|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying's Regular Press Conference on June 8, 2020|
As agreed by both sides, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell will hold the 10th China-EU High Level Strategic Dialogue on June 9 to discuss China-EU relations and matters of shared interest. The strategic dialogue will be convened via videoconference.
The Chinese government has decided to send a team of medical experts to Bangladesh to support its efforts against COVID-19. The team, put together by the National Health Commission with members selected by the Hainan Provincial Health Commission, has left for Bangladesh on the morning of June 8.
CCTV: As you just announced, China and the EU will hold the 10th High Level Strategic Dialogue. Can you give us more details on that?
Hua Chunying: This year marks the 45th anniversary of diplomatic ties between China and the EU. In the past 45 years, the China-EU bilateral relationship has achieved great progress, delivered tangible benefits to both peoples, and contributed to world peace and prosperity. After COVID-19 broke out, China and the EU gave each other staunch support in fighting the epidemics, made joint efforts in promoting international cooperation, and enriched the content of our comprehensive strategic partnership.
Since the China-EU High Level Strategic Dialogue was first established in 2010, nine rounds of dialogue have been held so far, which has been important in enhancing mutual understanding, trust, communication and cooperation between the two sides. In light of the COVID-19 situation, this round of dialogue will be held through video link. State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and EU High Representative Josep Borrell will co-chair the event and exchange views on bilateral relations and matters of shared interest and prepare for China-EU high-level exchange in the next stage.
Xinhua News Agency: Today marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Myanmar. President Xi Jinping paid a state visit to Myanmar in January this year. What is China's expectation for the development of China-Myanmar relations under the new circumstances?
Hua Chunying: As friendly neighbors, the special pauk-phaw friendship between China and Myanmar has been going on for thousands of years and grows even stronger than before. Since the establishment of diplomatic ties on June 8, 1950, China and Myanmar, upholding shared aspiration and sincerity, have been exemplary in advocating and practicing the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, brought tangible benefits to the two peoples, set an example for state-to-state exchanges, and contributed to the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.
During President Xi Jinping's historic and very successful visit to Myanmar last January, the leaders of the two countries reached important consensus on building a China-Myanmar community with a shared future, drew up a new blueprint for the future development of bilateral relations, and ushered in a new era for bilateral ties. After the outbreak of COVID-19, leaders of the two countries expressed support to each other through letters and phone calls. The two peoples have been helping each other in the fight against the virus, vividly demonstrating the essence of the China-Myanmar community with a shared future, which is standing together through weal and woe.
Today, leaders of the two countries exchanged congratulatory messages on the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Myanmar, expressing good wishes for the sustained and sound development of bilateral friendly relations. Going forward, the two sides will continue to actively implement the outcomes of President Xi Jinping's visit to Myanmar and the consensus reached by the two heads of state during their phone calls, advance China-Myanmar Economic Corridor and other mutually beneficial cooperation projects, organize celebration activities marking the 70th anniversary of diplomatic ties in an orderly manner, and jointly take concrete steps to push forward the building of the China-Myanmar community with a shared future. We believe that China-Myanmar relations will embrace an even brighter future after anti-epidemic cooperation, and the two peoples will stay good neighbors, good friends, good partners and good pauk-phaw.
China Daily: The IAEA published two reports on June 5 with regard to the Iranian nuclear issue. One of them is a quarterly report on Iran's compliance with its obligations in the JCPOA, stating that Iran remains in breach of many of the restrictions imposed by the nuclear deal. The other report on matters related to verification and monitoring in Iran says the country still denies IAEA access to two sites. The findings will be discussed at a meeting of the agency's board of governors starting from June 15. Do you have any comment?
Hua Chunying: China noted the latest IAEA reports regarding the Iranian nuclear issue. The reports confirmed that Iran has maintained the agency's verification and monitoring activities in the country, that Iran has not taken the fifth step of reducing commitments and has not diverted declared nuclear materials for other purposes. The reports also suggest that Iran would like to engage in more dialogue and cooperation with the IAEA on fulfilling its obligations.
I'd like to reiterate that the US unilateral withdrawal from the JCPOA and maximum pressure on Iran is the root cause of the current Iranian nuclear crisis. The only correct way to resolve this issue is to uphold and implement the JCPOA. The US should give up its wrong approach, avoid obstructing other parties' implementation of the nuclear deal, and leave room for diplomatic endeavors. China supports greater dialogue and cooperation between Iran and the IAEA to find a proper solution to ensure IAEA monitoring on the basis of upholding previous consensus. In the meantime, we hope all parties can support the above-mentioned diplomatic endeavors and do things that lead to de-escalation rather than escalation. We also believe the IAEA will properly resolve the matter in an objective and impartial manner.
On the Iranian nuclear issue, China is always committed to upholding the JCPOA, endorsing multilateralism, safeguarding peace and stability in the Middle East and championing international order based on international law. We are ready to carry out closer coordination with relevant parties and continue making efforts for the political and diplomatic solution of the Iranian nuclear issue.
China Radio International: Members of the CTBTO Group of Eminent Persons (GEM) issued a statement expressing deep concerns on media reports that senior officials in the US have discussed the possibility of conducting a nuclear test, which, if carried out, would break the global moratorium on nuclear weapon test explosions and severely undermine the CTBT regime. It urged all states to reiterate their strong support for the CTBT and take concrete measures to bring the treaty into force at an early date. The Russian side has made clear its support for this statement. What is your comment?
Hua Chunying: China has stated that we are gravely concerned about this internal discussion in the US administration on resuming nuclear tests. China supports the statement made by the CTBTO GEM. The CTBT, which sets out international norms in prohibiting nuclear tests, serves as an important pillar of the international nuclear arms control system and is of great significance in promoting nuclear disarmament, prohibiting nuclear proliferation and upholding world peace and security. We urge the US side to fulfill its due responsibilities, honor its nuclear testing moratorium commitment, and uphold the purpose and objective of the CTBT. We also hope that the US side will heed the call from the international community and contribute to safeguarding the international nuclear disarmament and international non-proliferation regime. It should take no more steps down the wrong path of undermining global strategic stability.
Beijing Youth Daily: US Secretary of State Pompeo said in a statement and on Twitter that the Communist Party of China callously exploited George Floyd's death for propaganda. Could you comment on that?
Hua Chunying: According to media reports, today in the US, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases stand at more than 1.9 million and death toll at over 110,000, while the mass protests caused by the death of George Floyd are still on-going. We are truly sorry for the American people, and we hope they can get over the difficulties as soon as possible.
Even under such circumstances, Mr. Pompeo is still full of lies and slanders. It's just sad. From Martin Luther King, Jr.'s speech "I have a dream" in 1963 to George Floyd's moan of "I cannot breathe", 57 years have passed, and yet equal rights is still a dream for ethnic minorities in the US, a country where serious systemic racism still exists. This is not foreign propaganda; this is an everyday phenomenon in the American society that should be reflected upon, as unanimously appealed by people from all walks of life in the US.
China has always been upholding the basic diplomatic principle of non-interference in other countries' internal affairs. We hope the US side can observe the same principle. It is immoral and unhelpful that certain US politician is fanatically shifting the blame to others while neglecting serious problems at home. We hope he will waste the valuable time no more.
AFP: Protesters continue demonstrations across the world against police brutality and discrimination in the US, but so far we have not heard of any demonstration here in China. I wonder if you could make a comment on that? And if people want to make demonstration in China to support those people across the world, would you encourage them to demonstrate?
Hua Chunying: As you are stationed in China, you should have noticed that many Chinese people are keenly following the mass protests triggered by the death of George Floyd in the US. China also expressed our position that we oppose all forms of racial discrimination. We hope the US can heed its people's call.
Shenzhen TV: It was previously reported that the US established over 200 bio-labs across the world while being silent about their functions, usage and safety, making local people and neighboring countries deeply worried. Some local people have been strongly calling for the shutdown of those labs. According to an article from ROK media Tongilnews, the US army stationed in the ROK has set up four biological weapons labs on Bacillus anthracis, which is much more horrible than novel coronavirus. From 2009 to 2014, these labs conducted 16 anthrax tests. In April 2015, an accident occurred during the delivery of the samples to the ROK sent by the US. The ROK people were extremely dissatisfied and demanded the disclosure of information and the outbound relocation of the labs. On March 25, residents in Busan told a press conference that they once again demanded the ROK government to investigate the illegal bacteria shipment and bacteriological tests, and strongly called for the closure of the labs. What is China's comment?
Hua Chunying: We noted relevant reports. There have been many similar reports recently, and it is still unclear whether they are credible or not. But one thing is certain to me: the US is the only country that is still blocking the resumption of negotiation on a verification protocol to the Biological Weapons Convention.
I noticed a lot of people asking these questions on social media: why does the US set up so many laboratories across the world? Why has the US been the only country blocking the resumption of negotiation on a verification protocol to the Biological Weapons Convention? Is there something it has been trying to hide from the public? Answers to those questions should be sought from the US side.
We hope the US will act in an open, transparent and responsible manner, heed the concerns of the international community, truly care about the safety and health of local people, and address the doubts of the international community.
China News Service: Yesterday China's State Council Information Office released a white paper on the country's fight against COVID-19. But some foreign media say that the white paper is meant to defend China's behavior. What is your comment?
Hua Chunying: China's State Council Information Office yesterday issued a white paper entitled "Fighting COVID-19: China in Action" and held a press conference where officials of relevant authorities outlined its content.
China issued the white paper not to defend itself, but to keep a record. The history of the combat against the pandemic should not be tainted by lies and misleading information; it should be recorded with the correct collective memory of all mankind. This white paper has documented China's arduous efforts in fighting COVID-19, outlined our best practice in epidemic prevention, control and treatment, shared the Chinese people's experience and feelings going through the difficult times, and expressed our confidence and strength in solidarity, cooperation and victory against the virus.
As COVID-19 continues spreading, the world is still going through tough times. China will continue to uphold the vision of a community with a shared future for mankind and work with the international community for solidarity, cooperation and an early victory against the pandemic.
Feature Story News: A question about the advisory against traveling to Australia. What factual data or information is there to support the claim that there has been an increase in racial attacks in Australia and why's Australia being singled out specifically in issuing this travel advisory?
Hua Chunying: Of course, China's travel alert comes with full evidence. You should have noticed that very clearly if you paid attention to relevant Australian media.
For a while, there have been many discrimination cases against China, Chinese and even Asians in Australia, which were also reported by Australian media. For example, some Australian politicians and media called the novel coronavirus "China virus" and viciously altered some elements on China's national flag and emblem. Many Chinese in Australia were insulted or even attacked. Some Chinese and Asian families' properties were vandalized. Chinese and Asians encountered unjust treatment at workplace. In Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and other Australian cities there has been racist graffiti against Chinese. According to statistics collected by Australian Human Rights Commission, in the first quarter this year, hundreds of Asians filed complaints for racial discrimination, accounting for 25 percent of the total. Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported that within one week in April, three racist attacks targeting Chinese families took place in Australia. From January to April, the state of New South Wales received 241 complaints for racial discrimination, while the number is 22 from March to the beginning of May in the state of Queensland. Aren't those facts convincing enough?
The Chinese government has been responsible in reminding Chinese citizens to make proper travel plans and protect themselves from harm. We also advise the Australian side to pay attention to the problems and take concrete measures to protect the security, rights and interests of Chinese nationals in Australia.
Reuters: Over the weekend the Australian trade minister gave a media interview where he said he's been trying for weeks to reach his Chinese counterpart over the tensions raised by Australia's call for an international investigation into the origin of the coronavirus. He said China has not been responding. Is this true? Does China have any comment?
Hua Chunying: As I know, China and Australia have unimpeded diplomatic channels for communication in both Beijing and Canberra. As we stated on many occasions, a sound and stable China-Australia relationship serves the two countries' common interests, but it takes concerted efforts from both to make it work. We hope Australia can work with China on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit, and do things that are conducive to our comprehensive strategic partnership.
The Paper: We noted that the US and the UK reacted strongly to the Hong Kong-related national security legislation. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told media that the CPC denied Hong Kong residents the freedoms they pledged and breached commitments under the joint declaration with the UK. Do you have any comment?
Hua Chunying: Indeed, a few foreign politicians recently made various comments on the national security legislation for Hong Kong. But I wonder if they had ever read through the Sino-British Joint Declaration before commenting, and if they can tell the detailed content of the Joint Declaration.
The Sino-British Joint Declaration is an important document concerning Hong Kong's return to China and relevant arrangements during the transition period. It consists of eight paragraphs and three annexes. Paragraph 1 stipulates that China resumes the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong. Paragraph 2 provides that the UK restores Hong Kong to China. After Hong Kong's return to China, these two paragraphs have been completely fulfilled. Paragraph 3 and Annex I are principled explanation and detailed elaboration by the Chinese side of our policies regarding Hong Kong. They are China's statement of policies. Paragraph 4 to 6 as well as Annex II and III stipulate arrangements for the two countries during the transition period. Paragraph 7 and 8 are about the Joint Declaration's implementation and entry into force. With the return of Hong Kong and the completion of follow-up matters, all UK-related provisions have already been fulfilled. The legal basis for implementing "one country, two systems", including for the Hong Kong-related national security legislation, is China's Constitution and the Basic Law, not the Sino-British Joint Declaration.
Pompeo said that China denied Hong Kong residents freedoms. Here are some questions for him: did Hong Kong ever enjoy any democracy or freedom during the 156 years under British colonial rule? Was any of the former 28 Hong Kong governors elected by the Hong Kong residents? Did the Hong Kong residents then enjoy the freedom to take to the street for demonstration? The UK even applied the Treason Act to Hong Kong during its colonial rule.
The NPC's national security legislation for Hong Kong targets four categories of acts, namely secession, subversion of state power, organizing and committing acts of terrorism, and foreign and external interference in the affairs of the HKSAR. The legislation targets only a very small number of people whose behaviors gravely jeopardize national security. It will not impact the rights and freedoms of Hong Kong residents, and will only contribute to the better exercising of their legal rights and freedoms in a secure environment. Therefore, there is no need whatsoever for foreign investors and the law-abiding Hong Kong residents to worry. I believe you may have noted that just eight days after the announcement of the decision on the legislation, as many as around three million Hong Kong residents expressed their support in signature campaigns. Well-known foreign companies like HSBC, Jardine Matheson, Swire Group and Standard Chartered have voiced their support for the legislation. According to a survey by the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce, 61 percent of the respondents said the law will have either a positive or no impact at all on their businesses over the long term. The Hang Seng Index gained ground for five days in a row. These are all votes of confidence in the national security legislation for the Hong Kong SAR and the prospect of the "one country, two systems" principle.
As to why the US has been reacting so strongly, the reason is plain and simple: what they care about is not the freedom enjoyed by Hong Kong residents, but the "freedom" to do everything they want to sabotage China's national security. Pompeo once said that what is at stake about Hong Kong is that it is a bastion of freedom that can be used to influence China, by which his underhand intention cannot be revealed more clearly.
Before I finish this question, I want to stress that the Central Government is responsible for upholding national security in China, as is the case in any other country. The Hong Kong-related national security legislation is the exercise of power and responsibility to uphold national security in accordance with the Constitution and the Basic Law. It aims to plug the loopholes in national security for the Hong Kong SAR and the whole country. Those who don't intend to engage in secessionist, subversive and terrorist activities have no need to worry or overreact at all. China firmly opposes any foreign interference in Hong Kong affairs.
Nihon Keizai Shimbun: According to Indonesian media reports, China sent a note to the United Nations regarding the overlapping of the nine-dash line and Indonesia's exclusive economic zone in the South China Sea. Can you confirm that?
Hua Chunying: In response to the note to the Secretary-General sent by the Indonesian permanent mission to the UN, China's permanent mission to the UN sent a note to the Secretary-General to state China's position on the South China Sea. I'd like to stress that China's claim regarding our sovereign rights and interests in the South China Sea is consistent, clear and in accordance with international law including the UNCLOS. It will not be changed by the doubts and opposition from a single country.
PTI: Senior military officials of India and China held talks over the weekend to resolve the border standoff. How does China view the outcome of the talks?
Hua Chunying: On the afternoon of June 6, Chinese and Indian military officials held commander-level talks in the border personnel meeting point at Moldo to discuss ways to resolve matters related to the recent border situation and safeguard peace and stability in the border area.
Recently China and India have been in close communication through diplomatic and military channels regarding the border situation. Both sides agree to implement the important consensus of the two leaders, avoid escalation of differences into disputes, work together to uphold peace and tranquility in the border area, and create favorable atmosphere for the sound and stable development of bilateral relations. Currently the overall situation in the border area is stable and controllable. Both sides have the willingness and capability to properly resolve the related matters through negotiation and consultation.
Beijing Daily: US Republican senator Rick Scott said during an interview that the US has evidence that China is trying to slow down or sabotage the development of a COVID-19 vaccine by Western countries, and China does not want the US to do it first. "What I really believe is whether England does it first or we do it first, we are going to share. China is not going to share." He refused to give more details concerning the evidence but claimed it came from the intelligence community. Do you have any comment?
Hua Chunying: This lawmaker said the US has evidence that China is trying to sabotage the development of a COVID-19 vaccine by Western countries. Well, if he does have such evidence, just show it to us. No need to be shy. There are just too many lies, rumors and slanders against China that come from certain US politicians. I wonder if the US has any law to hold the rumormongers slandering against other countries accountable.
I would like to point out that COVID-19 vaccine development is not a race between China and the US, but one between mankind and the virus. The first country to develop and deploy a vaccine will be making great contributions to all mankind in the fight against the pandemic.
As President Xi Jinping pledged at the 73rd World Health Assembly, COVID-19 vaccine development and deployment in China, when available, will be made a global public good. This will be China's contribution to enhancing vaccine accessibility and affordability in developing countries. We hope the US can also pledge to share with the rest of the world if it first succeeds in developing one.