|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on June 24, 2022|
CCTV: The 14th BRICS Summit was held yesterday. President Xi Jinping chaired the meeting via video link and delivered important remarks. Can you share more information?
Wang Wenbin: Yesterday evening, Chinese President Xi Jinping chaired the 14th BRICS Summit in Beijing via video link. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended the summit. The summit marked the climax of the BRICS China Year and attracted wide attention. We have put out relevant readouts.
President Xi Jinping delivered an important speech, and pointed out the importance of fostering a more comprehensive, close, practical and inclusive high-quality partnership and jointly embarking on a new journey of BRICS cooperation. He stressed the need to uphold solidarity and safeguard world peace and tranquility, pursue cooperation and development and jointly tackle risks and challenges, embrace the spirit of innovation and unleash the potential and vitality of cooperation, and stay open and inclusive and forge collective wisdom and strength. President Xi’s remarks charted the course for the future development of BRICS mechanism, identified the pathway for upgrading BRICS cooperation, and broadened the prospects for BRICS to play a greater role and make bigger contribution in international affairs. His proposals received recognition and positive response from other leaders attending the summit. Just as Vice Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu said in his press briefing last night, the summit is a milestone that will inspire the future.
The leaders believed that with the world facing uncertainties, BRICS countries should strengthen solidarity and elevate BRICS cooperation to a new level so that BRICS can play a bigger role in international affairs. The five leaders reached multiple important common understandings on deepening BRICS cooperation, upholding multilateralism, promoting world economic recovery, jointly responding to COVID-19, opposing unilateral economic sanctions and “long-arm jurisdiction”, strengthening people-to-people exchange and other issues of mutual interest. The five leaders agreed on the need to continue “BRICS Plus” cooperation and advance the BRICS membership expansion process. These common understandings and outcomes are noted in The XIV BRICS Summit Beijing Declaration adopted and released at the event.
Parties commended and thanked China for hosting the summit and its efforts to advance BRICS cooperation. They believe that under President Xi’s leadership and China’s chairship of BRICS, BRICS cooperation has achieved fruitful outcomes and the influence of BRICS countries has been further enhanced. This is a major contribution to maintaining world peace and promoting global development.
President Xi Jinping will also chair the High-level Dialogue on Global Development today. We can all look forward to a productive dialogue. We believe that with the joint efforts of all sides, BRICS cooperation will enjoy an even more promising future, gather tremendous synergy for growth and usher in a better future for global development.
AFP: The Philippines has said it has terminated talks with China on a joint energy project in the South China Sea. What led to the breakdown in talks and how does China react to this decision?
Wang Wenbin: Joint offshore oil and gas development is the right way for China and the Philippines to manage maritime differences and achieve win-win results without prejudicing either side’s maritime positions and claims. Leaders of the two countries reached important common understanding on this. The two governments signed the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation on Oil and Gas Development and have actively pursued negotiations and made important progress within this framework. China stands ready to work in concert with the new Philippine government to advance negotiations on joint development and strive to take early substantive steps so as to deliver tangible benefits to both countries and peoples.
CCTV: According to reports, the earthquake in Afghanistan has killed more than 1,500 people. The supreme leader of the Afghan Taliban called on the international community to assist the quake-affected Afghans. What kind of help does China plan to provide?
Wang Wenbin: “True friendship can stand the test of adversity”-- this is a shared proverb in both Chinese and Pashto. The earthquake in Afghanistan pulls at the heartstrings of the Chinese people. State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi has sent a message of condolences to Acting Foreign Minister of the Afghan interim government Amir Khan Muttaqi. He mourned deeply for the victims and extended sincere sympathy to the bereaved families and the injured, and stressed that China will provide emergency humanitarian assistance to the best of its capacity to respond to Afghanistan’s needs.
On top of the assistance China has previously provided, we will provide another batch of emergency humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan for earthquake relief. China is also working around the clock through multiple channels including sub-national governments, the Red Cross Society of China and the business community to raise money, tents, quilts and other humanitarian supplies which will be delivered to earthquake-stricken areas as quickly as we can. The grain assistance that China pledged previously has all arrived in Afghanistan recently. It is being rapidly distributed to the local people and will help with Afghanistan’s response to the disaster. China will step up disaster prevention and mitigation cooperation with Afghanistan, especially in disaster monitoring and forecasting.
We believe that with the concerted efforts of the Afghan interim government and all social sectors and with the help of the international community, people in the disaster-stricken areas in Afghanistan will tide over difficulties and resume normal life and work at an early date.
TASS: I have a follow-up question on the High-level Dialogue on Global Development. I wonder if you have any updated information about the list of the countries which will take part in this dialogue?
Wang Wenbin: As I said earlier, President Xi Jinping will chair the High-level Dialogue on Global Development in Beijing tonight. The Dialogue will be held in virtual format under the theme of “Foster a Global Development Partnership for the New Era to Jointly Implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”. Leaders of the five BRICS countries and some emerging markets and developing countries will attend the event.
Reuters: You mentioned Chinese organizations such as the Red Cross are looking to raise money for Afghanistan. Roughly how much money is China planning on donating and when roughly will China donate this cash?
Wang Wenbin: As I just said, on top of the assistance China has previously provided, we will provide additional emergency humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan for quake relief. China is also working through multiple channels to raise money and supplies to provide as much humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan as possible. We will release timely information on that. Please stay tuned.
Bloomberg: Did China and the other BRICS countries agree to expand the grouping and are there any other candidate countries involved and any more details to add to that?
Wang Wenbin: BRICS is an important mechanism for cooperation among emerging markets and developing countries and an important platform for South-South cooperation. Over the past 16 years since its inception, BRICS has maintained sound momentum of development and made substantive and solid progress in practical cooperation across the board. BRICS has become a positive, stable and constructive force on the international stage, and its international influence and appeal have kept growing.
Since its inception, the BRICS mechanism has tied its future to that of emerging markets and developing countries. The New Development Bank (NDB) has accomplished its first membership expansion, which will provide financial support for more developing countries in their development and increase the say and influence of the NDB in the international financial system. In a world facing drastic changes and a pandemic unseen in a century as well as international hotspot issues, BRICS countries have agreed on the importance to strengthen cooperation with other emerging markets and developing countries, enhance the representation of the BRICS mechanism, raise BRICS voice on major international and regional issues to jointly meet challenges and safeguard the common interests and development space of emerging markets and developing countries.
As the BRICS chair for this year, China actively supports the BRICS in starting the membership expansion process and expanding the “BRICS Plus” cooperation. As I just said, at yesterday’s summit, all BRICS leaders agreed to move ahead on “BRICS Plus” cooperation and advance the BRICS membership expansion process. Relevant consensus is also reflected in the XIV BRICS Summit Beijing Declaration. This fully demonstrates that BRICS cooperation is open and inclusive. China will encourage BRICS parties to continue in-depth discussions on the issue of membership expansion and work out standards and procedures for this process on the basis of consensus. We look forward to having more partners sharing our commitment join the BRICS family.
Reuters: Again on Afghanistan. So just on the point about Taiwan vowing to donate money to Afghanistan. We’ve seen that there, rather like with Ukraine, Taiwan has been quite speedy in its announcements of pledges of support. Is the Chinese government supportive about this?
Wang Wenbin: I’m not aware of what you mentioned.
Let me stress again that Taiwan is part of China and the one-China principle is a widely-recognized basic norm as far as international relations are concerned. The Taiwan authorities’ political motive to expand “international space” in the name of providing “assistance” or under any other pretext will not materialize.
AFP: Chinese Ambassador to Australia was interrupted several times while making a speech at the University of Technology in Sydney. What’s China’s reaction to this?
Wang Wenbin: I’m not aware of the particular situation you mentioned. We hope that the individuals concerned would observe the basic diplomatic etiquette.
Reuters: You just mentioned that the five BRICS countries’ leaders have agreed to cooperation on the expansion of BRICS. During the meeting yesterday, did any of the other BRICS leaders say they weren’t quite ready for BRICS expansion at the moment? How does China feel about that if that’s the case?
Wang Wenbin: As I said just now, at yesterday’s summit, all BRICS leaders agreed to move ahead on “BRICS Plus” cooperation and advance the BRICS membership expansion process. Relevant consensus is also reflected in the XIV BRICS Summit Beijing Declaration adopted and released at the summit.