|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang's Daily Briefing Online on February 17, 2020|
State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will be in Vientiane, the Laos from February 19 to 21 to co-chair the Special ASEAN-China Foreign Ministers' Meeting on Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) with Foreign Secretary Teodoro Lopez Locsin of current ASEAN-China country coordinator the Philippines. Other ASEAN foreign ministers will attend the meeting.
Invited by Foreign Minister Saleumxay Kommasith of the Laos, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will co-chair the fifth Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Foreign Ministers' Meeting and pay a visit to the Laos.
I'd like to share some latest numbers with you. According to this morning's update from the National Health Commission (NHC), February 16 saw 1,425 patients cured and discharged from hospital in China's mainland, bringing the total number of cured cases to 10,844.
New confirmed cases in China excluding Hubei Province stood at 115 on February 16, marking a decline for the 13th consecutive day.
Q: Could you talk about the background and considerations for State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi's attendance at the ASEAN-China Special Foreign Ministers' Meeting on the novel coronavirus?
A: As close neighbors linked by mountains and rivers, China and ASEAN countries share the tradition of supporting each other through thick and thin. Back in 2003, the Special ASEAN-China Leaders Meeting on SARS was held in response to the outbreak. Since the COVID-19 epidemic broke out, China and ASEAN countries have been in close communication and collaboration. That the two sides have decided to hold a special foreign ministers' meeting within such a short period of time demonstrates our will and determination to overcome difficulties with concerted efforts.
State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will talk about China's strong measures on countering the epidemic and exchange in-depth views on collaboration with ASEAN counterparts to advance joint prevention and control, maintain normal economic and social exchange, and explore launching a permanent mechanism on public health cooperation. By doing so, we will safeguard the health and safety of people in regional countries and contribute to global public health.
There will also be a China-ASEAN medical experts' meeting to be held in parallel with the foreign ministers' meeting.
Q: The Federal Register published a notice on February 14 that the US has decided to impose sanctions on six Chinese enterprises, three Russian ones, one in Iraq and one in Turkey pursuant to its Iran, North Korea, and Syria Nonproliferation Act. I was wondering if you have any comment?
A: China has lodged stern representations with the US side. We firmly oppose unilateral sanctions and "long-arm jurisdiction" imposed by the US citing domestic law. We urge it to correct its mistake at once and withdraw the sanctions.
China is committed to strengthening the international non-proliferation regime, strictly fulfilling its international obligation on non-proliferation and maintaining communication and cooperation with other countries on the basis of mutual respect.
By contrast, in non-proliferation and other areas, the US has been obsessed with unilateralism. It wantonly imposes unilateral sanctions and "long-arm jurisdiction" on others, which has been rejected by the international community as it severely undermines other countries' interests and international efforts to address non-proliferation issues and safeguard peace and stability. The Iranian nuclear issue is a case in point. We urge the US to face squarely the international community's concerns and earnestly respect other countries' legitimate rights and interests.
Q: I wonder if you could share China's expectations of the upcoming Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Foreign Ministers' Meeting?
A: The Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) is the first new-type sub-regional framework initiated by riparian countries with extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits. Since its establishment nearly four years ago, it has been developing rapidly with remarkable outcomes. China sets great store by this mechanism. Through this meeting, we look forward to in-depth discussions with LMC countries to review past experience, identify future priorities, advance the building of an LMC economic belt and foster an LMC community with a shared future.
Q: Reports have emerged that from the Cold War era to the early years of the 21st century, US intelligence controlled the Swiss company Crypto AG's encoding devices to spy on other countries while pocketing millions of dollars. The company sold the devices to foreign governments and companies. The machines were encrypted but US intelligence could crack the codes and intercept messages from more than 120 countries worldwide. What is your comment?
A: The new exposé reminds us of last Monday when the US indicted four Chinese military personnel on charges of hacking into an American credit reporting agency. As I responded to a related question last week, the US government and relevant departments, in violation of international law and basic norms governing international relations, have conducted large-scale, organized and indiscriminate cyber theft, tapping and surveillance on foreign governments, businesses and individuals, a fact already well-known to all.
The US, on the one hand, has been collecting nearly five billion mobile phone call records across the globe on a daily basis, eavesdropping on German Chancellor Angela Merkel's cellphone conversations for more than a decade, controlling over 3 million Chinese computers and implanting Trojan Horse in more than 3,600 Chinese websites on an annual basis. It is a tawdry trick that while doing so, it keeps playing victim of cyber attack, like a thief crying "stop thief". Its hypocrisy on the issue of cyber security could not be clearer. It has no honor and credibility to speak of in front of other countries.
Facts have proven time and again that as the largest state actor of espionage in the cyber space, the US is worthy of the name of "empire of hackers". The sky's the limit with the US when it comes to spying.
The dust has yet to settle over WikiLeaks and Snowden revelations. Explanations are still owed. Now the Crypto AG incident adds another to the tally, one more thing for the US to clarify to the world.
Q: Pakistan's National Assembly has passed a resolution supporting China in its battle against the new coronavirus outbreak. It also appreciated China's effective measures under the leadership of President Xi Jinping to deal with the situation. What's your comment?
A: China highly commends Pakistan for passing the resolution. China and Pakistan are close neighbors with a fine tradition of mutual assistance. This resolution once again fully demonstrates how the Chinese and Pakistani people share weal and woe, and once again proves that China and Pakistan are a community with a shared future. We stand together in times of difficulty and render mutual assistance to each other. We are deeply grateful for Pakistan's trust and confidence in us.
We are ready to strengthen cooperation with the international community including Pakistan to jointly tackle the epidemic and promote global public health. We also stand ready to strengthen communication and coordination with Pakistan in a highly responsible manner t