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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on May 23, 2024
2024-05-23 20:16

Premier Li Qiang of the State Council will attend the ninth Trilateral Summit Meeting among China, Japan and the ROK in Seoul from May 26 to 27.

Xinhua News Agency: On the announcement of Equatorial Guinea President’s visit to China, can you share the program and China’s expectation for the visit? How does China view the current China-Equatorial Guinea relations?

Wang Wenbin: China and Equatorial Guinea share profound traditional friendship. Since the establishment of diplomatic ties over half a century ago, our two sides have always treated each other with equality and mutual respect and rendered each other support. In recent years, the bilateral relationship has enjoyed robust growth with deepening political mutual trust, steady progress in practical cooperation and tangible benefits to our two peoples.

President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo is a long-standing friend of the Chinese people. During the visit, President Xi Jinping will hold a welcome ceremony and a welcome banquet for President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo. They will hold talks and attend the signing ceremony of cooperation documents together. Premier Li Qiang and Chairman Zhao Leji will meet with him respectively. President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo will also visit Shandong Province.

We have every confidence that President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo’s visit will inject new impetus for fully advancing and deepening our friendly ties with Equatorial Guinea and achieving new results in our cooperation in various fields.

AFP: About the military exercises that China is currently conducting around Taiwan. The US General has said today these military drills are concerning. What’s your reaction to these comments from the US side?

Wang Wenbin: The PLA Eastern Theater Command has issued a press release about the joint drills, which you may refer to. The joint drills of the PLA Eastern Theater Command are a necessary and legitimate move to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity, crack down on “Taiwan independence” separatist forces and their separatist moves and send a warning to external interference and provocation. It is fully consistent with international law and common practices. 

I need to stress that Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory. This is both a fact based on history and the true status quo, and it will remain so in the future. “Taiwan independence” is doomed to fail. The Chinese people will not be deterred from defending our sovereignty and territorial integrity. The 1.4 billion strong Chinese people will resolutely push back any separatist activity for “Taiwan independence”. Anyone seeking “Taiwan independence” will find themselves crushed by the historic trend of China’s complete reunification.

We urge the US to stop conniving at or supporting “Taiwan independence” separatist forces and stop meddling in China’s internal affairs. Any attempt to endanger China’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity will be met with China’s resolute response.

CCTV: You announced that Premier Li Qiang will attend the ninth China-Japan-ROK Trilateral Summit Meeting. How does China view the current China-Japan-ROK trilateral cooperation and what’s China’s expectation for the meeting?

Wang Wenbin: China, Japan and the ROK are neighbors and major economies in Asia and the world. In the course of jointly tackling the Asian financial crisis, our three countries launched trilateral cooperation. Twenty-five years on, we have put in place a China-Japan-ROK cooperation framework centering on the summit meeting and supported by ministerial meetings, senior officials’ meeting and over 70 working-level mechanisms.

Premier Li Qiang, together with leaders of Japan and the ROK, will attend the upcoming trilateral summit meeting, the China-Japan-ROK business summit and other important events and exchange views on China-Japan-ROK cooperation. With complex changes unfolding in our region and beyond, we hope that the forthcoming summit meeting will inject new impetus into the trilateral cooperation and provide better ways towards mutual benefit for the three countries. China stands ready to work with Japan and the ROK to implement the Trilateral Cooperation Vision for the Next Decade and other important common understandings, deepen economic and trade, sci-tech and cultural cooperation to advance regional economic integration in East Asia and promote regional and global peace, stability and prosperity.

China News Service: We have noted that according to recent data, in the first quarter of 2024, over 141 million exit-entry travelers were recorded in China, increasing by 117.8 percent year on year. Cross-border travel is now gaining stronger momentum. What’s China’s comment?

Wang Wenbin: As you have mentioned, recently, cross-border travel has witnessed remarkable increase. This benefits from the resumption of flight, facilitation measures for inbound visits to China and more countries reaching mutual visa exemptions with China. People-to-people exchanges between China and other countries have become a vivid example of China’s continued efforts to promote high-level opening up.

Over the past few months, China has introduced six new measures to improve our visa policies and five new measures to facilitate visits to China by foreigners, actively addressed the difficulties foreigners face in mobile payment, rolled out a visa-free entry policy for foreign tourist groups traveling to China by cruise ships and set up fundamental regulations on the docking and resupply of international cruise ships at China’s ports. We have provided more facilitation for foreign visitors. Chinese passports have become more valuable. It has become more convenient for Chinese tourists to travel abroad through flights, trains and coaches during holidays. During this year’s Labor Day holiday, there are over 8 million inbound and outbound travelers, an increase of 35 percent compared with last year.

The facilitated and easier people-to-people exchanges between China and other countries have effective promoted global tourism recovery and international economic and trade exchanges, and enhanced our people-to-people ties and the bond of our peoples. We are confident that in the future, China will have closer ties with the world. We welcome more foreign friends to visit China, leave behind more vivid stories of cross-border exchanges, and explore more opportunities of mutually-beneficial cooperation.

Reuters: China has launched what it calls “punishment” drills around Taiwan today and tomorrow. I have a few questions. Would China announce any no-fly or no-entry zones during the drills? And has China informed foreign countries, airlines or ships about the drills?

Wang Wenbin: The PLA Eastern Theater Command has issued a press release about the joint drills, which you may refer to. The joint drills of the PLA Eastern Theater Command are a necessary and legitimate move to crack down on “Taiwan independence” separatist forces and their separatist activities and send a warning to external interference and provocations. It is fully consistent with international law and common practices. 

Dragon TV: Will Premier Li Qiang have bilateral meetings with the leaders of Japan and the ROK on the margins of the trilateral summit meeting?  

Wang Wenbin: We maintain communication with relevant parties on China’s bilateral meetings with Japan and the ROK on the margins of the trilateral summit meeting.

China Daily: It’s reported on May 21, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) delivered an advisory opinion in response to the request from the Commission of Small Island States on Climate Change and International Law (COSIS). What’s China’s comment? What role did China play in the issuance of the advisory opinion?

Wang Wenbin: On the evening of May 21, Beijing time, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) delivered an advisory opinion concerning climate change. China noted that the advisory opinion affirms that the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is at the core of agreements adopted to address climate change and points out that while fulfilling environmental protection obligations under the framework of UNCLOS, countries need to take into account relevant international rules and standard in the UNFCCC.

In the case concerning this advisory opinion, under the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Ecological Civilization, China has deeply involved itself in the whole process. We submitted written proceedings to ITLOS and for the first time in history participated in the oral proceedings. Upholding the spirit of respecting international rule of law and bearing in mind the overall interest of the international community, China stressed the fundamental and core position of UNFCCC in addressing climate change and proposed constructive opinions, making contribution to improving the global climate and marine governance system. China’s effort has been applauded by various parties.

As a responsible major developing country, China implements a national strategy of actively responding to climate change and will achieve the world’s highest reduction in carbon intensity in the shortest time in history. Responding to climate change and its adverse effects is the common cause of humanity. China stands ready to work with the international community to enhance solidarity and coordination to address climate change and the conservation of the marine environment to find a path to achieve harmony between man and nature.

TV Asahi: Yesterday, Director-General of the MFA Department of Asian Affairs Liu Jinsong met with Chief Minister of the Embassy of Japan Akira Yokochi. On the Taiwan question, what did the Chinese side say? What was the position that was expressed?

Wang Wenbin: We have released a readout on the meeting between Director-General Liu Jinsong and Chief Minister of the Embassy of Japan, which you may refer to. Japan has repeatedly made negative moves on the Taiwan question, and China has made serious protests and expressed our serious position. We urge the Japanese side to abide by the principles and spirits of the four political documents between China and Japan and fulfill its commitment to the one-China principle with concrete actions. The Japanese side should not connive at or support “Taiwan independence” separatist forces in any form and should safeguard cross-Strait peace and stability, rather than doing the opposite.

China Review News: It’s reported Michael McCaul, the chairman of the foreign affairs committee in the US House of Representatives, said he will lead a delegation to visit Taiwan at the end of May and congratulate Taiwan’s “new leader” on his inauguration. What’s China’s comment?

Wang Wenbin: China firmly opposes official interaction in any form between Taiwan and the US and opposes US interference in Taiwan affairs in any form or under any pretext. The US Congress is part of the US government and supposed to strictly adhere to the one-China policy followed by the US. Any visit by congressional members to Taiwan will seriously violate the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communiqués, interfere in China’s internal affairs, undermine China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and send a seriously wrong signal to “Taiwan independence” separatist forces.

China urges the US to seriously abide by the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communiqués, not arrange for any visit by members of the Congress to Taiwan, stop official interaction with Taiwan, stop creating tensions in the Taiwan Strait and act on the US commitment to maintaining only cultural, commercial, and other unofficial relations with the Taiwan region and not supporting “Taiwan independence”. Otherwise, all consequences arising therefrom must be borne by the US.

CCTV: On May 20, Chinese Ambassador to Japan Wu Jianghao sent a serious warning to the Japanese side over its recent negative moves on the Taiwan question. Wu said that “If Japan ties itself onto the chariot of splitting China, the Japanese people will be led into a pit of fire.” It’s reported that on May 22, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshimasa Hayashi said that Wu’s remarks were “extremely inappropriate.” What’s China’s comment?

Wang Wenbin: The Taiwan question is at the very core of China’s core interests. It bears on the political foundation of China-Japan relations and is a red line that must not be crossed. Some in Japan have been making negative moves on Taiwan, including repeating the preposterous and dangerous notion that “any contingency for Taiwan is a contingency for Japan”, which seriously violates the spirit of the four political documents between China and Japan and the commitments Japan has made.

Ambassador Wu Jianghao categorically and rightfully stated China’s position. They are based on facts and the intention is sincere and earnest. His words are entirely proper and necessary. Let me stress once again that no one should underestimate the resolve, will and ability of the Chinese people to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity. Anyone bent on interfering in China’s internal affairs and holding back China’s reunification will pay a heavy price.

Reuters: After the drills around Taiwan this week, is China planning more “punishment” drills of such? And also does China plan to escalate its drills further?

Wang Wenbin: Each time “Taiwan independence” separatists make waves, it garners stronger effort from China and the rest of the world to defend the one-China principle.

Global Times: It’s reported that Secretary of State for Defense Grant Shapps said during a conference in London that the intelligent services from the US and the UK had evidence that lethal aid is now, or will be, flowing from China to Russia for use in the battlefield in Ukraine. On the same day, when asked about Shapps’s remarks, the US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan answered that the US had expressed concerns that China might provide weapons to Russia but hasn’t seen that to date. What’s China’s comment? 

Wang Wenbin: We condemn the UK politician’s groundless and irresponsible vilification of China. We noted the fact those remarks from the UK side were not even seconded by its “close ally.”

Let me be clear, it’s the UK, not China, that has been fanning the flames on Ukraine. It’s reported that two years ago when Russia and Ukraine were close to an agreement to end the conflict, it was the UK, among others, that jumped in the way to stop it and the conflict has continued since. Just as China and the international community work hard to cool down the situation, the UK side once again made irresponsible remarks, which is quite alarming.

What we would like to say to the UK politician is that vilifying China will not get the UK out of its difficult spot on Ukraine, still less solve the UK’s thorny domestic issues. Instead of falsely accusing China, why not take a hard look at what role the UK itself has played on the Ukraine issue?

China has and will remain on the side of peace and dialogue. We will keep working hard to push for peace talks and oppose fanning the flames. Meanwhile, we will defend our legitimate rights and interests.

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