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State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi Meets the Press

2020/05/24

On 24 May 2020, a press conference was held via video link on the margins of the Third Session of the 13th National People's Congress, during which State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi answered questions from Chinese and foreign media about China's foreign policy and external relations. Here are some highlights relating to COVID-19:

Answering a question from People's Daily, Wang said that the most important thing to be learned from COVID-19 is that the life and health of people in different countries have never been so closely connected. Also, it has never been made so clear to us that all nations live in the same global village and that humanity is in fact a community with a shared future.

Wang said, "The virus respects no borders or races. It poses a challenge to all humans without distinction. Political manipulation will give the virus loopholes to exploit; a beggar-thy-neighbor approach will leave each of us more vulnerable; rejection of science will allow the virus to wreak greater havoc. With this in mind, President Xi Jinping has made the case to the world time and again that the virus is the common enemy of mankind, and that the only way to defeat it is to pull together with solidarity and cooperation, which are the most effective weapons against the virus.

"Having claimed so many precious lives, COVID-19 serves as a stark reminder that countries must rise above differences in geography, race, history, culture and social system. We must work together for a community with a shared future and jointly preserve Planet Earth, the only home we have. One important goal in this regard is to speed up efforts to build a global community of health for all. As a responsible country, China will contribute its share to the realization of this goal."

Asked by Phoenix Television whether China would agree to an independent international investigation into the source of the virus, Wang said that regarding the source of the virus, the difference between China and some US politicians is as wide as that between facts and lies, between science and prejudice.

Wang noted that "source tracing is a serious and complex issue of science. It should be studied by scientists and medical experts. However, some American politicians have rushed to attach a geographical label to the virus, politicize its source and stigmatize China. They have both overestimated their own ability to spread disinformation and underestimated others' ability to tell right from wrong. History should be written with facts, not tainted by lies. The global narrative about COVID-19 should reflect reason and conscience. Humanity has an obligation to leave behind an objective and truthful account as part of its collective memory.

"China is open to joint efforts by the international science community to identify the source of the virus. Importantly, it must be a professional, impartial and constructive process." He then went on to explain:

"'Professional' means being based on science and led by WHO, and letting scientists and medical experts conduct field missions and research worldwide. The goal is to help us better understand this kind of virus and deal more effectively with major infectious diseases in the future.

"'Impartial' means being free from political interference, respecting the sovereign equality of nations and avoiding a presumption of guilt. All countries closely related to the virus should be covered by the field missions. The whole process should be open, transparent, objective and rational.

"'Constructive' means not hampering the work of saving lives, which clearly must be our top priority at the moment, not jeopardizing international cooperation against COVID-19, and not undermining the statutory role of WHO. Instead, we should bolster the ability of the UN system to perform its mandate, strengthen international solidarity and cooperation, and improve the system and capacity for global governance in the area of public health."

(The full transcript of the press conference is available at: https://www.mfa.gov.cn/web/wjbzhd/t1782257.shtml.)

(The full text of its English translation is available at: https://www.fmprc.gov.cn/mfa_eng/zxxx_662805/t1782262.shtml.)

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