Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on September 28, 2020
CCTV: State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi attended and chaired the High-Level Video Conference on Poverty Eradication and South-South Cooperation the day before yesterday. How does China view the outcomes of this meeting?
Wang Wenbin: The on-going COVID-19 may drive as many as 70 to 100 million people into extreme poverty. International cooperation on poverty eradication is an important part of global anti-epidemic efforts and a priority in the international human rights cause.
Last week, at the high-level meetings on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the UN, President Xi Jinping announced a series of major approaches to support the UN and promote world peace and development. By co-hosting this high-level video conference on poverty eradication and South-South cooperation with UN agencies, China is taking a concrete approach to implement President Xi’s announced measures and further advance poverty alleviation and South-South cooperation.
At this high-level conference, China noted that the international community must take a “development first” approach, place greater importance on the 2030 Agenda, and make comprehensive, balanced and robust efforts toward the sustainable development goals and targets. We must make poverty eradication front and center, and unlock the door toward no poverty using the master key of development. The international community needs to empower the collective rise of developing countries through South-South cooperation, and further increase the representation and say of developing countries in international affairs. All sides highly commended China’s position and proposals at the conference, which they believe demonstrate once again China’s commitment to multilateralism and longstanding support for the UN and South-South cooperation.
Human beings have become a community with a shared future. The final victory against the virus won’t come until it is defeated in the last country, and the final victory of poverty alleviation won’t be ours unless poverty is eradicated in the last nation. China will always stand side by side with other developing countries. We will earnestly implement the important measures announced by President Xi, and further contribute to global anti-epidemic cooperation, poverty eradication and development.
Bloomberg: Does the foreign ministry have any comment on a U.S. federal judge temporarily blocking President Trump’s ban on TikTok?
Wang Wenbin: We noticed the reports. China opposes the US unjustified suppression and bullying against non-US companies by abusing the US state power under the weakest pretext of national security. We hope the US can earnestly respect the principles of market economy and fair competition, observe international trade rules, and foster an open, fair, just and non-discriminatory business environment for foreign companies operating and investing in the US.
AFP: The US Commerce Department has reportedly ordered companies to get permission before selling equipment to Chinese chip-maker SMIC. It was said that equipment sold to the company poses an unacceptable risk of being diverted to military end use. What is China’s comment on the matter?
Wang Wenbin: You may have noticed the response made by SMIC. As a principle, China firmly opposes the unjustified suppression against non-US companies by abusing the US state power under the weakest pretext of national security, breaching the principles of market economy and fair competition, violating international trade rules, and abusing export restrictions. China will continue taking necessary measures to uphold the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies.
China Daily: FTSE Russell said Thursday it will add Chinese government bonds to its flagship World Government Bond Index (WGBI), the last of the three main index compilers to consider adding Chinese debt after Bloomberg Barclays and JPMorgan Chase. Does the foreign ministry have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: Your question is quite technical. An official from the People’s Bank of China already responded to that.
I want to stress that China has made non-stop efforts in deepening reform and opening-up over the past four decades, and the basic state policy of reform and opening-up has not changed and will never change. Despite severe challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic and deep global economic recession, we have kept rolling out powerful new measures on this front. For example, the Foreign Investment Law, which came into effect on January 1, 2020, has boosted foreign investors’ expectation for and confidence in China. In June, China further shortened the negative lists for foreign investment access and the country’s free trade zones in their 2020 editions. At the 2020 China International Fair for Trade in Services earlier this month, President Xi Jinping pledged that we will continue to work on a negative list system for managing cross-border trade in services. We will develop open platforms for the pilot program of innovative development of the service sector. We will further ease market access and take greater initiative to increase imports of quality services.
The inclusion of China’s sovereign bonds into the WGBI reflects international investors’ confidence in China’s strive for deeper reform and opening up of the capital market, in China’s economic growth, and in an improving business environment for investment and operation.
The Chinese economy has been deeply integrated into the world. No matter how the external environment may change, we will remain committed to the path of reform and opening up.
Reuters: At least 16 military members and several civilians were killed on Sunday in heavy clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, igniting concerns about stability in the South Caucasus, which is a major corridor for oil and gas pipelines. What’s the ministry’s comment on this?
Wang Wenbin: We noticed relevant reports. Maintaining peace and stability in the region serves the interests of all sides including Armenia and Azerbaijan. We hope relevant sides will stay cool-headed, exercise restraint, avoid further escalation and resolve differences through political dialogue.
Beijing Youth Daily: An Australian magazine published articles exposing how Australian intelligence agencies colluded with anti-China academic Hamilton and MP Hastie to fabricate the false narrative of “China engaging in infiltration and espionage activities in Australia” and wage anti-China propaganda warfare to harm China-Australia relations. I wonder if China has any comment?
Wang Wenbin: This is not the first time certain institutions and individuals in Australia were exposed by the media, and the forces behind them and their mode of operation are no longer secret. These people are obsessed with cooking up sensational lies on “China infiltration”. They stigmatize and demonize normal people-to-people exchange and cooperation between China and Australia and normal activities of the Chinese community in Australia to instigate ideological confrontation, poison the atmosphere for bilateral relations, and hijack the Australian government’s decision-making and public opinion. By doing so, their final aim is to achieve self-serving hidden political gains. Such despicable tricks cannot fool the Australian people and the international community. They simply won’t work.
China was once a victim to bullying and interference of strong powers. We understand how valuable independence is. Guided by the principle of not doing to others what you would not want yourself, we uphold an independent foreign policy of peace. We never interfere in or infiltrate other countries. We don’t think there is any need for that. Once again we urge certain people in Australia to reject the Cold War mentality and ideological bias, give more consideration to Australian people’s interests instead of their own political gains, stop smearing China, and work to enhance mutual trust and cooperation with China. We also hope people from all walks of life in Australia and other countries can tell right from wrong, refuse to be deluded or blinded by a handful of radical anti-China propagandists, and view China and China-Australia relations in an objective and rational light.
Kyodo News: Reports say State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will visit Japan and meet with Prime Minister Suga in October. Can you confirm this?
Wang Wenbin: China attaches importance to high-level exchanges between China and Japan as they can lead the efforts to improve bilateral ties. Working with Japan’s new government, China is ready to strive for new achievements in bilateral relations. Regarding your question though, I have no information at the moment.
Shenzhen TV: Today marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Cuba. How does China view the bilateral relations over the past six decades? Does China have any expectation for China-Cuba relationship going forward?
Wang Wenbin: Exactly 60 years ago, China and Cuba officially established diplomatic relationship, making Cuba the first in the western hemisphere to have diplomatic ties with China. This move opened up a new chapter for China-Cuba relations, as well as for the relations between China and Latin America and the Caribbean region. Sixty years after the establishment of diplomatic ties, China and Cuba have stepped up political mutual trust, produced fruitful outcomes in practical cooperation, and maintained close coordination in international affairs. All this makes the bilateral ties an exemplar of state-to-state relations that contributes to the building of a community with a shared future for mankind. After COVID-19 broke out, the leaders of China and Cuba expressed firm support to each other through correspondence and via telephone, and the two countries have pulled through difficult times together with mutual assistance, setting an example for joint response to global crisis.
Today, CPC Central Committee’s General Secretary and China’s President Xi Jinping exchanged congratulatory messages with Raul Castro, first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba, and Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties. President Xi noted that over the past 60 years, China-Cuba relationship has stood the test of changing international landscape and emerged even stronger. On this occasion of the 60th anniversary, we stand ready to continue being good friends, good comrades, and good brothers for always. Premier Li Keqiang and Cuban Prime Minister Manuel Marrero Cruz sent congratulatory messages to each other to express the wish for deepening friendly and cooperative relationship.
Looking ahead, China will further cherish and advance our friendship with Cuba. Standing at the new historical starting point, we will continue to deepen political mutual trust, expand and deepen bilateral cooperation, and move forward the special friendship for new outcomes in various fields. We are firmly convinced that China-Cuba relations will have a brighter future.
Global Times: On September 25, the US Department of State published a fact sheet of China’s Environmental Abuses on its website, attacking China on its greenhouse gas emissions, marine debris, illegal fishing, wild life trafficking and other issues. Do you have any comment on this?
Wang Wenbin: This is another anti-China farce played by the US out of political purposes. The US so-called “fact sheet” is nothing but a list of sheer lies.
Lies are so easily exposed by truth. China’s achievements in addressing climate change are widely recognized. By the end of 2019, China’s CO2 emissions per unit of the GDP were cut by 48.1 percent compared with that in 2005, and the share of non-fossil fuel reached 15.3 percent, fulfilling our 2020 climate action targets ahead of schedule. The new afforestation in China accounted for 25 percent of the global total, and over 50 percent of the world’s new energy vehicles are in China. At the general debate of the 75th UNGA session on September 22, President Xi Jinping announced that China will enhance the nationally determined contribution targets, and strive for the peaking of CO2 emissions before 2030 and carbon neutrality before 2060. China has phased out over 280,000 tonnes of ozone-depleting substance (ODS), accounting for more than half of the total by developing countries. China’s ambient air quality standards are implemented in 74 cities, and I believe you have all witnessed how blue the skies are. China has eliminated artisanal and small-scale gold mining, and we will eliminate the manufacture, import and export of mercury-added products listed in the Minamata Convention on Mercury by the end of this year. China is one of the countries that have the most stringent legislation and law enforcement on the protection of wildlife. We contributed greatly to global forest resources, sustainable forest products and trade. By the end of 2020, China will basically achieve the goal of zero import of solid waste. Nearly 99 percent of China’s urban household waste goes through innocuous disposal. Our coastal cities all have garbage classification and marine sanitation mechanisms. The Belt and Road Initiative is green in nature. China, relevant countries and international organizations jointly launched the Belt and Road Initiative International Green Development Coalition and published the Green Investment Principles. China’s marine debris is of a lower middle level in the world, which is in a controllable state. China implements the world’s most rigorous Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) and fights illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing activities with zero tolerance. The future of six Lancang-Mekong countries is closely linked, and water resources cooperation in this region is getting more vibrant. China announced the decision to share the Lancang River’s hydrological data for the whole year with the Mekong countries. The six countries agreed to support the building of an information sharing platform of Lancang-Mekong water resources cooperation, enhance joint research and deal with challenges together.
Despite our concrete measures on environmental protection, the US has been attacking China a lot, but what has it done? We’d like to ask: why did the US refuse to ratify the Kyoto Protocol and withdraw from the Paris Agreement? When will it pledge carbon neutrality? As a country with per capita emissions three times of that of the global average, more than twice – once almost five times – of that of China’s, and with accumulated emission about three times of that of China’s, shouldn’t it explain itself to the people in developing countries, especially small island countries, that are severely affected by climate change? When will it pay the huge amounts of contributions it owes to the Global Environment Fund, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, and the UNFCCC? What does it say about its export of large amounts of garbage to developing countries every year? The US owes the international community an explanation.
People across the world know clearly who’s acting and contributing, and who’s talking empty words and creating chaos. The fact is, the US itself is the biggest perpetrator damaging international environmental cooperation, and the US itself poses the biggest threat to the global environment. We urge the US to stop political manipulation and slandering, and make tangible contributions to the protection of global environment instead of stirring up troubles.
Yonhap News: Media reports say China and the ROK are talking about State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s future visit to the ROK. Can you confirm this?
Wang Wenbin: China and the ROK have close exchange via political and diplomatic channels. If both sides reach agreement on the specific arrangements of visits, we will release the information in due course.
AFP: More than one million people have died worldwide from the coronavirus since the outbreak in December, according to AFP calculations. Does China have any comment on the global death toll exceeding one million people?
Wang Wenbin: In the face of the severe global challenge posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the international community should work together to fight it. We should support the WHO’s leading role in the concerted efforts of countries to save lives and combat the pandemic. At such an important moment, attempts to stigmatize the virus, politicize the pandemic and shift the blame are highly irresponsible.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, China has worked closely with the WHO and provided strong support and assistance to the international community to the best of its ability. From July 11 to August 2, WHO experts came to China to conduct preparatory consultations on scientific cooperation in tracing the origin of the novel coronavirus. Following the resolution on COVID-19 response adopted at the 73rd WHA, experts of the two sides formulated the China part of a global scientific cooperation plan on origin-tracing. In his recent speech at the general debate of the 75th United Nations General Assembly, President Xi Jinping reiterated that China will actively participate in global scientific research on the origin and transmission routes of the virus. China will maintain close communication and coordination with the WHO in this regard to advance bilateral cooperation and contribute to global cooperation on tracing the virus source and fighting the pandemic.
I want to stress that origin tracing is an ongoing process that may involve multiple countries and localities. We hope that all countries will adopt a positive attitude like China and carry out coordination and cooperation with the WHO.
Xinhua News Agency: Bah N’DAW has been sworn in as Mali’s interim president for a transition period. I wonder if you have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: The swearing-in of Mali’s interim President Bah Ndaw is an important step in Mali’s transition period. China respects Mali’s independent choice of development path. We hope all parties in Mali can continue making joint efforts to smoothly advance the transition and realize national stability and development as early as possible. As Mali’s good friend, China will continue working with the international community for Mali’s stability and development.
CNR: On September 25, President Xi Jinping and Angolan President João Lourenço held a telephone conversation. Did the two sides discuss debt suspension or exemption?
Wang Wenbin: During their telephone conversation on September 25, President Xi Jinping and Angolan President João Lourenço had comprehensive and in-depth exchanges on deepening bilateral relations and reached broad consensus. The Chinese side already put out a press release.
Angola is China’s important cooperation partner in Africa. The two sides have long had fruitful mutually-beneficial cooperation in investment and financing. Currently, as Angola is facing much debt pressure, China has been doing what it can to help Angola tide over the difficulties. To my knowledge, relevant Chinese financial institutions have been in close communication with the Angolan side on relieving debt pressure, with major progress in discussions. The Export-Import Bank of China offered necessary support for and played an active part in Angola’s application for emergency financial assistance with the International Monetary Fund. It also stands ready to work together with Angola for an early agreement on debt suspension arrangement under the G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI). Other non-official Chinese creditors are also in active consultation with the Angolan side, reaching basic consensus on a debt restructuring plan. An agreement is expected to be signed in the near future.
Since consensus was reached on the G20 DSSI, the Chinese side has been actively implementing it. We will work together with the international community to offer more support for countries hard-hit by the pandemic and under enormous pressure, including those in Africa.
Beijing Daily: US Special Presidential Envoy for Arms Control Marshall Billingslea said on September 25 that “for the past 33 years, China has been free to develop all kinds of intermediate-range and medium-range ballistic and cruise missiles, and they have done exactly that.” He also said the United States will help South Korea prepare against threats posed by intermediate range missiles from its neighbors, but what defense capabilities will be developed and deployed in South Korea will be entirely up to Seoul. What’s China’s comment on this?
Wang Wenbin: China is committed to peaceful development and a defense policy that is defensive in nature. We develop friendly cooperation with our neighbors based on mutual respect. China’s national defense development is entirely aimed to safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests, as well as regional and international peace. We don’t intend to and will not pose any threat to other countries. The US accusations don’t make any sense. China firmly opposes them.
As the world’s only super power, the US military budget reached as much as $716 billion in the fiscal year 2019, which equals the total of that of the next 9 countries in the ranking. The US is still spending an incredible amount of money on its military and advancing forward deployment of missiles, anti-missile systems and others across the globe. It built over 400 military bases overseas, and constantly shows off muscles and creates chaos, severely undermining regional and international peace and security. It has become the biggest threat to world peace and security.
By hyping up “the China threat” and smearing China’s national defense and military equipment development, the US is in fact making pretexts for its expansion of military budgets and power, sowing discord between China and neighboring countries, and tightening its alliance with other countries. We urge the US to reject the outdated Cold-War and zero-sum game mindset, view China’s national defense and military development in an objective and rational manner, stop stirring up troubles in China’s neighborhood, and uphold peace and security in the Asia Pacific with concrete actions.
CRI: The US State Department released a statement yesterday, saying China breached its pledge of not intending to pursue militarization of the Nansha Islands. Do you have any comment on this?
Wang Wenbin: The Nansha Islands are Chinese territory. China’s construction on our own territory is aimed to meet the civilian need in the South China Sea, provide more public goods and services to the region and beyond, and fulfill our international responsibilities and obligations. Deployment of necessary defense facilities on the Nansha Islands is an exercise of China’s right to self-preservation and self-defense under international law. It is reasonable, legal and within our sovereignty. It has nothing to do with militarization and is no different from the defense measures other countries take on their territory.
By bringing up “militarization” now and then, the US is in fact making pretexts for strengthening its own military deployment and activities to pursue maritime hegemony in the South China Sea. The US military vessels and aircraft have been frequently carrying out exercises and close-in reconnaissance in the South China Sea, intending to increase tensions and flex muscles. The US itself is the major factor driving “militarization” in the South China Sea.
For some time, the US has been doing all it can to drive a wedge between regional countries under the pretext of the South China Sea issue. Some fanatics in the US are even calling for attacks against China in the South China Sea. As proven by facts, the US has become the biggest threat to peace and stability in the region. The international community and regional countries must stay on high alert to the malicious intentions of some warmongers in the US to destabilize the South China Sea and the East Asia. China has the resolve and capability to uphold national sovereignty and territorial security. We will continue working with regional countries to safeguard peace and stability in the South China Sea. We solemnly inform some in the US: don’t make unwarranted accusations against China, and don’t make arbitrary moves before thinking twice.