|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin's Regular Press Conference on October 19, 2021|
Shenzhen TV: It is reported that in the joint press conference after talks, Malaysian Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah and Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said the two countries are deeply concerned about Australia’s development of nuclear submarines under the AUKUS trilateral security partnership. What is China’s comment?
Wang Wenbin: I have noticed relevant reports. The statements of Malaysia and Indonesia have reflected the concerns widely shared among regional countries. The AUKUS trilateral security partnership and the nuclear submarine cooperation create nuclear proliferation risks, undermine the international non-proliferation system and undercut the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty and ASEAN countries' efforts to build a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone (NWFZ) in Southeast Asia. If forced through, they will create huge security risks like opening the Pandora’s Box, which also means a regression in history.
The AUKUS trilateral security partnership embodies the Cold War mentality, double standards and contempt of rules with a clear political agenda. It aims to introduce major-power confrontation and bloc politics into the region, provoke bloc confrontation and force regional countries to take sides. It aims to undermine the ASEAN-centered regional cooperation architecture with the outdated Cold War mentality and compromise regional prosperity and stability. It aims to build US-centered rules and order in the region to maintain US dominance and hegemonic system. It aims to challenge the international nuclear non-proliferation system, of which the NPT is the cornerstone, to serve US geopolitical self-interests.
It is China’s belief that the ASEAN-centered regional cooperation architecture is consistent with East Asian tradition and realistic needs. It effectively promotes peace and development in the region and should therefore be cherished and carried forward by all parties. Any erroneous practices that weaken and hollow ASEAN centrality, undermine the good momentum of regional cooperation and dialogue, and create division and stoke confrontation in the region will be guarded against and opposed by regional countries and the international community.
Bloomberg: In an interview, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that the UK doesn't want to turn away Chinese investment, despite concerns of some of his own lawmakers. Previously the British government has said that Chinese firms are welcome to invest in non-strategic parts of the economy. Does the foreign ministry have a comment on Prime Minister Boris Johnson's view that the UK does not want to turn away China's investment?
Wang Wenbin: The UK is a staunch supporter and practitioner of free trade. China and the UK are important trade and investment partners of each other. It is in the interests of both sides to carry out practical cooperation based on the principle of mutual benefit and win-win results. We hope that the UK will create an open, fair and non-discriminatory business environment for Chinese companies.
Yonhap News Agency: On 19 October, DPRK fired what was suspected to be a short-range submarine-launched ballistic missiles. Do you have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: China noted relevant reports, and the recent military moves of relevant parties on the Peninsula issue. Currently, the situation on the Peninsula is at a critical juncture. Parties concerned should focus on the overall situation, exercise restraint, commit to safeguarding peace and stability on the Peninsula, adhere to the right direction of dialogue and negotiation, and follow the dual-track approach and the phased and synchronized principle, so as to jointly work for the political settlement of the Peninsula issue.
Beijing Daily: According the media report, the US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said the other day that China's development of armament and advanced capabilities and systems will only increase tensions in the region. The US disarmament ambassador also stated that the active pursuit of the use and the militarization of hypersonic technology by China and Russia will intensify arms race. Do you have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: China categorically opposes the incessant hyping-up of “China threat” by the US. China always works to safeguard world peace, contribute to global development, uphold international order and provide public good. China unswervingly follows a national defense policy that is defensive in nature, and a self-defensive nuclear strategy, with nuclear forces always kept at the minimum level required to safeguard national security. China will never be engaged in nuclear arms race with any country. The sole aim of China’s development of necessary military capabilities is to safeguard its legitimate security interests. China's growth strengthens the force for world peace. No country will be threatened by China's national defense capability as long as it does not intend to threaten or undermine China's sovereignty, security and territorial integrity.
The US not only owns the world’s largest and most advanced nuclear stockpile, but also is investing trillions of dollars to upgrade its "nuclear triad". By hyping up “China threat”, what the US is really up to is to search for excuses to build up its military capabilities and seek the advantage of absolute security.
As is known to all, the US withdrew from the Treaty on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems and the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, and constantly advances the deployment of global anti-ballistic system. For a long time, the US is the only country that has been obstructing the negotiations on the Biological Weapons Convention verification protocol. In addition, the US stonewalls the negotiation efforts toward outer space arms control, and transfers nuclear submarines to non-nuclear weapon state which will increase the risk of nuclear proliferation.
As the only super power, the US, in recent years, clings to Cold-War mentality, strengthens its military build-up in an all-round way, continues to deepen military alliance, and gangs up to form military cliques. What the US does severely undermines regional peace and security, and harms the global strategic stability. The claim made by the US that China intensifies arms race purely aims to shift blame onto others and divert attention. The US side should stop hyping up “China threat” and making an issue out of China, demonstrate a responsible attitude, play its due role as a major country, work with the international community to uphold global strategic balance and stability, and achieve common security for all countries.
Bloomberg: I'd like to follow up on yesterday's comments about China's launch of what was called a reusable space vehicle. Could you provide any more information about the object launched?
Wang Wenbin: My colleague responded to relevant questions yesterday. I would like to refer you to that.
CNR: It is reported that on October 17, the basketball court in Daping Middle School in Yunnan’s Malipo County, built with the assistance of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the China Public Diplomacy Association and NBA China, was officially put into use. The foreign ministry has been helping Malipo and Jinping counties in Yunnan for 29 years in a row. What changes have been brought to these counties?
Wang Wenbin: The donation ceremony of the basketball court in Daping Middle School in Malipo was held on the brand-new court on October 17. We were very happy to see the children playing on the basketball court. The donation is an important measure taken by the foreign ministry to help Malipo. The court will serve as a standardized site for physical education.
Since 1992, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been committed to providing assistance to Malipo and Jinping counties in Yunnan Province. Such efforts have embarked on a path of featured assistance based on providing food and clothing, education, health and training programs and focusing on poverty alleviation by attracting investment. Every year, we hold “Love Knows No Borders” international charity sale to promote the special agricultural products of the two counties to help lift them out of poverty through consumption. After nearly 30 years of unremitting efforts and thanks to the support of the all social sectors including the foreign ministry, the two counties were removed from the list of poverty-stricken counties in May 2020. The goal of poverty alleviation was achieved as scheduled. The two counties has embarked on a new starting point of creating a new life and striving for a new future.
Over the years, poverty alleviation work of the foreign ministry has received strong support from friendly organizations and people at home and abroad. The story of Malipo and Jinping is not only about poverty alleviation in China, but also the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.
Looking ahead, China will continue to advance global poverty reduction and make contribution to eradicating poverty and realizing the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The foreign ministry will continue to implement the principle of "diplomacy for the people" and make our due share of contribution to consolidating and expanding the achievements in poverty alleviation and effectively synergizing it with rural revitalization.
Bloomberg: In its latest report, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute claims to uncover Beijing’s political architecture in Xinjiang, saying that Xinjiang has been put in charge of a system of mass data collection that has investigated millions of Uyghurs. Will its remit be broadened in other parts of the country?
Wang Wenbin: This so-called institute you mentioned has long served the interests of its sponsors, and dished out numerous lies and disinformation on China and Xinjiang. Its viewpoints and clues come from anti-China US-based NGOs or so-called witness evidence that cannot be verified or traced. This discredited body lacks basic factual basis and runs against the professional ethics of academic research. The reports it fabricated, including those lies of “forced labor”, are nothing but slanderous rhetoric without any credibility.
RIA Novosti: Yesterday the Afghan foreign ministry spokesperson said that China and Afghanistan agreed to hold a meeting between the two countries’ heads of foreign ministries. I wonder if you can confirm this and provide any details about the meeting?
Wang Wenbin: China is in communication with relevant Afghan parties. As for your specific question, I have no information to release for now.
Global Times: On October 18, the “Generation Z” China-US Youth Dialogue was held in Malipo County, Yunnan Province. Chinese Ambassador to the US Qin Gang, President of China Public Diplomacy Association Wu Hailong and political figures and young representatives from China and the US attended the event. Can you share your views on this Dialogue?
Wang Wenbin: Yesterday, the “Generation Z” China-US Youth Dialogue hosted by the China Public Diplomacy Association was successfully held online.
China-US youth dialogue is an integral part of China-US people-to-people exchange, which is the social foundation of China-US relations. China and the US are major countries and home to 1.7 billion people in total. How the two countries and the two peoples interact concerns the future of the entire humanity.
The “Generation Z” of China and the US shoulder the mission of developing China-US relations and represent the future of the relations. We sincerely hope that young Chinese and Americans can see the other country in an objective and rational light with a broader vision and more open and inclusive mindset, enhance mutual understanding and mutual trust through exchange, and jointly strengthen popular support for China-US relations to make contribution to a better future of the two countries and the whole world.
Bloomberg: Ten Chinese and Russian warships on Monday passed through the Tsugaru Strait between Japan's Honshu and Hokkaido for the first time. Could you please explain the purpose of the transit? Secondly, the Taiwan Strait and the Tsugaru Strait are both legally international waters, meaning that warships are allowed to sail through them. Yet China argues that the Taiwan transits earlier this week are vile. So I was curious to know how these two situations are different or similar?
Wang Wenbin: Regarding your first question, please refer it to the Ministry of National Defense.
On your second question, the international community sees clearly who are flexing muscle, provoking and stirring up trouble, and who, under the disguise of freedom of navigation, are conducting military deterrence and undermining regional peace and stability.
The Paper: It is reported that former US Secretary of State Colin Powell died of COVID-19 complications on October 18 local time at the age of 84. What is China’s comment?
Wang Wenbin: Former US Secretary of State Colin Powell was a veteran diplomat of the United States. We deeply mourn for his passing and express our sincere sympathy to his families.
CCTV: Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov said the participants of the US-initiated “Leaders’ Summit for Democracy” will be determined by Washington. This is in essence Cold War-style bloc mentality that would split the international community into “us and them”. Do you have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: I noted relevant reports. Foreign Minister Lavrov made a very good point.
Democracy is not a slogan. One should not use "democracy" as an excuse to cover up one’s own incompetence and failure in governance, and let its people pay a heavy price for rampant racial discrimination, enlarging social divide and widening wealth gap.
Democracy is not a dogma. One should not try to turn democracy into Coca-Cola, which tastes the same across the world with the syrup produced by one country, and deprive countries of the right and freedom to explore their own democratic path, in total disregard of the diversity of history, culture, social system and development stage of countries.
Democracy is not a pretext for imposing hegemony. One should not use ideology and values as tools to oppress other countries and advance geopolitical strategy, incite division and confrontation in the international arena and push the world back to the dangerous Cold War era under the banner of democracy.
What is urgently needed now is not a so-called "summit for democracy" or establish an "alliance of democracies", but efforts to strengthen global coordination and cooperation on the basis of observing the norms governing international relations represented by the UN Charter and jointly address global challenges such as the ongoing pandemic and climate change, and advance the cause of human progress.
Provoking estrangement, division and confrontation in the name of democracy is an act of trampling on and betraying the democratic spirit and values. It will only bring turbulence and chaos to the world and undermine peace and development of mankind. This is bound to be resisted and opposed by the international community.
With the Event of MFA Presenting Tibet to the World to be held on Wednesday, October 20, our press conference will be adjourned for that day and resumed on Thursday, October 21. During the adjournment, you can still reach the spokesperson's office by fax, Wechat and email.