|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin's Regular Press Conference on December 30, 2020|
Invited by Nigerian Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama, DRC Minister of State and Minister of Foreign Affairs Marie Tumba Nzeza, Botswanan Foreign Minister Lemogang Kwape, Tanzanian Foreign Minister Palamagamba Kabudi and Foreign Minister Sylvestre Radegonde of the Republic of Seychelles, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will pay official visits to the five countries from January 4 to 9, 2021.
CCTV: Africa is the destination of Chinese foreign ministers' first overseas visit each year. Can you tell us something about State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi's visit this time?
Wang Wenbin: Since 1991, Africa has been the destination for Chinese foreign ministers' first overseas visit each year. State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi's visit this time is a continuation of this fine tradition, which demonstrates the high importance China attaches to its relationship with Africa. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, China and Africa have worked in solidarity to fight against the epidemic, a testament to our brotherhood. This visit also shows China's sincerity and determination in deepening friendly relations with African countries in the post-COVID era.
The year 2021 is the final year for the implementation of the outcomes of FOCAC Beijing Summit. State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi's upcoming visit will follow President Xi Jinping's vision of upholding the principles of sincerity, real results, amity and good faith and pursuing the greater good and shared interests to strengthen communication with African countries, implement the important consensus reached by President Xi Jinping and African leaders and jointly act on the outcomes of the FOCAC Beijing Summit and the Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity against COVID-19, support African countries in combating the virus and achieving economic recovery, advance BRI cooperation between China and Africa and build a closer China-Africa community with a shared future. State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will exchange views with the African side on the preparations for the next FOCAC meeting. We believe the traditional friendship between China and Africa will be further promoted in the post-COVID era.
Reuters: A court in Shenzhen delivered the verdicts on 10 Hong Kongers regarding their illegal border-crossing. They were sentenced to seven months to three years in jail. What's your comment on this?
Wang Wenbin: The People's Court of Shenzhen's Yantian District has issued a statement on this. I'd like to stress that China is a country with rule of law, where laws must be followed and law-breakers must be held accountable. The Chinese judicial organs handle cases strictly according to law.
Bloomberg: The U.S. government's plan to sell its consular staff compound in Hong Kong to a Hong Kong developer was not completed as scheduled because the Chinese government said its consent is needed before the deal can take place. Does the foreign ministry have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: In view of the U.S. side's regulations on the real estate management of foreign embassies and consulates in the United States and based on the principle of reciprocity, China requires the U.S. embassy and consulates in China, including the consulate general in Hong Kong, to submit a written application in advance and provide detailed information accordingly before they lease, purchase, sell, or in any other way acquire or dispose of real estate properties, and before carrying out new construction, reconstruction, expansion, and renovation of the premises. Only after getting the Chinese side's approval in written form can their relevant procedures be handled.
China News Service: A UNEP report in September shows that of the 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets set in 2010, the world has failed to fully achieve any single goal and only six have been "partially achieved". What in China's view is the main reason for that? Relevant parties are discussing a draft of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework. As the host for COP-15, what is China's vision for post-2020 global biodiversity goals?
Wang Wenbin: Loss of biodiversity is a serious challenge facing the world. All parties must adhere to multilateralism and work together to deal with it. Developed countries need to provide support to developing countries in terms of finance, technology and capacity-building to effectively enhance their ability to fulfill biodiversity goals.
At the United Nations Biodiversity Summit on September 30, President Xi Jinping called on all parties to adhere to ecological civilization, uphold multilateralism, continue with green development and heighten our sense of responsibility. President Xi also put forward China's propositions for post-2020 global biodiversity governance.
China will host the 15th meeting of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP-15) next year, during which a post-2020 global biodiversity framework will be developed to set goals and pathways for global biodiversity conservation over the next decade. China has the following visions for the framework. First, the framework should reflect in a balanced manner the three major objectives - conservation of biodiversity, sustainable use of biodiversity, and the fair & equitable sharing of the benefits - set out in the Convention on Biological Diversity. Second, the framework should be both ambitious and practical, providing necessary guidance for the future while ensuring the science-based nature, reasonableness and feasibility of the objectives building on what we have learned from the Aichi goals. Third, the framework should accommodate developing countries' concerns and step up support for them.
As the host country and incoming president for COP-15, China looks forward to thorough discussions and consultations following the principles of openness, transparency and parties-driven process to expand consensus to reach a landmark framework for COP-15, thus injecting new impetus into global biodiversity governance.
AFP: Can you confirm the time and format of an online summit with the EU on the investment deal? Besides, reports say that Italy finally received confirmation that 13 Italian sailors stranded on two boats outside Huanghua port in China would be allowed to disembark. The boats are called the Antonella Lambo and the MBA Giovanni and they're both carrying Australian coal. Can you confirm the date when they will disembark?
Wang Wenbin: On your first question, recently there has been major progress in the China-EU investment agreement negotiations. On this basis, China and the EU are having discussions on holding a leaders' meeting via videoconference. You may stay tuned on the relevant reports.
On the Italian sailors, the Italian side has raised the request to the Chinese authorities, and the two sides are having discussions on it.
China Review News: The cabinet meeting of Thailand's government agreed to make the Chinese Spring Festival 2021 a public holiday in Thailand, which is the first time that the Thai government has made the Chinese Spring Festival a national public holiday. Do you have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: China and Thailand are as close as one family. We welcome the Thai government's decision to make the Chinese Spring Festival 2021 a public holiday in Thailand. We believe our traditional friendship will be further deepened, our people-to-people ties will get closer, and bilateral relations will be even better.
The Paper: U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo said in a statement on December 29 that because of China's malfeasance, a controllable outbreak turned into a global pandemic. He also accused the Chinese government of silencing its people. What's your comment on this?
Wang Wenbin: Since the pandemic broke out, in an open, transparent and responsible spirit, the Chinese government has put people and life front and center, taken the most comprehensive, rigorous and thorough anti-epidemic measures, become one of the first group of countries that put the virus under control, and shared our containment and treatment experience with the international community in a timely manner. We have effectively safeguarded the Chinese people's health and safety, and won precious time for the international community to fight the virus. Our anti-epidemic results have been endorsed by the Chinese people and acclaimed by many countries and international organizations.
Pompeo's comments, biased and hypocritical as they are, constitute blatant interference in China's internal affairs and judicial sovereignty. Given the severe epidemic situation in the United States, what have you done for your country's fight against COVID-19 and for saving American lives, Mr. Pompeo? We urge some U.S. politicians to spend their time and energy on combating the virus at home rather than making slanders against China.
Prasar Bharati: This is regarding the Indian families stuck in Wuhan who have been under different kinds of quarantine for around two months now, and they are still not able to leave for Beijing. Is there any different protocol for people moving to Beijing and other places? When will these Indian families be allowed to move to Beijing?
Wang Wenbin: I'm not aware of the situation and I'll leave that to local authorities or the competent departments. The Chinese government attaches high importance to safety and health of foreigners in China, and has provided and will continue providing all necessary assistance to them.
AFP: Sinopharm today announced that their vaccine has an efficacy rate of over 79 percent. When can we expect detailed results of stage III clinical trials for other Chinese vaccines regarding their efficacy? Secondly, based on a recent study released by the Chinese CDC, it can be found that the number of Wuhan residents who may have been infected with COVID-19 is different from the official number of Wuhan cases that were reported. Do you have any comment on this?
Wang Wenbin: On your first question, I will refer you to the relevant companies for the vaccine efficacy data and when they will be released.
On your second question, I'm afraid you've misunderstood the concept. A sero-epidemiological survey result released by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows a COVID-19 antibody rate of 4.43 percent among residents in Wuhan, higher than the morbidity rate of confirmed cases reported in Wuhan by the end of March. However, this phenomenon is not unique. Media reports say other countries also found that the estimated infection rates, based on the antibody rates according to similar surveys, are higher than the morbidity rates reported locally. Experts believe that the difference is mainly related to the characteristics of the disease, the infected people's behaviors in seeking medical service and treatment, the capability of nucleic acid test and serum antibody test methods. Therefore, one cannot calculate the total number of COVID-19 cases by simply multiplying the antibody rate by the population of the region.
Bloomberg: In asking the U.S. embassy and consulates to apply before they dispose of or acquire real estate properties, we're wondering if this applies only to the U.S. embassy and consulates or other foreign embassies and consulates as well?
Wang Wenbin: Like I said earlier, in view of the U.S. side's regulations on the real estate management of foreign embassies and consulates in the United States, China requires the U.S. embassy and consulates in China to undergo procedures accordingly based on the principle of reciprocity.