Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on May 12, 2023

2023-05-12 19:24

At the invitation of Member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Vice Premier of the State Council Ding Xuexiang, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance of Singapore Lawrence Wong will visit China from May 13 to 17.

At the invitation of State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang, David Francis, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Sierra Leone, will pay an official visit to China from May 15 to 18. 

AFP: According to official reports, Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Director of the Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs Wang Yi and US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan held talks for over eight hours earlier this week, but the two sides only issued two short readouts. I have two questions. First, does this mean that the two sides failed to reach any agreement on key issues? Second, have the two sides talked about the possibility to have higher-level meetings during the G7 Summit to be held?

Wang Wenbin: We’ve put out a readout on this. On May 10 and 11 local time, Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Director of the Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs Wang Yi and US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan met in Vienna, Austria. The two sides held candid, in-depth, substantive and constructive discussions on ways to remove obstacles in China-US relations and stabilize the relationship from deterioration. Director Wang fully elaborated on China’s serious position on the Taiwan question. The two sides also exchanged views on the situation in the Asia-Pacific region, Ukraine and other international and regional issues of mutual interest. Both sides agreed to continue to make good use of this channel of strategic communication.

Xinhua News Agency: China announced the visit of Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki. Could you share with us the program and China’s expectations for the visit? How does China view the current China-Eritrea relations?

Eritrea is an important country in the Horn of Africa. China and Eritrea enjoy long-standing friendship. In 2022, President Xi Jinping and President Isaias Afwerki agreed to elevate our bilateral relations to a strategic partnership. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Eritrea. The two countries have deepened political mutual trust, achieved fruitful outcomes in practical cooperation and maintained close communication and coordination in international and regional affairs.

During President Isaias Afwerki’s visit, President Xi Jinping will hold a welcome ceremony and banquet for him, and the two heads of state will hold talks. Premier Li Qiang will meet with President Isaias Afwerki. We believe that President Isaias Afwerki’s visit will give a new boost to the all-round, in-depth growth of China-Eritrea relations and further advance our friendly cooperation.

TASS: The EU Indo-Pacific Ministerial Forum will be held in Stockholm, Sweden on May 13. It is learned that inclusive green growth is on the agenda, along with Russia-related topics. Does State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang plan to attend the event? 

Wang Wenbin: The Asia-Pacific is a promising region for cooperation and development, not a chessboard for geopolitical contest. Any regional cooperation framework in the Asia-Pacific needs to follow the prevailing trend of peace and development in today’s world, aim for greater mutual trust and cooperation among countries in the region and be open, transparent and inclusive. None of such frameworks should be based on the outdated Cold War mentality, draw ideological lines or drive up division and confrontation.

China News Service: A repatriation ceremony of Chinese ancient relics was held recently by Chinese and US officials in New York. Two stone-carved tomb beds dating back to the Northern Wei and Tang dynasties (386 AD – 907 AD) were returned to China. Do you have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: On the afternoon of May 9 local time, authorized by China’s National Cultural Heritage Administration (NCHA), the Chinese Consulate-General in New York and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office in New York held a handover ceremony, during which the US handed to the Chinese government two important Chinese cultural relics which had been illegally transported overseas and seized in investigations. This marks the fifth repatriation of cultural relics to China in recent years from US government agencies and the latest cooperation in the field of cultural heritage between the two countries. As we have learned, following the ceremony, our colleagues have started organizing the transportation of the relics back to China.

China is committed to expanding intergovernmental cooperation on combating and preventing the smuggling of cultural relics, as part of a broader effort to preserve humanity’s common cultural heritage. We stand ready to work with the US and other countries to step up exchanges and cooperation in the field of cultural heritage preservation.

Reuters: Are you able to confirm whether China’s Ambassador to France Lu Shaye will be recalled on May 15?

Wang Wenbin: That is not true.

People’s Daily: We noted that the Europe-based think tank Bruegel said in a recently-published report that the Belt and Road Initiative has stood the test of multiple challenges over the past ten years and been widely applauded, especially by developing countries. Do you have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: We noted this report you mentioned. The report documents mainstream news coverage in nearly 150 countries and on this basis makes a quantitative analysis of the global attention to and sentiments towards the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). According to the report, the initiative is generally positively received in the world.

The BRI proposed by President Xi Jinping is well received among the world most importantly because it is an initiative of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits. China never imposes its will on other countries, nor does it slip any selfish geopolitical agenda into the initiative. As an open and inclusive international cooperation platform, the BRI aims not for a globalization that serves the interest of only few, but for global common development that is more inclusive, balanced and beneficial for all. Any lies and rumors to smear the BRI and slander China’s cooperation with BRI partners will be debunked by these solid facts. 

China will host the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation later this year. Through this event, we hope to work together with the rest of the international community to take stock of what we’ve achieved and chart the course for the future, continue to elevate high-quality BRI cooperation and be a source of driving force and hope for world economic recovery and