|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on August 19, 2022|
The Paper: We have noted that the Coordinators’ Meeting on the Implementation of the Follow-up Actions of the 8th Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) was successfully held yesterday via video link. Can you share with us the details and outcomes of the meeting?
Wang Wenbin: Yesterday State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi chaired the Coordinators’ Meeting on the Implementation of the Follow-up Actions of the 8th Ministerial Conference of FOCAC in Beijing via video link. Foreign Minister Aïssata Tall Sall of Senegal, the African co-chair of FOCAC, representatives of previous African co-chairs of FOCAC, sub-regional representatives of Africa, and representatives of the AU Commission, and African Diplomatic Envoys in China attended the meeting. The meeting was held amid evolving international situation and rising global challenge. Following the 8th FOCAC Ministerial Conference held last November, the meeting sends a strong message of China and Africa joining hands to cement solidarity and cooperation, focus on win-win cooperation and uphold fairness and justice.
The meeting was warm, effective and results-oriented. The two sides had a thorough exchange of views on comprehensively implementing the follow-up actions of the 8th FOCAC Ministerial Conference, and promoting China-Africa friendship and cooperation, and reached important common understandings. State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi put forward five suggestions on how China and Africa need to stand even closer with each other to truly build a China-Africa community with a shared future in the new era. First, we need to uphold sincerity, real results, amity and good faith and enhance solidarity and mutual support. Second, we need to take concrete actions to promote common development. Third, we need to uphold independence and jointly promote peace in the region. Fourth, we need to deepen our friendship and forge a stronger bond between the peoples. Fifth, we need to uphold openness and win-win results and promote the sound development of international cooperation with Africa. Representatives from Africa at the meeting and African Diplomatic Envoys in China spoke highly of China’s strong efforts for the implementation of the follow-up actions of the ministerial meeting and the important progress in this regard. Senegalese Foreign Minister Aïssata Tall Sall, Angolan Foreign Minister Tete António, DRC Industry Minister Julien Paluku Kahongya, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, Ethiopian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Demeke Mekonnen Hassen, Libyan Undersecretary for International Cooperation and Organizations Affairs Omar Katti, South African Deputy Foreign Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Candith Mashego-Dlamini and Deputy Chairperson for the African Union Commission Monique Nsanzabaganwa, among others, highly commended President Xi Jinping’s proposal of building a China-Africa community with a shared future in the new era and the nine programs. The African side appreciated China’s important role in helping African countries in their response to food and energy crises and COVID-19. They hoped to work with China to continue to enhance mechanism building for FOCAC, form greater synergy between development strategies of African countries and the Belt and Road Initiative, and improve and upgrade Africa-China cooperation.
The joint statement adopted at the meeting encapsulates China and Africa’s common understandings on adhering to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, opposing external interference, unilateral sanctions and racial discrimination and standing together in response to COVID-19. It demonstrates the firm support both sides have rendered each other on issues of our respective concerns and core interests, and testifies to our firm determination to jointly build a China-Africa community with a shared future in the new era. The African side reaffirms its commitment to the one-China principle, and its support for China’s national reunification and China’s efforts to safeguard sovereignty and territorial integrity. China highly commends that.
Going forward, the two sides will focus on the important common understandings reached at the meeting to step up strategic coordination and solidarity and continue to make solid steps to advance the nine programs. We will remain committed to accelerating the effort to build a China-Africa community with a shared future in the new era, enhancing solidarity and cooperation among developing countries, and building the shining example of FOCAC. By doing so, we will be able to make relentless effort for the in-depth development of China-Africa comprehensive strategic partnership and make greater contributions to world peace and development.
CCTV: US Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel J. Kritenbrink said that China overreacted to Pelosi’s visit and used coercive and provocative actions to increase pressure against Taiwan. He added that the US will act responsibly and resolutely. Do you have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: The context, cause and course of events on US House Speaker Pelosi’s provocative visit to Taiwan are crystal clear. It is the US that has breached its one-China commitment and undermined China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, not the other way round. It is the US leader who traveled to China’s Taiwan region to support the “Taiwan independence” separatist activities. No one from China has gone to Alaska or elsewhere in the US to support separatist movement there.
China’s response to US provocation is legitimate, lawful and justified and has received extensive understanding and support from the international community. If the US wants to make things right, the only right way is to return to the three China-US joint communiqués and the one-China principle, rather than shift blame, still less act recklessly and create an even bigger crisis. China will not waver in defending its sovereignty and territorial integrity. The US must not miscalculate.
Shenzhen TV: According to reports, lawyers for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, along with two journalists, have recently sued the CIA for unlawfully obtaining information from their electronic devices and recordings of their conversations with Julian Assange, violating their privacy. Do you have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: What has happened to Assange and his lawyers has again made one thing clear: in the US, the sanctity of human rights and press freedom comes with strings attached. The exercise of such rights and freedom must not come into conflict with the interests of the US. For if it does, they will surely come under high-handed restriction and ruthless suppression.
We can all imagine, had Assange disclosed the dirty secrets of not the US, perhaps he would not have been put behind bars and might even receive a medal or some kind of rewards and immense honor from the CIA.
The Hindu: India’s External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar on Thursday said that it would be difficult for an Asian Century to happen if India and China could not come together. He said there are many reasons for them to come together. He pointed out that the relations are now going through an extremely difficult phase, and India hopes that wisdom dawns on the Chinese side. Do you have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: As a Chinese leader put it, “Unless China and India are developed, there will be no Asian century. No genuine Asia-Pacific century or Asian century can come until China, India and other neighbouring countries are developed.” China and India are two ancient civilizations, two major emerging economies and two neighboring countries. We have far more common interests than differences. Both sides have the wisdom and capability to help each other succeed instead of undercutting each other. We hope that the Indian side will work with China to act upon the important common understandings between our leaders, i.e. “China and India are not each other’s threats, but cooperation partners and development opportunities”, bring China-India relations back to the track of steady and sound development at an early date and safeguard the common interests of China, India and our fellow developing countries.
Reuters: A Shanghai court said on Friday that it had sentenced businessman Xiao Jianhua to 13 years in prison and fined his conglomerate Tomorrow Holdings 55.03 billion yuan. I was wondering whether the foreign ministry had any comment on this case.
Wang Wenbin: The Shanghai No.1 Intermediate People’s Court has announced the sentencing for the case and I would like to refer you to it.
Dragon TV: Media outlets around the world have lately been focused on the first anniversary of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, believing that the negative impacts of US aggression against Afghanistan still persist. What is your comment?
Wang Wenbin: Afghanistan is a living example of US belligerence. The US’s two-decade invasion of Afghanistan has reduced the country to rubble, ruined the future of an entire generation of Afghans, killed 174,000 people including more than 30,000 civilians, and made tens of millions refugees. Even though the US troops have left, Afghanistan is yet to emerge from the long shadow of the invasion. Millions of Afghans are struggling on the verge of death. About three million Afghan children are too poor to go to school. And 18.9 million people face acute food shortage. The US must take responsibility for all of this.
Afghanistan is a living proof of the failure of the US program of “democratic transformation”. The two-decade war in Afghanistan has cost the US more than US$2 trillion, claimed over 2,400 US soldiers’ lives, and injured more than 20,000 US soldiers, only to end with the biggest US military debacle since the Vietnam War. People compare the “Kabul moment” to the “Saigon moment”. The US public also paid a dear price. According to US non-profit organizations, since 2001, 114,000 US veterans, or 18 per day, have taken their own lives, and nearly 40,000 veterans have become homeless.
The “Kabul moment” put on full display the US’s hypocrisy on democracy and human rights and its true colors of relying on power politics and bullying practices.
The US has failed in Afghanistan, but it has yet to abandon its policy of interference. It still frequently meddles in other countries’ internal affairs in the name of democracy and human rights, and continues to peddle the so-called “democracy versus authoritarianism” narrative to stoke division and confrontation around the world. This would only lead the US to new and greater failures.
The international community needs to be highly vigilant, jointly reject the US’s recklessness of creating chaos and turbulence in the name of democracy and human rights, and prevent another tragedy of Afghanistan in our world.
Bloomberg: President Jokowi of Indonesia said today that the Chinese leader would attend the G20 meeting. Can you confirm that? Does he have plans to go anywhere else on that trip?
Wang Wenbin: China values the important role of the G20 as the premier forum for international economic cooperation and fully supports Indonesia in hosting the G20 Bali Summit. We are ready to step up coordination and cooperation with Indonesia to ensure the full success of the summit. If there is any relevant information, we will release it in due course.
Prasar Bharati: First, India has been demanding to complete the disengagement at the border so that relations can move on the right track. Has China decided to talk with India on the remaining friction points to complete the disengagement at the border? My second question is regarding CPEC Authority. Pakistani media reported that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Wednesday approved to abolish the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Authority subject to consent by China – a decision that the government says will help fast-track the implementation of BRI project. Will China give the consent to abolish the CPEC authority as mentioned in the report? Also, does China think that CPEC authority was an obstacle in implementing CPEC projects?
Wang Wenbin: On your first question, let me say that China and India maintain smooth communication over the boundary question. And our dialogue is effective.
As to your second question, I have noted relevant reports. Over the years, China and Pakistan have been in close, full and friendly communication over CPEC. With joint efforts from both sides, CPEC cooperation has yielded fruitful and substantive outcomes. China understands Pakistan’s effort to integrate resources, raise efficiency and make institutional adjustment. We believe our communication with Pakistan will only be even closer and smoother, and CPEC cooperation will deliver greater results.
NHK: According to information, China and Japan have recently decided to resume visa issuance to Japanese students who wish to return to China for their studies. Can you confirm this?
Wang Wenbin: Since the onset of COVID-19, China has responded by following the dynamic zero-COVID policy and working to prevent imported cases and domestic resurgence of the virus. In addition to COVID containment, we have also endeavored to advance socio-economic development. With a science-based and prudent approach, we have improved visa and other policies to better facilitate cross-border travel and exchanges and cooperation with other countries. We welcome the return of international students to China to resume their studies. We have made active arrangement for this purpose and will continue to do so.
Bloomberg: According to Axios, last week, Liu Jianchao who heads the Communist Party’s International Department told the Israeli ambassador to Beijing that Israel should not allow US pressure to damage relations with Beijing. He specifically also said that Israel should not get dragged into the US position that China is committing genocide in Xinjiang. Can you confirm the comments that have been reported by Axios?
Wang Wenbin: I’m not aware of what you mentioned. But I can tell you that the so-called “genocide” in Xinjiang is nothing but a lie of the century spread by anti-China forces in the US and some other Western countries. Facts have already proven the “genocide” allegation to be a lie and the international community will not fall for it.
Reuters: In response to China’s sanctions on Lithuania’s Deputy Transport and Communications Minister, Lithuania’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it issued a formal protest to China, calling for the restrictions to be rescinded. Do you have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: Senior Lithuanian officials made a provocative visit to China’s Taiwan region. This clearly violates Lithuania’s political commitment to upholding the one-China principle, the common understanding of the international community and basic norms in international relations. China has made a necessary response to Lithuania’s erroneous acts, which is totally legitimate, reasonable and lawful. We urge the Lithuanian side to tell right from wrong, immediately redress its mistakes and stop chipping away the political foundation of China-Lithuania relations.
Bloomberg: In a survey published last October, the majority Japanese had a negative image of China and only a minority of people said that Japan-China relations are good. This year is the 50th anniversary of normalization of ties. What is China doing to try and improve the image of China?
Wang Wenbin: China and Japan are close neighbors and important countries in the region. Upholding and growing the friendly and cooperative relations between China and Japan serves the fundamental interests of the two countries and two peoples. As you just said, this year marks the 50th anniversary of the normalization of China-Japan relations. We hope the Japanese side will work with China to take stock of our original aspiration and jointly capitalize on this important historical juncture to enhance the mutual understanding between our two peoples, improve the sentiments of our peoples toward each other, and build a relationship that meets the needs of the new era.
PTI: Indian External Affairs Minister Mr. Jaishankar yesterday spoke about Quad, the quadrilateral alliance. He said “If there are reservations in any quarter, these stem from a desire to exercise a veto on the choices of others. And possibly a unilateralist opposition to a collective and cooperative endeavors”. Do you have any comment on this?
Wang Wenbin: Our position on Quad is consistent and clear. I would like to reiterate that in today’s world, building exclusive groups is against the trend of the times and will not get any support or get anywhere.
The regular press conference of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be in recess from Monday, August 22 to Friday, August 26 and resume on Monday, August 29.
During the recess, journalists may raise questions to the Spokesperson’s Office by fax, E-mail or WeChat. Notice on any special press briefing will be put on the website of the IPC.
Wish all friends from the media safe and well during the summer recess.