|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on September 23, 2022|
China News Service: According to reports, the seventh China-Eurasia Expo was held in Urumqi, Xinjiang this week. Can you share with us the highlights of this expo?
Wang Wenbin: From September 19 to 22, the seventh China-Eurasia Expo was held under the theme of “Extensive Consultation, Joint Contribution, Shared Benefits, Cooperation for a Shared Future” in Urumqi, Xinjiang. This year’s expo has exceeded all previous years in terms of the level of participants, the number of participating countries and the number of fruitful outcomes.
President Xi Jinping sent a congratulatory letter to the Expo, pointing out that the Eurasian continent is full of vitality and potential for development and is a key region for international Belt and Road cooperation. In recent years, China’s Xinjiang has given full play to its geographical advantages to actively develop the core area of the Silk Road Economic Belt and promote the interconnectivity, mutually beneficial cooperation and common development between China and Eurasian countries. The efforts have achieved positive results. Leaders addressed the opening ceremony through video messages. They include President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev of Kazakhstan and Prime Minister Viktor Orbán of Hungary representing guest countries of honor, Prime Minster Shehbaz Sharif of Pakistan, dignitaries of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Mongolia, Secretary-General of ASEAN Lim Jock Hoi and Secretary General of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Zhang Ming.
The expo attracted 3,597 companies from 32 countries and regions which participated online, including 2,652 companies which participated as online exhibitors. Up to 21 Global Fortune 500 companies and multinational corporations from China and other countries attended the expo, and 110 industry leaders participated as offline exhibitors. So far, 448 deals worth over 1.17 trillion yuan have been signed, higher than what was achieved in previous expos.
Through its five points of entry, Xinjiang is linked to eight countries. The Silk Road connects Xinjiang with the rest of Eurasia. As a core area of the Silk Road Economic Belt, Xinjiang is sharing its development vitality with other areas with open arms. China is ready to work with other countries to harness the China-Eurasia Expo, uphold the Silk Road spirit of peace and cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, mutual learning and mutual benefit, stay committed to high-standard, people-centered and sustainable cooperation, expand cooperation areas with Eurasia, upgrade the level of Eurasia cooperation and promote common development and prosperity.
AFP: A Cambodian official told AFP that more than 20 Chinese nationals are missing after a boat carrying 41 capsized off the coast near Sihanoukville yesterday. Is China able to confirm this and provide more details?
Wang Wenbin: China and Cambodia are in close communication over this. We have asked the Cambodian side to make all-out search and rescue efforts. We are doing everything we can to find out more about the details of the incident and verify them as quickly as we can.
CCTV: According to reports, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi delivered a speech at the headquarters of Asia Society in New York on September 22. Can you share some information?
Wang Wenbin: On September 22 local time, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi delivered a speech at the headquarters of Asia Society in New York. State Councilor Wang Yi pointed out that, the past few years have seen China-US relations at a low ebb since the establishment of diplomatic ties. This is bringing tremendous uncertainty to the future of our peoples and to countries across the world. It boils down to how the United States perceives China, the world and itself. Be it full confrontation or strategic competition, both have deviated from the right course of China-US relations. Regarding the right way for China and the US to get on with each other, President Xi Jinping has given a clear answer. That is mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation. These three principles are an important conclusion informed by the evolution of China-US relations over the past 50-odd years. They are also the right way for major countries to live with each other in this era.
State Councilor Wang Yi said, that China and the US need to respect each other is an important lesson drawn from past exchanges between our two countries, and also a basic prerequisite for the bilateral ties to return to the right track. China respects the development path chosen by the American people. We welcome an open and confident United States that enjoys growth and progress. The US should also respect the Chinese people’s choice of development path, i.e., socialism with Chinese characteristics. China will unswervingly follow its chosen path and direction, and will forge ahead steadily along this path toward greater success. China will continue to draw upon the valuable experience of other countries and achievements of all civilizations, embrace the world with open arms and open its door even wider.
Partner or rival? Cooperation or confrontation? These are questions of fundamental importance in China-US relations, and no catastrophic mistakes could be made, State Councilor Wang Yi noted. China chooses peace and commits to peaceful development. Our most basic expectation for China-US relations is for the two countries to live with each other in peace. Expansion, coercion and hegemony are never in the veins of the Chinese people. Today’s China is built on the heritage of ancient China. The CPC, China’s governing party, has incorporated peaceful development into its constitution, and China is the only major country that has codified peaceful development in the Constitution. Some in the US try to take China down by repeating the containment tactic used on the former Soviet Union, and hope to encircle China through geopolitical maneuvering like the Indo-Pacific strategy. Such attempts will only prove futile.
State Councilor Wang Yi said, win-win cooperation is not only possible, but also a must. This is the true narrative of China-US relations in the past half a century, and it should remain the goal we both pursue. As the world’s largest developing and developed countries, China and the United States have a lot to offer each other. We enjoy broad room for cooperation in a wide range of areas covering economy and trade, energy, science and technology, education, and people-to-people and cultural exchanges. We shoulder important responsibilities in addressing global issues like COVID-19, economic recovery, climate change, terrorism, proliferation and regional hotspots. An unfailing truth in China-US interactions is that we both stand to gain from cooperation and lose from confrontation. Cooperation is our best choice. Undeniably, China and the US have competition in areas like economy and trade, and China does not fear such competition. However, we do not agree that China-US relations should be simply defined by competition, because this is not the entirety or the mainstream of this relationship. At the same time, competition should have boundaries and, more importantly, be fair play. We need healthy competition that brings out the best in each other, not vicious competition that aims at each other’s demise.
State Councilor Wang Yi stressed that the one-China principle is the cornerstone of the political foundation for China-US relations; the three China-US joint communiqués are the most crucial “guardrails” for our relations. As things stand, the Taiwan question is growing into the biggest risk in China-US relations. Should it be mishandled, it is most likely to devastate our bilateral ties. Just as the US will not allow Hawaii to be split away, China has the right to uphold the unification of the country as Taiwan is part of China. Since the Government of the People’s Republic of China is recognized as the sole legal government representing the whole of China, Taiwan should not be allowed to join any international organization with sovereign implications. If one recognizes the one-China principle, one should not engage in any official interactions with Taiwan. The logic here cannot be simpler. The Taiwan question arose as a result of weakness and chaos in the nation, and it will be resolved as national rejuvenation becomes a reality. Reunification is the trend of history and the aspiration of the people. The US should choose to stand on the right side of history.
It is our hope that China and the US will draw on past experience to find inspiration for the present, and gain strength for going forward. Together, let us explore a way to a China-US relationship for the new era and create a better future for both of our countries!
Bloomberg: You talked just now on your comments about the need for greater cooperation between the US and China, yet at the same time there are eight areas which were recently cut or stopped by the Chinese side. So I’m just trying to understand whether we can expect a resumption in talks between the two countries on those areas if we are to pave the way to greater cooperation between the US and China?
Wang Wenbin: We have made our response clear to the question you asked multiple times. It is the US that violated China’s sovereignty first, and China was compelled to take legitimate countermeasures. Our countermeasures are fully legitimate, justified and lawful. If the US wants to seek cooperation with China, it needs to respect China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and take concrete measures to match its commitment to the one-China principle.
Beijing Daily: On September 22, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said when hosting the first Ministerial Meeting of the Partners in the Blue Pacific on the margins of the UNGA that the US is deeply committed to the Pacific. In a briefing to reporters after the meeting, Coordinator for Indo-Pacific Affairs in the US National Security Council Kurt Campbell said that China’s ambitions in the Pacific are a concern for some Pacific Island leaders. Do you have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: We welcome the US’s expressed desire to give Pacific Island Countries (PICs) more development support. We hope the US can match its words with actions.
What the PICs need is mutually beneficial cooperation based on equality, not self-serving expediency driven by geopolitical calculations. The PICs have the right to independently conduct exchanges with other countries. Their right should be respected and not restricted or denied.
China upholds the principles of equal treatment, mutual respect, win-win cooperation and openness and inclusiveness in developing relations with the PICs. This has been welcomed and supported by the PICs. China stands ready to work with all parties in the spirit of openness, transparency, opening-up and inclusiveness to jointly promote the development and prosperity of the PICs.
O Globo: Can you give us some details of what was discussed at the meeting of the BRICS foreign ministers in New York last night and how China sees the role of the group in the resolution of the Ukraine conflict?
Wang Wenbin: As representatives of emerging markets and developing countries, BRICS countries are committed to defending multilateralism and opposed to hegemony and bullying and champion stronger solidarity and coordination for world peace and development.
As to the details about the BRICS foreign ministers’ meeting on the margins of UNGA in New York, we will release information in due course. Please check back for updates.
Bloomberg: UN General Secretary Antonio Guterres recently expressed concern over plans to hold referendums in parts of Ukraine that are under Russian control. He said that any annexation of a state’s territory by another state resulting from the threat or use of force is a violation of the UN Charter and international law. Does the Chinese foreign ministry have any comment on this?
Wang Wenbin: We’ve made clear our position on the Ukraine issue on multiple occasions. We believe that all countries deserve respect for their sovereignty and territorial integrity, that the purposes and principles of the UN Charter should be observed, that the legitimate security concerns of any country should be taken seriously, and that support should be given to all efforts that are conducive to peacefully resolving the crisis. We call on the parties concerned to properly address differences through dialogue and consultation. China stands ready to work with members of the international community to continue to play a constructive part in deescalation efforts.
Kyodo News: Yesterday, a Japanese official said that Wan Gang, Vice Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), will attend the state funeral of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. What will this trip mean for China-Japan relations?
Wang Wenbin: At the invitation of the Japanese side, Wan Gang, Vice Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), will attend the funeral of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as the representative of the Chinese government.
You mentioned China-Japan relations. Let me say that China and Japan are each other’s neighbors and both important countries in the region. To maintain and develop friendly and cooperative relations between China and Japan serves the fundamental interests of the two countries and two peoples. As a responsible major country, China has made contributions to regional and world peace, stability and prosperity, which is witnessed by all. We hope that Japan will abide by the principles set out in the four China-Japan political documents, work with China in the same direction and jointly build a China-Japan relationship that meets the needs of the new era.
Bloomberg: US President Joe Biden reaffirmed the US’s iron-clad commitment to the defense of the Philippines in the meeting with President Ferdinand Marcos. The two leaders also underscored their support for the freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea and said they sought peaceful resolution of disputes. Does the Chinese foreign ministry have any comment on US President Joe Biden’s words on the defense of the Philippines?
Wang Wenbin: There has been no problem with freedom of navigation in the South China Sea. China always respects and supports the freedom of navigation and overflight enjoyed by all countries in the South China Sea in accordance with international law. China will continue to properly handle maritime disputes with countries directly concerned, including the Philippines, through dialogue and consultation, and work with ASEAN countries to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea. We hope that countries outside the region will earnestly respect the efforts of countries in the region to maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea.
CCTV: German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said in a statement released on September 22 that in their meeting, the G7 Foreign Ministers and the High Representative of the European Union said that they opposed unilateral changes to the status quo in the Taiwan Strait and that there is no change in the basic positions of G7 members on Taiwan, including stated one China policies. Do you have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: Both sides of the Taiwan Strait belong to one and the same China. Taiwan is part of China’s territory. China’s state sovereignty and territorial integrity has never been split. This is the status quo in the Taiwan Strait and one China is at the heart of this status quo. The one who is trying to change the status quo is not China, but rather the DPP authorities and the external meddling forces who have been emboldening “Taiwan independence” separatist elements. The one-China principle is what underpins peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. The clearer and stronger the commitment of the international community is to the one-China principle, the more likely peace across the Taiwan Strait will be ensured. We hope Germany and other G7 members will not only unequivocally commit to the one-China principle, but also follow the principle with concrete actions.