|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on December 30, 2022|
People’s Daily: The Chinese side just announced that Philippine President Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Jr. is about to visit China. Could you offer more information on arrangements for the visit? How does China see relations between the two countries? What’s your expectation for the visit?
Wang Wenbin: President Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Jr. will be the first foreign head of state China will receive in the new year. This will be President Marcos’s first visit to China after taking office and his first official visit to a non-ASEAN country. It fully demonstrates the high importance China and the Philippines attach to bilateral relations.
During the visit, President Xi Jinping will hold talks with President Marcos. Premier Li Keqiang and Chairman Li Zhanshu of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress will meet with him respectively. Leaders of the two sides will have in-depth exchanges of views on bilateral relations and regional and international issues of mutual interest and jointly chart the course forward for our relationship.
China and the Philippines are close neighbors facing each other across the sea. Our two countries have a long tradition of good-neighborliness and friendship. In recent years, with the concerted efforts of both sides, our relations have experienced leapfrog development with fruitful practical cooperation, which has delivered tangible benefits for both peoples and contributed to regional peace and stability. After the inauguration of President Marcos and the formation of the new Philippine government, our two sides reached important common understanding on remaining committed to good-neighborliness and friendship and to jointly pursuing common development. We look forward to working together with the Philippine side to take this visit as an opportunity to renew our friendship, deepen mutual trust, advance cooperation in the four priority areas including agriculture, infrastructure, energy, and cultural and people-to-people exchanges, consolidate our ties as good neighbors, good relatives and good partners, upgrade the bilateral relationship and accelerate its growth, and usher in a new “golden age” in bilateral friendship.
CCTV: Today Japan starts to conduct COVID antigen tests on inbound travelers from China’s mainland or with travel history there within seven days. It is also restricting the number of direct flights between Japan and China, among other measures. What’s your comment?
Wang Wenbin: Since COVID-19 began three years ago, to put the people and life first and ensure the science-based nature and precision of the response measures, the Chinese government has refined the measures in light of the evolving situation and effectively coordinated COVID response with economic and social development, contributing significantly to global solidarity against the pandemic and to world economic recovery.
With the drop of virulence in Omicron and the increase of vaccination rates and containment experience, China is moving ahead with the policy adjustment and shift of focus in a steady and orderly manner. China’s COVID situation on the whole remains predictable and under control. We hope Japan will view China’s COVID situation and policy adjustment objectively and correctly and keep its COVID measures science-based and proportionate to allow for normal people-to-people exchange between our two countries.
Yonhap News Agency: The ROK government today announced quarantine measures to be taken for travelers arriving from China. Do you have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: In light of the latest COVID situation, based on scientific and rational analysis and assessment and with a prudent approach, the Chinese government has adapted and adjusted its COVID response measures and taken a series of measures to facilitate people-to-people exchanges between China and other countries. We believe this will significantly contribute to the recovery and growth of the world economy.
China always believes that for all countries, COVID response measures need to be science-based and proportionate without affecting normal travel and people-to-people exchange and cooperation. We noted that health experts from many countries have recently shared the notion that from a scientific point of view, restrictions on travelers arriving from China are unnecessary. Over the past few days, many countries have said that they welcome China’s policy on facilitating cross-border travel and will not adjust their entry measures for travelers arriving from China. We hope that members of the global community will continue to follow a science-based response approach and work together to ensure safe cross-border travel and contribute to global solidarity against COVID and to world economic recovery.
AFP: Also on COVID. WHO chief Dr. Tedros said that restrictions that some countries introduced in response to China’s COVID are understandable given the lack of information from Beijing. This is what he said. What’s your comment on this?
Wang Wenbin: I have stated that for all countries, COVID response measures need to be science-based and proportionate without affecting normal travel and people-to-people exchange and cooperation. Over the past few days, authoritative medical experts from different countries have said that entry restrictions on travelers arriving from China are unnecessary.
We need to underscore that since the start of COVID-19, China has been sharing relevant information and data in an open and transparent manner with the international community, including the WHO. We shared the genome sequence of the virus at the earliest opportunity, making important contributions to the drug and vaccine research and development in countries around the world. China’s relevant departments have shared the genome data of the virus from the latest COVID cases in China via the Global Initiative on Sharing Avian Influenza Data (GISAID). The departments will continue to closely monitor whether the virus would mutate, share information on COVID in a timely, open and transparent manner in accordance with the law, and work with the international community to address the COVID challenge.
China News Service: According to the provisional measures on cross-border travel, in light of the international COVID situation and the service support capacity of all sectors concerned, China will resume outbound tourism for Chinese citizens in an orderly fashion, starting with a pilot scheme. Could you share more specifics with us?
Wang Wenbin: Since the provisional measures were released, many countries have responded warmly to them and expressed welcome to Chinese tourists. China will, in light of the Chinese people’s inclination for outbound travel, resume outbound tourism to countries where conditions allow. China will step up communication with relevant countries to provide corresponding service and support for outbound tourism by Chinese citizens and get the process started in due course.
Dragon TV: Recently, several US media including the New York Post revealed cases about how the US Department of Defense and the FBI had meddled in social media platforms to disseminate disinformation and manipulate domestic and international public opinion. What is your comment?
Wang Wenbin: We have noted relevant reports, which revealed that a division of the US Defense Department had set up a large number of sham accounts and asked Twitter to whitelist a batch of accounts to shape public opinion, conduct deceptive propaganda, continuously meddle with the public perception in the Middle East, and whitewash the illegal military activities of the US and its allies in the region. The reports also revealed that, in the wake of the pandemic, the US government had been pressuring Twitter to suppress and even shut down user accounts that contradict the official position of the US government on vaccination and other issues.
The US always claims itself to be a champion of freedom of the press. However, as the world has witnessed, US politicians have turned social media, which are supposed to be a platform for sharing and accessing information, into a tool to propagate disinformation and manipulate international public opinion and a weapon for the US to stigmatize and demonize other countries.
From Operation Mockingbird which bribed and manipulated news media for propaganda purposes in the Cold War era, to a vial of white powder and a staged video of the “White Helmets” cited as evidence to wage wars in Iraq and Syria earlier this century, and then to the lie of the century made up to smear China’s Xinjiang policy, facts have proven time and again that the US is the primary propagator of disinformation and bearer of double standards on press freedom.
Shenzhen TV: The recently issued report on China’s work on intellectual property in 2022 noted that China has made positive progress in building a strong nation on intellectual property. Do you have any comment on this?
Wang Wenbin: I have noted this report. China has always attached great importance and been actively committed to intellectual property protection, which provided effective support for improving innovation and advancing high-quality development. In the Global Innovation Index 2022 released by the World Intellectual Property Organization not long ago, China’s ranking rose from 34th in 2012 to 11th. According to the World Intellectual Property Indicators, China topped the world in terms of the number of effective patents in force in 2021.
While stepping up its work on intellectual property, China has been deeply engaged in international intellectual property cooperation. China has officially joined the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs and the Marrakesh Treaty which focuses on patent. China and the EU officially signed the agreement on geographical indications (GIs) protection and cooperation, providing mutual recognition and protection of 244 GIs. The Chinese language is one of the working languages of the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants. China’s intellectual property internationalization greatly supported Belt and Road cooperation. In 2022, 37.9% of the Chinese companies which transferred or licensed patents to overseas partners carried out such cooperation with countries or regions along the Belt and Road routes. These achievements show that China’s efforts have paid off in enhancing intellectual property protection and pursuing innovation-driven development, and contributed to global innovation.
Innovation provides strong impetus for human progress. China will continue to speed up efforts to implement the innovation-driven development strategy, uphold the central role of innovation in the overall modernization drive, enhance international exchange and cooperation and share China’s innovation with the rest of the world.
AFP: The US military said that a Chinese fighter jet flew dangerously with the US air force aircraft over the South China Sea last week. Do you have any detail on this?
Wang Wenbin: I would refer you to the competent authorities for the specifics. Let me point out that for a long time, the US has frequently deployed aircraft and vessels for close-in reconnaissance on China, which poses a serious danger to China’s national security. The US’s provocative and dangerous moves are the root cause of maritime security issues. China urges the US to stop such dangerous provocations, and stop deflecting blame on China. China will continue to take necessary measures to resolutely defend its sovereignty and security, and work with regional countries to firmly safeguard peace and stability in the South China Sea.
China Daily: It is reported that the US State Department approved the sale of Volcano anti-tank mine-laying systems to Taiwan for an estimated $180 million. Do you have any comment on this?
Wang Wenbin: We have all along firmly opposed US arms sales to China’s Taiwan region.
China urges the US to abide by the one-China principle and the stipulations of the three China-US joint communiqués, and earnestly act on the commitment made by the US leaders of not supporting “Taiwan independence”. It should stop arms sales to and military contact with Taiwan, and stop creating new factors that could lead to tensions in the Taiwan Strait. China will act firmly to defend our sovereignty and security interests.
CCTV: The Chinese foreign ministry recently released on its website the provisional measures on cross-border travel, which will make cross-border travel easier, safer, more orderly and more efficient. This comes as the latest example of serving the people through diplomacy. Could you briefly share what the foreign ministry has done in the past year to serve the people?
Wang Wenbin: Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi talked about how we in the diplomatic service had acted on the commitment of serving the people through diplomacy over the past year at the recent Symposium on the International Situation and China’s Foreign Relations. We have always put the people front and center, and serving the people is the abiding mission of Chinese diplomats. During the past year, under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, amid complex COVID and international and regional landscape, we worked with all our hearts, minds and strength to protect the safety of Chinese nationals abroad and safeguard their lawful rights and interests, doing our best to provide good service and defend the interests of our compatriots overseas.
In the wake of the turn of events in Ukraine, the foreign ministry activated its consular emergency response mechanism at the first instance and carried out emergency evacuation, ensuring the safe transfer of over 5,200 Chinese nationals amid the on-going warfare. We have promptly responded to a series of emergencies around the world, issued timely safety alerts, evacuated Chinese from high-risk areas, and spared no effort in rescuing Chinese hostages. In the face of the raging pandemic, we have rolled out an upgraded Spring Sprout program around the world to vaccinate over 4.6 million Chinese nationals living and working in 180 countries and arranged to bring home Chinese citizens who were stranded abroad and in dire need of help. Our consular protection hotline 12308 has operated 24/7, and handled nearly 500,000 calls throughout the year, always ready to assist our compatriots abroad in need of help.
In light of the needs of Chinese nationals abroad, we have been developing a platform for smart consular services and put in place facilitating measures such as online passport and travel document service, certification through videolink, online appointment and mobile payment, to save our compatriots the need to travel and deliver those services more efficiently. In accordance with the provisional measures on cross-border travel, we will further refine relevant measures to make it safer and easier for people to travel abroad.
China’s diplomacy is conducted for the benefit of the people. We in the diplomatic service can always be counted on to care for our compatriots and help them come home wherever they are. China’s diplomacy will always be guided by what the people expect of us. In the coming year, we will continue to honor our commitment of diplomacy for the people, live up to our responsibility and deliver on our commitment. For each and every compatriot, our great motherland will always have their back.
AFP: Russian President Vladimir Putin will hold talks by video link with Chinese President Xi Jinping today. Do you have more information to share with us?
Wang Wenbin: The Chinese and Russian heads of state have maintained communication in various ways. We will release information in due course. Please check back for updates.
In observance of New Year’s Day holiday, our press conference will be in recess on Monday, January 2 and resumed on Tuesday, January 3. During the recess, you may still reach the MFA Spokesperson’s Office via fax, email and WeChat.
This concludes the last regular press conference in 2022. On behalf of the Information Department of the Foreign Ministry and my colleagues, I wish to express our heartfelt appreciation to all Chinese and foreign journalists for your hard work and participation in the press conferences throughout the year.
We look forward to working with you in the year ahead to communicate China’s stories well, present China as it is and pass on China’s voice.
I wish all journalists a Happy New Year, good health and every success, and I wish your families all the best.