Dominica is an important nation in the Caribbean region and is also China’s good friend and good partner in this region. Over the past two decades since our two countries established diplomatic ties, the relationship between China and Dominica has enjoyed steady growth and become a fine example of mutual respect, equality, mutual benefits, common development and win-win cooperation between countries of different sizes. We believe that Prime Minister Skerrit’s upcoming visit to China will further enhance our political mutual trust, deepen practical cooperation in various fields, cement traditional friendship and bring the China-Dominica relationship to a new level.

Shenzhen TV: At the third summit for democracy held in Seoul on March 18, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken reportedly said that the US State Department released a report last year detailing how the Chinese Government has invested billions of dollars to spread propaganda and twist the global information environment. He also mentioned that China has purchased media companies in Africa and Southeast Asia which then run heavily pro-PRC news. What’s your comment?

Lin Jian: China strongly deplores and firmly opposes Secretary Blinken’s remarks. We have made solemn representations to the US side.

“Democracy versus authoritarianism” hyped up at the so-called “summit for democracy” is a false narrative. The claim that China is spreading disinformation itself is disinformation. The US is the world’s biggest source and spreader of disinformation. The world sees this clearly.

China’s economy maintains a good momentum toward stable growth, but the US keeps hyping up “China collapse” and “peak China”. The Belt and Road Initiative brings benefits to people of many countries, but the US keeps hyping up the so-called “debt trap.” The true stories on China told by foreigners were described by the US as “China manipulation of public opinion.” Policy steps to promote stability and development in Xinjiang were labeled by the US as “forced labor” and “genocide.” US politicians, including the CIA director, on multiple occasions revealed their covert tactics of spreading remarks to smear China, such as bribing the media. All these show that the US has spread China-related disinformation in an organized and well-planned way for a long time and it’s America’s important approach to wage a battle of perception against China.

Eventually, lies and conspiracy will only backfire. The harder the US tries to fabricate rumors and mislead the world, the more obvious its credibility deficit is to the world, and the more notorious its name will be.

AFP: According to Kyodo News, Chinese authorities have notified Japan that they have begun a process to decide whether to indict a senior employee at the pharmaceutical company Astellas, who was arrested in October. Is the Foreign Ministry able to confirm that this process has begun and provide any further details?

Lin Jian: China is a country that upholds the rule of law. We probe and handle illegal and criminal activities in accordance with the law and protect the lawful rights of the person concerned. We hope the Japanese side will educate and guide its citizens to abide by China’s laws and regulations and do not conduct illegal and criminal activities in our territory.

CGTN: Since the outbreak of the latest Palestinian-Israeli conflict on October 7, the Chinese side has actively mediated among different parties. Ambassador Wang Kejian of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs visited Egypt, Palestine, Israel and Qatar in the Middle East recently. Can you share with us China’s recent efforts for mediation?

Lin Jian: Since the outbreak of the latest Palestinian-Israeli conflict, China has striven for a ceasefire, effective protection of civilians and deescalation of the humanitarian crisis. Recently, Ambassador Wang Kejian visited Egypt, Palestine, Israel and Qatar in the Middle East for the early deescalation of the situation in Gaza. Relevant parties widely appreciated China’s just position and active efforts to achieve a ceasefire, ease the humanitarian situation, and avoid the further spillover of the conflict. They look to China playing a greater role in deescalating the conflict and cooling down the situation. 

Since the outbreak of the conflict in Gaza, we have maintained close communication and coordination with the Arab countries, built broad-based consensus with relevant parties in the international community, and promoted the comprehensive ceasefire with the greatest sense of urgency. We have closely followed the humanitarian situation in Gaza and have already provided multiple batches of emergency humanitarian assistance to Gaza through bilateral and multilateral channels. China has actively encouraged all factions in Palestine to achieve internal reconciliation through dialogue and firmly supported “the Palestinians governing Palestine”. We have contributed to the UN Security Council’s adoption of the first resolution in this regard since the outbreak of the conflict, released the Position Paper of the People’s Republic of China on Resolving the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict, and fully promoted more responsible and meaningful actions by the UNSC. We call for Palestine’s full membership in the UN and a more broad-based, more authoritative, and more effective international peace conference to work out a timetable and road map for the two-State solution. China will continue to work with the international community to restore peace, save lives, and uphold justice.

Bloomberg: China launched a satellite this morning using a Chinese rocket. Later, the Philippine Space Agency said that debris was projected to have fallen near the Panay Island in the country’s southern area and said that this represented a potential risk to ships, aircrafts, fishing boats and other vessels. So my question is, does the Chinese Foreign Ministry have a comment on the Philippine Space Agency referencing a space debris in Philippine area?

Lin Jian: China’s maritime authorities have issued relevant announcement. I would refer you to the competent authorities.

TASS: Director of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service Sergey Naryshkin said yesterday that there are French troops in Ukraine and that France is preparing 2,000 troops to be sent to Ukraine. However, the French Armed Forces Ministry denied that. Has Special Representative of the Chinese Government Li Hui talked about that with the French side during his visit to Paris? And What’s China’s comment?

Lin Jian: On Special Representative of the Chinese Government on Eurasian Affairs Li Hui’s visit to France, we’ve released information which you may refer to.

China’s position on the Ukraine issue is consistent and clear. Facilitating dialogue and negotiation and seeking a political settlement of the crisis is the top priority. China sincerely hopes that relevant sides will show political will, deescalate the situation and work together for an early ceasefire and a balanced, effective and sustainable security architecture in Europe. 

Hubei Media Group: The first China-Europe Railway Express line connecting Heilongjiang Province of China with Tilburg of the Netherlands was launched last week. It can save two thirds of delivery time compared with sea shipping and is welcomed by businesses. What is your comment?

Lin Jian: We noted this good news. The China-Europe Railway Express (CRE) has made remarkable achievements and shown a sound momentum of development this year. Data shows that for the first two months, the CRE made 2,928 trips and shipped 317 thousand TEUs of freight, up by 9 percent and 10 percent year-on-year respectively. Existing lines were improved both in quality and efficiency, new lines were launched, and more types of goods were added to the shipping list. New models such as “CRE+industrial parks” and “CRE+ports” were created, bringing more development opportunities for countries along the lines.

Over the past ten plus years since its launch, the CRE, with its strengths in green, low-carbon, safe, efficient and convenient transportation, has reshaped trans-border transportation on the Eurasian continent, provided a new platform for trade and economic cooperation, and become an important means of trans-border land transportation of logistics and a flagship project of Belt and Road cooperation between China and Europe. The CRE has also effectively improved rail connectivity as well as sea-rail, road-rail and air-rail combined transport on the Eurasian continent, safeguarded the stability of industrial and supply chains, boosted regional economic growth, and become a stabilizer for trade and accelerator for development to China, Europe and other countries along the lines. It is a vivid demonstration of China’s determination and action in expanding high-standard opening up, and represents China’s positive contribution to global economic growth.

We will work with countries along the lines to promote the continued and high-quality development of the CRE, and turn these lines of steel on the Eurasian continent into roads to common prosperity.

Reuters: Angolan media reports that China and Angola have reached a debt restructuring deal over the weekend that will free up certain amount of capital a month. Please could the Foreign Ministry confirm whether this is the case and provide more information on the terms of the agreement reached?

Lin Jian: Over the years, China has carried out fruitful practical cooperation with Angola on the basis of equality, mutual benefit and win-win cooperation. China’s financial institutions have financed and supported its post-conflict reconstruction and implemented a large number of major livelihood projects and infrastructure projects, making significant contribution to its socioeconomic development and improvement of people’s livelihood.

China attaches great importance to Angola’s debt sustainability. The issue that you just raised and the description of the communication between the two sides are not accurate. As I have learned, relevant Chinese financial institutions have had friendly and in-depth communications with the Angolan side on issues including adjusting the mechanism to ensure repayment concerning financing cooperation. Positive progress has been made and we believe that we will reach a plan agreeable to both sides. These adjustments are not debt restructuring. Besides, the Angolan side had already said that it has the full capability to continue to repay to financial institutions on time.

China News Service: The Washington Post recently published a special report on the interview with six Chinese students and two visiting scholars who were harassed, interrogated, and deported without just cause when entering the US border. The report gave details on what happened to some of them and received much attention in the US. What’s China’s comment?

Lin Jian: China has repeatedly stated its solemn position on the US, without any just cause, harassing, interrogating, and deporting Chinese citizens, especially students and scholars. The US frequently adopts discriminatory, politically motivated and selective law enforcement against Chinese students, which severely violates the legitimate and lawful rights and interests of the persons concerned, disrupts normal cross-border travel between China and the US, runs counter to the US’s commitment to facilitating and supporting cultural and people-to-people exchanges between the two countries and contravenes the common aspiration of the two peoples in carrying out friendly exchanges. We urge the US to earnestly listen to the voice from various sectors in the two countries, stop poisoning the public support for the bilateral ties, correct its wrongdoing of harassing, interrogating, and deporting Chinese citizens without just cause, and thoroughly look into the cases to offer an explanation to the victims. China will continue to adopt resolute measures to safeguard the legitimate and lawful rights and interests of Chinese citizens. 

AFP: Just now an Australian official has told AFP the Australian Foreign Minister told the Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi that the reforms in Hong Kong, including the new National Security Law passed yesterday, erode human rights in Hong Kong. Does the Chinese Foreign Ministry have any immediate reaction to this?

Lin Jian: I just clearly stated China’s position. I want to stress again that Hong Kong’s Safeguarding National Security Bill upholds the fundamental principle of respecting and protecting human rights and protects in accordance with the law the rights and freedoms which the residents of Hong Kong enjoy under the Basic Law, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights as applied to Hong Kong.

Bloomberg: The Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said that the threat to his nation from China is growing, but he also added that he’s not trying to start a conflict by poking a bear. This was in an exclusive interview with Bloomberg Television. Does the Foreign Ministry have any comment on President Marcos’ remarks regarding China’s threat to his country but that he is not trying to start a conflict?

Lin Jian: China’s territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea are solidly grounded in international law and pose no threat to any country. What has recently escalated the situation concerning the South China Sea issue between China and the Philippines is that the latter has frequently made infringements and provocations, stirred up troubles at sea, and spread disinformation to mislead the perception of the international community. China has firmly safeguarded its own territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests, and has at the same time striven to properly handle maritime disputes through dialogue and consultation with parties concerned and advance practical maritime cooperation based on sovereign equality to keep the South China Sea peaceful and stable. 

China Review News: On Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s plan to meet former Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating, Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong reportedly said that Mr Keating is entitled to his views, but he does not speak for the government. Australian Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Birmingham said that Mr Keating should reconsider this meeting, given just how publicly critical Paul Keating has been of the Albanese government and their foreign policy. What’s China’s response?

Lin Jian: Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi and Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Penny Wong held the seventh China-Australia Foreign and Strategic Dialogue in Canberra this morning. China has released a readout which you may refer to.

I want to highlight that Foreign Minister Wang Yi stressed in the dialogue that the ups and downs of China-Australia relations over the past decade have left us with lessons that we need to draw on and experience that we need to hold dear. The most fundamental one is the commitment to mutual respect, the most critical one is the commitment to seeking common ground while shelving differences, and the most important one is the commitment to mutual benefits. The two sides need to build on the good momentum that the bilateral relations have so far maintained, and act more actively to build a more mature, steady, and fruitful comprehensive strategic partnership. This serves the common interests of the two peoples and meets the expectations shared by regional countries. China stands ready to continue our friendly communication and exchange with people of various sectors in Australia.

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