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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on May 15, 2024
2024-05-15 21:44

This week is the 34th National Energy Conservation Week under the theme of “green transition, energy-saving endeavors.” Today, May 15, is this year’s national low-carbon day with the theme of “green and low-carbon development for a beautiful China.”

China always upholds and acts on the principle that lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets, and we always remember to maintain harmony between humanity and nature when planning our development, and work to accelerate the transition to a model of green development for a green and low-carbon economy and society. I believe you also noticed that today the air conditioner in Lanting is set at a higher temperature and the lighting in some public spaces is off. Everyone can contribute to this common effort, start by making personal contribution and start with small steps in our daily life to actively respond to climate change, lead a green and low-carbon lifestyle, contribute to the harmony between humanity and nature and help build a clean, beautiful world. 

One more thing off the top, at the invitation of Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi, Tanzania’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation January Yusuf Makamba will pay an official visit to China from May 16 to 20.

China News Service: Today marks 76 years of the Nakba. The ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict has killed more than 35,000 Palestinians in Gaza and there is still no sign of deescalation. According to UN statistics, close to 450,000 Palestinians have fled Rafah as Israel ramps up attacks in the southern Gaza city. Do you have any comment on this?

Wang Wenbin: Seventy-six years ago, over half of the Palestinian population fled or were driven from their homes during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. Many of them and their descendants became refugees in the Gaza Strip. Seventy-six years on, the historical injustice suffered by the Palestinian people, far from being redressed, has further worsened. Today’s Gaza Strip is left in ruins and rubble. Those wounded and ill cannot receive timely treatment, those hungry cannot obtain basic necessities, and those escaping from the disaster have nowhere to go. People cannot help but ask, for how long will the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza drag on and when will the Palestinian people be able to see an end to their suffering?

China firmly opposes the expansion of the fighting to Rafah and opposes collective punishment on the people in Gaza. We support the establishment of an independent State of Palestine that enjoys full sovereignty based on the 1967 border and with east Jerusalem as its capital. And we support making Palestine a full UN member state as soon as possible. China will continue to work with the international community to promote an early, comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the Palestinian question, to end the Nakba once and for all, and to realize peaceful coexistence between Israel and Palestine as well as harmony between the Arab and Jewish peoples.

AFP: I’d like to ask about the US’s recent tariffs hike on Chinese EVs, chips and other products. You said at yesterday’s press conference that China will take all measures necessary to defend its legitimate rights and interests. Can you elaborate on that?

Wang Wenbin: Competent Chinese authorities have issued a statement on this, which you may refer to. Let me stress that it is yet another mistake for the US to continue politicizing trade issues and further increasing tariffs on Chinese products. This will only significantly drive up the cost of imported goods, inflict more loss on American companies and consumers, and make the US consumers pay even more. As Moody’s estimated, 92 percent of the cost for the tariff hikes falls on American consumers and average US household expenditure increases by 1,300 dollars annually. The US’s protectionist measures will further damage the security and stability of the global industrial and supply chains. We noted that several European political leaders have said that as far as tariffs are concerned, it is a bad idea to dismantle global trade.

We urge the US to earnestly observe WTO rules and immediately cancel the additional tariffs on China. China will take all measures necessary to defend our rights and interests.

Global Times: Days ago, China’s Permanent Mission to the UN and other international organizations in Vienna held the Workshop on “AUKUS: A Case Study about the Development of IAEA Comprehensive Safeguards” at the Vienna International Center. Could you share more information with us?

Wang Wenbin: On May 10, China’s Permanent Mission in Vienna held a workshop on AUKUS. Over 100 participants, including those from nearly 50 countries’ permanent missions in Vienna and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Secretariat, and experts from Chinese and foreign think tanks, attended the workshop. All parties had a heated discussion on the safeguards of AUKUS nuclear submarine cooperation, which shows the widespread attention and concerns of the global community on AUKUS nuclear submarine cooperation.

AUKUS nuclear submarine cooperation harms efforts to keep the region peaceful and secure. The US, the UK and Australia formed AUKUS to advance cooperation on nuclear submarines and other cutting-edge military technologies. Their moves exacerbate the arms race, undermine the international nuclear non-proliferation regime, incite bloc confrontation and hurt regional peace and stability. China and relevant countries in the region have expressed more than once serious concerns and firm opposition.

AUKUS nuclear submarine cooperation has spawned widespread concern on nuclear proliferation. The three countries’ cooperation involves the transfer of nuclear power reactors and a large amount of weapons-grade HEU. IAEA’s existing safeguards system cannot place effective safeguards on that, and major controversy exists on the interpretation and application of relevant safeguards provisions. If the three countries insist on going through with the nuclear submarine cooperation, it will trigger enormous risks of nuclear proliferation and have a far-reaching negative impact on the resolution of other regional nuclear hotspot issues.

China calls on the international community to take seriously how AUKUS nuclear submarine cooperation can impact the authority and effectiveness of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), and its negative effect on the IAEA safeguards regime. The international community needs to continue using the IAEA, the NPT review process, and other platforms to have in-depth discussions on the political, legal, and technical issues involved in AUKUS nuclear submarine cooperation. Until the international community comes to a clear-cut conclusion on those issues, the US, the UK and Australia should not proceed with their nuclear submarine cooperation.     

TV Asahi: It’s reported Russian military used products made by Chinese companies on the battlefield in Ukraine. China has always called for a ceasefire and neutrality. What is your comment on the use of Chinese products and technologies in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine? Besides, after the meeting between the Chinese and French presidents last week, President Macron said that China promised to strictly control the export of weapons and dual-use products to Russia. In this case, what is the position of the Foreign Ministry? 

Wang Wenbin: China rejects comments that smear and scapegoat China on the Ukraine issue. China handles the export of military products prudently and responsibly and strictly controls the export of dual-use articles, including drones for civilian use. China is not a creator of or a party to the Ukraine crisis. We have not sat idly by, still less fanned the flames, but have been committed to promoting talks for peace. Shifting the blame to China does not solve the crisis.

Let me also stress that China’s normal trade with Russia is done aboveboard. It’s consistent with WTO rules and market principles. It does not target any third party and should not come under external interference or coercion. China’s legitimate and lawful rights and interests brook no infringement.

Reuters: I have a follow-up to the question on US tariffs. What would China do to protect its industries and exports from not just the tariffs but from US suppression?

Wang Wenbin: I stated our principled position just now and would like to stress again that China firmly opposes the unilateral imposition of tariffs by the US in violation of WTO rules and will take all measures necessary to defend our legitimate rights and interests. 

AFP: Five commercial fishing boats carrying some 200 civilians from the Philippines headed to the surrounding waters of Huangyan Dao today. The organizers said the flotilla’s mission is aimed at upholding their rights and interests in the disputed waterway. Did the Foreign Ministry note their action? If so, what’s China’s comment? 

Wang Wenbin: Huangyan Dao has always been China’s territory. China has indisputable sovereignty over Huangyan Dao and its adjacent waters. China made a goodwill arrangement in 2016 for Filipino fishermen to fish with a small number of small fishing boats in the adjacent waters of Huangyan Dao, while China continues to oversee and monitor the relevant activities of the Filipino fishermen in accordance with law. If the Philippines abuses China’s goodwill and infringes upon China’s territorial sovereignty and jurisdiction, we will defend our rights and take countermeasures in accordance with the law. Relevant responsibilities and consequences shall be borne solely by the Philippines. 

Reuters: YouTube has said it disagrees with but will comply with the court’s decision to ban a protest song. It will block access to the song inside Hong Kong. What is China’s response to YouTube’s decision and criticism of the court decision?

Wang Wenbin: Given its constitutional responsibility to safeguard national security and the dignity of the national anthem, it is only legitimate and necessary for the Hong Kong SAR to stop anyone from using and disseminating relevant song to incite secession and insult the national anthem. 

CCTV: The US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs and China Coordinator said that "Resolution 2758 does not endorse, equate to, or reflect an international consensus on the one-China principle." A program director of the German Marshall Fund of the United States said that “the PRC’s positions” on UN Resolution 2758 “are not consistent with international law.” What is your comment?

Wang Wenbin: The past few weeks saw repeated ill-intentioned comments from some US officials to challenge the authority of UNGA Resolution 2758, calling Taiwan’s status “undetermined” and trumpeting for Taiwan’s “meaningful participation” in the UN system. Those comments distort the facts and history, tread on international law and the basic norms of international relations, and breach the US’s own commitment.

Taiwan has been part of China since ancient times. This is a historical fact; it is also the international consensus. The 1943 Cairo Declaration and the 1945 Potsdam Proclamation clearly stipulated that Taiwan, a Chinese territory stolen by Japan, shall be restored to China. These documents with international legal effect formed an integral part of the post-WWII international order and also affirmed Taiwan’s status as China’s inalienable territory from a legal perspective.

On October 25, 1971, the 26th session of the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution 2758 with an overwhelming majority. The Resolution resolved once and for all the question of the representation of the whole of China, including Taiwan, in the United Nations as a political, legal and procedural issue. It made clear that there is only one China in the world and that Taiwan is a part of China, not a country. It also made clear that there is only one seat of China in the United Nations, and the Government of the People’s Republic of China is the sole legal representative, precluding “two Chinas” or “one China, one Taiwan.”

The US is a signatory to the Cairo Declaration and the Potsdam Proclamation. In the three China-US joint communiqués, the US clearly states that “the government of the United States of America recognizes China’s position that there is only one China and Taiwan is part of China.” US leaders have, on multiple occasions, reaffirmed the commitment of not supporting “Taiwan independence,” “two Chinas” or “one China, one Taiwan.” However, the US is now publicly questioning and misinterpreting UNGA Resolution 2758, fudging and hollowing out the one-China principle, and trumpeting for the participation of Taiwan in the UN system which requires sovereign statehood. What the US is doing violates its own commitment and aims to turn back the wheel of history.

The US’s distortion and slander of UNGA Resolution 2758 is reminiscent of the US’s recent claim that UNSC Resolution 2728 demanding an immediate ceasefire in Gaza is “non-binding.” Both cases reflect the US’s selective approach to international law and the basic norms of international relations, and the US's bullying and double standard. However, gone are the days when hegemony and power politics dominated international relations. Any country, including the US, that tries to challenge the UNGA Resolution and the one-China principle will only find it futile. Fifty-three years ago, before UNGA Resolution 2758 was adopted with an overwhelming majority, the US came up with the so-called “dual representation” proposal in an attempt to create “two Chinas” or “one China, one Taiwan” which was discarded. Today, any US attempt to go against the trend of the times, play the “Taiwan card” and use Taiwan to contain China will only end up in greater failure.

Reuters: Russian President Putin will be visiting Beijing this week. Will Premier Li Qiang be visiting Moscow?

Wang Wenbin: China and Russia are each other’s comprehensive strategic partners of coordination for a new era. The bilateral relations have seen sound and steady growth and leaders of our two countries maintain close interactions. On your specific question, I have nothing to share.

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