At the invitation of Vice Premier of the State Council Liu Guozhong, Malaysia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Plantation and Commodities Fadillah Yusof will visit China from November 12 to 19.
Yonhap News Agency: During yesterday’s talks, the ROK and US foreign ministers stressed that the DPRK and Russia’s military cooperation has led to instability in the situation in Northeast Asia. As threats from the DPRK grow, China needs to play a constructive role. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that China values and places a premium on stability in the region and it has real influence over the DPRK, adding that they do look to China to use that influence to play a constructive role in pulling the DPRK back from its irresponsible and dangerous behavior. Do you have any comment on that?
Wang Wenbin: Both the DPRK and Russia are sovereign countries and China’s friendly neighbors. I’m not aware of what you mentioned about the cooperation between the DPRK and Russia. As for the US’s expectation for the role China can play, China is committed to peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula and the process of settling issues through dialogue. We hope the US will make sure it does its own part.
Reuters: Vice Minister Sun Weidong has been seen in Hanoi. Please could the foreign ministry confirm his visit and explain what is the purpose of his visit?
Wang Wenbin: On November 9, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Sun Weidong and Vietnamese Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs and Chairman of the National Border Committee Nguyen Minh Vu held the meeting between heads of government-level negotiation delegation on border issues in Hanoi. The two sides had in-depth exchange of views on China-Viet Nam relations, territorial border and maritime issues in a candid and friendly atmosphere.
The two sides agreed that under the strategic guidance of the leaders of the two parties and countries, the China-Viet Nam relations enjoy a good momentum of growth. Our two countries have been fully utilizing the mechanism of government-level negotiation on border issues, maintaining close communication and working actively to ensure the border and maritime situation between China and Viet Nam stable and under control, which has contributed to enhancing and deepening China-Viet Nam comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership.
The two sides spoke highly of the progress our two countries have made in port gate opening and upgrading and infrastructure connectivity and agreed to build the China-Viet Nam territorial border into a border featuring lasting peace, friendship and prosperity. The two sides fully recognized the joint efforts of the two countries in recent years in safeguarding maritime stability, spoke highly of China-Viet Nam maritime cooperation outcomes and reiterated the commitment to following the important common understandings between leaders of the two countries and the spirit of the agreement on the basic principles guiding the settlement of sea-related matters between China and Viet Nam, and continuing to enhance dialogue and consultation, properly manage differences, deepen practical maritime cooperation and boost the growth of China-Viet Nam relations.
China News Service: We noted that the 2023 World Internet Conference (WIC) Wuzhen Summit opened a few days ago. It is a platform to showcase the latest internet technologies. As we mark the 10th anniversary of the WIC this year, do you have any comment on the conference?
Wang Wenbin: The 2023 World Internet Conference (WIC) Wuzhen Summit opened in Wuzhen, Zhejiang Province on November 8. President Xi Jinping delivered remarks via video link. He made a proposal of advocating three things: first, to advocate prioritizing development and building a more inclusive and prosperous cyberspace; second, to advocate shared security and peace, aiming to build a more peaceful and secure cyberspace; and third, to advocate cultural exchange and mutual learning to build a more equal and inclusive cyberspace. His proposal provides a way forward for jointly building a community with a shared future in cyberspace.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the WIC. Over the past decade, Wuzhen has witnessed dreams coming true through internet technologies. Ten years ago, robots were still a novelty to most people. Today, people are fairly used to vending robots and various kinds of smart products. Technologies such as remote control, face scanning, home connect and artificial intelligence that were once out of reach are now easily available, changing the daily life of each and every one of us.
Over the past decade, Wuzhen has witnessed the rapid development of China’s internet. Two blue papers, the World Internet Development Report 2023 and the China Internet Development Report 2023, were launched at this year’s WIC, according to which, by June 2023, the number of China’s internet users has reached 1.079 billion, internet usage has increased to 76.4 percent, and a total of 2.937 million 5G base stations have been constructed and put into use, with 676 million 5G mobile phone users. China ranks second today on the Global Internet Development Index.
In the past decade, Wuzhen witnessed China’s solid efforts and commitment to be deeply involved in global internet governance and build a community with a shared future in cyberspace. China has proposed the four-point principle on global internet governance, a five-point proposal on building a community with a shared future in cyberspace and a four-point call for common action on forging a better cyberspace. China released the Global Initiative on Data Security, Global AI Governance Initiative and the Beijing Initiative on Belt and Road International Digital Economy Cooperation. We have actively participated in digital economy cooperation under multilateral frameworks, including APEC, the G20, and the WTO. China has been fully advancing major projects, including the China-ASEAN Information Harbor, digital development of the China-Europe Railway Express and China-Arab Online Silk Road, and realized multi-language data sharing via the DBAR Big Earth Data System, which has been widely recognized by the international community. The WIC is officially upgraded to an international organization with a permanent institution and a total of 130 members, including internet enterprises, institutions, and individuals, from 25 countries and regions. It has become an important platform for pooling international consensus on internet development and governance.
Joint sharing and joint governance is the shared vision for the development of the internet. It is the shared responsibility of the international community to make good use of the cyberspace and improve it through better governance. The world is in a golden era of high-speed internet development and we need to make the right choice between opening up and erecting walls, between cooperation and taking each other down. China advocates building a community with a shared future in cyberspace and delivering more benefits to people of all countries via the internet. It serves the common interests of the international community and is the right way forward. We stand ready to work with all sides to deepen exchanges and cooperation, open up new prospects for cyberspace cooperation, write a new chapter in internet development and governance and deliver more benefits to the people with development outcomes of the internet.
Bloomberg: The Australian government and Tuvalu, the island nation in the Pacific, signed a deal where Australia promises to militarily defend Tuvalu in case of any threat. Australia has complained a lot about the militarization of the Pacific. Do you have any comment about the now signing of this military deal with the country Tuvalu?
Wang Wenbin: Our hope is for all countries to be able to enhance friendly cooperation with Pacific Island countries in the spirit of openness, inclusiveness, mutual benefit and solidarity, and together contribute to the peace, stability and development of that region.
The Wall Street Journal: I just wanted to ask whether you have any update on whether President Xi will visit the US next week to meet with President Biden? And specifically can you comment on reports this week in the US press that China and the US are moving to restart military to military dialogue?
Wang Wenbin: We answered this question before and you may refer to that.
Beijing Youth Daily: The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) adopted at the 42nd session of its General Conference a resolution on establishing the UNESCO International Institute for STEM Education (IISTEM) in Shanghai, China, which will be the first UNESCO category 1 institute in China. Do you have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: On November 9, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) adopted at the 42nd session of its General Conference a resolution on establishing the UNESCO International Institute for STEM Education (IISTEM) in Shanghai, China. It will be the first UNESCO category 1 institute outside Europe and the US and in a developing country. We welcome the adoption of the resolution and extend our thanks to UNESCO and its members for the trust they have placed in China.
The UNESCO IISTEM, an integral part of the organization, is tasked with the mission to promote inclusive, equitable, relevant and quality education for all from early childhood to adulthood in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Today, innovation has become an important engine driving social and economic development and plays a key role in promoting sustainable growth globally. The Chinese government attaches high importance to education and takes STEM education as a key approach to cultivating innovative and versatile talent. We will act earnestly on our commitment, collaborate with UNESCO to implement the resolution, and work for the early establishment and operation of the institute to contribute more to the UN’s agenda for sustainable development as well as world peace and development.
Reuters: A ransomware attack on ICBC’s subsidiary in the US disrupted some trades in the US Treasury market on Thursday. Bloomberg reported LockBit is suspected to have conducted the hack citing people familiar with the matter. Please could you confirm that LockBit was the culprit? And do you have any further comment on the matter?
Wang Wenbin: As we have learned, ICBC is closely following this and has taken effective emergency response measures and engaged in proper supervision and communication in order to minimize risk, impact and damage. At the moment, the systems of the ICBC Head Office and other domestic and overseas affiliated institutions are all functioning normally. For more specifics, please refer to competent authorities.
NHK: According to reports, Chief Representative Yamaguchi Natsuo of Japan’s Komeito party was planning to visit China on November 22. Can the foreign ministry confirm this and share more information?
Wang Wenbin: As for the Komeito leader’s visit to China, we stated China’s position earlier and you may refer to that.
AFP: Many people have been displaced by fighting in northern Myanmar, the United Nations said Friday. Does China plan to take any measures to stop the fighting?
Wang Wenbin: We are closely following the conflict in northern Myanmar. We urge parties concerned to immediately stop the fighting, and ensure security at the China-Myanmar border.
Global Times: On November 8, the G7 released a statement recognizing the importance of engaging candidly and expressing concerns directly to China. Do you have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: The G7 foreign ministers said in the statement that they stand prepared to build constructive and stable relations with China and do not seek to thwart China’s economic progress and development. We hope they will reflect this in concrete actions and work in earnest with China for the sound growth of bilateral ties on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit.
We reject the G7’s unfounded allegations of China distorting the global economy and engaging in economic coercion. It is not China, but G7 members that have placed over 10,000 entities and individuals around the world on sanctions lists, abused state power to go all out after particular companies, politicized and weaponized economic and trade issues, and destabilized the international industrial and supply chains. The G7 needs to look within itself and reflect on its own behavior.
We firmly oppose the G7’s wrong actions that harm China’s sovereignty and interfere in China’s internal affairs.
The South China Sea arbitration case initiated by the Philippines concerns essentially territorial sovereignty and maritime delimitation, which is not subject to UNCLOS. The award is illegal, null and void, and completely invalid. The G7’s endorsement of the award and the antagonism and confrontation it could cause runs counter to regional countries’ desire for a peaceful and stable region.
The key to peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait lies in the one-China principle. The biggest threat to peace in the Taiwan Strait is the DPP authorities’ refusal to change their “Taiwan independence” separatist stance and the external connivance and support they have received. The G7 countries all made a commitment to one-China and should therefore honor that commitment and fully put that into practice.
Issues relating to Xinjiang, Xizang and Hong Kong are all China’s internal affairs that brook no external interference. The world knows what exactly the state of democracy and human rights looks like in each country, and the people of each country have the best say in that. We urge the G7 to abide by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and the basic norms of international relations. The G7 needs to look after its own affairs and stop interfering in other countries’ internal affairs under various pretexts.
Reuters: On the situation in northern Myanmar, how do you characterize China’s role in the fighting on its border? The second question is, according to local media reports in Myanmar, the rebel group has taken control of the small town of Nankan near the Chinese border. The China-Myanmar oil and gas pipeline passes through this town. Could the Ministry of Foreign Affairs please clarify whether the operation of the pipeline has been affected? How can China keep the pipeline operating safely and stably?
Wang Wenbin: You asked about China’s role in the conflict in northern Myanmar. As I just said, China’s role is very clear. We urge parties concerned in Myanmar to immediately stop the fighting, and ensure security and stability at the China-Myanmar border. This is the role that China plays.
As for the China-Myanmar oil and gas pipeline you asked about, as I understand, the relevant pipeline infrastructure has not been affected. The China-Myanmar oil and gas pipeline is an important cooperation project between China and Myanmar, which brings tangible benefits to the two countries and peoples. China is closely following the conflict in northern Myanmar. We urge parties concerned in Myanmar to immediately stop fighting, take seriously China’s security concerns and work with China to jointly protect the safety of China-Myanmar cooperation projects and personnel of enterprises there.
AFP: The China Coast Guard Spokesperson said earlier today that China took control measures against Philippine ships in the South China Sea. What is the Foreign Ministry’s comment on this?
Wang Wenbin: On November 10, two cargo vessels and three coast guard ships of the Philippines intruded into waters of China’s Ren’ai Jiao. This gravely violated China’s sovereignty. The China Coast Guard took necessary enforcement measures against the Philippine ships in accordance with law. The Chinese Foreign Ministry has lodged serious démarche to the Philippine Embassy in China.
Ren’ai Jiao is part of China’s Nansha Qundao. The Philippines has “grounded” a military vessel at Ren’ai Jiao and attempted to repair and reinforce it in an attempt to permanently occupy Ren’ai Jiao. Such moves seriously violate international law and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) signed between China and ASEAN countries. China firmly rejects those moves.
China urges the Philippines to immediately stop making maritime provocations and tow away the “grounded” warship. China will continue to take necessary measures in accordance with law to firmly safeguard our territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests.