Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on September 29, 2020
Global Times: The CNCERT recently released an analysis report on China’s cyber security surveillance data in the first half of 2020. According to the report, the number of foreign cyber attacks against China is increasing, and the US is the biggest source of such attacks. Can you comment on this?
Wang Wenbin: We noticed this report. It reflects some major challenges facing China in the area of cyber security. First of all, China is still one of the main victims of cyber attacks, the number of which has even been growing amid COVID-19. Second, the US is the main source of cyber attacks against China. It is the biggest perpetrator judging by the numbers of detected foreign malware attacks, servers controlled by foreign malware, Distributed Denial of Service attacks and backdoors installed in Chinese websites. Third, attention should be paid to network reconnaissance targeting China’s key information infrastructure. The report says that network assets of Chinese industrial control systems are constantly under foreign sniffer attacks. Such attacks take place 20,000 times a day on average, targeting China’s networked industrial control equipment and systems in key areas like energy, manufacture and telecommunications. Compared with other forms of cyber attacks, the above-mentioned network reconnaissance is more likely to have a governmental background. In light of this, it is natural that China has concerns about the earlier US media reports of the US promoting the “persistent engagement” strategy in cyber space and lowering threshold to arbitrarily launch attacks against other countries’ key information infrastructure.
I’d like to stress that cyber attacks are a challenge faced by all countries. China always calls on countries to advance dialogue and cooperation and handle this challenge together on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit. We also call on all sides to act responsibly in the cyber space. China will take necessary measures to enhance cyber security and protect our key information infrastructure from threats and damage.
Xinhua News Agency: The 17th China-ASEAN Expo and China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit will be held in Guangxi in November. Given that the world economy is facing increasing downward pressure due to the pandemic, how does China view its cooperation with ASEAN in trade and other areas?
Wang Wenbin: The Ministry of Commerce talked thoroughly of the preparations of the 17th China-ASEAN Expo and China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit.
China-ASEAN relationship is more dynamic and has more connotations than any other relations ASEAN has with its dialogue partners. China and ASEAN countries have been supporting and assisting each other amid COVID-19, leading global efforts in fighting the virus and boosting economic recovery in the post-COVID era. This year is important in our cooperative relations. It is the China-ASEAN Year of Digital Economy Cooperation, and it also marks the 10th year of the establishment of the China-ASEAN FTA. In the first half of this year, economic, trade and investment cooperation between the two sides has been growing while we overcome the difficulties brought by the pandemic. ASEAN has become China’s largest trading partner for the first time, and China remains ASEAN’s largest trading partner, demonstrating great potentials and resilience in bilateral cooperation.
China will work with ASEAN countries to enhance cooperation in vaccine R&D to defeat the virus as soon as possible, build a network of “fast lanes” and “green lanes”, keep regional industrial and supply chains smooth and stable, work toward signing the RCEP agreement within this year, and contribute to regional economic integration, development and prosperity. Taking the 30th anniversary of China-ASEAN dialogue partnership next year as an opportunity, China and ASEAN countries will further enrich the essence of our strategic partnership and forge a closer China-ASEAN community with a shared future.
Reuters: It’s been reported that India is prioritizing the construction of high-altitude all-weather roads on its border with China in the Ladakh region. What’s the ministry’s comment on this?
Wang Wenbin: China doesn’t recognize the so-called “Ladakh Union Territory” illegally set up by India and opposes infrastructure building aimed at military contention in disputed border areas. Based on the consensus reached by the two sides recently, to avoid undermining concerted efforts to ease the situation, neither side should take any action that might complicate the situation at the border region.
Beijing Daily: US Secretary of State Pompeo said in an interview on September 29 that “the greatest external threat that the United States faces over the medium and long term is the threat by the regime in China today, the Chinese Communist Party.” He also said President Trump and himself “was pushing back against essentially 50 years of U.S. policy with respect to China, since Nixon and Kissinger had gone to Beijing” with “a strategy that would begin to cease the appeasement.” He noted the US has begun to build out a global coalition to push back China’s impact. What is your comment on this?
Wang Wenbin: When Pompeo claimed to “build out a global coalition” against China, he was only talking nonsense. He won’t see that day. And his successors won’t see that day either, because that day will never, ever come.
PTI: A follow-up on what you said about India building roads in the Ladakh region. The argument that India and several think tanks forward is that China has already built up massive infrastructure on its side of the LAC. India is only trying to catch up on the side of what it perceives to be its LAC. So why should China object to that?
Wang Wenbin: First, I want to state clearly that the reports by some institutes on China building new military bases or facilities along the LAC are completely false descriptions driven by ulterior motives.
Second, the Chinese side always strictly abides by agreements with the Indian side. We are committed to maintaining peace and stability in the border areas. At the same time, we firmly safeguard territorial sovereignty and national security. Chinese border troops have long been on the Chinese side of the LAC and strictly complying with bilateral agreements with India. We hope the Indian side will work toward the same goal with China to bring the temperature down and avoid disrupting the two sides’ efforts to ease the situation.
Beijing Youth Daily: As we understand, China’s peacekeeping engineer detachment will arrive in Beirut to clean up and reconstruct the Lebanese capital after explosions swept through its port. Can you give us more details on that?
Wang Wenbin: China’s 19th batch of peacekeeping engineer detachment to Lebanon sent two batches of peacekeepers to Beirut on September 27 and 29 with equipment and vehicles for reconstruction. This is the first time that the Chinese peacekeepers to Lebanon carry out a mandated mission outside their original mission area. Together with other detachments of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), the Chinese peacekeeping engineers will help to reconstruct the port in Beirut, restore production order and safeguard peace and stability on the ground.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of China’s participation in the UN peacekeeping missions. We altogether sent out over 40,000 peacekeepers and took part in 25 missions. As a UNSC permanent member, China will act as always to fulfill our solemn commitment to the UN Charter, and continue building world peace, contributing to global development and upholding the international order.
Bloomberg: We are interested if the foreign ministry has any comments regarding Japan’s plans to host a meeting with the foreign ministers of the US, India and Australia next week?
Wang Wenbin: We believe the world’s overriding trend is peace, development and win-win cooperation. Instead of forming exclusive cliques, multilateral and plurilateral cooperation should be open, inclusive and transparent. Instead of targeting third parties or undermining third parties’ interests, cooperation should be conducive to mutual understanding and trust between regional countries.
We hope the relevant countries can think more of the regional countries’ common interests and contribute to regional peace, stability and development rather than doing the opposite.
Kyodo News: Yesterday my colleague asked whether State Councilor Wang Yi is going to visit Japan this October. Some reports say this visit is not proposed by Japan, but pushed forward by the Chinese side. Can you confirm this and make some comments?
Wang Wenbin: I already responded to a relevant question yesterday.