China FO Presser

China FO Presser, Apr 14, 2023

13 Min
China FO Presser, Apr 14, 2023

China Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin held a Regular Press Conference on April 14, 2023. Some excerpts

CCTV: On the announced visit of Gabonese President Bongo to China, can you share more details about the program and China’s expectations for the visit? How does China view the current China-Gabon relations?

Wang Wenbin: Gabon is an important country in Central Africa. China and Gabon enjoy a traditional friendship. Since our two countries established diplomatic ties nearly 50 years ago, with the care of generations of leaders of both sides, China and Gabon have cemented and grown our relations, and firmly supported each other on issues that bear on the core interests and major concerns of each side. In recent years, the two countries have deepened political mutual trust, engaged in fruitful practical cooperation and worked closely with each other in international and regional affairs.

President Ali Bongo Ondimba will be the first African head of state to be received by President Xi Jinping since his reelection as Chinese President. During the visit, President Xi Jinping will hold a welcome ceremony and a welcome banquet for President Ali Bongo. The two heads of state will hold talks and jointly attend a signing ceremony of cooperation documents. Premier Li Qiang and Chairman Zhao Leji will meet with President Ali Bongo respectively. We are confident that this visit will provide new impetus for the comprehensive and deep-going growth of China-Gabon relations, and generate new outcomes in the friendly cooperation between the two countries.

TASS: German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock is on an official visit to China. She said in an interview earlier that China is Germany’s competitor, partner and systemic rival. What’s your comment? Will this affect China-Germany relations? On Taiwan, her position is very clear. Speaking after the PLA’s military drills around Taiwan between April 8 to 10, she said that Germany does not accept escalation in the situation across Taiwan Strait. How do you view all these comments?

Wang Wenbin: China’s positions on China-Germany and China-EU relations and on the Taiwan question are consistent and clear. I would like to take this opportunity to update you on Foreign Minister Baerbock’s visit to China.

Early this morning, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang, returning from an overseas trip, went to Tianjin and visited a German business there together with Foreign Minister Baerbock. Afterwards they took a high-speed train to Beijing. This is Foreign Minister Baerbock’s first official visit to China. We believe her activities in Tianjin with State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang provide a first-hand impression of China’s development and China-Germany mutually beneficial cooperation.

This morning, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang and Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock co-chaired the 6th round of China-Germany Strategic Dialogue on Diplomacy and Security. They held candid, in-depth strategic communication on bilateral ties and international and regional hotspot issues. They agreed to conduct exchange across the board to enhance strategic mutual trust, avoid strategic miscalculation, and shape correct mutual understanding; to advance cooperation in various sectors for win-win results in a practical and open spirit; to stay committed to mutual respect, mutual trust, equality, seeking common ground while shelving differences, and respect for each other’s core interests; to step up communication and coordination in international affairs and jointly address common risks and challenges facing humanity. The Chinese side also elaborated on its position on the Taiwan question. On the Ukraine issue, China stressed that the only viable way out of the crisis lies in peace talks. We stand ready to work for peace. We also hope relevant parties will stay objective and calm and make joint efforts towards a negotiated resolution of the crisis.

This year will see robust exchange and cooperation between China and Germany. Both sides will take this visit as an opportunity to enhance dialogue and communication, deepen mutually-beneficial cooperation, work for the sound and steady growth of our all-round strategic partnership, and add stability and fresh impetus for world peace and development.?

We’ll share more information about Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock’s visit. Please check back for updates.

CCTV: You just announced that Minister of Foreign Affairs of Uruguay Francisco Bustillo Bonasso will visit China. How does China view the current China-Uruguay relationship? Could you share the program of this visit and China’s expectations?

Wang Wenbin: China and Uruguay enjoy long-standing and profound friendship. This year marks the 35th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Uruguay. Over the past 35 years, especially since the establishment of strategic partnership in 2016, China and Uruguay have made good progress in our bilateral relations, which brings tangible benefits to the two peoples. Under the new circumstances, China stands ready to work with Uruguay to follow through on the important common understandings between the leaders of the two countries, deepen friendly exchanges and mutually beneficial cooperation and add new dimensions to the China-Uruguay strategic partnership.

During the visit, the two sides will have an in-depth exchange of views on bilateral relations and issues of mutual interest. It is believed that this visit will further consolidate the traditional friendship between China and Uruguay, deepen our political mutual trust, boost practical cooperation and take bilateral relations to a new height.?

CGTN: The second Informal Meeting?on Afghanistan Between Foreign Ministers of?China,Russia, Pakistan and Iran was held on April 13. Could you share more details??

Wang Wenbin: Yesterday, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang chaired the second Informal Meeting?on Afghanistan Between Foreign Ministers of?China, Russia, Pakistan and Iran in Samarkand. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and Pakistani Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar attended the meeting.

State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin noted that since the first informal meeting of foreign ministers of the four countries on the Afghan issue, China, Russia, Pakistan and Iran, as the core force for regional coordination on Afghanistan issue, have worked together to ensure the smooth transition of the situation in Afghanistan. Under the new circumstances, the Cold War mentality and bloc confrontation must be abandoned for the political settlement of the Afghan issue. All countries concerned need to adhere to the principle of indivisible security, address both the symptoms and root causes, and guide the Afghan Taliban to exercise governance in a moderate and prudent way through equal consultation and friendly dialogue with mutual respect. China, Russia, Pakistan and Iran should work together to make the international community pay more attention to terrorism-related security issues in Afghanistan to help the country effectively address terrorist threats and make a clean break with all terrorist forces. The four countries will encourage and support the Afghan Taliban in pursuing a modernization path suited for its national conditions, and help Afghanistan enhance self-driven development capacity and integrate itself into the regional economy.

This meeting of foreign ministers produced positive outcomes and reached a number of important consensus.

First, the Ministers reiterated respect for the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Afghanistan, and support for the “Afghan-led, Afghan-owned” principle to determine the country’s political future and development path.

Second, the Ministers emphasized their deep concerns regarding the terrorism-related security situation in Afghanistan, and urged the Afghan Interim Government to take more visible measures in upholding its stated commitments on counter-terrorism, dismantling and eliminating all sorts of terrorist groups, with a view to preventing the soil of Afghanistan from being used by any terrorist group. The Afghan authority should take effective measures to protect the safety, security and legitimate rights of foreign institutions and citizens.

Third, the Ministers called on the Afghan authority to build an inclusive government and protect the basic rights and interests of all Afghans, including women, children and ethnic minority groups.

Fourth, the Ministers pointed out that the US and its allies, who bear historic responsibility for the predicament in Afghanistan, should instantly lift unilateral sanctions against Afghanistan and return its overseas assets, for the benefits of Afghan people. They firmly opposed the reestablishment of military bases in and around Afghanistan.

Fifth, the Ministers called on the international community to continue providing humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan, help Afghanistan effectively fight narcotics and develop alternative crops cultivation, and help the country strengthen capacity for self-driven and sustainable development.

Sixth, the Ministers supported all diplomatic efforts conducive to facilitating the political settlement of the Afghan issue, and support the international community, in particular the United Nations, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the Foreign Ministers’ Meeting among Neighboring Countries of Afghanistan and Moscow Format Consultations, in playing a substantive role in this regard.

After the meeting, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin took questions from the press. He said that since the Afghan Taliban came to power, they have repeatedly stressed the need to respect and protect women’s rights and interests, which we hope can be translated into actions, and we hope that the Afghan Taliban will heed the concerns of the international community and resolve related issues through friendly consultations with various parties. The international community should view the Afghan issue in a comprehensive, balanced and objective manner. The Afghan issue calls for a comprehensive and systematic solution. Only with a stable society, manageable safety and security and a growing economy, can women’s rights and interests be fundamentally safeguarded. China advocates that the international community should continue to help Afghanistan develop its economy and improve people’s livelihood, continue to provide humanitarian and development assistance, and promote moderate and prudent governance in Afghanistan through dialogue, communication and guidance, so as to effectively protect the basic rights and interests of all the Afghan people, including women, children and ethnic minorities.

State Councillor and Foreign Minister Qin said that the US failure in Afghanistan is multifold. First, it was a military failure. The military subjugation did not bring a moment of peace to Afghanistan, and the 20 years of occupation by the US military had been 20 years of conflicts and turmoil in Afghanistan. Second, it was a political failure. The “democratic transformation” carried out by the US and other Western countries in Afghanistan failed to fit into local conditions, and the issue of national reconciliation in Afghanistan has dragged on unresolved till today. Third, it was a counter-terrorism failure. With the US interference, the terrorism issue has got from bad to worse in Afghanistan. The number of Afghan terrorist groups has increased from single digit 20 years ago to more than 20 today, leaving a huge “security black hole”. The troop withdrawal by the US does not mean that it could shirk off its responsibility. The US should not sit back and ignore the current plight of the Afghan people, and the Afghan people’s hard-earned money forcibly seized by the US must be returned as soon as possible. State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin expressed the hope that the US will truly draw a lesson from what happened in Afghanistan, and change its wrong course at an early date. The US should not judge or interfere in other countries’ systems based on Western standards, nor should it attempt to reset military forces in Afghanistan and the region, still less supporting and employing terrorism.

CCTV: The fourth Foreign Ministers’ Meeting among the Neighbouring Countries of Afghanistan was held yesterday. Can you share more about State Councillor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang’s activities and remarks at the meeting?

Wang Wenbin: On April 13 local time, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang attended the fourth Foreign Ministers’ Meeting among the Neighboring Countries of Afghanistan in Samarkand. Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan Bakhtiyor Saidov chaired the meeting. Foreign Minister of Russia Sergey Lavrov, Foreign Minister of Iran Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, Foreign Minister of Tajikistan Sirojiddin Muhriddin, First Deputy Foreign Minister of Turkmenistan Vepa Hajiyev and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of Pakistan Hina Rabbani Khar attended the meeting.

State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang noted that currently Afghanistan is at a crucial stage of adjusting and transforming its domestic and foreign policies and in dire need of more attention and support from the international community, especially its neighboring countries. Relevant parties should act in the spirit of good neighborliness and mutual help and take the lead in helping Afghanistan overcome difficulties and challenges and achieve stable development. First, we need to crack down on terrorist forces in Afghanistan, eliminate the breeding ground for terrorism, deepen regional cooperation on counter-terrorism, counter-narcotics and the refugee issue, and effectively prevent terrorist elements from fleeing across borders, growing in strength and creating chaos. Second, we urge the US to perform its duties, immediately lift unilateral sanctions against Afghanistan, and return the overseas assets of Afghanistan. Third, we call on the Afghan Taliban to build an inclusive government. On the basis of respecting the independence, sovereignty and national dignity of Afghanistan, we will encourage the Afghan Taliban to be more inclusive and progressive in building political authority and policy formulation. Fourth, we will carry out practical cooperation related to Afghanistan, accelerate the implementation of the Tunxi Initiative, help make Afghanistan part of the regional connectivity network and economic integration process and improve its capability for self-driven, sustainable development.

State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang noted that China will continue to provide support to the best of our capability for the reconstruction of Afghanistan. We stand ready to work with neighboring countries in the spirit of amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness as well as good neighborliness, deepen friendship, mutual trust and convergence of interests with neighboring countries, jointly work for a proper settlement of the Afghan issue, and contribute to the universal security and common development of the region.

The ministers agreed that countries in the region need to enhance coordination and cooperation, work together to implement the Tunxi Initiative, and promote connectivity in the region. They noted that it is important to maintain communication with the Afghan interim government and encourage it to live up to its commitments to both the country itself and the international community, build an inclusive government, exercise moderate governance, protect the rights and interests of women, restore the economy and improve people’s livelihood. They call on the Afghan Taliban to take seriously and respond to the major concerns of neighboring countries, and take concrete steps to fight terrorism and narcotics trafficking. The ministers also expressed their opposition to forces outside the region undermining the security and stability of Afghanistan and the region, and to the country that bears the primary responsibility for the current situation in Afghanistan shirking responsibilities and closing the door of contact and dialogue with the Afghan side.

The Samarkand Declaration of the Fourth Meeting of Foreign Ministers of Afghanistan’s Neighboring States was adopted at the meeting. After the meeting, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang, along with other ministers, attended the “Neighboring Countries of Afghanistan Plus Afghanistan” Foreign Ministers’ Dialogue.

On the same day, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang met with Foreign Minister of Russia Sergey Lavrov and Acting Foreign Minister of the Afghan interim government Amir Khan Muttaqi respectively. China and Russia agreed to continue to enhance coordination and cooperation under multilateral frameworks such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and BRICS, work together for a multi-polar world and greater democracy in international relations, form greater synergy between the Belt and Road Initiative and the Eurasian Economic Union, and explore the possibility of a feasibility study on a free trade area in a bid to achieve early harvests. Foreign Minister Muttaqi expressed his appreciation to China for its long-standing political support for Afghanistan. He noted that the Afghan Taliban appreciates and welcomes China’s Position on the Afghan Issue released by the Chinese side, respects China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and understands the security concerns of China. The Afghan Taliban will never allow any force to use Afghanistan’s territory to harm China’s interests, and will make utmost efforts to protect the safety of Chinese institutions and citizens in Afghanistan. He also expressed the Afghan Taliban’s willingness to take an active part in cooperation on the Belt and Road Initiative and strengthen trade and economic cooperation between Afghanistan and China.

Reuters: The Chinese side yesterday told a G20 meeting of central bank chiefs and finance ministers that China will work with all parties to implement the common framework of debt disposal. Does that mean China will drop its demand that multilateral lenders share in debt restructuring losses and will offer refinancing assurances to states currently trying to use the common framework to access new IMF loans?

Wang Wenbin: Properly addressing the debt issue matters to global economic recovery and financial stability. China attaches high importance to the sovereign debt issue of developing countries. Our position is consistent. We always believe that to effectively resolve the debt issue, the key lies in joint participation of multilateral, bilateral and commercial creditors in debt treatment under the principles of joint actions and fair burden-sharing. According to my knowledge, China put forward a three-point proposal at the Global Sovereign Debt Roundtable (GSDR) recently. First, multilateral creditors need to come up with solutions on their participation in debt treatment as soon as possible; second, the IMF needs to take actions in information-sharing on debt sustainability assessments as soon as possible; third, parties concerned need to agree on the specific ways for creditors to participate on comparable terms as soon as possible. We hope parties concerned will take credible steps to implement the G20 Common Framework and seek an effective, systemic and comprehensive solution to the debt issue.?

Beijing Daily: April 15 is the National Security Education Day. I noticed that this year’s theme is “take a holistic approach to national security, enhance people’s awareness and ability regarding national security, and cement the public foundation for shoring up the new development paradigm with the new security paradigm”. My question is, how is the holistic approach to national security reflected in the diplomacy work?

Wang Wenbin: Socialism with Chinese characteristics has entered a new era and China’s national security situation has seen profound and complex changes. With an overall review of the national security situation, the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core put forward innovatively the holistic approach to national security, providing the guidelines for safeguarding and shaping national security in the new era. Under the sound guidance of this approach, the work related to national security in the new era has made historic achievements, our sovereignty, security and development interests are safeguarded in an all-round way, and the society overall has been stable over the years. China has become one of the safest countries in the world.

The international security situation is experiencing various types of disorder, with traditional and non-traditional security issues intertwined. Human society is facing unprecedented challenges and standing once again at a crossroads where choices must be made. The holistic approach to national security emphasizes the coordination between one’s own security and the common security of all, and champions win-win for all countries and a security path where all countries can benefit. In face of the world fraught with changes and chaos, President Xi Jinping proposed the Global Security Initiative, which advocates the common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security vision, rejects the Cold-War mentality, and opposes unilateralism, group politics and bloc confrontation. It represents China’s plan for resolving global security difficulties and eliminating international security deficit, and it displays China’s firm resolve and sense of responsibility for safeguarding global security.

China’s diplomacy in the new era will continue to act in accordance with the requirement of the holistic approach to national security. We will contribute to global common security while protecting our own security. We will firmly safeguard our national interests and the nation’s dignity, and in the meanwhile take an active part in the improvement of global security governance, promote joint efforts of all countries to respond to security risks and challenges, and make relentless efforts to build a safer and more beautiful world.

Reuters: China’s maritime authority has said it will ban vessels from an area north of Taiwan on Sunday due to potential falling rocket debris and a no-fly zone has also been put in place in that area. Can you clarify what this relates to?

Wang Wenbin: China’s civil aviation authorities and relevant maritime authorities have both issued announcements. According to what we have learned from competent authorities, as is customary practice, civil aviation authorities notify the public in advance of the airspace that may be affected by space activities. This is aimed to alert relevant air traffic service departments and airspace users to possible impacts of such space activities. This is a responsible action to ensure aviation safety. The latest notices and announcements issued for the space activities identified the area that may be affected. I noted some earlier reports which said that China has set up a no-fly zone. This is not accurate. Relevant air traffic service departments have a responsibility to take measures accordingly to ensure flight safety.

Bloomberg: Sri Lanka and its major creditors have formally launched talks to restructure that nation’s debt without China, which is Sri Lanka’s biggest bilateral lender. This appears to be a sign of current frustration with Beijing’s approach to debt woes in the developing world. How does the foreign ministry respond to these talks going forward without Beijing?

Wang Wenbin: We’ve shared China’s position on Sri Lanka’s debt issue several times. You may refer to our previous response.

I would like to reiterate that China calls on commercial and multilateral creditors to jointly participate in Sri Lanka’s debt restructuring under the principle of fair burden-sharing. We have been in close communication with Sri Lanka and supported Chinese financial institutions in actively discussing debt treatment arrangements with Sri Lanka.

Bloomberg: The US is pressing the need for its allies to coordinate against what it views as Chinese economic coercion and not just military threats as Japan prepares to host diplomats at the G7 foreign minister’s meeting that is upcoming. How does the foreign ministry respond to this push by the US??

Wang Wenbin: As far as economic coercion and military threat are concerned, the US is an expert with a long track record. The US needs to reflect on the harm its coercive diplomacy has done, rather than pin the label on others.