China FO Presser

China FO Presser, Apr 12, 2023

13 Min
China FO Presser, Apr 12, 2023

China Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin held a Regular Press Conference on April 12, 2023. Some excerpts

Xinhua News Agency: You just announced that EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell will visit China. How do you view the current China-EU relations? What expectations does China have for the Dialogue?

Wang Wenbin: This year marks the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the China-EU Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. China and the EU have seen frequent high-level exchanges in recent weeks. Dialogue and cooperation have resumed across the board. The China-EU relations have shown a positive momentum of growth. China welcomes High Representative Josep Borrell to visit China and hold the China-EU High-level Strategic Dialogue with State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang. This will help both sides better implement the important common understandings of the leaders of the two countries and provide new impetus for the growth of China-EU relations and the peace, stability and prosperity of the world.

In an uncertain and volatile world fraught with global challenges, only by working together can the international community better meet the challenges. China and Europe are two major forces, two big markets and two great civilizations in a multipolar world. China-EU relations have global influence and significance. China and the EU need to stay committed to our comprehensive strategic partnership, step up strategic communication and coordination, enhance mutual trust, focus on cooperation, remove obstacles and work together to address global challenges.

AFP: Can you confirm reports that China is planning to impose a no-fly zone north of Taiwan from April 16 to 18? The second question is, Taiwan has accused Chinese fishing crews of repeatedly cutting the island’s undersea cables. Does the foreign ministry have any response to this?

Wang Wenbin: I am not aware of what you mentioned.

TASS: During State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang’s visit to Uzbekistan, aside from attending the fourth Foreign Ministers’ Meeting among the Neighboring Countries of Afghanistan, does he plan to have a one-on-one meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov?

Wang Wenbin: We have released information that State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang will attend the fourth Foreign Ministers’ Meeting among the Neighboring Countries of Afghanistan in Uzbekistan and visit Uzbekistan. As for your question, China and Russia are comprehensive strategic partners of coordination for the new era. The two foreign ministers have maintained close exchanges through various means.

CRI: You just announced that German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock will visit China. How does China view the current China-Germany relations? What expectations does China have for this visit?

Wang Wenbin: China and Germany are all-round strategic partners. Last year, our two countries celebrated the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties. Over the past five decades or so, guided by the principle of mutual respect, mutual trust and mutual benefit, China and Germany have made good progress in bilateral relations and continued to deepen and expand practical cooperation across the board. This has been a source of stability for and given a boost to the growth of China-EU relations and contributed to world peace and prosperity.

During the visit, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang and Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock will co-chair the sixth round of China-Germany Strategic Dialogue on Diplomacy and Security. They will have a comprehensive and in-depth communication on China’s relationship with Germany and the EU as well as international and regional hotspot issues. China believes that under the current international circumstances, the strategic dialogue between Chinese and German foreign ministers will help the two countries follow through on the important consensus reached between the leaders of the two countries, enhance strategic communication, consolidate strategic mutual trust, deepen strategic cooperation and continue to add more dimensions to the China-Germany all-round strategic partnership and jointly respond to global challenges.

CCTV: We noted that the foreign ministry put out China’s Position on the Afghan Issue on its website today. Could you share with us China’s considerations?

Wang Wenbin: Afghanistan is an important neighbor to the west of China. Since Afghanistan saw fundamental change in August 2021, China has continued to follow the five principles of peaceful coexistence and pursued neighborhood diplomacy featuring amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness. We have maintained contact and exchange with Afghanistan’s interim government in a way that features equality and respect. We have taken concrete action to help Afghanistan alleviate economic and livelihood difficulties and engaged in intensive multilateral coordination on Afghanistan, including in particular facilitating the three meetings of Afghanistan’s neighboring countries’ foreign ministers. Those efforts have played a positive and constructive role in achieving a stable transition of the situation in Afghanistan.?

Afghanistan has had its fair share of hardships. With much remains to be done in the country, Afghanistan is in a crucial period of moving from turbulence to stabilization. To fully outline China’s policy and propositions in a systematic way and build consensus and synergy among countries in the region and elsewhere on stabilizing and helping Afghanistan, the foreign ministry released China’s Position on the Afghan Issue, which covers 11 aspects, including adhering to the basic policy of “Three Respects” and “Three Nevers”, supporting moderate and prudent governance in Afghanistan, supporting peace and reconstruction of Afghanistan, supporting Afghanistan in countering terrorism resolutely and forcefully, calling for greater bilateral and multilateral counter-terrorism cooperation, urging the US to live up to its commitments and responsibilities to Afghanistan, strengthening multilateral coordination on issues concerning Afghanistan, facilitating solution to Afghanistan’s humanitarian and refugee issues, and supporting Afghanistan’s fight against narcotics.

The fourth Meeting of Foreign Ministers among the Neighboring Countries of Afghanistan will be held in Samarkand, Uzbekistan tomorrow. China stands ready to step up coordination and cooperation with Afghanistan’s neighbors and the rest of the world to help Afghanistan embark on a path of stability and development at an early date and jointly realize lasting security, prosperity and progress in the region.?

Shenzhen TV: On April 11, the China Cybersecurity Industry Alliance issued a report, disclosing over ten cases in which US intelligence agencies launched cyber attacks, carried out internet monitoring and espionage, and leaked and proliferated cyberattack weapons and tools since 2010. What is your comment on this???

Wang Wenbin: We have noted the report. The report provides a systematic account of the history and typical cases of cyber attacks undertaken by relevant departments of the US government and their negative impact on global cyber security and contains a full list of shocking revelations. I would like to share with you some of the cases from the report and hope this will give you a further idea about how the US jeopardizes global cyber security.

Case 1: In 2010, the US was found using the Stuxnet virus to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities. This is the first case in history where a government launched cyber attacks against key infrastructure of other countries, opening the Pandora’s box of state-to-state cyberwarfare. In 2022, the US Cyber Command announced that it is their obligation to “own the domain”.

Case 2: The ransomware WannaCry that affected most countries and caused the most severe losses across the world in 2017 was the result of leaked cyber weapons from the US National Security Agency. Ironically, in 2021, the US put on an act by launching a so-called International Counter-Ransomware Initiative with dozens of countries.

Case 3: In 2013, PRISM revealed how the US engaged in cyber espionage across the world, including against China. The US even asked nine international internet giants, including Microsoft, Yahoo, Google and Apple to cooperate with the US government to secretly monitor information. The program even invaded the network equipment of multiple countries including Germany and the ROK. On the other hand, since 2018, the US has been citing digital security as an excuse to suppress Chinese companies without providing any evidence, and it even coerced its allies who were also victims of US espionage to join the gang.

Case 4: In 2013, the media exposed that the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) uses its cryptography standards to install backdoors, which expands the targets of supply chain attacks from IT products to IT standards. On March 30, 2023, the US’s top diplomat said at the “Summit for Democracy” that the US is working with partners to establish as necessary rules and norms, so that technology is developed in ways that reflect what they call “democratic values and interests”.

Case 5: In 2015, the media disclosed the US government’s Project CAMBERDADA, which is aimed to intrude, divide and suppress foreign cybersecurity vendors and force them to dance to the tune of the US. As a result, few global cybersecurity vendors now choose to disclose cases of the US’s cyberattacks, and some US cybersecurity vendors have even become an accomplice of the US government’s disinformation campaign targeting other countries.

These cases show once again that the US is the origin of cyber warfare, the biggest spreader of advanced cyber weapons and the biggest global cyber thief. The so-called Clean Network and what the US calls “technology that reflects democratic values and interests” are just a pretext for it to unscrupulously conduct cyber thefts and attacks and ensure its supremacy. The US has been holding other countries to high standards, but clearly these?standards?mean?little?to?the US itself. This is textbook double standards.

We would like to stress that safeguarding cybersecurity is a shared responsibility of all countries. Cyberspace is not a battle field or wrestling ground, still less should it be used as a tool to split the international community or contain and bring down other countries. It is in the international community’s common interest to end the US’s lawlessness on cyber theft and reveal its hypocrisy on cyber security.

Kyodo News: A follow-up on China’s position on the Afghan issue. Does the document indicate whether China recognizes the Afghan interim government?

Wang Wenbin: We have put China’s Position on the Afghan Issue on the website of the foreign ministry, which you may refer to for details. As for whether China recognizes the Afghan interim government, we have stated our position before, which you may look up.

PTI: Just a clarification of what you said about the Afghan interim government. The Chinese constant position was that there should be an inclusive government in Afghanistan and Taliban should facilitate that. The second thing is about girls’ education, as well as jobs for women. That was a rather global demand, including by the United Nations, backed by China in the past. So considering the years passed, how does China look at these two issues??

Wang Wenbin: Our position on both of your questions has been consistent. We support the Afghan government in adopting moderate, prudent and inclusive polices. We also noted that the Afghan interim government has stressed on many occasions that it will respect and protect the rights and interests of women and rolled out relevant laws. China hopes that these stated policies will be followed through and that the Afghan interim government will resolve relevant issues through consultation with parties concerned at an early date.

The Paper: The Russian Defence Ministry disclosed at a briefing that the US has resumed military-biological activities in Ukraine. Although the US has changed the name of relevant program, the Russian side believes that relevant activities are essentially aimed at developing bio-weapons. The State Duma of Russia has adopted the investigation report on issues related to US military-biological activities. Do you have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: We have noted the reports. The US conducts more military-biological activities than any other country in the world. It is also the only country that has refused verification on this issue. This has long caused serious concern from the international community. Regrettably, the US has yet to provide any meaningful clarification. The only thing the world has been hearing from the US is empty slogans. Not only that. The US has been the only country that continues to oppose multilateral negotiations on establishing a verification mechanism, which fundamentally closes the door for resolving the issue of compliance with the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC). The US even does anything it can to thwart negotiations on an international convention to combat acts of chemical and biological terrorism, an initiative that would apparently benefit all humanity.

Whenever it comes to international security, the US always makes a great deal about compliance and demands verification for other countries. Why on biological security in particular, has?the US been mum about its own compliance issue? Is there any “secret” that the US is trying to hide? The rest of the world would not accept the US double standard. Still less will they sit by and watch the US stay outside the law on issues that matter to world peace and security.

China supports the international community in taking a serious and just attitude and continuing to review the US compliance with the BWC, so as to truly safeguard the authority and efficacy of the convention. We once again urge the US to earnestly live up to its international obligations, make comprehensive clarification and receive verification on its military-biological activities both within and outside the country, and stop thwarting international efforts to strengthen the biological security governance system and legal framework.

Bloomberg: Sri Lanka’s central bank governor told Bloomberg that he expects China to support the country’s effort to restructure debt. Does China plan to negotiate bilaterally or as part of a creditor group for the Sri Lanka debt negotiations and what form of debt relief would Beijing be willing to offer?

Wang Wenbin: I would refer you to the competent authorities for the specifics about the negotiations. Let me say that the Export-Import Bank of China, as the official bilateral creditor, stated clearly in its financing support documents to Sri Lankan finance ministry that the Bank is going to provide an extension on the debt service due in 2022 and 2023, which means Sri Lanka will not have to repay the principal and interest due of the Bank’s loans during the above-mentioned period, so as to help relieve Sri Lanka’s short-term debt repayment pressure; meanwhile, the Bank would like to have friendly consultation with Sri Lanka regarding medium- and long-term debt treatment in this window period; and the Bank will make best efforts to contribute to the debt sustainability of Sri Lanka.?

I would also like to reiterate that we continue to support Chinese financial institutions in actively working out the debt treatment. We will work with relevant countries and international financial institutions to jointly play a positive role in helping Sri Lanka navigate the situation, ease its debt burden and achieve sustainable development. At the same time, we call on commercial and multilateral creditors to take part in Sri Lanka’s debt restructuring based on fair burden-sharing.

Dragon TV: According to US media reports, some suspected classified Pentagon documents have been circulating on social media recently. These leaked documents indicate that the US government is deeply involved in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine and has been spying on its allies. This is not the first time for scandals like this to be revealed. Former CIA analyst Ray McGovern recently said during an interview that “when you talk about the US allies, they are really US vassals.” Do you have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: We noted that many media outlets have pointed out that these leaked US military documents clearly show the deep involvement of the US in the Ukraine crisis. They also show once again that the US has long used its tech edge to conduct indiscriminate secret theft, surveillance and eavesdropping on countries in the world, including its allies. The US needs to give an explanation to the international community for this.

The top US diplomat said at the so-called “Summit for Democracy” that the US is working with partners to ensure that technology is developed and used in ways that reflect what they call “democratic values and interests”. Facts have proven once again that the so-called “democratic values” claimed by the US are nothing but a pretext and a tool for the US to seek selfish gains.

AFP: US Secretary of State Blinken vowed yesterday to stand with the Philippines against any intimidation or coercion, including in the South China Sea. Given that China has said the ongoing US-Philippine military drills should not interfere in the South China Sea, what’s China’s response to Blinken’s remarks?

Wang Wenbin: We noted that on April 11, the Philippines and the US held the 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue and issued a joint statement, which called on China to comply with the 2016 “Arbitral Award” on the South China Sea. The statement also mentions that the two countries will support swift operationalization of the new sites for military bases under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement and that the US will provide financial support for this. We also noted that Philippine President Marcos said China’s reaction over the expanded military deal was “not surprising”.?

Let me point out first and foremost that China is gravely concerned over and strongly disapproves the joint statement of the US and the Philippines.

China has indisputable sovereignty over the South China Sea Islands and the adjacent waters. The joint statement of the US and the Philippines misrepresents and discredits the legitimate and lawful maritime law enforcement activities of the Chinese side and even makes false accusations against China. We strongly oppose this. The so-called arbitral award on the South China Sea gravely violates international laws, including UNCLOS. The award is illegal, null and void. China’s position of not accepting or recognizing it is clear and firm. We stand ready to work with relevant countries to handle maritime disputes in a proper manner through negotiation and consultation, while resolutely protecting our territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests.?

With regard to the new military base sites to which the Philippines gives the US access, we have stated China’s position several times. Facts speak louder than words. Judging from the locations of the new military bases, the intention behind those sites is more than obvious. The US and the Philippines have just added a footnote to their intention by stressing in the joint statement that they will “support swift operationalization of the four new sites”. It seems there is no need for China to provide any additional analysis or interpretation of that. So indeed there is nothing to be surprised about when it comes to China’s response.

China always believes that the Asia-Pacific is the common home of countries in the region. Our region’s peace and stability hinges on trust, solidarity and cooperation and requires that we, as members of this region, take our security firmly in our own hands. We would like to once again remind the relevant country in the region that pandering to forces outside the region will not bring greater security, but will cause tensions, put regional peace and stability at risk and eventually backfire.

PTI: President Lula of Brazil is visiting China. Will there be a discussion on BRICS especially going forward in the future and considering Brazil also is an active partner?

Wang Wenbin: We released a preview on Brazilian President Lula da Silva’s visit to China and shared with you China’s expectations for the outcomes of the visit. As for the details of President Lula’s visit to China, we will issue press releases in due course. Please check back for updates.

China’s position on BRICS cooperation is consistent. We are ready to work with relevant countries to advance BRICS cooperation on the basis of mutual respect and equality and make our due contribution to world peace and development and solidarity and cooperation among developing countries.

AFP: French President Macron has continued to receive criticism for saying that Europe should follow neither the US nor China when it comes to Taiwan. Former US President Trump yesterday accused Macron of pandering to China. You previously stated China’s stance on Taiwan, but would you be willing to comment specifically on Macron’s remarks and the controversy surrounding them?

Wang Wenbin: As a journalist from AFP, you are particularly interested in President Macron’s visit to China, which I think is understandable. Not long ago, French President Emmanuel Macron paid a successful visit to China, during which the two sides reached important common understandings. The visit injected new impetus into China-France and China-EU cooperation.?

It comes as no surprise that President Macron’s view that Europe should develop more strategic autonomy and avoid getting entangled in bloc confrontation has attracted some criticism, especially from the US. From our perspective, certain country is reluctant to see other countries being independent, and often seeks to coerce others into doing its bidding. But the truth is, strategic autonomy will bring more respect and friends, while coercion and pressure will only cause more resistance and opposition.

AFP: The foreign ministry of Honduras has said that it met with Chinese officials to work out bilateral economic agreements. Could you give us any details of this meeting and any potential agreements?

Wang Wenbin: You can check our previous response to similar questions. I would like to reiterate that we welcome the Honduran government’s decision to establish and develop relations with China on the basis of the one-China principle. We are ready to advance cooperation with Honduras across the board on the basis of mutual respect, equality, mutual benefit and common development to boost the socioeconomic development of Honduras and deliver more benefits to both peoples.