|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin's Regular Press Conference on November 4, 2020|
CCTV: The second meeting of the Belt and Road Accounting Standards Cooperation Mechanism was held on November 3. I wonder if BRI cooperation has in any way been negatively affected by the pandemic?
Wang Wenbin: Pursuing the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, the BRI cooperation proactively endorses multilateralism. BRI partners established multilateral cooperation mechanisms in multiple areas. Despite the negative impact on international exchanges caused by COVID-19 this year, BRI partners held over 20 international conferences via the Internet or in person for multilateral cooperation. Here are some examples.
First, in June this year, the High-Level Video Conference on Belt and Road International Cooperation was held. Guests attending the conference include ministers from 25 countries, the WHO Director-General and the UNDP Administrator. A joint statement was released after the conference where all sides pledged to continue enhancing BRI cooperation.
Second, the Belt and Road inter-bank regular cooperation mechanism made a proposal to support China and other countries in their fight against COVID-19, calling for greater international solidarity and cooperation. The BRI Tax Administration Cooperation Mechanism held tax meetings to provide service and guarantee for economic recovery amid the pandemic. The China-Europe Railway Express joint working group also held a meeting to advance collaboration.
Third, the BRI International Green Development Coalition, Belt and Road Green Investment Principles and Belt and Road Sustainable Cities Alliance held meetings respectively to discuss cooperation on matters related to a green silk road, green investment and finance, and sustainable development.
Fourth, to implement the second BRF's list of outcomes, the International Commercial Dispute Prevention and Settlement Organization was established, the Multilateral Development and Financing Cooperation Center fund launched and the second meeting of the Belt and Road Accounting Standards Cooperation Mechanism held.
Fifth, the Silk Road Think Tank Network held an annual virtual meeting for 2020 in support of quality BRI cooperation, which also called for commitment to globalization and multilateralism. The BRI Documentary Consortium, the Network of Silk Road Arts Festivals, the Silk Road International League of Theaters and other platforms held online events to strengthen bonds between people from various countries.
We believe the BRI multilateral cooperation will make greater contribution to quality BRI building and all sides' fight against COVID-19, socio-economic recovery and the implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Agencia EFE: We still don't know the result of the elections in the United States. What do you think about it?
Wang Wenbin: We notice that the U.S. presidential election is still ongoing, and the result hasn't come out yet.
Bloomberg: The U.S. State Department on Tuesday approved the proposed sale of MQ-9B drones from General Atomics in a $600 million deal. The sale is the first one approved since the Trump administration eased export restrictions on armed drones in July. We're wondering if the foreign ministry has any comment on this?
Wang Wenbin: China's position on the U.S. arms sales to Taiwan is consistent and clear. I'd like to stress again that the 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, constitute blatant interference in China's internal affairs, seriously undermine China's sovereignty and security interests, send out wrong signals to "Taiwan independence" separatist forces, and gravely undercut China-US relations as well as peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. China firmly opposes such acts.
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 immediately cancel its arms sale plan to avoid further damaging China-US relations and cross-strait peace and stability. China will take legitimate and necessary reactions to firmly safeguard national sovereignty and security interests.
Associated Press of Pakistan: Recently Pakistani information minister said in a statement that the CPEC is a symbol of friendship between China and Pakistan and that all the projects under CPEC are successfully advancing towards completion. Several other politicians and officials have also made similar statements. Since its launch, tangible outcomes in areas like energy, transport infrastructure and ports have been achieved, making concrete contribution to national development of Pakistan. What's your response?
Wang Wenbin: We highly applaud Pakistan's positive remarks on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
The CPEC is an important pilot BRI project and a flagship for China-Pakistan bilateral cooperation. Since its building started more than seven years ago, major progress has been achieved and a lot of projects have been launched or completed, bringing over $25 billion of direct investment to Pakistan. Last month, the Orange Line, an early harvest project under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, was inaugurated in Lahore, introducing an era of metro train service for Pakistan. The completed projects have greatly improved the country's transport infrastructure and power supply, created more than 70,000 local jobs, contributed 1 to 2 percent to Pakistan's GDP growth every year, and significantly boosted its socio-economic development and people's wellbeing.
The CPEC contributes to not only economic and social development in China and Pakistan, but also regional connectivity and common development. Let's look at Gwadar Port. Nearly 20,000 tonnes of commodities such as wheat, sugar and fertilizer have been transferred via the port to Afghanistan since the first half of the year, creating almost 1,000 jobs in this process.
China firmly supports the building of CPEC. We will continue working with Pakistan to implement our leaders' consensus, further focusing on cooperation in areas like social welfare, industries and agriculture while advancing existing projects, and forging the CPEC into a demonstration program for quality BRI cooperation that brings more benefits to people in China, Pakistan and the whole region.
Prasar Bharati: Recently the Chinese foreign ministry said that some third parties and other countries are interested in CPEC. Can you give us more details about which countries and parties are those?
Wang Wenbin: As we said on many occasions, BRI cooperation projects, including the CPEC, are open ones. We welcome the participation of other countries that are interested, and together we can contribute to prosperity, stability and development of the region and beyond.
Prasar Bharati: Recently Pakistan has decided to accord "provisional provincial status" to Gilgit-Baltistan in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. India has firmly rejected this, terming it an illegal occupation of Indian territory and called upon Pakistan to vacate it immediately. What is China's view on this?
Wang Wenbin: We noticed reports on that. China's position on the issue of Kashmir has been consistent and clear. It is an issue left over from history between India and Pakistan, which should be resolved properly and peacefully in accordance with the UN Charter, relevant Security Council resolutions and bilateral agreements.
Agencia EFE: Even if we don't know the result of the US elections, does China have some kind of preferences between the two candidates?
Wang Wenbin: The U.S. presidential election is the country's internal affair. China doesn't take a position on it.
China Daily: The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the terrorist attack in Vienna, saying that it aims to revenge Austria's participation in the U.S.-led operation against the Islamic State. One Chinese Austrian was killed in the shooting, while a Chinese national was slightly injured. What is your comment?
Wang Wenbin: China is deeply shocked by this attack. Violent terrorism is a common enemy to all mankind. China is firmly opposed to all forms of terrorism and violent crimes. We mourn the victims and extend sympathy and condolences to the bereaved families and the injured. To our knowledge, some overseas Chinese were killed or injured in the attack. The Chinese embassy in Austria is in close communication with local authorities and providing timely assistance to Chinese citizens in Austria.
Prasar Bharati: China made strong protest when India abrogated Article 370 to end the special status of Jammu and Kashmir. Now Pakistan announced to make changes in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir and basically terms it as its own territory. Can it be concluded that China does not have a neutral approach on this issue as it has professed always?
Wang Wenbin: What you said is not true. China's position on the Kashmir issue has been consistent and clear.
Agencia EFE: On Huawei's 5G technology in Brazil. The United States has exerted a lot of pressure on Brazil and some other countries in Latin America and Europe like Portugal, asking them not to cooperate with Huawei on 5G. What's your comment?
Wang Wenbin: I can assure you that over the past 30 years, this company you mentioned, which has built more than 1,500 networks worldwide, hasn't caused a single cyber security incident, and not a single country can prove this company is prone to hidden risks or security threats. We hope countries will continue upholding an objective and unbiased position and make independent decisions that serve their national interests, the common interests of all countries and the progress of mankind. Suppression and restriction against this company under the pretext of security concerns is both unfounded and inconsistent with international economic and trade rules.
Before we conclude, I'd like to say something about a media conference that's going to take place tomorrow. Our ministry will hold a press briefing here in Lanting at 10a.m. on November 5, where Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng will share information about President Xi Jinping's attendance at the 20th Meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Chinese and foreign journalists are all welcome to join us in the briefing.