China FO Presser

China FO Presser – Dec 18, 2023

8 Min
China FO Presser – Dec 18, 2023

China Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin held a Regular Press Conference on Dec 18, 2023.


Wang Wenbin: At the invitation of Premier of the State Council Li Qiang, Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Mikhail Mishustin will be in China from December 19 to 20 for the 28th regular meeting between Chinese and Russian heads of government.

Yonhap News Agency: The Foreign Ministry put out a readout on the meeting between China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi and the DPRK’s Deputy Foreign Minister Pak Myong Ho this morning. Can you share more details about the meeting?

Wang Wenbin: This morning, Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Beijing met with Deputy Foreign Minister of the DPRK Pak Myong Ho who came to China for diplomatic consultations between the two countries.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi noted that the traditional friendship between China and the DPRK were forged and fostered personally by the older generation of leaders of the two parties and two countries, and is a valuable asset for both sides. In recent years, under the strategic guidance and personal care of the top leaders of the two parties and two countries, the China-DPRK traditional friendship has been further deepened in the new era. In a world fraught with change and instability, China and the DPRK have firmly supported and trusted each other, which demonstrates the strategic significance of China-DPRK friendship and cooperation. China always views its relations with the DPRK from a strategic height and long-term perspective. We would like to work with the DPRK to enhance communication and coordination, deepen exchanges and cooperation in various areas, jointly hold a number of events next year in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of diplomatic ties, and advance the sustained and steady growth of China-DPRK friendship and cooperation.

Deputy Foreign Minister Pak Myong Ho noted that it is the unswerving position of the party and government of the DPRK to continue to deepen the DPRK-China relations in line with the noble will of the top leaders of the two parties and two countries as well as the requirements of the new era. The DPRK stands ready to work with China to take the 75th anniversary of diplomatic ties as an opportunity to consolidate the brotherly friendship between the two countries and take the relations forward. The DPRK will continue to enhance coordination with China on multilateral affairs, safeguard the common interests of the two countries and contribute to peace and stability in the region.

The two sides also exchanged views on issues of mutual interest.

Xinhua News Agency: Can you share the arrangement of the 28th regular meeting between Chinese Premier and Russian Prime Minister? What’s China’s expectation for the meeting?

Wang Wenbin: The regular meeting between Chinese Premier and Russian Prime Minister is an important mechanism for delivering on the common understandings between the two presidents and coordinating practical cooperation in various fields. It has been held annually since its launch in 1996. During this year’s meeting, the two sides will have in-depth exchanges of views on bilateral relations, practical cooperation and issues of mutual interest.

Under the strategic guidance of President Xi Jinping and President Putin, China-Russia relations have enjoyed sound and steady growth. Next year, the two countries will mark the 75th anniversary of diplomatic ties and open the years of culture between China and Russia. We hope this regular meeting will help deepen cooperation, enhance cultural, people-to-people and sub-national exchange, and further grow the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era.

CCTV: It’s reported that the first vice-ministerial level meeting of the China-Saudi Arabia-Iran trilateral joint committee was held on December 15 in Beijing. Could you share more information? Why is it held at this particular time? What is the significance of the meeting?

Wang Wenbin: The first vice-ministerial level meeting of the China-Saudi Arabia-Iran trilateral joint committee was held on December 15 in Beijing.

The meeting took stock of the positive progress made in the relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran since the Beijing agreement was reached and reaffirmed the commitment to the full implementation of the Beijing agreement. China stated readiness to continue to play a constructive role and support the improvement of Saudi Arabia-Iran relations. Director Wang Yi had a group meeting with the delegations from the two countries and put forward a three-point suggestion on the improvement of Saudi Arabia-Iran relations: first, stay committed to the strategic choice of reconciliation; second, advance the process of improving relations; and third, reject external disruption. The three parties also discussed the trilateral cooperation in various fields and stated their common positions on regional hotpot issues including Palestine.

The recent situation in the Middle East is complex and serious. In times like this, it is all the more necessary to resolve disputes and differences through dialogue, consultation and political means. The future of the Middle East must always be in the hands of the people in the region. China will always support the people in the Middle East in independently exploring their development paths. We will always support Middle East countries in uniting and working together to find solutions to the security issues in the region. China will continue to contribute its insights to the peace and tranquility in the Middle East and play our positive role in this process.

AFP: North Korea today fired its most advanced ballistic missile that has the potential to reach the US. What’s China’s comment on this?

Wang Wenbin: China noted the latest development on the Korean Peninsula. The Korean Peninsula issues are complex. The development of the situation fully proves that trying to solve the problem through military deterrence and pressuring will not work, and will only do the opposite and make the issues and tensions worse. Dialogue and consultation is the fundamental way for settling the Peninsula issues. We hope that relevant parties will face up to the crux of the Peninsula issues and take concrete steps to advance their political settlement and safeguard peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.

Kyodo News: Japan and ASEAN countries held a summit in Tokyo this weekend and issued a joint statement announcing the strengthening of security cooperation. What’s China’s comment??

Wang Wenbin: China believes that all cooperation should be conducive to deeper mutual trust between countries in the region and should not target any third party. The situation in the East and South China Seas is generally stable at the moment. We hope relevant countries will earnestly respect regional countries’ effort to safeguard peace and stability.

China Review News: The trial of Jimmy Lai under the Hong Kong national security law opened today. The US and the UK criticized China over the case and the Hong Kong national security law. What’s your comment?

Wang Wenbin: Hong Kong follows the rule of law. Any law in Hong Kong must be observed and those who break the law must be held accountable. Jimmy Lai is a major mastermind and participant of the anti-China riots in Hong Kong. He is an agent and pawn of the anti-China forces, and the person behind the riots in Hong Kong. What he did was detrimental to Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability and the wellbeing of the people in Hong Kong. The Hong Kong law enforcement and judicial authorities have handled and tried the case in accordance with the law. This is fully justified, legitimate and lawful.

As for the US’ and UK’s statements, making such irresponsible comments on an ongoing judicial process is against the principle of the rule of law, the international law and the basic norms governing international relations. This is politically motivated and one hundred percent double standard. China firmly rejects this. The Central Government firmly supports the Hong Kong SAR in upholding national security in accordance with the law and bringing criminals who endanger national security to justice. Attempts to smear, disturb and sabotage Hong Kong’s national security law will not succeed.

Reuters: Does China support North Korea’s launch of the missiles on Sunday and Monday? This is given North Korea said that the recent arrival of a nuclear-powered US submarine is a preview of a nuclear war.?

Wang Wenbin: I just stated China’s position on relevant issue. All parties need to face the crux of the Korean Peninsula issues squarely and take concrete steps to advance their political settlement and safeguard peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.

The Paper: It’s reported that the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency said on Saturday that the US State Department has approved a USD 300 million sale of life cycle support and equipment to Taiwan for its Command, Control, Communications and Computers, or C4, capabilities. What’s China’s comment?

Wang Wenbin: By announcing another arms sale to China’s Taiwan region, the US?has blatantly violated the one-China principle and the stipulations of the three China-US joint communiqués, especially the August 17 Communiqué.?This move seriously undermines China’s sovereignty and security interests, harms peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and sends a wrong message to separatist forces seeking “Taiwan independence”. China deplores and strongly opposes this and has made solemn démarches to the US side.

The Taiwan question is entirely China’s internal affair that brooks no foreign interference. No matter how many weapons the US provides to the Taiwan region, it will neither change the historic course of China’s reunification, nor weaken the Chinese people’s firm will in safeguarding our national sovereignty and territorial integrity. We urge the US to seriously honor its commitment to one-China and not supporting “Taiwan independence”, stop arming Taiwan and causing a dangerous trend, stop creating factors that could heighten tensions in the Taiwan Strait, and stop conniving at and supporting?the?separatists’ attempt to seek “Taiwan independence” by force. China will and must be reunited. China will take resolute and strong measures to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity and take countermeasures against relevant companies involved in arms sales to Taiwan.

Beijing Youth Daily: US Secretary of State Blinken issued a statement on Dec 15 saying that the US rejects China’s attempt to use cash awards to threaten and harass “those advocating freedom and democracy” and urges Hong Kong authorities to respect the protected rights and freedoms enumerated in the Basic Law. Does China have any response?

Wang Wenbin: We firmly oppose US slandering of the National Security Law for Hong Kong and interference in the rule of law of the Hong Kong SAR.

Those anti-China rioters who have fled overseas are suspected of endangering national security. Based on facts and in accordance with the law, the Hong Kong SAR issued arrest warrants for these fugitives. This is the right thing to do and is in line with the international law and customary practice. The US’ own national security legislation also has extraterritorial effect. By bolstering the rioters from Hong Kong, the US has not only trampled the rule of law in Hong Kong but also once again exposed its long-standing double standards on human rights and the rule of law.

Hong Kong affairs are purely China’s internal affairs that brook no external interference. We urge the US to reflect on its own behaviour and respect China’s sovereignty and rule of law in Hong Kong. The US shouldn’t be a haven for criminals. China is determined to safeguard its sovereignty, security and development interests. The attempts to interfere in Hong Kong’s affairs and undermine the rule of law in Hong Kong will not succeed.

China News Service: Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said in an interview on December 16 that a more assertive China posed a real challenge to its neighbors in Asia; the South China Sea situation is the most complex geopolitical challenge that the world faces; the Philippines and Japan are having increasing collaboration and should carry out trilateral cooperation with the US. What is China’s response to this?

Wang Wenbin: Over the past few months, it has been the Philippines who is breaching the common understandings with China and heightening tensions in the South China Sea; it is the Philippines who has attempted to change the current status of Ren’ai Jiao and make it a fait accompli; and it is the Philippines who has on every occasion courted external forces to put pressure on China.

No matter what smokescreen the Philippines uses and what blame game it plays, nothing will change those facts: The Philippines promised to tow away the warship illegally grounded at Ren’ai Jiao 24 years ago. But 24 years on, the warship is still there. China and the Philippines had agreed to properly manage the issue of Ren’ai Jiao and thereby kept things stable at sea. However, over the course of this year, the Philippines has gone back on its words and kept sending government and military vessels into the waters of Ren’ai Jiao to supply construction materials for the large-scale repair and reinforcement of the “grounded” warship and permanently occupy Ren’ai Jiao. This is what has caused tensions between China and the Philippines. The Philippines, bolstered by external support, has brushed aside China’s goodwill and restraint and repeatedly challenged China’s principles and red line. This is the major risk that could drive up tensions at sea.

China remains committed to upholding peace and stability in the South China Sea through dialogue and consultation with the Philippines and other ASEAN countries. That being said, China will not weaken in its resolve to safeguard its territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests. We hope the Philippines will realize that tying itself to some major power and forcing China to back down on issues concerning China’s core interests will lead nowhere. Ultimately, it is the Philippines’ own interests and the region’s peace and stability that will take the toll.