|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin's Regular Press Conference on November 3, 2021|
CCTV: COP26 President Alok Sharma released the Climate Finance Delivery Plan, reiterating the $100 billion annual climate finance commitment developed countries made to developing countries, a target that was never realized throughout the past decade or so. Do you have any comment on this?
Wang Wenbin: Developed countries shoulder major responsibilities for climate change and historical emissions. It is not only their moral duty but also a binding international obligation under the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement to provide funding and help developing countries deal with climate change. The 16th G20 Leaders' Summit adopted the G20 Rome Leaders' Declaration. It recalled and reaffirmed the commitment made by developed countries to the goal of mobilizing jointly $100 billion per year by 2020 and annually through 2025 to address the needs of developing countries and stressed the importance of meeting that goal fully as soon as possible.
Funding is key to addressing climate change. It is developing countries' major concern that developed countries honor their funding commitment. At the Copenhagen and Cancun conferences, developed countries pledged to jointly mobilize $100 billion per year by 2020. The Paris Agreement stipulated that developed countries should continue to take the lead in mobilizing climate finance for developing countries. However, for more than a decade, developed countries have never truly delivered on their commitment. According to a recent report released by a well-known international think tank, developed countries' annual funding fell short of the target. There are also problems like overreporting with inflated numbers or makeweight. Some countries even try to list green investment of the private sector and conventional infrastructure projects unrelated to climate change as official climate finance. The effective amount they actually provided is much lower than the official data. In particular, the US only paid less than 20 percent of its due share while Australia and Canada paid less than half.
China sets store by efforts to address climate change. As the largest developing country, China has overcome its own economic and social difficulties to resolutely follow a path of green and low-carbon development, implement the national strategy of actively addressing climate change, scale up its climate actions, and strengthen goals of Nationally Determined Contributions. We have been speeding up efforts to put in place a "1+N" policy framework for carbon peaking and carbon neutrality, making coordinated efforts to reduce pollution and carbon emissions and exploring new models of low-carbon development. In this process, China has made tangible contributions to global climate governance and the fight against climate change. In the meantime, China has allocated about 1.1 billion yuan for South-South cooperation on climate change in recent years, donated energy conservation and new energy products and devices to almost 40 countries, helped relevant countries to launch meteorological satellites, and trained nearly 1,500 officials and technical personnel working in the climate response sector of 120 developing countries, and done our best to provide assistance and support for fellow developing countries under the framework of South-South cooperation on climate change.
In the face of climate change, a common challenge for mankind and an unprecedented difficulty in global climate governance, the international community should take on its responsibility and make concerted efforts to seek harmonious coexistence of man and Nature. With COP26 underway, developed countries should demonstrate good faith in combating climate change, and take bolder actions to improve the quality of the annual climate finance of $100 billion that they pledged to provide for developing countries, and contribute their fair share to the fight against climate change and global climate governance.
MASTV: US President Biden apologized at COP26 for the Trump administration's decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, saying it has put the country behind. Biden also called for strong actions to deal with climate change and urged major economies to honor their commitment. Does the Chinese side have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: As the largest emitter of greenhouse gases in cumulative terms, the US should face up to its historical responsibilities, maintain policy consistency, show greater ambition and actions, take the lead in fulfilling obligations of substantial emissions reduction, and provide financial, technological and capacity building support to help developing countries enhance their capacity to respond to climate challenges. Rhetoric can not substitute for actions. We hope that the US can introduce its action plan and roadmap for cutting carbon emissions by half before 2030 and ensure that there will be no reversal or retrogression of its climate policies in the future.
AFP: US President Biden said at COP26 that it is "a gigantic issue" and China just "walked away", referring to addressing climate change. Does the foreign ministry have a response to this?
Wang Wenbin: Tackling climate change requires concrete action, not empty words. China's actions on climate change are real. China adds about 12,000 hectares of forest area and 90,000 kW of installed photovoltaic capacity on average per day. We are building a batch of large-scale wind and PV projects with a total size of nearly 30 million kW.
Successful governance relies on solid action and actions speak louder than words. China and the US made joint efforts to promote the conclusion of the Paris Agreement, but later the US withdrawal disrupted global climate governance and the full and effective implementation of the agreement. The Chinese side welcomed the return of the US with a constructive attitude together with the international community. We hope that the US side will earnestly shoulder its due responsibilities, come up with and implement specific policies and measures on emissions reduction as soon as possible, honor its funding commitments, and stop chopping and changing all the time.
NHK: Australia and New Zealand have reportedly completed ratification procedures of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which has paved the way for RCEP to enter into force. It seems the pact is set to take effect on January 1, 2022. Do you have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: We noted relevant reports. At the recent leaders' meetings on East Asia cooperation, China joined relevant parties in calling for efforts to promote the early entry into force of the RCEP. Under the current circumstances, China is ready to work with all parties to push for the early entry into force and implementation of the RCEP to yield dividends as soon as possible, and promote regional economic integration and long-term prosperity and stability.
China News Service: Joerg Wuttke, President of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China, said the turnover and profits of member companies of the European Chamber hit new highs in 2020. EU companies are ready to make greater contributions to the high-quality development of China's economy. Do you have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: I noted relevant reports. In the face of continuous spreading of COVID-19 and global economic recession, China has made coordinated efforts to promote economic and social development while putting in place epidemic control, and continued to establish a new system for higher-level open economy, and focused on building a market-oriented business environment based on rule of law and up to international standard to provide strong guarantee for companies operating in China. The record highs in the turnover and profits of member companies of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China are an epitome of the vitality of the Chinese economy and the positive effects of China's endeavor to deepen opening-up and improving business environment. The reports released by the chambers of commerce from the US, the EU and Japan indicate that nearly two thirds of American companies, 59 percent of EU companies and 36.6 percent of Japanese companies plan to expand their investment in China.
I want to stress that China and the EU are two major independent forces in the world and each other's comprehensive strategic partner. China-EU cooperation, complementary, mutually beneficial and win-win in nature, has brought tangible benefits to the two peoples. Last year, China became the EU's largest trading partner. In the first three quarters of this year, two-way trade reached $599.3 billion, up 30.4 percent year on year. China attaches high importance to developing China-EU relations. We will continue to improve business environment for foreign companies, including those from the EU. We also stand ready to work with the EU side to advance connectivity, seek greater strategic synergy, boost global economic recovery and contribute to addressing global challenges.
AFP: Could you tell us why China decided not to join the Global Methane Pledge to reduce methane emissions announced at COP26 yesterday?
Wang Wenbin: China attaches high importance to the control of non-carbon dioxide greenhouse gases. The 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) for National Economic and Social Development explicitly stated that we will increase efforts to control methane, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and other greenhouse gases. Relevant departments are formulating and implementing policies and measures in the fields of industry, agriculture and waste disposal. China is ready to work with other parties to advance global cooperation on reducing non-carbon dioxide greenhouse gases.
That being said, when setting ambitious targets, it is also necessary to take into account the fact that developing countries generally have weak basic data, and lack monitoring technologies and effective measures to control non-carbon dioxide greenhouse gases.
Beijing Daily: We noticed that the website of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) recently cited the G20 Rome Leaders' Declaration in which leaders expressed their support for the upcoming Games in Beijing. IOC President Thomas Bach thanked the leaders for their support and said: "The IOC warmly welcomes the recognition and support of the G20 Leaders' Summit for the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022." Do you have a comment on this?
Wang Wenbin: The Beijing 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games is a grand gathering for athletes across the world and a symbol of humanity's solidarity and friendship. The event has recently received good wishes and support of the IOC and many countries.
The IOC, International Sports Federations and athletes from many countries have all spoken highly of the organization of test matches as well as the stadiums and venues. Dignitaries and Olympic committee officials from countries including Austria, France, Cyprus, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, Russia and Belarus said they support and will attend the Beijing Winter Olympics. The China-Pacific Island Countries Foreign Ministers' Meeting also expressed support for the Games in a joint statement.
China will continue to follow a green, inclusive, open and clean approach to preparing and hosting the Games, demonstrate the Olympic spirit of "together" with the IOC and countries around the world, host an impressive and memorable Olympic gathering, and make new contributions to the promotion of winter sports and the international Olympic cause.
Prasar Bharati: Chambers of commerce from America and Australia have reported that local government authorities in Beijing and a few other Chinese cities are now issuing PU letters for the dependent family members of qualified foreign workers so that employees can relocate to China together with their family members. Can you confirm this? And will this benefit India?
Wang Wenbin: Since the outbreak of COVID-19, China has been providing visa facilitation to foreign nationals who are traveling to China for essential economic, trade, technological and emergency humanitarian purposes. Going forward, we will adjust relevant measures at appropriate points in light of the evolving COVID-19 situation on the basis of effective prevention of imported cases to actively foster a new arrangement for healthy, safe and orderly personnel exchange.
China Review News: We've noticed several cases where students and visiting fellows to the US were repatriated. Do you have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: Recently, we have seen frequent incidents of unwarranted harassment and suppression targeting Chinese students and visiting fellows to the US. Just the other day, a Chinese visiting scholar holding valid visa issued by the US government was repatriated after being interrogated without cause upon entry. According to incomplete statistics, in August 2021 alone, nearly 30 Chinese students and visiting fellows to the US suffered similar unjust treatment, with many more reporting rough handling during harassment, interrogation and search.
Many of them were asked if they or their parents are members of the Communist Party of China, and if they had been assigned any task by the Chinese government prior to their departure. Some of the reasons for repatriation are simply inconceivable. For example, photos of college military training in personal cellphones were enough to warrant suspicion of a military background. Such interrogation and search went far beyond the scope of "normal law enforcement" the US side claims.
While claiming to welcome Chinese students, the US side has inherited the poisonous legacy of the previous administration. Some law enforcement departments and agents continue to recklessly stretch the concept of "national security" to wantonly harass Chinese students and scholars in an attempt to produce a chilling effect among Chinese personnel pursuing studies in the US. Such practices deviate from the mutually beneficial and win-win nature of China-US people-to-people and cultural exchanges. They seriously hurt the amicable feelings between the two peoples, undermine mutual trust and cooperation, jeopardize the steady and healthy development of bilateral relations, and also run counter to the US leader's statement that the US has no intention of starting a "new Cold War" with China.
We urge the US to stop such practices that harm others without benefiting itself and create an enabling atmosphere and provide necessary conditions for China-US people-to-people and cultural exchange as well as education cooperation. China will resolutely safeguard the legitimate and lawful rights and interests of Chinese personnel pursuing studies in the US.