State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi Meets the Press
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.
The virus cannot defeat humanity; we will eventually prevail. The darkest hour will pass. Looking ahead, we can see light and hope.
The most important thing we could learn 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.
The virus respects no borders or races. It poses a challenge to all human beings 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.
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.
It is most regrettable that while the coronavirus is still out there, a “political virus” is also spreading in the US and jumping at any opportunity to attack and slander China.
Some politicians ignore the basic facts and make up countless lies and conspiracy theories concerning China. The longer the list, the more it says about how low the rumor-mongers are willing to go and the more stains they will leave in history.
Both China and the US stand to gain from cooperation and lose from confrontation: this best captures what we have learned, positive and otherwise, from the past decades. Both sides should take this lesson to heart.
China and the US have different social systems, but this is the result of the different choices made by our people, which we must respect. It’s also true that we have many disagreements, but that doesn’t preclude cooperation.
China has no intention to change, still less replace, the US. It’s time for the US to give up it’s wishful thinking of changing China or stopping the 1.4 billion Chinese people’s historical march toward modernization.
Some political forces in the US are taking China-US relations hostage and pushing our two countries to the brink of a “new Cold War”. This is a dangerous attempt to turn back the wheel of history.
China will defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity, its legitimate right to development, and its dignity and place in the world which the Chinese people have worked so hard to earn.
China and the US should and must find a way of peaceful co-existence and mutually beneficial cooperation, demonstrating that this is possible between two countries with different systems and cultures.
The world will certainly not be the same again; history always moves forward. Throughout world history, humanity has progressed by wrestling with one disaster after another.
Economic globalization is like a vast ocean, to which every river flows. It’s simply not possible to channel the water in the ocean back into disconnected lakes. Likewise, attempts to reject globalization and fall back on protectionism will have no future.
The solution to the problems occurring in globalization lies in its further advancement.
COVID-19 drives home once again that no country, no matter how strong it is, can insulate itself from a global challenge. When a disaster wreaks havoc, watching from an apparently safe distance and sitting idle will eventually backfire. Pointing fingers at others will only end up damaging one’s own reputation. Self-conceit and blame-shifting will not help one solve its own problems. Worse still, it will hurt other countries’ legitimate rights and interests.
The world will never be the same again, and China will never stop moving forward. After COVID-19, our economy will emerge stronger and more resilient, our people more united and confident in socialism with Chinese characteristics, and our nation more unstoppable in its march toward great rejuvenation.
Under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin, the indomitable Russian people will defeat the virus and the great Russian nation will emerge from the challenge with renewed vigor and vitality.
The two countries have supported and defended each other against slanders and attacks coming from certain countries. Together, China and Russia have forged an impregnable fortress against the “political virus” and demonstrated the strength of China-Russia strategic coordination.
The two countries’ joint response to the virus will give a strong boost to China-Russia relations after COVID-19.
With China and Russia standing shoulder-to-shoulder and working back-to-back, the world will be a safer and more stable place where justice and fairness are truly upheld.
We Chinese are a grateful nation. We are always ready to reciprocate acts of friendship and kindness from others. Moreover, China is always willing and ready to help others. When our friends are in distress, we never sit by and do nothing.
We are aware that some political forces are mischaracterizing our intention. But we have done everything in the open and we have a clear conscience.
Nothing we do to help other countries’ COVID-19 response is out of geopolitical calculation, or in pursuit of economic gains, or with any political strings attached.
In providing assistance, we have but one goal, that is to save as many lives as possible. We have but one belief, that is one country’s success does not mean the end of the global pandemic. It is only when the virus is defeated in all countries can we claim a true victory.
China is not a savior. But we try to be a friend in need, a sincere partner to be counted on in times of difficulty.
Hong Kong affairs are China’s internal affairs and allow no external interference. Non-interference, as a basic norm of international relations, must be observed by all countries.
The central government is responsible for upholding national security. This is the same in any country. The central government holds the primary and ultimate responsibility for national security in all sub-national administrative regions. This is the basic theory and principle underpinning national sovereignty and a common practice in countries around the globe.
Excessive unlawful foreign meddling in Hong Kong affairs has placed China’s national security in serious jeopardy. Under such circumstances, establishing a legal system and enforcement mechanisms for safeguarding national security in the Hong Kong SAR has become a pressing priority. We must get it done without the slightest delay.
The NPC decision is targeted at a narrow category of acts that seriously jeopardize national security. It does not affect the high degree of autonomy in Hong Kong. It does not affect the rights and freedoms enjoyed by Hong Kong residents. And it does not affect the legitimate rights and interests of foreign investors in Hong Kong. We have every reason to be more confident in Hong Kong’s future. There is no need for concern. The adoption of the decision will start a legislative procedure. This will improve Hong Kong’s legal system, and bring more stability, stronger rule of law, and a better business environment to Hong Kong. They will protect the basic principle of “one country, two systems”, as well as Hong Kong’s position as a global financial, trading and shipping center.
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.
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.
The process of identifying the source of the virus must be free from political interference, respect the sovereign equality of nations, and avoid a presumption of guilt. All countries closely related to the virus should be covered by field missions. The whole process should be open, transparent, objective and rational.
China and the EU are not each other’s systemic rivals. They are comprehensive strategic partners.
China-EU interaction should be a positive cycle that enables our mutual success, not a knock-out match which results in only one winner.
COVID-19 is an unprecedented crisis. It requires China and the EU to rise above ideological differences, dispel self-fulfilling suspicions and send a common message of solidarity and cooperation.
The attempt to file frivolous lawsuits is a shoddy one, as it has zero basis in fact, law or international precedence.
China’s record of COVID-19 response is there for the world to see, with a clear timeline and solid data that will stand the test of time and history.
Some people are clamoring for so-called “accountability and compensation” from a victim of COVID-19 and fabricating so-called “evidence” for frivolous lawsuits. These people are trampling on international rule of law and betraying human conscience. Their action does not square with facts, stand up to reason or have any legal foundation.
Today’s China is not what it used to be a hundred years ago, nor is the world anything like the one from a century ago. If anybody thought they could use some ludicrous lawsuits to undermine China’s sovereignty and dignity or to deprive the Chinese people of their hard-won gains, they’d be daydreaming and bring disgrace to themselves.
The people of China, Japan and the ROK went to each other’s aid and left many touching stories that give true meaning to the verses “Though we live in different lands, the same moon and sky make us one” and “United by the same humanity, we forget our nationality”.
The joint response of China, Japan and the ROK to COVID-19 is providing a source of confidence and setting an example for the world.
China is prepared to work with Japan, the ROK and other countries in the region to completely defeat COVID-19 as soon as possible, restore economic vitality in East Asia, and promote development in our region and the world with Oriental wisdom and strength.
COVID-19 may have pressed the “pause” button on the interactions between countries, but China’s diplomacy has not paused for a moment. Despite COVID-19, China has engaged in what we call “cloud diplomacy” (in the form of phone calls, exchange of correspondence and video conferences).
President Xi Jinping has personally led China’s diplomatic efforts throughout this period. He has engaged with many world leaders and advanced international cooperation as a global statesman.
China’s diplomatic service will adapt to the new normal of COVID-19 response, focus on five priorities and create new highlights.
China and Africa are good brothers who have shared weal and woe together. Our people, having fought shoulder-to-shoulder for national liberation, are partners for common development. A few years back, we were together fighting Ebola. In the battle against COVID-19, China and Africa have again stood by each other.
China will work with other G20 members to implement the debt service suspension initiative to ease Africa’s debt burden. China is also considering further bilateral support for African countries under the greatest strain to help our African brothers and sisters through this difficult time.
We are convinced that with help from China and the rest of the global community, the youthful continent of Africa will achieve greater and faster development after defeating COVID-19.
One has to have a sense of right and wrong. Without it, a person cannot be trusted, and a country cannot hold its own in the family of nations.
We Chinese value peace, harmony, sincerity and integrity. We never pick a fight or bully others, but we have principles and guts. We will push back against any deliberate insult to resolutely defend our national honor and dignity. And we will refute all groundless slander with facts to resolutely uphold fairness, justice and human conscience.
Since we live in the same global village, countries should get along peacefully and treat each other as equals. Decisions on global affairs should be made through consultations, not because one or two countries say so.
No matter what stage of development it reaches, China will never seek hegemony. Those who go out of their way to label China as a hegemon are precisely the ones who refuse to let go of their hegemonic status.
We hope all countries will realize that humanity is a community with a shared future. We must render each other more support and cooperation, and there should be less accusation and confrontation. We call on all nations to come together and build a better world for all.
As for WHO’s international standing and its place in history, I’m sure clear-eyed people the world over will reach a fair conclusion, one that will not be altered just because some country doesn’t like it. Those who throw mud at WHO will only leave a stain on themselves.
What we are seeing is this: those countries that heeded and followed WHO advice are more successful in bringing the virus under control, while those that ignored or rejected its advice are paying a heavy price.
WHO is an international body made up of 194 sovereign states. It does not serve any particular country, and it should not defer to any country that provides more funding than others.
Nothing is more precious than people’s lives; nothing is more important than saving lives. To support WHO is to support saving lives. I believe all countries with decency will choose to do so.
In the face of COVID-19, those attempts to attack or blackmail WHO are lacking in basic humanity and will be rejected by the international community.
The impact of COVID-19 on BRI cooperation is temporary and limited. COVID-19 will only strengthen and re-energize Belt and Road cooperation and open up new possibilities.
Belt and Road cooperation is built on its real benefits to the people in partner countries. It is driven by a strong and shared commitment to common development. The future of the Belt and Road Initiative lies in expanding the cooperation to new areas.
China is as confident and determined as ever to promote Belt and Road cooperation. We will continue to follow the principle of consultation and cooperation for shared benefits, and support open, green and clean development. By aiming for high-standard, people-centered and sustainable progress, we will make the Belt and Road a model of development, cooperation and health for all involved.
From the Asian financial crisis to the global financial crisis, each crisis has led to closer ties and stronger cooperation between China and ASEAN.
We are convinced that with the maturity and confidence this relationship has gained in the past three decades, China and ASEAN will take more solid steps forward in forging a closer community with a shared future.
In the first quarter of this year, our trade in goods grew 6.1 percent, making ASEAN China’s biggest trading partner. This is a vote of confidence in each other’s development prospects even though we are confronted by a common challenge.
What does not kill us makes us stronger, and we are stronger in the broken places.
The people in Taiwan are our fellow compatriots. We have closely followed the COVID-19 developments in Taiwan, and we send our best wishes for the health of our Taiwan compatriots.
It’s the Taiwan authorities who have turned a blind eye to their people’s well-being. Turning its back on the 1992 Consensus that the two sides of the Taiwan Strait belong to one and same China, they have shut the door to cross-Strait consultation on Taiwan’s external activities.
Reunification of the two sides of the Taiwan Strait is the trend of history. No individual or force can stop it from happening.
We urge the US side to fully appreciate the great sensitivity of the Taiwan question. We advise the US side to ditch its illusions and political calculations. We ask the US side not to make any attempt to challenge China’s red line.
There is nothing to support the claim that China is using COVID-19 to expand its presence in the South China Sea.
Ships and planes carrying critical supplies are sailing in and flying over the South China Sea, a body of water that’s witnessing mutual assistance and cooperation between China and ASEAN countries.
A few countries outside the region are flexing their muscles by sending military aircraft and vessels to the South China Sea. Their ill-intentioned and despicable moves are meant to undermine the hard-won stability in the region.
China and ASEAN countries have agreed to conclude the COC at an early date, a goal we are confident and determined to achieve. No external interference can distract or sabotage our efforts.