|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on February 6, 2024
Reuters: Guatemala’s Foreign Minister told Reuters on Monday that the country plans to reach out to China to develop formal trade ties, although it plans to maintain its existing relations with Taiwan. Would such an approach by Guatemala be agreeable to the Chinese side?
Wang Wenbin: There is but one China in the world, the government of the People’s Republic of China is the sole legal government representing the whole of China, and Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory. The one-China principle is a prevailing international consensus and a basic norm governing international relations. It is also the fundamental prerequisite and political foundation for China to conduct cooperation with all countries including Guatemala.
One hundred and eighty-three countries in the world have established diplomatic ties with China, which fully shows that supporting the one-China principle is where the public opinion trends and the arc of history bends. We hope that the new government of Guatemala will follow the general trend and make the right decision as early as possible which will serve the fundamental and long-term interests of the country and the people.
CNR: Nangolo Mbumba was sworn in as Namibia’s new President on February 4. What’s China’s comment?
Wang Wenbin: We congratulate President Mbumba on taking office. I believe that under President Mbumba’s leadership, Namibia will continue to enjoy sound momentum of steady development and achieve new success in national development.
China and Namibia share a deep and strong traditional friendship. China highly values its relations with Namibia and stands ready to work with Namibia to deepen exchanges and cooperation across the board and to elevate the China-Namibia comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership to a new level.
Reuters: China’s Xiang Yang Hong 03 research ship is due to make a port call in the Maldives later this week. Please could you elaborate on the type of work Chinese research vessels have been carrying out in the Indian Ocean?
Wang Wenbin: China’s scientific research activities in relevant waters are for peaceful purposes and aimed at contributing to humanity’s scientific understanding of the ocean. The activities are in strict compliance with the terms of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. For years, China and the Maldives have maintained close cooperation in marine scientific research. China appreciates the facilitation and assistance extended by the Maldives to Chinese research vessels entering its port on the basis of sovereignty and China-Maldives friendship and in accordance with the relevant provisions of international law.
Phoenix TV: It’s reported that US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel J. Kritenbrink met with four anti-China rioters who fled overseas, namely Anna Kwok, Elmer Yuen, Frances Hui and Joey Siu. He said on social media X that he was “honored to meet with advocates for Hong Kong’s democracy and human rights.” What’s your comment?
Wang Wenbin: We deplore and firmly oppose the blatant action of US senior officials involving themselves with anti-China rioters who have fled Hong Kong.
These rioters are suspected of endangering national security. The Hong Kong police issued arrest warrants in accordance with the law. This is necessary and legitimate and in line with the international law and customary practice. National security legislation of the US are applied extraterritorially as well. By bolstering those jeopardizing order and stability in Hong Kong, the US is not only trampling the principle of the rule of law but also laying bare its long-standing double standards on human rights and the rule of law.
Hong Kong affairs are purely China’s internal affairs that brook no external interference. We urge the US to reflect on what it has done and fully respect China’s sovereignty and rule of law in Hong Kong. The US should not become a haven for criminals. China has firm resolve to safeguard its sovereignty, security and development interests. Any attempt to meddle in Hong Kong affairs and undermine the rule of law in Hong Kong will be met with China’s resolute response.
AFP: Australia said today that it had expressed “outrage” to China over the suspended death sentence handed to a Chinese-born Australian. What’s China’s comment on this?
Wang Wenbin: We shared information yesterday about the sentencing of Australian defendant Yang Jun’s espionage case. I would like to stress that China is a country that upholds the rule of law. Chinese judicial authorities handle cases in accordance with the law. We urge Australia to fully respect China’s judicial sovereignty.
CCTV: We noticed that across the world, more and more people are celebrating the Chinese Lunar New Year, which is also called the Spring Festival. To celebrate this traditional festival has become quite fashionable these days. What is your comment?
Wang Wenbin: The Spring Festival is a time for family reunion, seen by many as the “Chinese moment” on every year’s calendar. It is also celebrated globally as a public holiday. You just asked a very good question. We have prepared some slides to show you how the Spring Festival is celebrated globally.
This year’s Spring Festival will be the first one since the UN General Assembly decided to list the Lunar New Year as a UN floating holiday. The Food and Agriculture Organization, the UN Office at Vienna and other organizations recently officially celebrated the Chinese Lunar New Year for the first time. The Lunar New Year is a public holiday in more than 20 countries and celebrated in various forms by about one-fifth of people on Earth. From East to West, in both northern and southern hemispheres, countries around the world light up in Chinese red and people share the joyful atmosphere and feel the richness and vibrancy of the Chinese culture.
At the UN, diplomatic envoys experience Spring Festival traditions such as making dumplings, calligraphy and paper-cutting. The New Zealand Prime Minister Christopher Luxon joined thousands of overseas Chinese at the Chinese New Year Festival and Market Day in Auckland to welcome the Year of the Dragon. Belarus held the “Embracing the Chinese New Year” symphony concert with musicians from the two countries bringing the great enjoyment to the audience. Temple fairs were held in Heidelberg, Germany, which showcased traditional customs to tourists such as diabolo, Spring Festival couplets and writing the character Fu which means good fortune. The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York organized an exhibition called “Celebrating the Year of Dragon”, which brought out dragon dance performance, woodblock printing and other brilliant activities. Lanterns hung high on the streets in Malaysia, and youngsters performed the impressive dragon dance with a dragon nearly 200 meters long. A grand celebration event was held on Marco Zero Square, a famous landmark of Recife in Brazil. A spectacular light show of twelve mascots of the Chinese Zodiac was staged and people sang and danced.
The Spring Festival embodies the traditions and values of harmony, love and peace in Chinese culture. The fact that the festival is celebrated elsewhere around the world is a vivid example of mutual learning between different civilizations and how they flourish together. We hope people everywhere will share the joy of the Spring Festival, feel the warmth of the coming spring, and together usher in an auspicious lunar new year.
AFP: Russia and China criticized the US yesterday at a UN Security Council meeting for stoking tensions in the Middle East. Can you provide more information on that?
Wang Wenbin: We have repeatedly said that the situation in the Middle East is highly complex and delicate. We urge relevant parties to remain calm, exercise restraint, earnestly abide by the UN Charter and international law, respect other countries’ sovereignty and territorial integrity, and prevent the situation in the region from further escalating or even getting out of control.