|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin's Regular Press Conference on September 6, 2021|
CCTV: On September 3, President Xi Jinping, upon invitation, attended and addressed via video link the opening ceremony of the plenary session of the sixth Eastern Economic Forum held in Vladivostok of Russia. What's the significance of this under current circumstances?
Wang Wenbin: The Eastern Economic Forum was launched in 2015 at the initiative of President Putin. After several years, it has grown into an important multilateral platform for economic cooperation and dialogue in Northeast Asia. President Xi's attendance speaks volumes about China's commitment to overcoming difficulties and seeking development together with regional parties. It also demonstrates the high-level strategic coordination between China and Russia. President Xi's address at the opening ceremony offers strategic guidance for concerted efforts to combat COVID-19, seek greater synergy between the Belt and Road Initiative and the Eurasian Economic Union, and safeguard regional peace and stability, receiving positive feedback at the forum.
At present, the world is faced with profound shifts in the global landscape, flare-ups of a pandemic that is yet to be vanquished, and a struggling economic recovery. The more turmoil in the world, the more should China-Russia cooperation forge ahead with firm conviction. We are convinced that with solid progress in our all-round practical cooperation and deepening strategic coordination in international and regional affairs, the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era will surely contribute more to world peace, stability and development.
NHK: Britain's HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier made a port call in Japan. Japan's Defence Minister Nobuo Kishi said today that the UK held a joint military exercise with Japan, the US, India and the ROK, a move believed to check China's expanding influence in the Indo-Pacific. Do you have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: I already stated China's position on this last week. You may refer to that.
The Paper: White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the other day that "there are few countries that wanted us to stay in Afghanistan more than China and Russia, because it would have tied up our own resources". What's China's comment on this?
Wang Wenbin: The relevant US remarks exposed how they presume others' behavior based on their own experience. Such attempts to find excuses for the US own failure also serve to reveal once again its hegemonic nature of pursuing power politics in the world.
As the culprit of the Afghan issue, the US has inflicted enormous loss and suffering on the Afghan people in the two-decade-long war. The negative impact will linger on for years to come. The US should undertake its due responsibility for Afghanistan to realize peace and reconstruction, instead of just walking out and shifting the responsibility to Afghanistan's neighbors and the international community.
Moreover, the US should reflect on its mistakes, draw hard lessons, stop wanton military intervention in other countries, stop imposing its own ideology and values on others, and avoid repeating the mistakes it made in Afghanistan.
RIA Novosti: A report citing a source in the Taliban says that the movement invited Turkey, China, Russia, Iran, Pakistan and Qatar to an event dedicated to the announcement of the composition of new Afghan government. I wonder if you could confirm this, if China received invitation to this event, and who will represent China there?
Wang Wenbin: China's position on the Afghan issue is clear and consistent. We always respect the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Afghanistan and support the Afghan people in independently choosing a development path suited to their national conditions. We also support Afghanistan in forming an open, inclusive and broadly representative government, pursuing moderate and prudent domestic and foreign policies, resolutely fighting against all kinds of terrorist forces and developing friendly relations with other countries, especially neighboring countries.
As for your specific question, I have nothing to offer you at present.
China Review News: According to reports, Jeffrey Sachs, who heads the Lancet COVID-19 Commission, said on September 5 that "the global response to the pandemic has been wholly inadequate and one of the main geopolitical problems might have been the failure of the United States to work with China for global solutions". He also said that "China has done an excellent job of suppressing the pandemic, and the world could and should have learned a lot more from China's response". "The United States should learn some good manners to work cooperatively with China, rather than trying to impose its will on that nation", added Sachs. Do you have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: I noted relevant reports. Christian Althaus, a Swiss epidemiologist, also said recently that China bought the rest of the world one to two months to prepare for the epidemic with its correct response.
Since the very beginning of the epidemic, China has always upheld the principle of openness, transparency, science and cooperation. We reported the epidemic to WHO at the earliest time possible, and shared prevention and control information and diagnosis and treatment experiences with other countries without reservation. We held the crucial line of defense in this global war against the virus and bought precious time for other countries to ramp up response. China has received two WHO expert missions for study of origins. The China-WHO joint report reached scientific and authoritative conclusions, which laid the foundation for global origins study in the next phase.
COVID-19 response and origins study both call for solidarity, cooperation and the spirit of science. Unfortunately, some in the US have time and again tried to politicize efforts on both fronts to deflect the blame for their own botched response. Such irresponsible behavior has not only cost the American people dearly, but also become the greatest obstacle in international cooperation in combating the virus and tracing the origins.
As we speak, the new wave of COVID-19 is still raging across the world. It is hoped that the US can heed the objective and rational voices from the international community, seek solidarity instead of confrontation, take responsibility instead of blame-shifting, be guided by science instead of politics, and support international cooperation in fighting the virus and tracing the origins instead of disrupting relevant efforts.
Bloomberg News: Could you give us some comment on the coup in Guinea? What is Chinese position and response to the event in Guinea?
Wang Wenbin: We are closely monitoring the situation in Guinea. We noted relevant statements by the African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). China opposes coup attempts to seize power and calls for the immediate release of President Alpha Condé. We hope relevant parties can exercise calm and restraint, bear in mind the fundamental interests of the nation and people, resolve the relevant issue through dialogue and consultation, and safeguard peace and stability in Guinea.
Shenzhen TV: Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Marc Garneau issued a statement on September 5, in which he said, "Today marks 1,000 days since Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor were arbitrarily detained in China. We strongly condemn the lack of a transparent legal process." Do you have any response?
Wang Wenbin: This statement by the Canadian Foreign Minister, in total disregard of facts, smears and attacks China and grossly interferes with China's judicial sovereignty. China firmly opposes and strongly condemns it. Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor have been prosecuted for suspected crimes endangering China's national security. From the information disclosed by relevant authorities, you can see overwhelming evidence beyond doubt of the crimes they committed. China's judicial organs handle their cases in accordance with law, and the lawful rights of the two individuals have been fully protected. On the one hand, Canada flaunts its so-called "rule of law" and "judicial independence"; on the other hand, it openly interferes with the independent handling of cases by China's judiciary in accordance with the law. Its hypocrisy is laid bare.
When it comes to "arbitrary detention" and "coercive diplomacy", Chinese citizen Meng Wanzhou is the real victim. Nearly 15 million Chinese netizens have signed a petition demanding the immediate and unconditional release of Meng. The Canadian side should immediately correct its mistake, release Meng Wanzhou and ensure her safe return to China.
Yonhap News: First question, media reports say given the current difficulties amid COVID-19, the UN Security Council is discussing easing sanctions imposed on the DPRK. Do you have a comment? Second question, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi is said to be visiting the ROK next week. Could the foreign ministry confirm this?
Wang Wenbin: On your first question, I'm not aware of what you mentioned. China has consistently called on the Security Council to activate the provisions on modifying sanctions in DPRK-related resolutions as soon as possible in light of the developments of the situation on the Korean Peninsula and make necessary adjustments to the sanctions, especially those concerning people's livelihood. This is in line with the spirit of the resolutions, will help ease the humanitarian situation and people's livelihood in the DPRK, and will also help create conditions for and inject impetus into the political settlement of the Korean Peninsula issue.
On your second question, China and the ROK are friendly close neighbors. We have always maintained communication and exchange at various levels. On your question specifically, I have nothing to release at this moment.
ARD German Television: Could you please tell us about the circumstances that led to the death of German ambassador to China Jan Hecker?
Wang Wenbin: We are shocked to learn of the sudden death of Ambassador Jan Hecker, who had been working actively to promote China-Germany relations since assuming his post. We mourn and regret his passing and extend sincere condolences to his loved ones. We will provide his family and the German Embassy in China with as much convenience as possible to facilitate the handling of follow-up matters.
CCTV: A series of meetings of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) are being held in Geneva. Under the biotechnology review section, the Tianjin Biosecurity Guidelines for Codes of Conduct for Scientists received much attention and positive assessment. What's your comment on this?
Wang Wenbin: A series of BWC meetings are being held in Geneva with biotechnology review as a major item on the agenda. Advocating responsible bioscience research is of great significance to reducing biosecurity risks and ensuring that biological sciences benefit humanity. It is an important issue bearing on security and development.
The guidelines, built on the basis of the proposal China submitted back in 2015 and multilateral discussions in recent years, cover the whole process and chain of biological science research and fully incorporate international consensus. We are inspired by the positive comments from parties at the BWC meetings. The Chinese side has submitted the guidelines to the BWC Review Conference for endorsement. We also encourage all stakeholders to adopt the document voluntarily. We would like to express our appreciation to Pakistan, Brazil and other countries that participated in and supported this multilateral process as well as science institutions, experts and academics that made significant contributions to concluding the guidelines.
The conclusion of the Tianjin Guidelines demonstrates that in the face of global issues, effective solutions can be found as long as we uphold the spirit of inclusiveness, pragmatism, science and cooperation. China will continue upholding the concept of a community with a shared future for mankind and participate deeply in global governance including in the field of biosecurity to contribute to common security and development.
AFP: Do you have any information on when the verdict for Michael Kovrig's case will be announced and why his sentencing has been delayed?
Wang Wenbin: I want to reiterate that Michael Kovrig has been prosecuted for suspected crimes endangering China's national security, and there is indisputable evidence of his crimes. The relevant court has started trial in March this year and will announce the verdict at an appropriate time. China's judicial organs handle the case in accordance with law, and the lawful rights of Kovrig have been fully protected. We urge the relevant country to respect China's judicial sovereignty and refrain from interfering with the lawful and independent handling of cases by Chinese judicial organs.
Associated Press of Pakistan: Prime Minister Imran Khan said China is a role model for developing countries in poverty alleviation. Do you have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: China appreciates the positive remarks by Prime Minister Imran Khan.
By the end of 2020, China had fulfilled its poverty alleviation target for the new era as scheduled, lifting nearly 100 million impoverished rural residents living below the current poverty line out of poverty. Since the beginning of reform and opening-up, 770 million rural residents in China have been lifted out of poverty. According to the World Bank criteria, the Chinese population lifted out of poverty accounts for over 70 percent of the world's total over the same period of time.
As a major country with nearly one fifth of the world's population, China has achieved the poverty reduction goal set in the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development ten years ahead of schedule. This has enabled hundreds of millions of Chinese people to live a better life, and significantly reduced the impoverished population in the world. Such accomplishment is not only a milestone in the history of the Chinese nation's development and the history of mankind's poverty reduction, but also a vivid illustration of the understanding of human rights with Chinese characteristics that "the rights to subsistence and development are the basic human rights of paramount importance". It marks an important contribution to the global human rights cause.
The key to China's historic achievement in eradicating absolute poverty lies in the fact that the CPC always puts people first, gives high priority to poverty reduction in its governance and eliminates poverty through development. China has proposed and implemented a creative strategy of tailor-made poverty alleviation, using precise and strict standards and rigorous monitoring and assessment to make poverty alleviation efforts more targeted and effective. China has been advancing poverty reduction based on its own reality, giving full play to the principal role of the impoverished population and pooling the strength of all parties to form strong synergy.
China's successful poverty reduction shows that poverty is not invincible. The path of poverty reduction with Chinese characteristics offers a Chinese solution to the challenges of modern state governance. China is ready to strengthen exchanges and cooperation with other countries in poverty reduction and make greater contribution to the building of a poverty-free community with a shared future for mankind featuring common development.