|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin's Regular Press Conference on May 6, 2021|
CCTV: On May 5, the G7 foreign ministers' meeting issued a communiqué, expressing concern over issues concerning Xinjiang, Tibet and Hong Kong as well as the situation in the East China Sea and the South China Sea, and voicing support for Taiwan's participation in the World Health Assembly. Does China have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: The G7 foreign ministers' meeting launched groundless accusations against China, blatantly interfered in China's internal affairs and engaged in anachronistic bloc politics. This is gross interference in China's sovereignty, flagrant trampling on norms of international relations and violation of the trend for peace, development and win-win cooperation of our times. China strongly condemns it.
Issues concerning Xinjiang, Tibet and Hong Kong are all China's domestic affairs. China's sovereignty, rights and interests over the Diaoyu Dao, its affiliated islands, islands in the South China Sea and their adjacent waters are rooted in ample factual and legal basis. The participation of China's Taiwan region in activities of international organizations, including the WHO, which consists of sovereign nations, must be handled in accordance with the one-China principle. This is an important principle established by UNGA Resolution 2758 and WHA Resolution 25.1.
The G7, as a grouping of developed nations, should take more concrete actions to boost world economic recovery and help accelerate developing countries' growth, rather than stoking confrontation and difference and disrupting global economic recovery.
In the context of COVID-19, G7 finds within its membership the worst-stricken and the most medically-advanced nations. As such, it is naturally expected to focus on international cooperation in fighting the virus and promoting the equitable distribution of vaccines, instead of hoarding vaccines at home while offering merely superficial lip service when it comes to helping other countries in need. Still less should it blame others or meddle in their efforts in a condescending manner to undermine the top international priority of jointly fighting the pandemic.
The G7 claims to be a grouping of democracies, but as a latest poll suggests respondents in 53 countries and regions see the US as the top threat to global democracy, we haven't seen any comment or action from the G7.
We urge relevant countries to take a hard look at their own problems, redress their self-serving approach in fighting COVID-19 and stop the wrong practice of stretching national security concept. Attempts to concoct all sorts of excuses to meddle in China's internal affairs, harm Chinese sovereignty and tarnish China's image in disregard of basic norms of international relations are doomed to fail.
RIA Novosti: I have two questions. First, the Pentagon said Wednesday it is following the trajectory of Long March 5B rocket expected to make an uncontrolled entry into the atmosphere this weekend. I wonder if you could provide any details? Second, the National Development and Reform Commission announced today its decision to indefinitely suspend all activities within the framework of the China-Australia Strategic Economic Dialogue. Could you give more details? Will it have effect on bilateral economic cooperation?
Wang Wenbin: On your first question, as a matter of principle, I would like to reiterate that China is always committed to the peaceful use of outer space and stands for international cooperation in this regard. China is ready to work with all relevant parties to make joint efforts for the peaceful use of outer space and safeguarding space security.
On your second question, we always believe that a sound and steady China-Australia relationship is in the fundamental interests of both countries and that bilateral cooperation is mutually-beneficial in nature. That said, mutual respect and mutual trust is the prerequisite of dialogue and practical cooperation between countries. For some time, the Australian side, in disregard of China's solemn position and repeated representations, doubled down on restriction and suppression of China-Australia cooperation projects in trade, culture and people-to-people exchanges by falsely citing "national security" reasons. This has severely damaged mutual trust and undermined the foundation for normal exchange and cooperation. China has no other choice but to make necessary and legitimate responses. The Australian side must take all responsibility for this.
We urge the Australian side to cast aside the Cold-War mentality and ideological bias, view China's development and China-Australia cooperation in a truly objective light, return to the rational track without further delay and correct its mistakes. It should stop the insane suppression targeting China-Australia cooperation, stop politicizing and stigmatizing normal exchange, and stop going further down the wrong path.
Shenzhen TV: In a recent speech to the China Business Summit in Auckland, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that ties with China are among her country's most important bilateral relations and that New Zealand stays committed to the one-China policy. She also noted the two countries have differences on some issues and need to work to effectively manage and control them. Do you have a comment?
Wang Wenbin: We noted relevant reports. The New Zealand leader said that she attaches importance to developing relations with China and reiterated her country's commitment to the one-China policy. We appreciate the statement. China and New Zealand are each other's important cooperative partner, with bilateral relations and cooperation registering many "firsts". The 49-year-long journey since establishment of diplomatic ties proves that as long as we show each other mutual respect, seek common ground and shelve differences, treat one another as equals and pursue win-win cooperation, we should be able to and can achieve sound progress in bilateral relations. China stands ready to work together with New Zealand to forge ahead and break new ground, strengthen dialogue, deepen cooperation, rise above disturbances and work for greater progress in our comprehensive strategic partnership.
China is committed to an independent foreign policy of peace. We believe in the equality of all countries regardless of size. We firmly uphold international law, basic norms governing international relations, international fairness and justice. We are committed to advancing the building of a community with a shared future for mankind. China does not intend to engage in systemic competition or ideological confrontation with Western countries. Our development does not come at the expense of other countries' interests. On the contrary, it presents immense development opportunities for all. We are ready to enhance cooperation with all sides including New Zealand to contribute to world peace and development.
FSN: A follow-up on China's decision to suspend economic dialogue with Australia. Is there any impact on trade between the two countries specifically?
Wang Wenbin: As I said, for some time, the Australian side doubled down on restriction and suppression of China-Australia cooperation projects in trade, culture and people-to-people exchanges by falsely citing "national security" reasons. This has severely damaged mutual trust and undermined the foundation for normal exchange and cooperation. China has no other choice but to make necessary and legitimate responses. The Australian side must take all responsibility for this.
AFP: What measures will China take to make sure that debris from the Long March 5B rocket will not crash down in inhabited areas?
Wang Wenbin: I have just stated China's principled position on the issue. For specific questions, please refer to the competent authorities.
CGTN: In its capacity as the Security Council president for May, how will China fulfill its duty and plays its role? What will be China's priorities in this month?
Wang Wenbin: China has already taken the rotating presidency of the Security Council for May. In this month, the Security Council will review such regional hotspots as the Middle East, Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sahel, the DPRK and Bosnia and Herzegovina. China will convene a high-level briefing on May 7, with the theme of "Maintenance of international peace and security: Upholding multilateralism and the UN-centered international system" and a high-level open debate on May 19, with the theme of "Peace and security in Africa: Addressing root causes of conflict while promoting post-pandemic recovery in Africa". State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will chair the meetings via video link. Besides, China's Permanent Mission to the UN will organize open debates on issues including safeguarding safety and security of peacekeepers, and the impact of emerging technologies on international peace and security at the Council.
As we speak, the world is undergoing once-in-a-century changes and the impact of COVID-19. Facing rising instability and uncertainty, more and more people are calling for upholding multilateralism and advancing solidarity in fighting the coronavirus. This year marks the centenary of the Communist Party of China and the 50th anniversary of the restoration of the legitimate rights of the People's Republic of China at the UN. Standing at a new historical starting point, China will earnestly perform its duty as the Security Council president, work for greater unity and cooperation at the Council, and make more contributions to world peace and security. China will have closer interactions with countries that are not members of the Council, host countries of hotspot issues, the UN Secretary-General and president of the UN General Assembly, listen to opinions and suggestions from all sides and perform the duty as the president of the Council in a more effective and transparent way.
Beijing Youth Daily: According to media reports, a report by the disinformation unit of European External Action Service (EEAS) accuses Russian and Chinese for conducting vaccine diplomacy that follows a zero-sum game logic, making unfounded links between jabs and deaths in Europe and promoting Russian and Chinese vaccines as superior, seeking to sow mistrust in Western COVID-19 vaccines. What is China's comment on this?
Wang Wenbin: We find the conclusion of this report absurd.
China is a firm believer in making COVID vaccines a public good, and has worked in real earnest to improve vaccine accessibility and affordability in developing countries. We have provided vaccine assistance to more than 80 countries and three international organizations, exported vaccines to over 40 countries, and carried out vaccine research and production cooperation with more than 10 countries. We have actively participated in the WHO-initiated COVAX and pledged a first batch of 10 million doses to meet the urgent need of developing countries. We have also offered vaccines to UN peacekeeping missions and the International Olympic Committee. China is turning into reality the vision of making vaccines a public good with concrete actions.
And what has the EU done? The WHO has repeatedly urged some developed countries to stop excessive procurement and lift export restrictions, which will not help curb virus transmission and mutation. UN Secretary-General Guterres has, for many times, criticized some developed countries for practicing "vaccine nationalism", hoarding vaccines and privately entering into transactions with vaccine suppliers. He pointed out that unfair distribution of vaccines is "immoral" and called for vaccine equity for all. However, what we see is that the EU has been tightening restrictions on vaccine exports, and some countries have hoarded vaccines far in excess of their population's needs. Isn't this "vaccine nationalism"? Isn't this creating a "vaccine divide"? How many vaccines has the EU given to developing countries?
This report by relevant EU authorities is filled with arrogance and hypocrisy. China calls on the European side to respect the basic facts, take practical actions to promote equitable distribution of vaccines around the world, and take credible steps to help developing countries combat the epidemic, instead of trying to diverting attention by attacking and discrediting other countries in an attempt to confuse right and wrong, deceive and mislead the public.
AFP: I've got a question on the investment deal between China and the EU. The EU Commission said on Tuesday that efforts to win approval of the deal were suspended given the regulations between China and the EU. Do you have any comment on that?
Wang Wenbin: I've noted reports on that. I've also seen that an EU spokesperson has since denied the statement. The China-EU investment agreement is essentially mutually-beneficial. It serves the interests of both sides and the whole world. China stands ready to maintain communication and coordination with the EU and work together for the early entry into force of the deal for the benefit of the people and to send out a positive signal of China and the EU supporting an open world economy.
People's Daily: On April 30, China, the United States, Russia and Pakistan met in Doha, Qatar to discuss ways to support intra-Afghan negotiations and help the parties reach a permanent and comprehensive ceasefire. The four countries also issued a joint statement on the peaceful settlement of the Afghan issue. Could you give us more details?
Wang Wenbin: On April 30, representatives of China, the US, Russia and Pakistan held a meeting on the Afghan issue in Doha, where they had in-depth exchange of views on the situation in Afghanistan and promoting the process of peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan. The meeting concluded with a joint statement.
The four sides agreed that a negotiated political solution is the only right way to achieve lasting peace in Afghanistan. Foreign troops should withdraw from Afghanistan in a responsible way to ensure a smooth transition. The four parties unanimously called on all parties to the Afghan peace talks to reach an agreement on fundamental issues at an early date, promote peace and stability in Afghanistan, form an inclusive government and achieve a permanent and comprehensive cease-fire.
The Chinese side stressed that the peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan is at a critical juncture in history. Like sailing upstream, one will be pushed back if they don't move forward. It is the common aspiration of the Afghan people and the international community to achieve peace and stability in Afghanistan as soon as possible. The four sides of China, the US, Russia and Pakistan should step up their mediation efforts, pool strength together, and play a more constructive role in promoting peace talks.
YTN: A question on North Korea issue. U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blinken said they are definitely going to have discussions with China on North Korean issues and nuclear development program. I'd like to know when this process is starting, do you have any information about this? One more thing, last week, the US government, the Biden administration said they've finished reviewing new policy on North Korea. They are focusing on complete denuclearization and diplomatic resolution, and I think these two things are very similar to that of your country. Do you have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: On your first question, the situation on the Korean Peninsula is at a critical juncture. Parties concerned should do more things conducive to peace and stability on the peninsula, respect each other's legitimate concerns, refrain from provocation, work to maintain the hard-won detente, and continue to move forward the political settlement process. China stands ready to work with relevant parties to continue upholding the dual-track approach and the phased and synchronized principle to make relentless efforts for the denuclearization of the peninsula and the establishment of a peace mechanism on the peninsula.
On your second question, we have taken note of this. China has all along been committed to maintaining peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, realizing denuclearization, and resolving problems through dialogue and consultation. We support positive interaction between the DPRK and the US, the improvement of relations between the DPRK and the ROK, and any efforts conducive to promoting dialogue, easing tensions, and promoting cooperation.
To settle the Peninsula issue requires a balanced solution to the legitimate concerns of all parties. Parties concerned should actively work for the two major goals of denuclearization of the Peninsula and the establishment of a peace mechanism on the Peninsula by following the dual-track approach and the principle of phased and synchronized actions. China will continue to work with all parties to make unremitting efforts to promote the political settlement of the Peninsula issue and achieve stability on the Peninsula in the long run.
Bloomberg: The US announced it will support a proposal to waive intellectual-property protections for Covid-19 vaccines. The EU also has suggested it backs a proposal to discuss waiving vaccine patent protection. I wonder whether the foreign ministry have any comment on this?
Wang Wenbin: All countries share the responsibility to fight the epidemic, and everyone should have equal access to vaccines. China supports efforts devoted to the issue of vaccine accessibility and looks forward to active and constructive discussions among all parties within the framework of the WTO in a bid to achieve an effective and balanced result.
Upholding the vision of building a global community of health for all, China actively supports and participates in international vaccine cooperation, and is providing vaccines in different ways to countries in urgent need, especially developing countries. China will unswervingly continue its efforts in making COVID vaccines a public good, and make contributions to improving vaccine accessibility and affordability in developing countries.
China Daily: Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala announced the appointment of four WTO Deputy Directors-General, including Vice Minister of the Ministry of Commerce of China Zhang Xiangchen. What's your comment? How will China support WTO in its work in the future?
Wang Wenbin: The spokesperson of the Ministry of Commerce expressed appreciation and welcome to the appointment of four WTO Deputy Directors-General by Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and said the appointment testifies to WTO's full recognition of China's positive and constructive role over the years.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of China's accession to the WTO. Over the past two decades, China has been fulfilling its obligations and honoring its commitment, abiding by WTO rules and firmly upholding WTO-centered multilateral trading system. Looking ahead, we are ready to work with all countries to support the work of the Director-General and the WTO Secretariat, to support the Organization in playing a bigger role in global governance, to firmly uphold multilateralism and multilateral trading regime, to safeguard core values and basic principles of the WTO. We'd like to jointly uphold development interests and space for growth for all WTO members especially developing ones, and contribute positively to the steady recovery of international trade and the balanced, strong, sustainable and inclusive growth of the world economy.
AFP: Will China consider waiving its vaccine patent?
Wang Wenbin: I appreciate your effort to raise questions in Chinese. China supports efforts devoted to the issue of vaccine accessibility and looks forward to active and constructive discussions among all parties within the framework of the WTO in a bid to achieve an effective and balanced result.
China will continue to make contributions to improving vaccine accessibility and affordability in developing countries.
SCMP: United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai says that she expects to meet Chinese trade officials in the near term. Does China have any response to this? Has there been any contact between the two sides for this meeting?
Wang Wenbin: Please refer to the competent authority for specific questions on China-US economic and trade relations. As a principled response, I want to stress that China-US economic and trade cooperation is mutually beneficial and win-win in nature. There are broad common interests between the two sides and huge space for cooperation. Some problems arising in bilateral economic and trade relations should be properly resolved in the spirit of mutual respect and consultation on an equal footing.
AFP: Another question on EU and China. The EU Commission proposed on Wednesday to give itself new powers to block foreign companies especially Chinese companies in the EU market. These proposed regulations could block them from buying European companies or access of public contract. Does China have any reaction to this?
Wang Wenbin: I am not aware of what you said. I suggest you refer it to the competent authority. I want to say that the EU is an important force in building an open world economy and the beneficiary of free trade. We hope that the EU will continue to promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, reduce market barriers, avoid adding new barriers in particular, and provide open, transparent and non-discriminatory investment business environment for companies from all countries, including Chinese ones.
Reuters: Michael Bloomberg said the Bloomberg New Economy Forum this year will move from China to Singapore, in part because of concerns about journalists in the country. Do you have any comment on this?
Wang Wenbin: I'm not aware of what you mentioned. I can assure you that in China, foreign journalists' lawful rights concerning press coverage are fully guaranteed.
Phoenix TV: US Secretary of State Blinken said in a recent interview and during the G7 foreign ministers' meeting that "Our purpose is not to contain China, to hold it back, to keep it down. It is to uphold this rules-based order that China is posing a challenge to. Anyone who poses a challenge to that order, we're going to stand up and defend it." Do you have any comment on this?
Wang Wenbin: The "rules-based order" claimed by the US is too foggy a concept to gain wide endorsement. If it refers to rules set by the US alone, then it cannot be called international rules, but rather "hegemonic rules", which will only be rejected by the whole world. If it refers to rules set by the US and a handful of other countries, then it cannot be called international rules either, but rather "clique rules", which run counter to the principle of democracy and won't be accepted by the majority of countries in the world.
The only international order that serves the common interests of the international community is the one based on the UN Charter and international law. We would welcome it if the US can subscribe to, accept and abide by this order.
I need to stress that issues relating to Xinjiang and Hong Kong are purely China's internal affairs. The US, by slapping illegal sanctions on China under the pretext of human rights, in particular, by suppressing Xinjiang companies based on nothing but rumors and lies, is grossly interfering in China's domestic affairs and blatantly undermining international order. The US should practice what it preaches by translating its rhetoric of not seeking to contain or hold back China into concrete actions instead of violating international law and order under the cover of defending them.
Bloomberg: Could you clarify if China supports discussions on removing vaccine patents under the WHO or the WTO frameworks? And two questions on the USTR. The USTR Katherine Tai said the U.S. would build from the trade deal with China reached under Donald Trump and that the Biden administration respects the continuity of the phase-one agreement. Does the foreign ministry have any comment on this? The USTR office also noted that China's patent, copyright and criminal law has been amended in the past year, but said they "fall short of the full range of fundamental changes". I wonder whether the foreign ministry have any comment on this report from the USTR office?
Wang Wenbin: On your first question, China supports efforts devoted to the issue of vaccine accessibility and looks forward to active and constructive discussions among all parties within the framework of the WTO in a bid to achieve an effective and balanced result.
On your second question, I'd refer you to competent authorities.
On your third question, you may also refer this question to the competent authorities. I want to stress that China has always attached great importance to IPR protection. The achievements we've made in IPR protection in recent years are there for all to see. The US side should view relevant issues in an objective way and properly handle them.
AFP: Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro made some comments on Wednesday on the novel coronavirus. He said the virus might have been made in a laboratory to wage a "biological warfare." He then appeared to say that China may have launched this "biological war". Do you have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: Virus is the common enemy of mankind. The pressing task now is for all countries to join hands in anti-epidemic cooperation and strive for an early and complete victory over the epidemic. We firmly oppose any attempt to politicize and stigmatize the virus.