|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin's Regular Press Conference on October 21, 2021|
Hubei Media Group: The Event of MFA Presenting Tibet to the World was held online and offline yesterday by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the People's Government of Tibet Autonomous Region. Can you share more information on what the foreign ministry has done in serving local socioeconomic development?
Wang Wenbin: Yesterday, the Event of MFA Presenting Tibet to the World with the theme of "China on a New Journey: A New Chapter of Development for a Happy New Tibet" was successfully held. State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi attended and addressed the event. Wang Junzheng, Secretary of the CPC Tibet Autonomous Regional Committee, and Yan Jinhai, Acting Chairman of the People's Government of Tibet Autonomous Region, delivered remarks and presented Tibet. Qi Yu, Secretary of the Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) of the MFA, Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng, Assistant Foreign Minister Deng Li, as well as representatives from the diplomatic corps in China and international organizations attended the event.
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the peaceful liberation of Tibet. Over the past seven decades, under the leadership of the CPC, people of all ethnic groups in Tibet have made historic achievements from backwardness to development, from poverty to prosperity and from isolation to openness, and have created the miracle of a "thousand-year leap". Tibet today has become an epitome of China’s leapfrog development, a vivid example of progress in democracy and human rights, and an important window of China’s opening up and cooperation.
The event is the second promotion event the foreign ministry has held since the outbreak of COVID-19. To date, the ministry has held 23 such promotion events for 21 provinces, regions and municipalities as well as Xiong’an New Area in Hebei province, which about 5,000 ambassadors, diplomatic envoys as well as representatives of international organizations in China have attended in total. We have arranged more than 40 trips for diplomatic missions and foreign correspondents to the regions presented at the promotion events to help the world understand China in a true, multi-dimensional and panoramic manner, and live up to the key mission of serving domestic development and supporting reform and opening up at the sub-national level.
Going forward, the foreign ministry will keep up its strong support for the development at the sub-national level, actively facilitate these areas in going global, thoroughly implement the Global Development Initiative put forward by President Xi Jinping, and make new contributions to common development and common prosperity of China and the whole world.
Xinhua News Agency: A couple of days ago, the lighting ceremony and handover of the Olympic flame for the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 was successfully held in Athens, capital of Greece. On October 20, the Olympic flame arrived in Beijing and a solemn welcoming ceremony was held. What is your comment?
Wang Wenbin: We congratulate on the successful lighting and handover of the Olympic flame for the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022. We also thank the Greek side for its thoughtful arrangement. The flame has arrived in Beijing, and the Olympic Spirit it carries with it will be relayed as a symbol of peace and friendship on the land of China. China is fully prepared in all respects and stays ready for the Olympic Games.
In 2008, Beijing held an outstanding Summer Olympic Games. Next February, the cauldron of Winter Olympic Games will be lit in Beijing. Beijing will thus be the first city to host both Summer and Winter Olympic Games in the world, and stands ready to make new contribution to upholding the Olympic Spirit and promoting Olympic sports.
The Beijing 2022 will be a grand gathering of all countries and a platform of fair competition among athletes across the world. China will work with the international community to be “together”, the new element of the Olympic Spirit, and stay “together for a shared future”. We are fully confident that a streamlined, safe and splendid Olympic Games will be dedicated to the world, and welcome international athletes to demonstrate the charm and beauty of winter sports at Beijing 2022.
Bloomberg: A basketball player in the US, Enes Kanter of the Boston Celtics, has posted a message to Twitter with a video and in that he is calling in support of Tibetan independence. Does the foreign ministry have any comment on Kanter’s tweet and video?
Wang Wenbin: The player you mentioned was clout-chasing, trying to get attention with Tibet-related issues. His wrong remarks are not worth refuting. For 70 years since Tibet’s peaceful liberation and under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, people of all ethnic groups in Tibet have made historical achievement from backwardness to development, from poverty to prosperity and from isolation to openness, and have created the miracle of a "thousand-year leap". This is witnessed by all people without bias. Tibet is part of China. We welcome unbiased friends upholding objectivity across the world to Tibet. In the meanwhile, we never accept the attacks and smears on Tibet’s development.
Beijing Youth Daily: Some Chinese and foreign experts, commenting on China’s economic data for the third quarter recently released by the National Bureau of Statistics, said that the sustained and steady economic recovery demonstrates the resilience and vitality of China’s development. But some foreign media are talking about the possible lack of driving force for China’s economic recovery. I wonder if you have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: When looking at China’s economy, one need to see both speed and scale and attach importance to quality and effects. In the first three quarters of this year, all major macro economic indicators remained in the reasonable range. More than 78,000 new market entities were registered on average per day, further unleashing the vibrancy at the micro-level. Increase in urban employment provided new jobs to 10 million people. Profits made by industrial enterprises, fiscal revenues and residents’ income all registered relatively fast growth, with continued improvement in economic effects. The phase-related and structural challenges and cyclical factors won’t change the overall trajectory of the steady economic recovery. We have every confidence that China is fully capable of achieving the annual targets. The expected growth rate for China’s economy in 2021 will continue to lead other major economies.
As a global market with unrivalled vitality and resilience, China has been an engine for global economic growth with its sustained and sound development. We work actively to develop a more open domestic-global dual circulation, which will unleash the advantage of our super-scale market and domestic demand potential. We make steady efforts to develop a market-oriented and law-based international business environment up to global standards, constantly ease market access, and expand the scope where foreign investment is encouraged, which will offer a broader market and more development opportunities for foreign investors. We aim to put in place a new system featuring an open economy at a higher level and actively advance trade and investment liberalization and facilitation to share the opportunities brought by China’s development with other countries and realize win-win cooperation. Foreign direct investment in China from January to August this year stands near the annual total of last year, setting a new record.
Looking ahead, we will accelerate efforts to foster a new development paradigm, deepen reform, opening-up and innovation, constantly galvanize market vitality, enhance drivers for development and unleash domestic potential to ensure steady and sustained economic performance at home and inject enduring impetus for the global economic recovery.
SCMP: At a hearing on October 20 local time, US ambassador to China nominee Nicholas Burns called on the government to remain committed to the “one-China” policy while increasing security assistance to Taiwan. He also criticized China over its policies on Xinjiang and Tibet and the origins study of the coronavirus. Do you have any comment? My second question is about the statement of the meeting of the Moscow Format Consultations on Afghanistan released by Russia on October 20 local time. The statement points out that “further practical engagement with Afghanistan needed to take into account the new reality, that is the Taliban coming to power in the country, irrespective of the official recognition of the new Afghan government by the international community”. Chinese representative also attended the meeting. Can you tell us about China’s position at the meeting and whether the relevant references in the meeting mean that China has officially recognized Taliban as the legitimate government in Afghanistan?
Wang Wenbin: On your first question, the remarks of Mr. Burns smack of Cold War zero-sum mentality and run counter to facts. China firmly rejects them.
China is committed to the path of peaceful development. We will always be the advocate of world peace, contributor to global development, defender of international order and a provider of public good. We oppose defining China-US ties as competitive. Even when there is competition between the two sides in such pragmatic areas as economy and trade, it is healthy competition with each other for excellence. Issues related to Taiwan, Xinjiang and Hong Kong are purely China’s internal affairs that brook no foreign interference. The accusation of the so-called “genocide” in Xinjiang is an outrageous lie fabricated by a few anti-China scholars in Western countries and US politicians, with the true intention of oppressing and containing China’s development. The one-China principle is a political foundation of China-US relations and Taiwan is an inalienable part of the Chinese territory. The US made the pledge of stopping arms sale to Taiwan in explicit terms in the August 17 Communique. It should honor its commitment. Since the start of COVID-19, China has acted in an open, transparent and responsible manner in providing timely updates to the WHO and the international community. Origins-tracing is a scientific issue, but a handful of US politicians are obsessed with politically-motivated studies. Their malicious intention of denigrating and stigmatizing China is evident to all.
We advise Mr. Burns to be keenly aware of the overall trend of world development and people’s aspiration, learn the real situations of China objectively, view China and China-US ties in an rational manner and avoid underestimating the strong resolve, determination and capability of the Chinese people to defend their rights. We hope he will speak and act in a more constructive manner, and play a constructive part in promoting China-US relations and the friendship between the two peoples.
To answer your second question, Mr. Yue Xiaoyong, China’s Special Envoy for Afghan Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs attended upon invitation the meeting on Afghanistan alongside with special envoys of Russia and Pakistan, and the third meeting of the Moscow Format Consultations on Afghanistan on October 19 and 20 in Moscow. All parties had an in-depth exchange of views and reached broad consensus on such issues as the current situation in Afghanistan, counter-terrorism and anti-narcotics security and humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan. They stressed the importance of respecting Afghanistan’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity and upholding the “Afghan-owned and Afghan-led” principle, called on the country to establish a broad-based and inclusive political structure, implement moderate and prudent domestic and foreign policies, respect the basic rights of ethnic minorities, women and children, take concrete measures to fight all forms of terrorist forces and adopt friendly policies toward its neighbors. All parties called on the international community to provide urgently-needed humanitarian, livelihood and economic assistance to Afghanistan, work for a smooth transition in the country for it to achieve lasting peace and stability, development and prosperity at an early date.
During the meeting, Special Envoy Yue Xiaoyong elaborated on China’s policy and position. He said that as Afghanistan is at the critical stage of moving from chaos to stability, China is ready to work with regional countries to advance the political settlement of the Afghan issue, help Afghanistan to tackle the humanitarian crisis, work for all multilateral mechanisms on the issue to form synergy, and create an enabling external environment for Afghanistan to achieve peace, reconstruction and sustained development.
China, Russia, Pakistan and parties at the meeting also had dialogue and communication through various means with representatives of the Afghan interim government attending the meeting.
As for whether China recognizes the interim government, I would like to tell you that the new Afghan regime is still in the process of formation and the international community is watching and coordinating on the issue. China is in close communication with relevant countries and all parties agree on the need for dialogue and engagement with Afghanistan.
The Paper: On October 21, the plenary session of the European Parliament adopted the report on EU-Taiwan political relations and cooperation. Do you have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: There is only one China in the world. Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory. The one-China principle is a universally-recognized norm of international relations and consensus of the international community. It is also the political foundation of China-EU relations. The European Parliament’s adoption of the above-mentioned report gravely violates the basic norm governing international relations, the one-China principle and the EU’s public commitment on the Taiwan question. It is vile in nature and has an egregious impact. China strongly condemns and rejects this move.
The European Parliament should immediately stop rhetoric and behavior that undermine China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and stop seeking provocation and confrontation. A word for the relevant side: do not underestimate the Chinese people’s determination, will and capacity to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity.
NHK: The chief of Taiwan's foreign affairs department will visit the Czech Republic and Slovakia. These are countries having diplomatic relations with China. Do you have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: First, I want to reiterate that there is only one China in the world. Taiwan is an inalienable part of China's territory, and the Government of the People's Republic of China is the sole legal government representing China. This is an indisputable fact and a basic norm governing international relations. We deplore and firmly oppose relevant countries' connivance at these visits, and urge them not to risk universal condemnation, maliciously challenge the one-China principle and undermine the political foundation of bilateral relations and the atmosphere of cooperation. We would also admonish the Taiwan authorities that any attempt to solicit foreign support and seek political manipulation is doomed to fail.
Beijing Daily: According to reports, Director General Rafael Grossi of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said during a visit to the US that “we are going to have an engagement, formal engagement, soon in a tripartite way or otherwise” to formulate specific agreements to make sure that Australia’s nuclear submarines are under safeguards. Grossi said it “cannot be excluded” that other countries would use the AUKUS precedent to pursue their own nuclear submarine plans. Do you have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: As the Chinese side has stressed many times, the nuclear submarine cooperation of the US, the UK and Australia poses serious nuclear proliferation risks and clearly violates the purposes and objectives of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). China is gravely concerned and firmly opposed to this. This cooperation would be the first time for a nuclear-weapon state to transfer nuclear submarines to a non-nuclear weapon state. It means that the US and the UK will transfer to Australia highly enriched uranium (HEU) with purity of 90% or more while the existing IAEA safeguards mechanism cannot effectively verify whether the HEU will be used for nuclear weapons. This move by the three countries runs counter to the purposes and objectives of the NPT. If left unchecked, it may even lead to the collapse of the international nuclear non-proliferation regime. Many countries have expressed their concern and dissatisfaction over this.
It must be pointed out that the issue of safeguards for nuclear submarine power reactors is not a private matter of the three countries, nor should it be decided by the three countries and the IAEA Secretariat alone. Rather, it is up to all the IAEA members to discuss and resolve the political, legal and technical issues involved. Before consensus is reached, the three countries should not carry out nuclear submarine cooperation, and the IAEA Secretariat should not reach so-called non-proliferation arrangements with the three countries, so as not to endorse proliferation.
Over the years, the US, the UK and Australia have presented themselves as leaders and defenders of the international nuclear non-proliferation regime, but the nuclear submarine cooperation among them has fully exposed their hypocrisy and "double standards" on nuclear non-proliferation. China urges the three countries to rescind the erroneous decision, faithfully fulfill international nuclear non-proliferation obligations, do more to contribute to regional peace and stability, and avoid proliferation as it may undermine regional and world peace and stability.
Reuters: According to another report from the Financial Times, China tested hypersonic missiles twice this summer in July and August. I know the foreign ministry has already commented on a previous report, but do you have any comment on the new one?
Wang Wenbin: I am not aware of the situation you mentioned. What I would like to reiterate is that the test reported by media earlier was a routine test of spacecraft to verify the technology of spacecraft's reusability.
Bloomberg: The Philippines has protested what it describes as provocative actions by Chinese government vessels in the South China Sea. Does the foreign ministry have any comment on the Philippines’ position?
Wang Wenbin: China's position on the South China Sea issue is consistent and clear-cut. It is legitimate and reasonable for China's maritime law enforcement authorities to conduct law enforcement activities in waters under China's jurisdiction in accordance with domestic laws and international laws, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
CCTV: We have noted that with the increase in vaccine production capacity, China has recently stepped up its assistance and supply of COVID-19 vaccines to others. Can you give us more details?
Wang Wenbin: Since the outbreak of COVID-19, China has been a firm believer in making COVID vaccines a global public good and has done its best to supply vaccines to the international community. That’s what China said and has done. In the past week alone, we have delivered more than 60 million doses of vaccines to some 20 developing countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe. As of October 17, China had provided more than 1.5 billion doses to over 100 countries and international organizations.
Chinese vaccines have played a positive role in helping relevant countries fight the coronavirus. They are widely welcomed and highly recognized by all parties. Leaders of more than 30 countries welcomed Chinese vaccines at airports, and leaders of more than 30 countries received Chinese vaccine jabs in public. The leaders of many countries expressed their thanks to China, saying that China's valuable support and assistance is a vivid illustration of “a friend in need is a friend indeed” and has set a good example of international solidarity against COVID-19.
President Xi Jinping has announced that China will strive to provide a total of two billion doses by the end of this year. On top of the US$100 million donation to COVAX, China will donate an additional 100 million doses of vaccines to fellow developing countries within this year. With the increase in vaccine production capacity, China will continue to do its best to provide more safe and effective vaccines to the world, especially to developing countries, promote equitable distribution and use of vaccines around the world, and make positive contributions to an early and complete victory over the pandemic. We also call on all countries that have the capacity to do so to deliver on their commitments of providing assistance and vaccines to others, and make their due contribution to an early victory over the pandemic.