AFP: The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has said a preparatory team will visit Xinjiang ahead of a visit by Michelle Bachelet. Can you give any details of the preparatory team’s itinerary such as where in Xinjiang they plan to go and whom they plan to meet? What will China do to ensure genuine and unrestricted access to that region?
Wang Wenbin: The preparatory team of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights arrived in China on April 25 to prepare for the visit to China by High Commissioner Ms. Michelle Bachelet in May.
What I want to tell you is that the goal of the High Commissioner’s visit is to promote exchange and cooperation. We are opposed to political manipulation by exploiting the matter.
Shenzhen TV: The incumbent President Macron has been reelected after winning the second round of French presidential election that was wrapped up on April 24. Do you have any comment on China’s relations with France and Europe going forward?
Wang Wenbin: President Xi Jinping has already sent congratulatory message to President Macron on his reelection. As President Xi stressed in the congratulatory message, over the past five years, under the leadership of the two heads of state, the China-France comprehensive strategic partnership has maintained high-level development. Both China and France are major countries with the tradition of being independent. The ongoing profound and complex changes in the current international landscape have underscored the strategic significance of the sound and steady development of China-France relations. China has always looked at its relationship with France from a strategic and long-term perspective, and stands ready to work with France to continue upholding the original aspiration of the establishment of our diplomatic relations featuring independence, mutual understanding, foresight, mutual benefit and win-win outcomes, jointly elevate the bilateral relations to new heights and bring more benefits to people of the two countries. China is also willing to work with EU countries, France included, to deepen the China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership and inject more stability and positive energy into a turbulent world.
Bloomberg: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said a Chinese military base in the Solomon Islands would be a red line for his government. Does China rule out building such a base and what other comments does the ministry have?
Wang Wenbin: The security cooperation between China and Solomon Islands is based on equality and mutual benefits. It is within the sovereignty of our two countries and consistent with the international law and international customary practice. The cooperation is open, transparent, legitimate, lawful and irreproachable. The speculation that China will build a military base in Solomon Islands is pure disinformation fabricated by a handful of people who harbor ulterior motives.
I have noted that the US and Australian accuse the framework agreement on security cooperation between China and Solomon Islands of not being transparent. However, it is the AUKUS security partnership that is neither open nor transparent. When will the US and Australia invite South Pacific island countries and other regional countries to review AUKUS cooperation? The US claims that China’s military presence will cause grave concerns. If we follow this logic, the nearly 800 military bases in 80 countries and regions across the world run by the US have long been of major concern for the world. When will the US shut down those bases?
Island countries in the South Pacific are independent and sovereign states, not a backyard of the US or Australia. Their attempt to revive the Monroe Doctrine in the South Pacific region will get no support and lead to nowhere.
Xinhua News Agency: The Global Security Initiative proposed by President Xi Jinping in his keynote speech delivered the other day at the opening ceremony of the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2022 has resonated deeply with people in many countries. Could you shed some light on how China plans to implement the initiative?
Wang Wenbin: The Global Security Initiative proposed by President Xi Jinping has been well received and highly commended by experts, scholars and political figures in many countries. It is a widely shared view that the Initiative reflects the shared security needs of the international community under the new circumstances and provides an important and refined plan for global security governance. The value of unity and cooperation applies to not only the Asia-Pacific, but also countries around the globe. If the world wants a more equitable and reasonable new security governance system, actions should be taken in line with the Global Security Initiative. This shows that the Initiative chimes with the shared aspiration of the international community for peace, cooperation and development.
In his recent signed article, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi pointed out that the Global Security Initiative answers the question posed by the times, that is, “what kind of security concept does the world need and how can countries achieve common security?” It has contributed China’s wisdom to addressing the deficit in peace for mankind and offered China’s solutions to international security challenges. China not only proposed the Global Security Initiative, but is also taking concrete actions in its implementation. China stands ready to work with the international community to follow through on the Initiative to deliver in the following aspects:
First, we should firmly uphold the authority and status of the United Nations, jointly practice true multilateralism, and oppose undermining the international order in the name of “rules” or dragging the world into a new Cold War.
Second, we should adhere to the direction of promoting peace talks and jointly seek political solutions to hotspot issues. We need to uphold justice, encourage dialogue and act as a stabilizing force for peace rather than fanning up conflicts.
Third, we should coordinate efforts to address security threats in both traditional and non-traditional domains and work together to improve the global security governance system. We need to embrace a global governance philosophy that emphasizes extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits and guard against and resolve security predicaments.
Fourth, we should balance development and security, and jointly promote a robust recovery of the world economy. We should actively follow through on the Global Development Initiative, accelerate the implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and advance sustainable security with sustainable development.
Fifth, we should strive to build a new regional security architecture, and jointly safeguard peace and stability in Asia. We firmly oppose dividing the region with the so-called Indo-Pacific Strategy and patching up a NATO-replica in the Asia-Pacific in the name of military alliance.
I want to stress that no matter how the international situation may evolve, China will always hold high the banner of peace, development, cooperation and win-win results, and unswervingly act as a builder of world peace, a guardian of international order and a mediator of hotspot issues. We firmly believe that as long as the whole world acts as one, we can form a strong synergy to build a community with a shared future for mankind and pass on the flame of peace from generation to generation.
CCTV: Recently, during the third meeting of the US-EU Dialogue on China, the US and the EU expressed “concern” about issues relating to Taiwan, Xinjiang and China’s “disinformation program”, and said they will continue to maintain the centrality of the UN Charter. Do you have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: China firmly rejects the US and the EU’s groundless interference in China’s internal affairs and unwarranted denigration and smearing against China. We have lodged solemn representation with the two sides and made clear our stern position.
The US purports to maintain the centrality of the UN Charter, but it is clear to anyone that the US is doing quite the opposite. When the UN Security Council refused to authorize the US’ use of force in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Iraq, Syria and other places, the US and NATO brushed the UN aside and waged wars on sovereign states in wanton interference.
The US claims to respect human rights, but the wars of aggression launched by the US and its allies in countries including Afghanistan and Iraq killed over 300,000 civilians and made over 26 million people refugees. Yet, no one is held accountable for war crimes and crimes against humanity. The US even announced sanctions on the International Criminal Court who would investigate the war crimes of the US military.
The US asserts opposition to economic coercion, but it is also the US that invented “coercive diplomacy” and excels at coercing countries whether they are big or small, faraway or nearby, friend or foe. The embargo and sanctions imposed on Cuba have lasted half a century and the sanctions slapped on Iran have been there for 40 years. When it comes to stabbing its allies such as the EU and Japan in the back, the US has never hesitated, as we have seen repeatedly.
Facts have proven that the US is the biggest spreader of disinformation, culprit of coercive diplomacy and saboteur of world peace and stability. From the US-EU dialogue to the AUKUS trilateral security partnership, the Quad and the Five Eyes Alliance, the US is using democracy, human rights, rules and order as a pretext to cover up its shady activities of creating division, stoking confrontation and reaping benefits at the expense of others. As a result, not only small and weak countries are hurt, US allies including Europe are also paying a heavy price for the US’ selfish acts. It is hoped that the EU can see the truth and stop holding the candle to the devil.
AFP: Just to follow up on my colleague’s question just now about Australia. Australia’s Defense Minister Peter Dutton recently accused China of paying bribes to win international deals. What’s the foreign ministry’s comment on that?
Wang Wenbin: I noted that Mr. Dutton could not give a satisfactory explanation in response to a journalist’s question. Certain Australian politicians are clinging to the Cold War mentality and smearing China with rumors to sow discord between China and countries it has friendly ties with. We regret and firmly oppose such moves.
The politicians should earnestly face up to the concerns of people at home and abroad, instead of spreading disinformation to disparage China for their own political gains.
China News Service: Yesterday marks Space Day of China. It is reported that the China National Space Administration said that China will build a defense system against small near-Earth objects. Will China conduct international cooperation in this regard?
Wang Wenbin: China is committed to the peaceful use of outer space in the spirit of promoting the wellbeing of all humanity. The small near-Earth objects defense system that China will develop is aimed at addressing the impact of small near-Earth objects, a common risk faced by mankind. China will continue to carry out exchanges and cooperation with countries through the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space and other relevant multilateral mechanisms to contribute our strength to protecting the safety of Earth and all humanity.
CRI: US Department of State Spokesperson said the other day that China continues to “parrot some of what we have heard coming from the Kremlin. This apparently applies to the concept of indivisible security”. Do you have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: China rejects such unwarranted accusations in total disregard of facts. The US should do its homework. The indivisibility of security is not Russia’s own assertion, but an important principle widely recognized and adopted by the US and other NATO members, European countries and the international community. This principle is included in important documents including the Helsinki Final Act of 1975, the 1990 Charter of Paris for a New Europe, the Founding Act on Mutual Relations, Cooperation and Security between NATO and the Russian Federation in 1997, the Charter for European Security in 1999, among others. And the US is a signatory or participating party of these above-mentioned documents. Forgetting history is tantamount to betrayal. Rejecting consensus will lead to severe consequences. Such US actions in bad faith is typical unilateralism and revisionist history, and the root cause of the current European security crisis.
AFP: Several recent announcements by local governments in Beijing have led to concerns. What steps does China plan to take to prevent Beijing residents and also the international community here from going through inconvenience?
Wang Wenbin: I would like to refer you to competent authorities for your question on the specifics. I want to elaborate on some basic facts about China’s anti-epidemic policies and measures. China’s dynamic zero-COVID policy and epidemic-prevention protocol are based on science and experts’ opinions. They are in keeping with China’s realities and WHO’s guiding principles and have effectively guaranteed the safety and health of Chinese and foreign citizens living in China, and made an important contribution to the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. According to relevant data, China’s COVID-19 mortality rate was 0.4 for every 100,000 in 2021, only 1/606 of that of the US, giving China one of the lowest mortality rates from COVID-19 in the world. It is an objective fact recognized by the international community that China’s epidemic prevention and control measures have achieved maximum containment effect at minimum cost and minimized the epidemic’s impact on economic and social development. China’s epidemic prevention efforts and gains have not only been commended by the WHO, but also highly recognized and supported by the Chinese people.
I also want to point out that every epidemic protocol has its costs. The prevention and control measures in some Chinese cities have had some impact on production and daily life, as could happen in any country. But what makes China different from other countries is that the vast majority of the Chinese people understand and support the Chinese government’s COVID-19 policy and measures, and the Chinese people have full confidence in defeating the epidemic.
China did not lie flat over the Delta variant. We have resolutely fought against the virus, making great contributions to and remarkable achievements in protecting the health of the Chinese people and safeguarding China’s economic and social development. Now in the face of the Omicron variant, China will not lie flat, either. We are resolutely fighting the virus. We will win the battle and make greater contributions to the world.
Bloomberg: China’s ambassador to Sri Lanka said today that going to the IMF for help resolving its economic crisis has impacted credit talk with China. Last month he said that China was considering two new sources of financing, a $1 billion loan and a $1.5 billion credit line to purchase goods from China. What is the ministry’s comment on this matter? Is China rethinking that earlier promise?
Wang Wenbin: As we have said many times before, China and Sri Lanka are close neighbors enjoying traditional friendship. China has always actively supported Sri Lanka’s socioeconomic development.
At present, Sri Lanka is faced with economic difficulties. The Chinese side has announced that it will provide emergency humanitarian assistance to Sri Lanka. We will continue to offer support and assistance to the best of our capability to help Sri Lanka reinvigorate its economy and improve people’s livelihood. We believe that the Sri Lankan government and people can surely overcome the temporary difficulties and realize socioeconomic stability and development.