Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on September 25, 2020
As we mark the 75th anniversary of the UN this year, China will host together with the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs and Development Programme a high-level video conference on poverty alleviation and South-South cooperation on September 26. State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will attend and chair the meeting.
CCTV: China and the League of Arab States (LAS) recently held a webinar on “China’s experience in responding to the economic impact of COVID-19”. Can you give us more details?
Wang Wenbin: On September 23, China and the LAS held a webinar on “China’s experience in responding to the economic impact of COVID-19”. Nearly 100 delegates attended the event, including Ambassador for China-Arab States Cooperation Forum (CASCF) Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Chinese Ambassador to Egypt and Permanent Representative to the LAS, Assistant Secretary-General of the LAS and representatives of the LAS Secretariat, the Arab Labor Organization, the Arab Organization for Agricultural Development, the Arab Federation for Digital Economy, and UNCTAD Investment and Enterprise. Chinese experts shared in detail experience in coordinating epidemic prevention and control and economic and social development, and answered questions on China’s measures to resume work and production in employment, trade, investment, energy, communications, agriculture, manufacturing and other fields. The Arab side thanked the Chinese experts for the experience-sharing and expressed their strong wish for solidarity and cooperation with China, noting that by achieving positive economic growth, China has injected strong confidence in Arab countries.
In July this year, the two sides successfully held the 9th CASCF ministerial meeting through videolink. President Xi Jinping pointed out in his congratulatory message that “against the current backdrop, it is more important than ever for the two sides to strengthen cooperation to overcome difficulties and move forward hand in hand.” This webinar is one of a series of measures to implement the outcomes of the ministerial meeting. In the face of COVID-19, China and Arab countries have conducted fruitful anti-epidemic cooperation and made progress in resuming work and production and practical cooperation. For example, the first phase of a school project in Ramallah, Palestine was completed with the assistance of the Chinese government. Egypt has been discussing smart power grid construction with Huawei. Qatar’s mega strategic reservoir project undertaken by the Chinese side has been completed and put into operation. The Chinese government also opened its first full-time school overseas in Dubai.
Going forward, China stands ready to work with the Arab side to implement the outcomes of the CASCF ministerial meeting and continue providing support and assistance to Arab countries as needed to the best of its capacity.
Xinhua News Agency: As you just announced, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will attend and chair the high-level virtual meeting on poverty alleviation and South-South cooperation. Why does China decide to host this meeting at this moment? And what do you hope to achieve through it?
Wang Wenbin: This year marks the 75th anniversary of the UN as well as the fifth anniversary of the adoption of the UN Agenda for Sustainable Development. With a pandemic spreading across the world and a global economy in deep recession, implementation of the 2030 Agenda has experienced major setbacks and as many as 70 million to 100 million people may slide back into extreme poverty. Against such a backdrop, it is critical for all sides to firmly uphold multilateralism, support the UN-centered multilateral system, consolidate the global development partnership, vanquish the virus through solidarity and cooperation, and step up implementation of the 2030 Agenda. To this end, China and relevant UN departments decide to host the high-level video-conference on poverty alleviation and South-South cooperation as the UN is holding a series of high-level meetings to mark its 75th anniversary. Representative developing countries are invited to attend to exchange ideas on anti-virus cooperation, poverty alleviation, South-South cooperation and dovetailing BRI and the 2030 Agenda.
China looks forward to working with other sides for a fruitful conference, which will further consolidate international consensus of solidarity and cooperation and provide new impetus for eliminating and eventually eradicating poverty, deepening South-South cooperation, and implementing the 2030 Agenda.
Reuters: The commander of the Anderson Air Force Base on the US Pacific island of Guam yesterday labeled a Chinese air force video, which seemed to show a simulated attack on the facility, as propaganda designed to coerce and antagonize the US side. Does the foreign ministry have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: I took a similar question earlier and have no further information to offer at this moment.
Shenzhen TV: According to some reports, this year’s APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting will be held virtually for the first time. Taiwan authorities have said they would strive for Tsai Ing-wen’s participation. I wonder if you have a comment?
Wang Wenbin: Chinese Taipei participates in APEC in the capacity of regional economy under the one-China principle. No matter what form the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting may take, Chinese Taipei’s participation must comply with relevant APEC MOU and well-established practice. This is a key political precondition for the region’s participation in APEC. Our position on this issue is clear and firm. No one shall harbor any illusions. It is completely futile for Taiwan authorities to attempt to take advantage of the occasion to maneuver a “breakthrough”.
Phoenix TV: An editorial by Nature published on September 23 pointed out that continued biodiversity loss and the ongoing degradation of ecosystems are having profound consequences of human wellbeing and survival, and China has valuable experiences on protecting biodiversity that the world needs to hear about. How will China conduct experience-sharing and cooperation with the world in this area?
Wang Wenbin: The Chinese government upholds the concept of green development and gives equal priority to ecological development alongside economic, social, cultural and other enterprises, with high importance attached to biodiversity protection. We’ve rolled out more than 40 documents on strengthening ecospace protection, ecological conservation and rehabilitation, building a strong legal and policy framework for biodiversity protection. During the decade between 2009 and 2019, China completed afforestation over 71.307 million hectares of land, registering the highest increase in forest resources worldwide. China is a top contributor to global green cover increase with more than a quarter of the global total between 2000 and 2017.
While promoting biodiversity protection at home, China has also been deeply involved with international exchange and cooperation. It was the first to sign and ratify the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). It put forward the initiative of launching the Belt and Road Initiative International Green Development Coalition. It has conducted exchange and cooperation on environmental-protection with more than 100 countries, carried out a large number of cooperation projects on biodiversity, and played a constructive role in improving global governance on biodiversity.
At the UN Biodiversity Summit to be held on September 30, President Xi Jinping will deliver an important speech. As the host of the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP15) to the CBD, China will make thorough preparations for the event and actively share its practice and experience. China urges all parties, under the principles of fairness, transparency and parties-driven process, to broaden consensus, move in the same direction, and facilitate the adoption of an ambitious, balanced and realistic Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, and move toward a more just and equitable biodiversity governance system that embodies the best efforts of all parties.
AFP: The Australian Strategic Policy Institute has released another report on Xinjiang today, which said that the Chinese government has demolished or damaged many mosques in Xinjiang in recent years. What’s China’s response to this?
Wang Wenbin: As I’ve said, the ASPI has long been receiving funding of foreign forces to support its concoction of lies against China. Its lack of academic integrity has been questioned by many. The report you mentioned is again nothing but slanderous rumors. If we look at the numbers, there are more than 24,000 mosques in Xinjiang, which is over ten times more than in the US. It means there is a mosque for every 530 Muslims in Xinjiang, which is more mosques per capita than many Muslim countries.
Yesterday I responded to the ASPI’s false report on so-called “detention camps” in Xinjiang. As we stated time and again, there was never any “detention camp” in Xinjiang. According to Chinese media reports, which have also been substantiated by netizens, the sites identified by the ASPI include an e-commerce park and a highly-rated residential zone. Such a shoddy report has no credibility at all, just as the institute that produces it.
We hope people will all see through and reject the anti-China institute’s preposterous conclusions.
Global Times: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on September 24 told the New York Post that the US closed China’s consulate general in Houston because its staff were engaging in espionage activities. He also accused China’s consulate general in New York of engaging in “activities where they’re crossing the line from normal diplomacy to the kinds of things that would be more akin to what spies are doing”. He expected that the US Department of Justice will prosecute more cases. Does China have a comment?
Wang Wenbin: Pompeo’s allegations concerning Chinese diplomatic and consular missions in the US and their staff are purely malicious slanders.
It hasn’t been long since the US unilaterally provoked an incident by flagrantly closing China’s consulate general in Houston, to which China has made legitimate and necessary responses. Now it is again slinging mud at China in an attempt to justify its wanton acts. This shows a guilty conscience trying to cover up the obvious.
It must be stressed that Chinese diplomatic and consular missions including the New York consulate general and personnel in the US always act in strict accordance with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and the China-US Consular Convention. They are merely performing their official duties in engaging with various local communities. It is all above-board and beyond reproach. If one is looking for a record of misconducts, some US institutions in China and their staff won’t disappoint them.
We urge the US to immediately stop smearing Chinese diplomatic and consular missions and staff in the US, stop gathering vaporous rumors and provoking trouble, earnestly fulfill its international law obligations, abide by the China-US Consular Convention, and provide convenience for Chinese institutions and personnel in carrying out their duties.