China FO Presser

China FO Presser, Apr 19, 2023

9 Min
China FO Presser, Apr 19, 2023

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin held a Regular Press Conference on April 19. 2023.

Some Excerpts 

CCTV: China has released its national economic and foreign trade data for the first quarter. International media described China’s economic performance as a “rebound” beyond expectation, saying the good start is not just great news for China, but will also boost confidence in global economic recovery. What’s your comment?

Wang Wenbin: Amid slowing world economic growth and significant external uncertainties, China’s economy made a good start this year. According to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics of China yesterday, GDP grew by 4.5% in the first quarter year-on-year, 1.6 percentage points higher than the previous quarter. Market confidence picked up significantly, consumption and investment bounced back stronger, and employment and prices remained stable overall. This speaks to the remarkable resilience, potential and vitality of the Chinese economy as well as the sound fundamentals sustaining long-term economic growth, and shows the vibrancy of China’s economy in its spring.

The positive momentum of China’s economic recovery means more opportunities for the world. In the first quarter, China’s trade with ASEAN, African, and Latin American countries grew by 16.1%, 14.1%, and 11.7% year-on-year respectively. Trade with countries along the Belt and Road and RCEP members increased by 16.8% and 7.3% respectively. The 133rd Canton Fair, which is fully offline this year, attracted buyers and exhibitors from 226 countries and regions, setting new records in terms of exhibition area and the number of exhibitors. The IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook estimates that the Chinese economy will contribute more than a third of global growth this year.

As President Xi Jinping noted, China is committed to reform and opening-up and will never close our door to the world. We are ready to work together with all countries that wish to pursue win-win cooperation with us for global prosperity and common progress. China will continue to advance high-quality development, expand high-level opening-up, share the progress of Chinese modernization with the rest of the world, and inject fresh impetus into the world economy.

TASS: According to foreign media reports on April 18, French President Macron has instructed his foreign policy adviser to work with China to create a framework that could be used as a basis for future negotiations?between?Russia?and?Ukraine. According to the French plan, Ukraine and Russia should start negotiations this summer if “all goes well.” Has the French side engaged in communication with China on this plan? How would the foreign ministry comment on the proposal?

Wang Wenbin: China’s position on the Ukraine issue is consistent and clear. It has been fully and systematically outlined in China’s Position on the Political Settlement of the Ukraine Crisis. During French President Emmanuel Macron’s visit to China, the two heads of state held an in-depth exchange of views on this. As President Xi stressed, there is no panacea for defusing the crisis. It requires all parties to do their share and create conditions for ceasefire and peace talks through a buildup of trust. China supports Europe in proceeding from its fundamental and long-term interests and facilitating the resumption of peace talks as soon as possible, accommodating the legitimate concerns of all parties, and fostering a balanced, effective and sustainable European security architecture.

AFP: The President of Guatemala has announced that he will visit Taiwan this weekend. Does the ministry have a response to this announcement??

Wang Wenbin: The fact that 182 countries have established diplomatic relations with China demonstrates that the one-China principle has the overwhelming support of the international community and represents the trend of the world. The DPP authorities’ self-deceptive attempts to expand “international space” are leading them down a blind alley. The one-China principle is a universally recognized norm in international relations and a prevailing international consensus. “Taiwan independence” will not succeed. Any move that ignores the world trend and international justice and sticks to the wrong position is doomed to failure. We urge the Giammattei administration not to help those with malignant motives and not to go against the world trend and the aspiration of the Guatemalan people for selfish gains.

Global Times: According to US media reports, the US government eavesdropped on UN Secretary-General António Guterres’s conversations with leaders of countries and other senior UN officials. Spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General Stéphane Dujarric said yesterday that “We have now officially expressed to the host country our concern regarding the recent reports”. Do you have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: The news about US spying on countries, including its allies, and international organizations has created international furore. However, this is not the first time that such scandals involving the US have been revealed.?

The US says it upholds the role of the UN, yet it has unscrupulously spied on the UN. The US claims itself to be a defender of freedom and democracy, yet it has been the champion of hacking by using cutting-edge technology. The US says it’s important to protect information security, yet it has placed information security traps worldwide. To cite the UN spokesperson, “such actions are inconsistent with the obligations of the United States as enumerated in the Charter of the United Nations and the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations”. The US owes the international community, especially the UN, an explanation and should take concrete actions to fulfill its responsibility and obligations as the host country of the UN headquarters.?  

Bloomberg: Is China going to join the bilateral creditor grouping launched last week by India, Japan and France with Sri Lanka? What will be your plans for dealing with the issue of Sri Lanka’s outstanding debt to China?

Wang Wenbin: We have answered similar questions. China supports Chinese financial institutions in actively discussing debt treatment arrangements with Sri Lanka. 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. In the meantime, we call on commercial and multilateral creditors to take part in Sri Lanka’s debt restructuring and fair burden-sharing.

Follow-up: So you said that you’re willing to work with the Sri Lanka parties and also the other international creditors. So is China willing to join the bilateral creditor grouping that was launched last week?

Wang Wenbin: I can see you have had a full understanding of our principled position. As for the specifics you mentioned, I’d refer you to competent authorities.

Bloomberg: Early today, Liu Jinsong of your department on Asia called a senior Japanese diplomat to express concerns and unhappiness over the G7 foreign ministers’ statement. Can you speak to what specifically China is concerned about in this statement?

Wang Wenbin: We stated China’s strong position yesterday on the negative developments at the G7 foreign ministers’ meeting hosted by Japan.

I want to stress that the world has only one order, which is the international order underpinned by international law, and one set of norms, which is the basic norms governing international relations based on the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. If the G7 is truly against hegemonism and coercion, it needs to look inward and do some serious reflection, make sure that nothing like the invasion in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria will happen again, reject long-arm jurisdiction and unilateral sanctions, and say no to any policy that puts a certain country first at the expense of others.

It is dangerous to seek the so-called solidarity of a few at the cost of a divided world. The world does not need a “G1” dictating the other countries, nor does the world need a “coalition of shared values” . What the world needs is mutual respect despite difference in ideology, values and development level, solidarity and joint efforts in line with the UN Charter and international law, and common endeavor to build a global community with a shared future.

Let me also say that both sides of the Taiwan Strait belong to one and the same China. Taiwan is part of China’s territory. China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity has never been divided. This is the real status quo in the Taiwan Strait. For those who say that they follow the one-China policy and yet frame China’s opposition to “Taiwan independence” as “changing the status quo”, they are in effect encouraging separatist provocation, hindering China’s reunification and making for a peaceful division. This is a total departure from the one-China principle.

AFP: A new United Nations estimate announced today showed that they expect India to overtake China as the world’s most populous country by the middle of this year. I’m just wondering if the foreign ministry has any comments on this?

Wang Wenbin: When assessing a country’s demographic dividend, we need to look at not just its size but also its quality. Size matters, but what matters more is talent resource. Nearly 900 million out of the 1.4 billion Chinese are of working age and on average have received 10.9 years of education. For those who have newly entered the workforce, their average length of education has risen to 14 years. China has implemented a national strategy to respond to population aging, including a third-child policy and supporting measures to address demographic changes. As Premier Li Qiang pointed out, China’s demographic dividend has not disappeared, and our talent dividend is in the making. The driving force for China’s development remains strong.

AFP: A giant panda in Chiang Mai, Thailand gifted from China in 2003 has died early this morning. There are reports of a joint Chinese-Thai investigation into the cause of her death. Does the ministry have any comments on the situation???

Wang Wenbin: We are saddened by the passing of Lin Hui, the giant panda that lived in Thailand. On the evening of April 18, Lin Hui suddenly fell into a coma. Upon learning the news, the China Conservation and Research Center for Giant Panda immediately organized experts to guide the rescue efforts of the team in Thailand through video link. Regrettably, however, the efforts did not save her life. The Chinese Consulate General in Chiang Mai sent staff quickly to the scene to assist the efforts.?

The Chinese department responsible for the matter will set up a team of experts to go to Thailand as soon as possible to investigate the cause of death together with the Thai experts and make sure that all related matters are properly attended to. The Chinese Embassy and Consulates in Thailand will continue to assist their work.

Lin Hui arrived at the Chiang Mai Zoo in 2003. She had since enjoyed the care and love of Chinese and Thai professionals and brought a lot of joy to the public in Thailand over the years. It played an active role in promoting China-Thailand cooperation in giant panda conservation and people-to-people exchange and friendship.

CGTN: This year marks the 60th anniversary of China dispatching its first medical aid team abroad. Can you share with us what China has achieved in this particular field over the past six decades??

Wang Wenbin: Providing medical assistance to other countries is an important part of China’s work on foreign assistance. It is also a shining example of China’s commitment to building a global community of health for all. This year marks the 60th anniversary of China dispatching its first medical aid team abroad. Since China sent the first foreign medical team to Algeria in 1963, a total of 30,000 medical personnel have treated 290 million local patients in 76 countries and regions across five continents. Over the past six decades, China’s medical teams have worked in Asia, Africa and Latin America, home to many developing countries. Some medical professionals have been sent abroad six times and spent a total of 12 years overseas. Some have carried on the torch of their grandparents and parents as members of medical teams. Despite the harsh conditions, they have been able to work medical wonders and their kind hearts as professionals have made them the “most welcome guests” among the local people. They are living examples of the spirit of Chinese medical teams featuring tenacity, dedication, commitment to saving lives and love that knows no borders. And they left behind many touching stories.?

Over the past six decades, the selfless and well-trained Chinese obstetricians and gynecologists have welcomed new births and saved many mothers and new-borns under dire circumstances. In Algeria alone, doctors have delivered some 2.07 million babies. The OB/GYN teams introduced new technologies and philosophies to the locals that greatly improved maternal and infant health.?

Over the past six decades, Chinese medical teams have carried out the Brightness Action program in more than 30 countries in Africa, Southeast Asia, Central and North America and the Caribbean, providing free cataract surgeries for tens of thousands of patients. In Roseau, the capital of Dominica, after the surgery that restored her eyesight, 80-plus-year-old Mrs Edward said with emotion that it had been a long time since she last saw mountains in the distance, clouds in the sky and grass and flowers in the garden and she thanked the Chinese doctors for helping her see again.

China has never been absent from the test of responding to major pandemics. Artemisinin-based combination therapy from China has saved millions of lives around the world. In sub-Saharan Africa alone, some 240 million people have benefited from the therapy.?

When the Ebola virus was raging in Africa in 2014, China sent more than 1,200 medical workers to the affected countries, treated more than 800 patients and provided public health training for more than 12,000 personnel. Countries and people who received this assistance have spoken highly of China’s efforts.?

After COVID-19 started, China has sent 37 expert teams to 34 countries, provided more than 2.2 billion COVID-19 vaccines to more than 120 countries and international organizations, and provided several hundred billion pieces of anti-COVID supplies to 153 countries and 15 international organizations. This was the most rapid and massive humanitarian emergency assistance action ever taken since the founding of the People’s Republic of China. It demonstrated China’s sense of responsibility as a major country.

Over the past six decades, China has established twinning relations with 46 hospitals in 41 countries and helped 22 countries set up 25 key specialist centers to institutionalize and systematize the use of medical and technological assistance.?

Chinese medical teams have trained more than 20,000 local health workers through clinical teaching, surgical demonstration and remote coaching. This has filled thousands of technological gaps, improved local medical and technological standards and helped local people build their own medical teams.

The past six decades have amply demonstrated that for China, giving out medical aid is a way of friends helping each other. Our medical aid has no strings attached and is free from geopolitical calculations. It is more enduring and pure than gold. The 60th anniversary is not a finish line, but a new beginning. As we speak, Chinese medical teams are working around the clock at 115 places in 56 countries around the world.?

As President Xi Jinping pointed out in his reply letter to Chinese medical teams in the Central African Republic, the Chinese people love peace and value life, which is vividly illustrated by their efforts in international medical assistance. China will continue providing medical aid, work for the health and wellbeing of people in developing countries, and act on the vision of building a global community of health for all.