Beijing Youth Daily: According to a Reuters report, Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) Director David Vigneault said on February 9 that the government of China poses a threat to Canada's national security and sovereignty and threatens Canadian citizens in a covert manner. Do you have a comment?
Wang Wenbin: We reject these remarks which have no factual basis. China is committed to a peaceful development path, a win-win strategy of opening-up, and the building of a community with a shared future for mankind. We uphold the principle of non-interference and will never reduce ourselves to arbitrarily arresting a citizen of a third country at the behest of a foreign power. We urge some politicians on the Canadian side to abandon their Cold-War mentality and ideological bias, stop wantonly smearing and attacking China, stop spreading sensational falsehoods, and turn their attention to promoting China-Canada relations and enhancing mutual trust.
Xinhua News Agency: The China-CEEC summit was held via videoconference in Beijing yesterday. What's the significance of the summit given the world is in a united fight against COVID-19?
Wang Wenbin: The China-CEEC summit was successfully held yesterday. President Xi Jinping chaired the summit, delivered a keynote speech, and discussed China-CEEC cooperation via videolink with leaders of CEE countries.
This summit is the first diplomatic event hosted by China this year. It's the highest-level China-CEEC leaders' meeting since the mechanism was established, and an important multilateral event amid the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Having attracted attention from all over the world, this summit produced fruitful outcomes and profound influence, consolidating new consensus and injecting new vitality into China-CEEC cooperation under the new circumstances.
At the summit, President Xi summarized the principles of China-CEEC cooperation. First, making decisions through consultation. Second, delivering benefits to all cooperation partners. Third, pursuing common development through openness and inclusiveness. Fourth, achieving bigger growth through innovation. President Xi also noted the conviction that "17 plus 1 could make more than 18", openness brings opportunities and inclusiveness ensures diversity, which was warmly responded to by other participants. The leaders said mutual benefit is the key to the success of China-CEEC cooperation, which should be championed and carried on in the future and play a bigger role in promoting trans-regional cooperation and regional development.
Spurred on by President Xi, leaders at the meeting agreed on four priorities of cooperation, namely, unity in fighting the virus, practical cooperation, connectivity and green innovation. A Beijing action plan for China-CEEC cooperation 2021 was adopted, a blueprint for next-step cooperation. President Xi also put forward important propositions, including the following: China stands ready for vaccine cooperation with CEE countries. China intends to import, in the coming five years, more than 170 billion US dollars of goods from CEE countries. We may take the China-CEEC Year of Green Development and Environmental Protection as an opportunity to deepen exchange and cooperation in green economy, clean energy and other related areas. We will work to double CEE countries' agricultural exports to China and raise two-way agricultural trade by 50 percent over the next five years. Nearly 90 cooperation documents of a total value of almost $13 billion were reached at the summit, which is more than any previous summit. The deals cover such areas as transportation, energy infrastructure, finance, investment, agriculture, e-commerce, inspection and quarantine, tourism, education, science and technology, culture, sports and environmental protection. The outcomes can directly benefit local people and enhance their sense of gains, demonstrating the practical nature and broad prospect of China-CEEC cooperation.
Taking this summit as a new starting point, China believes our cooperation with CEEC countries will embrace an even brighter future with joint efforts from both sides.
Prasha Bharati: India and China yesterday held consultations on UNSC issues. Do you have anything to share? Also, was there any discussion on India's seeking of candidature for a permanent seat at the UN Security Council?
Wang Wenbin: Just as you said, Chinese and Indian foreign ministry officials held consultations on UN Security Council issues yesterday. The two sides exchanged views on such issues as upholding multilateralism, UN peacekeeping operations and counter-terrorism.
You mentioned India's candidature for a permanent seat at UN Security Council, I can reiterate China's principled position on this. China has been a supporter of Security Council reform, advocating that the reform should enhance the Council's authority and efficacy and that priority be given to the increased representation and say of developing countries, with a view to enabling more small and medium-sized countries to participate in the decision-making of the Council. Efforts should be made to seek a package solution that accommodates all parties' interests and concerns on the basis of extensive and democratic consultations.
AFP: The U.S. Department of State said that the U.S. side will verify the findings of the WHO mission in China. They say that they will analyze the conclusions with their own intelligence services. Do you have a reaction to that comment?
Wang Wenbin: A WHO-China Joint Study Press Conference was held yesterday, which I believe you must have taken notice of. Chinese and WHO experts at the conference gave a detailed briefing on the outcomes of the origin-tracing cooperation, which provides important clues for us to get a better understanding of the coronavirus, better combat the pandemic and guard against future risk, and sets the ground for global efforts on origin-tracing going forward.
As Professor Liang Wannian, the head of the Chinese side, pointed out, this origin-tracing cooperation is the China part of WHO-convened global origin-tracing study. The global origin-tracing work may evolve geographically as factual evidence is generated and science-based hypotheses evolve. We hope that relevant countries will also adopt a scientific attitude, actively take part in global origin-tracing efforts, share and exchange study results, and jointly make positive efforts to protect the life and health of people of all countries.
In the mean time, I would like to point out that origin-tracing is a complex scientific issue involving many countries and regions, and it should be carried out by global scientists in collaboration. The Chinese government has provided strong support and assistance for the WHO mission's visit to China as part of the global origin-tracing study cooperation, which has been highly appreciated by the WHO and international experts. China will remain open and transparent and maintain close communication and cooperation with WHO on global origin-tracing.
There are also a number of clues, reports, and studies that suggest the outbreaks began in multiple locations around the world as early as the second half of 2019, and some reports say the coronavirus may have been present in the United States before the first confirmed case of Covid-19 was officially reported in the country. We hope that the U.S. side will adopt the same open and transparent attitude as China and invite WHO experts to carry out origin-tracing studies in the United States.
AFP: If needed, will China allow another WHO mission to China in the future in order to look into the origins of the virus?
Wang Wenbin: Origin-tracing is a complex scientific matter that requires international research and cooperation by scientists across the globe. China has been in close communication with WHO in an open and transparent way. The WHO mission's visit to China this time is part of global science cooperation on origin-tracing. There have been more and more international reports that the virus and epidemics broke out in multiple places in the world in the latter half of the year 2019, indicating necessity and urgency for WHO to pay similar visits to other countries and regions. We also hope that following China's example, relevant parties will act in a positive, science-based and cooperative manner on the origin-tracing issue, invite WHO experts in for an origin-tracing study and make contributions to international cooperation in fighting the pandemic and building a global community of health for all.
Reuters: The U.S. side has also said, with regard to origin-tracing, that it is imperative that they have their own team of experts on the ground in China. Will you allow U.S. experts to conduct an investigation in China?
Wang Wenbin: I believe I've made our position very clear.
We hope that following China's example, the U.S. side will act in a positive, science-based and cooperative manner on the origin-tracing issue, invite WHO experts in for an origin-tracing study.
Reuters: A French submarine and warship patrolled in the South China Sea to underscore freedom of navigation, according to the French Armed Forces Ministry. Do you have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: I already took a relevant question yesterday. I would like to stress again that there is no problem with freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea. China always respects the freedom of navigation and overflight enjoyed by all countries in the South China Sea in accordance with international law. However, We oppose any attempt to undermine China's sovereignty and security and disrupt regional peace and tranquility under the pretext of "freedom of navigation".
AFP: There are some rumors in Myanmar right now saying that China is sending equipment and IT experts to Myanmar. Can you confirm that?
Wang Wenbin: I haven't heard about anything like that.
As Myanmar's friendly neighbor, China is following the situation in Myanmar and hopes that parties in Myanmar will bear in mind national development and stability, properly handle their differences under the constitutional and legal framework and maintain political and social stability.
There have been false information and rumors about China on issues relating to Myanmar, which can serve as a reminder that one should not be too credulous of similar claims.
To celebrate the Spring Festival (the Chinese New Year), our press conference will be in recess from tomorrow to February 17 and resumed on 18. During the recess, you may still reach the MFA Spokesperson's Office via fax, email and WeChat.
Here I'd like to share with you this good news:the WeChat Video Channel of the MFA Spokesperson's Office is officially launched today, becoming the latest of our new media accounts. We hope you will, as always, follow the new media accounts of the MFA Spokesperson's Office and stay tuned for what's new on China's diplomacy.
We'll be celebrating the Spring Festival the day after tomorrow. On behalf of our colleagues from the MFA Information Department, I'd like to thank all of you for your hard work in reporting China and its diplomacy over the past year, and wish you a prosperous new year! We would also like to thank all friends who have been caring for and supporting China's diplomacy. We hope you will continue to follow and support us in the new year. In particular, we wish our compatriots overseas a safe and happy Spring Festival!
Happy Spring Festival to you all! Wish you and your family good health, success, happiness and good luck in the upcoming Year of the Ox!
The questions below were raised after the press conference.
Q: It is reported that the Chinese and Indian militaries started disengagement in the Pangong Lake area on February 10. Can you confirm that?
Wang Wenbin: According to the consensus reached at the Chinese and Indian Foreign Ministers' meeting in Moscow and the ninth round of commander-level talks between the two sides, the front-line troops of the Chinese and Indian militaries began to conduct simultaneous and planned disengagement in the Pangong Lake area on February 10. We hope the Indian side will work with China to meet each other halfway, strictly implement the consensus reached between the two sides and ensure the smooth implementation of the disengagement process.
Q: People in Brazil have been paying attention to the export of Chinese vaccine concentrates to Brazil. Do you have any update on that?
Wang Wenbin: As comprehensive strategic partners, China and Brazil have had good cooperation in fighting the virus after the COVID-19 broke out. The phase III clinical trials of COVID-19 vaccines jointly conducted by Chinese and Brazilian companies and institutions are progressing smoothly.
Vaccines are an important means to beat the pandemic and save lives. China has delivered multiple batches of finished vaccine products and concentrates, which plays a vital role in Brazil's fight against COVID-19. China would like to continue deepening our cooperation with Brazil so that the virus can be defeated as early as possible.