|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on July 13, 2022|
CCTV: The US Department of State on July 12 released a fact sheet on the outcomes of the 50th Session of the UN Human Rights Council, which mentions that the US publicly condemned China’s human rights record. Do you have any response to this?
Wang Wenbin: This fact sheet might as well be called the US’s “violations of human rights” rather than “outcomes of human rights”. Under the false pretext of “genocide” and “forced labor”, the US has slapped sanctions on businesses and individuals in Xinjiang to cut Xinjiang off the global industrial chain and inflict forced unemployment, forced poverty, and forced decoupling on Xinjiang. This has seriously undermined the right to employment and development of the Uyghurs and people from other ethnic backgrounds in Xinjiang. The US fact sheet also criticizes human rights in Afghanistan. This is ironic and preposterous. Isn’t the US the main cause of the human rights tragedy in Afghanistan? When will the US bring the killers of innocent Afghans to justice and return the $7 billion life-saving money to the Afghan people?
What the US should release is a report on its own human rights. It should give people like George Floyd their freedom to breathe back, keep American children away from the fear of being shot, and save American lives struggling under the pandemic.
AFP: It has been reported that the Chinese and US leaders may hold a virtual meeting soon. Can you confirm this?
Wang Wenbin: I don’t have anything to announce on that at the moment. It is important to maintain exchanges between Chinese and US presidents. Any specifics would need to be discussed and determined by both sides through diplomatic channels, and enabling conditions and atmosphere would also need to be created for such exchanges.
Global Times: John Bolton, former White House national security adviser, said on July 12 in an interview with CNN that he had helped plan coups in foreign countries. Reuters noted that it is “highly unusual” for US officials to openly acknowledge their role in stoking unrest in foreign countries. Have you taken note of the reports and do you have any comment on this?
Wang Wenbin: This is no surprise. The admission simply shows that interfering in other countries’ internal affairs and overthrowing their governments have become standard practice of the US government. This is very much part of the US rule book. Such rules will only be rejected by people around the world.
AFP: US Vice President Kamala Harris announced at the Pacific Islands Forum that the US will establish two new embassies in the region and pledged $60 million per year in investment and assistance for the Pacific Islands. What’s China’s response?
Wang Wenbin: First I would like to say that over the past half-century, China and Pacific Island countries (PICs) have witnessed sound growth of bilateral relations and fruitful cooperation in various fields. As a dialogue partner of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), China has maintained sound cooperation with PIF.
We are happy to see PICs receive more support for its development and vitalization from countries willing to do so. This has always been China’s position. At the same time, we believe that all countries, when pursuing cooperation with PICs, should follow the principle of openness and inclusiveness and not target any third party or harm their interests, instead of pledging openness and inclusiveness while secretly ganging up and forming small circles. I noted the statement of a US official that the US doesn’t ask PICs to choose between China and the US and its cooperation is not about countering China. We hope the US will deliver on its statement.
I have seen reports claiming that China had not been invited to the PIF meeting. I need to set the record straight. Based on the information we received from the meeting’s host, no dialogue sessions with dialogue partners have been scheduled for this year’s PIF Leaders Meeting. US Vice President Harris was invited to attend a meeting on fisheries under the PIF framework. Chinese representatives have been invited to attend relevant meetings and events.
NHK: The Foreign Affairs Secretary of the Philippines said in a statement released yesterday that the award of the South China Sea arbitration is “final” and “indisputable”. What’s China’s comment? China always advocates upholding the authority of the UN and international principles, why then does it reject this ruling?
Wang Wenbin: Besides the statement from the Philippines, I also noted a statement by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on the same day, which expressed support for the so-called ruling of the arbitral tribunal. I would like to state that China’s position on the South China Sea arbitration is consistent and clear. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement on its position on July 12, 2016. The so-called award of the South China Sea arbitration seriously violates international law including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. It is illegal, null and void. China neither accepts nor recognizes it and will never accept any claim or action based on the award. By doing so, we are upholding international rule of law. China’s position has received broad understanding and support from the international community. Those who attempt to infringe on China’s sovereignty, rights and interests by implementing this illegal award will not succeed. China will respond to such attempts in accordance with law.
The US, as a non-regional country, has been ignoring the history and facts of the South China Sea issue and violated and distorted international law. It has broken its public commitment of taking no position on sovereignty claims in the South China Sea, and sought to drive a wedge between regional countries and undermine peace and stability in the region. This is extremely irresponsible. We urge the US to respect China’s sovereignty, rights and interests in the South China Sea, stop stirring up trouble and stop using the South China Sea issue to sow discord between regional countries.
I would also like to say that China and the ASEAN nations are fully and effectively implementing the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea and working actively to advance the consultations on a code of conduct in the South China Sea. It has been agreed by all sides that the South China Sea issue should be handled following the dual-track approach, namely, maritime disputes should be handled properly by countries directly concerned through dialogue and consultation and peace and stability should be jointly safeguarded by China and the ASEAN countries.