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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin's Regular Press Conference on July 24, 2020

2020-07-24

Beijing Media Network: China successfully launched its first Mars mission Tianwen-1 yesterday, a move some foreign media believe is aimed to vie for dominance in outer space. Do you have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: Such allegation is untrue. Yesterday, China's first Mars mission Tianwen-1 was successfully launched, officially starting China's independent exploration of Mars. This is a proud moment for all Chinese and it also draws widespread attention worldwide. China received congratulatory messages and video clips from the Asia-Pacific Space Cooperation Organization (APSCO), the European Space Agency (ESA), the French National Centre for Space Studies (CNES), the German Aerospace Center (DLR), NASA, the U.A.E. Space Agency (UAESA), the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) and fellow scientists from Russia, the UK, Japan, Argentina and other countries. China appreciates all that.

China's Mars mission is an open scientific exploration platform. Mars probe this time is a result of Chinese aerospace researchers and workers' independent and innovative endeavors and international cooperation on space. To ensure the smooth implementation of this mission, China has conducted cooperation with the European Space Agency, France, Austria, Argentina and other organizations and countries.

It is incorrect for some media to deem this mission as a step in pursuit of dominance in space. Scientific and technological progress should serve to promote peace and common progress of mankind. China's space endeavor makes an important part of mankind's peaceful exploration and use of outer space and is entirely designated for peaceful purposes. Just as the China National Space Administration (CNSA) said, China's exploration and research of Mars is aimed to improve mankind's scientific understanding of Mars, expand and extend the space for human activities and advance the sustainable development of human civilization. The Pacific Ocean is vast enough to embrace countries in the world. The universe is even vaster to embrace all countries conducting joint exploration and cooperation. In fact, since 1996, Mars missions have been launched almost during every time window. This year even witnesses a new surge of Mars mission launches into outer space by various countries.

China stands ready to work with other countries on the basis of mutual respect, openness and inclusiveness, equality and mutual benefit, conduct international cooperation in space and make contributions to mankind's exploration of the universe, peaceful use of outer space and the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.

Reuters: Two questions about the US. First is we all saw the announcement this morning announcing the closure of the consulate in Chengdu. The Global Times editor tweeted that the US consulate was given three days to complete this closure, can MOFA confirm that and can you offer more details on why the Chengdu consulate was selected for closure? Second, Secretary of State Pompeo yesterday said in a speech that the US needs to forgo the old paradigm of blind engagement with China and called for action not on the basis of what Chinese leaders say, but how they behave, and called for a strategy of distrust and verify. Does China have a response to Pompeo's comments?

Wang Wenbin: On the morning of 24 July, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China informed the US Embassy in China of its decision to withdraw its consent for the establishment and operation of the US Consulate General in Chengdu. The Ministry also made specific requirements on the ceasing of all operations and events by the Consulate General.

On 21 July, the US launched a unilateral provocation by abruptly demanding that China close its Consulate General in Houston. The US move seriously breached international law, the basic norms of international relations, and the terms of the China-US Consular Convention. It gravely harmed China-US relations. The measure taken by China is a legitimate and necessary response to the unjustified act by the US. It conforms with international law, the basic norms of international relations, and customary diplomatic practices.

The current situation in China-US relations is not what China desires to see, and the US is responsible for all this. We once again urge the US to immediately retract its wrong decision and create necessary conditions for bringing the bilateral relationship back on track.

Some staff of the US Consulate General in Chengdu have engaged in activities inconsistent with their capacities to interfere in China's internal affairs and undermine China's security interests. China has lodged representations on multiple occasions and the US knows that very well.

With regard to the specific question you asked about, China has made specific requirements on the ceasing of all operations and events by the Consulate General. Reciprocity matters in diplomacy.

As to your second question, on July 23, Pompeo delivered a speech to maliciously attack the CPC and China's social system, and wantonly criticize China's domestic and foreign policies. His baseless, fact-distorting speech is full of ideological prejudice and a Cold-War mindset, a mosaic of China-related political lies recently fabricated by senior US politicians. China expresses indignation and firm opposition to it. We have lodged solemn representations with the US side.

Since the People's Republic of China was founded 71 years ago, the Chinese people, under the leadership of the CPC, have found a development path in line with the country's national realities and achieved remarkable progress. History and facts have proven that the development path China chose is a correct one, which has been endorsed by the Chinese people. According to a policy brief recently released by the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, the Chinese people's satisfaction with the Chinese government is over 93 percent, higher than that in the past decades. The Chinese people will continue advancing along the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics.

China stays committed to an independent foreign policy of peace, the path of peaceful development, a new type of international relations, and a community with a shared future for mankind. China never seeks hegemony or expansion. We are a builder of world peace, a contributor to global development, and an upholder of international order.

For some time, in order to deflect attention with slanders against and oppression of China and score some political gains, several US politicians have been drumming up ideological rivalry, blabbering about changing China, rejecting China-US relations and driving a wedge between China and other countries. Their petty tricks cannot fool the American people and the international community. In terms of social systems, China doesn't intend to change the US, and the US surely cannot alter China. As the Shanghai Communiqué signed during President Nixon's visit to China in 1972 clearly states, there are essential differences between China and the US in their social systems and foreign policies, but the two sides agreed that countries should conduct their relations on the principles of respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all states, equality and mutual benefit. The past 41 years taught us that China and the US both stand to gain from cooperation and lose from confrontation. Cooperation is the only right choice.

China noticed that Pompeo chose the Richard Nixon Presidential Library as the venue to deliver his speech. On the US side, President Richard Nixon started the process of normalizing China-US relations, a contributor to the development of bilateral relationship. However, for those US politicians who have been making and spreading lies and rumors against China, history is a fair judge. Any attempt to reverse the historical trend against the Chinese and American people's aspiration for greater exchange and cooperation will never succeed.

China's policy on the US is consistent and clear. We are committed to developing a China-US relationship featuring non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation. That said, we firmly uphold our sovereignty, security and development interests. We urge the US government to discard its Cold-War mindset and ideological bias, view China and China-US relations in a fair manner, refrain from negative words and deeds, and create conditions for bringing the bilateral relationship back on track.

 

CGTN: Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun reportedly said on July 22 that the US and China can continue to work together on the DPRK while competing in other areas; China can do a lot in enforcing binding sanctions on the DPRK and in preventing sanctions evasion. The US will continue to engage China in this regard. What's China's response to this? Under current circumstances, is China still willing to work together with the US on the Peninsula issue?