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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin's Regular Press Conference on June 2, 2021

2021-06-02

At the invitation of State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Foreign Minister Soroi Eoe of Papua New Guinea will begin his visit to China on June 2.

State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will preside over the fourth China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Trilateral Foreign Ministers' Dialogue on June 3. Afghan Foreign Minister Mohammad Hanif Atmar and Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi will attend the dialogue via video link. The three foreign ministers will have in-depth exchange of views on the key issues of peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan, the trilateral practical cooperation and anti-terrorism security cooperation.

CCTV: You just announced that State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will preside over the fourth China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Trilateral Foreign Ministers' Dialogue. Any special background for this meeting? What do you expect out of it?

Wang Wenbin: The China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Trilateral Foreign Ministers' Dialogue is an important platform for the three parties to enhance mutual trust and promote cooperation. Up till now, three sessions have been held with a host of positive results since the mechanism was set up under China's initiative in 2017. As agreed upon consensus of the three parties, it is China's turn to host the fourth dialogue.

At present, the unilateral withdrawal of US and NATO troops at the critical stage of the peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan has brought uncertainties to Afghanistan's domestic situation and regional security landscape. As neighbors, friends and partners sharing not just common mountains and rivers, but also weal and woe, China, Afghanistan and Pakistan all aspire to maintain regional peace and stability. Against this background, the foreign ministers of the three countries decided to hold the fourth dialogue, whereby they will have in-depth exchange of views on the key issues of peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan, the trilateral practical cooperation and anti-terrorism security cooperation. The dialogue is expected to reach positive consensus and inject impetus into regional peace, stability and development.

Bloomberg: Malaysia complained about Chinese military aircraft flying in the South China Sea yesterday.  How did the Chinese government respond? Do you have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: To my knowledge, it was a routine training conducted by China's air force over waters to the south of Nansha Islands. It doesn't target any country. During the training, China's air force strictly complied with international law and didn't enter the air space of any other country. The Chinese side has communicated with the Malaysian side over this.

China News Service: State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi attended the BRICS foreign ministers' video conference held on June 1. Could you share more information on that?

Wang Wenbin: On the night of June 1, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi attended the Video Conference of the BRICS Ministers of Foreign Affairs/International Relations. The five foreign ministers held an in-depth exchange of views on the COVID-19 pandemic, multilateralism, global and regional hotspot issues and practical BRICS cooperation, reaching broad consensus.

State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi pointed out at the meeting that BRICS represents a prototype of cooperation between emerging markets and developing nations. In the face of major changes and a global pandemic unseen in a century, BRICS should work to protect people's health, uphold international order, contribute to global development and world peace. BRICS should assume its responsibility in promoting global solidarity, providing wisdom to tackling the governance deficit, and contributing strength to global response to common challenges. China's views and propositions are spoken highly of by other parties at the meeting.

There are two outcome documents from the meeting, namely, a press statement and a joint statement on strengthening and reforming the multilateral system, which send out a strong message of BRICS solidarity and cooperation.

This meeting demonstrates the resilience and vitality of BRICS against the background of the major changes and global pandemic unseen in a century. We stand ready to work in closer cooperation with BRICS partners, uphold the common values of peace, development, fairness, justice, democracy and freedom for all mankind, practice true multilateralism, and make new BRICS contributions to regional and global peace and development.

Phoenix TV: It is reported that on June 1, WHO's Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) validated the Sinovac-CoronaVac COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use. The vaccine is produced by the Beijing-based pharmaceutical company Sinovac. What is China's comment on this?

Wang Wenbin: The Sinovac vaccine is the second Chinese vaccine to win the WHO listing, after Sinopharm vaccine was granted approval on May 7. This fully attests to the safety and efficacy of relevant vaccines and technical lines that provide more powerful tools for the world to overcome the epidemic at an early date.

China has been acting on General Secretary Xi Jinping's pledge to make COVID-19 vaccines a global public good, and has been encouraging and supporting Chinese vaccine manufacturers to apply for the WHO's Emergency Use Listing. Despite its own huge population and tight vaccine supply, China has provided more than 350 million doses of vaccines to the international community, including vaccine assistance to over 80 countries and vaccine exports to 40 plus countries. In addition, China has also carried out production cooperation with a number of developing countries to promote large-scale production of vaccines at a fast pace. The first batch of Sinopharm vaccines to be provided to COVAX rolled off production line on May 31, representing a real contribution to enhancing the equitable distribution and accessibility of vaccines in developing countries.

China will continue to support its vaccine manufacturers in strengthening communication and coordination with the WHO and the COVAX program, and conducting more joint vaccine R&D and production with foreign partners, as part of our effort to help developing countries obtain vaccines, and strive for an early victory in the global fight against the epidemic.

Global Times: Recently, Chinese media published an open letter in both Chinese and English calling on the WHO to organize an investigation of the US Army's Fort Detrick bio-lab. Do you have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: I noted relevant reports. This open letter reflects Chinese people's aspirations. On this podium, we have also repeatedly called on the US to take an open and transparent attitude in telling the international community about the truth of Fort Detrick and its 200 plus bio-labs around the world.

According to US media, Fort Detrick stores large amount of viruses that severely threaten people's safety, such as Ebola, and it has poor safety records. In 2004, 2008, 2011 and 2015, US media gave multiple coverage on the safety risks at Fort Detrick. According to USA Today, an employee at Fort Detrick used safety loopholes of the lab to steal anthrax stored there and launched bio-chemical attacks which resulted in five deaths and 17 illnesses. The report also shows that other safety issues and risks exist in many US virus labs. In the fall of 2019, just months before the onset of COVID-19, Fort Detrick was suspended due to serious risks, according to US media including the New York Times. While clamoring for an investigation in other countries, the US has been refusing to open up its own bio-labs by citing national security as an excuse. How can the US convince the international community?

Besides Fort Detrick, the US has set up over 200 bio-labs in 25 countries and regions. There are many reports saying that the distribution of those labs is similar to the location where some dangerous diseases and viruses were first identified, such as SARS, EBHF and Zika virus. A USA Today Network investigation reveals that since 2003, hundreds of lab incidents have occurred in the US biological laboratories where humans had accidental contact with deadly pathogens. We would like to know when the US will give a reasonable explanation to the international community with regard to the above-mentioned doubts.

But regrettably, the US side has never given any direct response. Is there any inconvenient secrets? We once again call on the US to respond to the concerns of the international community in an open, transparent and cooperative manner.

Bloomberg: On Monday, President Xi Jinping told senior communist party leaders that China needed a grip on its tone in its communication with the world, and should be more open and confident, and also modest and humble. Does this speech mean that China would be taking a different approach in its diplomatic efforts?

Wang Wenbin: On May 31, the CPC Politburo convened its 30th group study session. General Secretary Xi Jinping chaired the session and delivered an address. You may refer to the readout that has been released.

China is committed to an independent foreign policy of peace, firmly upholds national sovereignty, security and development interests, actively promotes the building of a new type of international relations, and joins hands with other countries to build a community with a shared future for mankind. I would like to point out that to strengthen and improve international communication and enhance capacity-building in this regard so as to have a greater voice on the world stage in keeping with China's comprehensive national strength and international standing will foster a favorable external environment in terms of public opinion for China's reform, development and stability, and contribute to the building of a community with a shared future for mankind. This is consistent with the need for China's peaceful development, the requirements to advance reform and opening-up in China, and the global trend of peace and development. It benefits both China and the world.

CNR: We've noted that on May 28, WHO presented the Sasakawa Health Prize at the 74th session of the WHA to Chinese expert Wu Hao who assisted Hubei Province in its fight against COVID-19. Dr. Wu is the third Chinese expert to be awarded this prize. Do you have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: I also noticed relevant reports. Dr. Wu pioneered an intelligent family physician-optimized collaborative model to ensure easier access to more effective community-level health service. After the epidemic broke out, Dr. Wu Hao went to Wuhan as head of a team of experts on community-level prevention and control under China's central guiding team. There he worked with community-based medical staff to fight the epidemic. He also traveled to 10 localities including Kashgar, Beijing and Shijiazhuang to guide the handling of clusters of cases, making outstanding contributions. As we speak, he is working on guiding community-level prevention and control in Guangzhou. We congratulate Dr. Wu on being awarded the Sasakawa Health Prize.

Dr. Wu is a fine example of the countless community health workers fighting on the frontline in China's battle against COVID-19. Community-level prevention and control played an irreplaceable role in China's rapid containment of the outbreak and later prevention and control on a daily basis. It ensured the early detection and report of infection, reduced the risks of community spread, and tightened the screws on the occurrence of early infection. The work of Dr. Wu and numerous health workers at the community-level is a vivid demonstration of China's effective anti-virus efforts. China stands ready to share its experience in community prevention and control with other countries in a timely manner to contribute to an early global victory over the virus and better global health governance.

CRI: Could you tell us a bit more about the visit by Papua New Guinea's Foreign Minister Soroi Eoe in early June?

Wang Wenbin: Papua New Guinea is a good friend and partner of China in the Pacific island region. At present, our bilateral relations enjoy sound development. President Xi Jinping's successful state visit to Papua New Guinea in 2018 opened a new chapter in the development of bilateral relations. Since the COVID-19 outbreak, the two countries have been standing in solidarity with mutual assistance, and our comprehensive strategic partnership has further deepened.

This year marks the 45th Anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Papua New Guinea. We hope Foreign Minister Soroi Eoe's visit will spur efforts to follow through on the important consensus between the leaders of the two countries, and strengthen strategic cooperation in promoting bilateral relations, conducting anti-virus cooperation and moving forward practical cooperation within the BRI framework, so as to elevate bilateral relations to a new level.

Bloomberg: Can you please tell us how many vaccine shots China has supplied to COVAX so far and how many it intends to supply in the future?

Wang Wenbin: Like I just said, China has provided more than 350 million doses of vaccines to the international community, including vaccine assistance to over 80 countries and vaccine exports to 40 plus countries. China has also carried out production cooperation with a number of developing countries. China has announced to provide the first batch of 10 million doses of vaccines to the COVAX. The first batch of vaccines to be provided to COVAX rolled off production line on May 31. China will continue to work with all parties to enhance the equitable distribution and accessibility of vaccines and make positive contributions to the global anti-epidemic endeavor.

Meanwhile, we also hope that the international community will uphold the spirit of solidarity, and take more concrete actions to increase vaccine accessibility in developing countries so as to secure an early victory in the fight against the epidemic.

Beijing Youth Daily: We've noticed that despite continued US efforts to hype up lies like "genocide" and "forced labor" in China's Xinjiang, more and more media outlets and individuals have spoken out to expose and criticize the political manipulation behind this US move and to call on the international community to see through these lies. How do you see this phenomenon?

Wang Wenbin: We've noticed that Rossiyskaya Gazeta, Business Insider Japan, Danish magazine Reason, Die Weltwoche and Neue Zürcher Zeitung from Switzerland, Brazil's valorglobal and South Africa's Pretoria News have all run objective reports or rational articles on Xinjiang. They point out that the so-called allegation of "genocide" in Xinjiang is based entirely on bias and hostility against China. Relevant people turned a blind eye to the outcomes produced by the Chinese government's Xinjiang policy and wantonly criticized China's human rights conditions. It is driven by political agenda and aimed to conduct propaganda and psychological warfare to their advantage by creating a negative image of China with the political designation of "genocide". The articles also pointed out that large-scale mechanical harvest has been realized across the cotton industry in Xinjiang, so "forced labor" is neither existent nor necessary. Dreams can only be realized through honest work. All hardworking people deserve the respect of the world.

As facts have proven, "forced labor", "forced sterilization", "genocide" and "massive sexual abuse" are all lies fabricated by anti-China forces. There is no factual basis for these preposterous allegations other than the clumsy show of a handful of fake academics and lame actors. There is no serious discussion, only an emotional outpour of bias. There is no respect for the human rights of people in Xinjiang, only political manipulation to undermine Xinjiang's stability and hamstring China's development. Lies may gain brief traction, but eventually they cannot escape the doomed fate of bankruptcy. China, including Xinjiang, is enjoying greater development and there are more and more objective and rational voices in the world debunking the lies and rumors on Xinjiang. Some experts and academics have pointed out very accurately that the hype-up over "genocide" in Xinjiang will only further expose to the world the ignorance and hypocrisy of certain countries' "human rights diplomacy". They also call on the international community to see through the fabrication and hype-up of those driven by ulterior motives.

I would like to stress once again that the door to Xinjiang is always open. We welcome people from all walks of life in other countries to visit the region and get to know the true Xinjiang through first-hand experience.

The Paper: The BRICS foreign ministers' meeting issued a joint statement on strengthening and reforming the multilateral system. Can you comment on that?

Wang Wenbin: Multilateralism is an important cornerstone of the existing international system. This cornerstone is now being encroached upon, as a few countries follow unilateralism and even seek hegemony in the name of multilateralism. All parties are increasingly calling for true multilateralism. On the other hand, the emerging global threats necessitate global response and international solidarity and collaboration. The desire for strengthening multilateral system by all parties is becoming more urgent.

BRICS countries are representatives of emerging markets and developing countries, and models of practicing multilateralism and enhancing multilateral system. It is with this idea that China worked with other BRICS partners to form a joint statement on strengthening and reforming the multilateral system through in-depth discussion.

There are some points in the joint statement that merit attention. First, it reiterated BRICS countries' commitment to multilateralism, and called for upholding international law with the purposes and principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations as its indispensable cornerstone and the central role of the United Nations in the international system, with the aim to build a brighter shared future for the international community.

Second, it reaffirmed the principles of non-intervention in the internal affairs of States and the resolution of international disputes by peaceful means and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law as well as the inadmissibility of the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State. It rejected double standards and unilateral coercive measures not based on international law and the UN Charter.

Third, it stressed that we need to carry out people-centered international cooperation, strengthen and reform the multilateral system, facilitate greater and more meaningful participation of developing and least developed countries, especially Africa, in global decision-making processes. We should make multilateral organizations more action-oriented and solution-oriented so as to promote cooperation in the spirit of mutual respect, justice, equality, and mutual benefit.

Fourth, it stressed that we need to continue improving global economic governance with extensive consultations and joint contributions for the shared benefits, support the United Nations in making development central to the global macro policy framework and the WTO-centered multilateral trading system.

This statement is timely and necessary. The statement is the result of the efforts of the five BRICS countries and reflects the common aspiration of the vast majority of countries. It should become the consensus of the international community. The essence of multilateralism is that the future of the world should be in the hands of all countries and international affairs should be handled through consultation by all. In particular, it should reflect the views of developing countries and emerging markets, which account for the vast majority of the world's population. So-called "rules" formulated by certain Western countries or groups should not be regarded as "international rules", still less should they be imposed on others. Parties shall jointly uphold and practice the real multilateralism, abide by the purposes and principles of the UN charter, discard exceptionalism and double standards and reject hegemonic bullying and zero-sum game, and refrain from bloc politics and ideological confrontation and work to safeguard the international system with the UN at its core and the international order based on the UN charter and international law.

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