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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on August 30, 2023
2023-08-30 20:00

AFP: British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly is visiting China today. According to the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, he will raise human rights issues in relation to Hong Kong, Xinjiang and Tibet during talks with the Chinese side. Does China welcome discussion on these topics? Could you update us on the visit? 

Wang Wenbin: I responded to a related question yesterday. As permanent members of the UN Security Council and major economies in the world, China and the UK shoulder the common responsibility of promoting world peace, stability and development. Maintaining and growing bilateral relations serves the common interests of the peoples of both countries.

During Foreign Secretary Cleverly’s visit to China, the two sides will have in-depth communication on bilateral relations and international and regional issues of mutual interest. We hope the UK will work with China to deepen exchanges and enhance understanding in the spirit of mutual respect, so as to promote the steady development of China-UK relations. 

Affairs relating to Hong Kong, Xinjiang and Tibet are China’s internal affairs, where other countries have no right to interfere.

Reuters: Facebook parent company Meta said in its security report that it had found links between people associated with Chinese law enforcement and the pro-China influence operation termed “Spamouflage”. What is the ministry’s comment on Facebook’s findings?

Wang Wenbin: I’m not aware of what you mentioned. Some people and institutions have launched one “rumor campaign” after another against China on social media platforms and spread a tremendous amount of disinformation about China.

We hope that relevant company can uphold the principle of objectivity and impartiality, avoid applying double standards, truly differentiate rumors and lies from truth and facts, and take concrete steps to weed out disinformation on China.

Kyodo News: Regarding China’s ban on all seafood imports from Japan, a Japanese government official said yesterday that the government might file a complaint to the WTO over that decision if the diplomatic channel doesn’t work. Do you have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: We’ve made clear our solemn position on the issue of Japan’s discharge of nuclear-contaminated water into the sea on multiple occasions. The Japanese government’s selfish and irresponsible ocean discharge has been widely criticized by the international community and relevant preventive measures have been taken. In accordance with Chinese laws and regulations and the relevant provisions of the WTO’s Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures, China’s competent authorities have taken urgent measures on aquatic products originating from Japan. This is completely justified, reasonable and necessary.

AFP: It was reported that Russian President Putin will attend the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in China in October. Can China confirm this?

Wang Wenbin: The third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation will be held later this year. China and BRI partners are in communication on this. We will release information in due course.

China Daily: According to reports, India’s External Affairs Ministry spokesperson said that India lodged a strong protest through diplomatic channels with the Chinese side on the standard map released by China and that such steps by the Chinese side only complicate the resolution of the boundary question. What’s China’s comment?

Wang Wenbin: On August 28, the Ministry of Natural Resources of China released the 2023 edition of the standard map. It is a routine practice in China’s exercise of sovereignty in accordance with the law. We hope relevant sides can stay objective and calm, and refrain from over-interpreting the issue.

Reuters: US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo remarked last evening that US firms have complained to her that China has become “uninvestible” and “too risky”. What is the ministry’s comment on this?

Wang Wenbin: The Chinese side has released readouts on Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo’s visit to China. You may refer to them. The Chinese side stated our position at relevant meetings and talks on such issues as bilateral relations and the economic and trade relations between China and the US. I would like to take this opportunity to share relevant information with you.

Premier Li Qiang met with Secretary Raimondo yesterday. During the meeting, Premier Li Qiang said that the economic and trade relations between China and the US are mutually beneficial and win-win in nature. Politicizing economic and trade issues and overstretching the concept of security will not only seriously affect bilateral relations and mutual trust, but also undermine the interests of enterprises and people of the two countries, and will have a disastrous impact on the global economy. Noting that China is the largest developing country and the US is the largest developed country, Li said the two sides should strengthen mutually beneficial cooperation, reduce friction and confrontation, and jointly promote world economic recovery and cope with global challenges. Li said China is willing to strengthen dialogue and cooperation with the US on the economy and trade, and to promote the sound development of bilateral economic and trade relations. He said he hopes that the US will work with China in the same direction. China is actively advancing its high-level opening-up and making efforts to provide a world-class, market-oriented business environment governed by a sound legal framework, Li said. The country is also working to ease market access further, treat foreign companies in the same manner as domestic firms, and safeguard and promote fair competition, he said, adding that China will only open its doors even wider to the outside world. “Mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation are the right ways for China and the US to get along. We hope that the US side will work with China to take more practical and beneficial actions to maintain and develop bilateral relations,” he added.

Secretary Raimondo said that the Biden administration supports China’s economic development and its improvement of people’s livelihoods, has no intention of containing China’s development, does not seek to decouple from China, is willing to maintain communication and normal economic and trade relations, and is willing to promote the steady development of bilateral relations. The US side also stands ready to strengthen cooperation with China on artificial intelligence, addressing climate change, and combating fentanyl, she added.

Vice Premier and Chinese lead person for China-US economic and trade affairs He Lifeng also met with Secretary Raimondo yesterday. The two sides had candid, pragmatic and constructive discussions over implementing the important consensus reached at the Bali meeting between the two countries’ heads of state, as well as economic and trade issues of common concern. The Chinese side expressed its concerns over measures taken by the US, such as Section 301 tariffs, export controls against China and two-way investment restrictions. The two sides agreed to continue to maintain communication and support enterprises of the two countries in carrying out pragmatic cooperation.

China enjoys several distinct advantages: a socialist market economy in systemic terms, a supersize market in terms of demand, a full-fledged industrial system in terms of supply, and abundant, high-caliber labor force and entrepreneurs in terms of human resources. It remains a major destination for global investment. An AmCham China survey shows that 66 percent of US companies in China will maintain or increase investment in China in the coming two years. We hope that the US can work with China to put into practice its commitment of not seeking a decoupling from China and create a favorable environment for the sound development of China-US economic and trade ties.

AFP: What’s China’s comment on the tense political situation in Gabon?

Wang Wenbin: China is closely following the developments in Gabon. We call on relevant sides in the country to proceed from the fundamental interests of the nation and the people, resolve differences peacefully through dialogue, restore order at an early date, ensure the personal safety of President Ali Bongo Ondimba, and safeguard the larger interests of national peace, stability and development.

TASS: A report by the UK’s House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee says Taiwan is an “independent country”. Does the foreign ministry have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory. The one-China principle is a universally recognized norm in international relations and the political foundation of China-UK relations. The relevant report of the British parliament blatantly referred to Taiwan as “an independent country”, which distorts the facts and is totally misleading. We urge the relevant committee of the British parliament to abide by the one-China principle, observe international law and the norms governing international relations, respect China’s core interests, stop sending wrong signals to “Taiwan independence” separatist forces, take concrete actions to fulfill the UK’s political commitments on the Taiwan question and maintain the sound and steady growth of the China-UK relations. 

Fuji TV: Regarding the harassing phone calls from Chinese numbers to Japanese nationals, earlier you said you were not aware of them. I wonder if you have any updates now?

Wang Wenbin: I would like to reiterate that China protects the safety of foreign diplomatic and consular missions and the lawful rights and interests of foreign citizens in China in accordance with law. We also urge the Japanese side to ensure the safety of Chinese diplomatic and consular missions, institutions, companies and citizens, including Chinese tourists, in Japan.

I also want to stress that the root cause of the current situation lies in the fact that the Japanese government, in disregard of the strong criticism of the international community, has unilaterally and forcibly started the discharge of the Fukushima nuclear-contaminated water into the sea, which has brought unpredictable risks to the global marine environment and the health of the whole humanity and sparked widespread indignation from the international community. The Japanese side should immediately stop releasing the nuclear-contaminated water into the sea and respond to the concerns of the international community in a responsible manner.

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