|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin's Regular Press Conference on November 10, 2020|
At the invitation of Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc of Vietnam, the current chair of ASEAN, Premier Li Keqiang of the State Council will attend the virtual 23rd ASEAN-China leaders' meeting, 23rd ASEAN-China, Japan, ROK summit, 15th East Asia Summit, 4th RCEP leaders' meeting and the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit from November 12 to 15.
Reuters: Brazil's health regulator said on Monday that it has suspended clinical trials of a Sinovac-developed COVID-19 vaccine after an adverse incident. It's not clear whether that was directly related to the vaccine. Does the ministry have any comment on this?
Wang Wenbin: We noticed Sinovac has responded to the relevant reports. Sinovac's cooperation partner in Brazil, the Butantan Institute, believed that this serious adverse event (SAE) is not related to the vaccine. Sinovac will continue to communicate with Brazil on this matter.
Bloomberg: The US has sanctioned four more Chinese officials over the Hong Kong-related national security law. We are wondering if the foreign ministry has any comment on this?
Wang Wenbin: The relevant act of the US side has blatantly meddled in Hong Kong affairs, grossly interfered in China's internal affairs and seriously violated international law and basic norms governing international relations. China firmly opposes and strongly condemns this.
China is a country under the rule of law, and the HKSAR is a society under the rule of law. When national security in Hong Kong is undermined and confronted with real threats and the SAR government had difficulty in completing national security legislation on its own, the Central Government has established and improved at the state level a legal system and enforcement mechanisms to safeguard the HKSAR's national security. The Law on Safeguarding National Security in Hong Kong targets a very small number of criminals who gravely jeopardize national security and protects the law-abiding Hong Kong residents, who represent the vast majority. The Central Government firmly supports the relevant departments and personnel of the HKSAR government in fulfilling their duties in accordance with law.
Hong Kong is part of China and its affairs are entirely China's internal affairs which allow no foreign interference. China urges the US side to immediately stop meddling in Hong Kong affairs, immediately lift the so-called sanctions and refrain from going further down the wrong path.
CCTV: A follow-up on your announcement about Premier Li Keqiang's attendance at a series of meetings on East Asia cooperation. How does China see the current East Asia cooperation? What's your expectation for these meetings?
Wang Wenbin: After COVID-19 broke out, countries in the region including China and ASEAN member states have stood together with mutual assistance, conducted joint prevention and control and public health cooperation, enhanced connectivity in an orderly way, accelerated resumption of work and production, and steadily deepened practical cooperation in various areas. The year 2020 has seen increase in both trade and investment between China and ASEAN against the odds, with ASEAN becoming China's largest trade partner and Chinese investment in ASEAN in the first three quarters up by 76.6 percent. The foundation of China's ties with regional countries has become more solid, their bond closer and prospects broader. That being said, with the continued spread of COVID-19 across the world, the global economy is beset with increasing uncertainties. Protectionism and unilateralism is on the rise, and East Asia cooperation is faced with some challenges as well.
Against such a backdrop, China hopes that the upcoming meetings will focus on the two major themes of maintaining solidarity against the virus and seeking shared development to safeguard stability and prosperity in East Asia. First, strengthen solidarity and cooperation to consolidate our gains in the fight against the virus, deepen cooperation on vaccine, diagnosis and therapeutics technology and experience, step up joint prevention and control across the region, and increase countries' capability to deal with public health challenges. Second, boost post-epidemic recovery, enhance connectivity cooperation, promote cooperation in such areas as digital economy and smart cities, build a network of fast tracks and green lanes, keep industrial and supply chains open and unimpeded, and realize sustainable socioeconomic development in the region in the post-pandemic era. Third, stay committed to multilateralism, safeguard the multilateral trade system with the WTO at the core, sign the RCEP as scheduled, advance regional economic integration and economic globalization, and foster an open world economy. As this year marks the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area, China stands ready to implement together with ASEAN countries the FTA upgrade protocol, and further deepen and broaden economic, trade and investment cooperation. Fourth, reinforce ASEAN centrality, uphold the regional cooperation architecture with ASEAN as the center, focus on East Asia and Asia-Pacific, properly handle regional sensitive hotspot issues through dialogue and consultation, defend international fairness and justice, and create an enabling environment for peace, stability, development and prosperity in the region.
Reuters: I'd like to ask about the Indian ship carrying Australian coal that has been stuck off Jingtang port since June. The International Transport Workers' Federation has put out a statement saying it holds grave concerns for the sailors on board. Can the foreign ministry confirm this? Or any other comment on it?
Wang Wenbin: China has clear provisions regarding epidemic prevention and control at ports and quarantine requirements for sailors. The Chinese side has been providing convenience for the sailors involved while complying with these provisions. I refer you to the competent authorities or the local government for the specifics.
Beijing Youth Daily: On November 9, Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau said at a press conference that Canadian citizens have been arbitrarily detained in China. He also said that China's approach of "coercive diplomacy" is ineffective. Does China have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: China has repeatedly made clear its position on the individual cases concerning Canadian citizens. It must be pointed out that the label of "coercive diplomacy" cannot be pinned to China. The relevant Canadians were arrested and prosecuted by Chinese judicial authorities in accordance with law for suspected crimes undermining China's national security whereas Ms. Meng Wanzhou has been held by the Canadian side without cause for over 700 days even though she has not broken a single Canadian law. More and more facts have shown that the law enforcement authorities in the United States and Canada are suspected of abuse of process and illegal interrogation of Ms. Meng Wanzhou, and the Canadian side even refused to discloses key evidence to the public. All this once again reveals the political nature of the incident. What the Canadian side has done on the Meng Wanzhou incident is no other than arbitrary detention.
We once again urge the Canadian side to face up to the real cause of the problem. Nothing can be solved by covering facts and misleading the public.
Vice Foreign Minister Luo Zhaohui and Assistant Minister of Commerce Li Chenggang will brief the press on Premier Li Keqiang's attendance at the leaders' meetings on East Asia Cooperation in Lanting on the morning of November 11. You are welcome to attend the event. Please refer to the notice on the website of the International Press Center (IPC) for more details.