|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin's Regular Press Conference on March 4, 2021|
AFP: US Secretary of State Blinken said in a speech on US foreign policy that China-US relations are the biggest geopolitical test of the century, and he vowed to champion the rights of Hong Kong and Uyghurs. What's your response?
Wang Wenbin: China is and will always be a builder of world peace, a contributor to global development, and an upholder of international order. China's development, bringing opportunities instead of challenges to the international community, will be a boon for the world peace. China always upholds the UN-centered international system, and the international order we firmly safeguard is the one founded on international law, not the one defined by some countries for the purpose of holding onto their hegemony. We are living in the era of globalization. No one and no country will end well by forming ideology-driven cliques to target others.
As for China and the US, the differences we have in history, culture and system explain the inevitability of our disagreements on some issues. That said, such disagreements can be properly and constructively controlled and managed as long as we have mutual respect and equal treatment. Dialogue and cooperation is always more palatable than antagonism and confrontation. The past and the present show that mutual respect and equal treatment will always lift China and the US out of disputes to achieve win-win results.
I would like to reiterate that China's positions on issues related to Xinjiang, Hong Kong and trade are consistent and clear. China is committed to developing a relationship with the US featuring non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation. At the same time, China will continue to firmly safeguard its national sovereignty, security and development interests. We hope the US side will view China and China-US relations in an objective and rational manner, keep up with the trend of the times, and replace its obsolete zero-sum thinking with rational and pragmatic policy towards China. Building on the telephone conversation between the two heads of state, China and the US should work together to focus on cooperation, manage differences, bring China-US relations back on the right track, and deliver greater benefit to the people of our two countries and the world.
Beijing Media Network: According to a member of the Turkish government's advisory Science Council, the COVID-19 vaccine developed by China's Sinovac Biotech has an efficacy of 83.5% based on final results of Phase III trials, and prevented severe illness in 100% of cases. No side effect was reported. "We can say comfortably that it is safe", he said. Do you have any comment on that?
Wang Wenbin: We have noted relevant reports. For the Chinese government, people's life is everything. It gives top priority to vaccine safety and efficacy, and has been instructing relevant Chinese enterprises to conduct vaccine R&D in strict accordance with scientific rules and regulatory requirements. So far, dozens of countries have approved the use of Chinese vaccines in their countries.
China will continue to act on President Xi Jinping's pledge to make the vaccine a global public good and work with other countries to strive for an early victory for all mankind over the virus.
Reuters: According to the UN, 38 protesters were killed in Myanmar in a protest on Wednesday. What's China's view on this? And what actions, if any, do you believe the UN and the international community should take in response?
Wang Wenbin: As a friendly neighbor to Myanmar, China has been following the situation closely. We call on all parties to exercise restraint, properly handle their differences under the constitutional and legal framework and maintain political and social stability. China has been in contact with all parties in Myanmar to actively promote a deescalation of tensions. We hope that ASEAN countries will help Myanmar ease the situation in the ASEAN Way while upholding the principles of not interfering in Myanmar's internal affairs, making decisions through consensus and advancing the unity and cooperation of the ASEAN family. We support their efforts in this regard. We also believe that whatever actions taken by the international community shall contribute to Myanmar's political and social stability, promote its peace and reconciliation, and avoid escalating the conflict and complicating the situation. China is willing to continue to play a constructive role to cool down the situation in Myanmar.
Shenzhen TV: It's been more than a year since China's Foreign Investment Law ("FIL") came into force. The Spokesperson for the Legislative Affairs Commission of the NPC Standing Committee has talked about this. We'd like to know how the Spokesperson of the Foreign Ministry view the implementation of this law in China?
Wang Wenbin: The Spokesperson for the Legislative Affairs Commission of the NPC Standing Committee has recently talked about the notable achievements the FIL has made in more than one year's time. With foreign capitals enjoying greater access, a more convenient environment for investment activities, a more developed service system, better protection for their rights and interests, and a fairer marketplace for competition, China registered a foreign capital utilization growth rate of 4.5 percent in 2020, despite all the negative external factors, setting a new record both for the sheer size of the investment and its share compared to the world total.
The challenging pandemic has not halted China's steps towards greater reform and opening-up in 2020. China's door to the outside world is being opened wider and wider: the number of off-limits sectors for foreign investors has been cut to 33 in the 2020 version of the negative list from 40 in the 2019 version; the number of prohibited industries on the 2020 negative list for foreign investment in pilot free trade zones has been cut to 30 from 37; for the free trade port, the negative list only contains 27 items. China released plans for three new pilot free trade zones in Beijing, Hunan and Anhui on Monday to further facilitate its high-level opening-up. As measured by the World Bank's Doing Business report, China moved up from the 78th place in 2018 to the 31st in 2020, and was included among the top 10 global reformers for two years in a row.
The US-China Business Council's survey showed that nearly 70 percent of the members said that they are optimistic about the commercial prospects of the Chinese market. A study by the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China showed that over 60% of survey EU businesses regard China as their top three investment choices.
China, guided by its new philosophy on development, has been accelerating the building of a new development paradigm, with the domestic circulation as the mainstay and the international and domestic circulations reinforcing each other. China's opening up will surely reach wider and go deeper. We are fostering an investment environment that is more market-oriented, law-based, and up to international standards. China's market will be shared by everyone around the world.
Reuters: Lithuania said it will open a trade representation office in Taiwan. The country also said that the 17+1 economic initiative didn't bring expected results. Do you have any comment on this?
Wang Wenbin: On your first question, there is but one China in the world and the People's Republic of China is the sole legal government representing the whole of China. We are firmly against the mutual establishment of official agencies and official exchanges in all forms between the Taiwan region and countries having diplomatic relations with China including Lithuania. We urge the Lithuanian side to stay true to the one-China principle, abide by the commitments it made upon establishing diplomatic ties with China, refuse to be taken advantage of by "Taiwan independence" separatist forces, and avoid doing anything detrimental to bilateral political mutual trust.
On your second question, we've taken note of the news. It should be pointed out that China-CEEC cooperation is a cross-regional cooperation mechanism established at the joint initiative of China and countries in central and eastern Europe. It embodies our shared aspiration for development. The mechanism is not dominated by China. Instead, the principle of freewill-based consultation, joint contribution, openness and inclusiveness is always upheld in advancing cooperation. Every party's opinion is respected and everything is handled upon consultation and every outcome is shared by all. This is for mutual benefit. China-CEEC cooperation, nine years since its launch, has yielded fruitful results and delivered tangible benefits to the people of participating countries. It has become a useful supplement to China-Europe relations. We have every confidence in its prospects and stand ready to work with like-minded friends for more fruitful China-CEEC cooperation, which will also boost and invigorate bilateral cooperation between China and relevant countries.
Reuters: According to Interpol, Chinese police arrested a number of suspects for making and selling fake COVID vaccines, and three Chinese nationals were also arrested in South Africa on similar charges. Do you have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: I would refer you to Interpol for details. I believe you have noted that relevant Chinese authorities have recently launched a special campaign to crack down on and prevent vaccine-related crimes in accordance with law.
The Chinese government always attaches great importance to the safety of vaccine, and vigorously combats all sorts of vaccine-related criminal activities to protect people's safety and health, and ensure the success of epidemic prevention and control work. We will continue to take measures to crack down on the production and sale of counterfeit vaccines, illegal business operations and smuggling of vaccines in accordance with law. Meanwhile, we will strengthen law enforcement cooperation with relevant countries to prevent cross-border criminal activities.