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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lin Jian’s Regular Press Conference on April 18, 2024
2024-04-18 20:18

Shenzhen TV: The 135th China Import and Export Fair, or Canton Fair, kicked off recently. The Canton Fair has been known as the barometer and bellwether of China’s foreign trade. We’ve noted some comments saying that the Canton Fair is a source of impetus to China’s high-standard opening up. What’s your comment?

Lin Jian: The 135th Canton Fair opened this Monday. Premier of the State Council Li Qiang visited the booths of enterprises at the Canton Fair and sat down with the representatives of exhibitors and overseas buyers. He stressed the importance of implementing General Secretary Xi Jinping’s important instructions, deepening reform and opening up, and upholding innovation-driven development to make the Canton Fair a bigger success and shine in the new era. He commended the representatives for their long-term and active participation in the Canton Fair, as well as their vigorous economic and trade cooperation with China. Representatives said they are full of confidence in the prospects of China’s economic development. They are ready to use the Canton Fair as a platform to continue expanding business in China, and to make positive contributions to the promotion of free trade and the maintenance of global supply chain stability.

Since its inception in 1957, the Canton Fair has been held uninterrupted every year. This year, the scale of the Canton Fair reached a new high. The import section covers an exhibition area of 30,000 square meters, and 680 global firms from 50 countries and regions are participating in the exhibition, of which 64 percent come from Belt and Road partner countries. The Canton Fair is where businesses from around the world gather to embrace the robust Chinese market. It is also where more Chinese hi-tech firms and innovative products go global, giving the world a sense of how China is advancing high-quality development and shaping new quality productive forces at a faster pace.

The dynamism of the Canton Fair is a window on China’s openness. Just as Premier Li said, the history of the Canton Fair is a history of companies from all over the world sharing in China’s opportunities and achieving mutual benefits, and an epitome of China’s continuous opening up and active integration into the international market. Over the past decades since the first Canton Fair was held, the Fair has witnessed a total of nearly USD 1.5 trillion worth of export deals made, and trade relations with 229 countries and regions established. The number of China’s friends of trade has been growing and China opens even wider to the world. By 2023, China had been the world’s largest exporter and second-largest importer for 15 consecutive years. In the first quarter this year, China’s trade in goods grew by 5 percent year-on-year. Different types of premium products from China are popular in the global market, and the international society also has high confidence in the strength of China’s supersized market. Such a deep and mutual integration provides strong momentum for global growth.

Going forward, China will continue to pursue a virtuous cycle of development and opening up, build more and stronger golden bridges for win-win cooperation, further promote the transition from opening up based on the flow of goods and production factors to a deeper institutional opening up, and share China’s supersized market and new development opportunities with the world.

AFP: US President Joe Biden called for a sharp increase of tariffs for steel imports from China citing unfair competition. In his speech yesterday, he also accused China of being “xenophobic”, and said “they’ve got real problems.” What is your response to the US President’s comments?

Lin Jian: I’d refer you to competent Chinese authorities for specific questions about China-US economic and trade relations. Let me say broadly that we’ve been asking the US to seriously respect the principle of fair competition, observe WTO rules, and immediately lift all trade protectionist measures against China. China will do what is necessary to safeguard its legitimate rights.

On the comments you mentioned, we just have one question for the US: are those words meant for China or the US itself?

CCTV: The US, Japan and the Philippines held their trilateral summit the other days and issued the Joint Vision Statement from the Leaders of Japan, the Philippines, and the United States. The statement expressed serious concerns about China’s behavior in the South China Sea and called on China to abide by the ruling of the 2016 Arbitral Tribunal. What’s your comment?

Lin Jian: China strongly opposes the practice of bloc politics by relevant countries. We firmly oppose any acts that stoke and drive up tensions and harm other countries’ strategic security and interests. We are seriously against forming exclusive groupings in this region. China does not accept relevant countries’ groundless accusation and deliberate smears against us on the South China Sea.

The award of the South China Sea Arbitration is illegal, null and void. China does not accept or take part in the Arbitration. We do not accept or acknowledge the so-called award. Still less do we accept any claim or action that is based on the award.

The South China Sea Arbitration and its illegal award harm the interests of countries in the region, including the Philippines. No matter how some may try to frame the South China Sea issue, the issue remains what it is. No political manipulation disguised as legal moves will go anywhere or deter China from safeguarding its territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests. China will continue to firmly safeguard its lawful rights in accordance with domestic and international laws. We urge relevant countries to be sober-minded and change course instead of going further down the wrong path.

Dragon TV: It’s reported that China received 38 pieces of lost cultural relics returned by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office in New York, the US on April 17. Could you share more information on that?

Lin Jian: On April 17 local time, China received 38 pieces of cultural relics returned by the US at the Chinese Consulate General in New York. The relics cover a wide variety and carry important historical, artistic and scientific value. The artifacts were found and seized by the US authorities in March. After being informed of the seizure, the Chinese side attached great importance to it and immediately conducted verification. With cooperation from the US side, the cultural relics were successfully returned. The relics will be brought back to China by competent authorities in due course.

China and the US signed an intergovernmental memorandum of understanding on preventing the illegal entry of Chinese cultural relics into the US on January 14, 2009 for the first time. The MoU was extended for the third time on January 14 this year. The return of the above-mentioned relics is the first cultural repatriation cooperation since that extension, and is also a step to deliver on the common understandings reached by the two presidents in San Francisco. China will continue to follow up on the MoU, work with the US to establish a sound mechanism for notification on stolen relics, protect cultural relics, promote cultural exchanges and mutual learning, and provide effective support for enhancing people-to-people exchanges and friendship between the two countries.

Bloomberg: There are reports that Antony Blinken plans to visit China. Can you confirm the dates that he will be traveling here and tell us what China hopes to accomplish while he’s visiting?

Lin Jian: China welcomes Secretary of State Antony Blinken to visit China soon. I don’t have more information to share for the moment.

Antara News: Today, Foreign Minister Wang Yi met Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi in Jakarta. My question, is there a specific agreement as part of the Belt and Road Initiative that has been agreed by the two countries after the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed train? And second one, related to the Middle East situation, was there any specific discussion to prevent the escalation of the conflict in the Middle East or to support Palestine as a full member of the UN?

Lin Jian: On April 18, Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi held talks with Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno in Jakarta and they met the press together. We have released readouts which you may refer to.

On the Middle East situation which you mentioned, let me quickly share some details. When the two foreign ministers met the press after the talks, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said China is saddened by the humanitarian crisis caused by the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. China and Indonesia agreed that it is important to fully implement UN Security Council Resolution 2728, immediately realize an unconditional and durable ceasefire, and effectively protect civilians. A humanitarian aid mechanism should be established as soon as possible to ensure the rapid, safe, unimpeded and sustained access to humanitarian supplies for Gaza. We call on relevant parties to stay calm and exercise restraint, and prevent further escalation or spillover of the conflict. China supports the UN Security Council in holding discussions as soon as possible and accepting Palestine as a full UN member state. China calls for a more broad-based, more authoritative, and more effective international peace conference to work out a timetable and roadmap for the two-State solution.   

Global Times: US Army Pacific announced a few days ago that the US has deployed the Mid-Range Capability missile system, also known as Typhon, to Luzon, the Philippines, as part of their joint military exercise. This is the first time that the US deployed a land-based, ground-launched system after it withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. Comments say that the USs move is aimed at deterring China. What is China’s response?

Lin Jian: China noted the announcement and expresses grave concern over the move. China strongly opposes the US deploying medium-range ballistic missiles in the Asia-Pacific and strengthening forward deployment at China’s doorstep to seek unilateral military advantage. The US’s move exacerbates tensions in the region and increases the risk of misjudgment and miscalculation. We urge the US to earnestly respect other countries’ security concerns, stop stoking military confrontation, stop undermining peace and stability in the region, and take concrete actions to reduce strategic risks. The Philippines needs to see and be mindful of what the US is truly after and the consequence of going along with the US on deploying MRBMs. The Philippines needs to think twice about being a cat’s paw for the US at the expense of its own security interests, and stop sliding down the wrong path.

AFP: As an election is held in Solomon Islands this week, a major candidate named Peter Kenilorea said today that if he becomes the next Prime Minister, he will scrap the security agreement with China. He also said before that he would seek to reestablish relations with Taiwan. What’s the Foreign Ministry’s comment?

Lin Jian: I would like to reiterate that China upholds the principle of non-interference in other countries’ internal affairs, and supports the people of Solomon Islands in choosing a development path that suits their national conditions. Commitment to the one-China principle is the right thing to do and is where the global opinion trends and the arc of history bends. This is the political foundation of the relations between China and Solomon Islands. We have a comprehensive strategic partnership featuring mutual respect and common development for a new era. A healthy and stable China-Solomon Islands relationship is in the interest of both countries.

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