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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on June 22, 2022

2022-06-22 19:42

CCTV: An article on UK newspaper The Mail on Sunday cited a source saying that Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO), had recently confided to a senior European politician that the most likely explanation for the origin of COVID-19 was an accident at a laboratory in Wuhan. What’s China’s comment?

Wang Wenbin: China has received clarification from the WHO Secretariat regarding the report. The Secretariat made it clear to us that Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus did not make those remarks either publicly or privately. The report you mentioned is entirely false and the Director-General completely refutes the story in the article.

China has stated its position on the “lab leak” hypothesis on multiple occasions. The so-called “lab leak” is a lie created by forces against China. It is politically motivated and has no scientific basis. WHO international experts have visited the lab in Wuhan at China’s invitation. The report of the joint WHO-China study concluded that “lab leak” is “extremely unlikely”. It is quite irresponsible and ill-motivated for certain media outlets to rehash the “lab leak” rumor by citing anonymous sources that do not exist. It only adds to the evidence that the “lab leak” assertion is part of the political manipulation of certain parties to smear China, obstruct science-based origins-tracing and undermine international cooperation against COVID.

More and more clues from the international science community are pointing the origins of the coronavirus to sources around the world. Yet the US government still has not given a convincing answer on major questions such as when COVID-19 first broke out in the US, nor has the US responded to the world’s legitimate concerns over the highly suspicious activities in  the labs of Fort Detrick and the University of North Carolina. If there has to be a study into the role of labs, then highly suspicious ones at Fort Detrick and the University of North Carolina must be examined first. If certain parties truly care about the progress of origins-tracing, they should ask why the US still has not responded directly to the doubts from the international community, and they should call on the US to open up those labs for international investigation. That would be a concrete way to support origins-tracing.

AFP: I’ve got two questions. US President Joe Biden has said that he plans to have a call with Chinese President Xi Jinping and discuss moves to lift US tariffs on Chinese exports. Has the date and time been fixed? The next one is, is China planning to send any humanitarian aid to Afghanistan after a deadly earthquake that has killed at least 200 people?

Wang Wenbin: On your first question, I have no information to offer. It needs to be stressed that it’s important to maintain head-of-state exchanges between China and the US. Any specifics would need to be discussed and determined by both sides through diplomatic channels, and enabling conditions and atmosphere would also need to be created for such interactions.

On your second question, we mourn the victims of the earthquake in Afghanistan and extend condolences to the bereaved families and the injured. According to information gathered by our embassy in Afghanistan so far, no Chinese casualties have been reported.

Afghanistan is a friendly neighbor of China. We stand ready to provide emergency humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan in light of its needs. 

CCTV: It is reported that since July 2021, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has received over 46,000 applications from Afghan refugees hoping to go to the US through the humanitarian parole process. However, as of June 2, only 297 requests, or less than 1% applications, from Afghans had been approved. Do you have any comment?

Wang Wenbin: I have noted the reports. During the 20 years of US invasion in Afghanistan, over 30,000 Afghan civilians were killed and 11 million Afghans became refugees. As the one who created the Afghan issue in the first place, the US should have assumed due responsibility for Afghanistan’s restoration of stability and post-war reconstruction. However, the US has no courage to punish war criminals, no sincerity to help the Afghan people, and no sense of responsibility to own up to its action and make amends to the Afghan people. Even worse, the US seized billions of dollars of Afghan people’s life-saving money and turned away large numbers of Afghan refugees. This is not how a responsible major country behaves. This is might makes right. 

The plight of the Afghan people is just one example of all those around the world suffering from the US’s ruthless willfulness. US aggression and interference and the conflict and turbulence it has generated are taking a huge toll on small and weak countries. And yet the US continues to wave the flag of democracy and human rights, and assert the status of a “rules-based international order”. The US says little, however, about how many innocent lives have been lost and how many families torn apart as a steep price for this order championed by the US. 

Bloomberg: Just over one in ten Australians have faith in the Chinese government to act responsibly in international affairs, according to a Lowy Institute survey today, down from 4 years ago when 52% of Australians had a positive view of China. How does China respond to this? And does China think that Chinese action such as tariffing Australian goods is responsible for this decline?

Wang Wenbin: We generally don’t comment on specific poll findings.

What I would like to tell you is that the measures China has taken on imported foreign goods are strictly consistent with Chinese laws and regulations and WTO rules with a view to protecting the legitimate rights and interests of relevant industries in China and the safety of our consumers. The measures are legitimate, lawful and beyond reproach.

Our position on China-Australia relations is consistent and clear. We hope the Australian side will handle bilateral relations in the spirit of mutual respect and mutual benefit and work with China to promote the sound and steady development of China-Australia comprehensive strategic partnership.

Bloomberg: I have two more questions. The first one is China's mainland made its third largest incursion into Taiwan’s ADIZ on Tuesday, sending 29 aircraft near the island. What prompted this? And is Beijing aware that Taiwanese officials are in Washington this week to discuss a potential arms deal?

Wang Wenbin: Your first question does not concern China’s foreign relations. I would like to refer you to the competent authorities. 

On your second question, we always firmly oppose official interactions and military ties between the US and Taiwan and US arms sales to Taiwan. We urge the US side to abide by the one-China principle and the norms established in the three China-US joint communiqués, stop all forms of official interactions and military ties with Taiwan, stop arms sales to Taiwan, and stop emboldening “Taiwan independence” separatist forces. We would also like to make it clear to the DPP authorities that soliciting foreign support to seek “Taiwan independence” will get them nowhere. Anyone who throw themselves on the mercy of others will only end up being tossed aside like used chess pieces. 

Bloomberg: You said you urge Australia to use mutual respect in relations. Is it your position that Australia is responsible for making the first move to improve relations? What specific steps do you want to see from the new Australian government?

Wang Wenbin: I stated China’s position on China-Australia relations earlier. We hope the Australian side will handle bilateral relations in the spirit of mutual respect and mutual benefit and work with China to promote the sound and steady development of China-Australia comprehensive strategic partnership.

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