CCTV: Sri Lanka’s debt restructuring is at a crucial stage. What help has China provided to the process? Has there been progress in bilateral debt treatment?
Wang Wenbin: As Sri Lanka’s friend and neighbor, China follows closely the difficulties and challenges facing the country. We have been doing what we can to assist in its economic and social development. Since last year, China’s relevant financial institutions have been in close touch with Sri Lanka on the debt issue involving China, engaged in active bilateral consultations and provided a financing support document to Sri Lanka in a timely manner to help it obtain loans from the IMF. Chinese financial institution has taken part in all the creditors’ meetings as an observer and maintained friendly communication with other creditors to share with them the progress of the debt treatment.
In late September, as official creditor, the Export-Import Bank of China tentatively agreed with Sri Lanka on the debt treatment. We are also glad to see that other creditors are having discussion with Sri Lanka as well over solutions to its debt issue.
We will continue to support Chinese financial institutions in actively consulting with Sri Lanka. We are ready to work with relevant countries and international financial institutions to jointly play a positive role in helping Sri Lanka navigate the situation, ease its debt burden and achieve sustainable development. We call on multilateral institutions and commercial creditors to take part in Sri Lanka’s debt restructuring based on fair burden-sharing.
RIA Novosti: Does the Foreign Ministry have further information on Chinese nationals wounded or kidnapped during the Palestinian-Israeli conflict? Has China contacted relevant parties on that matter?
Wang Wenbin: The Foreign Ministry and our diplomatic and consular missions concerned have issued safety alerts and advised Chinese citizens not to travel to Israel or Palestine in light of what is going on. Chinese nationals and institutions already there are reminded to stay on high alert, take extra safety precautions, prepare for contingencies, be ready to find safe shelters on the spot and get into contact with our Embassy in Israel and Office to the State of Palestine to seek help in case of emergencies. If any Chinese national hopes to leave the region, we will do everything possible to assist them if it’s safe to do so.
Given the fast evolving security situation on the ground, we are continuing to verify the information. The Foreign Ministry has given guidance to our embassies and consulates concerned to make every effort to search for the missing and help the wounded. We urge the foreign authorities to take effective steps to protect the safety of Chinese nationals and institutions. According to what we have learned, the Chinese nationals who have been wounded are being treated in hospital and their conditions are generally stable.
China Daily: We have noticed that the latest data shows that over the past decade, the China-Europe Railway Express has run 78,000 trips and shipped 7.4 million TEUs of freight worth more than USD 340 billion. With the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation approaching, how will you evaluate the performance of the China-Europe Railway Express over the past decade and what’s your expectation for its future?
Wang Wenbin: With more than a decade of experimentation and development efforts, the China-Europe Railway Express has grown into a sound network. The capacity of the ports along the network has been significantly raised. It increasingly functions as a transportation hub. With its focus on high-quality development, the China-Europe Railway Express has become a flagship project and landmark brand of Belt and Road cooperation.
The China-Europe Railway Express now connects 112 Chinese cities and runs through more than 100 other Asian cities in 11 countries and regions. It reaches more than 200 cities in 25 European countries and regions. Cities in Poland including Lodz have transformed into emerging logistics hubs with the support of the Express. More than 100 Chinese logistics and e-commerce businesses have set up shop in Duisburg, Germany. Thanks to the “steel caravan”, “Made in China” is more popular in Europe, and more European products have found their way into Chinese households. The Express brings agricultural products such as flour from Kazakhstan to the Chinese market, which has truly made lives better for the local people. The China-Europe Railway Express has reshaped trans-border transportation on the Eurasian continent, and provided a new platform for economic and trade cooperation. It is a beacon of friendly cooperation and bridge for mutual benefit.
More than 2,000 years ago, accompanied by the camel bells, exchanges between China and Eurasian countries began on the ancient Silk Road. With the resonant train horns on the China-Europe Railway Express, a new legend of the Silk Road is being written. The upcoming third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation is an opportunity for China to deepen practical cooperation with all parties to better use the China-Europe Railway Express to accelerate prosperity for all, propel global economic growth and benefit people along its routes.
Reuters: Could we confirm if any Chinese nationals were killed in the Hamas attack?
Wang Wenbin: We noticed media reports about the safety of Chinese nationals there. As I just said, given the fast evolving security situation on the ground, we are continuing to verify the information.
Bloomberg: Can you tell me when the BRI forum is going to take place? What dates？
Wang Wenbin: We will release information in due course.
AFP: Tsai Ing-wen said today that the island will be democratic for generations despite Chinese pressure and the Taiwanese people would remain free. Do you have any comment on this?
Wang Wenbin: There’s only one China in the world and Taiwan is an inalienable part of Chinese territory—this is the true status quo across the Taiwan Strait. The DPP authorities still cling to the separatist pursuit of “Taiwan independence” and seek foreign support in achieving that agenda and making provocative moves—this is the biggest threat facing peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. To ensure cross-Strait peace and stability, it is essential to unequivocally uphold the one-China principle and oppose “Taiwan independence” and foreign interference. Whatever the DPP authorities say or do, it does not change the fact that Taiwan is part of China, still less the trend towards China’s reunification.
Kyodo News: Has the agenda of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation been confirmed?
Wang Wenbin: I have answered this question.
Reuters: An artillery strike that hit a refugee camp near Myanmar’s border with China has killed at least 29 people. Can the ministry confirm that the strike happened last night? Does the ministry have any information about this attack that happened near the border?
Wang Wenbin: China is paying close attention to the reports. We call on relevant parties to resolve disputes peacefully through dialogue and consultation, avoid escalation of the situation, and take concrete and effective measures to ensure security at the China-Myanmar border.
Reuters: Will Chinese leader call leaders of Israel or Palestine? When Palestinian President Abbas visited in June, China offered support in mediating a peace resolution there.
Wang Wenbin: We have expressed that China is paying close attention to the escalation of tensions between Palestine and Israel and urges all relevant parties to immediately cease fire. China will maintain communication with all parties and continue to work for peace and stability in the Middle East.
Bloomberg: Today there was an attack on the Chinese consulate in San Francisco. Somebody crashed a car into the lobby of the Chinese consulate. Can you tell me if there is any reaction from the government？
Wang Wenbin: On the morning of October 10 Beijing time, an unidentified individual rammed a vehicle into the visa office of our Consulate-General in San Francisco in an attempt to hurt people and consulate staff on the spot. The consulate swiftly responded to and dealt with the situation. The perpetrator was brought under control by the local police.
China has demanded a speedy investigation and effective steps from the US to ensure the safety of Chinese diplomatic missions and personnel in accordance with the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.