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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on January 9, 2023

2023-01-09 18:25

To deepen the China-Africa comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership and boost friendly cooperation between China and Africa, Foreign Minister Qin Gang will visit Ethiopia, Gabon, Angola, Benin, Egypt, the African Union Headquarters and the League of Arab States Headquarters upon invitation from January 9 to 16, 2023. This is the 33rd consecutive year that Africa has been the destination of Chinese foreign ministers’ annual first overseas visit. 

AFP: A high-level delegation of German lawmakers arrived in Taipei today for a visit to the island. Will China take countermeasures against them? 

Wang Wenbin: The Taiwan question is at the very core of China’s core interests. The one-China principle is the political foundation of the development of bilateral relations between China and countries having diplomatic relations with it, including Germany. There is only one China in the world and Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory. The Government of the People’s Republic of China is the sole legal government representing the whole of China. We urge the German politicians to earnestly abide by the one-China principle and immediately stop colluding and interacting with or sending wrong signals to “Taiwan independence” separatist forces. We will take necessary measures to resolutely defend China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

We need to point out that the root cause of the Taiwan question is that the law of the jungle, hegemonism, colonialism and militarism were wreaking havoc across the world back then, which inflicted deep suffering on China. Germany has learned a hard and poignant lesson in this regard. Over the past one century and a half or so since then, the Chinese people have been committed to fighting imperialism, hegemonism and colonialism and upholding our sovereignty, territorial integrity and national dignity. We will never allow any forces to turn the Asia-Pacific into an arena of geopolitical games once again to maintain their dominance.

Xinhua News Agency: Could you share more with us on the itinerary of Foreign Minister Qin Gang’s upcoming trip to the five countries on the African continent as well as the African Union and the Arab League? What expectations does China have for this trip?

Wang Wenbin: This visit to Africa is Foreign Minister Qin Gang’s first visit as the Chinese foreign minister. It has been a 33-year fine tradition that our foreign ministers make their first overseas trips to Africa at the beginning of a new year. This shows how much China values its traditional friendship with Africa and the growth of China-Africa relations. The China-Africa relations have been strong, and the two sides have ushered in a new era of building a high-level China-Africa community with a shared future. During the trip, Foreign Minister Qin Gang will have meetings and talks with the leaders and foreign ministers of the five African countries and the African Union Commission (AUC) Chairperson respectively, and they will have exchanges on bilateral relations and international and regional issues of mutual interest. China will follow the principles of sincerity, real results, affinity and good faith and a commitment to the greater good and shared interests, carry forward the spirit of China-Africa friendship and cooperation, work with Africa to better implement the outcomes of the eighth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation and further boost the growth of the China-Africa comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership.

During his trip to Egypt, Foreign Minister Qin Gang will meet with Secretary-General of the League of Arab States. Not long ago, President Xi Jinping attended the first China-Arab States Summit, which is the largest and highest-level diplomatic event between China and the Arab world since the founding of the People’s Republic of China, leading the China-Arab relations into a new era of deepening and comprehensive development. China stands ready to work with the Arab world to build a China-Arab community with a shared future in the new era, uphold the common interest of developing countries and safeguard world and regional peace and stability.

AFP: The Chinese military conducted fresh drills around Taiwan yesterday. Is this aimed at sending some signals to the US?

Wang Wenbin: The spokesperson for the PLA Eastern Theater Command has made a statement on this. The drills are aimed at testing the joint combat capability of the troops and resolutely countering the provocative acts of external forces and “Taiwan independence” separatist forces in collusion.

The Paper: It is reported that Paraguay would cut so-called “diplomatic ties” with Taiwan and establish relations with China if the opposition wins the election in April, said its presidential candidate Efrain Alegre recently. What is China’s comment?

Wang Wenbin: Standing up for the one-China principle is the right thing to do. It has the overwhelming support of the international community and represents the trend of the world. We believe relevant countries will eventually recognize this trend and make the right decision that is consistent with where the trend is leading.

CCTV: The COVID Omicron XBB.1.5 variant is rapidly becoming dominant in the US, replacing the BQ.1.1 variant. Has the US shared relevant information and data with China?

Wang Wenbin: The open-access data of GISAID has shown that over the past three years since COVID began, almost all COVID variants and their sub-variants have spread widely in the US, making it one of the countries with more COVID variants than others. Currently, this new Omicron sub-variant, known as XBB.1.5, spreads the fastest in the US and now accounts for more than 40% of new COVID infections in the US. The US needs to share its domestic COVID information and data with the WHO and the international community in a timely, open and transparent manner, and take concrete and effective measures to stop the virus from further spreading.

PTI: About the variants in the US. Are you going to take any countermeasures now that you have opened up the borders and also opened to travelers from the US? So are you going to take any steps in this regard to test or probably to ban travelers from the US?

Wang Wenbin: Since China announced the decision to manage COVID-19 with measures against Class-B infectious diseases and adopted provisional measures on cross-border travel, many countries have expressed their welcome, but a few countries have also announced entry restriction measures targeting travelers from China. China has been in communication with relevant countries with the utmost sincerity in this regard based on facts, and has elaborated on China’s science-based and reasonable COVID measures refinement and China’s current COVID situation. Regrettably, a handful of countries, in disregard of science and facts, have insisted on taking discriminatory entry restriction measures targeting China. China firmly rejects this and will take reciprocal measures.

We once again call on all parties to make sure that their COVID response measures are fact-based, science-based and proportionate and avoid politicizing COVID. China stands ready to maintain close communication with all parties, adapt COVID measures to the changing epidemic situation, make joint efforts to facilitate cross-border people-to-people exchanges, and contribute to global solidarity against COVID and to world economic recovery.

CCTV: It is reported that on January 8, violence erupted at the presidential palace, Congress and the Supreme Court in Brazil. The newly-inaugurated president of Brazil Lula da Silva said rioters will be punished with the full force of the law. French President Emmanuel Macron, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, President Charles Michel of the European Council and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken have condemned the protesters’ violence. What is China’s comment?

Wang Wenbin: China is closely following the situation and firmly against the violent storming of the federal authorities in Brazil on January 8. Brazil is China’s comprehensive strategic partner. China supports the measures taken by the Brazilian government to calm down the situation, restore order and keep the country stable. We believe that under the leadership of President Lula da Silva, Brazil will continue to enjoy stability and social harmony. 

Global Times: We’ve noticed that the foreign ministries of Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg have advised their citizens against non-essential travel to China citing the recent surge of infection. What’s your comment?

Wang Wenbin: In the fight against COVID, China has always put the people and their lives above all else. We have the lowest rates of severe cases and mortality in the world. With Omicron much less pathogenic and deadly and China’s treatment, antigen testing and vaccination capacity steadily on the rise, China refined its COVID response measures on its own initiative in response to the evolving situation. We prepared ourselves for what might come. Currently, relevant Chinese authorities are sparing no effort to prevent severe cases and care for people’s health by improving allocation of medical resources, increasing production capacity and supply of drugs, and boosting vaccination. In particular, we are stepping up protection for the elderly, pregnant and lying-in women, children and other key groups, and making every effort to reduce severe cases and deaths. China’s COVID situation is overall improving. Some provinces and cities have gone through the infection peak, where life and work are coming back to normal at a faster pace.

China has all along shared information on its monitoring of the mutation of the virus and infected groups with the international community in a timely, open and transparent manner. We have carried out over 60 technical exchanges with the WHO over the past three years, including four in the last month alone. Besides, we continue to share the genome data of the virus from the latest COVID cases in China via the Global Initiative on Sharing Avian Influenza Data (GISAID).

It is hoped that all sides will follow the science, jointly ensure safe and unhindered cross-border travel, and contribute strength to international solidarity against COVID and world economic recovery.

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