Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on August 6, 2020
China News Service: US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said during a virtual discussion in the 2020 Aspen Security Forum on August 5 that “I don’t see China right now as an inevitable threat, that we’re going to have a fight with them, whatever the case may be, but we do have to compete and we have to be much more vigorous in all domains if you will, whether it’s diplomatic, informational, military, political.” Do you have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: We noted relevant reports. State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi gave an exclusive interview to Xinhua News Agency yesterday, during which he stated China’s position and propositions on China-US relations. He stressed that faced with the most complex situation since the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the US, we need to put in place a clear-cut framework for the relationship. The full text is available on the website of our foreign ministry in case you may want to read that carefully.
State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang pointed out that for China-US relations to develop soundly, the most critical thing is mutual respect. The US move to turn China into an adversary is a fundamental, strategic miscalculation. It means that the US is funneling its strategic resources in the wrong area. We are always ready to develop a China-US relationship featuring no conflict, no confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation based on coordination, cooperation and stability. In the meantime, we will firmly defend our sovereignty, security and development interests.
I want to stress that the steady development of China-US relations serves the fundamental interests of the two peoples and meets the common aspirations of the international community. For some time, however, driven by selfish gains, some US politicians have undermined China’s interests and China-US relations in words and deeds. These unconstructive acts are unpopular and have been and will continue to be reprimanded and rejected by visionary and peace-loving people from both sides and around the world. We urge the US side to discard its outdated Cold War mentality, arrogance and prejudice, view China and China-US relations in an objective and rational way, and meet China half way to bring bilateral relations back to the right track of coordination, cooperation and stability.
RIA Novosti: US Secretary of State Pompeo said yesterday that the United States would present a resolution to the United Nations Security Council next week to extend an international arms embargo on Iran. He also threatened to trigger the snap-back mechanism in the 2015 Iran nuclear deal to reimpose UN sanctions against Iran. I wonder if China has any comment to this?
Wang Wenbin: China firmly upholds the authority of the Security Council resolution and the efficacy of the JCPOA. We don’t agree with the US in pushing for the extension of the arms embargo against Iran in the Security Council. All the provisions of Resolution 2231, including the relevant arrangements with regard to arms embargo, should be implemented in earnest. China will continue to work with relevant parties and the international community to maintain the JCPOA and Security Council resolution, uphold multilateralism and promote the political and diplomatic resolution of the Iranian nuclear issue.
Beijing Daily: Australian Prime Minister said at the 2020 Aspen Security Forum on August 5 that building an Indo-Pacific alliance with like-minded nations will be a “critical priority” for his government. Australia welcomes a rising China and hopes it will play a role in regional and global stability. He added there is no reason for them to restrict TikTok at this point. Do you have any response?
Wang Wenbin: We noted relevant remarks. I want to point out that China is committed to the path of peaceful development and will never seek hegemony or engage in confrontation. China always believes that peace, cooperation, development and win-win results are the irresistible trend of the times and the common aspiration of people worldwide. Any strategy for regional cooperation should conform to the general trend and meet people’s desire. Otherwise, it will not be supported by regional countries. We note that the Australian side said it welcomes China’s development and hope it will translate its words into concrete actions and do more things that are in line with the spirit of China-Australia comprehensive strategic partnership and conducive to regional peace and stability.
Reuters: Canadian Xu Weihong was sentenced to death on Thursday by the Guangzhou Intermediate People’s Court. It’s his first trial for producing drugs. Considering the political backlash in relation to death penalties facing foreigners in China recently, does the ministry have any comment on this or whether it could potentially worsen relations with Canada?
Wang Wenbin: I noted the information released by the Guangzhou Intermediate People’s Court.
Drug-related crimes are considered serious crimes worldwide. Chinese law retains death sentence and controls its application strictly. Death sentence for drug-related crimes that are extremely dangerous will help deter and prevent such crimes. Chinese law stipulates that every criminal is equal in the application of the law. China’s judicial authorities handle cases involving criminals of different nationalities in accordance with law.
I want to stress that Chinese judiciary independently handles the case in strict accordance with Chinese law and legal procedures. I don’t see any impact on China-Canada relations.
Reuters: Ecuadorian foreign minister said the country will be surveilling Chinese fishing fleets near the Galapagos Islands and that they expect to hold bilateral talks with the Chinese side over Chinese fishing activity near the Galapagos Islands. What’s the ministry’s comment on this?
Wang Wenbin: China and Ecuador are in friendly communication these days through bilateral channels. On August 6, the fishery authorities of the two countries also held a special video teleconference, which led to positive consensus and good results. Meanwhile, to contribute our efforts in the protection of fishery resources in the region, China’s fishery authority has decided to ban fishing in the high seas west of the Galapagos Islands Marine Reserve from September to November this year, which has been appreciated by Ecuador and other relevant countries. I would like to reiterate that China, as a responsible major fishing country, attaches great importance to the protection of the marine environment and resources and implements the strictest monitoring and control measures on overseas fishing vessels. We will continue to require enterprises engaged in deep-sea fishing to strictly abide by relevant laws and regulations.
We have noticed that some US politicians have been making irresponsible remarks on this issue, discrediting China while sowing discord between China and Ecuador. It should be pointed out that the United States has not ratified the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) so far, and we wonder how the US is qualified to make accusations against other countries’ maritime affairs. We urge the US side, instead of trying desperately to stir up trouble for other countries, to focus more on its own affairs.
Bloomberg: We know that August 6 is the deadline for extensions of visas for Chinese journalists in the US. We are wondering if you have any updates on this and what kind of countermeasures China may consider if these visas are not extended?
Wang Wenbin: I already stated China’s position the other day. On May 8, the US limited visas for Chinese journalists to 90 days, requiring them to apply for visa renewal every 90 days. As we understand, relevant Chinese journalists already applied for visa extension but none of them has received reply from the US side.
For a while, the US, entrenched in the Cold War mentality and ideological bias, launched one round of political suppression after another against Chinese media. The relevant US actions have severely disrupted Chinese journalists’ normal reporting activities, gravely damaged the reputation of the Chinese media and affected the normal people-to-people exchanges between the two sides. While priding itself on freedom of the press, the US now willfully obstructs the Chinese media from doing their job. Such a two-faced behavior exposed its hypocrisy in so-called freedom of the press, and is nothing short of double standards and hegemonic bullying.
We said many times that the US caused the current situation and is responsible for it. The US should immediately correct its mistakes, stop its political oppression on the Chinese media and journalists and protect the safety, property and other lawful rights and interests of Chinese journalists from infringement and ensure their normal reporting activities are not impacted. If the US is bent on going down the wrong path and doubles down on its mistakes, China will be compelled to make necessary and legitimate reactions to firmly safeguard its legitimate rights and interests.
AFP: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the so-called “Clean Network” program yesterday and said he wants to eliminate some Chinese apps from US app stores. He is especially targeting WeChat, but there are other apps like Alibaba or Baidu. What’s China’s reaction?
Wang Wenbin: Pompeo and his likes have time and again abused state power to bring down Chinese high-tech companies under the pretext of national security, to which China is firmly opposed. The US practice has no factual basis at all and is sheer malicious slander and political manipulation in an attempt to maintain its high-tech monopoly. This is a typical hegemonic behavior that runs against market principles and international trade rules and severely threatens the security of global industrial and supply chains.
I want to stress that many Chinese companies subject to US unilateral sanctions are innocent, who just provide safe technologies and products. Not a single cybersecurity incident like those revealed by Edward Snowden or WikiLeaks has there been, still less a single tapping or surveillance operation like PRISM, Equation Group or ECHELON. It is preposterous for the dirty-handed US to preach a “clean network”.
We urge the US to rectify its wrongdoing, create conditions for the normal trade and economic cooperation between companies from different countries and restore a free, open and safe cyberspace to the world. China stands ready to continuously work with other countries to safeguard a fair, just, open and non-discriminatory business environment, promote international science and technology exchange and cooperation and ensure that safe, reliable and high-quality information technology will serve as an emerging driving force for global economic recovery and better life for people around the globe.
Beijing Youth Daily: Many countries pledged to provide humanitarian assistance after the massive explosion in the Lebanese capital. As you mentioned yesterday, China will provide Lebanon with assistance within its capacity. Could you give us some details? What assistance has China provided or will provide to Lebanon?
Wang Wenbin: Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a message of condolence to Lebanese President Michel Aoun after the massive explosion in the Lebanese capital Beirut. The Chinese peacekeeping medical team dispatched to Lebanon will bring medical supplies to Beirut to provide medical assistance. As a friendly country to Lebanon and according to its needs, China will stand by Lebanon and help it tide over these difficult times.
Bloomberg: Regarding the US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar’s upcoming visit to Taiwan, we are wondering if China plans any measures in response to this?
Wang Wenbin: I stated China’s position yesterday. China firmly opposes any official interactions between the US and Taiwan. We urge the US to adhere to the one-China principle and the three joint communiques, and stop making official interactions of any kind with Taiwan. Any attempt to ignore, deny or challenge the one-China principle is doomed to fail. China will take firm countermeasures in response to the US wrong move.