Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on 16 December, 2020
Bloomberg: Australia’s trade minister Simon Birmingham said on Wednesday that Australia will challenge China at WTO over Beijing’s decision to impose tariffs on Australian barley. The minister also didn’t rule out the possibility of raising further WTO challenges, including over wine. What’s the foreign ministry’s comment on this? On what grounds will China fight this WTO action? And does China expect to win against this WTO action?
Wang Wenbin: My colleagues and I have stated China’s principled position repeatedly on individual trade cases between China and Australia. I refer you to the competent department for more specifics. I would like to stress that the Australian government should address China’s concerns seriously and take concrete actions to rectify discriminatory practices targeting Chinese companies.
Associated Press of Pakistan: In an interview, President of Pakistan has said that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor has advanced despite COVID-19 pandemic. What is your response?
Wang Wenbin: China totally agrees with President Alvi’s positive remarks on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is an important pilot project of the Belt and Road Initiative. Since its launch in 2013, it has maintained a positive momentum of development. As my colleagues and I have said many times before, since the outbreak of COVID-19, China and Pakistan have united as one to overcome the challenge of the epidemics and ensure that various CPEC projects have persisted in not evacuating people, not laying off workers, and not stopping construction, which has achieved visible progress and provided strong support for Pakistan to fight the epidemic and stabilize the economy. Not long ago, the Matiari-Lahore Transmission Line, a key project under CPEC, was completed, which will improve power supplies in Pakistan. The inauguration of the Orange Line introduces an era of metro train service for Pakistan. The Gwadar port has handled two shipments of 26,000 tons of fertilizer transferred from Afghanistan this month, setting a new record of 22,000 tons of fertilizer discharged in four days.
China will work together with Pakistan to fully implement the consensus of the two leaders, firmly advance CPEC development, further focus on cooperation in such areas as people’s livelihood, industry and agriculture while ensuring the smooth operation of existing projects. We will build CPEC into a demonstration project of high quality BRI development and deliver greater benefit to the people in both countries and the rest of the region.
FSN: This is a follow-up on the question about Australia just a moment ago. You were asked for your response on Australia’s decision to dispute tariffs on barley within the WTO. This is a new development. You mentioned that you wanted Australia to address China’s concerns. Does that mean that the measures that have been taken against various Australian products are in retaliation to these concerns that China has?
Wang Wenbin: I believe I already covered that in my answer. I would like to reiterate that we’ve stated our position on individual cases in the trade sector between China and Australia. As to Australia’s plan to challenge China on its barley export at WTO, I refer you to the competent authority. As we’ve said many times, Australia’s discriminatory measures targeting Chinese companies are not in line with market principles and the spirit of the China-Australia FTA. We hope the Australian side will address China’s concerns seriously and take concrete actions to rectify its mistakes.
Hubei TV: The Ministry of Commerce released data yesterday that paid-in foreign investment in China has increased for the eighth consecutive month. Many foreign media and agencies believe China’s growth trend is good for the world economic recovery. Do you have any comment on this?
Wang Wenbin: Authoritative international economic agencies have been projecting that China will be the only major economy to achieve a positive growth rate this year. You just mentioned that foreign capital keeps flowing into China, I believe it demonstrates the confidence in China’s economic prospect and the outcomes of fostering a new development paradigm and expanding opening up. Since the beginning of this year, China has been comprehensively implementing the Foreign Investment Law and its implementation regulations. The negative lists for pilot free trade zones have been shortened from 190 items in 2013 to 30 now, financial market access has been steadily eased, and a master plan has been drawn up for the development of the Hainan Free Trade Port, which will open up broad space for China’s economic development and inject strong impetus into global economic recovery. China has become the biggest trading partner for ASEAN, the EU and the United States. In the first three quarters of this year, China’s non-financial outbound direct investment to countries along the BRI routes recorded a year-on-year increase of 29.7 percent. The third China International Import Expo records higher intended deals of $72.62 billion. The OECD Economic Outlook estimated that China will account for over one-third of world economic growth in 2021.
As China opens its door wider to the world, it will create more opportunities for mutually beneficial cooperation with other countries and make greater contributions to the stability and prosperity of a post-COVID world.
People’s Daily: China and Russia reportedly signed a protocol on the extension of the agreement between the Government of the People’s Republic of China and the Government of the Russian Federation on Notifications of Launches of Ballistic Missiles and Space Missile Carriers on December 15. What is the significance of the move to China-Russia relations? Does it have any impact on global strategic stability and arms control process?
Wang Wenbin: We noted that the Ministry of National Defense already issued a press release on that. Chinese State Councilor and Defense Minister Wei Fenghe and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu signed a protocol on the extension of the agreement between the Government of the People’s Republic of China and the Government of the Russian Federation on Notifications of Launches of Ballistic Missiles and Space Missile Carriers on December 15, 2020. Also in the same video conference, both sides stressed that the two militaries would like to strengthen practical cooperation on this basis and further enrich bilateral relations.
The signing of the protocol demonstrates the high level and specialness of China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination in the new era, injects positive energy into the maintenance of the international arms control system and provides a strong guarantee for global strategic stability.
China stands ready to work with Russia to continuously add new dimensions to our bilateral relations, deepen practical mil-to-mil cooperation, bring more benefits to the two countries and two peoples and contribute more to world peace and stability.