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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin's Regular Press Conference on November 13, 2020

2020-11-13

Bloomberg: It's a question with regard to an executive order signed by United States President Donald Trump, by which he has barred American investments in Chinese firms owned or controlled by the military. What is your response?

Wang Wenbin: The US government, out of political motives, has been stigmatizing and discrediting China's policy of military-civilian integration. Its state power has been abused to repress Chinese enterprises without cause. This seriously violates the principle of market competition and international economic and trade rules, and seriously disrupts the normal economic, trade and investment cooperation between China and the US. This will not only severely damage the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies, but also the interests of investors all over the world, including US investors.

China urges the US side to correctly view China's policy of military-civilian integration, stop its wrong practice of arbitrarily repressing certain Chinese companies under the pretext of national security, and reverse its erroneous decision. We will resolutely safeguard the legitimate and lawful rights and interests of Chinese enterprises.

People's Daily: What is China's comment on the 23rd China-ASEAN (10+1) Leaders' Meeting which was held yesterday?

Wang Wenbin: Premier Li Keqiang attended the 23rd China-ASEAN (10+1) Leaders' Meeting via video links yesterday. He had a thorough exchange of views with leaders of ten ASEAN countries. All participants spoke highly of the fruitful China-ASEAN cooperation. In the face of the sudden onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic, China and ASEAN have worked together to strengthen cooperation in combating the virus, promoting the resumption of economic growth, and maintaining regional peace, stability, development and prosperity. The meeting focused on fighting pandemic and driving development, with a long-term view on celebrating the 30th anniversary of the establishment of China-ASEAN dialogue partnership next year and charting the course for next-stage cooperation plans. Its positive messages can be summarized as follows:

First, we need to be confident that we can defeat COVID-19 together. We all agree that cooperation on fighting the pandemic is the priority now. Vaccine R&D needs to be advanced more actively, and efforts shall be made to promote vaccine accessibility and affordability. China supports ASEAN in establishing the COVID-19 ASEAN Response Fund and the ASEAN Regional Reserve of Medical Supplies for Public Health Emergencies. We will work to enhance public health cooperation and continue to carry out practical projects to improve capacity building to achieve an early and complete victory against the virus

Second, we need to focus on economic cooperation to boost development. We reaffirm commitments to multilateralism and free trade. We welcome the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). Going forward, we need to further implement our free trade agreement and the upgrading protocol, synergize the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) with ASEAN's development plans, keep industrial chains and supply chains stable, and promote trade investment and connectivity cooperation. New growth engines will be forged in sectors like digital economy and sustainable development to make regional development more resilient.

Third, we need to properly deal with differences through dialogue. All leaders agree to step up dialogue and consultation to properly manage and control differences. We speak highly of the progress made in implementing the DOC and advancing the COC consultations and support an early agreement on the COC to ensure peace and stability of the South China Sea.

Taking the 30th anniversary of the China-ASEAN dialogue relations as an opportunity, we agree to elevate our relations to a higher level. The meeting adopted Plan of Action to Implement the Joint Declaration on China-ASEAN Strategic Partnership for Peace and Prosperity (2021-2025) and Initiative on Building China-ASEAN Partnership on Digital Economy.

China has always regarded ASEAN as a priority for neighboring diplomacy, firmly supported the building of the ASEAN Community and ASEAN centrality in regional cooperation and firmly supported ASEAN in playing a greater role in building an open and inclusive regional architecture. China is willing to work with ASEAN to implement the outcomes of the leaders' meeting, promote the upgrading of bilateral relations, lay a solid foundation for the next 30 years, and better safeguard the overall situation of development and prosperity in East Asia.

The Daily Telegraph: The UK yesterday declared China in formal breach of the Sino-British Joint Declaration after the NPC Standing Committee passed a decision to allow Hong Kong authorities to dismiss disqualified lawmakers. What is your response?

Wang Wenbin: Since the relevant decision was adopted, a handful of countries, like the UK and Australia, have made some irresponsible remarks against China on this issue.

I have already said that this decision made by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress of China is a necessary and essential step to uphold and improve the "one country, two systems", implement the Basic Law and the Hong Kong national security law, and maintain the rule of law and constitutional order in the HKSAR. As per the decision, LegCo members shall be disqualified for office once they are determined by law to have failed to meet the legal requirements of upholding the HKSAR Basic Law and honoring the pledge of allegiance to the HKSAR. It has nothing to do with undermining Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy and freedoms. By taking up the issue of HKSAR LegCo members' qualification, relevant countries have grossly interfered in China's internal affairs and violated international law and basic norms governing international relations. China firmly opposes this and has lodged stern representations with them.

It is a common practice worldwide for civil servants to pledge allegiance to their country. It is typical double standards when the UK and Australia criticized China for asking HKSAR LegCo members to uphold the Basic Law and declare loyalty to the HKSAR. For those who have betrayed their oaths and broken laws to collude with foreign forces and carry out separatist activities, will any country allow such persons to sit as lawmakers or hold any public offices? More than 20 years have passed since Hong Kong's return to the motherland. Are they expecting Hong Kong compatriots not to identify with the "one country" and not to pledge allegiance to their country and the HKSAR? What's on their mind and what are they up to?

I also have to point out that it is untenable for the UK and Australia to use democracy and human rights as excuses to interfere in Hong Kong affairs. During the British colonial rule over Hong Kong, Governors of Hong Kong at the time were chosen and appointed in London by the British government. When ratifying the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in 1976, the British government made a reservation not to apply to Hong Kong the periodic elections provisions. Both the Public Order Ordinance and the Societies Ordinance during the British rule imposed draconian restrictions on assembly, procession and association in Hong Kong.

The UK keeps dragging the Sino-British Joint Declaration into the spotlight. I want to stress that after Hong Kong's return to China, all the articles related to the UK under the Sino-British Joint Declaration have completed their mission. The UK is not entitled to any right of supervision over Hong Kong, nor citing the Joint Declaration to meddle with Hong Kong affairs and China's internal affairs. Australia is also facing serious issues concerning the rights of refugees, immigrants and aboriginals. The UK and Australia therefore are in no position and have no moral or legal basis to level criticism on Hong Kong affairs.

At a recent session of the UN Human Rights Council, over 70 countries voiced their support for China on issues related to Hong Kong in a show of support for fairness and justice. We urge these countries including the UK and Australia to stop playing double standards and interfering in China's internal affairs. Should they insist on going down the wrong path, China will make firm, legitimate and necessary reactions.

AFP: What's China's response to the U.S. Commerce Department's decision to delay the ban on TikTok?

Wang Wenbin: We have made clear China's principled position on this issue on many occasions. We also noted that the judge in question said that the U.S. government's own descriptions of the national security threat posed by the TikTok app are phrased in the hypothetical and its relevant actions exceeded the authority granted to the government under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.

We oppose the US practice of stretching the concept of national security, abusing state power and unjustifiably suppressing foreign enterprises. We hope that the US side will earnestly respect the principle of market economy and fair competition, abide by international economic and trade rules, and provide an open, fair, just and non-discriminatory business environment for foreign companies investing and operating in the US.

CCTV: Yesterday, China held a reception to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). How does China see the role of FOCAC in promoting China-Africa friendship and cooperation over the past 20 years? Under the current circumstances, what is China's consideration on overcoming the impact of the epidemic and developing China-Africa relations, in particular with regard to future arrangements under the Forum?

Wang Wenbin: Thanks to the joint efforts of China and Africa over the past 20 years, FOCAC has grown into an important platform to consolidate unity and friendship between China and Africa, promote common development and deepen people-to-people bond as well as an effective mechanism for practical cooperation. It has yielded tangible fruitful results and benefited the Chinese and African people. China-Africa trade reached $208.7 billion last year, and China's direct investment stock in Africa stood at US $49.1 billion, 20 times and 100 times more than 20 years ago respectively. China has built more than 6,000 kilometers of railways and roads respectively in Africa, developed nearly 20 ports and more than 80 large power facilities in Africa, which has brought significant changes to Africa's economic and social development. China has provided about 120,000 government scholarships to African countries, established 61 Confucius Institutes and 44 Confucius classrooms in 46 African countries, and sent a total of 21,000 medical workers to 48 African countries, offering treatment to about 220 million patients. China-Africa cooperation has not only contributed to the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, but also contributed to the strength of Africa through unity. This fully demonstrates that developing countries, through independent exploration, are fully capable of finding a path of rejuvenation suited to their own national conditions.

State Councilor Wang Yi put forward four propositions on how to enable FOCAC to continue leading China-Africa relations to achieve progress in creative ways at the reception commemorating the 20th anniversary of FOCAC, namely, to build a stronger China-Africa community with a shared future, a community of health and development for all, and a community with a shared future for mankind, which has been applauded by African diplomats in China. As the next forum will be held in Senegal next year, China will strengthen coordination with the African side to make good preparations and blueprint the outcomes in light of the changing pandemic situation. Together we will create greater synergy, nurture new growth points, form new consensus on China-Africa solidarity, explore new cooperation areas, and bring new benefits to the Chinese and African peoples. We believe that FOCAC will continue to be a pacesetter for China-Africa cooperation, a champion of multilateralism, and a fine example of mutually beneficial cooperation.

Bloomberg: Brazil's health regulator said it's sending a mission to China to inspect Sinovac's factories, and another set of factories owned by Wuxi Biologics between November 30 and December 11. What's China's stance on Brazil's desire to inspect vaccine factories? Is China sponsoring or facilitating this trip? Has any other country sent inspectors to China's factories?

Wang Wenbin: Vaccine R&D is crucial to COVID-19 prevention and control. China is leading the world in independent COVID-19 vaccine R&D and is cooperating with Brazil and many others on this front, which receives high acclaim.

China is ready to facilitate the Brazilian health regulator in sending delegations to China in accordance with relevant domestic laws and regulations and international practices.

Phoenix TV: US Secretary of State Pompeo said in an interview on November 12 that Taiwan has not been a part of China. What is your comment?

Wang Wenbin: There is only one China in the world, and Taiwan is an inalienable part of China. The Central People's Government of the PRC is the sole legitimate government representing China. This is an objective fact and a basic norm governing international relations. Taiwan was once occupied by Japan, but the 1943 Cairo Declaration and the 1945 Potsdam Declaration clearly stipulate that the Chinese territory occupied by Japan, like Taiwan, shall be returned to China. Resolution 2758 adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1971 also reaffirmed the one-China principle. It is based on the one-China principle that China has formally established diplomatic ties with 180 countries worldwide.

The one-China principle is the political underpinning of China-US relations. As per the 1979 Joint Communiqué on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between the People's Republic of China and the United States of America, the United States recognizes the Government of the People's Republic of China as the sole legal Government of China. This serves as the basis for China and the US to recognize each other and to establish diplomatic relations. Within this context, the people of the United States will maintain cultural, commercial, and other unofficial relations with the people of Taiwan.

For Pompeo, compared with his own political interests, the fundamental interests of the Chinese and American people are just nothing. He is only interested in making up one lie after another to confound right and wrong, confuse the public, and torpedo China-US relations and peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. His ugly and malicious intentions have been laid bare for all to despise.

Pompeo should know that China will resolutely fight back against all attempts that undermine China's core interests and interfere in China's internal affairs. Nothing will stop the historical trend of China's reunification. We urge the US to strictly abide by the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communiques, stop any form of official contacts and military links with Taiwan, stop doing or saying anything detrimental to peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and China-US relations, and promptly halt its steps down the wrong and dangerous path.

Beijing Daily: What is the latest situation of the Indian merchant ship stranded at the Jingtang Port in Hebei province?

Wang Wenbin: As far as I know, this Indian vessel has berthed near Hebei's Jingtang port since June, and China has never denied its departure. The freight forwarder doesn't want to adjust the plans for the vessel due to commercial interests, which is the real cause of the situation.

The Chinese local authorities have been in close communication with the Indian side and responded to their requests in a timely manner. In terms of emergency assistance, if they ask and apply for it, the Chinese side will immediately provide assistance in compliance with epidemic control regulations, including providing necessary supplies.

China News Service: On November 4, the National People's Congress released the draft of the law of the People's Republic of China on coast guard to solicit public opinions. The relevant content has drawn the attention of foreign media, who are concerned that China's maritime claims will be reinforced. What is China's comment?

Wang Wenbin: The China Coast Guard is an important branch of state law enforcement force. The purpose of formulating the coast guard law of the People's Republic of China is to clarify the functions, extent of authority and guarantees and supervision of the coast guard agencies, ensure that the coast guard has laws to follow in safeguarding rights and enforcing laws and conducting foreign cooperation, and help the China Coast Guard better fulfill its own duties and obligations under international treaties and maintain good maritime order.

It should be pointed out that the promulgation of the coast guard law is a normal legislative activity of the NPC, and the relevant contents of the draft are in line with international conventions and practices of many countries. China's policy and position on maritime issues remain unchanged. We will continue to work with relevant countries to resolve disputes and differences through dialogue in a bid to safeguard regional peace and stability.

Shenzhen TV: Do you have any comment on the re-election of Chinese candidate Xue Hanqin in the elections of judges of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) that were just held at the UN?

Wang Wenbin: Chinese candidate Judge Xue Hanqin, currently serving as the Vice-President of the ICJ, was re-elected to a new term from February 2021 to February 2030 with high votes, 155 at the UN General Assembly and 13 at the Security Council, in ICJ judge elections held on November 11 to 12 New York time at the UN headquarters. This embodies member states' high recognition for Judge Xue's eligibility and their shared will to work together with China to promote international rule of law. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all member states who supported the Chinese candidate and congratulate the candidates from Japan, Germany, Slovakia and Uganda who were also elected. We hope all judges-elect will make new contributions to the work of the ICJ.

As the principal judicial organ of the UN, the ICJ plays an important role in promoting the peaceful settlement of disputes and upholding international rule of law. The Chinese government is firmly committed to safeguarding multilateralism and the international order based on international law and stands ready to strengthen cooperation with other countries to support ICJ's role in this regard.

The Paper: We have noticed that in recent days, more heads of state and international organizations have congratulated Biden on his election victory. The Secretary-General of the United Nations also publicly congratulated Biden through his spokesperson. What is China's comment?

Wang Wenbin: We have been following reactions to the U.S. presidential election within the US and from the international community. We respect the American people's choice. We send congratulations to Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris.

At the same time, we understand that the outcome of the U.S. election will be determined in accordance with U.S. laws and procedures.

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