China FO Presser – Dec 6, 2023
China Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin held a Regular Press Conference on Dec 6, 2023.
Wang Wenbin: As agreed with the Mekong countries, Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) co-chair Myanmar’s Deputy Prime Minister and Union Minister for Foreign Affairs U Than Swe will jointly host the eighth LMC Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Beijing on December 7.
CCTV: To follow up on your announcement that Foreign Minister Wang Yi will host the eighth Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on December 7, how does China see the current development of LMC and what is China’s expectation for the meeting?
Wang Wenbin: LMC is the first new sub-regional cooperation mechanism jointly initiated and launched by the six Lancang-Mekong countries. Over the past seven years since its launch, the six Lancang-Mekong countries have built up consensus and worked together at the LMC platform in the spirit of mutual benefit for common development, and achieved a number of practical outcomes. Connectivity projects such as the China-Laos Railway, the China-Thailand Railway and the Siem Reap-Angkor International Airport have boosted the region’s trade and cross-border travel, doubling the annual trade volume between China and the Mekong countries over the past seven years. The LMC Special Fund has supported hundreds of livelihood cooperation projects, including the LMC Bumper Harvest Projects, the Lancang-Mekong Sweet Spring Action, and the Green Lancang-Mekong Initiative, bringing tangible benefits to the people of these countries.
Amid changes and instability in the world, China attaches great importance to the LMC Foreign Ministers’ Meeting. We hope to have an in-depth exchange of views with Mekong countries at the meeting on deeper and more substantive cooperation, jointly make the region an exemplar for high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, a pacesetter for implementing the Global Development Initiative, a pioneer for implementing the Global Security Initiative and a front runner for implementing the Global Civilization Initiative, and build a Lancang-Mekong community with a shared future that enjoys close people-to-people bond, mutual help and common prosperity.
AFP: The China-EU Summit will be held in Beijing this week. Yesterday, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said that the EU will not tolerate over time an imbalance in the trade relationship between the EU and China. She added that “We have tools to protect our market, but we prefer to have negotiated solutions.” What is China’s response to this? Is China concerned over the possibility of a trade war with the EU in the future?
Wang Wenbin: First of all, let me say that China has never deliberately sought trade surplus. On the contrary, we have consistently advanced high-level opening up and invited all countries to share China’s mega market with a population of over 1.4 billion by hosting the China International Import Expo and the China International Supply Chain Expo. The current China-EU trade situation is a result under the combined influence of macro-economic environment, international trade conditions and the industrial structures of the two sides. Besides, in light of the deep integration of global industrial and supply chains, trade statistics does not reflect the profit distribution in China-EU trade. Over one third of export from EU companies in China was sold to the EU. Although China appears to have the trade surplus, in fact, the EU has reaped considerable profits. Moreover, trade involves both sides. If the EU sets strict restrictions on the export of high-tech products to China on the one hand, and on the other, hopes to greatly increase export to China, this may not be a reasonable expectation.
When it comes to tackling the prominent problems faced by Europe and effectively addressing global challenges, China is a reliable and? indispensable partner for the EU. Properly settling differences through dialogue and consultation is an important lesson we’ve learned from how the China-EU relations have grown. We hope the EU will work with China together to create sound atmosphere for the upcoming China-EU summit and make joint efforts for the sound and steady growth of China-EU relations.
Jiji Press: According to reports, China has recently tightened export control over urea and ammonium phosphate. The export of urea is suspended and the export inspection application for ammonium phosphate was also asked to stop. What are the reasons behind this? Can the Foreign Ministry share some comment?
Wang Wenbin: China is a major producer and consumer of fertilizer. According to what we have learned from competent authorities, in the first ten months of this year, China has exported 25.72 million tonnes of fertilizer in total, up by 28.8 percent year-on-year, making itself a major participant in international fertilizer trade. As for your specific question, I’d refer you to competent authorities.
Beijing Youth Daily: It was reported that the International Symposium Commemorating the 75th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was held in Beijing recently. Can you share more information?
Wang Wenbin: On December 5, the China Foundation for Human Rights Development held the International Symposium Commemorating the 75th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Beijing. Senior officials from Asian, African, Latin American and European countries and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights as well as diplomats in China, experts and scholars, and representatives from civil society organizations attended the symposium. Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Foreign Minister Wang Yi attended the opening ceremony and delivered a keynote speech, in which he elaborated on the important views of President Xi Jinping on human rights, China’s human rights development path, and China’s position and propositions on global human rights governance. Relevant parties had in-depth discussions at the symposium on the promotion of economic, social and cultural rights, human rights development paths and global human rights governance, and shared their insights on ways of reforming and improving global human rights governance under the new situation. The Beijing Declaration issued at the symposium reflects international consensus and provides useful ideas on advancing the world’s human rights cause.
China stands ready to take this symposium as an opportunity to work with all parties to uphold the common values of mankind, step up human rights dialogue and cooperation, deepen exchanges and mutual learning, take an active part in global human rights governance, protect and promote human rights through security, development and cooperation, advance the world’s human rights cause, and jointly build a community with a shared future for mankind.
Reuters: Moody’s on Tuesday put a downgrade warning on China’s credit rating and said it expected China’s economic growth to slow over the coming decade. Is there anything the foreign ministry has to offer to put foreign investors at ease, so that they will not be concerned about investing in China?
Wang Wenbin: The Ministry of Finance of China has made response to that, which you may refer to. I’d like to stress that since the beginning of this year, China’s macro economy has seen a sustained rebound and steady progress in high-quality development. New growth drivers of China’s economy are delivering results. China is capable of deepening reform and addressing risks and challenges.
Multiple international institutions recently revised up their forecasts of China’s economic growth for this year, expressing optimism about the strong internal driving force, resilience and potential of China’s economy. The IMF and OECD revised up China’s growth forecasts of 2023 to 5.4 percent and 5.2 percent respectively.
The fundamentals sustaining China’s sound economic growth in the long run stay unchanged and will not change in the future. We have the confidence and ability to realize long-term steady development. Concerns expressed by Moody’s over China’s economic prospect and fiscal sustainability are unnecessary.
Just as some friends from the business community have said, China has become a synonym of the best investment destination. The “next?China” is still China. We invite businesses from across the world to invest and cultivate success in China.
NHK: According to Hong Kong media reports, Agnes Chow Ting who is studying in Canada said she would not return to Hong Kong. In response to that, Chief Executive of the Hong Kong SAR John Lee told an interview yesterday that they will do their utmost to pursue her and fugitives will be pursued for life unless they turn themselves in. Does the Foreign Ministry have any response to that?
Wang Wenbin: We support the government and judiciary of the Hong Kong SAR in performing their duties in accordance with the law.??
Global Times: It’s reported that the UN General Assembly (UNGA) at its 78th session adopted the resolution “No first placement of weapons in outer space” co-sponsored by China and Russia, which reaffirms the goal of preventing an arms race in outer space and calls on countries to start talks on international legal instrument based on the Draft Treaty on the Prevention of the Placement of Weapons in Outer Space, the Threat or Use of Force against Outer Space Objects (PPWT) introduced by China and Russia. What’s China’s comment?
Wang Wenbin: Safeguarding the security and peace of the outer space and preventing an arms race in outer space is the long-term common aspiration of the international community. The first UN special session devoted to disarmament in 1978 clearly proposed to prevent an arms race in outer space through negotiation. For over four decades since then, the UNGA has adopted relevant resolutions with overwhelming support every year that call for negotiations of new international legal instrument and reflect the concerns of the international community on moves that could turn outer space into a weapon or battlefield.
China, Russia and other countries have submitted to the UNGA the draft resolution on “No first placement of weapons in outer space” for many years in a row, calling on countries to take effective measures to prevent an arms race in outer space and start negotiations on relevant international legal instrument at an early date. The fact that the resolution was adopted every year with strong support speaks to the international community’s firm support for negotiations on an international legal instrument on arms control in outer space and for not placing weapons in outer space.?
Regrettably, certain countries, unwilling to have their military buildup in outer space constrained, have long refused to acknowledge the fundamental approach of negotiating a legal instrument on technical grounds and even questioned the basic consensus of preventing an arms race in outer space. We hope relevant countries will demonstrate political will, correct their wrong practice, support and constructively participate in negotiations for a legal instrument on arms control in outer space, and uphold the international order based on international law.
AFP: Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said that 95 percent of voters in a referendum last week approved of the nation’s territorial claim on a huge chunk of neighbouring Guyana. China is a firm ally of Venezuela and at the same time maintains friendly relations with Guyana. So, does China support President Nicolas Maduro’s claim? Is China worried that Venezuela may invade Guyana?
Wang Wenbin: Venezuela and Guyana are both China’s good friends. China always respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries. China always supports the two countries in properly settling the issue of demarcation of their boundary through friendly consultation. This is in the interests of the people of both countries and conducive to the stability, cooperation and development of Latin America and the Caribbean
Dragon TV: Recently China and Jordan signed a memorandum of understanding on jointly promoting Belt and Road cooperation. This means all Arab countries have signed Belt and Road cooperation documents with China. How does China see China-Arab Belt and Road cooperation?
Wang Wenbin: On November 29, China and Jordan signed a memorandum of understanding between the government of the People’s Republic of China and the government of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan on jointly promoting the construction of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. This means China has signed Belt and Road cooperation documents with all 22 Arab countries and the Arab League, achieving full coverage.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative. Over the past decade, China and Arab countries, as natural partners in Belt and Road cooperation, have achieved remarkable progress with concerted efforts. China-Arab trade volume in 2022 exceeded USD 430 billion, doubling the amount a decade ago. China imported 270 million tonnes of crude oil from Arab countries, accounting for half of China’s total imports of the year. The past decade has seen a surge in two-way investment between China and Arab countries. The two sides have carried out more than 200 major projects under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, and the outcomes of cooperation have benefited nearly two billion people on both sides. The Belt and Road Initiative has become an important international public good and a major platform for international cooperation, providing strong support for building a China-Arab community with a shared future.
Going forward, China looks forward to working with Arab countries to promote high-quality Belt and Road cooperation on the basis of peaceful cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, mutual learning and mutual benefit so as to build a belt of development, a bridge bringing hearts closer and a road to happiness for the people of both sides.
Bloomberg: China’s leader will reportedly visit Viet Nam in?the?coming?days. Can you confirm this and what might be on the agenda for that trip?
Wang Wenbin: I have nothing to offer.
The Paper: According to reports, on December 5, an EU official said that President of the European Council Charles Michel does not have a secure phone line in Beijing to talk to EU leaders without China eavesdropping. Do you have any comment on this?
Wang Wenbin: It should have been clear to EU officials that it is not China who has conducted eavesdropping and espionage on leaders of EU countries and institutions. https://www.fmprc.gov.cn/eng/xwfw_665399/s2510_665401/2511_665403/202312/t20231206_11195880.html
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