China FO Presser

Chins FO Presser – Aug 18, 2023

10 Min
<strong>Chins FO Presser – Aug 18, 2023</strong>

China Foreign Ministry held a press conference on Aug 18, 2023 with Spokesperson Wang Wenbin fielding questions on a wide range of issues.

CCTV: China announced this morning that President Xi Jinping will attend the BRICS Summit in South Africa. Strengthening BRICS cooperation and BRICS expansion are two topics that have received much attention in particular. Could you share China’s expectation for the summit?

Wang Wenbin: The upcoming summit will be the first in-person BRICS summit in more than three years and the first BRICS summit to be held in Africa in five years. Since its establishment, BRICS has remained true to its founding purpose of seeking strength through solidarity, upheld the spirit of openness, inclusiveness and win-win cooperation, and deepened practical cooperation in various fields. It has become an important force driving global governance reform and taken on increasing international influence.

Under the theme of “BRICS and Africa: Partnership for Mutually Accelerated Growth, Sustainable Development and Inclusive Multilateralism”, the summit will carry forward the sound momentum of cooperation from the BRICS “China Year” 2022 and blueprint a brighter future for BRICS. All sides will have in-depth exchange of views on prominent global challenges, enhance coordination and collaboration in international affairs, inject stability and positive energy into today’s world fraught with uncertainties, and contribute wisdom and strength to world peace and development. They will discuss ways to further deepen and substantiate BRICS cooperation, including practical cooperation in such fields as economy and trade, finance, security, people-to-people and cultural exchange, and global governance, and provide guidance for the mechanism’s sustained steady growth. They will also seek to strengthen dialogue and cooperation between BRICS and Africa and other emerging markets and developing countries and send a strong message of safeguarding multilateralism and focusing on common development.

CRI: This year marks the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between China and South Africa. A South African scholar said that the relations between China and South Africa have entered a “golden age”. At this important historical juncture, what expectation does China have for the future of the bilateral relations? What outcomes do you expect this visit to achieve?

Wang Wenbin: During the visit, President Xi Jinping will exchange views with President Ramaphosa on bilateral relations and international and regional issues of mutual interest, and draw a blueprint for the growth of bilateral relations. The visit will provide strong impetus for building a high-level China-South Africa community with a shared future.

South Africa is China’s comprehensive strategic partner and the first African country that has joined Belt and Road cooperation. In the past 25 years since the two countries established diplomatic relations, this relationship has achieved leapfrog development and reached far beyond the bilateral scope and increasingly bears global significance. In recent years in particular, under the joint care and planning of President Xi Jinping and President Ramaphosa, China-South Africa relations have maintained high-level development, with political mutual trust, practical cooperation, cultural and people-to-people exchange and strategic coordination continuing to deepen. As a South African scholar said, China-South Africa relations have entered a “golden age”, and the future holds great promise for the relationship.

No matter how the international landscape may change, China will not change its commitment to deepening friendship and enhancing solidarity and cooperation with South Africa. We would like to work with South Africa to continue to support each other on issues that bear on each other’s core interests and major concerns, jointly pursue development and revitalization, and make positive contribution to a multi-polar world and greater democracy in international relations. We believe that with the concerted efforts of the two sides, the China-Africa comprehensive strategic partnership will achieve new, greater development.

People’s Daily: We noted that this upcoming BRICS Summit has invited many African countries to attend the “BRICS Plus” activities, and China and South Africa will co-chair the China-Africa Leaders’ Dialogue. What is the consideration for holding this dialogue? Looking ahead, what will China and Africa do to build an even closer China-Africa community with a shared future?

Wang Wenbin: Solidarity and cooperation with African countries are the cornerstones of China’s foreign policy and our longstanding, rock-firm strategic choice. During the upcoming BRICS Summit, President Xi Jinping and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa will co-chair the China-Africa Leaders’ Dialogue. The African Co-Chair of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, Chairperson of the African Union and representatives of the regional economic communities have been invited to the event.?

During the Dialogue, under the theme of “Promoting African integration and jointly building a high-level China-Africa community with a shared future”, the two sides will have in-depth exchanges on the ways to work together to advance their modernization and foster a peaceful, just and open environment for development. Carrying forward the spirit of China-Africa friendship and cooperation and aiming for tangible cooperation outcomes, China and Africa will create an even better future for the Chinese and African people and set an exemplary model for advancing the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.?

Kyodo News: The leaders of the US, Japan and the Republic of Korea are set to meet in the US today. They are expected to agree to enhance three-way security cooperation. Do you have any response??

Wang Wenbin: In a world of change and disorder on the security front, all parties should act on the vision of a community of shared security for mankind, practice true multilateralism, and jointly address various security challenges. No country should seek its own security at the expense of other countries’ security interests and regional peace and stability. The international community has its fair judgment on who is stoking conflicts and exacerbating tensions. The Asia-Pacific is an anchor for peace and development and a promising land for cooperation and growth, and should never be turned into a wrestling ground for geopolitical competition again. Attempts to cobble together various exclusionary groupings and bring bloc confrontation and military blocs into the Asia-Pacific are not going to get support and will only be met with vigilance and opposition from regional countries.

Global Times: According to Africa’s Development Dynamics 2023, a report jointly released by the OECD and the African Union, between 2017 and 2022, China’s greenfield foreign direct investment in Africa stood at USD 74 billion, accounting for 18 percent of the global greenfield FDI inflows into Africa, and in the same tier with Europe and the US. What’s China’s comment on the report??

Wang Wenbin: We have noted the report. Africa is a continent of opportunities and a promising land for investors. Chinese investment in Africa is mutually-beneficial, it meets Africa’s development needs and has delivered benefits to both peoples. In recent years, with guidance and attention from Chinese and African leaders, investment cooperation between our two sides has come a long way.

China’s investment in Africa has seen steady growth and enjoys broad prospects. In the first half of this year, China added USD 1.82 billion in FDI to Africa, up by 4.4 percent year-on-year. Chinese companies have growing confidence in the African market. More than 3,000 Chinese enterprises have invested deeply in Africa, of which over 70 percent are private companies, the mainstay of Chinese investment in Africa. With accelerated progress in the African Continental Free Trade Area, Chinese companies will find more facilitation and new opportunities as they explore and invest more in the African market and add fresh dynamism to high-quality cooperation between China and Africa.

China and Africa are mutually complementary in the pursuit of development. China invests in broader areas and in more diverse ways in Africa. Africa is endowed with rich resources, enjoys enormous demographic dividends, and is speeding up the integration process and the building of the African Continental Free Trade Area. The investment promotion program is one of the nine programs rolled out at the FOCAC Dakar conference. China has been stepping up efforts to implement the outcomes of the conference. We have offered guidance and facilitation to Chinese companies investing in Africa and improved resources allocation by establishing a platform for China-Africa private investment promotion, establishing a?China-Africa cross-border RMB center, and publishing the Report on Chinese Investment in Africa. We are glad to note that Chinese investment has expanded to more sectors, including emerging industries like sci-tech, finance and e-commerce, apart from manufacturing, electricity and construction mentioned in the report. Equity participation, mergers and acquisitions have become new modes of Chinese investment in Africa.

The win-win investment cooperation between China and Africa has boosted our respective modernization. China is fostering a new development paradigm at a faster pace. Chinese businesses’ investment in Africa will help forge more smooth and stable global industrial chains. While realizing their own development, Chinese companies also contribute to Africa’s development strategies and actively fulfill their social responsibilities. With many Chinese companies, over 80 percent of the staff are local employees. Chinese companies have given back to local communities by building bridges and roads, drilling wells and installing street lights. At the same time, they have increased technology transfer, local procurement and personnel training in Africa, and helped modernize the continent’s agricultural, manufacturing and services sectors, upgrade its manufacturing and processing techniques, and create greater value-added, contributing significantly to the stability, development and prosperity of African countries.

Supporting Africa’s development is the common responsibility of the international community. We welcome stronger interest and investment in Africa from all quarters. We will continue to support willing, capable Chinese companies of good standing in expanding investment in Africa to help increase the continent’s capability to achieve self-driven sustainable growth and move forward towards modernization and prosperity.

AFP: Russian defense ministry said today that Russian and Chinese warships have been conducting joint maritime patrols in the East China Sea. Can you share any details about these joint patrols? Have they ended or are they ongoing?

Wang Wenbin: The normal passage of Chinese and Russian vessels is consistent with international law and customary practice.

Dragon TV: At a recent academic seminar held in Mudanjiang, Heilongjiang province, the “Original File of the First Army Hospital of the Japanese Army in Harbin” met the public for the first time. The file provides important historical evidence for the involvement of the Hospital of the Japanese Army in the crime of vivisection. What’s your comment??

Wang Wenbin: During WWII, in blatant violation of international law, the Japanese army launched horrendous bacterial warfare against the Chinese people. They conducted barbaric human experimentation, and committed heinous crimes against humanity during their aggression against China. The historical file you mentioned is yet another piece of solid proof of the bacterial warfare launched by Japanese militarists. There’s no room for denial. Japan needs to earnestly face up to and reflect on its history of militarist aggression, draw lessons from it, root out the toxic legacy of militarism, and never let history repeat itself.

Reuters: According to media reports, flights between North Korea and Beijing are set to resume as early as next week. Can you confirm this?

Wang Wenbin: I have nothing to share at the moment.

China Daily: Foreign media reported recently that satellite photos show China has been building an airstrip on Zhongjian Dao in the past few weeks. Can the foreign ministry confirm this? What is the purpose of building the airstrip?

Wang Wenbin: I need to first of all point out that this report is inconsistent with facts. Zhongjian Dao is part of China’s Xisha Qundao, which has all along been part of China’s territory. China’s construction activities on its own territory are legitimate, lawful and beyond reproach.

The Paper: US Department of Defense issued the 2023 Biodefense Posture Review, which reportedly singles out China as the key long-term threat, casting doubt on Beijing’s compliance with existing international rules on biowarfare and raising concerns over its accelerated plans to integrate civilian biological research programs into the military. What is your comment?

Wang Wenbin: I noted the reports. To serve its geopolitical agenda, the US often comes up with so-called “threats” to create the pretext for containing and suppressing other countries in order to ensure its supremacy and seek selfish gains. Such a practice goes against the trend of the times and harms the common interests of the international community.

Biosecurity is a global issue. The US’s false narratives and moves to stoke confrontation seriously jeopardize the biosecurity governance system with the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) as the cornerstone and the global response to biosecurity risks and challenges.

When it comes to biosecurity threats, the US is the most active and suspected country in conducting bio-military activities. The US has never given a meaningful response to the international community’s concerns. For example, has the US been secretly developing its biological warfare capabilities even after it joined the BWC? What’s the US truly up to by investing in what it calls biodefense? Has the US ever used other countries for activities that are inconsistent with the BWC and US domestic laws? Why does the US collect biometric data and samples from around the world and what have they been used for? Why does the US oppose establishing a bioweapon verification mechanism while all other countries have agreed to it?

As long as these questions remain unanswered, the international community will not be able to build up confidence in the US’s compliance, and global biosecurity will hardly become a reality. China supports continued international review of the US’s compliance issue and again calls on the US to earnestly fulfill its international obligations.

I would like to reiterate here that China will continue to act under the Global Security Initiative and work with the international community to firmly uphold the authority of international biosecurity law, enhance global biosecurity governance, and respond to biosecurity risks and challenges.

CCTV: It was reported that during August 12 to 18, deputy leader of China’s Taiwan region Lai Ching-te “stopped over” in New York and San Francisco. What is your comment?

Wang Wenbin: The US insisted on arranging two “stopovers” for Lai Ching-te. This has seriously violated the one-China principle and undermined China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and sent a gravely wrong signal to “Taiwan independence” separatist forces. China firmly opposes and strongly condemns this.

The one-China principle is a prevailing consensus among the international community and a basic norm governing international relations. It is also the prerequisite and basis for the establishment and development of diplomatic ties between China and the US. In the three China-US joint communiqués, the US made a clear commitment of maintaining only unofficial relations with Taiwan. As the deputy leader of the Taiwan region, Lai describes himself as a “pragmatic worker for Taiwanese independence”. What he said and did in the US over the past few days proved once again that he is a “Taiwan independence” separatist through and through. By allowing him to engage in political activities in the US, propagate separatist propositions for “Taiwan independence” and use it to upgrade official interaction and substantive relations with Taiwan, the US has once again exposed its calculations of saying one thing but doing another, following a strategy of using Taiwan to contain China, and fudging and hollowing out the one-China principle.

The Taiwan question is the core of the core interests of China, the bedrock of the political foundation of China-US relations, and the first red line that must not be crossed in China-US relations. “Taiwan independence” and cross-Strait peace and stability are as irreconcilable as fire and water. The pursuit of “Taiwan independence” will lead nowhere. Those who connive at and support “Taiwan independence” will eventually get burnt.

China again urges the US to abide by the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communiqués, honor its commitment of not supporting “Taiwan independence” or “two Chinas” or “one China, one Taiwan”, stop all forms of official interaction with Taiwan, stop upgrading its substantive exchanges with the region, stop conniving at and supporting separatist forces seeking “Taiwan independence” and their separatist activities and stop obscuring and hollowing out the one-China principle. China must be reunified, and will surely be reunified. Any attempt of holding back China’s reunification is doomed to fail. China will take strong measures to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity.