Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on February 8, 2024
2024-02-08 19:45

CCTV: With the New Year approaching, could you share more with us about the events that the Chinese Foreign Ministry, embassies and consulates have planned for overseas Chinese during the upcoming Spring Festival of the Year of the Dragon?

Wang Wenbin: With the Spring Festival drawing near, the Foreign Ministry actively delivers on the spirit of the Central Conference on Work Relating to Foreign Affairs and puts into practice the principle of serving the people through diplomatic work. The Ministry has directed our embassies and consulates to hold the “Embracing the Chinese New Year” special program around the world, conveying the care from the Party and the government. The embassies and consulates visited fellow compatriots living in difficulty and held cultural activities in various forms to celebrate the Chinese New Year with all the overseas Chinese.

In the new year ahead, we believe that overseas Chinese will continue to play the distinctive role as a bridge to connect the homeland and the rest of the world, pool the strength to realize the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation, and contribute to deepening the friendship between China and other countries. We wish all overseas Chinese a happy and prosperous Year of the Dragon!

AFP: Two explosions occurred before the elections in Pakistan. What is your comment? What is China’s expectation for the elections in Pakistan?

Wang Wenbin: We are deeply shocked by and strongly condemn the attacks in Pakistan. We mourn for the victims and express our sympathies to their families and the injured. 

China opposes all forms of terrorism and firmly supports the Pakistani government and people in making relentless effort to eradicate terrorism and safeguard the security and stability of the society. 

You mentioned the general elections in Pakistan. This is the internal affair of Pakistan. As the all-weather strategic partner and iron-clad friend, we hope the general elections in Pakistan will be held in a smooth, steady and safe manner.

Reuters: The Philippine Defense Secretary has ordered the military to boost the number of troops and structures in the remote Batanes islands less than 200 kilometers from Taiwan to fortify Manila’s territorial defense capabilities. What’s China’s comment?

Wang Wenbin: China and the Philippines are neighbors across the sea. Friendly exchanges predominate in the history of our bilateral relations. A close neighbor can be more helpful than a distant relative. Neighbors should get along with each other based on the principle of good-neighborliness, friendship, mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, and non-interference in each others’ internal affairs. 

I want to stress again that the Taiwan question is at the heart of China’s core interests and is a red line and bottom line that must not be crossed. Relevant parties in the Philippines need to understand it clearly, tread carefully and don’t play with fire on this question to avoid being manipulated and eventually hurt.

CNR: It was reported that the current President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev won the presidential elections on February 7 and will serve another term. What is China’s comment?

Wang Wenbin: Azerbaijan has long been a friendly partner of China. We express our congratulations on the successful presidential elections in the country and on the re-election of President Ilham Aliyev. China respects the choice of the Azerbaijani people and stands ready to work with Azerbaijan to deepen cooperation in various areas and bring the bilateral relations to a new level.

AFP: Taiwan authorities announced yesterday that a man wanted for suspicion of scam was successfully repatriated from Poland this year. Has China lodged representations to Poland on this?

Wang Wenbin: Liu Hongtao, a resident of Taiwan, China, is suspected of telecom fraud. China made the request to Poland for extradition in accordance with the law to combat crimes and protect the lawful rights and interests of the victims. This is completely legitimate and lawful. China attaches great importance to the protection and advancement of human rights, stands firmly against torture, and has achieved remarkable progress in human rights protection in the judicial area. The ruling by the European Court of Human Rights and its rejection of Poland’s appeal application shows no respect for facts and falls short of justice and fairness. The ruling has no factual ground and is legally untenable. It is in the common interests of the international community to enhance enforcement and judicial cooperation and jointly combat cross-border crimes. China has successfully carried out enforcement and judicial cooperation, including extradition, with many countries, and will continue to work with the rest of the international community to jointly combat cross-border crimes and promote personnel, economic and trade exchanges.

There is but one China in the world; Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory; and the government of the People’s Republic of China is the sole legal government representing the whole of China. We urge Poland to adhere to the one-China principle, handle Taiwan-related issues in a prudent and proper manner and uphold the overall interest of China-Poland relations.

China Daily: According to foreign media reports, Turkish prosecutors recently approved again the arrest of 25 suspects in relation to the church attack in Istanbul, and will charge them for “membership in a terrorist organisation” and “qualified intentional homicide.” One of the suspects, who was formerly a Chinese national and has naturalized as a Turkish national now, is related to the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) and the “Islamic State.” What is China’s comment?

Wang Wenbin: We noted the reports. The Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM), also named East Turkistan Islamic Party or Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP), has plotted and carried out a number of violent terrorist attacks both inside and outside China. It was designated by China in accordance with the law and listed by the UN Security Council as a terrorist organization. It was also listed by the Turkish government as a terrorist organization. In recent years, the ETIM has colluded more closely with other international and regional terrorist and separatist forces, such as the “Islamic State”, “Al-Qaeda” and the “Balochistan Liberation Army”, to plot continuous attacks against overseas Chinese targets and take part in or carry out terrorist activities in relevant countries and regions, which gravely threaten China’s interests and security overseas and seriously undermine the security and stability of relevant countries and regions.

Terrorism is a common enemy of mankind. Relevant reports once again show that the ETIM is a terrorist organization that causes great harm. Combating ETIM is a core concern of China in its counterterrorism effort and a shared responsibility of the international community. China stands ready to step up counterterrorism cooperation with Türkiye and other members of the international community to firmly strike down on ETIM and keep the region and the world safe and stable.

NHK: Leak of untreated water has been found at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan. What is China’s comment on that?

Wang Wenbin: We have noticed the reports. China is carrying out an assessment. The incident again exposes the long-existing problems with TEPCO’s internal management. Japan has the responsibility to make public the incident in a timely, comprehensive and transparent manner and responsibly provide the details of it. The discharge plan will last for 30 years or even longer. Can Japan ensure safety and be responsible in the future discharge management? Can the Fukushima nuclear-contaminated water treatment and discharge facilities work stably and effectively over the long run? We have every reason to be concerned and a big question mark has been put over this.

The nuclear-contaminated water leak at the TEPCO facility once again highlighted the critical need for an international monitoring scheme effective for the long haul. China urges Japan to respond to international concerns with all seriousness, dispose of the nuclear-contaminated water in a responsible way, and cooperate fully in putting in place a long-term independent and effective international monitoring scheme with substantive participation of Japan’s neighboring countries and other stakeholders, so as to avoid irrevocable consequences stemming from the ocean discharge.

AFP: The US Department of Justice arrested on Tuesday a Chinese-born engineer named Gong Chenguang who became a US citizen in 2011. What’s your response to his arrest? Do you know what he has done?

Wang Wenbin: I am not aware of the situation.

Beijing Daily: On February 7, cybersecurity-related agencies from the Five Eyes alliance jointly released a cybersecurity advisory, warning that the PRC state-sponsored cyber group known as Volt Typhoon crept into multiple critical infrastructure organizations in the US and China pre-positioned themselves on IT networks for disruptive cyberattacks. What’s China’s comment?

Wang Wenbin: We firmly oppose the US and other countries of “the Five Eyes alliance” smearing and attacking China without any evidence. Last May, countries of “the Five Eyes alliance” released a similar report discrediting China. Less than a year later, we see another “the Five Eyes alliance” production of the “Smear China” franchise, same made-up plot about “Chinese cyber attack”, same shoddiness.  

“The Five Eyes alliance” needs to know that falsely accusing China will not hide the fact that “the Five Eyes alliance” is the largest global intelligence agency and the US is the No.1 “hacking state” in the world. The US has established a large cyber arsenal, which includes typical weapons like the “PRISM” program disclosed by Edward Snowden, the Project “CAMBERDADA” by the US media, the Equation group by the Shadow Brokers, and Vault 7 by WikiLeaks. These cyber weapons put the critical global infrastructure and people’s life and production in all countries in jeopardy.

In addition to reports released yesterday, China’s cybersecurity institutions have for some time issued some US-related cybersecurity reports, disclosing how the US government has put the critical global infrastructure in jeopardy and turned into the number one source of cyber risks and challenges. The US owes the world an explanation.

We keep a firm stance against all forms of cyber attacks and resort to lawful methods in tackling them. Four years ago, China put forward the Global Initiative on Data Security, which calls on countries to jointly build a cyberspace featuring peace, security, openness, cooperation and a sound order, and not use information technology to undermine other countries’ critical infrastructure, steal important data, and endanger their national security and public interests. If “the Five Eyes alliance” truly wants to keep cyberspace safe, they are welcome to join the Global Initiative on Data Security.

Let’s stay tuned and see what else is in the alliance’s play script of spreading disinformation on “Chinese cyberattacks”.

CCTV: We noticed that UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres extended the Lunar New Yea greetings in a video to the global Chinese communities. He said that the Lunar New Year is part of the UN holiday calendar for the first time, and he also expressed thanks to China and the Chinese people for the unwavering support to the United Nations, multilateralism and global progress. What is your comment?

Wang Wenbin: This year’s Spring Festival will be the first one since the UN decided to list the Lunar New Year as a UN floating holiday. With the Lunar New Year of Dragon approaching, leaders of countries and international organizations have sent messages or letters to extend New Year greetings to President Xi Jinping and the Chinese people. Apart from UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres you mentioned, leaders including General Secretary of the Communist Party of Viet Nam Central Committee Nguyen Phu Trong, General Secretary of Lao People’s Revolutionary Party Central Committee and Lao President Thongloun Sisoulith, President of Indonesia Joko Widodo, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko, President the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, Kazakhstan’s President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, President of Kyrgyzstan Sadyr Zhaparov, President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon, Turkmenistan’s President Serdar Berdimuhamedov, Uzbekistan’s President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, King of Saudi Arabia Salman bin Abudulaziz Al Saud and Saudi Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman, the UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, Tunisian President Kais Saied, President of the State of Israel Isaac Herzog, Senegalese President Macky Sall, Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema, Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo, President of the Central African Republic Faustin-Archange Touadéra, Seychellois President Wavel Ramkalawan, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, Bulgarian President Rumen Radev, Croatian President Zoran Milanovic, Hungarian President Katalin Novák, President of Cyprus Nikos Christodoulides, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, Cuban Revolutionary Leader Raul Castro, First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba and Cuban President Díaz-Canel, and Cuban Prime Minister Manuel Marrero Cruz, Sri Lanka President Ranil Wickremesinghe and Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, Vanuatu’s Prime Minister Charlot Salwai, and Prime Minister of the Solomon Islands Manasseh Sogavare, have sent New Year greetings to China.

World leaders have largely expressed that in the past year, China, under the leadership of President Xi Jinping, has achieved new and great accomplishments in pursuing Chinese modernization, which brings new opportunities to the world and new hope to the developing countries. China plays an increasingly important role in upholding international fairness and justice. Leaders of the world reaffirmed their firm commitment to the one-China principle, and they are glad to see China’s steady progress in sustainable development. The traditional virtues of the Chinese people including sincerity, kindness and enthusiasm continue to be strengthened as part of the national spirit. They wish the Chinese people an auspicious and prosperous year. In the Year of the Dragon, China will strive for continued progress with strength, wisdom and innovation  and make impressive achievements on the international stage.

We would like to express our heartfelt appreciation for the well wishes from world leaders and heads of international organizations.

The Spring Festival is a traditional one for family reunion and also celebrated globally as a public holiday. In the New Year ahead, we will continue to deepen friendly cooperation and exchanges with all countries, and work with the international community and bear in mind the future  and the wellbeing of humanity to build a community with a shared future for mankind and a better world.

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During the Spring Festival holiday, there will be no regular press conference from Friday, February 9 to Sunday, February 18. The regular press conference will be resumed on Monday, February 19. During this period, questions can be submitted to the Spokesperson’s Office via fax, email or WeChat.

On the threshold of the Year of the Dragon, everything looks anew. We wish all Chinese and foreign journalists at our regular press conference and all friends who have long taken an interest in and supported Chinese diplomacy a happy Chinese New Year. 

Thank you for your hard work and contribution to present China’s stories in a truthful and objective way to the world. 

Wish you and your families happiness, great health and auspiciousness! See you in the Year of the Dragon!

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