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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on February 21, 2023

2023-02-21 21:11

CCTV: The Foreign Ministry held a Lanting Forum this morning under the theme of the Global Security Initiative: China’s Proposal for Solving Security Challenges. Could you share more details on this event? What are China’s considerations for it? What message do you want to convey?

Wang Wenbin: This morning, our ministry held the Lanting Forum and officially releases The Global Security Initiative Concept Paper. Foreign Minister Qin Gang attended the opening ceremony and delivered a keynote speech. Former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and former President of Slovenia Danilo Türk addressed the event via video messages. Former political dignitaries, diplomatic envoys and representatives of international organizations in China and renowned experts and scholars from both at home and abroad attended this event in an online-plus-offline format. They had discussions that look into the ways to implement the GSI and solve the security challenges facing humanity. The event was a full success. 

In April 2022, President Xi Jinping put forward the Global Security Initiative (GSI), which aims to create a new path to security that features dialogue over confrontation, partnership over alliance and win-win over zero-sum. It provides a new course and new approach to addressing the root causes of international conflicts and solving security challenges facing humanity. In his keynote speech, Foreign Minister Qin gave a thorough explanation on why we need the GSI in today’s world. He outlined the priorities of cooperation as identified in the concept paper and called for mutual respect, openness and inclusion, multilateralism, mutual benefit and win-win and a holistic approach as part of the efforts to present more deliverables. All this speaks to China’s sincerity and readiness to stand together and seek mutual assistance with other countries and its commitment to upholding global stability and promoting common security as a responsible major country. 

The formulation and release of the concept paper is an important step we’ve taken in following through on the GSI. This document further expounds the core ideas and principles of the GSI, lays out 20 priorities of cooperation in response to the most significant and pressing international security concerns at present including upholding the UN’s central role, facilitating political settlement of hotspot issues, tackling traditional and non-traditional security challenges and strengthening the system and capacity for global security governance. The document also identifies platforms and mechanisms of cooperation. So far, more than 80 countries and regional organizations have commended and expressed support for the GSI. We are convinced that with the release of the concept paper, more and more countries and organizations will join in the effort to implement the initiative and form greater synergy in international consensus and action to transform it into reality.

The GSI is simply part of China’s broader effort to safeguard world peace and security. We stand ready to work with all parties to jointly address traditional and non-traditional security challenges, safeguard peace and tranquility on the planet, open a new chapter in the implementation of the GSI and create a brighter future for humanity.

Bloomberg: Just on the GSI, I wonder is it possible to drill down a little bit more in terms of what the GSI means in terms of the Ukraine war? What, if any, is the connection with the peace proposal that we’re waiting from China? Can you elaborate a little bit?

Wang Wenbin: I would like to talk a little bit more about The Global Security Initiative Concept Paper. The Global Security Initiative (GSI) is informed by a big picture of overarching plan and lays out practical measures to address global security challenges. It will play an important role in safeguarding regional peace and promoting international security in both conceptual and practical terms.

On the one hand, the GSI provides conceptual guidance and will gather international consensus. As the world enters a period of uncertainty and transformation, the international community has to answer the question of the times--what kind of security concept the world needs and how to achieve common security for all countries. The GSI is committed to the vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security and advocates a new path to security that features dialogue over confrontation, partnership over alliance and win-win over zero-sum. It is a proposal that is in line with the trend of the times, which provides inspiration and makes sense for the peaceful settlement of hotspot issues in today’s world. Since its inception, more than 80 countries and international organizations have expressed approval and support for the GSI. This initiative has shown greater appeal to the international community and played a growing role in conceptual guidance.

On the other hand, the GSI provides principles for practice and chart the course for action. The GSI identifies not only the concepts and principles for, but also the path and approach to addressing global security deficits. For example, it advocates peacefully resolving differences and disputes between countries through dialogue and consultation and maintaining security in both traditional and non-traditional domains, and that is what China has been committed to in addressing global security challenges. 

The Global Security Initiative Concept Paper released today lays out 20 priorities of cooperation in response to the most significant and pressing security concerns of the international community, and identifies the platforms and mechanisms of cooperation. This concept paper enables the GSI to be more action-oriented. We are convinced that with the participation of more peace-loving and development-committed countries and international organizations, the GSI will be able to deliver soon and serve as a new source for addressing root causes of international conflicts and addressing international security challenges.  

As to the upcoming position document on seeking political settlement of the Ukraine crisis which you asked about, we shared information the other day. The document will reaffirm President Xi Jinping’s important propositions, including respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries, upholding the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, taking seriously the legitimate security concerns of all countries, and supporting all efforts conducive to a peaceful resolution of the crisis. These are consistent with the concept and principles laid out in the GSI. There will be more on this in due course.

TASS: According to our sources, Director of the Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs Wang Yi is due to arrive in Moscow this afternoon. Can you give us some details on the agenda of the visit and what are your expectations on this visit?

Wang Wenbin: Last week, we announced that Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Director of the Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs Wang Yi would visit Russia. China would like to take the opportunity of this visit to work with Russia to promote the steady growth of the bilateral relations in the direction identified by our presidents, safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of both sides, and play a positive role for world peace. We will release relevant information in a timely manner.

CCTV: According to reports, Deputy Secretary of State of the US Wendy Sherman said that there is no doubt China is a growing challenge, given its ability to challenge the rules-based international order that it helped develop but wants to get rid of now. It wants to make its own rules, which will serve no one but itself. What’s your comment?

Wang Wenbin: China is a defender of the international order. We always firmly safeguard the UN-centered international system, the international order based on international law and the basic norms of international relations underpinned by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. It is the US, not China, that undermines and tramples on international rules and order. Xinhua News Agency released a report yesterday entitled US Hegemony and Its Perils, exposing the grave harm US hegemonic acts have done to world peace, stability and international rules and order.

The US abuses its political hegemony and is used to throwing its weight around. From the “Neo-Monroe Doctrine” to color revolutions, from the Five Eyes to the Quad, it has been creating division and stoking confrontation all over the world. The US abuses its military hegemony with wanton use of force. From Afghanistan to Iraq and Syria, since 2001, the wars and military operations launched by the US in the name of fighting terrorism have claimed over 900,000 lives and created 37 million refugees around the world. The US abuses its economic hegemony featured by looting and exploitation. From abusing its control over international economic and financial organizations, to willfully suppressing its opponents with coercion and doubling down on unilateral sanctions and “long-arm jurisdiction”, the US claims to uphold fairness and justice, but all it ever cares about is how to advance its selfish interests. The US abuses its technological hegemony underpinned by monopoly and suppression. It monopolizes intellectual property in the name of protection, politicizes, weaponizes technological issues and uses them as ideological tools in the name of safeguarding national security, and carries out indiscriminate eavesdropping, becoming a true “empire of hackers”. The US abuses its cultural hegemony to spread false narratives. It has built an industrial chain to finance, produce and peddle misinformation while using various means to silence media of other countries. This is how it seeks to manipulate public opinion.

Facts have fully proven that the US is the top disruptor of international rules and order. Hegemony is the hallmark of its approach to international rules and international affairs. Not long ago, despite China’s repeated communication, the US turned a blind eye to the plain facts and weaved the “spy balloon” narrative. President Biden gave the order and US fighter jets blatantly shot down the Chinese airship. This is yet another example of US hegemony.

Rather than throw unfounded allegations around, the US should reflect on itself, correct its erroneous practices, relinquish its hold on hegemony, and seek peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation with other countries on the basis of respect for sovereignty. 

AFP: Taiwan president Tsai Ing-wen noted that Taiwan will work more actively with the US in face of the so-called expansion of autocracy. What is your comment?

Wang Wenbin: Let me point out once again the mistake of referring to the leader of the Taiwan region as “president” even though we have done it many times from this podium. Taiwan is part of China and there is no so-called “Taiwan president”. The person you mentioned is just a regional leader of China.

Let me stress that the one-China principle is the political foundation of China-US relations and a prevailing consensus among the international community. China is strongly opposed to the US’s military ties with and arms sales to Taiwan. The “Taiwan independence” provocations of the DPP authorities will not change the fact that Taiwan is part of China or cause international support to falter over the one-China principle, and still less change the irreversible trend toward China’s reunification. Any separatist attempt or act of soliciting foreign support to undermine cross-Strait relations will only backfire and will not succeed.

The Paper: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken recently said that China knows that there would be consequences were China to provide lethal assistance to Russia. But he refused to lay out what the consequences would be if China ignored the warning. What’s your comment? 

Wang Wenbin: The US is the biggest source of weaponry for the battlefield in Ukraine. Just yesterday, the US side announced a further $500 million worth of military aid to Ukraine. It makes people wonder what the US is up to by falsely claiming that China is offering weapons, and whether the US finds it conscionable to tell the world it wants peace and yet sit and watch its defense industry lining up their pocket. We all saw what the US did in Afghanistan with its strategy of “fighting to the last Afghan”. Does it now want Ukraine to “fight till the last Ukrainian”?

There are more than enough facts to show the true nature of the US as a source of trouble rather than “defender of peace” for the world.

The China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination is built on the basis of non-alliance, non-confrontation and non-targeting of any third party, which is within the sovereign right of any two independent states. We do not accept the US’s finger-pointing or even coercion targeting China-Russia relations. The US should seriously reflect on what it has done, stop fanning the flames or profiting from it, and stay truly committed to promoting peace talks as China has been doing.

Reuters: Just now you talked about how the GSI looks to promote the UN Charter. Now, I remember clearly a year ago, colleagues of mine and many other journalists asked you and your colleagues about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and said, does China see this as a breach of Ukraine’s sovereignty according to the UN principles? Now a year later we’re coming up to the anniversary of the invasion. Has China’s view on this changed at all, perhaps in light of this paper that was released earlier today?

Wang Wenbin: I do not see the logic in your question or any contradiction between your question and China’s commitment to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. I can say a few more words on this subject in case you still have questions about it.

President Xi Jinping proposed the Global Security Initiative (GSI), which upholds the vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, pursues the long-term objective of building a security community, and advocates a new path to security featuring dialogue over confrontation, partnership over alliance and win-win over zero-sum. It calls on countries to adapt to the profoundly changing international landscape in the spirit of solidarity, and address the complex and intertwined security challenges with a win-win mindset. It responds to the world’s dire need for safeguarding world peace and preventing conflicts and wars, and meets all countries’ aspiration for upholding multilateralism and defending international solidarity. Aren’t these all in line with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter? The answer is self-evident. Once put forward, the GSI has received extensive and positive response globally. So far, more than 80 countries and regional organizations have commended and expressed support for the GSI.

Today, China released The Global Security Initiative Concept Paper. The concept paper expounds the core ideas and principles of the GSI, and identifies the priorities, platforms and mechanisms of cooperation, which are all highly action-oriented and provide a more systemic approach and further practical measures to resolve global security issues. The GSI intends to serve the interests of all and make the world a peaceful place for all. We believe more countries will join hands with China, work to implement the GSI, take real actions to add more stability and certainty to the fluid and changing world, and jointly build a safer world.

CNR: We have noted that China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment said a few days ago that the goals set for environmental protection in 2022 have been attained. Can you talk about the significance of China’s achievement for global ecological conservation efforts?

Wang Wenbin: We have noted the good news. The Ministry of Ecology and Environment has offered detailed information on this. They shared how China has made continued efforts to keep our skies blue, waters clear, and lands clean and advanced the battle against pollution over the decade, making notable progress in improving the eco-environment. It mentioned in particular that China is making the fastest progress in air quality improvement. I’m sure you can tell from your personal experience. In 2022, Beijing saw more days with clear skies than any other year in the past decade and PM2.5 levels met the national standard for 172 days in a row, up from the longest stretch of 13 consecutive days in 2013. Blue sky has become the normal in Beijing. 

It was noted in the report to the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China that we will advance the Beautiful China Initiative, uphold and act on the principle that lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets, and maintain harmony between humanity and nature when planning our development. Today, green development has become a global trend. China is the first country to realize zero net land degradation. Since 2000, China has contributed around one fourth of the newly added green areas in the world. China’s commitment to a path of green development and the sustained, inspiring progress it has achieved has contributed significantly to global efforts to protect the eco-environment and respond to climate change.

If we humanity do not fail Nature, Nature will not fail us. We will continue to be guided by Xi Jinping Thought on Ecological Civilization and advance ecological conservation and environmental protection to make sure that green will be a defining, profound and underlying feature of a beautiful China. We will also strengthen solidarity and cooperation with other countries to expand consensus on green development, build a cleaner and more beautiful world, and seek greater synergy in building a community with a shared future for mankind. 

Reuters: We learned that the Boao Forum for Asia will be held in Hainan around the end of March. Will China invite foreign leaders, government officials and business leaders to the first Boao Forum held physically after COVID began? 

Wang Wenbin: We appreciate your interest in Boao Forum for Asia. This year’s forum is indeed the event to watch. We will release more information on it in due course.

Fuji TV: The giant panda Xiang Xiang is on her way back to China today after living for over five years in Ueno Zoo in Tokyo, Japan. Would China like to comment on this? What role has Xiang Xiang played in bilateral relations? What’s China’s expectation for its relations with Japan?

Wang Wenbin: Like you, we have been following the news about China’s giant panda Xiang Xiang. She is an important part of our cooperation with Japan on giant panda conservation and research, and also a beloved goodwill ambassador for the friendly exchanges between the two countries. Since she was born in 2017, Xiang Xiang has grown up healthily thanks to the care and love of peoples from various quarters of both China and Japan. She is loved by people in Japan. Together with other giant pandas living in Japan, Xiang Xiang has made unique contribution to the friendship between the Chinese and Japanese peoples. 

According to the cooperation agreement between China and Japan on giant panda conservation, Xiang Xiang had originally been scheduled to return to China in 2019, but due to the COVID pandemic, the trip was postponed. Thanks to the thoughtful preparations of both sides, Xiang Xiang will come back today. We have seen recently that people in Japan have organized a number of events to bid farewell to Xiang Xiang. Many waited in long lines to say goodbye to her. We fully understand why people in Japan are reluctant to see Xiang Xiang leave. We would like to tell you that China and Japan will continue to engage in cooperation on giant panda conservation and research. We hope giant pandas like Xiang Xiang will bring more joy and goodwill to the peoples of both countries. People from Japan are more than welcome to visit Xiang Xiang and her pals in China. 

As for our relations with Japan, our position is consistent. We hope the Japanese side will work with us to build a China-Japan relationship that can meet the requirements of the new era.

Shenzhen TV: Up to 40 people have been killed and another 40 gone missing in flooding and landslides in the northern coast of Säo Paulo state, Brazil on February 19. Will China extend sympathies to the Brazilian side? 

Wang Wenbin: China has seen the reports about the deadly heavy rains in Säo Paulo state. We mourn for the people who lost their lives, and express our sympathies to the families of the victims, those who have been missing and the people in the affected area. China wishes the people who have been injured a speedy recovery and hope the affected people will get through this difficult time and rebuild their home soon.

Phoenix TV: According to reports, on February 16, US Senators Marco Rubio and Jeff Merkley introduced the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office Certification Act, requiring a review of the nature and status of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Offices (HKETOs). The legislation would require the President, 30 days after enactment, to certify whether HKETOs in the United States merit the extension of privileges, exemptions, and immunities that they currently maintain. If the President certifies that the HKETOs do not merit diplomatic immunities, the HKETOs will terminate their operations within six months. What’s China’s comment?

Wang Wenbin: The Senators you mentioned are long-time China hawks. The Hong Kong Economic and Trade Offices (HKETOs) are economic and trade organizations set up by the Hong Kong SAR government overseas. Their smooth operation is beneficial for Hong Kong and the host countries and regions as they serve to expand practical economic and trade cooperation. Among all economies, Hong Kong is the largest source of trade surplus for the US, which exceeds $20 billion annually. The proposed legislative measures will shoot the US in the foot.

China Daily: Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Director of the Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs Wang Yi visited Italy and Hungary recently. Can you share more with us about the visit? 

Wang Wenbin: Director Wang Yi visited Italy and Hungary a few days ago. During his visit to Italy, Director Wang Yi met with Italian President Sergio Mattarella and Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani. Wang Yi said China attaches great importance to relations with Italy and stands ready to work with Italy to deepen comprehensive strategic cooperation, with a view to realizing even higher-level development of bilateral relations. As China has successfully put the pandemic under control, China will continue to be an engine of the world economy and bring new opportunities for China-Italy cooperation. He noted that China and Italy should fully resume exchanges at various levels, further tap into the potential of Belt and Road cooperation, strengthen mutually beneficial cooperation in various areas and work for a more productive China-Italy relationship. China is ready to work with Italy to jointly safeguard the central role of the United Nations in the international system, uphold and practice multilateralism, and play a constructive role in promoting world peace and stability as well as the sound development of China-EU relations.

The Italian side expressed readiness to promote the development of Italy-China relations and deepen cooperation in economy and trade, culture and other areas in the spirit of mutual understanding and mutual respect. Italy expects to work with China to resume various cooperation mechanisms as soon as possible and strengthen mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields. Under the current circumstances, EU-China cooperation is crucial to tackling global challenges. Italy supports the European Union in developing relations with China. It attaches importance to international affairs such as the reform of the UN Security Council and stands ready to strengthen coordination and collaboration with China in this regard.

During his visit to Hungary, Wang Yi met with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó. Wang Yi said Hungary is a good friend of China in Europe, and the two sides have respected, understood and trusted each other and have forged deep friendship. China firmly follows a friendly policy toward Hungary, and supports Hungary in adopting domestic and foreign policies based on the fundamental interests of its own people. China is ready to work with Hungary to seize the opportunities presented by China’s optimized COVID measures and robust economic rebound. Both sides need to leverage their strength, work for new progress in cooperation in infrastructure, investment, trade and tourism, and elevate Belt and Road cooperation to a new level. China appreciates Hungary’s active support for the growth of China-EU relations, and is ready to jointly practice multilateralism, defend the basic norms in international relations, and make the world a more stable place.

The Hungarian side thanked China for its sincere support in political and economic fields and on COVID response. Hungary thanked China for having Hungary as one of the first pilot countries for receiving group tourists from China. Hungary looks forward to further strengthening cooperation in business and trade, mutual investment and agriculture with China. The Hungarian side pursues a friendly policy toward China, and will actively participate in high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, speed up the construction of the Budapest-Belgrade Railway, and continue to make relentless efforts for the growth of EU-China relations.

During the visit, Wang Yi also exchanged views on the Ukraine issue with the Italian side and the Hungarian side respectively. Wang Yi stressed that on the Ukraine issue, China has been committed to promoting peace talks. The more complicated the situation is, the more necessary it is to stick to political and diplomatic efforts to find a solution acceptable to all parties. Both Italy and Hungary appreciate China’s objective and impartial position on Ukraine, and said they are ready to strengthen cooperation with China to jointly work for peace talks.

Reuters: EU senior official Josep Borrell said that if China sent arms to Russia, this would be a red line. What’s China’s comment?

Wang Wenbin: I just stated China’s position on the issue. China is committed to resolving the relevant issue through dialogue and negotiation. We always stand on the side of peace. Parties concerned should not misinterpret or misunderstand China’s position.

Reuters: What’s China’s comment on US President Joe Biden’s visit to Ukraine? Will the Chinese leader visit Ukraine too?

Wang Wenbin: We have noted reports about President Biden’s visit to Ukraine. What has happened over the past 12 months has shown that conflicts produce no winner and dialogue and negotiation is the only way out. All parties, especially major countries, should act in a responsible manner, create conditions conducive to peace talks, and do more things that would contribute to a political settlement rather than fan the flames or profit from the situation. China has been on the side of peace and justice. We will continue to play a constructive part in promoting peace talks.

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