Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on June 16, 2023
CCTV: It was reported that White House Coordinator for Indo-Pacific Affairs Kurt Campbell and Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel J. Kritenbrink had a briefing on Secretary Blinken’s upcoming travel to China on June 14, during which Mr. Campbell said, “From the beginning, our approach has been consistent. We are in competition with China, but we do not seek conflict, confrontation, or a new Cold War. We are for managing the competition responsibly…So we will seek to manage the competition and work together where our interests align”, and Mr. Kritenbrink said that during Secretary Blinken’s visit to China, their primary focus is to have candid, direct, and constructive discussions on three fronts: first, establish communication channels that are open and empowered; second, stand up and speak out for US values and interests, and raise clearly and candidly the US’s concerns on a range of issues; third, explore potential cooperation on transnational challenges when it is in US interest. Mr. Krintenbrink also said, “We’re not going to Beijing with the intent of having some sort of breakthrough or transformation in the way that we deal with one another.” What is your response?
Wang Wenbin: President Xi Jinping has pointed out on multiple occasions that China-US relations should not be a zero-sum game where one side out-competes or thrives at the expense of the other. The two sides should form a correct perception of each other’s domestic and foreign policies and strategic intentions, respect each other, coexist in peace, pursue win-win cooperation, and explore the right way to get along with each other. This not only serves the interests of the two peoples but also meets the common aspiration of the international community.
The US views China as its “primary rival” and “the most consequential geopolitical challenge”. This is a major strategic misjudgement. There is competition between the two countries in areas such as economy and trade, but there should be no vicious zero-sum competition. Still less should there be practices to contain or suppress one another in the name of competition and deprive China of its legitimate right to development. This is not “responsible competition”, but irresponsible bullying. It will only push the two countries towards confrontation and create a divided world.
Let me stress again that the US needs to give up the illusion of dealing with China “from a position of strength.” China and the US must develop relations on the basis of mutual respect and equality, respect their difference in history, culture, social system and development path and accommodate each other’s core interests and major concerns.
The US keeps emphasizing the need for dialogue and communication and building guardrails and putting a floor under China-US relations. China’s door to dialogue and communication is open. The communication between the two countries has never stopped. Communication needs to address the concerns of both sides. They need to serve an actual purpose and help provide solutions. What is unacceptable is to ask for communication and meanwhile damage the other side’s interests. One can’t say one thing and do another.
China again urges the US to deliver on President Biden’s positive statements, stop interfering in China’s internal affairs and damaging China’s interests, stop containing and suppressing China, and work with China to remove obstacles, create conditions and bring China-US relations gradually to the track of stable growth.
Xinhua News Agency: President Xi Jinping has previously put forward proposals and initiatives on the Palestinian question. During President Mahmoud Abbas’s visit to China, President Xi held talks with him and put forward a three-point proposal on the settlement of the Palestinian question. Could you share more about this?
Wang Wenbin: China attaches high importance to the Palestinian question, firmly supports the Palestinian people’s just cause of restoring their legitimate rights as a nation, and has made unrelenting efforts in this regard. President Xi Jinping put forward two four-point proposals for the settlement of the Palestinian question in 2013 and 2017 respectively, which stressed the need to seek a political settlement based on the two-state solution and to galvanize stronger international support for peace.
Since early this year, tensions between Palestine and Israel have escalated. In particular, the violent clashes in May caused casualties on both sides, which is truly saddening. The repeated outbreak of conflicts and the ongoing vicious cycle of responding to violence with violence between the two sides once again show that the protracted standstill of the peace process and the fragmented, case-by-case crisis management model simply cannot last. The Palestinian question must not fall into oblivion just because the world is distracted by other international hotspot issues. The issue calls for a stronger sense of urgency and concrete steps to promote peace talks.
As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China has never been absent from the effort to seek a peaceful settlement of the Palestinian question. In light of the recent situation between Palestine and Israel, President Xi Jinping put forward a three-point proposal for the settlement of the Palestinian question, stressing that efforts should be made to establish an independent state of Palestine, that the international community needs to step up development assistance and humanitarian aid to Palestine and that it is important to keep to the right direction of peace talks. China stands ready to play a positive role to assist Palestine in achieving internal reconciliation and promote peace talks. This three-point proposal is in line with what President Xi proposed for the Palestinian question previously and takes into consideration the latest developments, which fully reflects the high importance China attaches to the Palestinian question and our just position on it and has been warmly welcomed and highly commended by Palestine and other countries in the Middle East. China will continue to uphold justice and make unremitting effort to seek a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the Palestinian question at an early date.
AFP: The European Commission said yesterday that Chinese telecom companies Huawei and ZTE pose a risk to the EU’s security. The European Commission announced it will no longer use services that rely on these two companies. Do you have any reaction to that?
Wang Wenbin: The European Commission keeps alleging that Chinese telecom firms such as Huawei and ZTE pose a security risk, but has yet to demonstrate any evidence. This is typical presumption of guilt. We firmly oppose it. The reality is that ever since Huawei and ZTE started operation in Europe many years ago, not only have they done no harm to European countries’ security, but they have contributed substantially to the growth of Europe’s telecom sector and generated considerable socioeconomic benefits. The European Commission’s identification of certain entities as “high-risk” suppliers without any legal or factual basis contravenes the spirit of the rule of law and is also a brazen violation of the principles of market economy, free trade and fair competition that the EU claims to champion. We strongly urge the EU to comply with international trade rules, not to make everything political or about security, and not to suppress foreign firms in the name of security.
Bloomberg: Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said that he believes military conflict between China and Taiwan is likely if tensions continue on their current course. He does say that he holds out hope for dialogue to de-escalate matters. How does China view Kissinger’s remarks? And is that de-escalation possible?
Wang Wenbin: China-US relations are consequential for both countries and the world. China views and handles its relations with the US in accordance with the three principles of mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation proposed by President Xi Jinping. The US needs to respect China’s core concerns, stop interfering in China’s internal affairs and stop undermining China’s sovereignty, security and development interests in the name of competition. We hope that the US will take concrete actions to follow through the important common understandings reached by the Chinese and US presidents in Bali and the commitments the US has made, work together with China to effectively manage differences, boost exchanges and cooperation, stabilize the relationship from deterioration and bring it back to the right track of sound and steady growth.
NHK: It seems that confrontation between the US and China is escalating recently. What is China’s expectation for US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s visit to China?
Wang Wenbin: I have stated China’s principled position on the China-US relations just now. On Secretary Blinken’s visit, what I can say is that during the visit, the two sides will exchange views on bilateral relations and important international and regional issues of mutual interest. China will make clear our position on bilateral relations as well as our concerns and resolutely safeguard our interests.
Dragon TV: We noted that many senior executives from well-known foreign companies have visited China this year, whose business portfolio ranges from automobiles, consumption, manufacturing, health care and finance to electronic technology. What’s your comment?
Wang Wenbin: We welcome foreign companies to invest and do business in China, explore the Chinese market and share the growth opportunities.
Since early this year, the Chinese economy has continued to recover and show strong market resilience and enormous appeal. Besides the visits you mentioned, foreign chambers of commerce in China recently published reports showing that most surveyed foreign companies are upbeat about China’s economic outlook. Over half of German companies surveyed intend to further increase their investments in China over the next two years. Almost 60 percent of US companies responded positively when asked about their outlook on China’s economic recovery. Eighty-six percent of UK companies reported feeling optimistic about the long-term potential of the Chinese market. Over 90 percent of Japanese companies interviewed said they would expand or maintain their business in China. According to data released by the Ministry of Commerce of China yesterday, in the first five months of this year, actual investment to China from France, the UK, Canada and Japan went up by 429.7 percent, 179.2 percent, 170.1 percent and 63.3 percent respectively. The Chinese economy is like a vast ocean with ample room for businesses from around the world to compete and thrive. It offers a huge market and immense opportunities to grow. Meanwhile, we will continue to ensure the ease of doing business for Chinese and foreign firms alike who intend to innovate and grow in China. We are building a market-oriented, world-class business environment governed by a sound legal framework. We will stay committed to high-level opening up, develop China with our doors wide open and achieve mutual benefit with all countries.
AFP: The Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates just met today with President Xi Jinping. What are your expectations from Bill Gates? Do you expect him to advocate for better relations between China and the US?
Wang Wenbin: Regarding the meeting between President Xi Jinping and Mr. Bill Gates, the Chinese side has put out a press release and you may refer to that. I’d also like to go over some parts of the readout for you. President Xi Jinping stressed that China is committed to advancing the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation on all fronts through a Chinese path to modernization. We will never follow the old path of past powers who sought hegemony. Instead, we will work with other countries to achieve common development and jointly build a community with a shared future for mankind. China stands ready to engage in extensive scientific and technological innovation cooperation with other countries, and actively participate in and boost the effort to address global challenges including climate change, epidemic response and public health. China will continue to strengthen cooperation with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in relevant fields and provide support and assistance to fellow developing countries to the best of its capacity.
President Xi added that Mr. Gates is the first American friend he has met in Beijing this year and that as the world is emerging from COVID, people should move around more, communicate more, and enhance their understanding of each other. President Xi always believes that the foundation of the China-US relationship lies in the people. He has always placed his hope in the American people, and hoped for continued friendship between the peoples of the two countries.
AFP: The US cybersecurity firm Mandiant on Thursday published a statement related to a cyberattack. It says that suspected hackers backed by China have broken into the networks of hundreds of public and private sector organizations globally. Are you aware of this report and is it accurate?
Wang Wenbin: The cybersecurity firm that you mentioned has repeatedly sold disinformation on so-called Chinese hacking attacks. The stories are far-fetched and unprofessional. The Chinese cybersecurity agency published in April the “Review of Cyberattacks from US Intelligence Agencies”, which disclosed that US intelligence agencies have been intruding on, dividing and suppressing foreign cybersecurity vendors through the Project CAMBERDADA. You might have noted that nowadays, global cybersecurity vendors rarely disclose cases of cyberattacks by the US government, but by making up reports about so-called foreign cyberattacks, US cybersecurity vendors have become accomplices in the US government’s smearing campaigns against other countries.