China FO Presser

China FO Presser – July 11, 2023

8 Min
China FO Presser – July 11, 2023

China Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin held a Regular Press Conference on July 11, 2023


Director of the Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs Wang Yi will attend the ASEAN-China Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, the ASEAN Plus Three Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, the East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and the ASEAN Regional Forum Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia from July 13 to 14.

CCTV: China just announced that Director Wang Yi will attend ASEAN-plus foreign ministers’ meetings. How does China view the current state of East Asian cooperation? What does China expect to achieve through the meetings?

Wang Wenbin: East Asia has remained generally stable despite challenges such as a slowing global economy and the flaring up of geopolitical conflicts. The region continues to witness an economic rebound and progress in economic integration. China’s relations with regional countries have maintained the growth momentum. The China-ASEAN comprehensive strategic partnership, in particular, has been strong and robust. Our friendly cooperation has further deepened and expanded, which has galvanized the overall cooperation in East Asia.

The ASEAN-plus foreign ministers’ meetings provide a platform to enhance mutual trust and cooperation. China hopes to see more common understandings coming out of those meetings, which will prepare the ground for fruitful leaders’ meetings this September and contribute to regional peace, stability and prosperity. China will work with regional countries to firmly support ASEAN unity and the community-building, advance the purposes and principles of the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia and uphold the rules and order of the region. China will work with regional countries to capitalize on the RCEP’s full entry into force, keep regional industrial and supply chains stable and smooth and together look after the regional epicentrum of growth. China will work with regional countries to practice true multilateralism, advance open regionalism and handle hotspots and sensitive issues properly to keep the region peaceful and stable and make sure that East Asian cooperation will move forward in the right direction.

China News Service: On July 7, the giant panda Ai Bao at ROK’s Everland theme park, who came from the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda, gave birth to twin cubs. They are the first pair of baby pandas born outside China this year and also the first twin cubs ever born in the ROK. Do you have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: This is fantastic heart-warming news, which I believe brings joy to people both in China and the ROK. The giant panda is a national treasure and name brand for China and an envoy for friendly exchanges between China and the rest of the world. Ai Bao’s first baby, Fu Bao, is much adored by the ROK public. We believe that the twin cubs’ birth will bring joy and luck. They have our best wishes, and we hope they will play a part in thickening the bond and friendship between Chinese and the people of the ROK just like their sister Fu Bao has.

CCTV: According to reports, the IAEA chief has made controversial comments during his visit to the ROK and New Zealand. He said on several occasions that one could drink or swim in the “treated water” from Fukushima and that the “treated water” is as harmless as the water discharged from nuclear power plants in other countries. However, many nuclear experts, including those involved in the review, have recently expressed different views. What is your comment on this??

Wang Wenbin: If you take even just a brief look at recent media coverage, you will find that the IAEA safety review has indeed been controversial. Experts who participated in the review have expressed views different from the final report. That is an indisputable fact. This shows once again that the IAEA released the review on this complex issue too hastily, and the conclusion has its limitations and is narrowly focused without addressing the world’s concerns over the discharge plan. Japan can’t just use the IAEA report as a “greenlight” for the ocean discharge.

I need to point out once again that it is against common science to put the nuclear-contaminated water from Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant and the water released from normally functioning nuclear power plants in the same category, given the uncertainty about whether the former will meet safety standards after treatment. These two types of water are inherently different as they come from different sources, contain different radionuclides and require different levels of sophistication in terms of the treatment methods involved. The nuclear-contaminated water in Fukushima comes from the cooling water injected into the damaged reactor cores, as well as seepage of groundwater and rainwater after the Fukushima nuclear disaster, and it contains various radionuclides released from the damaged reactor cores. It is totally different from the normal water discharge from operating nuclear power plants. The IAEA didn’t assess the efficacy and long-term reliability of Japan’s treatment facilities and therefore cannot guarantee that all nuclear-contaminated water will be up to standard after treatment in the next 30 years. The impact of long-running discharge on the marine environment and food safety is not something that the IAEA can easily draw a conclusion on.

If some people think that the nuclear-contaminated water from Fukushima is safe to drink or swim in, we suggest that Japan save the nuclear-contaminated water for these people to drink or swim in, instead of releasing it into the sea and causing widespread concerns internationally.??

RIA Novosti: According to POLITICO, apart from Ukraine’s allies, other countries also made it clear to Russian President Putin that nuclear escalation should not be considered. It is said that President Xi Jinping told the Russian side not to use nuclear weapons during a state visit to Russia in March. China is trying to persuade Russia to put the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant under IAEA’s full control. What’s China’s comment on this report?

Wang Wenbin: China released readouts on President Xi Jinping’s visit to Russia in March. The two presidents had candid and in-depth communication on the Ukraine crisis. The Chinese side elaborated on its principled position. The Russian side spoke highly of China’s objective, fair and balanced position and welcomed China to play a constructive role in the political settlement of the Ukraine crisis.

China believes that all nuclear weapon states need to embrace the idea of common security and uphold global strategic balance and stability. In January last year, leaders of the five nuclear-weapon states issued a joint statement, affirming that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought. Under the current circumstances, parties need to focus on the diplomatic efforts aimed at peacefully resolving the Ukraine crisis and jointly seek de-escalation and lower strategic risks.

China takes the nuclear safety issue of nuclear facilities in Ukraine seriously and is closely following the situation. In the document entitled China’s Position on the Political Settlement of the Ukraine Crisis, we call for keeping nuclear power plants safe and oppose armed attacks against nuclear power plants or other nuclear facilities for peaceful purposes. China supports the IAEA in maintaining contact with all parties and playing a constructive role in safeguarding the safety and security of Ukraine’s nuclear facilities.

AFP: We understand that US climate envoy John Kerry is due to visit China in the next few days. Can the Chinese side give any further details of his trip, such as details on who he will meet with and what will be discussed?

Wang Wenbin: China and the US are in touch regarding dialogue and exchange at various levels. As for the specific visit you asked about, I’d refer you to competent authorities.

Climate change is a global challenge and calls for a global response. China and the US had sound cooperation on climate change and jointly facilitated the conclusion and coming into effect of the Paris Agreement. It is hoped that the US will work with China to create enabling conditions and atmosphere for China-US climate cooperation.

Bloomberg: In your comments, you said experts had pointed out that the Fukushima water report released by the IAEA was inadequate. Are the experts you are referring to those 12 people, including the representative from China, that wrote the report for the IAEA? Or is it other experts who were not part of the IAEA’s panel?

Wang Wenbin: We have stated multiple times that the IAEA’s review report has its limits, is narrowly focused, and failed to address international concerns over the legitimacy, safety and legality of Japan’s discharge plan. Japan should not view the report as a “greenlight” for the ocean discharge. IAEA Director General Grossi stated on multiple occasions that the IAEA will not endorse Japan’s decision on ocean discharge. I would like to tell you that the view from experts involved in the review is different from what is stated in the IAEA report. This is an indisputable fact.

The nuclear-contaminated water from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant contains dozens of radionuclides, many of which cannot be treated effectively with existing technologies. Some long-lived radionuclides may spread with ocean currents and form a bioconcentration effect, which will multiply the total amount of radionuclides, causing potential hazards to the marine environment and human health. Japan did not invite the WHO or other professional institutions to carry out review from the health perspective. Japan invited IAEA only for a review process that was based on very few samples and data, which had been provided by Japan. The IAEA based its review on the assumption that Japan’s purification facility would remain effective and reliable in the long term, and Japan’s management of the discharge would be free from mistakes or errors for the next 30 years. Such a conclusion can hardly be trusted.

Yonhap News Agency: According to reports, on Tuesday, Kim Yo-jong, vice department director of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea accused a US military spy plane of entering the country’s airspace over its economic water. She warned that the DPRK will take military actions in response if the US continues such intrusion. Do you have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: Lately, relevant party has been sending strategic weapons to the Korean Peninsula to engage in military activities. Has this been conducive to resuming dialogue? Or has it only deepened the rift and made the tensions worse? Reality has given us the answer. We hope parties will face the crux of the issues squarely, keep searching for a political settlement and keep the Korean Peninsula peaceful and stable. China is committed to bringing parties to the table and we have been encouraging efforts to address each other’s legitimate concerns in a balanced way. Relevant party needs to step up to its responsibility and act on what it said about seeking “dialogue without preconditions”, instead of saying one thing but doing another.

TASS: Taiwanese island media published a report claiming the US has urged island military to construct a new Biosafety Level-4 laboratory to “secretly establish virus research and development capabilities.” Do you have any comments on that?

Wang Wenbin: China has been clear and consistent about its opposition to US-Taiwan military engagement. If the report you cited is true, this is further evidence that the U.S. has malignant designs for Taiwan and the DPP authorities is simply selling Taiwan away.

Taiwan is a sacred and inalienable part of China’s territory. We will firmly safeguard China’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity, and resolutely push back all moves that would harm Taiwan’s interests and sell Taiwan away.

Bloomberg: You have repeatedly said that experts have said the IAEA’s report is inadequate. And the initial statement from MOFA also said that the report failed to fully reflect views from experts that participated in the review. But I don’t think the Chinese side has ever named any of these experts that have made these comments. And I haven’t seen any media reports about other experts or the members of the IAEA panel saying that the report itself is inadequate. Can you tell us the names of the people or the names of the nuclear safety experts who have said that the IAEA panel’s report is inadequate or is not substantial?

Wang Wenbin: Indisputably, there is controversy over the IAEA review, according to relevant experts. If you have not seen the coverage on this, the only explanation might be that you haven’t been thorough. I suggest that you take a close look at the recent reports on this issue. I believe the public has access to those commentaries in the media coverage. You may also seek verification from the IAEA to see whether or not relevant experts have expressed different views and opinions on the review report.

I would also like to tell you that the experts are not just the only ones disputing the review. In this part of the world and elsewhere, the public, including many individuals and groups, have expressed strong criticism and opposition to the review,which is not hard to find in media reports.

AFP: US authorities have announced covert lobbying and arms dealing charges against an analyst named Gal Luft who is alleged to be an unregistered foreign agent of China. What’s the Chinese government’s position on relevant charges?

Wang Wenbin: I’m not aware of what you mentioned.?