|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang's Regular Press Conference on April 21, 2020|
The Paper: Wuhan and Los Angeles just held a video conference this morning to discuss reopening cities and resuming work and production. Can you talk more about it?
Geng Shuang: Indeed, this morning Wuhan and Los Angeles held a video conference to discuss reopening the city and resuming work and production after the virus is effectively contained. Thorough talks between principal officials of both municipal governments and other areas lasted almost two hours and yielded good results. In the meantime, presidents of Wuhan University and Ohio State University also held a video conference to discuss campus management during the pandemic.
Thanks to the arduous efforts, Wuhan, a heroic city, is walking out of the shadow of the epidemic. It recently lifted the lockdown for people to freely leave Wuhan and Hubei, the epidemic risk there is at a low level, and production and life is gradually brought back onto the right track.
For a while, Chinese localities including Wuhan and medical institutions have been sharing COVID-19 experience and treatment solutions via video conference and other channels with their American counterparts upon request. They have been donating medical supplies to US states, cities, institutions and enterprises, and facilitating US procurement of anti-epidemic items in China. We would like to continue sharing all our information and experience with the US side, and support them to the best of our capacity, so that they can defeat the virus and resume normal life as soon as possible. It will also be China's contribution to the global fight against COVID-19 and to an early world economic recovery.
CNN: The US is reportedly monitoring intelligence on post-surgery health conditions of DPRK's leader Kim Jong Un. Does the Chinese side have more information on this? Do you have a comment?
Geng Shuang: I did read some media reports on this, but I'm not sure of their source. Could what you mentioned be it?
China and the DPRK are friendly neighbors linked by mountains and rivers. We stand ready to work with the DPRK to continuously move forward bilateral relations.
China Daily: On March 30, Vietnam's Permanent Mission to the UN sent a diplomatic note to the UN, reiterating its sovereignty over Xisha and Nansha Islands. We have learned that on April 17, China's Permanent Mission to the UN sent a diplomatic note to the UN Secretary-General expressing objection to Vietnam's position. Can you confirm this and offer a comment?
Geng Shuang: From the end of March this year, Vietnam's Permanent Mission to the UN has sent several diplomatic notes to the UN Secretary-General, asserting its illegal claim over the South China Sea and attempting to negate China's sovereignty, rights and interests over these waters. China firmly objects and has lodged solemn representations with the Vietnamese side. On April 17, China's Permanent Mission to the UN was instructed to send a diplomatic note to the UN Secretary-General reiterating China's solemn position and expressing objection to Vietnam's illegal claim and erroneous view.
Xisha Islands and Nansha Islands are China's inherent territory. China has sovereign rights and jurisdiction over relevant waters of the South China Sea in accordance with relevant international law including UNCLOS. China also has historical rights in the South China Sea.
I want to stress this: attempts by any country to negate in any means China's sovereignty, rights and interests in the South China Sea and to reinforce its own illegal claim are bound to be fruitless. We will take all measures necessary to resolutely safeguard our sovereignty, rights and interests in the South China Sea.
Xinhua News Agency: The team of experts sent by the Chinese government to the Philippines came back to China on April 19. Can you give us more details on their work there and what else China has done to support the Philippines?
Geng Shuang: The medical team sent by the Chinese government was organized by the National Health Commission and consisted of experts selected by Fujian Provincial Health Commission. In the past two weeks or so, they assisted the Philippines in fighting COVID-19, visited multiple medical institutions, and held dozens of consulting seminars and lectures to share know-how and experience. Their work have demonstrated the friendship and mutual assistance between China and the Philippines. The Philippine government and people lauded the medical experts as envoys from China and heroes against the virus.
The Philippines and China are friendly, close neighbors. Faced with COVID-19, China donated batches of urgently-needed medical supplies to the Philippines through various channels and made efforts to facilitate its procurement in China and the timely delivery of its purchase. The Philippine President, health secretary, foreign secretary and other senior officials expressed appreciation and gratitude for China on various occasions, saying that China's assistance provides the Philippines with a lifeline.
China has been closely following the situation in ASEAN countries and has dispatched five medical teams to support their response. The teams to Cambodia, Laos and the Philippines have concluded their mission, and the teams to Myanmar and Malaysia are carrying out intensive work on the ground.
The Special ASEAN Plus Three Summit on COVID-19 held last week injected new impetus into regional cooperation in fighting the virus. Upholding the vision of a community with a shared future for mankind, we will implement the outcomes of this special summit and continue doing our best to share experience, provide material and technical support, jointly improve capabilities in epidemic response and safeguard the life and health of all people in the region.
Reuters: According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, China is in talks with several countries to discuss easing border controls and putting in place fast tracks for travelers. Can you confirm if this is the case and if so, give more details on what's being proposed?
Geng Shuang: China is discussing with relevant countries fast track arrangement for urgent essential travels including for business and technical purposes. The aim is to stabilize important economic and trade cooperation while guaranteeing epidemic prevention and control, and to ensure safe and smooth operation of the international industrial and supply chains.
Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng and ROK First Vice Foreign Minister Cho Sei Young reached a principled agreement on establishing a fast track between the two countries during a recent video conference. Officials on the two sides are in consultations to work out a detailed plan for implementation. During the virtual China-Singapore Joint Meeting on COVID-19 co-chaired by Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Luo Zhaohui and Permanent Secretary of Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs Chee Wee Kiong, the two sides also agreed to explore ways to facilitate necessary travels while ensuring public health security.
CNR: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and several members of his Cabinet sent ritual offerings to the Yasukuni Shrine where convicted World War II class-A war criminals are honored. What is your response?
Geng Shuang: China's position on the issue of the Yasukuni Shrine is clear and consistent. As you pointed out in your question, these negative moves on the Japanese side reflect its wrong attitude towards its past history of aggression. We urge the Japanese side to honor the pledges and commitments they've made and gain the trust of its Asian neighbors and the international community with concrete actions.
AFP: My first question is regarding Germ