|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin's Regular Press Conference on April 21, 2021|
CCTV: An army spokesperson said that President Idriss Déby Itno of Chad died in the fight with rebels. What's your comment? Will China send a message of condolences? Do you have any comment on the situation in Chad?
Wang Wenbin: President Idriss Déby Itno highly valued relations with China and made positive contributions to promoting friendly cooperation between the two countries. We express deep condolences over his passing and sincere sympathies to the Chadian people and the family of President Déby.
China values the friendly and cooperative ties with Chad and hopes that all relevant sides in Chad can work together to safeguard peace and stability in the country.
Prasar Bharati: India's Ambassador to China recently has said at an India-China dialogue that there was a tendency to sweep the situation at the border under the carpet and characterize it as just a minor issue. He said, this is 'inadvisable'. In fact, it would be tantamount to running away from the problem and in a direction opposite to that where the promise of our closer development partnership lies. Does the ministry has any response or comment to his statements?
Wang Wenbin: China's position on the China-India boundary issue is consistent and clear-cut. We are committed to maintaining peace and stability in the border areas and firmly safeguarding national territorial sovereignty and security. Recently, China and India have maintained close communication through diplomatic and military channels. On the basis of realizing disengagement in the Galwan Valley and the Pangong Lake area, the two sides have had a candid and in-depth exchange of views on promoting the settlement of the remaining issues in the west section of the China-India boundary. We hope that the Indian side will work with China to meet each other halfway, bear in mind the overall interests of the long-term development of China-India relations, place the boundary issue at an appropriate position in bilateral relations and bring China-India relations back to the track of sound and steady development.
Global Times: Joseph Veramu, a consultant on economic policy planning and development for the Fiji government and scholar at Fiji National University recently published a series of opinion articles in the newspaper Fiji Sun, commending the Belt and Road Initiative and rejecting such allegations as "debt trap" and "geopolitical agenda" behind the BRI. This has drawn much attention from Pacific island countries. Do you have any response?
Wang Wenbin: I noted relevant articles. The author took stock of the fruitful outcomes of practical cooperation between China and Pacific island countries under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and refuted the groundless accusation and false allegation. He said that the BRI is of important significance to Pacific island countries' economic development, improvement of livelihood, regional integration and integration into economic globalization.
China has signed MOU on BRI cooperation with all of the ten Pacific island countries having diplomatic relations with it. Facts have proved that the BRI is an international public good that meets the practical need of and is truly welcomed by the Pacific island countries, rather than something wishfully imposed by China. The BRI is an open and inclusive initiative for economic cooperation rather than an exclusive geopolitical tool. The BRI is about tangible and practical cooperation projects rather than being white elephant or empty promises. The BRI is about projects that benefit the locals, rather than a "debt trap".
As President Xi Jinping pointed out in his keynote speech at the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2021 yesterday, "the BRI is a public road open to all, not a private path owned by one single party. Belt and Road cooperation pursues development, aims at mutual benefits, and conveys a message of hope." China will continue to practice the principles of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, achieve high-quality BRI development with other parties including Pacific island countries and build the BRI into a pathway to poverty alleviation and growth.
South China Morning Post: Director-General of the WHO Tedros said that the assessment of the conclusion that "lab leak is highly unlikely" in the joint study report is not enough, which needs further study, and the WHO is planning to send experts in relevant fields to China. An unnamed expert from the joint panel told a Hubei media outlet that he was "surprised and dissatisfied" with the Director-General's remarks. What is China's comment on that?
Wang Wenbin: On March 30, the WHO released the origin-tracing study report of the China-WHO joint mission, drawing a clear conclusion that lab leak is extremely unlikely. The report was co-authored by more than 30 top global experts in various fields. It is widely representative and highly professional. The joint mission has been conducting its research and writing the report independently, following WHO procedures and adopting a science-based approach, thus the report is authoritative and scientific.
I would like to stress that China has been conducting joint origin-tracing study with the WHO at the request of the latter. A number of international experts have stated on various occasions that "lab leak is extremely unlikely" and that there is no such thing as difficulty in obtaining raw data. All parties should respect science and the opinions and conclusions of scientists. This is where the WHO, in particular, should play a leading role.
Yonhap News Agency: Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga donated ritual offerings to the Yasukuni Shrine on April 21. What's the ministry's comment on this?
Wang Wenbin: The Yasukuni Shrine honors the World War II Class-A war criminals who were directly responsible for Japan's war of aggression. We have all along been firmly opposed to the wrong practices of Japanese politicians. China urges Japan to observe the principles set out in the four political documents between China and Japan, earnestly follow through on the four-point principled consensus, face up to and deeply repent its history of aggression, make a clean break with militarism, and win the trust of its Asian neighbors and the wider international community with concrete actions.
FSN: President Xi will be attending the US-led climate change summit starting on Thursday. Do you have any comment on whether or not this is a sign of Beijing and Washington cooperating with one another on climate change and possibly on other matters as well?
Wang Wenbin: China has released information on President Xi Jinping's participation in the leaders summit. At the invitation of US President Joe Biden, President Xi Jinping will attend and deliver an important speech at the Leaders Summit on Climate in Beijing on April 22 via video link. China hopes this summit can serve as a platform to facilitate exchanges on the global fight against the challenge of climate change, on promoting the full and effective implementation of the Paris Agreement and on jointly advancing global climate and environment governance.
Prasar Bharati: You just said that India and China should keep the relations in a proper perspective, but that is what the Indian ambassador has advised against. He said that it is inadvisable. So can you elaborate a little bit on the difference of perceptions between both countries on the relations?
Wang Wenbin: I stated China's position just now. I'd like to repeat that we hope that the Indian side will work with China to meet each other halfway, bear in mind the overall interests of the long-term development of China-India relations, cherish the hard-won deescalation of the situation in the border areas, uphold peace and tranquility in the border areas with concrete actions and bring China-India relations back to the track of sound and steady development.
AFP: At least two groups of Chinese hackers tried to enter the systems of US defence industry companies, according to a cyber security firm. One of them is believed to operate on behalf of the Chinese government. Do you have any comment on this?
Wang Wenbin: I want to stress three points.
First, given the virtual nature of cyberspace and the fact that there are all kinds of online actors who are difficult to trace, it's importance to have enough evidence when investigating and identifying cyber-related incidents. Groundless speculations should be avoided. As a matter of fact, the US is the biggest empire of hacking and tapping as we all know. China firmly rejects any organization or country throwing mud at China under the pretext of cyber security or using the issues to serve their political purposes.
Second, the Chinese government firmly bans and strictly cracks down on all forms of hacker attacks. This position is consistent and clear. Hacking is a global issue which calls for concerted response from the international community.
Third, in September 2020, China put forward the Global Initiative on Data Security, offering a Chinese solution to the formulation of global data governance rules and getting positive feedback from many countries. Just last month, China and Arab states jointly released the China-LAS Cooperation Initiative on Data Security, making Arab countries in the Middle East the first region to have launched a data security initiative with China. China stands ready to step up communication with all countries and jointly uphold global data and cyber security through dialogue and cooperation.
PTI: One important point you made when responding to the question on the India-China border issues a while ago, you said both sides should cherish the disengagement process in eastern Ladakh, but the problem is that the disengagement is incomplete. It has been taking place from Pangong Tso, as you mentioned, but the disengagement has not taken place in three other areas. Could you outline the reasons why China is still not disengaging from those areas?
Wang Wenbin: I just stated China's principled position on the relevant issues. I want to stress that recently, China and India have maintained close communication through diplomatic and military channels. On the basis of realizing disengagement in the Galwan Valley and the Pangong Lake area, the two sides have had a candid and in-depth exchange of views on promoting the settlement of the remaining issues in the west section of the China-India boundary. We hope that the Indian side will work with China to meet each other halfway, follow relevant agreements and consensus between the two countries and the two militaries, and uphold peace and tranquility in the border areas with concrete actions.
China Daily: On April 20, ROK Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong said that his country firmly opposes Japan's decision to release contaminated water from the Fukushima nuclear accident into the sea, and will discuss the issue in the international arena. Separately, TEPCO said it plans to submit a detailed schedule as early as May 2021 leading up to the start of the discharging process. What is China's comment on this?
Wang Wenbin: China has noted the report that TEPCO plans to submit a schedule leading up to the discharge of the contaminated nuclear water into the sea as early as May this year. We express strong dissatisfaction and grave concern over Japan's unilateral move to advance the work about discharging the contaminated nuclear water from the Fukushima nuclear accident without full consultation with the international community, especially its neighboring countries. How the contaminated nuclear water is handled bears on the ecological and environmental safety in the Asia Pacific region and the world at large, and concerns the life and health of people in all countries. Naturally, Japan is obliged to have full consultation with all stakeholders, especially its neighbors before making any decisions. The matter also needs to be assessed and discussed within the framework of the United Nations, the World Health Organization and the International Atomic Energy Agency. Despite doubts and opposition of the international community, and in breach of its international obligations, Japan attempts to dump the contaminated nuclear water into the sea and spread the environmental health and safety risk to the whole world. Japan's move lacks transparency and scientific basis, and is illegal, irresponsible and immoral, which risks universal condemnation.
I have read about quite a few major pollution diseases in Japan that have caused serious harm to people's lives and safety. According to reports, the Japanese government announced on April 19 that it has banned shipments of black rockfish from Fukushima Prefecture after detection of excessive radioactive substances. This is the second time since February this year that fish with excessive radioactive substances were found in the waters off Fukushima. This shows that the disposal of radionuclides is highly complex and difficult. It also proves that the so-called safe disposal claimed by Japan and the authenticity of the information and data it unilaterally provided need to be verified. Japan should draw lessons from past mistakes, rectify its unilateral wrong decision to release contaminated nuclear water into the sea, and avoid asking people around the world to pay the bills for its wrong behavior.
Bloomberg: TikTok is facing a lawsuit in London that accuses the app of violating UK and EU privacy laws. The company says that the suit lacks merit. Does the foreign ministry have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: I'm not aware of this. I want to emphasize that the Chinese government maintains that enterprises operating overseas should strictly comply with international rules as well as laws and regulations of host countries, and fully respect local customs and religious beliefs.