Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on September 22, 2020
Beijing Daily: President Xi Jinping delivered a speech at yesterday’s high-level meeting to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the UN. What is the message he’s trying to send out to the world?
Wang Wenbin: President Xi delivered important remarks at the high-level meeting to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the UN held yesterday, putting forward the following four suggestions centering on the crucial question of what kind of UN the world needs and how the UN should play its role in a post-COVID era.
First, the UN must stand firm for justice. Mutual respect and equality among all countries, big or small, represents the progress of our times and is the foremost principle of the UN Charter. All need to follow the approach of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits. All need to come together to uphold universal security, share the fruits of development, and jointly decide on the future of the world. It is imperative that the representation and voice of developing countries be increased so that the UN could be more balanced in reflecting the interests and wishes of the majority of countries in the world.
Second, the UN must uphold the rule of law. The purposes and principles of the UN Charter are the fundamental guidelines for handling international relations. They must be unswervingly kept and upheld. Relations among countries and coordination of their interests must only be based on rules and institutions. Big countries should lead by example in advocating and upholding the international rule of law.
Third, the UN must promote cooperation. Cold War mentality, ideological lines or zero-sum game are no solution to a country’s own problem, still less an answer to mankind’s common challenges. What we need to do is to replace conflict with dialogue, coercion with consultation and zero-sum with win-win. We need to expand the converging interests of all and build a big global family of harmony and cooperation.
Fourth, the UN must focus on real action. The UN should aim at problem solving and move toward tangible outcomes as it advances security, development and human rights in parallel. The issue of development should be highlighted in the global macro framework; and there should be a greater emphasis on the promotion and protection of the rights to subsistence and development.
These suggestions send out a clear signal that China will firmly uphold the UN-centered international system, firmly uphold the international order underpinned by international law, firmly defend the UN’s central role in international affairs, stay a true follower of multilateralism, stay actively engaged in reforming and developing the global governance system, and promote the building of a community with a shared future for mankind. This has been highly commended.
In the coming days, President Xi will address the UNGA General Debate, Summit on Biodiversity, and the high-level meeting on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women.
Xinhua News Agency: With 500 days to go before the opening of the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach has lauded Beijing 2022 for being a “historic event” which will make the Chinese capital the first city to host both the summer and winter Olympic Games. How do you respond to that and could you update us on preparation work for the winter Olympics?
Wang Wenbin: China has secured major strategic outcomes in fighting COVID-19. The Beijing Organizing Committee for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games maintains close cooperation with the IOC, the International Paralympic Committee and the International Winter Sports Federations to overcome the impact brought by the pandemic. The preparation is progressing smoothly, which has been highly recognized by the international community including the IOC.
As Beijing becomes the first city in the world to host both the summer and winter Olympic Games, it will be China’s major contribution to the International Olympic Movement. Winter sports lovers all over the world are looking forward to the Beijing Winter Games. As the 500-day countdown begins, we will work with all sides to make the Games a wonderful, extraordinary and outstanding Olympic event. We are confident that with the active participation of all sides, the Beijing Winter Games will be a highlight in the Olympic Movement that will enhance exchange and friendship between people of all continents.
Bloomberg: There have been media reports that some have been pushing for the International Olympic Committee to reconsider Beijing’s hosting of the 2022 winter games as politicians around the world voice increasing concerns over China’s human rights record. We’re wondering if the foreign ministry has any response to this?
Wang Wenbin: I don’t believe the so-called “increasing concerns over China’s human rights record” is an objective statement. The fact is that the majority of countries and people in the world recognize the fact that China’s human rights conditions are constantly improving and China has achieved notable progress in its human rights cause. At a recent UN Human Rights Council session, most countries voiced approval and support for China’s position on issues relating to Xinjiang and Hong Kong.
By linking the so-called human rights issue with the Beijing Winter Olympics in an attempt to pressure China, certain organizations have made the mistake of politicizing sports events. Such behavior goes against the spirit of the Olympic Charter and disrupts and jeopardizes the progress of the global human rights cause.
Today marks the 500-day countdown to the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing which will be another important contribution of China to the International Olympic Movement. Winter sports lovers around the world are keen to participate in the Beijing Games. Preparations for the Beijing Winter Olympic Games are moving ahead smoothly and have been highly recognized by the international community including the IOC. We are confident that the Beijing Games will be a wonderful, extraordinary and outstanding Olympic event.
Reuters: Could you tell us why China hasn’t joined COVAX so far?
Wang Wenbin: I’ve taken similar questions. At the 73rd session of the World Health Assembly, President Xi Jinping pledged that once China successfully develops and deploys a COVID-19 vaccine, it will be made a global public good. It will be China’s contribution to ensuring vaccine accessibility and affordability in developing countries. This is highly consistent with COVAX’s efforts to ensure that all countries have equal access to appropriate, safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines.
Vaccines are mankind’s most powerful weapon to vanquish the pandemic. China supports COVAX and has been in communication and cooperation with the WHO and other sponsors of the plan including the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (Gavi). We will continue vaccine cooperation with the WHO, Gavi and relevant countries to defeat COVID-19 together with the international community.
Kyodo News: China and the Vatican extended the agreement on the appointment of bishops. What significance does this have on relations between the two sides? With the Vatican having “diplomatic ties” with “the Republic of China” now, what effect will this extension have on the possible establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the Vatican?
Wang Wenbin: First I need to stress that the Taiwan region is an inalienable part of China’s territory. Please remember to use its proper name “China’s Taiwan region” in the future.
The China-Vatican provisional agreement on appointment of bishops has been working smoothly since it was reached two years ago, thanks to the concerted efforts, and Catholicism in China has witnessed sound development. The two sides will maintain close communication and consultation to continuously improve bilateral relations. There is good communication between the two sides. China holds a sincere and positive attitude towards advancing relations with the Vatican side. We welcome exchanges between the two sides with an open attitude.
The Paper: On September 21, the Chinese embassy in the Solomon Islands was officially opened. How does China view the progress in bilateral relations after the two countries established diplomatic ties a year ago? And what is China’s expectation going forward?
Wang Wenbin: On September 21, on the occasion of the one-year anniversary of diplomatic ties between China and the Solomon Islands, the inauguration ceremony of the Chinese embassy was held. Guests who attended the ceremony include Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare and all the cabinet members, eminent persons from all sectors, and representatives of local Chinese companies and Chinese communities. State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi sent a congratulatory message to the ceremony.
I’d like to share with you that over the past year since diplomatic ties were established, led by the important consensus reached by leaders of both sides, China’s relations with the Solomon Islands achieved a good start, rapid progress and fruitful outcomes. The two countries now enjoy stronger mutual political trust, vibrant exchange and cooperation, and more solid friendship. China and the Solomon Islands have been helping each other to overcome difficulties amid COVID-19. As proved by facts, a sound and steady China-Solomon relationship serves the interests of both countries and peoples. It again demonstrates that the one-China principle is an overriding trend. Under the efforts made by both sides, we believe greater progress will be made in bilateral ties, which will further benefit the two countries and peoples.
Prasar Bharati: Yesterday, India-China corps commander-level talks were held at Moldo. Can you please provide some details about it?
Wang Wenbin: China and India held the sixth round of corps commander-level talks yesterday. The two sides exchanged views candidly on the border situation and agreed to maintain dialogue and consultation.
China Daily: On September 17, Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa inspected the Colombo Port City and made positive remarks to support this project. Does China have any comment on this?
Wang Wenbin: On September 17, invited by the Chinese embassy in Sri Lanka, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and cabinet ministers attended the commemorative event for the sixth anniversary of the ground breaking of the Colombo Port City. Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa recognized the major achievements in this project and pointed out the role of the port city as Sri Lanka’s new landmark and key engine for future development, saying that it will benefit not only this generation but also generations to come.
Sharing a traditional friendship, China and Sri Lanka have been cooperating under the BRI framework, and the Colombo Port City is a major part of it. It demonstrates fully the mutually-beneficial nature of the BRI cooperation. Over the past years, China has become Sri Lanka’s most important source of foreign investment. Bilateral cooperation projects now cover almost every aspect of people’s life in Sri Lanka, offering more than 60,000 local jobs every year. China applauds Sri Lanka for the high importance it attaches to the port city construction. We will continue supporting Chinese companies’ cooperation with Sri Lanka, steadily advancing the project, and contributing to Sri Lanka’s economic and social development.
AFP: US media have reported that an ethnic Tibetan police officer in New York city was arrested for allegedly spying for China and this officer supposedly collected information on fellow ethnic Tibetans. Do you have any response to this?
Wang Wenbin: The US accusations are pure fabrication. The indictment is full of hedging terms such as “seems” and “possibly”, indicating the falsehood of the accusations. The US won’t succeed in its smears against Chinese consulates and personnel in the US.