|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying's Regular Press Conference on October 9, 2020|
At the invitation of Prak Sokhonn, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Cambodia, Hishammuddin Tun Hussein, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia, Saleumxay Kommasith, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Laos, and Don Pramudwinai, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will pay official visits to Cambodia, Malaysia, Laos and Thailand and pay a transit visit to Singapore from October 11 to 15.
CCTV: The US Department of the Treasury announced on October 8 its decision to sanction 18 Iranian banks. Iran's Foreign Minister Zarif said on Twitter that "amid COVID-19 pandemic, US regime wants to blow up our remaining channels to pay for food and medicine," and that "conspiring to starve a population is a crime against humanity." Does China have any comment?
Hua Chunying: Neglecting the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and the principles of international law, the US arbitrarily imposes unwarranted unilateral actions such as economic blockade and financial sanctions against other countries, severely undermining international political and economic order, the global governance system, and the sanctioned countries' capabilities to develop their economy and improve people's lives. It has impact on the basic rights of innocent civilians, including women, children, the elderly and the disabled. As COVID-19 is still spreading across the globe, the US unwarranted unilateral actions restrict the transportation of medical supplies and obstruct the sanctioned countries' effort to contain the virus and recover the economy, directly damaging the life and health of people in those countries as well as the rights of these people, especially the vulnerable groups.
The UN Secretary General and the High Commissioner for Human Rights called for the relax and removal of unwarranted unilateral actions. During the 75th UNGA session general debate, multiple state leaders also called for the elimination of unwarranted unilateral actions. At the general debate of the General Assembly Third Committee on October 5, China spoke on behalf of 26 countries to once again call for immediate, total elimination of unilateral compulsory measures so that the international community can handle the virus in a comprehensive, effective and efficient manner.
China urges the US to respond to the international voice of justice, stop erroneous actions at once, and return to the track of global solidarity and international cooperation as soon as possible.
During Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif's upcoming visit to China, he will have talks with State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi. We would like to work with Iran to deepen our bilateral comprehensive strategic partnership.
People's Daily: September is a "United Nations month" for China. Chinese leaders attended a series of high-level meetings marking the 75th anniversary of the United Nations and delivered important speeches. What impact do you think this will have on China and the world?
Hua Chunying: State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi gave an interview to the Chinese media on October 2 in which he made a comprehensive and systematic review of President Xi Jinping's attendance at a series of high-level meetings commemorating the 75th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations. He gave a detailed account of the significant propositions put forward by President Xi Jinping and their significance and impacts.
This year marks the 75th anniversary of the victory of the World Anti-Fascist War and the 75th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations. It is a year worthy of commemoration by all countries. An unexpected COVID-19 outbreak has accelerated the evolution of the international landscape, adding many uncertainties to the future of mankind. Where will the world go in the next 75 years? This is a question that many countries are seriously thinking about. At such a historic juncture bearing on the future and destiny of mankind, President Xi Jinping attended the UN 75th anniversary summit, the General Debate of the 75th Session of the UN General Assembly, the Biodiversity Summit and the High-level Meeting to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the World Conference on Women in Beijing and delivered a series of important speeches. President Xi Jinping, proceeding from serving the common and long-term interests of mankind, gave his well-thought answers to what kind of post-COVID-19 world humans will face, what role China will play, and what kind of international order we need. He distinctively expressed that China will adhere to multilateralism, uphold the authority of the United Nations, walk the path of peaceful development and win-win cooperation, and firmly push to build a community with a shared future for mankind. President Xi's important remarks, which demonstrate a great vision for the world and a firm sense of responsibility as a major country, have been widely welcomed and highly appreciated by other countries. All parties agreed that President Xi Jinping's speeches and China's propositions will have a positive and far-reaching impact on the current and future evolution of the international landscape. This is reflected in six aspects. First, new impetus has been injected into global cooperation against COVID-19. Second, new consensus has been forged for the reform of the global governance system. Third, new solutions have been offered to promote global economic recovery. Fourth, new benchmarks have been set for global ecological progress. Fifth, new strength has been fueled to the cause of women around the world. Sixth, new responsibilities have been assumed in supporting the central role of the United Nations.
As unilateralism undermines the existing international order, bullying challenges norms governing international relations, and world peace and stability face real threats and challenges, President Xi Jinping has clarified the dialectical relationship between "what can be changed" and "what cannot be changed" in the global governance system. What cannot be changed? The purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations cannot be changed, nor can the banner of multilateralism. There should be only one international system in the world, one with the United Nations at its core. There should be only one set of international rules, the basic set of ones governing international relations based on the UN Charter. What can be changed? The global governance system should be able respond to global challenges through enhanced international coordination in keeping with the changing times; The practice of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits should be followed to reflect the international political reality of the collective rise of developing countries. We should make addressing non-traditional security challenges such as public health a priority in the work of the United Nations, give prominence to the issue of development within the global macro framework, and effectively increase the representation and voice of developing countries at the United Nations. President Xi Jinping also pointed out that burying one's head in the sand like an ostrich in the face of economic globalization or trying to fight it with Don Quixote's lance goes against the trend of history. President Xi Jinping has called for countries to pursue the vision of building a big family of win-win cooperation, combine their own interests with the common interests of other countries, and strive to expand converging interests.
These important remarks by President Xi Jinping are his strategic thinking on mankind's future and destiny. They speak to the common aspirations of most countries, point out the right direction for the reform of the global governance system,and chart the course for the future of the United Nations. People are now more confident of the future of the UN. As State Councilor Wang said in his interview with the Chinese media, we firmly believe that no matter what difficulties and obstacles lie ahead, the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation will never stop, the right path of multilateralism will never be interrupted, and the world trend of peaceful development will never be reversed.
CCTV: Lately US Secretary of State Pompeo, Secretary of Defense Esper and other US officials on multiple occasions accused China of coercing other countries. Do you have any comment?
Hua Chunying: I have seen relevant reports. Speaking of coercion, the first country that comes to anyone's mind is the US. For quite some time, certain US politicians have been traveling around the world coercing other countries, even its allies, into following its orders, openly hyping up ideological confrontation, trying to hijack others onto its anti-communism and anti-China chariot, and even threatening to replace cooperation and funding with sanctions. It has sent out a clear message that whoever follows it will survive and whoever defies it shall perish. The message has not been lost on any country. However, it might have slipped those US politicians' minds that we are already in the 21st century where all countries are equal regardless of their size and hegemonic bullying is a dead end.
We noted that responding to the remarks by Pompeo and other US diplomats coercing other countries into picking a side, relevant countries all said that they would make decisions independently as sovereign countries. These all show clearly that it is not China that pursues coercion, confrontation, diplomacy of lies, or discord-sowing. The difference or confrontation between China and the US is not a fight for power, status or social system, but a choice of upholding justice or spreading evil, championing multilateralism or unilateralism, advocating win-win cooperation or zero-sum game. We are convinced that more and more countries will keep their head up, uphold principles and justice, and make independent choices in keeping with their own interests.
Beijing Youth Daily: Yesterday you announced that Indonesian President's Special Envoy, Iranian Foreign Minister and Philippine Foreign Secretary will visit China. Today you announced that State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will visit Cambodia, Malaysia, Laos and Thailand and pay a transit visit to Singapore. We have noticed that seven ASEAN countries are involved in the diplomatic activities of State Councilor Wang. Could you brief us on the considerations behind this and China's expectations?
Hua Chunying: ASEAN countries are all China's friendly neighbors and important partners in BRI cooperation. In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, China and ASEAN countries have lent each other a helping hand in the face of difficulties and taken the lead in the global fight against the virus and post-COVID-19 recovery. In the first eight months of this year, trade between China and ASEAN bucked the trend and grew by 3.8%. ASEAN became China's largest trading partner for the first time, marking a historic milestone as the two became each other's largest trading partner. State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi's upcoming diplomatic activities covering seven ASEAN countries fully demonstrate China's sincere wish and firm determination to promote China-ASEAN cooperation and deepen friendly relations with ASEAN countries.
Against the backdrop of ongoing epidemic prevention and control, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang looks forward to working with ASEAN countries to enhance exchange and cooperation, boost national economic recovery and social development, seek the opportunity in the crisis, elevate China-ASEAN relations to a new level, and build a closer community with a shared future with neighboring countries. China hopes and believes that, as members of the Asian family, ASEAN countries will continue to work with China to firmly uphold multilateralism and international justice, safeguard regional peace and stability, make this region an oasis of peace and a promising land of development, and provide greater stability and inject more positive energy to regional and global development.
Reuters: A question on COVAX. Will China be securing vaccines through this program? Is China in talks with COVAX to include locally-made Chinese vaccines on the purchase list?
Hua Chunying: This morning, China and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, signed an agreement, officially joining COVAX. This is an important step China has taken to uphold the concept of a shared community of health for all and to honor its commitment to turn COVID-19 vaccines into a global public good.
Currently, the COVID-19 pandemic still poses a severe threat to the safety and health of people in all countries. China continues to focus on ensuring that developing countries have equal access to appropriate, safe and effective vaccines. To that end, we have solemnly pledged to make vaccines developed and deployed by China a global public good, which will be provided to developing countries as a priority. Therefore, China has maintained close communication with COVAX with a positive attitude towards joining it. Even when China is leading the world with several vaccines in advanced stages of R&D and with ample production capacity, it still decided to join COVAX. We are taking this concrete step to ensure equitable distribution of vaccines, especially to developing countries, and hope more capable countries will also join and support COVAX. China will also strengthen vaccine cooperation with relevant countries through the COVAX network.
You asked whether China will provide vaccines for COVAX. As President Xi Jinping explicitly stated, COVID-19 vaccine development and deployment in China, when available, will be made a global public good. This will be China's contribution to ensuring vaccine accessibility and affordability in developing countries. To implement these measures, the Chinese government supports Chinese vaccine R&D companies in participating in COVAX and providing vaccines for developing countries through this channel, and we have been assisting their effort. As far as I know, multiple Chinese vaccine enterprises have expressed to COVAX their willingness to participate. Experts of the two sides are in close communication regarding the vaccine R&D, certification, regulation and other technical standards. We will continue to work together with COVAX partners and contribute our share to the global fight against the pandemic to safeguard all human beings' safety and health.
Global Times: On October 5, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato talking about the digital Diaoyu Dao Museum of China said that China was not in a position to create such a website and that Japan had lodged a protest through diplomatic channels. We have also learned that on October 1, the Ishigaki City in Okinawa Prefecture of Japan officially changed the so-called district name of the Diaoyu Dao. Is the digital museum supposed to be China's response to the name change on the Japanese side?
Hua Chunying: The Diaoyu Dao and its affiliated islands are China's inherent territory. This is based on ample historical and legal evidence. China has launched the digital Diaoyu Dao Museum based on its sovereign position, on which the Japanese side is in no position to make wanton comments.
The Japanese attempt to challenge China's territorial sovereignty by the so-called name change is illegal and void. It cannot alter the fact that Diaoyu Dao is part of China.
The Paper: Foreign ministers of the US, Japan, India and Australia, or "the Quad" met in Japan on October 6. US Secretary of State Pompeo once again blamed China on covering up the epidemic in Wuhan and detaining and silencing the Chinese citizens who made warnings. Kelly Craft, the US ambassador to the United Nations, said that the CCP transformed a local epidemic into a global pandemic. What is your comment?
Hua Chunying: First of all, on "the Quad", I want to say that this is now the 21st century and we are living in an era of globalization. The interests of all countries are so inextricably intertwined that organizing closed and exclusive cliques will not help enhance mutual trust and cooperation, especially when the international community is now in the depth of major and urgent tasks of fighting the pandemic and reviving the world economy. We hope that relevant countries will bear in mind the common interests of all countries and mankind and focus on beating the virus with collective efforts while creating a peaceful environment and cooperation opportunities for regional and global economic recovery.
As for COVID-19, we have laid out a clear time-line and what we have done and achieved in our fight against it are open for all to see. So where does the "cover-up" allegation come from? The coronavirus is a new kind of virus. As more and more facts emerge and as reports reveal, we all know that the epidemic broke out in various places around the world at the end of last year while China was the first to report the outbreak, identify the pathogen and share the genome sequence with the world. When the high-level experts group determined person-to-person transmission of this novel coronavirus on the evening of January 19 after thorough research and investigation, China made the decision to close off Wuhan to the outside world at the earliest time possible and placed the most stringent measures on isolating Wuhan city and Hubei Province with the rest of the world and on controlling their traffic. On the first day of China's Lunar New Year, the Central Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China convened a meeting on the outbreak and 31 provinces and regions and cities activated Level 1 emergence response for comprehensive and tight epidemic prevention and control. On January 23, as China placed Wuhan on lockdown, there were only nine confirmed cases outside China. The US, by that time, had only one case. On February 2, when the US closed its borders to the Chinese citizens, the US only officially confirmed a dozen cases.
But now, the confirmed cases in the US have exceeded 7.6 million and deaths have surpassed 210,000. How could the most powerful country on earth, with the best medical resources on hand, screw up this test so badly? There have already been reports by the US media saying that the earliest case in the US may have appeared last October. What had the US done at that time? Why hadn't it discover and report the outbreak timely? Why hadn't it taken prompt measures in response to test as many people as possible?
It is precisely because China respects science and facts and puts life and people front and center that we have achieved major strategic outcomes in combating the epidemic. Medical experts and scientists who made tremendous efforts and contributions throughout this fight like Academician Zhong Nanshan have been recognized and honored with national awards. US officials like to talk about whistle-blowers, but in contrast, how does the US treat medical experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci and whistle-blowers like Dr. Helen Y. Chu and Captain Brett Crozier? I just saw reports on a Washington Post article by Dr. Rick Bright, former director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, who was fired back in April for complaining about government politicizing the science sector. Under the title of "I the couldn't sit idly and watch people die from Trump's chaotic, politicized pandemic response, so I resigned", he wrote: "Of all the tools required for an effective U.S. response to the coronavirus pandemic, one that is sorely missing is the truth"; "Public well being and security have been jeopardized by the administration's hostility to the reality and by its politicization of the pandemic response, undoubtedly resulting in tens of 1000's of preventable deaths." His attorney also said that the government's disregard for scientific professional knowledge and disrespect for scientists led to a great number of Americans infected or even killed by the virus and that Dr. Bright could not continue working for a government that puts politics above science.
I also saw the latest edition of the TIME magazine this morning. Compared with the depression and despair of an earlier cover depicting the 200,000 deaths, the cover of this edition is more shockingly horrible and cruel. Is the loss of 210,000 lives still not enough to awaken the conscience of those US politicians? We send this message once again to them: scapegoating others won't kill the virus or save any patients. They should stop the constant repetition of lies, regain their sense of rationality, focus on epidemic response and try to save American lives.
AFP: According to the latest Pew Research survey, record numbers in major developed countries including the US, Australia, UK, Canada, Germany and the Netherlands see China unfavorably. What's China's response?
Hua Chunying: As you mentioned just now, the survey only sampled 14 developed countries, including the United States, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom, and some other western countries. They only represent the western countries' perception of China, not the general view of the international community.
We have seen for a while some American politicians trying to shift the blame by stigmatizing and demonizing China with the pandemic and other issues and spreading lies and false information about China. This will, of course, seriously mislead people in the US and the countries you mentioned with regard to the true Chinese epidemic response and poison the atmosphere for China to develop relations with other countries. It is precisely because they spread false information and stigmatize China that there have been discrimination targeting Chinese or Asians in the United States, Australia, Canada and other countries. Just this morning I saw a report that a Japanese musician was mistaken as Chinese and assaulted in New York. That's just so sad and unfortunate.
Even against such a backdrop, I note that the latest Pew Research survey shows that even in these 14 western countries, the majority of people still see China's epidemic response more favorably than that of the US, and trust the Chinese government much more than the US government. This speaks volumes. Besides, according to a recent survey by the European Council on Foreign Relations, the trust in the US among people in many European countries is fading, with only one in five saying the US is dealing properly with international affairs. Even in traditional allies of the US like the UK, France, Germany, Japan and the ROK, approval ratings for the US all reduced to historical lows.
Perhaps you still remember the online survey on China-US relations by Global Times in July among 140,000 Chinese netizens. The results show 96 percent believing the US deliberately tries to sow discord between the Chinese people and the CPC and disrupt China's solidarity and stability. Over 97 percent support China in taking countermeasures to fight back the US provocation. It shows that the Chinese people sees clearly the malicious provocations of a handful of US politicians. They should reflect upon and correct their misguided China policy and measures.
China's effective efforts in fighting the epidemic cannot be denied. As you may have noticed, during the past National Day and Mid-Autumn Festival holiday, nearly 700 million Chinese people traveled to visit family or friends or for sight-seeing. The fact that they are enjoying a safe and happy life is indisputable proof that China has successfully brought the epidemic under control. I noted that many foreign media have covered this, seeing it as a sign of the public's confidence in effective control of the epidemic. We hope more and more foreign media will cover China objectively and play a positive and constructive role to help China and other countries form a correct perception of each other and step up cooperation.
APP: Last week, Pakistan's Permanent Representative at United Nations speaking on behalf of 55 countries said that Hong Kong affairs are China's internal affairs. What's your response?
Hua Chunying: During the General Debate of the Third Committee of the 75th UN General Assembly held from October 5 to 8, more than 70 countries have voiced their support on China's relevant positions. By far, 57 countries have co-signed a joint statement on Hong Kong-related issues and 48 countries have made a similar joint statement on Xinjiang. Pakistan and Cuba have spoken on behalf of these countries in support of China's formulation and implementation of the law on safeguarding national security in the HKSAR, believing that it will ensure the steady and successful implementation of "one country, two systems", maintain the HKSAR's prosperity and stability, and ensure a safe environment for Hong Kong residents' exercise of legitimate rights and freedom. These countries commended China's measures taken in accordance with law in Xinjiang to combat terrorism and radicalization and protect the human rights for all ethnic groups. They expressed their firm opposition to politicization of human rights issues, application of double standards, groundless accusations against China, and unjustified interference in China's internal affairs.
We want to express our appreciation to Pakistan and all these countries for speaking out for justice. Their support once again proved that justice will always prevail and a small number of western countries who attempted to smear China under the pretext of Hong Kong and Xinjiang issues failed again. The debate and argument between vast developing countries including China and a small number of western countries including the US is about principle and about matters of right and wrong. This is upholding justice versus spreading viciousness, safeguarding national sovereignty versus interfering in others' internal affairs, maintaining solidarity versus creating rivalry. It shall not be mistaken that China firmly opposes any individual, any country and any force in creating instability, division and chaos in China and in interfering in China's internal affairs under the pretext of human rights.
Speaking of Xinjiang, we just got back from the National Day and the Mid-Autumn Festival holidays, and many tourists nationwide chose to spend their holidays among ethnic groups in Xinjiang. Data show that Xinjiang is one of the top destinations for domestic tourists during the holidays. It received more than 15.35 million tourists, marking a 10% year-on-year increase. On travel-related expenses, the year-on-year growth rate of the amount of money spent in Xinjiang ranked top three nationwide. Videos have been circulating online that the National Day was celebrated by all ethnic groups in Xinjiang with great festivities. They have organized flash mobs to express their satisfaction with their harmonious, happy and fulfilled life. Their smiling faces are the best indicators of the human rights situation in Xinjiang.
CRI: According to German media, China "pressured" some countries to put their signatures on the joint statements supporting China and "forced" relevant countries to stay out of joint statements criticizing China. What is your comment?
Hua Chunying: Such report is totally nonsense. It tried to blame China when China is the victim, because it is the US, the UK and Germany that have abused the UN platform to politicize the human rights issue. They are the first to provoke confrontation and use all sorts of despicable means to pressure developing countries, like threatening to cut funding and sanction relevant officials. Such behaviors will surely be met with absolute opposition and refusal from vast developing countries.
Justice will prevail. Like I just said to the APP journalist, more than 70 countries spoke out in support of China's just positions on Hong Kong and Xinjiang during the General Debate of the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly. They made clear their opposition to politicization of human rights issues, application of double standards, groundless accusations against China, and unjustified interference in China's internal affairs. Who is right and who is wrong could not be clearer. China highly appreciates these countries for standing for justice.
I'd like to take this opportunity to warn these trouble-making countries again that Hong Kong and Xinjiang issues are totally China's internal affairs. No country or force has the right to interfere in China's internal affairs, and no anti-China moves will ever succeed.
Xinhua News Agency: Recently, the US has publicly accused China of "environment abuses" on many occasions. What is the foreign ministry's response?
Hua Chunying: Besides the pandemic, Xinjiang and Hong Kong, the US has lately started groundlessly criticizing China on environmental issues. I wonder where it got the confidence to feel it's in a position to launch such intensive and malicious attacks against China?
The Chinese government attaches great importance to ecological and environmental protection. It has made resource conservation and environmental protection a basic state policy and sustainable development a national strategy. It has earnestly fulfilled its obligations under international environmental treaties on climate change, biodiversity governance, ozone layer protection and chemical pollution prevention and control with remarkable results.
China is committed to emissions reduction. By the end of 2019, China's carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP had dropped 48.1 percent from the 2005 level, and the share of non-fossil fuels had reached 15.3 percent. China has already met and exceeded its 2020 climate action target ahead of schedule. Investment in renewable energy has exceeded $100 billion for five consecutive years, and the number of new energy vehicles accounts for more than half of the world's total. China has announced that it will increase its intended nationally determined contribution (INDC), aim to have its CO2 emissions peak by 2030, and strive to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060.
China has made important contributions to the development of global forest resources, sustainable forest products and trade. From 2009 to 2019, China completed afforestation of 70.39 million hectares, the world's largest increase in forest resources in the same period. Since 2000, China has been contributing a quarter of all new green area of the world. Since the end of last century, China's desertification has shifted from an average annual expansion of 10,400 square kilometers to an average annual reduction of 2,424 square kilometers, turning the dream of "man beating back deserts" into a reality. During the holiday, many people went to Saihanba, a beautiful place that once was a barren desert. China's Kubuqi Desert was once called the "forbidden zone of life" and the "sea of death". After 30 years of unremitting efforts, it became the site of a world miracle of "desert turned into oasis", achieving the goal of zero land degradation by 2030 set by the United Nations ahead of schedule.
China is stepping up efforts to combat air pollution and improve air quality. The Ambient Air Quality Standard has been implemented in 74 cities in China. The blue sky is a clear indicator for all to see. Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences and the National Institute of Environmental Research of the ROK have established a joint research working group on air quality to carry out analytical research in related fields.
China strictly manages solid and marine wastes. By the end of 2020, China will basically achieve the goal of zero import of solid waste. Nearly 99 percent of China's urban household waste goes through innocuous disposal. Our coastal cities all have garbage classification and marine sanitation mechanisms. China's marine debris is of a lower middle level in the world, which is in a controllable state.
China implements the world's most rigorous Vessel Monitoring System (VMS), and fights illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing with the international community.
China participates deeply in international exchange and cooperation in environmental-protection. It was among the first to sign and ratify the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). We initiated the Belt and Road Initiative International Green Development Coalition and published the Green Investment Principles. We have conducted exchange and cooperation with more than 100 countries and carried out a large number of bio-diversity projects jointly, playing a constructive role in advancing global biodiversity governance.
The Chinese people and the international community bears witness to the progress China has made in ecological protection. I believe as resident journalists in Beijing, you've all had a first-hand experience of it.
How does the US, who keeps blaming China, do on this regard? Its per capita emissions are three times that of the global average, more than twice, once almost five times that of China's, with accumulated emissions about three times that of China's. According to a report released in January by the Rhodium Group, the 2019 US net greenhouse emissions remained slightly higher than the 2016 level, putting the US at risk of missing the 17 percent reduction target it agreed to reach by 2020 under the 2009 Copenhagen Accord.
Before pointing the finger at China, the US should answer these questions first. When will it pledge carbon neutrality? Why did it refuse to ratify the Kyoto Protocol? Why did it withdraw from the Paris Agreement? Shouldn't it explain itself to the people in developing countries, especially small island countries, that are severely affected by climate change? When will it pay the huge amounts of contributions it owes to the Global Environment Fund, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, and the UNFCCC? What does it say about its export of large amounts of garbage to developing countries every year?
The fact is, the US itself is the biggest perpetrator damaging international environmental cooperation, and the US itself poses the biggest threat to the global environment. It is sorely out of political motives that it has been smearing and attacking China in this area. What it should do now is stop the malicious slanders against China, reflect upon its own behavior, assume its responsibility to the environment and make tangible contributions to the protection of global environment instead of stirring up troubles.
Kyodo News: My question is still about COVAX. It is understood that the deadline for participation set by the relevant organization has long passed. The first deadline was the end of August, and they extended it to September 18. Why does it take so long for China to make a decision? Can you give some background on the relevant considerations?
Hua Chunying: As I said, China has long made a solemn commitment that the vaccines, once developed and put into use, will be made a global public good and provided to developing countries on a priority basis. This goal is consistent with COVAX. China has been in close communication with COVAX and has a positive attitude towards joining it.
But joining COVAX also comes with certain conditions, such as the requirement to enroll 10 percent of a country's population in the program. It must be taken into account that, considering the current situation of the pandemic, the first batch of vaccines will be in short supply after hitting the market. You know China has a population of nearly 1.4 billion, and if China participates at the 10% scale, it will certainly lead to a serious reduction in the number of vaccines available to other countries. Therefore, we have been in close communication with the WHO, the Gavi and other sponsors on specific cooperation models. The two sides need some time to reach consensus after going through these details. This morning, China signed an agreement with the Gavi to formally join the COVAX. The purpose is to take concrete actions to promote fair distribution of vaccines around the world, ensure the supply of vaccines to developing countries, and bring more capable countries to join and support COVAX.
Reuters: Bloomberg News reported that the US is considering restrictions on China's Ant Group as well as Tencent Holdings over concerns that digital payment platforms threaten national security. Do you have any comment on this?
Hua Chunying: I have noticed relevant reports. Some people in the US have overstretched the concept of national security and abused the state power to unjustifiably suppress and coerce Chinese companies such as Huawei and TikTok. However, there has been no real evidence from the very beginning. As you may recall, it is the US side that once hyped up the so-called "forced technology transfer" issue in China, but now it is also the senior US officials that have publicly threatened many times that TikTok's source code must remain in the US and that if the US conditions are not met, the US will restrict or close down the relevant company. What the US has done is typical "coerced transaction by government", which is nothing less than "modern day piracy".
In fact, it is not rare for the US to use its state apparatus to impose sanctions and threats against foreign companies and personnel, whether against China or its own allies. Everyone still remembers the Toshiba incident in Japan in 1987, the Alstom incident in France in 2014, and now Huawei and TikTok in China. As you mentioned, now they are targeting Ant Group and Tencent.
Without any real evidence, the US unjustifiably suppressed and coerced non-US companies that are taking the lead in certain fields. This fully exposed the real intention of extortion by a few US politicians and the ugly face of economic bullying. This is undisguised bullying and hegemonism, which constitutes a gross violation of the market economy laws and international economic and trade rules, a major threat to the security of the global industrial and supply chains, and a serious distortion of the global market.
We are firmly opposed to the bullying behaviors by the US that overstretches the concept of national security, abuses state power and unjustifiably suppresses foreign companies. 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 to invest and operate in the US. China will continue to take necessary measures to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese enterprises.
Shenzhen TV: It is reported that State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi's visit to Japan and the ROK will be postponed from October to November. Can you confirm that and give us more details?
Hua Chunying: Japan and the ROK are close neighbors of China. China and the two countries have maintained close exchanges at various levels, supported and helped each other in the fight against the epidemic, and our relations have shown a positive momentum of development. State Councilor Wang Yi hopes and is willing to visit Japan and the ROK at an appropriate time upon invitation. As for the specific time, China has been in consultation with Japan and the ROK, but no decision has been made. China hopes the visits will take place at an early date.
PTI: This is to seek clarification of COVAX and what you answered earlier. Can we understand that China, besides supplying vaccines to its own people, will provide its vaccines to the COVAX alliance? And besides that, will you be distributing your vaccines yourself abroad?
Hua Chunying: China has solemnly pledged that COVID-19 vaccine development and deployment in China, when available, will be made a global public good and provided to developing countries. And now after officially joining COVAX, of course we will fulfill our commitment. Like I said earlier, the Chinese government supports Chinese vaccine R&D companies in participating in COVAX and providing vaccines for developing countries through this channel, and we have been assisting their effort. Experts of the two sides are in close communication regarding the vaccine R&D, certification, regulation and other technical standards. China will closely cooperate with the WHO and COVAX and contribute to people's safety and health all around the world.
China News Service: US President Trump said in an interview on October 8 that "China was doing lousy compared to us", that "China put the curse on", and that the pandemic is "a horrible scourge". What's your comment?
Hua Chunying: I believe people all see clearly how China and the US dealt with the pandemic respectively. During the recent vacation of the National Day and Mid-Autumn Festival, Chinese people made almost 700 million domestic trips to visit families and friends and enjoy a safe and happy life. According to Alipay data, during this vacation, the volume of transaction by Alipay in China's department stores increased by nearly 250 percent compared with that of last month. According to China UnionPay, from October 1 to 7, the volume of transaction by China UnionPay reached 2.16 trillion yuan. These indisputable facts prove that China has successfully put the virus under control. I noticed many foreign media reports on this, saying such short-term mass transit is unimaginable in many other places in the world, which shows the Chinese people's confidence in having contained the pandemic.
There's no magic in China's anti-epidemic response. We have the spirit of combating the COVID-19 epidemic, which features putting people's lives first, nationwide solidarity, heroic self-sacrifice, respecting science, and a sense of mission for humanity. The Chinese people believe that "one should constantly reflect upon oneself based on what one learns". We can identify our problems and find ways to make improvement. With the pandemic spreading in the world, there's still risks of occurrence of sporadic and cluster cases. Our governments at all levels are making epidemic prevention and control a routine so that the hard-won results will not be squandered. In the meantime, we will continue advancing international cooperation, supporting the WHO's leading role in global response, sharing our experience with other countries, supporting and helping countries and regions with weak response capabilities, playing our role as the world's biggest provider of anti-epidemic medical supplies, and fostering a global community of health for all.
As I said, China has officially joined COVAX. We will continue to work together with COVAX partners and contribute our share to the global fight against the pandemic to safeguard all human beings' safety and health.
Reuters: The UK parliament's defense committee said that it has found clear evidence that Huawei had "colluded" with the Chinese state and said that the UK may need to remove all Huawei equipment earlier than planned. Do you have any comment on that?
Hua Chunying: Both the UK and the US have said similar things. I want these people to think before they start saying that, just how much work are US and UK government officials doing to get their companies into the Chinese market? Can this prove that their businesses are "colluding" with their governments? It is hoped that they will be able to view the relationship between government and business more equitably and objectively, by reflecting on what they've done and how they want to be perceived. The government of any country has the obligation and responsibility to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of its own enterprises, right?
China has no laws that require companies to install "back doors" or collect foreign intelligence. In the absence of any solid evidence, some people in the UK have repeatedly cooperated with the US in discriminating against and cracking down on Chinese companies under the pretext of unwarranted risks. They have blatantly violated market economy principles and free trade rules, seriously damaged the legitimate interests of Chinese companies, and constantly undermined the foundation of mutual trust between China and the UK. Against this background, the openness and fairness of the UK market and the security of foreign investment in the UK are of great concern.
Kyodo News: On the COVAX issue again, what consensus have the two sides reached? How will the two sides solve the problem of China's large population base?
Hua Chunying: China has been in communication with the WHO, the Gavi and other initiators of COVAX on specific cooperation models. China will purchase vaccines based on 1% of the total population, that is, 15 million people, through COVAX. This is a consensus reached after full communication between China and COVAX. It can be said that this is the most beneficial outcome for all parties.
It should be noted that although China's procurement comes at a scale of about 1% of the total population, the number behind that 1% in absolute term is still very high among COVAX participants, reflecting China's support for COVAX. At the same time, we must take into account that the first batch of vaccines will naturally be in short supply. If the Chinese side takes up too many vaccines because of its large population in absolute term, it will inevitably lead to fewer vaccines available to other countries. Therefore, 15 million is an appropriate and reasonable figure, which not only reflects China's active participation in international cooperation against COVID-19, but also takes into account the actual interests of other countries.