Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on April 1, 2024
2024-04-01 20:21

At the invitation of Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Laos Saleumxay Kommasith, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Viet Nam Bui Thanh Son, and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Timor-Leste Bendito dos Santos Freitas will separately visit China from April 2 to 5.

Beijing Daily: Can you share China’s considerations on inviting the foreign ministers of Laos, Viet Nam and Timor-Leste to visit China? What are China’s expectations for the visits?

Wang Wenbin: Southeast Asian countries are China’s friendly neighbors connected by land and sea, and important partners for Belt and Road cooperation. These countries and China have taken the lead in building a community with a shared future for mankind. Under the strategic guidance of heads-of-state diplomacy, the relations between China and Laos, Viet Nam and Timor-Leste have entered a new era with higher quality and at a higher level. China and Laos are making active effort to deliver on the new action plan on building a community with a shared future. China and Viet Nam are jointly building a community with a shared future that carries strategic significance. China and Timor-Leste are working to deepen the comprehensive strategic partnership.

China hopes that through the visits, we will further work with the three countries to follow through the guidance of the important common understandings between General Secretary and President Xi Jinping and leaders of the three Southeast Asian countries, build the China-Laos and China-Viet Nam community with a shared future, achieve more deliverables under the new characterization of China-Timor-Leste relations, advance high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, and work for more practical results in the bilateral relations. China stands ready to work with Southeast Asian countries and other neighbors to take the opportunity of the 70th anniversary of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence this year to enhance solidarity and cooperation, safeguard peace and tranquility and provide more positive energy and stability to the region and the wider world.

CCTV: The US Department of State released the Hong Kong Policy Act Report last week. The US Secretary of State issued a press statement and announced visa restrictions on multiple Hong Kong officials. What’s China’s comment?  

Wang Wenbin: In the so-called report issued again this year, the US attacked and smeared the Law on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), Hong Kong’s electoral system and the Safeguarding National Security Ordinance. The US discredited Hong Kong’s democracy, rule of law, human rights and exercise of freedoms and announced that it is taking steps to impose new visa restrictions on Hong Kong officials which is simply unjustified. None of the accusations are based on truth. The report and the statement constitute serious interference in Hong Kong affairs and China’s domestic affairs, and a grave violation of the principles of international law and the basic norms governing international relations. China deplores and opposes this, and has made strong démarches to the US.

Since the return of Hong Kong, the central government has fully, faithfully and firmly implemented the principles of One Country, Two Systems, Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong and a high degree of autonomy. The constitutional order in Hong Kong based on China’s Constitution and the Basic Law of the HKSAR has been stable and functioned well. The central government has exercised overall jurisdiction over Hong Kong. The high degree of autonomy has been practiced as it should. The Law on Safeguarding National Security in the HKSAR and Safeguarding National Security Ordinance have been adopted and entered into force. The electoral system has been revised and improved. Hong Kong is now equipped with strong safeguards for national security, which has helped ensure that Hong Kong is administered by patriots, provide solid underpinning for Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability and protect Hong Kong residents’ various rights and freedoms that they are lawfully entitled to. Hong Kong has restored order and is set to thrive. We have every confidence in the steady and sustained implementation of One Country, Two Systems.

I want to stress that Hong Kong is China’s Hong Kong and Hong Kong’s affairs are purely China’s internal affairs. The Chinese government has unwavering resolve in safeguarding its national sovereignty, security and development interests, in implementing One Country, Two Systems and in opposing any external interference in Hong Kong’s affairs. We urge the US to abide by the principles of international law and the basic norms governing international relations and accurately understand One Country, Two Systems in its entirety. The US needs to respect China’s sovereignty and the rule of law in the HKSAR, and stop interfering in Hong Kong’s affairs by any means. If the US does impose visa restrictions on Hong Kong officials, China will take firm countermeasures.

Reuters: Philippine President Marcos has ordered his government to strengthen its coordination on maritime security to confront what the country says “a range of serious challenges” to territorial integrity and peace. The order does not mention China, but does China have a response to this development given the tensions on maritime issues with the Philippines?

Wang Wenbin: Whatever policy the Philippines adopts, it should not affect China’s territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests.

We hope the Philippines will honor its commitments, act on the understandings and consensus between the two sides, and observe the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea jointly signed by China and ASEAN countries. The Philippines needs to stop infringing on China’s rights and making provocations, stop pulling forces outside the region into matters of the South China Sea, return to the right track of properly managing the situation through negotiation and consultation, and act responsibly for the peace and stability in the South China Sea.

NHK: According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, experts from Japan and China held consultation on March 30 in China over the release of the “treated water” from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Japan explained the safety of the release by offering the scientific basis. What’s China’s response? 

Wang Wenbin: Focusing on the discharge of nuclear-contaminated water from Fukushima, Chinese and Japanese experts had a constructive technical dialogue on March 30 in China’s Dalian, which is linked to the several rounds of institutionalized consultations between the director-generals of the departments of Asian affairs of the foreign ministries of China and Japan. 

Dragon TV: Do you have any update on the handling of the aftermath of the terrorist attack against the Dasu hydropower project in Pakistan last Tuesday that killed five Chinese nationals?

Wang Wenbin: Today, the remains of the five Chinese victims who were killed in the terrorist attack on the Dasu hydropower project in Pakistan were brought back to China on a Pakistani military plane. Pakistani high-level official and the Chinese Foreign Ministry working group escorted the bodies on the plane.

On March 29, China’s inter-agency working group to Pakistan and diplomats from the Embassy in Pakistan visited relevant hospital in Rawalpindi city, Punjab province in eastern Pakistan to mourn the five Chinese victims and convey sympathies and support from the Party and the Government to the staff of the Chinese companies present there.

China firmly supports Pakistan in looking into what happened with utmost resolve and effort, bringing the perpetrators and whoever’s behind the attack to justice and doing everything possible to protect the safety and security of Chinese personnel, projects, and institutions in Pakistan.

Shenzhen TV: It’s reported that Mayor London Breed of San Francisco, California, the US, announced her upcoming visit to China. What’s China’s comment? 

Wang Wenbin: We welcome Mayor London Breed’s visit to China. We wish her a fruitful visit and hope the visit will further increase San Francisco’s cooperation with China and China-US subnational exchanges.

The hope of the China-US relationship lies in the people, its foundation is in grassroots connections, its future depends on the youth, and its vitality comes from subnational exchanges. China supports and encourages more mutual visits and exchanges between Chinese and American people from all sectors to expand common understanding and mutual trust, overcome distractions, deepen cooperation, and bring more tangible benefits to the two peoples. 

Global Times: The conflict in Gaza is still raging. We noted that the Palestinian new government was sworn in yesterday. The new Palestinian Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mohammad Mustafa said that the first national priority was a ceasefire in Gaza and increasing humanitarian aid. What’s China’s comment?

Wang Wenbin: China congratulates the new Palestinian government led by Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mohammad Mustafa on taking oath and calls for international support for the Palestinian Authority in enhancing its authority, for all political factions in Palestine in achieving internal reconciliation through consultation and dialogue, and for the new Palestinian government in fulfilling its duty.

China will continue working with the international community to promote a ceasefire, protect civilians and contribute to deescalating the current tensions and bringing the Palestinian question back to the right track of two-State solution. 

Reuters: A boat carrying Chinese migrants has capsized off south Mexico and about eight people have been reported dead. Could the Ministry provide the latest information on this incident?

Wang Wenbin: China is paying close attention to the incident. The Chinese Embassy in Mexico is in close touch with the Mexican side to further verify the information of the deceased and provide assistance to the surviving Chinese national. It has requested the Mexican side to speed up the investigation into the incident and sent a working group to the site of the incident.

CCTV: The Philippine Department of National Defense in a March 29 statement said that China’s recent statements on the South China Sea show that the Chinese government only intimidates smaller countries. On March 30, the Philippine National Security Council Assistant Director General Jonathan Malaya said that China is “in for a rude surprise” if it intimidates Filipinos with its increasingly aggressive behavior in Philippine waters. What’s your comment?

Wang Wenbin: Nansha Qundao, including Ren’ai Jiao, has always been China’s territory. The scope of Philippine territory is defined by several international treaties. China’s Nansha Qundao lies beyond the limits of the Philippine territory. The Philippines tries to hide the fact that it has broken its promise to China, violated China’s sovereignty and kept provoking China. This is the only viable explanation for the Philippines’ string of false accusations against China.

The truth on the Ren’ai Jiao issue is that the Philippines went back on its words. It made a serious promise to tow away its illegally grounded warship, but 25 years on, the Philippine vessel is still there.

The Philippines breached the understanding between the two sides on properly handling the situation on Ren’ai Jiao. The Philippines promised it will not reinforce the grounded warship and will inform China in advance of resupply plans. Out of humanitarian considerations, China made special provisional arrangements for Philippine vessels sending living necessities to the warship quite a few times. However, the Philippines refused to honor its promise and made attempts to send construction materials for large-scale repair and reinforcement of the warship in order to build permanent structures on Ren’ai Jiao.

The Philippines violated the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) jointly signed by China and ASEAN countries. Article 5 of the DOC stipulates that the Parties undertake to exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities that would complicate or escalate disputes and affect peace and stability including, among others, refraining from action of inhabiting on the presently uninhabited islands, reefs, shoals, cays, and other features. Ren’ai Jiao is uninhabited. Parties should maintain its state of hosting zero personnel and facilities. Most recently, however, the Philippine military spokesperson openly vowed to build permanent structures on Ren’ai Jiao. The Philippines has also repeatedly sent people to step on China’s Tiexian Jiao and other uninhabited islands and reefs that belong to China in the South China Sea, which seriously contravenes the principles of the DOC.

The Philippines, backed by external forces, has been going back on its words and making provocations. This is the real cause of the current tensions at sea. Nothing will hide the truth, and no one should turn black into white. The Philippines needs to immediately stop violating China’s sovereignty and its provocations, and return to observing the spirit of the DOC. China will not waver in its resolve to safeguard its territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests.

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