|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on June 7, 2023|
AFP: The European Union has agreed on a new tool that will enable it to place tariffs on countries it thinks are engaging in economic blackmail. This decision comes after China imposed trade restrictions on Lithuania, which has strengthened ties with Taiwan. Does the foreign ministry have any comment on the EU’s decision?
Wang Wenbin: First of all, China has made our position clear several times regarding Lithuania’s wrongdoing on the Taiwan question. We urge Lithuania to correct its mistake and return to the right path of adhering to the one-China principle at an early date.
China and the EU are both victims to US economic coercion. The US has openly coerced the EU and some countries into restricting export of semiconductor manufacturing equipment to China. Such acts of tech bullying severely hinder the development of the semiconductor sector. This not only hurts the interests of China and the EU, but also undermines multilateral trade rules and the global economic order. We hope the EU will stand together with the international community against US economic coercion.
CCTV: China has announced that the President of Honduras will visit China. Could you share the schedule of the visit and China’s expectation? How does China view the current relations with Honduras?
Wang Wenbin: On March 26, 2023, China and Honduras officially established diplomatic relations, opening a new chapter for bilateral relations. In the past over two months, China and Honduras have been delivering on their commitments and working together with a sense of urgency to bring bilateral relations to a fast track with the principles and objectives of mutual respect, equality, mutual benefit and common development in mind.
This will be the Honduran President’s first state visit to China. The two heads of state will have a historic meeting to jointly chart the course for further growth of bilateral relations. China looks forward to working with Honduras and taking this visit as an opportunity to deepen mutual trust, expand cooperation, enhance friendship, and promote the steady and sustained development of the bilateral relations.
Kyodo News: According to reports from multiple media outlets that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will visit China in a few weeks and meet with President Xi Jinping. Can you confirm this and provide more information?
Wang Wenbin: I have nothing to share on that.
CNR: US Indo-Pacific coordinator Kurt Campbell said on June 6 that episodes like what he called “dangerous” navigation by a Chinese destroyer in the Taiwan Strait showed the need “to prevent circumstances where unintended consequences can have terrible consequences.” US Democratic Senator Ben Cardin said that “what China is doing is against international law”, and “we’ve got to stand up to China’s bulliness; we cannot allow them to get away with this type of intimidation.” How does the Chinese side respond to this?
Wang Wenbin: Speaking of bulliness and intimidation, the US knows them better than any other country in the world. It is reported that last year alone, large US reconnaissance aircraft conducted over 800 close-in flights to spy on China. Last year, the US also sent aircraft carrier strike groups to the South China Sea and areas nearby multiple times. Brandishing its military prowess, the US willfully flexes its muscles and infringes upon other countries’ sovereignty. This is what bulliness and intimidation at their best. This is the source of maritime and air security risks and dangers to regional peace and stability.
Faced with US military provocations, China has responded in accordance with laws and regulations. These actions are completely justified and lawful, and have nothing to do with “bulliness”. When it comes to safeguarding China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, there is no room for China to concede or back down. This is absolutely not a case of “bulliness” or “intimidation”. This is about standing up for principles and China’s red line.
Global Times: According to Japanese media, a report recently released by TEPCO shows that the radioactive element Cs-137 in black rockfish caught in the harbor of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan in May this year far exceeds safety levels, reaching 18,000 Bq/kg, 180 times that of the standard maximum stipulated in Japan’s food safety law. Do you have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: The Japanese government has repeatedly sought to whitewash its discharge of nuclear-contaminated water from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, claiming the water to be harmless and the discharge to be justified and calling it the only option. Yet facts prove otherwise.
Many in the international community have been asking: If the nuclear-contaminated water were indeed as safe as Japan says, why doesn’t Japan discharge it into its inland lakes; why has Japan insisted on building the discharge tunnel and eagerly launched it? The answer from Japan’s own expert committee is quite straightforward: discharge into the sea is the cheapest option with minimum risk of polluting Japan itself. It is extremely selfish and irresponsible to let the whole world bear the cost and save money for Japan itself.
The ocean is humanity’s common good, not Japan’s private sewer. On the disposal of the water, Japan clearly has other options. Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry offered five proposals, and experts from neighboring countries proposed safer and more prudent plans such as long-term storage. However, without fully assessing the alternatives, the Japanese government has unilaterally decided to dump the water into the ocean. Such a selfish move that puts the common interests of all humanity in jeopardy will not persuade the people either from Japan or from other countries. It is a disgraceful act that will harm the people of Japan’s neighbors and the Pacific island countries, and cost Japan its reputation among the international community.
RIA Novosti: Yesterday, the Kakhovka power plant and dam sustained huge damage that caused overflow of flooding and massive evacuation. The Russian foreign minister said that Ukrainian forces were responsible for the attack, but Ukraine from its side accuses Russia. What’s China’s comment on this incident?
Wang Wenbin: We noted the reports. We are seriously concerned about the destruction of the Kakhovka dam and deeply worried about its humanitarian, economic and ecological impact. We call on all parties to the conflict to respect international humanitarian law and do everything possible to protect civilians and keep civilian facilities safe.
China’s position on the Ukraine crisis is consistent and clear. Under the current circumstances, it is hoped that all parties are committed to a political settlement of the crisis and work together to alleviate the situation.
NHK: British Security Minister submitted a written statement on “police service stations” to parliament on June 6. The UK has told the Chinese Embassy that any functions related to such “police service stations” in the UK are unacceptable. The Chinese Embassy has subsequently responded by saying that all such stations have closed permanently. What’s China’s comment on this?
Wang Wenbin: China strictly abides by international law and respects other countries’ judicial sovereignty. We’ve made our position clear on the issue more than once. The truth is that there are no so-called “secret police stations”. We urge the UK to respect the facts, stop hyping up the matter and smearing China. The UK needs to stop creating obstacles for China-UK relations.
Bloomberg: South Africa is considering switching the venue of the upcoming summit of BRICS leaders to another country, according to people familiar with the matter, in a move that would resolve its dilemma over whether to carry out an international arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin. The government is considering asking China to host the meeting of the heads of state or alternatively Mozambique, according also to people familiar with the matter. Does the foreign ministry have any comments and is China considering hosting the BRICS summit?
Wang Wenbin: I am not aware of what you said. We have noted that South Africa already issued a notice to grant diplomatic immunities to attendees of the upcoming BRICS Summit. China attaches great importance to the progress of BRICS cooperation and supports this year’s host country South Africa in hosting a successful summit and sending a positive message of solidarity and cooperation.
Bloomberg: The Financial Times has reported that the EU is considering mandatory ban on using Huawei to build 5G. We are wondering whether the foreign ministry has any comment.
Wang Wenbin: The US and some European countries keep alleging that Huawei poses a security risk, but have failed to show any evidence. This is typical presumption of guilt and disinformation. The US’s whole-of-government suppression of Huawei, a private Chinese company, is a textbook example of coercive diplomacy and tech bullying. Since Huawei started operation in Europe many years ago, it has never harmed the security of any European country. On the contrary, it has given a strong boost to Europe’s telecommunications sector and generated considerable socioeconomic benefits. Should the EU decide to ban Huawei in spite of all these facts, it would be a brazen violation of the principles of market economy, free trade and fair competition that the EU claims to champion. We hope the EU will honor its commitment to those principles, steer clear of politicizing economic and trade issues or overstretching the concept of security, and make economically sound decisions that are in keeping with its own interests.
Kyodo News: A question on China-US relations. Recently we have seen positive signs in China-US relations, but dialogue between the two militaries is yet to be resumed. The US has been stressing the importance of dialogue and communication. What is China’s response?
Wang Wenbin: China and the US maintain necessary communication. The responsibility for the current challenges facing China-US relations does not lie with China. The US needs to respect China’s core interests and major concerns, stop interfering in China’s internal affairs, stop harming China’s interests, and stop calling for communication on the one hand and making provocations on the other. The US needs to work with China in the same direction and bring the bilateral relations back on the track of healthy and stable development.