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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin's Regular Press Conference on December 17, 2020
2020/12/17

The 2020 Meeting of the Advisory Council of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF) will be convened on the evening of December 18 via video link. State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will attend the meeting and deliver an address.

The Advisory Council is composed of international dignitaries from all over the world, including former statesmen, scholars and experts, etc. The main function of the body is to provide intelligence support for the BRF and relevant international cooperation.

China News Service: In the early hours of December 17, Chang'e 5 lunar mission returned to Earth after collecting moon samples. We noted that the European Space Agency (ESA) official noted that the mission is of great significance. Do you have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: In the early morning today, Chang'e 5 lunar probe returned to Earth after its 23-day journey in space, marking the successful completion of this lunar mission. President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, sent a congratulatory message, and we are all deeply inspired by and excited at this feat.

As China's space project with the greatest technical complexity, Chang'e 5 is the country's first mission to retrieve samples from an extraterrestrial body to Earth, marking a great step forward for China's aerospace industry, which will help deepen mankind's scientific knowledge and understanding of the origin of the Moon and the evolution history of our solar system.

The success of Chang'e 5 mission is also attributable to the support and assistance from relevant countries and international organizations, including the ESA, Argentina, Namibia, Pakistan and so on. We express sincere thanks to them.

Humanity's exploration of space is a never-ending process. Where there is a will, there is a way. China stands ready to work with other countries to carry forward the lunar exploration spirit of pursuing dreams, daring to explore, cooperating in tackling difficulties and win-win ccooperation, so as to make greater contributions to the peaceful use of space and the building of a community with a shared future for humanity.

Reuters: An international mission led by the World Health Organization is expected to come to China early next year, potentially in January, to investigate the origins of COVID-19 with Chinese researchers, according to sources cited by Reuters. Can the ministry confirm this? The sources say that they expected to take a 6-week tour including Wuhan. Can the ministry comment on this as well?

Wang Wenbin: Since the outbreak of COVID-19, China has taken the lead in working together with WHO on origin-tracing in an open, transparent and responsible attitude. WHO experts have visited China twice. Chinese experts and WHO and international expert teams have held many virtual exchange sessions to share progress in origin-tracing and experience in combating the virus. WHO has also updated China on progress in global origin-tracing research. The two sides are steadily advancing cooperation. China stands ready to enhance cooperation with WHO to advance global origin-tracing and contribute to mankind's early victory over the pandemic.

AFP: A follow-up question on the WHO mission. Could you give us any details such as the date of their trip or which places in China they will visit and will the experts have to quarantine?

Wang Wenbin: As I just stated, China has been working together with WHO, including on origin-tracing. We will continue to enhance such cooperation with WHO.

Shenzhen TV: China and Caribbean countries with diplomatic relations with it held a second special vice foreign ministers' video conference on COVID-19 recently. Could you tell us more about that? How will China and Caribbean countries take measures to cope with the epidemics going forward?

Wang Wenbin: On December 16, China and Caribbean countries having diplomatic relations with it held the second special vice foreign ministers' meeting on COVID-19 via video link. The meeting was co-hosted by Vice Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang and Foreign Minister Kenneth Darroux of the Commonwealth of Dominica, and attended by Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit of the Commonwealth of Dominica. Delegates from China and nine Caribbean states attended the virtual meeting, including Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Bahamas, the Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, and Jamaica. The meeting issued a joint press release.

At the meeting, the Chinese side gave a briefing on how China maintains economic and social development while ensuring effective epidemic prevention and control, and spoke highly of the results of bilateral cooperation on COVID-19 since the first meeting. The Chinese side said that in the face of the COVID-19 epidemic, China and the Caribbean countries having diplomatic ties with it have provided mutual assistance to each other and conducted fruitful cooperation. It announced that the anti-epidemic supplies it provided had been handed over to the Caribbean side. The video meeting of health experts held by the two sides has played an effective role in sharing experience in epidemic prevention and control, diagnosis and treatment. The traditional friendship between China and the Caribbean side has been enhanced in anti-epidemic cooperation. China will continue to uphold the vision of a community with a shared future for mankind, follow through on its commitment to making vaccines a global public good, support Caribbean countries in their efforts to recover their economies from the epidemic, jointly tackle climate change and other global challenges, uphold multilateralism and international equity and justice, and take our comprehensive cooperative partnership to a new level.

Delegates from Caribbean countries thanked China for providing support and assistance, commended China's success in maintaining economic and social development while ensuring effective epidemic prevention and control, expressed willingness to cooperate with China in vaccine development and use, overcome the negative impact of the epidemic, expand mutually beneficial cooperation in the field of trade and investment, infrastructure, e-commerce, resume and expand people-to-people and cultural exchanges and jointly cope with climate change, uphold multilateralism and international justice, and promote friendly relations and cooperation between Caribbean countries and China.

China will work with Caribbean countries to implement the important consensus reached at this meeting, advance practical cooperation in various fields including on prevention and control, and push forward the comprehensive cooperative partnership featuring mutual respect, equality, mutual benefit and common development between China and Caribbean countries.

RIA Novosti: Commander of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command said in a statement that Chinese delegation didn't show up at the virtual senior level meeting related to the military maritime consulting agreement. I wonder if you could confirm this and explain why Chinese delegation refused to participate in this meeting?

Wang Wenbin: Based on what we have learned, the United States bears full responsibility for the fact that the 2020 China-U.S. military maritime consultative agreement meetings have not been held yet. The U.S. military's accusation is groundless and irresponsible. You may ask China's Ministry of National Defense for more details.

Bloomberg: A statement from the Office of the U.S. Director of National Intelligence John Radcliffe said on Wednesday night that a deadline to submit a classified report to Congress on foreign efforts to sway the November 3rd election will not be met. That's because director Radcliffe is said to be refusing to sign off on the report, unless it more fully reflects the national security threat posed by China. Does the ministry have any comment on this situation?

Wang Wenbin: First I want to share something. Not long ago the U.S. Director of National Intelligence called China "national security threat no.1". We also noted that U.S. media commented that there is some data missing in his analysis--data that reveals that partnership with China, not antagonism, should be pursued.

I reiterate that China is committed to the principle of non-interference. Claims about China influencing U.S. presidential elections are completely fabricated.

AFP: A UN human rights expert Mary Lawlor published a statement yesterday calling China's crackdown on rights defenders a shocking display of disregard for human rights. Does China have any response to the statement?

Wang Wenbin: China is a country with rule of law where everyone stands equal in front of the law. No individual or organization is above the law. This is the true meaning of rule of law. China's judicial authorities handle cases in accordance with law and protect the suspects and defendants' lawful rights. The alleged cases of "disappearance" or "torture" are simply non-existent. We urge the special procedures of the Human Rights Council to abide by purposes and principles of the UN Charter, fulfill their mandate in a just and objective manner, stop meddling in other countries' domestic affairs and judicial sovereignty, and take concrete actions to help advance the sound development of the international human rights cause.

Xinhua News Agency: Jim O'Neill, "Father of BRICS", chairman of the Royal Institute of International Studies and a famous economist, said in a recent interview that the long-term rule of the Communist Party of China and China's industrialization process have provided guarantees for China's poverty alleviation. Do you have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: What Jim O'Neill said testifies to a plain truth, that is, the Communist Party of China puts people first and places people's well-being front and center. The leadership of the CPC is the fundamental guarantee for the Chinese people to shake off poverty and live a happy life.

Since the 18th National Congress of the CPC, the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core has made poverty alleviation a prominent priority in its governance. It has organized and implemented the largest and most vigorous battle in human history against poverty, lifting nearly 100 million people out of poverty and achieving a major victory that has won admiration from the world. The numbers speak for themselves. A total of more than 500,000 cadres have been appointed as first secretaries and more than 3 million cadres have been sent to poverty-stricken villages to help. At present, there are more than 200,000 first secretaries and nearly 900,000 cadres dispatched to villages. This fully demonstrates the CPC's mission and dedication to seek happiness for the Chinese people and rejuvenation for the Chinese nation. It is also a resounding reply to certain foreign politicians' denigration of the CPC and their attempts to sow discord between the CPC and the Chinese people.

CCTV: According to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) recently published a report saying that Australia's media has faced persistent efforts by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to influence and censor content. The report also mentioned that ASPI is funded by the Australian Department of Defence and the U.S. Department of State. Do you have any comment on that?

Wang Wenbin: I noted that Australian media already repeatedly disclosed that ASPI has long been funded by U.S. defense and diplomatic authorities as well as arms manufacturers to fabricate various anti-China rumors.

The latest example in case is an article published in August by the Australian newspaper, which cited a report titled "China Defence Universities Tracker" by ASPI analyst Alex Joske, making false accusation that 32 Australian academics participating in China's Thousand Talents Plan are "giving the Chinese Communist Party access to their technology and inventions where there is the risk they could be used for military or intelligence purposes." Based on that, the Australian Research Council (ARC) wrote to universities demanding they investigate relevant individual academics, but the investigation did not find anything unusual. Australian independent news agency APAC News revealed that the ASPI report, which the ARC relied upon to launch its investigation, was entirely funded by a $190,000 grant from the US State Department, and there's not a scrap of evidence to support the relevant accusation. The author Alex Joske was even forced to issue a public apology.

I think this is another example of ASPI serving the interests of its patrons as a tool to denigrate and contain China. The various reports ASPI churns out, however fancy, will not change its nature as rumor-maker. We hope that people in Australia and the international community will be clear-eyed, distinguish between right and wrong, and jointly denounce and reject the retrogressive actions of anti-China institutions like ASPI.

AFP: we know you answered similar questions yesterday,but I was wondering today you could provide any update or more details on how China will respond to Australia's WTO appeal against Chinese care of some barley?

Wang Wenbin: With regard to the Australian side's complaint with the WTO, I would refer you to the competent Chinese department.

I would like to repeat that China abides by the WTO rules and acts in accordance with the rules. The discriminatory practices of the Australian side against Chinese enterprises are not in line with the principles of market economy and international economic and trade rules, and we hope that the Australian side will adopt practical measures to correct them.

Bloomberg: The United States has warned pacific island nations about security threats posed by Huawei Marine in its bid to take part in undersea cable project. This is according to reports from Reuters citing two sources. Huawei Marine is now majority owned by Hengtong Optic Electric. What is the foreign ministry's comment on this warning to pacific island nations by the US on security threats posed by Huawei Marine?

Wang Wenbin: The Chinese government encourages Chinese enterprises to carry out foreign investment cooperation on the basis of complying with local laws, market principles and international rules. The U.S. side has been making things up to discredit China and justify their suppression of Chinese high-tech enterprises. China has never required enterprises or individuals to collect or provide data, information and intelligence from other countries for the Chinese government by installing "back door". Huawei is the first company in the world to publicly state its readiness to sign a "no back door" agreement and to accept third-party monitoring and supervision.

It is precisely the United States itself that, even after the exposure of the PRISM program, has carried out large-scale cyber theft targeting other countries, including its allies. It is the notorious Empire of Hacking and Cyber-spying. Not long ago, the Danish media revealed that the relevant US agencies monitored Danish government departments and collected private data and information through Danish communications cables. The trick of slandering others and beautifying themselves by the United States is clearly seen through by the international community. No matter how hard the U.S. side tries to smear China, it can not hide the fact that it is politically cracking down on its competitors, nor can it stop the development and progress of Chinese enterprises.

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I would like to share with you some news: last night, the live-stream international charity sale of the 12th "Love Knows No Borders" was held successfully. Foreign envoys and senior diplomats in China, poverty-relief officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs working on spot in Jinping and Mailipo counties, Yunnan Province, showed up at the Taobao CCTV News broadcast room and jointly promoted sales with CCTV anchors. According to statistics, a total of nearly 5 million netizens watched the live event. The revenue from the online sale will be used to support de facto orphans in Jinping and Mailipo counties of Yunnan Province. The online charity sale will continue until December 19. Here, we sincerely thank people from all walks of life for their great support to the "Love Knows No Borders" online international charity sale. We look forward to having more of your support and show of love in the future.

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