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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on January 12, 2023

2023-01-12 19:16

AFP: There was a bombing yesterday outside the Afghan foreign ministry in Kabul. At least five people were killed and about 40 others were wounded. There was supposed to be a Chinese delegation at the foreign ministry yesterday. So were any Chinese nationals among the victims? Do you think that China was the target of the attack?

Wang Wenbin: We noted relevant reports. China firmly opposes all acts of violent terrorism. We strongly condemn this incident, mourn for the victims and extend sympathies to the people whose family members were killed and those who were injured in the incident.

As far as we have learned, there have been no Chinese casualties in this terrorist attack. We hope Afghanistan will take resolute and effective measures to protect the safety of the people and institutions of China and all other countries in Afghanistan.

China Daily: Yesterday Foreign Minister Qin Gang visited the AU headquarters and attended a series of events. Could you share more details with us?

Wang Wenbin: Yesterday Foreign Minister Qin Gang held the 8th China-AU Strategic Dialogue with Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC) Moussa Faki Mahamat at the AU headquarters. They also jointly attended the completion ceremony for the Africa CDC Headquarters and met the press.

Foreign Minister Qin said that Africa has always been a diplomatic priority for China and that carrying forward and advancing the China-Africa friendship has been a noble tradition and a defining feature of China's diplomacy. We are in the 10th year since President Xi Jinping put forth, in 2013, the principles of sincerity, real results, amity and good faith, and of pursuing the greater good and shared interests for China’s relations with Africa. Over the past decade, with the joint guidance and commitment of Chinese and African leaders, China-Africa relations have made historic achievements that impressed the whole world, and entered a new era of building a high-level China-Africa community with a shared future. 

Foreign Minister Qin made a four-point proposal on growing China-Africa relations. “First, let us intensify our in-person interactions and connectivity of ideas. Second, let us further deepen the friendly relations between China and the AU. Third, let us do more to upgrade and elevate China-Africa cooperation. Fourth, let us stand firm in defending the unity and cooperation of developing countries.” Chairman Faki said that China has stood with Africa both in its struggle for national independence and liberation and in its efforts to accelerate development and revitalization and play a greater part in international affairs. He said that Africa values China’s strong support for African integration, connectivity and the development of the African Continental Free Trade Area, and looks forward to working with China to jointly advance the building of a China-Africa community with a shared future in the new era.

The Africa CDC headquarters is a flagship project of China-Africa cooperation announced by President Xi Jinping at the FOCAC Beijing Summit in 2018. Like the AU Conference Center, the CDC headquarters is yet another landmark of China-Africa cooperation. Foreign Minister Qin said that China makes no empty promises, still less presses others against their own will. When it is handed over to our African friends, the Africa CDC headquarters will be wholly run and managed by the AU. It is a new monument built with the traditional friendship and hard work of Chinese and African brothers and sisters. Should the African side have any need, we will do our best to provide support and help.

During the visit, Foreign Minister Qin also refuted the misguided accusation that China created “debt traps” for Africa. He said that China has been committed to helping Africa ease the debt pressure. The “debt trap” allegation is nothing but a narrative trap imposed on China and Africa. Nearly three quarters of Africa’s total external debt is held by multilateral financial institutions and commercial creditors, who can and should play a greater role in easing Africa’s debt burden. Africa’s debt issue is essentially a development issue. To tackle it, we need to not only treat the symptoms through debt management, but also address the root causes by strengthening Africa’s endogenous sustainable development capability. China’s financing cooperation in Africa is largely focused on infrastructure and production sectors aimed at helping Africa increase its own sustainable development capability. The projects China has undertaken in Africa and the broader China-Africa cooperation have contributed to Africa’s development and improved livelihoods across the continent. The African people know that best. China will continue to respect the will of the African people and Africa’s realities, and deliver more tangible benefits to the African people and greater common development through China-Africa cooperation.

AFP: A question on the US and Japan. The US and Japan yesterday announced a significant strengthening of their military relationship. So Japan approved US plans for new Marine force on Okinawa island, so very close to Taiwan island. What is China’s reaction to this strengthening of the US-Japan military relationship?

Wang Wenbin: We have noted the reports. Military cooperation between the US and Japan must not harm the interests of third parties or undermine the peace and stability in the region.

CCTV: According to reports, India will host the Voice of Global South Summit in a virtual format on January 12 and 13 to discuss issues including financial development of developing countries and energy security. Heads of government, foreign ministers and finance ministers from more than 120 developing countries have been invited so far. Some analysts noted that India, which holds the G20 presidency this year, hopes to have extensive communication with other developing countries through this meeting to substantiate the subjects and outcomes of G20 meetings. Some pointed out that by not inviting other major developing countries and emerging economies in the G20, this summit lacks representation and influence. How does China view this summit to be hosted by India?

Wang Wenbin: We have noted relevant reports. India has informed China of its considerations and plan for hosting the summit. China has all along called for greater international attention to developing countries’ shared aspirations and legitimate concerns. We greatly value the solidarity, cooperation and common development of developing countries. To galvanize international focus on development issues and deepen development cooperation, China put forward the Global Development Initiative, highlighting the need to help address developing countries’ special development challenges and deepen cooperation in key areas. This has given a strong boost to developing countries’ recovery and growth as well as efforts to speed up implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Kyodo News: At the regular media briefing on January 11, Director-General of the WHO Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called on countries to report more detailed and reliable data. How will China address the concerns of the WHO and some countries about the reliability and transparency of the data China publishes?

Wang Wenbin: Since COVID-19 began, China has been sharing information and data with the international community in an open and transparent manner. We reported the spread of the virus to the WHO at the earliest opportunity. We immediately sequenced and published the genome of the virus and shared with the world China’s protocols for diagnostics, treatment and containment. Those efforts marked an important contribution to global vaccine and drugs research and development. We have been in close communication with the WHO. In the past month alone, we had five technical exchanges with the organization. Only yesterday, we had another technical exchange with WHO’s headquarters, regional office and China office. Building on previous communication, the two sides held in-depth exchange on such issues as medical treatment, the COVID situation, identifying virus strains and vaccination. In addition, over the past days, the competent Chinese authorities held a series of bilateral meetings with the EU and Australia to have exchanges on COVID-related issues and strengthen response cooperation. Relevant Chinese departments and institutions continue to share the genomic sequencing data on infections in China via the Global Initiative on Sharing Avian Influenza Data (GISAID). All this has received recognition from the WHO and the wider international community.

The WHO has said on multiple occasions that the information and data that China shared helped scientists from other countries to learn about the evolution of the virus and gave the global science community confidence in China’s COVID response. The WHO Regional Director for Europe noted recently that China had been sharing virus sequencing information with the international community. From the information available to the WHO, the situation in China is not anticipated to significantly impact the COVID-19 epidemiological situation in the WHO European Region at this time.

We would like to stress again that China has been sharing relevant information and data in a timely, open and transparent manner in accordance with the law. China has not only protected its own people’s lives to the greatest extent possible, but also served as a major source of COVID response supplies for the world, making China an important participant in international cooperation against the virus. As the COVID situation continues to evolve, we will continue to have technical exchange and deepen cooperation with the WHO and the rest of the international community so as to tackle the COVID challenge and protect the health of all more effectively. We hope that the WHO will look at China’s COVID response scientifically and rationally and that its related statements will reflect objectivity and impartiality.

Shenzhen TV: According to reports, Papua New Guinea Foreign Minister Justin Tkatchenko announced lately that the “Papua New Guinea Trade Office in Taiwan” will be closed. Do you have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: We appreciate and applaud the Papua New Guinea government’s announcement of closing the “Papua New Guinea Trade Office in Taiwan”. This is the latest example that the one-China principle has the overwhelming support of the international community and represents the trend of the world. 

NHK: Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said it’s regrettable that China unilaterally suspended issuing ordinary visas to Japanese citizens. Does China still believe that the two countries’ measures on each other are reciprocal?

Wang Wenbin: We have fully explained China’s position on this issue in the past few days. We hope that relevant countries will shift to a science-based approach and, in the spirit of mutual respect, lift the discriminatory restrictions against Chinese citizens as soon as possible and work with China towards restoring normal cross-border travel and people-to-people exchange and cooperation.

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