China FO Presser

China FO Presser – Oct 12, 2023

7 Min
China FO Presser – Oct 12, 2023

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin held a Regular Press Conference on Oct 12, 2023. Excerpts

Beijing Daily: On October 11, the Arab League convened an emergency foreign ministers’ meeting to discuss the situation between Palestine and Israel and adopted a resolution, calling on the two sides to exercise restraint, stop hostilities at once and reinvigorate the peace process. What’s China’s comment?

Wang Wenbin: We take note of the Arab League’s emergency foreign ministers’ meeting and resolution. We support the Arab League in playing an important role on the Palestinian question. China shares a similar position with Arab states on this question. Both sides call for an early end to the violence, condemn actions against civilians and believe it is essential to avoid further escalation of the situation which will lead to humanitarian disasters. We both believe that the international community needs to play an effective role, provide humanitarian support to the Palestinian people and work for the early resumption of the peace talks.

The Palestinian-Israeli conflict keeps repeating for a fundamental reason:? the Middle East peace process has been off the right track, the foundation of the two-state solution has been continuously eroded and relevant UN resolutions are not followed through in good faith. China stands ready to continue communication and coordination with the Arab League and others to actively bring parties to the table and keep working to bring the peace process in the Middle East back to the right track.

Al Jazeera: Israel’s military actions against the Gaza Strip will inevitably affect the strategic balance of the region and even the world. Will the current crisis in the Middle East be on the agenda of the third BRF??

Wang Wenbin: China has announced that the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation will be held in Beijing next week. We stand ready to work with all parties for more good outcomes from the forum and seek greater synergy in high-quality Belt and Road cooperation.

Regarding the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, we have shared our position on the issue. China calls on relevant parties to cease fire and restore peace as soon as possible. We will keep working with the international community to that end.

Global Times: The new round of Palestinian-Israeli conflict has reportedly killed and wounded more than 10,000 people, including many foreign citizens. So far, 22 American citizens have been killed, and more than 10 British citizens are dead or missing. Does the spokesperson know the current situation of Chinese casualties?

Wang Wenbin: It is learned that three Chinese citizens have sadly been confirmed killed in the conflict, two are missing and several have been wounded. We offer deep condolences over those who have lost their lives and sincere sympathies to the families of the victims and the wounded.?

Our embassies and consulates are making every effort to get treatment for the wounded and make proper arrangements for the deceased. They have been urging relevant parties to do everything needed for the search and rescue of missing Chinese and take every effective step to keep Chinese nationals and institutions safe.?

Reuters: On Tuesday, you have mentioned that as official creditor, the Export-Import Bank of China tentatively agreed with Sri Lanka on the debt treatment. Is “debt treatment” a kind of debt restructuring as you have mentioned? Can you brief us on the details of the agreement?

Wang Wenbin: I’m not sure if you have noticed that the Ministry of Finance, Economic Stabilization and National Policies of Sri Lanka released information on October 11 about the preliminary agreement reached with the Export-Import Bank of China on the debt treatment, saying that it will provide an anchor to Sri Lanka’s ongoing engagement with the Official Creditor Committee and commercial creditors and facilitate the approval process of the IMF-supported program.

I would like to reiterate that China will continue to support our financial institutions in having active consultations 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. At the same time, we call on multilateral institutions and commercial creditors to take part in Sri Lanka’s debt restructuring for fair burden-sharing.

TASS: It was reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin and Serbian President Aleksandar Vu?i? have both confirmed their attendance at the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. Can the foreign ministry share which countries’ leaders will attend the event?

Wang Wenbin: China is keeping in touch with relevant parties and we will release information in due course on the specifics about participating countries.

Kyodo News: It was reported that an opinion poll jointly conducted by Japan and China shows worsening public sentiments against each other amid antagonism between Japan and China over the discharge of “treated water” into the ocean. What is your comment on this?

Wang Wenbin: We noted the reports. We also noted that respondents in both countries generally agree to the importance of China-Japan relations and hope to see ties improved and common efforts for peace and prosperity in the region.

China and Japan are neighbors and both are important countries in the region. To nurture and grow China-Japan friendship serves the fundamental interests of both countries and peoples. This year marks the 45th anniversary of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship Between China and Japan. We hope that Japan will work with us and use the 45th anniversary as an opportunity to improve bilateral relations and nurture friendliness between our two peoples.

Bloomberg: Can you tell me whether or not US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will be attending Chinese defense forum next month?

Wang Wenbin: I’d refer you to competent authorities.

Al Jazeera: Sources say that Special Envoy of the Chinese Government on the Middle East Issue will talk with the Israeli government about the current situation between Palestine and Israel. Can you confirm this?

Wang Wenbin: China is closely following the escalation of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. We urge relevant parties to immediately cease fire. China is in touch with relevant parties and will keep working for the peace and stability in the Middle East.

CCTV: We saw that in the recently released White Paper “The Belt and Road Initiative: A Key Pillar of the Global Community of Shared Future”, the word “development” appeared some 200 times, making it the most used key word in the document. How does the Belt and Road Initiative matter to the common development of the world??

Wang Wenbin: Development is a timeless theme for humanity. Breaking development bottlenecks, narrowing the North-South gap, and getting rid of development difficulties are pressing challenges for the world. The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has paved the way for common development and prosperity for all countries in the world, demonstrating China’s sense of responsibility as a major country.

Over the past decade, Belt and Road cooperation has followed the principles of wide consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits and a high-standard, people-centered and sustainable approach and focused on connectivity—the lack of which is considered the biggest bottleneck for development. A large number of landmark projects, such as the China-Laos Railway, the Jakarta-Bandung High-speed Railway, the Budapest-Belgrade Railway and the Piraeus Port, have been put into operation. The China-Europe Railway Express opened up new corridors for land transport on the Eurasian continent. The Maritime Silk Road shipping network provides service around the world. The connectivity framework of “six corridors, six routes, and multiple countries and ports” has basically taken shape. New roads, railways and airlines—like blood vessels—have greatly improved transportation, enabling a more efficient trade network and slashing the cost for accessing the global market by Belt and Road partner countries, which has boosted their own development capacity and helped build a path towards a more prosperous future.?

Over the past decade, the BRI has made hope real for people in participating countries who desire common development. The initiative is aligned with the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and synergized with various countries’ development strategies. It has led to over 3,000 cooperation projects, including countries’ landmarks, livelihood projects, and milestones of cooperation. Under the initiative, new bridges are built to link up roads for local communities; new schools are set up to provide more education and hope; more wells are dug to meet local need for drinking water; Juncao—a technology for growing mushrooms—has been taught as a way to help the poor better their incomes and lives; industrial parks are established which, by employing people, help lift their entire families out of poverty. And the list goes on. The World Bank has estimated that by 2030, BRI-related investments could lift 7.6 million out of extreme poverty and 32 million out of moderate poverty.

The BRI’s first decade has been a decade of championing the trend of cooperation and bringing benefits to the people. It is a popular initiative aimed to make the world a better place. The BRI provides not just a road to prosperity but also hope for humanity. We look forward to reviewing the experience we’ve gained and planning the future together with our partners at the upcoming Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. We hope the BRI will serve as wings for the world on?a?journey towards more peace, growth, cooperation and a better future for all.

Al Jazeera: The US has sent a fleet to respond to the situation in Palestine and Israel. In face of deteriorating humanitarian crisis in Gaza, has China considered taking other steps to uphold an objective and fair position and avoid more severe humanitarian crisis?

Wang Wenbin: China is deeply saddened by the heavy casualties of innocent civilians caused by the current escalation of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. We are gravely concerned about the severe deterioration of the security and humanitarian situation in Palestine and worried about the serious impact of the escalating conflict on the peace and stability in the region.

The priority now is to immediately cease fire and protect civilians. The international community needs to play an effective role, work together to cool down the situation, and provide timely humanitarian assistance to the people of Palestine. To end the cycle of conflict between Palestine and Israel, the key is to return to the two-state solution as the basis, restore peace talks, establish an independent State of Palestine, and realize the peaceful coexistence of Palestine and Israel.

China will continue to stay in contact with relevant parties to work for a ceasefire and stop of the violence, help ease the humanitarian crisis, actively promote peace talks, and work with countries in the region and the rest of the international community constructively for a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the Palestinian question. ###