|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin's Regular Press Conference on November 5, 2021|
China News Service: President Xi Jinping delivered a keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the fourth China International Import Expo last night. The speech was extensively followed around the world and received warm response. Can you tell us more about it?
Wang Wenbin: Yesterday, President Xi Jinping delivered a keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the fourth China International Import Expo (CIIE), in which he pointed out that opening up is the hallmark of contemporary China. The past 20 years since China's accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) have witnessed a China deepening reform and pursuing all-round opening up, a China seizing opportunities and rising to challenges, and a China stepping up to its responsibilities and benefiting the whole world. President Xi stressed that we will not change our resolve to open wider at a high standard; we will not change our determination to share development opportunities with the rest of the world; and we will not change our commitment to an economic globalization that is more open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial for all. China will firmly safeguard true multilateralism, share market opportunities with the rest of the world, promote high-standard opening up and uphold the common interests of the world.
President Xi's keynote speech received great attention from the international community. Various sides have said that they feel deeply China's unswerving resolve to advance all-round opening up in the speech, which boosted their confidence of taking roots in China, and bolstered their ambition of expanding the win-win cooperation with China.
China is a firm believer in honoring its words with actions. The measures announced at the third CIIE for further opening up have mostly been implemented. In the first three quarters of 2021, China's import totaled nearly two trillion dollars, which is an increase of 32.6 percent year-on-year and a record high. According to the latest WTO data, in the first half of the year, China's international market share of imports increased by 0.7 percentage points to 12 percent year-on-year, contributing 15 percent of the global import increment. China will earnestly implement the host of new measures announced by President Xi Jinping at the fourth CIIE for improving imports and promoting high-standard opening up. China stands ready to work with all countries to build an open world economy so that the spring breeze of openness will bring warmth to all parts of the world.
CCTV: Senegalese Foreign Minister Aissata Tall Sall announced at a press conference yesterday that the eighth Ministerial Conference of the FOCAC will be held in Dakar, Senegal on November 29 and 30. Could you share more details with us?
Wang Wenbin: As you said, the eighth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) will be held on November 29 and 30 in Dakar, the capital of Senegal, the African co-chair of FOCAC. With the theme of "Deepen China-Africa Partnership and Promote Sustainable Development to Build a China-Africa Community with a Shared Future in the New Era", the conference will review and assess the follow-up implementation of the outcomes of the 2018 FOCAC Beijing Summit as well as the joint China-Africa response to COVID-19, and chart the course for China-Africa relations for the next three years and more to come.
FOCAC is an important platform for collective dialogue and effective mechanism for practical cooperation between China and Africa. Since its inception 21 years ago, FOCAC has spearheaded international cooperation with Africa and become a golden brand for South-South cooperation. In the face of changes and a global pandemic unseen in a century, all 55 FOCAC members will overcome difficulties to gather together and discuss plans for friendly cooperation and draw a new blueprint for future cooperation. This will inject new impetus into the China-Africa comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership and make new contributions to upholding the overall interests of developing countries and advancing world peace, stability, development and prosperity in a post-COVID era.
The Paper: The Canada China Business Council recently released two reports, namely "China's Economic Impact on Canada: Trade, Investment, and Immigration" and results from the "2020-2021 Canada-China Business Survey". The reports concluded that China has a significant impact on Canada's economic development; "the story of the Canada-China economic relationship is one of strong ties and promising opportunities"; and "Canada's and China's futures are inextricably linked". Does the Chinese side have any comment on this?
Wang Wenbin: I have taken note of the reports released by the Canada China Business Council. Nearly 70 percent of surveyed Canadian firms see China as the top priority or among the top five priorities in their global strategic plan. More than half plan to expand their business in China. Despite the impact of COVID-19, 49 percent indicated they were profitable in China. These figures reflect the Canadian business community's confidence in and positive outlook on China's economic prospects and business environment, and demonstrate the resilience and potential of China-Canada economic and trade cooperation.
As has been proven by facts, economic and trade cooperation between China and Canada is mutually-beneficial and has delivered tangible benefits to both peoples. We welcome Canadian investors to seek business opportunities in China. We also hope that the Canadian side will work in the same direction with China to foster favorable political atmosphere for bilateral economic and trade cooperation and provide a fair, just, open and non-discriminatory business environment for Chinese companies to invest and operate in Canada.
South China Morning Post: According to US media Politico, agreements on reopening consulates general and easing visa restrictions will likely be announced to defuse tensions in bilateral relations at a probable summit between Chinese and US leaders. What's your response to this? Second, the US Navy yesterday fired three officers, including two command leaders, who were aboard the nuclear submarine USS Connecticut, which had a collision accident. Do you have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: To answer your first question, I've noticed the speculative reports by US media. I have no information to release at this moment. I would like to stress in principle that the many incidents unilaterally provoked by the previous US administration gravely undermined China-US relations. The Chinese side has made legitimate and necessary responses to them. We hope the US side will redress its mistakes and work in the same direction with China to bring bilateral relations back onto the right track of steady development as soon as possible.
On your second question, we once again urge the US side to give a detailed account of the incident and fully address regional countries' concerns and doubts. The key is to stop making waves, provoking trouble and flexing muscles all around the world and stop undermining other countries' sovereignty and security.
NHK: A German navy frigate docked in Japan today. The frigate had conducted joint training with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force before arriving in Japan. Do you have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: I've noted relevant reports. Any cooperation between the countries concerned including in defense should be conducive to enhancing mutual trust between regional countries and promoting peace, stability and development in the region, not the opposite.
Bloomberg: I have a question about President Xi Jinping's comments last night. He said that China will take an active and open attitude to talk about issues like digital economy, trade, environment, industrial subsidies and SOEs. The industrial subsidies and SOEs topics are two which the US has raised with China, and also areas of interests from the CPTPP countries. Is this an offer from China to meet or to discuss those issues with those countries? Will there be anything more coming on this topic?
Wang Wenbin: As I just said, President Xi Jinping stressed in his keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the fourth China International Import Expo yesterday that we will not change our resolve to open wider at a high standard or our determination to share development opportunities with the rest of the world. He pointed out that China will deeply engage in international cooperation on green and low-carbon development and the digital economy, and work actively for joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement (DEPA). All this shows that China's position is firm and consistent on opening wider, upholding multilateral trading system, promoting regional economic integration and building an open world economy.
China Review News: On November 4, Zhai Jun, Special Envoy of the Chinese Government for the Middle East, exchanged views with Al-Sadiq Al-Mahdi, head of foreign affairs of Sudan, on bilateral relations and the latest developments in the Sudanese situation during a telephone conversation. Some sources say parties in Sudan are making progress in consultation and dialogue and a new transitional authority is likely to take shape in 24 hours. Does China have any comment on this?
Wang Wenbin: Yesterday Zhai Jun, Special Envoy of the Chinese Government for the Middle East, spoke on the phone with Al-Sadiq Al-Mahdi, who is temporarily in charge of Sudan's foreign affairs. Zhai called on parties in Sudan to put people's interests first, resolve differences through dialogue and consultation and jointly advance the political transition. He stressed that China opposes external interference in Sudan's internal affairs and supports Sudanese parties in listening to and accommodating each other's concerns under the framework of the Constitutional Declaration and the Juba Agreement for Peace in Sudan, bury the hatchet, build consensus, and lay a solid foundation for advancing the political transition process in the next stage. China calls on the international community to provide more support, assistance and positive energy for Sudan's political transition.
Sadiq thanked China for its consistent, objective and just position and valuable support for Sudan's political transition and socioeconomic development. He said that the Sudanese side attaches high importance to China's suggestions on properly handling the current situation in Sudan and hopes that China will continue to play an active role on the Sudanese issue.
We have noted reports on the positive progress in consultation and dialogue by parties in Sudan. Just as Special Envoy Zhai said, we hope Sudan will maintain peace and stability, call on the parties concerned to properly resolve differences through dialogue and support the Sudanese people in independently resolving the Sudanese issue. We believe the Sudanese side has the wisdom and capability to properly handle domestic affairs.
MASTV: White House principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said that "it's incredibly important for us to get to the bottom" of COVID-19's origins. She added that "we and our partners will continue to press for transparency and answers from the PRC." Do you have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: Acting on the principles of science, openness and transparency, we have participated in global origins-tracing cooperation and twice invited WHO experts to China for origins tracing research. The report of the joint WHO-China study of origins of SARS-CoV-2 contains authoritative, professional and science-based conclusions. It has laid a good foundation for international cooperation on origins tracing.
The US turns a blind eye to facts and science and has politicized COVID-19 response and then resorted to intelligence community-led origins tracing. The US politicization has not only hobbled its domestic response with Americans paying a heavy price, but also severely undermined international anti-pandemic cooperation and disrupted global scientific cooperation on origins-tracing. It has been met with widespread opposition from the international community.
We again urge the US to stop political manipulation and return to the right track of solidarity against COVID-19 and science-based origins tracing. We hope that the US will also show transparency as China does, conduct cooperation on origins-tracing research with the WHO as soon as possible, respond to the international community's legitimate concerns over the COVID-19 origins in the US in a timely manner, provide explanations for halting an origin-tracing project involving blood samples testing at home, open up bio-labs at Fort Detrick and the University of North Carolina to WHO experts working on origins-tracing research.
Bloomberg: Foreign Correspondents' Club Hong Kong put out a report this morning, saying that nearly half of their members are considering leaving and only about half of them said they understand where the Hong Kong government's redlines on reporting were. What is your response to the report? Do you think the government of Hong Kong should be clearer about its redlines on reporting?
Wang Wenbin: I want to point out first that the legitimate rights and interests of foreign media and journalists in Hong Kong are fully protected as long as they abide by laws and produce reporting in accordance with laws and regulations.
With regard to what you mentioned, I would like to share some numbers with you. As of April 2021, there are 628 foreign employees holding work visas working with foreign media outlets in Hong Kong, which is an increase of 98 people or 18.5 percent year-on-year. These numbers don't lie. They are a faithful reflection of the views on and perception of Hong Kong's socioeconomic and reporting environment of people from all walks of life including the press sector.
During the past year, Bloomberg, the agency you work with, added 55 foreign employees alone. That speaks volumes. I would like to stress that since the promulgation and implementation of the Hong Kong national security law, Hong Kong people's rights and freedoms have received better protection, and Hong Kong citizens, international investors and people working in various sectors have all witnessed a brand new Hong Kong and become more confident in its future.
Shenzhen TV: US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said on November 4 that the US urges China "not to limit freedom of movement and access for journalists, and to ensure that they remain safe and able to report freely, including at the Olympic and the Paralympic Games". Do you have any response?
Wang Wenbin: Committed to hosting an open Olympic event, Beijing 2022 has been welcoming media outlets from all countries to follow and cover the Olympic and Paralympic Games since preparation work began.
To provide optimal service to media outlets from all countries, the Beijing Organizing Committee has offered timely updates on preparation work by various means such as inviting resident foreign media in Beijing to group interviews, media saloons, press conferences, networking events and Experience Beijing test events as well as sending out Newsletter.
Media outlets from all countries are welcome to cover the Olympic and Paralympic Games in China. To date, more than 2,500 journalists and photographers have submitted application to register for the Games. We would like to reiterate that on the premise of complying with relevant Chinese laws, regulations and COVID-19 policies, all journalists from registered foreign media outlets can cover the Beijing Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games as well as relevant events in China. The Beijing Organizing Committee will ensure journalists' freedom of reporting according to the Host City Contract and relevant Chinese policies. We will continue to provide convenience and assistance to foreign media journalists' work in China.
Journalists are very welcome to report on the construction of venues and stadiums, events organization, logistics and other aspects of the preparation work for the Beijing Winter Games as a form of public supervision. This can offer us inspirations to constantly improve events organization and operation. However, we firmly oppose politicization of sports, oppose strong ideological bias against China, and oppose distorting and smearing China and the Beijing Winter Games with fake news and disinformation in the name of press freedom.
We urge the US to respect the Olympic spirit, act on the Olympic motto of "together" and stop making irresponsible remarks for the sake of advancing the Olympic movement and protecting the interests of all athletes, including those from the US.