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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on January 10, 2022

2022-01-10 19:50

CCTV: We learned that State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi just had a telephone conversation with Kazakhstan’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mukhtar Tileuberdi. Could you update us on the call? 

Wang Wenbin: State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi had a telephone conversation today with Kazakhstan’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mukhtar Tileuberdi.

Wang said during the call that as Kazakhstan’s permanent comprehensive strategic partner, China would like to express its firm support for the Kazakh side’s efforts to maintain stability and end violence at a critical moment bearing on the country’s future. Three days ago, President Xi Jinping sent a verbal message to President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev to openly voice China’s support. This fully demonstrates the high level of our permanent comprehensive strategic partnership and stands as another testament to our deep bond of friendship through weal and woe. China stands ready to work together with the Kazakh side to implement our heads of state’s important political consensus and do our best to provide necessary support and assistance to Kazakhstan.

Tileuberdi expressed heartfelt thanks for President Xi Jinping’s important verbal message to President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev at a critical moment for Kazakhstan. He was among the first to voice support for President Tokayev and the Kazakh people. As Kazakhstan marks the National Day of Mourning, a phone call from the Chinese foreign minister once again demonstrates China’s firm support for Kazakhstan and the two sides’ fraternal ties.

Wang said that as Kazakhstan marks the National Day of Mourning, the Chinese side would like to salute all frontline law enforcement personnel who made the ultimate sacrifice in their line of duty against violent terrorism and extend sympathy for the innocent victims and the wounded. At this moment, the Chinese government and people stand in solidarity with the Kazakh government and people. After the storm comes the rainbow. We are convinced that under the strong leadership of President Tokayev, peace and stability will be fully restored and Kazakhstan will emerge even more resilient and stronger from this dark hour.

Wang stressed that the unexpected chaos in Kazakhstan shows that the situation in Central Asia still faces severe challenges and some external forces don’t want to see peace and tranquility in our region. As a neighboring country, China hopes Central Asia can maintain long-term stability and achieve development and revitalization more than anyone. China is ready to work with Kazakhstan to enhance cooperation between law enforcement and security departments, strengthen bilateral cooperation against external interference, uphold the two countries’ political system and political power security, forestall and foil any attempt at instigating “color revolution”, and jointly oppose the interference and infiltration of any external force. Efforts should be made to ensure the safety and smooth operation of major projects under the bilateral cooperation. It is believed that Kazakhstan will earnestly safeguard the safety of Chinese institutions and personnel in the country. 

Tileuberdi said that Kazakhstan fully agrees with China’s proposals and is ready to have close communication with China to strengthen security cooperation and jointly combat terrorism, separatism and extremism. 

China and Kazakhstan also exchanged views on high-level exchanges in the next stage. Wang said that China welcomes President Tokayev’s visit to China to attend the opening ceremony of the Beijing Winter Olympic Games and will ensure the Kazakh side’s trip is safe, smooth and successful. Tileuberdi said that the upcoming Beijing Winter Olympic Games is a grand event in the world with international influence and important symbolic significance, adding that the Games will promote world peace and cooperation and enhance mutual understanding among people of all countries. Kazakhstan will work with China to make relevant preparations. 

AFP: First question, will China meet Sri Lanka’s request for debt relief? Some people also believe that part of why Sri Lanka is struggling economically is due to expensive joint Chinese investments that are not profitable. What’s your response to that? Secondly, do you have any more details about the Gulf states’ foreign ministers’ visit to China? Third question, Iranian media reported that Iran’s foreign minister will visit China this week, possibly related to the nuclear talks. Are you able to confirm this?

Wang Wenbin: Before answering your questions, I would like to brief you on State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s visit to the Maldives and Sri Lanka. This visit came at the 50th anniversary of China-Maldives diplomatic relations, the 65th anniversary of China-Sri Lanka diplomatic relations, and the 70th anniversary of the Rubber-Rice Pact. It is of great significance and achieved fruitful outcomes.

During his visit in the Maldives, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, and held talks and met the press with Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid. The two foreign ministers jointly launched the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations and released the official logo for the occasion. State Councilor Wang noted that as a comprehensive friendly partner of cooperation, China supports the Maldives in accelerating economic and social development and enhancing its capacity for independent development. The joint construction of the Maritime Silk Road by China and the Maldives serves the common interests of the two peoples. Both sides are embarking on a road towards hope, prosperity and happiness. Building on the momentum of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations, China will continue to cooperate with the Maldives in fighting the pandemic and on key projects. China will explore how to assist the Maldives in developing marine economy and addressing climate change. The two sides will work for the early ratification and entry into force of the free trade agreement and work together to create a brighter future for bilateral relations.

The Maldivian side noted that in the Maldives, Maldives-China friendship is well-known, and China’s help to the Maldives can be seen everywhere. The results of the Belt and Road cooperation between the two sides have been fruitful, benefiting people’s livelihood and profoundly changing the face of Maldivian society. China provided a large number of supplies and vaccines for the Maldives, which played a key role in helping it achieve a high vaccination rate of 80 percent. The Maldivian side firmly adheres to the one-China principle and stands ready to deepen practical cooperation with China and hold a series of celebrations for the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations to achieve stronger development of bilateral ties.

The two sides also signed a series of cooperation agreements including on mutual visa exemption. State Councilor Wang Yi welcomed Shahid to attend the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Winter Games as the President of the United Nations General Assembly. Foreign Minister Shahid said that he’s looking forward to his trip to Beijing and believes that the Beijing Olympic Winter Games will be a great success.

During the visit in Sri Lanka, State Councilor Wang Yi joined Sri Lanka’s President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa in attending the launching ceremony of celebrations to mark the 65th anniversary of China-Sri Lanka diplomatic relations and the 70th anniversary of the signing of the Rubber-Rice Pact. He also met separately with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and Foreign Minister Gamini Lakshman Peiris. Wang said that China-Sri Lanka friendship enjoys a long history, and the Rubber-Rice Pact demonstrates the two countries’ national character in the fight against hegemony and power politics. President Xi Jinping’s historic state visit to Sri Lanka in 2014 opened a new chapter in bilateral friendly cooperation. China firmly supports Sri Lanka in safeguarding national sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity. As we celebrate the 65th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Sri Lanka and the 70th anniversary of the signing of the Rubber-Rice Pact, China is ready to work with Sri Lanka to carry forward the spirit of the Rubber-Rice Pact characterized by independence, self-reliance, unity and mutual support, further deepen political mutual trust, fight against the epidemic together, synergize development strategies, promote multilateralism and consolidate and expand the bilateral strategic cooperative partnership. We will make good use of the two flagship projects of Colombo Port City and Hambantota Port to help Sri Lanka realize its “Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour”, and better deliver benefit to the two countries and peoples.

The Sri Lankan side said that China, as a great friend of Sri Lanka, never interferes in its internal affairs and always comes forward and extends a helping hand when Sri Lanka faces difficulties, which Sri Lanka will always remember. Sri Lanka will continue to be firmly committed to the one-China policy and staunchly support China’s just proposals on international occasions. Sri Lanka is ready to work with China to hold successful activities to celebrate the 65th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries and the 70th anniversary of the Rubber-Rice Pact, and strengthen cooperation in economy, trade, finance, tourism and infrastructure construction to bring more benefits to the two peoples.

During his visit, State Councilor Wang Yi also said that island countries in the Indian Ocean have similar experiences and common needs, boasts similar natural endowments and share similar development goals. They have favorable conditions and full potential for strengthening mutually beneficial cooperation. The Chinese side proposes that a forum on the development of island countries in the Indian Ocean can be held at an appropriate time to pool consensus and form synergy for common development.

As you can tell from what I have just said, it is untrue to say that joint Chinese investments are expensive and not profitable. China-Sri Lanka cooperation is mutually beneficial and has been warmly welcomed by all sectors in Sri Lanka.

Now, coming back to the debt issue you raised, since the establishment of diplomatic ties, China and Sri Lanka have been showing each other understanding and support. China has been providing assistance to Sri Lanka’s economic and social development to the best of its capacity and will continue to do so in the future. It is believed that with the concerted efforts of the Sri Lankan government and people, the country will surely overcome the temporary difficulties as soon as possible and usher in renewed and greater development.

As for the visit of Foreign Ministers of GCC countries and GCC Secretary General, we have released relevant information on that. At the invitation of State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Dr. Ahmed Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah, Foreign Minister and Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs of Kuwait, Mr. Sayyid Badr Albusaidi, Foreign Minister of Oman, Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bahrain, and Dr. Nayef Falah M. Al-Hajraf, GCC Secretary General, will visit China from January 10 to 14. We will release information on the visit in due course. You may follow up on that.

On the visit of Iranian Foreign Minister, we will release information in due course. Please stay tuned.

China Daily: China has invited both Foreign Ministers of GCC member states including Saudi Arabia and GCC Secretary General to visit China. What are the considerations behind this? What’s your expectation for the visit?

Wang Wenbin: Member states of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC) have long-standing and profound friendship with China and are China’s important cooperation partners in West Asia and North Africa. As China has embarked on a new journey of fully building a modern socialist country and GCC countries are actively advancing social and economic development across the board, the relations between China and GCC countries are standing at a new historical starting point with broad prospects ahead. We believe the visit by Foreign Ministers of GCC member states and GCC Secretary General will further deepen the relationship between China and GCC countries and promote exchanges and cooperation in various sectors so as to deliver more outcomes to the benefit of the people in China and GCC countries. 

Shenzhen TV: According to reports, Abdul Ghani Baradar, acting deputy prime minister of the interim government of Afghanistan, said on January 7 that the recent snowfall and rain had worsened the plight of the Afghan people who lack food and warm clothes, calling for global humanitarian aid without political bias. He also stressed that sanctions on Afghanistan are cruel and economic sanctions imposed by the US pose a grave challenge to his country. Do you have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: The Chinese people feel deeply for the plight of the Afghan people. Although US troops have withdrawn from Afghanistan, the aftereffects of the 20-year-long military occupation linger with increasing severity. As the culprit of the Afghan crisis, the US should not simply take to its heels and be done with it, let alone slap unilateral sanctions to make things worse for Afghanistan’s economy and livelihood. We urge the US to face squarely and reflect upon its mistakes, assume its due international responsibilities, unfreeze Afghanistan’s assets and lift unilateral sanctions as soon as possible, and strive to undo the damage it inflicted on the Afghan people with concrete actions, instead of rubbing salt in their wounds.

Bloomberg: We’re wondering if China will grant the debt restructuring that Sri Lanka has asked for. We’re also wondering, because Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that the two sides should return to the table on a free trade agreements, if this is a condition for debt and restructuring. And finally, we’re also wondering if China will help to repay Sri Lanka upcoming debt maturities.

Wang Wenbin: Your questions are actually covered in my answer earlier. I would like to reiterate that China has been providing assistance to Sri Lanka’s economic and social development to the best of its capacity and will continue to do so in the future. We believe that Sri Lanka will surely overcome the temporary difficulties as soon as possible and usher in renewed and greater development. 

On the free trade agreement between China and Sri Lanka, you may refer to competent authorities. 

Hubei Media Group: A campaigner of the Shoshone Native American tribe in the US said in a recent interview that the US government conducted over 900 nuclear tests on their land and tried to ethnically cleanse them. Do you have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: I noted the report. It also mentioned a 2009 study, which stated that over a period of just over 40 years, there were 928 tests conducted on land of the Shoshone tribe, resulting in nuclear fallout of around 620 kilotons, 48 times the amount produced when Hiroshima was bombed in 1945. According to the tribe, the testing programme has killed thousands of people and many have developed a range of cancers and illnesses, but the US government doesn’t want to study the adverse health consequences.

I sympathize with the Shoshone people and other Native American tribes for what they have endured. Throughout history, the US slaughtered, expelled and assimilated Native Americans physically, geographically and culturally, committing systemic human rights abuses in every aspect. These abhorrent crimes are more than enough to constitute de facto genocide. Till this day, the US government has yet to reflect soberly on its past wrongs. On the contrary, it continues to violate Native Americans’ basic rights including the right to life and health in different ways. The past and current conditions of the Native Americans reveal the truth about US-style democracy, namely, depriving others of their human rights to serve its own interests.

The US should stop wielding human rights as a weapon to criticize other countries and instead face up to the crimes it committed on the Native Americans, repent, redress and make up for past wrongs through concrete actions, so that the dead could rest in peace and the survivors could enjoy basic human rights free from racism.

Al Jazeera: My question is also about the visit by the foreign ministers of the GCC countries to China. Can you share more information about the meeting’s location and agenda items? Does this visit have anything to do with the Iranian nuclear issue or energy? As we understand, Kazakhstan is a key energy provider for China. Given Kazakhstan’s situation, we wonder if these issues will be raised during the meeting with GCC countries?

Wang Wenbin: I want to start by thanking you for the interest in the visit by the Foreign Ministers of GCC countries to China. I just shared relevant information and would like to add a few points. The relations between China and GCC countries have emerged more mature and steady after 40 years of development. China and GCC countries have firmly supported each other on issues concerning respective core interests, advanced practical cooperation in various fields and achieved fruitful outcomes. The two sides also stay in close contact on regional hotspot issues, and make positive contribution to regional peace and stability. Under the new historical circumstances, China is ready to work together with the GCC for common development and elevate the bilateral relations to a new stage. We will release relevant information in due course. Please stay tuned.  

The Paper: According to reports, leader of Myanmar Senior General Min Aung Hlaing met with visiting Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen in Naypyidaw on January 7. The two sides issued a joint statement that welcomed the participation of ASEAN’s special envoy on Myanmar in the ceasefire talks with and among the Ethnic Armed Organizations (EAOs). It will convene a meeting between the special envoy and parties concerned in light of Myanmar’s situation, and emphasized that implementation of the five-point consensus should be complementary in realization of the five-point roadmap of Myanmar. What is China’s comment on this development?

Wang Wenbin: Myanmar is a member of the big ASEAN family. China supports ASEAN in properly handling the issues relating to Myanmar in the “ASEAN way”, and successfully implementing the five-point consensus under the ASEAN framework. China appreciates Myanmar’s readiness to create favorable conditions for ASEAN’s special envoy to fulfill his duty, and works toward effective alignment between Myanmar’s five-point roadmap and ASEAN’s five-point consensus. China will fully support Cambodia, the rotating chair of ASEAN, in playing an active role and making important contribution to properly managing the differences among parties of Myanmar through political dialogue and restoring stability and achieving development at an early date. 

Beijing Daily: On January 7, US Trade Representative Katherine Tai spoke with European Commission Executive Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis over the phone and expressed the US’ strong support for the EU and for Lithuania in the face of economic coercion from China. Do you have any response?

Wang Wenbin: Speaking of coercion, we should look at what the US did: The US government forced the military government of Haiti to step down in 1994, and referred to that as “a textbook example of coercive diplomacy”; in 2003, it explicitly characterized the $30.3 billion additional military expenses for “coercive diplomacy” as incurred expenses; it spared no effort to crack down on its competitors like Alstom and Toshiba and coerced the TSMC, Samsung and other companies to provide to the US chip supply chain data. This is flat-out “blackmail diplomacy”. Its attempt to misrepresent China’s legitimate measures to uphold national sovereignty as “coercion” only serves to reveal how hypocritical and deceptive the US’ “discourse bullying” is. 

Lithuania violated its political commitment made upon the establishment of diplomatic ties with the People’s Republic of China and created the false impression of “one China, one Taiwan” in the world. These facts are indisputable. Visionary people in Lithuania criticized these acts. The US instigated the Lithuanian authorities to undermine the one-China principle from the outset and then supported, aided and abetted them. The US tries to seek political calculation aimed at using Taiwan to contain China at the expense of Lithuania’s interests.

We urge the Lithuanian side to correct the mistake and not to be a pawn for anti-China forces. We also warn the US side that playing the Taiwan card is counterproductive and will get itself burnt.

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