Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on September 16, 2020
Invited by Secretary Patrushev of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, Yang Jiechi, Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the CPC Central Committee, will attend the 10th Meeting of the BRICS High Representatives on National Security via video link.
Xinhua News Agency: Can you tell us what does China expect from the 10th Meeting of the BRICS High Representatives on National Security?
Wang Wenbin: The BRICS mechanism is an important platform for emerging markets and developing countries to enhance solidarity and cooperation and uphold common interests. In recent years, under the strategic guidance of the BRICS leaders, the five countries have become an example of cooperation between emerging major countries to advance practical cooperation, deepen solidarity and mutual trust, and contribute to the people’s wellbeing.
The Meeting of the BRICS High Representatives on National Security is a strategic platform for strengthening political security and cooperation among the five countries. The 10th Meeting of the BRICS High Representatives on National Security is an important event before the BRICS leaders’ meeting this year, where the five countries will have in-depth exchange of views on international security, biosafety, cooperation on counter-terrorism and cybersecurity, among others. They will be committed to jointly handling challenges to safeguard the security and development interests of the five countries and defend world peace and stability. China is ready to work with other BRICS members for positive outcomes of this meeting, deepening mutual strategic trust in political security, and further sending out strong signals of BRICS solidarity and cooperation.
NHK: First, today the new Japanese cabinet was inaugurated. How do you comment on that? Second question, it is reported that the UAE has approved the emergency use of COVID-19 vaccines developed by Chinese companies, the first to approve the use of a vaccine developed by a Chinese company. What is China’s comment?
Wang Wenbin: On your first question, China congratulates Mr. Suga on his election as Japanese Prime Minister. As far as I know, Chinese leaders will send him congratulatory messages.
We have noted that Prime Minister Suga said in multiple occasions that it is essential to build stable diplomatic relations with China and other neighboring countries, and we appreciate that. China and Japan are friendly close neighbors and important countries in Asia and the world at large. To develop long-term, stable, friendly and cooperative relations between China and Japan conforms to the fundamental interests of the two peoples and the widespread expectation of the international community. China is ready to work with the new Japanese government, in accordance with the principles and spirit set out in the four political documents between China and Japan, to continuously consolidate political mutual trust, strengthen bilateral exchanges and cooperation in various fields and jointly work for new progress in China-Japan relations.
On your second question, as the COVID-19 is still raging around the globe, vaccines are an important weapon to defeat the pandemic. The international community is sparing no efforts to advance vaccine cooperation and committed to building a “firewall” against the virus. COVID-19 vaccine development and deployment in China, when available, will be made a global public good, which will be China’s contribution to ensuring vaccine accessibility and affordability in developing countries.
China and the UAE are comprehensive strategic partners. Since the outbreak of the epidemic, the two sides have pulled together through hard times, writing a touching chapter of our brotherhood in the fight against the epidemic. At present, the two countries are carry outing the world’s first international clinical Phase III trial of inactivated COVID-19 vaccine in the UAE, and relevant work is progressing steadily. China will continue to work closely with the UAE to push for early results in vaccine research and development cooperation and help the international community defeat the epidemic at an early date.
You may refer to relevant companies for details of vaccine cooperation.
Macau Monthly: According to reports, Shenzhen Zhenhua’ leaked database indicates the company’s been collecting open-source data and evaluating known figures in targeted fields worldwide. Persons and organizations under its surveillance include foreign politicians, their spouses and children, scholars, businesses and think tanks. What’s China’s comment?
Wang Wenbin: I noticed the company’s response that the report is seriously untrue. The company said clearly that it’s a private company, and its clients are research institutions and business groups. Instead of collecting data, it only integrates data which is open and available online.
I’d like to stress that as a staunch defender of cyber security, China opposes and fights all cyber crimes. We would like to enhance dialogue and cooperation with other countries to jointly build a peaceful, secure, open and cooperative cyber space.
Recently, in response to prominent data security risks, China proposed the Global Initiative on Data Security to uphold data and supply chain security and advance digital economy, which is actively responded to by a growing number of countries. China is ready to enhance cooperation and communication with all sides to reach and abide by global rules that reflect the will and respect the interests of all countries, prevent all practices that use one’s technological edge to undermine other countries’ security, and work with others to jointly safeguard global data security.
Prasar Bharati: Regarding the global initiative on data security, can you provide more details on what are the terms and conditions for joining this initiative and how China is proposing to enhance data security in this arrangement?
Wang Wenbin: I talked about the situation earlier. More and more countries are actively responding to the Global Initiative on Data Security proposed by China. We are ready to further cooperate with all sides to jointly safeguard global data security.
Bloomberg: First, Japanese Prime Minister Suga has picked Abe’s younger brother Nobuo Kishi as the new defense minister. Mr. Nobuo Kishi is known for his close ties with Taiwan. He visited there as recently as last month. Does the Ministry have a stance on the appointment of Nobuo Kishi as defense minister? Second, according to a report by cyber security firm Red Delta, hackers alleged to be backed by China have renewed efforts to penetrate a Vatican email server. What is the Ministry’s comment?
Wang Wenbin: We congratulate Mr. Nobuo Kishi on his appointment as Japanese Defense Minister. We hope that the defense departments of the two countries will strengthen dialogue and exchanges, continuously enhance security mutual trust, promote the building of constructive bilateral security relations and jointly safeguard regional and international peace and stability. We also hope the Japanese side will abide by the one-China principle and refrain from any form of official exchanges with the Taiwan region.
On your second question, China firmly opposes and combats all forms of cyber attacks and cyber crimes. This position is consistent and clear. Hacker attacks are a common threat to all countries. We need to investigate, collect evidence about and combat such problems through bilateral dialogue, judicial assistance, etc., and the issue of cyber security should not be politicized.
CNR: According to the Los Angeles Times, the latest research from UCLA suggests that COVID-19 may have gotten to Los Angeles as early as December of 2019, before the World Health Organization was even privy to the cases in Wuhan, China. Do you have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: Over some time, there have been flurry of reports on when and where COVID-19 broke out, which should be taken seriously. WHO officials once said that origin-tracing is an ongoing process probably concerning many countries and localities. We should be open to the possibility of various origins.
This again indicates that origin-tracing is a very complex scientific issue, and we should not pin labels to the virus, politicize the pandemic and stigmatize other countries. We need to enable scientists around the globe to conduct international science research and cooperation. China will continue supporting WHO-led cooperation among member states on the zoonotic source of COVID-19 and in other fields and scientists around the world in conducting relevant scientific research. We also hope certain country will adopt a positive attitude towards cooperation with WHO.
AFP: A recent report by the ABC claims that Australian federal police intercepted the communications of Chinese diplomats based in Australia as part of a foreign interference investigation into Australian MP. Does China have any comment and can you confirm this? Second, the fashion retailer H&M ended its relationship a Chinese supplier over allegations of forced labor in Xinjiang. Do you have a comment on this and how can China ensure that there is no forced labor in the Xinjiang supply chain?
Wang Wenbin: Regarding the first question, we noticed this report. The Chinese consulate general in Sydney has stated our position. The Chinese diplomatic missions in Australia have been observing international law and basic norms governing international relations, and committed to facilitating friendly exchange and practical cooperation between the two sides. Certain media’s claim of “the consulate general and its officials are involved in infiltration” is just a malicious slander. China deplores and strongly opposes that.
I’d like to stress once again that China pursues an independent foreign policy of peace. We have never conducted and will never conduct any interference or infiltration against another country. This is not in our genes. Some in Australia are doing whatever they can to fan up anti-China sentiments and catch eyeballs by smearing and attacking China, which only poisons China-Australia relations. We urge some in Australia to reject their Cold-War mentality and ideological bias, stop politicizing or stigmatizing the normal fulfillment of duty by Chinese diplomatic missions in Australia, and stop creating new obstacles in bilateral relations.
On your second question, I took a similar question yesterday. Under the pretext of forced labor, the relevant country took restrictive measures against Chinese companies, which we firmly oppose. This is a political maneuver that violates international trade rules and sabotages global industrial, supply and value chains.
APP: Pakistan and China have signed an agreement for the development of a Special Economic Zone under China Pakistan Economic Corridor. Prime Minister Imran Khan said the development of SEZ will boost industrialization and create more jobs in Pakistan. What is China’s comment?
Wang Wenbin: On September 14, Chinese enterprises signed the Development Agreement of Rashakai Special Economic Zone (SEZ) with the Pakistani side. This is the first special economic zone development agreement signed between China and Pakistan under the framework of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. The Chinese and Pakistani governments attach great importance to this. Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing attended the signing ceremony. Ning Jizhe, Deputy Director of the National Development and Reform Commission of China and the Chinese Chairman of the Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) of CPEC delivered a video speech.
The signing of the agreement means that the project will soon enter the substantive construction stage, which is believed to play an important demonstration and leading role in industrial cooperation between the two countries, boost the high-quality development of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and strengthen the internal driving force of Pakistan’s economic development.
Reuters: An Australian government lawyer today formally named China as the “foreign state” under investigation by police for an alleged plot to influence Australian politics. Do you have a comment on this investigation into this “foreign interference” by Australian police?
Wang Wenbin: Like I said, some in Australia are doing whatever they can to fan up anti-China sentiments and catch eyeballs by smearing and attacking China, which only poisons China-Australia relations. It is a despicable practice that does no good to bilateral ties. China pursues an independent foreign policy of peace. We have never conducted and will never conduct any interference or infiltration against another country. We urge some in Australia to stop stigmatizing China.
The Paper: US Secretary of State Pompeo said at a virtual conversation with Atlantic Council that more countries now side with Washington’s view of the world. These are powerful shifts in how the world views the threat from the Chinese Communist Party. Do you have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: Pompeo is a habitual liar who respects no facts and wantonly smears China on every possible occasion. The international community has seen enough of this.
Contrary to Pompeo’s claim that more and more countries now side with Washington’s view of the world, surveys show that the image of the United States has become increasingly unpopular as a result of misguided foreign policies led by Pompeo and his likes. According to a recent survey by the European Council on Foreign Relations, Europeans’ trust in the US is gone and their perception of the US has drastically deteriorated during the coronavirus pandemic. According to the Best Countries 2020 rankings, the world’s trust in the US has dropped by 50% over the past two years, the sharpest drop of any country assessed in the report. A Gallup report shows that US leadership remains unpopular worldwide, and it fares worst in its traditional allies in Europe. A survey of 37 countries by the Pew Research Centre found that only 20% approved of the US’ handling of international affairs. Another Pew poll released yesterday shows that favorable view of the US in Britain, France, Germany, Japan and South Korea is as low as it has been at any point due to US mishandling of COVID-19.
Once again, we urge Pompeo and his likes to respect the facts and stop his incessant anti-China rhetoric, otherwise they will only meet with stronger aversion from the Chinese people and those with a sense of justice in the international community.
Beijing Daily: At the first Mekong-US Partnership Ministerial Meeting held online on September 11, US Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun said China’s 11 dams have “adversely affected food security, environment and livelihood of people in the Mekong”. On September 14, US Secretary of State Pompeo issued a statement on the Mekong-U.S. Partnership, asking China to share its water data including dam operation data, and saying that it should be shared through the Mekong River Commission instead of other platforms. What’s your comment?
Wang Wenbin: To drive a wedge between China and regional countries, the US has been hyping up issues of water resources of the Lancang-Mekong River, which is baseless, scientifically incorrect and hegemonic. I’d like to make the following clarifications.
First, Lancang-Mekong countries all have the right to the reasonable development and utilization of water resources. According to CGIAR statistics, based on their development needs, Mekong countries have built over 300 hydropower stations on the mainstream and branches of Mekong River. Based on scientific evaluation, China built 11 hydropower stations on the Mekong River mainstream, which have contributed to economic and social sustainable development of riparian countries. The US accusations on China’s water conservancy facilities of adverse effects are nothing but unfounded pretexts.
Second, the international science community and the Mekong River Commission already have a fair conclusion on the role of the hydropower stations at the upper stream of the Lancang River. China’s reservoirs store water in the flood season for later use in the dry season, which helps maintain the steady flow of the Mekong. Besides, the runoff of Lancang River only accounts for 13.5 percent of that of the Mekong River, and its flow has very limited impact on the overall runoff of the Mekong River. Those in the US should learn more before saying ludicrous, scientifically incorrect things.
Third, at the third Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Leaders’ Meeting, Premier Li Keqiang announced that China will share Lancang River’s hydrological data for the whole year with the Mekong countries. The six Lancang-Mekong countries published the Vientiane Declaration to jointly foster an environment of lasting peace, stability, solidarity and harmony, and to support the building of an information sharing platform of Lancang-Mekong water resources cooperation. Upholding the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, our cooperation has been diverse, fruitful and widely acclaimed by regional countries. The US, with its blatancy and arrogance against regional countries, will not get its way.
Fourth, China believes that Lancang-Mekong cooperation should be open, inclusive, and complimentary to and coordinated with existing sub-regional cooperation mechanisms. The US has a dubious motive in its repeated slanders against China. Is it contributing to the region’s prosperity or sabotaging regional cooperation? Is it helping Mekong countries to mitigate the droughts and floods or trying to drag regional countries in to the trap of major-country confrontation? The US owes us an explanation.
The Mekong countries and China are linked by water and our future is intertwined. Attempts to drive a wedge between China and regional countries and to undermine regional peace, stability and prosperity will never succeed.
Reuters: WTO found on Tuesday that the US breached global trading rules by imposing tariffs on China. Do you have a comment on this?
Wang Wenbin: The spokesperson of the Ministry of Commerce has responded to the WTO panel report. We appreciate their objective and fair ruling.
In recent days, some US politicians have repeatedly accused China of “non-compliance” with rules. The WTO panel report once again proves that it is the US that has broken international rules. It reminds us of how the US has behaved in multiple international organizations, which help us to see it so clearly that the US is using international organizations to serve its own interests as they see fit.
China always firmly supports and upholds the multilateral trading system with the WTO at its core, and respects its rules and rulings. We hope that the US side will fully respect the ruling of the WTO panel and the rules-based multilateral trading system, take concrete actions and work with WTO members to safeguard the multilateral trading system and promote stable and sound development of the world economy.
Prasar Bharati: First, Indian Defence Minister said yesterday that India and China have agreed to resolve the current border issue in a peaceful manner through dialogue. India has earlier also said that both sides should move the troops to their respective positions of April at the LAC. In this regard, my question is, why China is not moving its troops back to status quo of April? Second, yesterday, in a SCO meeting, Pakistani side displayed a “fictitious” map at the meeting in blatant disregard to the host Russia’s advisory and in violation of SCO charter which does not allow bringing up any bilateral issue at the forum. What is China’s reaction to this act?
Wang Wenbin: China’s position on the China-India boundary issue is consistent and clear. China has always strictly observed the relevant agreements signed by the two countries and is committed to maintaining peace and stability in the China-India border areas, while firmly safeguarding national territorial sovereignty and security. The responsibility for the recent border situation between China and India does not lie with the Chinese side. The Indian side is the first to violate bilateral agreements and important consensus, make provocations with illegally border-crossing, unilaterally change the status quo of the border area, and fire shots to threaten the safety of the Chinese border troops. What is pressing now is that the Indian side should immediately correct its mistake, disengage on the ground as soon as possible and take concrete actions to ease the tension and lower the temperature along the border.
Recently, the foreign ministers of China and India met in Moscow and reached five-point consensus on the current situation. We hope that India will work with China in the same direction, follow the important consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries, put the differences in the proper place in bilateral relations, prevent them from escalating into disputes and avoid taking actions that may escalate the situation. China will continue to maintain dialogue and consultation with India through diplomatic and military channels and jointly make efforts to safeguard peace and tranquility in the border areas.
On your second question, I am not aware of what you said. I will try to gather more information on that after the meeting.
Prasar Bharati: As you said, both sides want to resolve the border issue and you also mentioned certain incidents that stride across last three or four months. I was wondering if the situation can get back to the status quo of April and negotiations can move forward?
Wang Wenbin: Like I said, what is pressing now is that the Indian side should immediately correct its mistake, disengage on the ground as soon as possible and take concrete actions to ease the tension and lower the temperature along the border. We hope that India will work with China in the same direction, and China also stands ready to maintain dialogue and consultation with India through diplomatic and military channels and jointly make efforts to safeguard peace and tranquility in the border areas.
The Global Times: A US reconnaissance aircraft used a transponder code to electronically impersonate a Malaysian airliner while spying on China’s Hainan Island and Xisha Islands. Do you have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: It is the old trick of the US military to use a transponder code to impersonate civil aircraft of other countries. According to incomplete data, since the beginning of this year, the US reconnaissance aircraft have electronically impersonated civil aircraft of other countries in the South China Sea for more than a hundred times. This above-mentioned practice is egregious, which has severely violated international aviation rules, disrupted the aviation order and safety in relevant airspace, threatened the security of China and countries in the region. China firmly opposes that.
We urge the US side to immediately stop such dangerous, provocative behaviors to avoid accidents in the air and at sea. China will continue work with regional countries to firmly safeguard the freedoms and safety of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea as well as the peace and stability in the region.
Reuters: Taiwan’s Chinese Wild Bird Federation was recently removed from BirdLife International, a bird conservation partnership. Taiwan’s authorities said that this is a direct result of the Chinese government’s pressure and interference. Do you have a comment on this claim?
Wang Wenbin: I’m not aware of the situation. But I want to stress that there is only one China in the world and Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory. Taiwan’s participation in the activities of international organizations must follow the one-China principle.
South China Morning Post: The US Treasury Department announced that it is imposing sanctions on China’s Union Development Group Co. Ltd. for its activities in Cambodia, saying the Dara Sakor port it constructed devastated the environment, and the project may be used to host Chinese military assets in Cambodia. Does China have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: I want to stress that the Chinese government always requires overseas Chinese companies to abide by local laws and regulations. China and Cambodia are traditional friendly neighbors and our bilateral cooperation is open, transparent, mutually beneficial and equal.
The US has repeatedly attacked China’s normal cooperation with relevant countries on the pretext that some projects could be turned into military bases, while it has hundreds of military bases in more than 150 countries around the world. Such hypocrisy and double standards are despicable.
For some time, in order to contain and suppress China, the United States has been violating international law and basic norms governing international relations and abusing various pretexts to illegally impose sanctions on Chinese companies. I want to say that the US is overstretching its hands and the rest of the world will never allow it to have its way. All countries should firmly condemn and reject the hegemonic actions of the US. China will also take necessary measures to resolutely safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of its own enterprises.