|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang's Daily Briefing Online on February 10, 2020|
First, I'd like to share some figures with you. According to the latest data this morning from the National Health Commission, between 00:00 and 24:00, February 9, altogether 632 cured and discharged cases were newly reported in China's mainland.
As of 24:00 February 9, a total of 3,281 people have been cured and discharged from hospital in China's mainland.
The daily increase of confirmed cases in China (excluding Hubei) fell 42.8% from 890 (February 3) to 509 (February 8).
Q: In the past few days, senior officials of many countries all expressed support and appreciation for China’s epidemic control measures in their phone calls with State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi. Some said the epidemic would not have been contained so effectively if it had struck elsewhere. At the same time, we also see concerns over China’s capacity to control the epidemic and prevent cross-border spread. Do you have a comment?
A: The novel coronavirus Pneumonia (NCP) is a challenge for all human beings, which needs to be tackled jointly by the international community. By taking strong measures, China is not just acting for the sake of its own people, but for people across the world. In this battle against the invisible enemy, we are working around the clock to allow time for global preparedness, fighting on the front lines to contain the virus and setting a new standard for epidemic response.
As WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros put it, it was because of China’s strong measures and Chinese people’s sacrifice that cross-border spread of the epidemic has been effectively contained. UN Secretary-General António Guterres also commended China for its massive and remarkable efforts to contain the virus propagation. We need to have very strong international cooperation and solidarity and avoid the stigmatization that can sometimes accompany a situation like this.
As we speak, China’s all-out efforts are continuing with increasing effects. Cured cases have far outstripped fatal ones and the increase in suspected cases has moderated. With the strength of our system which pools national resources, the firm conviction of the entire nation, the past experience in dealing with SARS, and the understanding and support from the international community, China has full confidence and capability to win the fight against the epidemic and jointly uphold regional and global public health security with the international community.
Q: What's the latest on how many foreigners in China are infected? Do you have any more details on the US citizen who died? And how many foreigners who want to be evacuated are still stranded in Wuhan?
A: We have checked with the relevant department. As of 08:00, February 10, 27 foreign citizens in China have been diagnosed with the NCP. Among them, there are three recovered and discharged cases, two deaths and 22 cases under treatment in isolation.
Regarding your second question, as we know, a Chinese American passed away in Wuhan, Hubei at 19:00 on February 6. While medical workers were doing the best to treat the patient in hospital, the Chinese side has also been in contact with the family in China. We offer the deepest condolences over the American national’s passing. We have notified the US through diplomatic channels and will offer necessary assistance to the US side and the bereaved family for follow-up matters.
As to your third question, China attaches great importance to the health and safety of all foreign nationals in Wuhan, Hubei province. We have taken effective measures to timely respond to their reasonable concerns and requests. WHO DG Tedros also stressed many times that flying out in a rush is not recommended, the best way being stay put and enhancing self-protection. We hope that WHO’s professional recommendations will be respected. Indeed, for those countries that wish to take home their nationals, China will make relevant arrangements and offer necessary assistance consistent with international practices and our domestic epidemic control measures.
Q: An international team of experts led by the WHO is coming to Beijing to help tackle the outbreak. Do you have any information on if there’s any American experts among them?
A: Acting in an open, transparent and responsible way, China has been sharing information and strengthening cooperation with WHO and the international community to jointly safeguard global and regional public health security.
With regard to the WHO expert group, as far as I know, the advance team will arrive in Beijing today to discuss specific arrangements for the China-WHO joint mission. I’d like to reiterate that we welcome all foreign experts including those from the US to join. I would refer you to the NHC for more details.
Q: Media reports quote Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as saying on February 8 that Israel is mapping the area including all Israeli settlements and the Jordan Valley which, according to the US Middle East peace plan, will become part of the state of Israel. On the same day, a spokesman for Palestinian President said that “the only map that can be accepted as the map of Palestine is the map of the Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital”. What’s China’s comment?
A: China opposes any unilateral actions that might escalate tensions between Palestine and Israel. We call on Israel to act prudently to prevent more tensions in the region.
It is China’s consistent position that any solution to this issue should be based on international consensus including relevant UN resolutions, the "two-state solution" and the principle of "land for peace”. Any agreement should be reached through equal-footed dialogue and negotiation after taking into consideration the view and propositions of main parties concerned, especially Palestine, and the agreement should be conducive to reaching a comprehensive, just and lasting solution of the Palestinian issue at an early date.
Q: The Chinese side recently quoted the Italian ambassador to China as saying that Italy is ready to resume some civil flights as soon as possible. Meanwhile the Italian government denied any plans to change the current status. Can you please provide further update on the situation?
A: After the epidemic broke out, China has taken the most comprehensive and rigorous prevention and control measures, many of which far exceed WHO recommendations and what the International Health Regulations requires. The WHO has repeatedly said that it does not recommend putting travel and trade restrictions on China. We hope that Italy can assess the epidemic situation in an objective, rational and science-based manner, respect the WHO’s authoritative and professional recommendations, and refrain from taking excessive measures.
We have also seen that these days, many political figures and friends from all walks of life in Italy have expressed their support to China’s efforts against the epidemic. The Chinese flights have received permission from the Italian side and brought home the stranded Chinese citizens from Italy. China will continue to enhance its cooperation with the WHO and other countries including Italy in an open and transparent manner to jointly tackle the epidemic and safeguard regional and global health security.
Q: On February 7, the U.S. Treasury Department announced sanctions on Venezuelan state-run airline Conviasa. The US said in a statement that it "will not allow Maduro and his proxies to continue stealing from the Venezuelan people and abusing state-owned assets to advance their own corrupt and destabilizing activities." I wonder if you have any comment?
A: China’s position on the Venezuela issue is clear and consistent. We as always remain committed to the UN Charter and the basic norms governing international relations and oppose unilateral sanctions and external interference in Venezuela’s internal affairs.
Since last year, certain country has escalated sanctions on Venezuela several times, which has seriously affected Venezuela’s economy, the Venezuelan people’s livelihood and its foreign relations with other countries, leading to a higher risk of the situation losing control. We urge the certain country to face squarely the humanitarian realities in Venezuela, stop imposing unilateral sanctions or long-arm jurisdictions, and work to create necessary conditions for Venezuela to achieve stable growth and have normal foreign relations with other countries.
Q: Can you share any details about the WHO-led team of international experts visiting China? Where will they visit and how long will they stay? Which experts are part of the group?
A: Acting in an open, transparent and responsible way, China has been sharing information and strengthening cooperation with the WHO and the international community to jointly safeguard global and regional public health security.
With regard to the WHO expert group, as far as I know, the WHO advance team will arrive in Beijing today to discuss specific arrangements for the China-WHO joint mission. We welcome all foreign experts to join. I would refer you to the NHC for more details.
Q: It is reported that the plane carrying 23 tons of medical supplies from the Russian government arrived in Wuhan on February 9. Russian media Rossiyskaya Gazeta today published an editorial titled China and Russia Share Weal and Woe to praise China's fight against the epidemic measures and a full-page ad saying "Stay strong, China! We stand with you!". What is China's comment?
A: On February 9, a large amount of medical supplies including over 2 million masks sent by the Russian government arrived at Wuhan. The supplies have been delivered to the Chinese side.
We also noted the editorial of China and Russia sharing weal and woe published in Rossiyskaya Gazeta. As it said, after the NCP outbreak, Russia has been lending its firm support to China. In a letter to President Xi, President Putin expressed sympathy and highly commended China for its epidemic control measures and their effects. Besides medical supplies, the Russian government also sent experts to work with their Chinese counterparts on epidemic response.
We have received the message "Stay strong, China! We stand with you!" from the Russian government and people. It also demonstrates the high level of our comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination in a new era and the deep bond of mutual assistance between our two countries. China is truly grateful. We will continue to work with Russia for better coordination and cooperation in epidemic control and contribution to regional and global public health security.
Q: Up to now, how many foreigners are among the confirmed cases in China? Can you give us more details?
A: We have checked with the competent authority. As of 08:00, February 10, altogether 27 foreign citizens in China have been diagnosed with the NCP. Among them, there are three recovered and discharged cases, two deaths and 22 cases under treatment in isolation.
Q: Is there any nationwide deadline for opening schools and universities?
A: I’d refer you to the competent authorities.
Q: The 36th Ordinary Session of the AU Executive Council issued a communique on February 7, in which the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of AU Member States expressed their solidarity with the Chinese government and people in the efforts to counter spread of the novel coronavirus, and their confidence in China’s ability to deal with the challenges. I wonder if you have any comment?
A: As you said, the 36th Ordinary Session of the AU Executive Council issued a communique in which the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of AU Member States, in the spirit of the strong strategic partnership existing between AU Member States and China and cognizant of the fraternal historical ties and cooperation between the two sides, expressed their solidarity with the Chinese government and people in the efforts to counter spread of the novel coronavirus, their confidence in China’s ability to deal with the challenges, and their call for coordination with the various national and international bodies to strengthen cooperation and to cope with its ramifications.
At this crucial juncture, our African friends have given us strong support and showcased our brotherhood through thick and thin. The Ethiopian Students Union in Wuhan wrote an open letter in support of Wuhan and China. Some African students in China volunteered to go to the front-line of this battle against the epidemic or worked at the train stations as volunteers. We believe that through the trial of this epidemic, China-Africa friendship will grow even deeper and the China-Africa community with a shared future will emerge stronger.
Q: The Munich Security Conference will be held from 14th to 16th this month. As I recall, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi attended the meeting last year and can you tell us who will represent China this year? This year's meeting will focus on the direction of global arms control after the US withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. What proposals or propositions will China put forward?
A: We will update you if there’s any information on that.
Regarding to the issue of arms control, I’ll briefly talk about China’s principled position on arms control. China is committed to safeguarding global peace, security and stability, and to upholding the international arms control and non-proliferation regime. Our efforts are witnessed by the international community. China stands ready to work with all parties to strengthen communication and coordination within such frameworks as the Conference on Disarmament and the mechanism of five nuclear-weapon states, discuss a wide range of issues concerning global strategic stability, earnestly safeguard multilateralism and multilateral disarmament mechanisms, uphold the international order based on international law, defend the authority and efficacy of existing arms control and non-proliferation legal systems, and make contributions to international peace and security.
Q: You just said that a total of 27 foreigners in China have been confirmed of novel coronavirus pneumonia, of which two have died. One of them I suppose is the American citizen you just mentioned, and which country is the other one from? As I understand, a Japanese man died in Wuhan on February 8. Do you have any information?
A: Of the two fatal cases, one of them was an American citizen and the other was Japanese. I responded to a question related to the US citizen earlier.
As I know, the Japanese national passed away in Wuhan, Hubei on the early morning of February 8. While medical workers were doing the best to treat the patient in hospital, the Chinese side has also been in contact with the family in China. We offer the deepest condolences over the Japanese national’s passing. We have notified Japan through diplomatic channels and will offer necessary assistance to the Japanese side and the bereaved family.
Q: Have Chinese and South Korean governments discussed any adjustments or changes regarding Chinese President Xi Jinping's planned visit to Seoul since the outbreak of the epidemic? Earlier this year, the South Korean government has announced President Xi would visit Seoul in the first half of the year. Have the two governments agreed on the specific date of the visit?
A:The Chinese government is making all-out efforts to fight against NCP. We have been releasing and sharing statistics and information with the international community in an open, transparent and responsible way and taken the utmost comprehensive and strict prevention and control measures. All these have been highly recognized and lauded by the international community.
ROK President Moon Jae-in spoke highly of China’s efforts. He said that he believed that the epidemic will soon be brought under control and said that the ROK stands ready to assist and cooperate with China. China appreciates the assistance from the ROK government and people. We will strengthen cooperation with the ROK and other members of the international community to jointly fight the epidemic and safeguard global public health security.
China and the ROK, as close neighbors, have been keeping high-level exchanges and political and diplomatic communications. The two sides will continue to make meticulous preparations for the next-stage major diplomatic agenda.
Q: As I understand, the Japanese citizen who passed away was a suspected case. Was he already confirmed of the NCP?
A: I have nothing to update you at the moment.
Q: How many foreign nationals are still in Wuhan? What will happen to those who are not able to be evacuated by their governments?
A: China highly values the health and safety of foreign nationals in Wuhan, Hubei and takes effective measures to address their concerns and needs.
Q: Can you let us know how many enterprises resumed work today? What is the rate of resuming enterprise?
A: I’d refer you to the competent authorities.
Q: Could you please tell us the nationalities of those 27 foreigners who have been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus pneumonia in China?
A: According to the competent authority, as of 08:00, February 10, altogether 27 foreign citizens in China have been diagnosed with the NCP. Among them, there are three recovered and discharged cases, two deaths (one American and one Japanese) and 22 cases under treatment in isolation. This is all I can offer you at the moment.
Q: Has China received the medical supplies Vietnam sent to China yesterday? How will they be used in the future? As far as we know, one of the confirmed cases in China is a Vietnamese. How is she doing?
A: The medical gloves, masks and protective suits donated by the Vietnamese government have arrived in Wuhan on February 10. Our heartfelt thanks go to all those who provided us with sincere support and help.
As I understand, all the supplies donated by the foreign governments and international organizations are received and handled by the Ministry of Commerce. I refer you to them for more details.
As for your last question, I need to check for more information and get back to you later.
Q: India Prime Minister Narendra Modi has offered India's help and other cooperation in China’s fight against the coronavirus. He has also condoled the deaths in China due to the virus. Do you have any comments?
A: We thank and appreciate India’s support for China’s fight against the NCP. India’s acts of goodwill fully demonstrate its people’s friendship with the Chinese people.
We stand ready to work with India and other members of the international community to jointly fight the epidemic and safeguard regional and global public health security.
Q: Last week the MFA spokesperson responded to a Wall Street Journal (WSJ) article titled China Is the Real Sick Man of Asia. I wonder if you got in contact with the WSJ after that?
A: My colleague last week already made clear China’s solemn position. We have lodged stern representations with the WSJ.
The WSJ article belittled our efforts to fight against the epidemic. Its editor also headlined the article with a racially discriminatory and sensational title out of no respect for facts and professional ethics. It hurts the feelings of the Chinese people and roused public anger and condemnation.
China asks the WSJ to face squarely the severity of its mistake, make a public apology, and hold the persons involved accountable. However, what the WSJ has been doing since then is nothing but paltering.
China urges WSJ to take our concerns seriously and make a response. We reserve the right to take further measures.