Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on July 29, 2020
The Paper: US Secretary of State Pompeo said in his speech at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library that “the old paradigm of blind engagement with China” failed, and this kind of engagement has not brought the kind of change inside of China that the US had hoped to induce. What is your comment on his remarks?
Wang Wenbin: Pompeo and some other US politicians have been hyping up so-called “failed US engagement with China” and “failed US attempt to induce change inside of China”. In response to their comments, the Chinese side has made clear its position, and I’d like to stress the following points.
First, the claim of “failed US engagement with China” disrespects history and facts. Over the past nearly five decades since China and the US resumed exchange and established diplomatic relations, the two sides have been expanding and deepening exchange and cooperation across the board, which greatly benefited people in both countries. According to statistics, China-US economic and trade relations support 2.6 million American jobs, and over 72,500 US companies have investments or business in China. In multilateral fora, China-US cooperation has benefited the two countries and the world, from handling regional hotspots to addressing global issues like counter-terrorism and non-proliferation.
Second, the “US attempt to induce change inside of China” is doomed to fail. The path a country takes should be determined by its own people based on its cultural tradition and historical heritage. No force is entitled to negate the choice of other countries. In a world full of diversity, China and the US, despite their different social systems, can by all means peacefully co-exist.
Third, driven by political needs, Pompeo and some others are negating previous US administrations’ China policy and the progress achieved in relations with China over the past four decades or so and attempting to stoke ideological confrontation. This has proven to be unpopular even in the US. Over the past few days, many former politicians, academics and media have questioned and criticized his remarks, pointing out his misconceptions on China, China-US relations and the US China policy objectives. This fact itself speaks volumes.
I must stress that China-US relations bear on the well-being of the two peoples and world peace and stability. We urge the likes of Pompeo to renounce the obsolete Cold War mentality and ideological bias, look at China and China-US relations correctly, and immediately stop words and acts damaging Chinese interests and bilateral relations so as to create conditions for bringing this relationship back on track.
Australian Broadcasting Corporation: The US and Australia pledged to strengthen military cooperation in the Asia-Pacific at their recent AUSMIN meetings. Does China have a comment?
Wang Wenbin: China has noted the consultations between the Australian Ministers for Foreign Affairs and Defense and the US Secretaries of State and Defense. For a while, the US and Australia have been highlighting and hyping up the so-called China threat and smearing China on a series of issues. China deplores and firmly rejects that. We have lodged solemn representations with the two countries respectively.
We urge the US and Australia to form a correct perception of China, stop interfering in China’s internal affairs or damaging Chinese interests, and create enabling conditions to develop bilateral relations with China. We also urge them to play a constructive role in upholding peace, stability and development in the region instead of doing the opposite.
Bloomberg: Local media have reported that the Hong Kong government is considering postponing the upcoming election for as long as a year. I was wondering if you have any comment on this?
Wang Wenbin: This is not a diplomatic matter. I will refer you to the Hong Kong SAR government.
Asahi Shimbun: We understand WHO experts have been in China for two weeks. Are they out of isolation? What are they doing now and what is on their schedule?
Wang Wenbin: As agreed through consultation, two WHO experts came to China in mid-July for preparatory consultations on science-based cooperation in COVID-19 origin-tracing. While in isolation, the WHO experts held several video conferences with Chinese experts and had in-depth exchange in global scientific progress in crowd, environment, molecular and zoonotic tracing of the origin as well as working plans for the next stage.
We have a fundamental consensus with WHO, that is, origin-tracing is a scientific issue that should be studied by scientists through international research and cooperation across the globe. It is an ongoing process probably concerning many countries and localities. WHO will conduct similar trips to other countries and regions in light of the actual need. We hope all relevant countries will also actively cooperate with WHO.
Phoenix TV: On July 28, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga reportedly said on the DPRK leader’s statement on nuclear deterrence that the Japanese government has major concerns over the DPRK’s movements and will continue demanding its complete denuclearization. He also said that the most important thing at present is for the DPRK to fully and promptly fulfill its agreements with the US, including on complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Does China have a comment?
Wang Wenbin: China’s position on the Korean Peninsula issue is consistent. The crux of the stalled peace talks is that the DPRK’s legitimate concerns have not received enough attention or been addressed. The US should take concrete steps in a responsible manner to move peace talks forward. China stands ready to continue playing a constructive role in the political resolution of the issue. We hope relevant parties including Japan and the rest of the international community will also play a positive part in maintaining peace and stability on the Peninsula and supporting peace talks.
Reuters: The commander of the US forces in Japan said today that there has been unprecedented number of Chinese incursions around the Senkaku or Diaoyu Islands in the past 100 days. And the US can help Japan with surveillance of Chinese fishing fleets around the islands. Do you have any comment on this?
Wang Wenbin: Diaoyu Dao and its affiliated islands have been China’s inherent territory since ancient times. It is China’s inherent right to send Coast Guard vessels to patrol these waters and conduct law-enforcement. We hope relevant sides will do things conducive to peace and stability in the region and refrain from words and acts leading to the contrary.
AFP: So the US-based cyber security company Recorded Future said yesterday that Chinese state-sponsored hackers have been targeting the Vatican and several Catholic churches-related organizations since May. Do you have any response to this report? The second question is the European Union decided yesterday that it will limit export to Hong Kong of sensitive technology and cited concerns about the new national security law. Do you have any response to this?
Wang Wenbin: On your first question, as we’ve repeatedly stressed, China is a staunch defender of cybersecurity and always firmly opposes and combats cyber theft and hacking. Given the virtual nature of cyberspace and the existence of all kinds of actors who are difficult to trace, there must be enough evidence when investigating and identifying cyber-related incidents. Groundless speculation should not be allowed.
On your second question, Hong Kong is China’s Special Administrative Region and Hong Kong affairs are China’s internal affairs that allow no interference by any foreign country or organization. The relevant measures adopted by the EU side violated non-interference in internal affairs which is a basic norm in international relations. China firmly opposes it and has lodged stern representations with the EU side.
The enactment and implementation of the Law on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong SAR aims to plug the long-existing loopholes in Hong Kong’s legal system. The purpose of the Law is to strengthen Hong Kong’s rule of law and ensure the sustained and successful implementation of “one country, two systems” with a legal guarantee. The Law is fully in line with the Constitution and the Basic Law. It not only serves Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability but also protects the legitimate and lawful rights and interests of all foreign companies and personnel in Hong Kong.
The EU says that it is a stakeholder and has concerns in Hong Kong and wishes it prosperity and stability. Then it should take concrete steps towards these goals instead of adopting measures that undermine Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability. We urge the EU side to truly respect China’s position on upholding national security in Hong Kong, stop interfering in China’s Hong Kong affairs in any means, work in ways that serve Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability, and focus on maintaining the sound development of China-EU relations.
Reuters: A group of Republican US Senators said this week they were concerned that the Chinese Communist Party could use the video-sharing app TikTok to meddle in US elections. Do you have any comment on this?
Wang Wenbin: First, China is not interested in US elections. We don’t intend to and we will not meddle in them. We also hope the US can stop dragging China into its election campaigns.
With regard to TikTok, the US Senators’ smears are just baseless. The Chinese government always asks Chinese companies to comply with laws and regulations when conducting economic cooperation with foreign countries. We urge certain people in the US to take a fair and unbiased view on this matter, stop using state power to oppress Chinese companies, and do things conducive to China-US relations instead of going the other way.
AFP: France has called for a UN-led observation mission to evaluate the treatment of Uyghur people in Xinjiang. Does China have any response to this?
Wang Wenbin: To begin with, Xinjiang-related matters are not about human rights at all, but about combating violence, terrorism and separatism. The basic human rights of residents of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang are effectively guaranteed, and the people are living a safe and happy life. Over the past 60 years or so, since the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region was established, its economic aggregate has grown by almost 200 times, and people’s living standards have been constantly improving. From 2014 to the end of 2019, 2.92 million people of 730,000 households were lifted out of poverty, and the region’s poverty rate dropped to 1.24 percent from 19.4 percent in 2013. Xinjiang residents’ religious activities and freedom of religious belief are protected by law. There is one mosque for every 530 Muslims in Xinjiang, a number higher than that in many Muslim countries. At the 44th session of the UN Human Rights Council, 46 countries in their joint statement commended the human rights progress in Xinjiang.
I’d like to stress that the Chinese people are hospitable, and Xinjiang’s door is open to the world. We always hold an open attitude on UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet visiting China and Xinjiang, and we welcome her visit at an appropriate time. In fact, since the end of 2018, more than 1,000 international organizations officials, foreign government officials, diplomats stationed in China, media personnel and scholars have visited Xinjiang in over 70 groups. We welcome unbiased, equal-footed and friendly dialogue and communication, but we oppose foreign interference under the pretext of “international evaluation”.
We urge the relevant side to respect facts, discard prejudice and view Xinjiang’s progress in human rights and counter-terrorism in an objective and fair manner.
AFP: If China welcomes the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to visit Xinjiang, why hasn’t it happened yet?
Wang Wenbin: As I just said, we always hold an open attitude on High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet visiting China and Xinjiang, and we welcome her visit at an appropriate time.