Yonhap News Agency: It is reported that the DPRK fired three ballistic missiles toward waters off the Korean Peninsula’s eastern coast this morning. What’s your comment on this?
Wang Wenbin: We have noted the relevant report and the fact that the DPRK side has not yet released any information on that. Upholding peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and advancing the political settlement process of the Korean Peninsula issue serve the common interests of the international community. We hope relevant sides can exercise restraint, stick to the general direction of political settlement, and resume meaningful dialogue at an early date to explore a way to address the concerns of all parties in a balanced manner.
CRI: According to reports, a colonel of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps was shot and killed on the street in Tehran on May 22. A spokesperson for the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the incident was a terrorist attack. No organization or individual has claimed responsibility. Do you have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: We have noted relevant reports. China opposes terrorist acts in all forms and supports the efforts of the Iranian side to safeguard national security and stability.
AFP: Was Xinjiang mentioned during today’s virtual meeting between UN High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet and President Xi?
Wang Wenbin: President Xi Jinping met with UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet today. China has already released the readout on that. You may refer to it.
Phoenix TV: The US has officially announced the launch of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF). A senior US official said the other day that the IPEF is “the most significant international economic engagement that the United States has ever had in this region”. It will present Indo-Pacific countries an alternative to China and the countries in the IPEF will be more reliable partners for the US, according to the official. Do you have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: On May 23, the day when the US announced the launch of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), I have already briefed you on China’s principled position on this issue. Now that you asked, I do want to say a few more words.
The US claims that it seeks to win the competition of the 21st century with the IPEF. This fully demonstrates that the Framework first and foremost serves the US economy. Over the years, the US has been absent from Asia-Pacific economic cooperation. It withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and did not participate in the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). All of this is done entirely out of its own interests. The US is taking a selective approach in acceding to regional cooperation initiatives. Now the US proposed the IPEF only to start something new to serve its own interests.
In the meantime, the IPEF is designed to advance US geopolitical strategy. In the name of cooperation, the framework seeks to exclude certain countries, establish US-led trade rules, restructure the system of industrial chains, and decouple regional countries with the Chinese economy. The US Secretary of Commerce said publicly that the IPEF marks an important turning point in restoring US economic leadership in the region and presenting regional countries an alternative to China’s approach. The fact is, many countries in the region are worried about the huge cost of “decoupling” with China. People will see clearly that the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework is a design to disrupt regional cooperation and a tool to coerce regional countries.
Though many regional countries are included in the Framework, the IPEF does not take into consideration their development levels and actual needs. There is no tariff exemption or market access arrangement under the Framework, only so-called high standards imposed by the US on those countries. We cannot help but ask: What’s in it for those participating members? The IPEF won’t go far if it fails to truly contribute to the common development of regional countries.
The Asia-Pacific should become the pacesetter of peace and development, not a chessboard for geopolitical contest. An initiative that truly contributes to regional development should follow the principles of openness, inclusiveness, mutual benefit and win-win outcomes, instead of being used to build walls, create division and stoke confrontation. This is the shared voice of countries in the region. China is ready to work with other countries in the region to practice true multilateralism, build an open regional economy and make the Asia-Pacific region a better place.
Reuters: You mentioned yesterday that Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi is going to Fiji soon, and will be meeting, ahead of that, some Pacific Island leaders. Reuters has become aware of the fact China is looking to sign a region-wide deal which includes police and security cooperation. Some people fear this could spark a new Cold War between the East and the West. What’s China’s comment?
Wang Wenbin: First, I would like to stress that as developing countries in the Asia-Pacific, China and South Pacific Island countries are good friends and good partners pursuing common development on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit. This visit by State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi to the South Pacific aims to deepen the friendly and cooperative relationship between China and relevant countries, and contributes to peace, stability and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific. I fully disagree with the sensational remarks by some people. I would like to take this opportunity to share with you some facts about China-PICs cooperation.
The friendship between China and the PICs goes way back. Since the establishment of our diplomatic ties in the 1970s, the bilateral relations have made significant progress, which is particularly marked by the two visits by President Xi Jinping in 2014 and 2018 to the PICs and his group meetings with leaders of the PICs having diplomatic ties with China. The foreign ministry today released the Fact Sheet: Cooperation Between China and Pacific Island Countries.
Here I would like to share some numbers with you. First, our exchange and cooperation keep expanding, covering more than 20 areas including trade, investment, ocean affairs, environmental protection, disaster prevention and mitigation, poverty alleviation, health care, education, tourism, culture, sports and at the sub-national level. China and PICs have forged 22 pairs of sister provinces/states and cities. Second, China has signed Belt and Road cooperation MOUs with all the 10 PICs having diplomatic relations with China, and has become an important trade partner and source of investment. From 1992 to 2021, the total trade volume between China and PICs having diplomatic relations with China grew at an average annual increase of 13% and expanding by over 30 times in 30 years. Third, China stays committed to providing economic and technical assistance to PICs with no political strings attached. China has implemented more than 100 aid projects, delivered more than 200 batches of in-kind assistance, and trained about 10,000 talents in various fields. Fourth, China has dispatched 600 medical staff to PICs, benefiting more than 260,000 local residents. Since the start of COVID-19, China has provided PICs with nearly 600,000 doses of vaccines and more than 100 tons of anti-pandemic supplies.
The exchange and cooperation between China and PICs are carried out in line with the principles of sincerity, real results, affinity and good faith, and on the basis of equal-footed consultation. It follows the principle of mutual benefits and pursues common development. With tangible outcomes, it has won wide support from the people of PICs. I think the above facts rebuke the argument you mentioned.
Facts have proven that no matter how the international landscape may evolve, China and the PICs are always good friends treating each other with sincerity and mutual respect, good partners pursuing common development and win-win results, and good brothers drawing on each other’s strength based on affinity and mutual understanding. Our two sides have set a good example of mutual support, solidarity and cooperation between countries of different size and with different systems.
The release of the Fact Sheet is aimed at taking stock of the friendly exchanges of the two sides in history, demonstrate outcomes of our practical cooperation and offer inspiration to creating a brighter future of the bilateral relationship. State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi is about to visit the South Pacific upon invitation and host the second China-Pacific Island Countries Foreign Ministers’ Meeting. China is ready to work with the PICs in taking this visit as an opportunity, further strengthen high-level exchange, consolidate political mutual trust, expand practical cooperation, and deepen people-to-people bond so as to build an even closer community with a shared future for China and Pacific Island countries.
KBS: This morning, the DPRK launched ballistic missiles. Some people say that the UN Security Council may discuss imposing sanctions on the DPRK. Do you have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: China always believes that the Security Council should play a positive and constructive role on the Korean Peninsula issue. Sanctions are a means, not the end. They should be used to serve the goal of finding a political settlement of the issue. We hope all parties of the Security Council will stick to the general direction of political settlement and work actively to find a solution to break the deadlock.
Hubei Media Group: At least 21 people, including 19 children, have died in a shooting at a primary school in Texas on May 24, marking the 39th school shooting in the US this year. Also, today marks the second anniversary of George Floyd’s death, who died after a White officer kept his knee on Floyd’s neck. But we noted that two years on, incidents of injustice targeting ethnic minorities have kept increasing in the US. Do you have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: I noted relevant reports and am deeply saddened by the serious casualties from vicious shootings that have happened time and again. We mourn the victims and our sympathies and condolences go to the injured and the bereaved families.
The right to life is the biggest human right and racial discrimination is the biggest injustice. The US is beset by the most serious gun violence and social discrimination, and also a country with the biggest deficit in human rights. It is unacceptable that no substantive measures have been taken by the US government to tackle these problems over the past decades. Over the past 25 years, the US federal government has failed to promulgate a single gun control act. Nearly 60 years ago, Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech, and today, we still have to face a brutal reality where people like George Floyd can’t even breathe.
The US government is callous about the systemic violation of the human rights of American people. But in the meantime, it has been keen on wantonly attacking other countries and grossly interfering in their internal affairs under the pretext of human rights. This fully indicates that the US’ claim to champion human rights is nothing but hypocritical rhetoric and empty talks. How can one expect the US government, who doesn’t even care about the human rights of its people, to genuinely concern itself with the human rights situation in other countries? What the US really takes interest in is to turn human rights into a tool to control and suppress other countries.
We urge the US to show earnest care to the human rights of its own people, submit a report on the US human rights conditions for international scrutiny, and deeply reflect upon why it has become a country with the most serious gun violence in the world, where children and teens are 15 times more likely to die from gunfire than their peers in 31 other high-income countries combined? Why Asian Americans in New York still live in fear, Muslims face increasing discrimination and the Indigenous people suffer persistent persecution? Why the US, a country with the best medical technologies and conditions, has the largest number of COVID-19 infections and deaths? The US should take effective measures as soon as possible to protect the lives of the American people and guarantee their rights to freedom from fear, gun violence and racial discrimination.
Bloomberg: Can you confirm will China be signing a region-wide deal that will cover issues such as security and data communications with almost a dozen Pacific Islands as Reuters have reported? Can you confirm that will actually happen?
Wang Wenbin: As to your question on the specifics, China will release information in due course. Please stay tuned.
Reuters: China’s military says it conducted military exercises around Taiwan in recent days. What’s the Chinese government’s comment on this? And is it related in any way to the US president’s recent comments regarding Taiwan?
Wang Wenbin: As to the relevant military exercises you mentioned, the spokesperson for the PLA Eastern Theater Command has released relevant information, you can check it out. We have repeated many times China’s position on the US recent erroneous actions on Taiwan-related issues. I would like to stress again that the US attempts to hollow out the one-China principle, and overt and covert instigation and support for “Taiwan independence” separatist activities will not only cause irreversible consequences for China-US relations, but also make the US pay an unbearable price.
CGTN: US State Department spokesman Ned Price said on May 24 that the US have no expectation that China will allow the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet to conduct a complete, independent and unmanipulated assessment of the human rights environment in Xinjiang. He added that it was a mistake for Bachelet to agree to a visit under the circumstances. Do you have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: China’s position on the High Commissioner’s visit is consistent and coherent. Not only the High Commissioner, but also people from all countries are welcome to visit Xinjiang and get to know the region as it is through their first-hand experience. In the meantime, we oppose the so-called “investigation” with presumption of guilt. This position has always been consistent.
By contrast, it is the US that has flip-flopped on the issue of the High Commissioner’s visit. The US was among the most vocal in demanding a visit to Xinjiang by the High Commissioner, but now turns out to be the biggest critic of such a visit. Why is the US so precarious? The reason is very simple: they need new lies to hide the old ones. The US is worried that their lies about “genocide” and “forced labor” will be debunked in front of the international community and they now even go as far as to mislead the international community with a bigger lie on China.
No matter how many lies the US spreads, they cannot hide the fact that Xinjiang enjoys stability and prosperity, and its people live a happy and fulfilling life. Their behavior only further reveals that they’ve turned human rights issues into a tool for politicization.
AFP: The Australian Finance Minister has called on China to lift trade tariffs on Australian goods as soon as possible if it wants to improve ties with Australia. What’s your response?
Wang Wenbin: China adopts relevant measures on products from other countries bearing in mind the legitimate rights and interests of our industries and the safety of consumers in strict compliance with Chinese laws and regulations and WTO rules. This is completely reasonable, legitimate and lawful.
A sound and stable China-Australia relationship meets the fundamental interests and common aspirations of the two peoples. China’s position on the development of China-Australia relations has always been consistent and clear. It is hoped that Australia will uphold the principles of mutual respect and mutual benefits in handling bilateral relations, and work with China to bring China-Australia relations back onto the right track of sound and steady development.
The Paper: UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet has arrived and started her visit in China. Some Western countries demanded “unfettered” access for the High Commissioner. Do you have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: At the invitation of the Chinese government, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Ms. Michelle Bachelet has arrived and started her visit in China. The activities of the High Commissioner during her stay here in China are arranged according to her will and on the basis of thorough consultations of the two sides. China will continue to provide facilitation for her smooth visit. I want to stress that this visit is aimed at promoting exchanges and cooperation between the two sides and advance international human rights cause. We always oppose all attempts at political manipulation by using this visit.
CCTV: Lately, some Japanese politicians have talked about Japan becoming a nuclear weapon state, unscrupulously calling for nuclear sharing with the US and introducing US nuclear weapons. The joint statement that came out of the Japan-US summit on May 23 read that “The two leaders affirmed the critical importance of ensuring that US extended deterrence remains credible and resilient. They reiterated the significance of enhancing bilateral discussions on extended deterrence”. What is China’s comment?
Wang Wenbin: China has noted relevant report and expresses its grave concern. The NPT stipulates that “Each non-nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty undertakes not to receive the transfer from any transferor whatsoever of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices or of control over such weapons or explosive devices directly, or indirectly”. Nuclear sharing between the US and Japan would constitute a violation of NPT, and escalate the risk of nuclear proliferation and nuclear conflicts.
Instead of make deep reflections on its history of aggression, Japan, as a non-nuclear-weapon States party to the NPT, has long presented itself as a victim of nuclear weapons, vociferously advocates nuclear disarmament and anti-proliferation. But in practice, it sits comfortably under the US’ nuclear umbrella, and opposes and thwarts the US’ attempts at giving up its policy of first use of nuclear weapons. It now even abets discussions at home over nuclear sharing in defiance of the NPT. Such self-contradictory moves of Japan is highly hypocritical. Lately, Japan has also openly discussed changing the three non-nuclear principles it committed to, and even deleted the expression in the latest national report submitted to the NPT review conference. Such negative moves of Japan warrant high alert from the international community.
If the Japanese side can truly act in a responsible manner on issues concerning international security and arms control, then it should earnestly fulfill its obligation as a non-nuclear-weapon state, continue to comply with its three non-nuclear principles, and refrain from seeking nuclear weapons in any form. As a US ally, Japan should also encourage the US to give up its Cold War mentality, reduce the role of nuclear weapons in national security policies in real earnest, shoulder the special and primary responsibilities toward nuclear disarmament, and make due contributions to maintaining global and regional strategic balance and stability.
Reuters: German Economy Minister Robert Habeck said that while China is a major trading partner, there are very relevant problems including when it comes to respecting human rights. At the EU level, Habeck said, government subsidies to Chinese competitors who want to enter the domestic market should be looked at more closely. What’s China’s comment?
Wang Wenbin: China firmly opposes and categorically rejects attempts to smear China with disinformation or even lies. China-Germany economic and trade cooperation is mutually-beneficial in nature. We hope the German government and politicians will look at it correctly and refrain from misleading the public and hurting its own interests.
Global Times: US Senator Michael McCaul recently said to CNN that the Chinese delegation to the World Economic Forum did not stand in ovation for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy after his video speech and instead walked out of the venue. But the photo the Senator presented as proof turned out to be a picture of Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Le Minh Khai and his delegation according to some media. And the photo was later confirmed by Vietnam. I wonder what is China’s comment?
Wang Wenbin: The Chinese delegation has issued a statement for clarification. During President Zelenskyy’s speech, the Chinese delegation was not at the venue as they were meeting with Dr Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency. We urge the US Senator to make a correction, and stop spreading disinformation.
Reuters: China and Russia conducted joint aerial exercises over a large area including the Sea of Japan and the East China Sea yesterday. What’s China’s comment?
Wang Wenbin: I’d like to refer you to the response from the spokesperson of the Ministry of National Defense of China.
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