Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on March 14, 2024
2024/03/14 21:54

At the invitation of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of New Zealand Winston Peters and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Australia Penny Wong, Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will pay an official visit to New Zealand and Australia from March 17 to 21. During his visit to Australia, Foreign Minister Wang Yi will hold the seventh China-Australia Foreign and Strategic Dialogue with Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong.

China News Service: I’d like to follow up on your announcement that Foreign Minister Wang Yi will visit New Zealand and Australia. Could you share more about the background of the visit and China’s expectations?

Wang Wenbin: China has comprehensive strategic partnerships with both New Zealand and Australia.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of President Xi Jinping’s state visit to New Zealand and Australia and also the 10th anniversary of the China-New Zealand and China-Australia comprehensive strategic partnerships. After his previous visit to New Zealand and Australia seven years ago, Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s visit this time will kick off this year’s high-level exchanges between China and the two countries. During the visit, Foreign Minister Wang Yi and the foreign ministers and leaders of the two countries will have extensive and in-depth exchanges of views on bilateral relations and international and regional issues of mutual interest. China looks forward to working with the two countries to deliver on the common understandings between the leaders, enhance strategic communication, deepen mutual trust, advance exchanges and cooperation, promote the steady and sustained growth of the China-New Zealand and China-Australia comprehensive strategic partnerships and contribute to world peace, stability and prosperity.

AFP: The US House of Representatives passed legislation yesterday that would ask ByteDance to divest TikTok. What’s your response? 

Wang Wenbin: This bill adopted by the US House of Representatives puts the US on the wrong side of the principles of fair competition and international trade rules.

If “national security” can be abused to bring down other countries’ competitive companies, there would be no fairness or justice at all. It is sheer robbers’ logic to try every means to snatch from others all the good things that they have.

How the US has handled TikTok enables the world to see clearly whether the US’s “rules” and “order” serve the whole world or only the US.

The Associated Press: I’d like to know if you can give us any more details on the New Zealand part of Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s visit? Any particular issues in New Zealand that will be coming up or anything that will be talked about?

Wang Wenbin: I shared relevant information just now. On further details about Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s visit, we will read out in due course. Please check back for updates.

Reuters: Taiwan dispatched coast guard boats today to rescue a capsized fishing vessel from the mainland near Kinmen. Can you confirm this and provide more details?

Wang Wenbin: It’s not related to foreign affairs. I’d refer you to competent authorities.

Bloomberg: The UK government is considering curbing the number of Chinese nationals who can enter the UK on official business over fears the system is being abused to bring spies into Britain. Does the Foreign Ministry have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: The cross-border travel of diplomats and people on official business is very important to the sound development of our bilateral relations and also conducive to enhancing mutual trust and practical cooperation across the board. China has provided long-standing facilitation for UK diplomats and people on official business to visit China and hopes that the UK can work with China in the same direction and provide facilitation for Chinese personnel in accordance with mutually beneficial arrangements reached by the two sides.

AFP: I have another question on TikTok. The Chinese mainland has banned YouTube, Facebook and Instagram. What is the difference between this and the proposed ban on TikTok by the US?

Wang Wenbin: We welcome foreign platforms and services of various kinds to the Chinese market on the premise that they observe China’s laws and regulations. This is completely different from the US way of handling TikTok, which is clearly a bullying act and robbers’ logic.

Kyodo News: It is reported that Japan, the US and the Philippines will hold a summit in Washington in April. Relevant consultation has begun. The three countries will carry out discussions in response to China’s increasing hegemonic activities in the East and South China Seas. What is China’s comment on this?

Wang Wenbin: China’s activities in the East and South China Seas are completely consistent with domestic and international laws and beyond reproach. By contrast, the US has traveled halfway around the world to China’s doorsteps to form exclusive circles, flex muscles and make provocations. These are out-and-out hegemonic activities. China’s territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests brook no infringement. China has unwavering resolve and will to uphold its lawful rights. We will resolutely respond to any country’s attempt to violate China’s sovereign rights and interests.

NHK: Another follow-up question regarding TikTok. It seems that the concern of the US side is the fact that Chinese companies are subject to national security law, requiring them to share data with the government on request. What is China’s thought on this concern? Would you say there is no such concern?

Wang Wenbin: The Chinese government attaches great importance to protecting data privacy and security. We have never asked and will never ask businesses or individuals to collect or provide data in other countries for the Chinese government in violation of local laws. The problem of the US is that while never finding evidence of TikTok threatening its national security, the US resorts to state power and abuses national security as the reason to suppress this company.

CCTV: According to reports, Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. stated after meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin on March 12 that “we (the Philippines) have not rejected any proposal that China made to us, and what is unacceptable is Beijing basing its expansive claim on its ‘10-dash line’, which is not recognized by any country, any international body. Until that premise that China has made in terms of all its discussions with the Philippines, it is difficult to see a way forward. I vowed to defend the Philippine Constitution when I sworn in, and the first article of the country’s Constitution clearly defines its territorial area, including maritime and land-based territory.” What’s your response?

Wang Wenbin: China was the first country to discover, name, explore and exploit Nanhai Zhudao and relevant waters, and was the first to exercise sovereign rights and jurisdiction over Nanhai Zhudao and relevant waters continuously, peacefully and effectively. After World War II, the Chinese government recovered and resumed the exercise of sovereignty over Nanhai Zhudao, which had been illegally occupied by Japan during its war of aggression against China pursuant to the Cairo Declaration and the Potsdam Proclamation. China has territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea, including that China has sovereignty over Nanhai Zhudao; China has internal waters, territorial sea and contiguous zone, based on Nanhai Zhudao; China has exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, based on Nanhai Zhudao; And China has historic rights in the South China Sea. The above positions are consistent with relevant international law and practice.

As early as in 1948, the Chinese government officially released the dotted line, which has been upheld by successive Chinese governments. For a long time, it has never been questioned by any country. China never claimed that the whole of the South China Sea belongs to China. The Philippine side accuses China of claiming all waters inside the dotted line as territory. It is not in line with the fact and is deliberate distortion of China’s position. The Philippines should stop misleading the international community, using the South China Sea issue to instigate disputes, and counting on external forces to undermine peace and stability in the South China Sea region.

To address the South China Sea issue, we are firm in upholding China's territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests, and stand ready to address the maritime differences through negotiation and consultation with countries directly concerned on the basis of respecting historical facts. Pending a solution to the differences, China also stands ready to work with countries directly concerned to manage the situation at sea, achieve win-win results by carrying out maritime cooperation, and jointly safeguard peace and stability in the South China Sea.

Bloomberg: China and NATO held their eighth security policy dialogue in Beijing on Wednesday. Can you tell us what was discussed?

Wang Wenbin: The Ministry of National Defense of China has released a readout. If you are interested in specific issues, I’d refer you to the Ministry of National Defense. 

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