|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on March 23, 2023|
At the invitation of State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang, ASEAN Secretary-General Dr. Kao Kim Hourn will pay an official visit to China from March 24 to 29. During the visit, Dr. Kao Kim Hourn will also attend the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2023.
Reuters: Has the Honduran foreign minister arrived in China already and have China and Honduras signed an agreement on establishing diplomatic relations?
Wang Wenbin: Standing up for the one-China principle is the right thing to do. It has the overwhelming support of the international community and represents the prevailing trend of the world. China welcomes the Honduran government’s positive statements on developing ties with China. We stand ready to establish and grow bilateral relations with Honduras on the basis of equality and mutual respect.
Xinhua News Agency: This year marks the tenth anniversary of the vision of a human community with a shared future put forward by President Xi Jinping. How does China view the significance and outcomes of the vision over the past decade?
Wang Wenbin: Ten years ago, in light of China’s realities and with a global outlook, President Xi Jinping put forward the vision of a human community with a shared future after reflecting deeply on what kind of a world we should build and how to build it. The vision came as a response to the trend of history and an answer to the questions of the times. It reflects the cultural essence of China and the rest of the world and the values that all humanity hold dear. The vision represents humanity’s broadest common understanding of building a beautiful world and has become a banner that spearheads the times and human progress.
Over the past decade, the idea of building a human community with a shared future has spawned action and become a reality with all-round and pioneering achievements. China has worked actively for a new type of international relations, upheld the common values of humanity, pursued high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, put forward and implemented the Global Development Initiative, the Global Security Initiative and the Global Civilization Initiative, and advanced the building of an open, inclusive, clean, and beautiful world that enjoys lasting peace, universal security, and common prosperity.
Bilaterally, China has either issued action plans and joint statements or reached important common understandings with more than ten countries including Laos, Pakistan, Cambodia, Thailand, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Cuba. Regionally, China has advanced the building of a community with a shared future with Africa, Arab countries, Latin American and Caribbean countries, ASEAN, Lancang-Mekong countries, Central Asia and Pacific Island Countries as well as an SCO community with a shared future. Globally, the vision of a human community with a shared future has been written into UN documents many times. Advancing high-quality Belt and Road cooperation has won active support from three quarters of countries in the world. The three initiatives China put forward have resonated warmly with the world. China also put forward important initiatives such as building a global community of health for all and a community of life for humanity and nature, giving a strong boost to global governance in various sectors.
Since its inception, the vision of building a human community with a shared future has radiated the light of truth. Its farsightedness and value to our times have been highlighted by a shifting world. Building a human community with a shared future has been incorporated into the Constitution of the Communist Party of China and China’s Constitution. It has also been written into resolutions or declarations of multilateral mechanisms like the UN, the SCO and BRICS, which has been warmly received and commended by many parties. President of the 77th session of the UN General Assembly Csaba Kőrösi remarked that to respond to major global crises, the world needs an even closer community with a shared future.
Building a human community with a shared future is an exciting goal, and it requires efforts from generation after generation. China will continue to work with the world to defend world peace and promote common development, and together build a human community with a shared future and create a better future for the world.
Global Times: The US, the UK and Australia have recently unveiled details of their nuclear submarine cooperation plan. Australia is seeking to consult with the IAEA on safeguards arrangements. We understand that the Permanent Mission of China to the UN and other International Organizations in Vienna has sent a diplomatic note to the IAEA on the AUKUS nuclear submarine cooperation, stressing China’s opposition to any consultation between the IAEA Secretariat and Australia on safeguards arrangements. Could you elaborate on China’s position on the AUKUS nuclear submarine cooperation?
Wang Wenbin: AUKUS is a small bloc composed of Anglo-Saxon nations. It has been pressing ahead with nuclear submarine cooperation and coercing the IAEA into endorsing their plan. China has made clear its severe concern and firm opposition.
Let me stress that first, the AUKUS nuclear submarine cooperation exposes the three countries’ double standard and hypocrisy on nuclear non-proliferation. The JCPOA capped Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium at 300 kilograms of uranium gas enriched to 3.67% purity. The AUKUS deal involves the transfer of tonnes of weapons-grade highly enriched uranium of over 90% purity from the US and the UK, both nuclear weapon states, to Australia, a non-nuclear weapon state. The nuclear proliferation risk here is only too obvious. This shows how the three countries use nuclear non-proliferation as a geopolitical tool. They have no scruples about proliferating nuclear material and technology to an ally, yet they castigate the others in the name of non-proliferation.
Second, the AUKUS nuclear submarine cooperation is a clear example of the three countries’ hegemonic practice in defiance of international rules. They have pressed the IAEA to invoke Article 14 of the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement (CSA) to make safeguards arrangements, which is essentially coercing the IAEA Secretariat into making safeguards exemption arrangements, despite the huge divergences among the international community on the interpretation and applicability of this Article. Throughout the history of the IAEA, the formulation and improvement of all types of safeguards agreements were done through consultation of interested member states before being reviewed and adopted by the Board of Governors. The US, the UK, Australia and the IAEA Secretariat have no right to take the matter of applicability into their own hands, still less strike a deal between themselves and impose it on the entire membership.
Third, the AUKUS nuclear submarine cooperation seriously undermines the international nuclear non-proliferation regime. It will place large amounts of weapons-grade nuclear material in the hands of a country in a nuclear-weapon-free zone beyond the effective reach of the international safeguards system. This clearly contravenes the object and purpose of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). The AUKUS nuclear submarine cooperation will set an egregious precedent and encourage others to follow suit. It will have a negative impact on the resolution of regional nuclear hotspot issues and may eventually lead to the collapse of the international nuclear non-proliferation regime and backfire on the three countries themselves.
We urge the US, the UK and Australia to earnestly fulfill their international obligations, change course, and not unlock Pandora’s box on nuclear proliferation. We call on the IAEA to live up to its non-proliferation responsibilities and refrain from endorsing the three countries’ acts of nuclear proliferation. At the same time, we hope all member states of the IAEA will actively move forward the intergovernmental process and seek a way to resolve the safeguards issue with regard to the AUKUS cooperation. We need to join hands to firmly defend the international nuclear non-proliferation regime and safeguard global peace and security.
Reuters: Ghana’s finance minister is visiting China for debt talks. Can you share more information about what agreements have been reached?
Wang Wenbin: We answered this question yesterday. You may refer to our previous answers. I want to say again that we attach great importance to resolving Ghana’s debt issues and understand the difficulties facing Ghana at the moment. We are ready to enhance communication with Ghana to find a proper solution through consultation. That said, we always believe that properly resolving the issues concerning Ghana’s debt requires the joint efforts of Ghana and all international partners. Multilateral financial institutions and commercial lenders, who are the main creditors for developing countries, need to participate in developing countries’ debt relief efforts.
CCTV: The collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) marks the biggest bank failure in the US since the 2008 financial crisis. According to US media reports, 186 US banks are at the risk of meeting a similar fate. This incident has sent tremors around the financial world. Do you have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: We are closely following the developments. Due to the deep interconnectedness of worldwide markets within the global financial system, problems with US banks by no means just impact the US itself. The SVB’s collapse has sent shock waves throughout the global financial market. We hope the US will increase transparency and enhance communication with the rest of the world and provide clarity on the exact size of the risk, steps to address it, ways to minimize its spillover as well as other widespread concerns of the global community. This is a responsibility and what is expected of the US.
The US dollar is an international currency. Given this, the US should not simply anchor its monetary policy to domestic economic regulation goals. Instead, it needs to assess with caution any potential ensuing negative spillover. We urge the US to take responsible macroeconomic policies, take credible steps to stabilize market expectations and investor confidence and avoid radical policy shifts that may cause serious spillover effects and repeat the history of the 2008 financial crisis. We also call on the financial regulators of countries concerned to take concrete steps to keep money safe for all clients, including foreign depositors.
China stands ready to work with other economies to enhance macroeconomic policy coordination and jointly uphold global economic and financial stability.
Reuters: On Honduras again. Separately, according to a person with knowledge of the situation, one day before the Honduran President announced on Twitter that she would seek to establish diplomatic ties with China, she privately asked Taiwan for $2.5 billion in aid. This person said that Taiwan suspects China was secretly behind Honduras’s request. What’s China’s response?
Wang Wenbin: The remarks are preposterous and groundless. Honduran Foreign Minister Enrique Reina said in a recent interview that President Castro made the decision to grow relations with China in response to the trend of the world and in light of the realities of Honduras. The one-China principle represents the prevailing trend of the world and has the overwhelming support of the international community. China welcomes the Honduran government’s positive statements on growing relations with China, and stands ready to establish and grow bilateral relations with Honduras on the basis of equality and mutual respect.
AFP: The New Zealand foreign minister is in Beijing these days. Do you have any details to share with us?
Wang Wenbin: We will release information in due course. Please check back for updates.
Reuters: Can you share more details of the program for the Spanish Prime Minister’s China visit next week?
Wang Wenbin: China-Spain relations have enjoyed sustained, sound and steady growth. The leaders of the two sides have maintained sound communication and exchange. As for the specific visit you asked about, I have nothing to share at the moment. Please check back for updates.
NBC: The US national security council spokesperson John Kirby, reviewing the joint statement between the leaders of China and Russia, cited UN principles and international law to which he said the US agrees. So we know the differences between the US and China, but is there some consensus for the two countries to work together to bring Russia and Ukraine to the negotiating table? I am not asking about the US’s attitude, I am asking about China’s willingness or attitude.
Wang Wenbin: China is ready to work with the international community and continue to play a constructive part in the political settlement of the Ukraine crisis. The US needs to view China’s efforts to promote peace talks objectively and stop acting against peace such as fanning the flames and deflecting the blame.
Bloomberg: The leaders of China and Russia apparently agreed to deepen cooperation on atomic energy known as fast neutron reactors. That technology worries the US military because it could upset the global balance of nuclear weapons, allowing countries to make warheads faster. How does the foreign ministry respond to this?
Wang Wenbin: As far as I understand, fast reactor is one of the internationally recognized advanced reactors of Generation IV nuclear energy systems. Countries like the US, France and Japan all have ongoing researches on fast reactor technologies.
China and Russia conduct normal civilian nuclear energy cooperation in line with our respective due international obligations under the framework of intergovernmental agreements, which is perfectly normal and we do not see anything wrong about it.
Reuters: According to the South Korean military, North Korea fired multiple cruise missiles off its east coast. This comes as South Korea and the US hold joint military exercises. Separately, a US defense intelligence official said that North Korea does not seem to be preparing for an imminent nuclear test, but the US is staying vigilant. What is China’s response?
Wang Wenbin: As we speak, the US and the ROK are carrying out a large-scale joint military drill which consists of subjects such as “amphibious landing” and “decapitation”. Judging by the names of these subjects, you can easily tell whether this drill is defensive in nature or not. Yesterday, the US and the ROK announced a joint military drill planned for June. Relevant parties need to stop fueling the tensions, return to the track of political settlement at an early date, and play their due part in alleviating tensions and resuming dialogue.
Reuters: Taiwanese officials have said that a potential meeting between Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is still being arranged. What’s China’s response?
Wang Wenbin: I need to correct you first. Taiwan is an inalienable part of China and there is no such thing as “Taiwanese president”. As for your question, we have stated China’s position before. We would like to reiterate that we strongly oppose any form of official interaction between the US and Taiwan, strongly oppose any US visit by the leader of the Taiwan authorities regardless of the rationale or pretext, and strongly oppose all forms of US contact with the Taiwan authorities, which violates the one-China principle. China has made strong démarches to the US side on this matter. The reported trip is not so much a “transit”, but an attempt to seek breakthroughs and propagate “Taiwan independence”. We urge the US to abide by the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communiqués, earnestly deliver on its leaders’ commitment of not supporting “Taiwan independence” or “two Chinas” or “one China, one Taiwan”, stop all forms of official interaction with Taiwan, stop upgrading its substantive exchanges with the region, and stop fudging and hollowing out the one-China principle.
NBC: Following up on that. Taiwan leader Tsai Ing-wen is in the US on the way to Latin America, while former Taiwan leader Ma Yingjiu is coming to China at the same time. Do you have any comment on this coincidence? What’s the significance?
Wang Wenbin: I do not see any association between the two things you mentioned. We have stated our positions separately on these two matters. You may take another look at our answers if you are interested.
Reuters: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said China is very carefully watching how the world responds to the Ukraine war, but it’s not yet provided lethal aid to Moscow. What is China’s response?
Wang Wenbin: China is neither responsible for creating the Ukraine crisis, nor a party to the crisis. Instead, we have advocated political settlement of the crisis and promoted talks for peace. As State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang pointed out, a certain country, out of its selfish geopolitical interests, has been thwarting efforts for peace talks by every means possible, and even made up false allegations to attack and smear China. But the world will not be easily deceived. Just as China was making journeys for peace, the US announced new provision of weapons and equipment worth $350 million to Ukraine, which leaves no question as to who is fanning the flames by supplying lethal weapons and who is promoting talks for peace. China’s position on Ukraine is clear and consistent. Between peace and war, we choose peace. Between dialogue and sanctions, we choose dialogue. Between lowering the temperature and fanning the flames, we choose the former. China has no selfish political motives in this and will not engage in geopolitical manipulation. We are sincere in promoting peace talks and ending hostilities. This is part of China’s commitment to living up to its responsibility as a major country. We hope the US will stop acting against peace, particularly stop fueling the fight with more supplies of weapons and stop deflecting the blame. The US needs to join the international community and truly commit itself to a negotiated political settlement of the Ukraine crisis.
Reuters: A Canadian MP resigned from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party after media reports accused him of having ties to the Chinese government. What’s China’s response to this?
Wang Wenbin: The Canadian side may be in a better position to answer your question about the resignation of a Canadian MP. China opposes interference in other countries’ internal affairs. We have no interest in and will not interfere in Canada’s internal affairs.
Reuters: Separately, Blinken said China will have the ability to invade Taiwan by 2027. What is China’s response?
Wang Wenbin: Taiwan is China’s Taiwan. Resolving the Taiwan question is a matter for the Chinese, a matter that must be resolved by the Chinese. We will continue to strive for peaceful reunification with the greatest sincerity and the utmost effort, but we will never pledge to renounce the use of force, and we reserve the option of taking all measures necessary. This is directed solely at interference by outside forces, the few separatists seeking “Taiwan independence” and their separatist activities. The real root cause of the current tensions in the Taiwan Strait is that the DPP authorities have been soliciting US support for “Taiwan independence” and some people in the US have been using Taiwan to contain China. If the US truly hopes for peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, it should abide by the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communiqués, act on US leaders’ commitment of not supporting “Taiwan independence”, stop meddling in the Taiwan question and stop creating new factors that could lead to tensions in the Taiwan Strait.
NBC: The Southern Theater Command announced that it just drove away a US warship intruding illegally into the territorial waters of the Paracel Islands. Are you not worried that frequent incidents like this could lead to more serious situations in the future?
Wang Wenbin: On March 23, the US naval warship USS Milius illegally entered the territorial waters near China’s Xisha Islands without the Chinese government’s permission. This move has violated China’s sovereignty, posed a threat to China’s security and jeopardized the peace and stability in the relevant waters. The Chinese PLA Southern Theater Command conducted whole-process tracking and monitoring on the US destroyer in accordance with the law, and warned it off.
The US should immediately stop such infringement and provocation. China will continue to take all necessary measures to resolutely safeguard the nation’s sovereignty and security, and safeguard peace and stability in the South China Sea.