China Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying held a regular press conference on Aug 2, 2022.
CCTV: On the announcement that State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will attend ASEAN-plus foreign ministers’ meetings. What’s China’s comment on current East Asian cooperation? What’s China’s expectations for the meetings?
Hua Chunying: Currently, East Asia is generally stable, and China has enjoyed strong momentum of growth in its relations with regional countries. And the China-ASEAN comprehensive strategic partnership has gotten off to a good start. And the two sides are actively building a peaceful, safe and secure, prosperous, beautiful and amicable home together. And the world’s largest FTA, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, is being smoothly implemented. And various practical cooperation under East Asian mechanisms is making good progress. At the same time, we need to see that COVID is still spreading globally. Economic recovery is under mounting pressure. And geopolitical turbulence and its spill over effect have been spreading and rising. This means East Asian cooperation is facing a growing number of complex factors.?
We always see ASEAN as an important force for regional peace and stability and regional economic integration. We firmly support the solidarity and community-building of ASEAN, support ASEAN centrality in regional architecture, and support a greater role of ASEAN in regional and international affairs. This year’s ASEAN-plus foreign ministers’ meetings will be held physically for the first time since the start of COVID. We hope the meetings will help further build consensus, enhance solidarity and coordination, discuss steps toward recovery and growth, and generate more momentum for regional peace and development. We believe that under the current circumstances, it’s important for the meetings to, first of all, keep East Asian cooperation in the right direction, uphold peace, development, independence and inclusiveness, renew the commitment to open regionalism and strengthen ASEAN-led regional cooperation mechanisms. Secondly, we hope the meetings will help deepen post-COVID recovery cooperation, strengthen exchanges and cooperation in trade, investment, connectivity, digital technology, energy, eco-conservation and environmental protection, and people-to-people and cultural interaction to drive sustainable economic and social development in the region. Thirdly, we hope the meetings will help uphold regional peace and stability, properly handle regional hotspots and sensitive issues through dialogue and consultation, and ensure that East Asia will remain a pacesetter for peace?and development and instil positive energy into our turbulent world.?
Bloomberg: Since yesterday’s press conference, there has been more information coming out about the trip by the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Asia. And at this point it looks increasingly likely that she will visit Taiwan, arriving possibly tonight and holding talks with the Taiwan leaders potentially. So, my question to the Chinese foreign ministry is, is Nancy Pelosi still on time to cancel her trip? Is this something that the Chinese foreign ministry would be calling for? What’s the current thinking about this proposed trip, which looks like it’s going to happen within the next few hours?
Hua Chunying: All eyes are on Speaker Pelosi’s trip to Asia. Your question would be more suited for the US side or the Speaker herself to answer. China has, on many occasions, made its principled position clear and made multiple serious démarches to the US side. We are closely following the itinerary of Speaker Pelosi. And if the US continues down the wrong path, we will take strong and resolute measures to protect our sovereignty and security interests.
China Daily: Does State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi have any plans to meet with other foreign ministers on the sidelines of the meetings? Will he meet with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken?
Hua Chunying: State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will meet with foreign ministers of countries including the Laos, Brunei, Japan, Sri Lanka and New Zealand at the request of his counterparts to exchange views on issues of shared interest. State Councilor Wang Yi does not have plans to meet Secretary Blinken.
The Wall Street Journal: Has there been any communication with the US side over the past 24 hours about the planned visit to ensure that there’s no misunderstandings or miscalculations from either side??
Hua Chunying: China and the US have maintained close communication in Beijing and in Washington at different levels and through different channels. And we have repeatedly and unmistakably expressed to the US side our firm opposition to Speaker Pelosi’s potential visit to Taiwan. And we hope that the US officials are clear about the importance and sensitivity of this issue and the potential danger in the event of this visit.
Phoenix TV: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on the margins of the NPT Review Conference yesterday that “Congress is an independent, coequal branch of government…this is very much precedent in the sense that previous speakers visited Taiwan…And so if the Speaker does decide to visit, and China tries to create some kind of crisis or otherwise escalate tensions, that [responsibility] would be entirely on Beijing.” Do you have any response?
Hua Chunying: I think the world has seen very clearly that it is the US’s provocations that have led to the escalation of tensions in the Taiwan Strait. The US should and must take full responsibility for it. Secretary Blinken’s words confound black with white and have once again revealed the hegemonic mindset and extortionist logic of some people in the US. The US is essentially saying to us that “I can make provocations against you as I please, but you cannot reject them or act in self-defence.”
Over the past few days, China has made clear its stern opposition through various channels and at different levels both in Beijing and Washington to the potential visit to Taiwan by Speaker Pelosi.
In recent years, the US has claimed that it is committed to the one-China policy, but action-wise, it has been backtracking, and even blurring and hollowing out the one-China principle. It has inserted into its characterization of the one-China policy the so-called “Taiwan Relations Act” and the “Six assurances”, which were unilaterally concocted and have never been recognized and have been firmly opposed to by China. The US has also gone against its commitment of maintaining non-official ties with the Taiwan region. It has upgraded its level of contact with Taiwan and has steadily increased arms sales to Taiwan.
Many people with insight both within and outside the US have seen this very clearly. They have repeatedly pointed out the danger of US actions. According to former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who said at this year’s World Economic Forum, “my understanding of the agreement has been that the US would uphold the principle of one China”, “I think it’s essential that these principles be maintained”, and “the US should not by subterfuge or a gradual process develop something of a two-China solution”.?After news came out about Pelosi’s potential visit to Taiwan, many people, including those from mainstream media and think tanks in the US and former political leaders of some US allies, have publicly said that whatever reason Pelosi uses to visit Taiwan, it would be foolish, dangerous, and unnecessary; that it would be a dangerous gamble; that it would be hard to imagine anything more reckless and provocative than this; and that if the US side misjudges or mishandles the cross-Strait situation, it will lead to disastrous consequences for the Taiwan region and even the security, prosperity and order of the entire world.
US has been following a strategy of using Taiwan to contain China. And based on this strategy, the US has supported and connived at Taiwan-independence separatist forces and has made deliberate provocations against China on the Taiwan question. It has been pushing the envelope on China’s red lines. The US and Taiwan have made provocations together first, whereas China has been compelled to act in self-defence. Any countermeasure to be taken by China would be a justified and necessary response to the US oblivion to China’s repeated démarches and the US’s unscrupulous behavior. And China is only exercising its right as any independent sovereign country would, not to mention that China is a country of more than 1.4 billion people with over 5,000 years of history. We hope that the US is clear-eyed about that.
…historical ins and outs of the Taiwan question are crystal clear, so are the facts and status quo that both sides of the Taiwan Strait belong to one and the same China. China firmly opposes separatist moves toward “Taiwan independence” and interference by external forces, and never allows any room for “Taiwan independence” forces in whatever form. The position of the Chinese government and people on the Taiwan question is consistent. Resolutely safeguarding China’s sovereignty, security and territorial integrity is the firm will of the more than 1.4 billion Chinese people. Achieving full reunification of the motherland is a shared aspiration of all Chinese people. And the US should give up any attempt to play the “Taiwan card” and strictly abide by the one-China principle and the three Joint Communiqués both in words and deeds and to the letter. If the US insists on pursuing the wrong course of action, it will assume full responsibility for all serious consequences arising therefrom.
Xinhua News Agency: China has assumed the rotating presidency of the UN Security Council for August. How does China plan to fulfill its duties in this role?
Hua Chunying: China has assumed the rotating presidency of the Security Council for August. Our Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Zhang Jun, has briefed the press in detail about the Security Council’s agenda in August. According to the programme of work, the Council will have consultations on a host of issues, including Yemen, Syria, Libya, the Middle East, Palestine, and counterterrorism. Also, based on China’s initiative, the Council will hold two events on promoting common security and enhancing African countries’ capacity building.
Let me stress that China has been a staunch supporter of the UN. We have had close cooperation with the UN and supported the efforts of the UN to uphold peace and security, drive common development and address global challenges. We will be working with other members of the Council to ensure that the Council will fulfill its responsibilities as established in the UN Charter, uphold true multilateralism, advance the political settlement of regional hotspots and make even greater contribution to world peace and security
TASS: US President Biden said yesterday that “my Administration is ready to expeditiously negotiate a new arms control framework [with?Russia]?to replace New START when it expires in 2026.” He added that China also needs to engage in the talks. Does the foreign ministry have any comment on that?
Hua Chunying: The United States has the largest nuclear arsenal in the world and has taken more nuclear tests than any other country in the world. In recent years, it has invested enormously in modernizing nuclear weapons. It has also publicly stated that it will not ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty in its 2018 Nuclear Posture Review report. From time to time, there have been noises in the US advocating the resumption of nuclear tests. We hope that the US side can take the lead in honoring its responsibilities and obligations as a major nuclear country and set a good example on the reduction of strategic nuclear weapons.?
The US asks China to be part of the nuclear disarmament dialogue on the occasion of the Tenth Review Conference of the NPT with one purpose only, which is to deflect blame and distract attention. As the country that possesses the largest nuclear arsenal in the world, the US should, first and foremost, act on the UN General Assembly documents and international consensus to fulfill its special and primary responsibilities in nuclear disarmament and take further substantial and substantive cuts to its nuclear arsenal in a verifiable, irreversible and legally binding manner, so that there can be conditions for other nuclear weapon states to be involved in the multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations.?
China is committed to a self-defensive nuclear strategy, and we have exercised utmost restraint in developing nuclear capabilities, which have been limited to the minimum level required by national security. And we have never been part of any form of arms race. The size of our nuclear arsenal is not on the same level with the US. At the current stage, to ask China to be part of the multilateral disarmament process is not fair, nor is it reasonable. Even so, China has been working hard to advance the international nuclear non-proliferation process. Early this year, with China’s efforts, the leaders of the five nuclear countries issued a joint statement on preventing nuclear wars and avoiding arms races, stressing that “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.”?
If the US can lead by example and follow in real earnest the NPT stipulations, it will mean a lot both for improving the international security environment and for ensuring global strategic stability. We are ready to maintain close communication with other parties on this issue, which bears on global strategic stability and security.
Hubei Media Group: The Tenth Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of nuclear weapons opened on August 1 in New York. It is reported that President-designate of the Review Conference Gustavo Zlauvinen said that the AUKUS trilateral security partnership between the US, the?UK and Australia “has raised serious concerns by many, many countries, in particular from China, Russia and others”, and “it’s up to state parties” to decide whether the AUKUS nuclear submarine cooperation violates the spirit of the NPT. Do you have any comment?
Hua Chunying: The decision of the US, the UK and Australia to have nuclear submarine cooperation constitutes serious risks of nuclear proliferation. It has also intensified arms race and jeopardized regional peace and stability. China has expressed its opposition to that on many occasions. And as the President of the Conference has said, many other countries have repeatedly expressed similar concerns.?
We call on parties to the NPT to make full use of the opportunity provided by the conference to actively participate in discussions to address the three countries’ nuclear submarine cooperation and together uphold the integrity and effectiveness of the NPT. We also urge the three countries to honour their obligations on nuclear non-proliferation, cancel their decision on nuclear submarine cooperation and contribute their share to peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific.
Bloomberg: Just earlier you said that there would be no planned meeting between Foreign Minister Wang Yi?and Antony Blinken. Does the lack of a meeting reflect some kind of displeasure on the part of China towards the US side? And just an add-on to that, are the senior leaders of China and the US still considering to meet in-person later this year?
Hua Chunying: On these two questions, I can give you one answer. Between China and the US, there has been close communication on various levels. As to when and at what level meetings should take place, this needs to be jointly worked out between the two sides via diplomatic channels.
On China’s position on a series of important issues, we have made our position and attitude clear unmistakably to the US side through various channels. We hope the US can get our message without any misinterpretation or miscalculation.?
Reuters: Residents sighted large number of armoured vehicles on the move in Xiamen. Can the foreign ministry confirm if Chinese military is mobilizing troops in response to Pelosi’s visit?
Hua Chunying: You might want to direct this question to the Spokesperson for the Ministry of National Defense.
Kyodo News: You just announced that State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will have an opportunity to exchange views with the Japanese Foreign Minister. Can you share more information on that?
Hua Chunying: The meetings will be held between August 3 and 5 in Phnom Penh?on?the?sidelines?of?the?meetings. State Councilor Wang Yi will be meeting with the Japanese Foreign Minister?Yoshimasa Hayashi. China will immediately put out relevant information.?
Japan is China’s neighbors. We hope that Japan will be working with China to advance the sound and steady growth of bilateral ties. I’m sure this is an aspiration shared by the people of both countries. This is also what China and Japan, as important neighbors,?should do together for the wellbeing of the people of both countries and for regional peace and stability in a world full of complexities and uncertainty. We hope the upcoming meeting between the two foreign ministers will produce positive common understandings for advancing and improving China-Japan relations.?
AFP: Still on this Nancy Pelosi visit. Did China summon the US ambassador to express its opposition?
Hua Chunying: As I said, the Chinese and US sides have maintained close communication at various levels and we have sent our message across with absolute clarity. Presumably, the US is quite clear about it. We will be contacting and communicating with the US ambassador?at a suitable time.?
PTI: Head of Al-Qaeda al-Zawahiri was reported to have been killed in a US drone strike in Kabul. Do?you have any reaction to that?
Hua Chunying: We saw relevant reports. China has always been firmly against terrorism and we are actively involved in the international fight against terrorism. At the same time, we believe there should be no double standards on counter-terrorism and it should be against all forms of terrorism. Counter-terrorism cooperation should not be conducted at the expense of the sovereignty of other countries.
Bloomberg: Just on the issue of counter measures. You’ve mentioned a couple of times that should the visit go ahead that you would be within your rights to take counter measures. Can you elaborate a little bit on the nature and scope of such measures? Would its range for example include military or economic, diplomatic?
Hua Chunying: What I can say is that the US side will certainly shoulder the responsibility and pay the price for undermining China’s sovereignty and security interests.?