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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on January 20, 2023
2023-01-20 19:38

AFP: According to Xinhua News Agency, the Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao and Australian Trade Minister Don Farrell will talk very soon via video conference. Can you confirm?

Wang Wenbin: We have also noted the news release on Xinhua News website that, as agreed by China and Australia, Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao and Australian Trade Minister Don Farrell will hold talks in the near future via video conference. I would refer you to the competent authorities for more specifics.

CCTV: We have noted that recently China has resumed outbound tourism for Chinese citizens to some destinations. Could you offer more information?

Wang Wenbin: Following the government decision to manage COVID-19 as a Class-B infectious disease and the provisional measures on cross-border travel, the level of new infections has come down in China and the number of inbound and outbound travelers are on a steady increase. Many countries have extended their warm welcome to Chinese tourists. Life and work are coming back to normal across the country and many Chinese are looking to travel overseas as tourists. China is now better prepared to resume outbound tourism. In accordance with the provisional measures on cross-border travel, China is resuming outbound tourism on a pilot basis for the safety and orderliness of such travel. The competent authorities will guide the tourism sector as they organize outbound tourist trips to ensure their quality and safety. We would like to remind the tourists to look after their health in the run-up to their departure and strictly follow the COVID protocols of their travel destinations as well as China’s so that they can have a healthy and pleasant trip and a safe journey home.

Shenzhen TV: China released a white paper titled “China’s Green Development in the New Era” a few days ago, detailing China’s ideas, actions and experience in green development in the new era. It noted that it is the common responsibility of all countries to protect the environment and promote sustainable development. Could you share with us what China has done to protect our green planet?

Wang Wenbin: Under the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, China has remained committed to the path of green development and has always been a major participant, contributor, and torchbearer in the global movement for building an ecocivilization.

China is the first country to realize zero net land degradation. Its forest coverage ratio and forest stock volume have both increased for over 30 consecutive years. It has taken further steps to prevent and control pollution and notably improved the quality of the environment. We will make the steepest cuts in the world to the intensity of our carbon emissions, and complete the process from carbon emissions peaking to carbon neutrality in the shortest span of time, contributing China’s strength to global efforts to achieve carbon emissions reduction targets.

Green is not only a defining feature of a beautiful China, but also stands for China’s contribution to global sustainable development. China has put into action the Global Development Initiative, and worked for the establishment of the Global Clean Energy Cooperation Partnership. China is an active participant in cooperation on energy transition and energy efficiency under such frameworks as the G20, BRICS, Shanghai Cooperation Organization, and Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). China has signed an MoU with the United Nations Environment Programme on building a green Belt and Road, and reached more than 50 cooperation agreements on ecoenvironmental conservation with relevant countries and international organizations. We have trained 3,000 people from more than 120 countries under the Green Silk Road Envoys Program. We successfully hosted the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP15) and the 14th meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, which identified the way forward for global biodiversity governance and given a strong boost to the global wetlands conservation endeavor.

China stands ready to continue to join hands with the international community to make our world greener, deliver more benefits from green development to people of all countries, and build a cleaner and more beautiful world.

Yonhap: Yesterday Japan reportedly submitted a document to UNESCO for a group of gold mines on Sado Island to be registered as a World Heritage site. What’s China’s comment?

Wang Wenbin: China’s position on World Heritage application has not changed, and we have elaborated on that, which you may refer to.

Reuters: I have two questions here. The first one is Reuters reported that a team of US Treasury officials will visit China. This is in preparation for a visit by the Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. Are you able to confirm this news? My second question is the Chinese embassy in Lisbon removed some CCTV cameras. Does the ministry have any comment on this?

Wang Wenbin: I would refer you to the competent Chinese authorities for the first question. On your second question, the Chinese embassy in Portugal respects the host country’s laws and regulations. The CCTV cameras were installed for necessary internal security purposes in line with established international practice and certainly not intended at the local residents. 

Macau Monthly: US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said that China is no longer a major source of fentanyl flowing into the US, but they continue to see PRC-origin precursor chemicals being used in illicit fentanyl production. The US will continue to urge China to take additional meaningful concrete action and is committed to working with China on fentanyl and other areas in which the US and China can work together constructively. Do you have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: We have made clear China’s position on this issue and would like to reiterate the following points. 

First, China has taken an active part in international counternarcotics law enforcement cooperation under the framework of the UN conventions on drug control and always put precursor chemicals under strict control. China is the first in the world to have officially scheduled fentanyl as a class.

Second, non-regulated chemicals have a wide range of legal uses. Any company can produce, export and use them. It is the legal obligation of the governments of importing countries to ensure that the goods imported are not used for illicit purposes. Take steel as an example, it can be used to make cars or guns, but no one would propose to put a ban on international steel trade simply for the sake of gun control.

Third, in May 2020, the US put the Institution of Forensic Science of the Ministry of Public Security and the National Narcotics Laboratory of China on its “entity list” , which has since severely impacted and limited China’s counternarcotics capability. The US cannot expect cooperation from another country while harming the latter’s interests. Accusing others and shifting the blame simply won’t work if the US wants to remedy the fentanyl abuse at home.

Fourth, the US needs to lift sanctions against Chinese institutions as soon as possible, stop discrediting China’s drug control efforts, and at the same time permanently regulate fentanyl-related substances as a class. This is how the US should get on with its responsibility of dealing with its fentanyl overdose crisis at home.

Bloomberg: The Netherlands and Japan are reportedly getting close to joining the Biden administration’s effort to restrict export of chip technology to China. How does the foreign minister respond to this?

Wang Wenbin: The US, in order to perpetuate its hegemonic power and selfish interests, has repeatedly abused state power and export controls to politicize tech and trade issues and use them as a tool and weapon. It even pursues selfish interests at the expense of countries it calls friends through economic coercion against its allies. It has deliberately blockaded and hobbled Chinese companies and forcibly relocated industries and pushed for decoupling. Such moves gravely undermine market rules and international trade order. They not only harm the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies, but also destabilize global industrial and supply chains. An IMF research estimated that technological fragmentation can lead to losses in the order of 5 percent of GDP for many economies.

We hope that relevant parties will take an objective and fair stance, approach this issue in light of their own long-term interests and the common interests of the international community, and make their independent and right decision. China will closely follow the developments and firmly safeguard our own interests.

CCTV: After the outbreak of COVID-19, Chinese embassies and consulates have distributed Spring Festival kits to overseas compatriots for two consecutive years. Could you share more with us about the special events that the Chinese foreign ministry, embassies and consulates have planned for overseas compatriots during the Spring Festival this year?

Wang Wenbin: For two consecutive years after the outbreak of COVID-19, Chinese embassies and consulates have distributed Spring Festival kits to overseas Chinese students and fellow compatriots experiencing difficulty as well as others living abroad to convey greetings for the Chinese New Year. Overseas compatriots have been in our thoughts as the Spring Festival is celebrated across the world. This year, the Chinese foreign ministry, embassies and consulates launched the “Warm Spring” special program to send “warm spring” kits, which embody our best wishes to overseas compatriots, and hold various festival events such as celebratory gatherings, lantern shows, painting and calligraphy exhibitions, concerts and film screenings to celebrate the Chinese New Year with our compatriots overseas, convey the care and solicitude from the Party and the government, and share the festive joy with them.

We will never stop serving the people through diplomatic work. The care and love of the motherland will always be around. The well-being of our fellow compatriots overseas is always on our mind. We will continue, as always, to provide quality consular service for our compatriots overseas and safeguard their health, safety and legitimate rights and interests. We wish all our compatriots overseas a safe and joyous Chinese New Year.

AFP: Who will be China’s next ambassador to the US?

Wang Wenbin: China attaches importance to its relations with the US. The new Chinese Ambassador to the US will take up the post after completing the necessary procedures. I suggest that you follow the foreign ministry’s website to find out who the new ambassador will be.

Bloomberg: The Paris Club is apparently waiting for China to commit to Sri Lanka’s debt overhaul before giving needed assurance on unlocking funds from the IMF. Does the foreign ministry have any response to this?

Wang Wenbin: We answered a question on this issue yesterday. You may refer to that.

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In observance of the 2023 Chinese New Year holiday, our press conference will be in recess from Monday, January 23 and resumed on Monday, January 30. During the recess, you may still reach the MFA Spokesperson’s Office via fax, email and WeChat.

The traditional festival of the Chinese nation - the Chinese New Year - is around the corner. Over the past days, various “Happy Chinese New Year” events have been held around the world, and the UN will issue a special stamp sheet in celebration of the Chinese lunar New Year - Year of the Rabbit today. As the Spring Festival brings auspiciousness and joy across the country, we would like to extend our New Year greetings to Chinese and foreign friends from the media who have followed and supported China’s diplomacy. We wish you and your families a happy, healthy and prosperous Year of the Rabbit!

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