|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on May 26, 2022|
Yonhap News Agency: On May 26 local time, the UN Security Council will vote on whether to strengthen sanctions on the DPRK in response to its ballistic missile launch activities. Will China oppose the adoption of a Security Council resolution?
Wang Wenbin: China always believes that the Security Council should play a positive and constructive role on the Korean Peninsula issue. Sanctions are a means, not the end. They should be used to serve the goal of finding a political settlement of the issue. We hope all parties of the Security Council will stick to the general direction of political settlement and work actively to find a solution to break the deadlock.
AFP: The Philippines’ President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has vowed to uphold a 2016 international court ruling over the South China Sea. He said, we will use it to continue to assert our territorial rights. What’s China’s response?
Wang Wenbin: China’s position on the South China Sea arbitration case is consistent, clear and unchanged.
China and the Philippines are friendly close neighbors. We have established a bilateral consultation mechanism on issues relating to the South China Sea and maintain communication and dialogue on maritime issues. China stands ready to continue working with the Philippines through dialogue and consultation to properly handle differences and safeguard peace and stability in the South China Sea.
CCTV: It is reported that Robert Malley, US Special Envoy for Iran, said in testimony to Congress on May 25 that the prospect of reviving the Iranian nuclear deal is tenuous. If parties fail to reach a deal, the US will further tighten sanctions and respond strongly to any Iranian escalation, working in concert with Israel and regional partners. Do you have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: I have noted relevant reports.
China has also noted that Special Envoy Robert Malley said in his testimony that the US’ maximum pressure policy on Iran has failed. Oddly, having acknowledged its own mistakes, the US is still tightening sanctions on Iran, instead of reflecting on its approach. Such moves won’t help break the deadlock on the talks, but will only undermine the negotiation process and further tarnish the US’ reputation.
The Iranian nuclear talks have entered the final stage. At this juncture, parties should make greater efforts to resolve the outstanding issues at an early date and avoid letting previous efforts come to naught. As the one who created the Iranian nuclear crisis, the US should make political decisions as soon as possible, actively respond to the legitimate concerns of the Iranian side and facilitate a smooth conclusion of the negotiations.
China always firmly supports the political settlement process of the Iranian nuclear issue. We will continue to participate in negotiations constructively, help bring the JCPOA back to the normal track at an early date, uphold the international non-proliferation system and promote peace and stability in the Middle East. In the meantime, we will resolutely safeguard our own legitimate and lawful rights and interests.
Hubei Media Group: Some European political dignitaries and scholars recently said that the eastward expansion of the US-led North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is a root cause of the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, but Europe is bearing the brunt. And the economic interests and even the foreign policy of the EU are not always those of the US. Do you have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: The ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict has taken a heavy toll on Europe politically, economically and socially, while the US is reaping profits. In the US, arms-dealers are popping champagne, American grain and energy industries are raking in huge profits, and the US government has only admitted 12 refugees from Ukraine in March only to put on a show.
Facts have proven that increasing sanctions is not an effective way to resolve conflict and the continuous supply of weapons cannot bring peace. A prolonged and complicated conflict will cause immeasurable consequences. People in European countries will pay a higher price, and the world will also have to face severe challenges including energy and food crisis. Only a few people, such as dealers of arms, oil and gas, will reap benefits from the situation.
China supports Russia and Ukraine in keeping talks for peace. We also call on the EU and NATO to have a comprehensive dialogue with Russia, and ensure that reason will triumph over emotions, vision over shortsightedness and common good over selfish interests, thus building a balanced, effective and sustainable European security architecture.
Reuters: We understand that State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi has met with the foreign minister from the Solomon Islands. What was discussed and was the security agreement signed there?
Wang Wenbin: That’s a very good question. I would take this opportunity to share with you relevant information about State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s visit to Solomon Islands.
Today, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with Acting Governor General Patteson Oti of Solomon Islands, and had talks with Foreign Minister Jeremiah Manele.
State Councilor Wang Yi said, China will, as always, firmly support Solomon Islands in safeguarding national sovereignty, security and territorial integrity, defending national unity, and speeding up national development and revitalization. China will continue to do its utmost to provide help in this regard. China is ready to work with Solomon Islands to follow through on the important consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries, elevate China-Solomon Islands relations to a higher level, so as to make the bilateral relationship a fine example of political mutual trust and a pacesetter for mutually beneficial cooperation between China and South Pacific Island Countries.
Solomon Islands welcomed the first Chinese high-level delegation to the country since the establishment of diplomatic ties, saying that this historic visit is a milestone in the bilateral relationship, underpinned by equal treatment and mutual respect. Solomon Islands will always firmly adhere to the one-China policy and firmly support China in safeguarding its sovereignty and territorial integrity. China has become a close friend and an important development partner of Solomon Islands, and various agreements signed by the two countries have been effectively implemented. China is practicing the concept of a community with a shared future for mankind with practical actions. China’s support has played an important role in developing the economy, improving people’s livelihood and fighting the pandemic, and has created a large number of jobs in Solomon Islands. Solomon Islands is looking forward to more cooperation between the two countries.
The two sides agreed to jointly build major landmark projects under the Belt and Road Initiative, make good use of the zero-tariff preferential policy for products exported to China, and help Solomon Islands fully tap its resource advantages and development potential. The two sides agreed to expand practical cooperation in a wide range of fields such as agriculture, fishery, lumbering, mining, health and pandemic prevention, and disaster mitigation and relief, and deepen exchange of experience in product processing, industrial incubation, and the development of special economic zones, so as to help Solomon Islands improve its capabilities of independent development, and accelerate the realization of industrialization and modernization.
The two sides said that they will work together to ensure that the gymnasiums for the Pacific Games 2023 and the auxiliary facilities will be completed at high standards in the near future, as part of the efforts to help Solomon Islands host high-level games.
The two sides agreed to strengthen coordination and cooperation on development issues, response to climate change and multilateral affairs. The Solomon Islands side said that it supports the Global Development Initiative proposed by President Xi Jinping, and is ready to strengthen alignment with China to form synergy.
The two sides spoke positively of the fruitful cooperation between China and the Pacific Island Countries, and agreed to jointly ensure the success of the upcoming second China-Pacific Island Foreign Ministers’ Meeting.
And to your question about the bilateral framework agreement on security cooperation between China and Solomon Islands, we have in fact shared with you relevant information many times. The agreement has already been officially signed by the two sides.
AFP: So just now AFP journalists were prevented from accessing a press conference hosted by State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and the Solomon Islands foreign minister and only state media were allowed to ask questions. Media reports also claimed that local Solomon Islands journalists were denied media access to these events. Can you explain the lack of media access?
Wang Wenbin: As far as I know, all mainstream media of Solomon Islands attended today’s joint press conference of foreign ministers of China and Solomon Islands. We respect the arrangement of the host country.
Just now I shared some information about State Councilor Wang Yi’s visit. We will also release more information in a timely manner if any. Please stay tuned.
The Paper: A poll commissioned by the Japanese Foreign Ministry shows that respondents in ASEAN countries see China as the region’s most important partner in the future. What is China’s comment?
Wang Wenbin: Like always, we do not comment on any polling results. I would like to stress that China always gives priority to ASEAN in its neighborhood diplomacy, firmly supports ASEAN centrality in the regional architecture, and values and defends regional cooperation framework and outcomes built over the years.
A valuable takeaway from the 30 years of dialogue relations between China and ASEAN is that when pursuing regional cooperation, the two sides should uphold peace and oppose instability and wars, advance solidarity and cooperation and oppose antagonism and confrontation, seek mutual benefit and oppose hegemony, and promote openness and inclusiveness and oppose division and exclusiveness. China will remain a reliable and trustworthy good neighbor, good friend and good partner of ASEAN. China is ready to develop the comprehensive strategic partnership with ASEAN, move toward an even closer China-ASEAN community with a shared future and continue to make new contributions to building a community with a shared future in the Asia-Pacific.
China News Service: According to reports, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in an interview on May 24 that China is an authoritarian power. He said that “China and Russia called on closing NATO’s door -- no more NATO enlargement. Of course, it matters to our security. Therefore, we need to address that.” What’s your comment on this?
Wang Wenbin: For some time, NATO Secretary General has repeatedly made unwarranted accusations to smear and attack China, made irresponsible remarks on China’s political system and domestic and foreign policies, and hyped up the so-called “China threat” theory. China categorically rejects and strongly condemns this.
NATO on the one hand urges its members to increase military spending to at least 2% of GDP, and on the other hand points fingers at China’s normal national defense development and military modernization. This is typical double standard. China stays committed to the path of peaceful development and firmly follows a defense policy that is defensive in nature. We always keep our nuclear force at the minimum level required to safeguard national security. China keeps its military expenditure at around 1.3% as a share of its GDP for a long time, much lower than the world average. Unlike some NATO members, China never threatens other countries with force, never creates military alliance, never exports ideology, never meddles in others’ domestic affairs, never seeks a trade war, and never imposes unjustified oppression on foreign enterprises. How possibly can China "matter to" the security of NATO?
NATO has publicly stated on many occasions that it will remain a regional alliance, it does not seek a geopolitical breakthrough and it does not seek to expand to other regions. However, in recent years, NATO has entered the Asia-Pacific region repeatedly. Some NATO member states keep sending aircraft and warships to carry out military exercises in waters off China’s coast, creating tensions and disputes. NATO has been transgressing regions and fields and clamoring for a new Cold War of bloc confrontation. This gives ample reason for high vigilance and firm opposition from the international community.
We urge Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to stop spreading denigrating remarks against China and stop drawing ideological lines. NATO has already messed up Europe. It should stop trying to destabilize Asia and the world.
The Paper: On May 25, Spokesperson for the US State Department once again made groundless accusation on the cooperation between China and Pacific Island Countries. Do you have any response to that?
Wang Wenbin: As countries in the Asia-Pacific, China and South Pacific Island Countries enjoy friendly exchange that goes way back. The expanding communication and cooperation between our two sides in recent years have delivered huge benefits to the two peoples and received sincere welcome from the people of PICs.
I want to stress that developing friendly and cooperative relations with PICs is a long-term strategic guideline of China’s diplomacy. China’s relationship with island countries follows the principle of mutual benefits, openness and inclusiveness, does not seek any exclusive right, and poses no threat to any third party. In the same vein, it should not be disrupted by any third party. As is shown by State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s visit to Solomon Islands, the cooperation between China and Solomon Islands is conducted on the basis of equality and mutual benefit. It produces win-win outcomes for the two countries and contributes to regional peace, stability and development.
We hope parties concerned can view the development of China-PICs relationship in an objective and reasonable light, and do more concrete things and play a more constructive role to jointly promote regional peace, stability, development and prosperity.