|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin's Regular Press Conference on October 27, 2020|
Xinhua News Agency: The 75th United Nations Day was commemorated at the UN headquarters yesterday. UN Secretary-General António Guterres said that the mission of the UN is more important than ever. Director-General of the UN Office in Geneva Tatiana Valovaya said in an interview that China's support for multilateralism is very important. What is China's comment?
Wang Wenbin: As this year marks the 75th anniversary of the UN, a series of commemorative activities have been held. When attending relevant high-level meetings, President Xi Jinping made it clear that China will firmly uphold multilateralism and the authority of the UN, pursue peaceful development and win-win cooperation, and promote the building of a community with a shared future for mankind. World leaders have come together to uphold multilateralism, support the role of the UN, strengthen solidarity, coordination and cooperation in addressing global challenges.
Looking back on the past 75 years, the UN has made important contributions to maintaining international peace and security and promoting common development of the world, which has been widely recognized by the international community. Faced with changes in the international landscape unseen in a century, the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the threat of unilateralism and bullying behaviors, the international community should take the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the founding of the UN as an important opportunity and take the joint fight against COVID-19 as a starting point to relive what's brought us together in the first place, build new consensus, overcome difficulties hand in hand, and foster a community with a shared future for mankind.
AFP: The United States on Monday said it approved a $2.4 billion sale of 100 Harpoon Coastal Defense Systems to Taiwan. Does the foreign ministry have any comment on this?
Wang Wenbin: U.S. arms sales to the Taiwan region severely violate the one-China principle and the three China-U.S. joint communiqués, especially the August 17 Communiqué, seriously undermine China's sovereignty and security interests, send out wrong signals to "Taiwan independence" separatist forces, and gravely undermine China-US relations and peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. China firmly opposes them.
China urges the United States to stay committed to the one-China principle and the three China-U.S. joint communiqués, stop arms sales to and military ties with the Taiwan region, and cancel its arms sale plan to avoid further damaging China-US relations and cross-strait peace and stability. China will take legitimate and necessary actions to firmly safeguard its sovereignty and security interests.
Beijing Youth Daily: The fifth China-Africa Youth Gala kicked off in Beijing on October 26. The Gala is a flagship program specially designed for young people under the framework of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). As this year marks the 20th anniversary of FOCAC, could you brief us on the achievements in people-to-people and cultural exchanges between China and Africa over the past 20 years? What can we expect in the future?
Wang Wenbin: Over the past 20 years, FOCAC has strengthened people-to-people and cultural cooperation and guided exchanges and mutual learning between China and Africa. The popular support for China-Africa friendship has been continuously consolidated. Within the FOCAC framework, various mechanisms and platforms for such cooperation and exchanges have been established like the China-Africa Youth Gala, Think Tanks Forum, and Forum on China-Africa Media Cooperation. Cooperation in the cultural, educational and media sectors are in full bloom. There have been frequent exchanges between youth, women, non-governmental organizations and academics on the two sides. China has provided government scholarships to a total of 120,000 students in Africa and established Confucius institutes and classrooms in 46 African countries, broadening the channel for lingual and cultural exchanges. The two sides have established 150 pairs of sister cities, and 34 African countries have become destinations for group tours from China.
Under the new circumstances, both sides will continue to promote the implementation of cultural and people-to-people exchange outcomes reached under the eight action plans released at the 2018 FOCAC Beijing Summit, overcome the negative impact of COVID-19, explore innovative ways for such exchange and cooperation, ensure the success of feature events, and deepen personnel exchange across all sectors to provide more nourishing soil for China-Africa cooperation, foster a stronger bond, and build a closer community with a shared future for China and Africa where civilizations prosper together.
Bloomberg: Officers from the Hong Kong police's national security unit arrested at a coffee shop near the U.S. consulate an activist named Tony Chung, who was preparing to seek asylum according to a SCMP article citing unidentified people. Does the foreign ministry have any comment on this?
Wang Wenbin: I'm not aware of that. China is a country with rule of law and Hong Kong is a place with law and order. We support Hong Kong law enforcement in fulfilling its duties according to law.
CCTV: Guinea's National Independent Electoral Commission declared on October 24 that the incumbent President Alpha Conde won the general election with 59.49 percent of the vote. The opposition cast doubt on the result. Does China have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: China has been following Guinea's presidential election, and noted that the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union expressed approval over the generally smooth process of the election. China respects the Guinean people's independent choice. We will continue strengthening cooperation with Guinea to advance our comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership.
Kyodo News: We have learned that China and Japan are discussing plans of State Councilor Wang Yi's visit to Japan. Has anything been confirmed yet?
Wang Wenbin: Japan is China's near neighbor. The two sides maintain close exchange at all levels and have been in consultation over this. If there is any news, we will release it in a timely manner.
Global Times: U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft attacked China's cooperation with the UN in an article published by New York Post. She also wrote that the United States, with all its actions, is not retreating from multilateralism, but preserving the multilateral system. What's China's comment?
Wang Wenbin: The article by U.S. Ambassador to the UN Kelly Craft once again shows the ignorance and bias of some American politicians. As a permanent member of the UN Security Council and the second largest contributor to the UN regular budget and peacekeeping budget, China firmly upholds multilateralism, supports the work of the UN, and defends the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. While attending the series of high-level meetings to mark the 75th anniversary of the UN, President Xi Jinping announced a range of new major initiatives and measures, demonstrating China's support for multilateralism and sense of responsibility towards world peace and development. The United States, however, has not only been following unilateralism itself, but also criticizing other countries' cooperation with the UN by wantonly distorting facts. With regard to the erroneous allegations by Craft, I would like to stress the following three points:
First, international staff members from various countries are all part and parcel of the UN team. They fulfill their duties according to the collective will of member states and are subject to the supervision of member states. With widely-recognized capability and professionalism, they make important contributions to the UN cause and deserve to be respected. Craft's groundless allegation is an insult to all of them. The spokesperson of the UN secretary-general has responded, saying Secretary-General António Guterres has good cooperation with the heads of the International Civil Aviation Organization and the International Telecommunications Union and does not doubt that they work to serve the interests of the UN. The UN system currently has 2,531 staff members from the United States, including 19 under-secretary-generals and assistant-secretary-generals, more than any other member state. Can their integrity stand Craft's scrutiny?
Second, some U.S. politicians such as Craft chose to provoke confrontation among great powers and interfere in the internal affairs of other countries at the UN, which is deeply unpopular. At the third Committee of the UN General Assembly, representatives of a small number of countries, including Craft, maliciously discredited China during their deliberations on human rights issues. China sternly refuted this with facts and truth and won the support of more than 70 countries. This fully proves that more and more countries, after learning the true face of the United States-a troublemaker, acted to oppose hegemony and political confrontation. I would like to know just how much longer can Craft persist in ignoring the voices of most countries?
Third, Craft seems quite complacent about her behavior of interfering in China's internal affairs through issues relating to Xinjiang, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. She can tell lies with such pretense and no scruples at all, not knowing that she has already violated international law and the basic norms of international relations. The first order of business for Craft is to understand the territorial space of the United States and its own responsibilities, instead of preaching nonsense and using lies as a weapon. Problems facing the United States will not be solved and the it will not be made great again by this.
We are in the 21st century and no one can and should return to the old path of Cold War confrontation of the 20th century. As mankind fights against COVID-19 and faces more and more global challenges, we have no other choice but to hold consultation as equals and strengthen cooperation to uphold multilateralism and safeguard the UN-centered international system. We hope Craft and other American politicians will mend their misguided ways and truly do their job.
AFP: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has opened talks in India. He is starting a trip in Asia that he previously said will focus on threats posed by China. Does the foreign ministry have any comment on this?
Wang Wenbin: Pompeo's attacks and allegations against China are nothing new. They are merely old lies repeated time and again, only to expose his Cold War mentality and ideological bias. We urge him to discard the Cold War zero-sum mentality, stop hyping up the so-called "China threat", and stop the misguided efforts to sow discord between regional countries and undermine regional peace and stability.
China News Service: China and Myanmar recently held a webinar on COVID-19. Can you give us more details on that?
Wang Wenbin: On October 22, the National Health Commission and Myanmar's Ministry of Health and Sports co-hosted a webinar on COVID-19. Health officials from both sides and representatives of the Chinese embassy in Myanmar attended the webinar. Both sides talked about experience in preventing and controlling COVID-19, exchanged views on testing, guidelines, vaccine R&D and other issues, and reached consensus on strengthening technical exchange and information-sharing, handling COVID-19 together and jointly safeguarding regional and global health security.
After the pandemic broke out, China and Myanmar have been helping each other and overcoming difficulties together. In late May, President Xi Jinping said in a phone call with President U Win Myint that China would continue providing firm support and every assistance to help Myanmar fight the virus based on its need. China donated multiple batches of medical supplies to Myanmar and sent two medical teams to work alongside local medical staff. These facts are a vivid demonstration of China and Myanmar sharing weal and woe as a community with a shared future.
China's diplomacy prioritizes deepening anti-epidemic cooperation and post-COVID-19 economic recovery with neighboring countries. As the pandemic is still spreading, our containment efforts mustn't slacken. China believes that as long as there's still a country threatened by COVID-19, all should stay united and carry on the fight. China is ready to work with neighboring countries to improve the capability of joint prevention and control, enhance experience-sharing, and advance vaccine R&D, manufacturing and deployment, so that we can defeat the virus as soon as possible.