|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin's Regular Press Conference on November 11, 2020|
CCTV: The 3rd China International Import Expo ended yesterday. With the ongoing pandemic looming in the background, all participants in the 3rd CIIE still demonstrated great enthusiasm, as they reached intended deals worth US$ 72.62 billion, an increase of 2.1 percent over the same period last year. The 3rd CIIE really delivered an outstanding result. What do you think of that?
Wang Wenbin: Despite the COVID-19 pandemic that has delivered a serious blow to the development of various countries and the world economy, the 3rd CIIE outperformed the previous two ones in terms of economic and trade cooperation results. It can be said that the goal of "continued success" has been achieved.
The 3rd CIIE has sent a clear signal that China will unswervingly expand its opening-up for win-win outcomes. As China's Foreign Investment Law, its Implementing Regulation and various other supporting documents took effect this year, the items on the national negative list for foreign investment have been cut from 40 to 33. The number of pilot free trade zones has increased from 18 to 21. The Master Plan for the Development of Hainan Free Trade Port and the Implementation Plan for Further Reform and Opening-up in Shenzhen have both been released and taken effect. At the opening ceremony of the Expo, President Xi Jinping announced a series of important measures to expand opening-up, such as introducing a negative list for cross-border trade in services and shortening the catalogue of technologies prohibited or restricted from import, indicating that China's door to the outside world will become more and more open.
The 3rd CIIE, with participants overcoming various difficulties to get together and seek opportunities, also conveyed the firm confidence of all countries to strengthen cooperation and promote the world economic recovery. Several hundred enterprises have signed up to participate in the 4th CIIE, fully demonstrating their positive expectations for China's economic development and world economic recovery. We believe that as long as all countries adhere to the right direction of openness and cooperation, the day will come sooner when we will be able to overcome the impact of the pandemic and ensure the on-track development of the post-COVID world economy.
O'Globo: About the decision of halting the trials of the Chinese-produced vaccine in Brazil. If the decision to halt the trials in Brazil is not related to the vaccine itself according to Sinovac, what is the foreign ministry's assessment of the reasons behind it?
Wang Wenbin: We noticed that head of Sinovac's cooperation partner in Brazil, the Butantan Institute, said on November 10 local time that this serious adverse event (SAE) is not related to the vaccine. Relevant departments on the Brazilian side are investigating into this event. Sinovac will continue to communicate with Brazil on this matter. We don't think it's wise to leap to any conclusions before the full details are known.
AFP: A question about the virtual G20 summit. Can the foreign ministry share any details on which leader will be taking part in the summit and when they are scheduled to make their video address?
Wang Wenbin: The pandemic and multiple global economic and social challenges only serve to heighten the international community's expectations for the G20's leading role. In preparing for the summit, China supports efforts to seek collective responses to overcome the pandemic and promote world economic recovery for practical outcomes, thus sending a positive signal of supporting multilateralism and maintaining solidarity and cooperation, and jointly building a community of health for all and a community with a shared future for mankind.
As for the specifics concerning the meeting, we will release them in due course. Please stay tuned.
Bloomberg: More than a dozen members of the pro-democracy camp of Hong Kong's Legislative Council are expected to quit at a press conference later today. This is after China introduced new rules for lawmakers in Hong Kong today. We are wondering if the foreign ministry has any comment on this?
Wang Wenbin: The Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council and the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) have issued statements respectively. The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress adopted this decision on the qualification of members of the Legislative Council (LegCo) of the HKSAR in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Constitution, the Basic Law and the Law of the People's Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the HKSAR. It is a necessary step to uphold and improve the "one country, two systems", implement the Basic Law and the Hong Kong national security law, and maintain the rule of law and constitutional order in the HKSAR. It is a justified and legitimate decision that conforms to the Constitution and other laws. We firmly support the HKSAR government in performing its duties in accordance with law based on the decision of the NPC Standing Committee.
The relevant decision of the NPC Standing Committee targets no others but those LegCo members who do not meet the statutory requirements and conditions of "upholding the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China" and "pledging allegiance to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China". Those who break the law must be held accountable, which is the basic principle of any law-based society.
I would like to stress that Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region of China, and the qualification of HKSAR LegCo members is purely an internal affair of China. No other country has the right to make irresponsible remarks or intervene in the matter.
Kyodo News: The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress of China decided a few months ago that the current Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region should continue to perform its functions. Today, however, it has changed course and adopted a decision on the qualification of members of the Legislative Council. How does the foreign ministry respond to that?
Wang Wenbin: First of all, I have made clear our position on the decision of the NPC Standing Committee on the qualification of members of the Legislative Council of the HKSAR.
You have arrived at the viewpoint as you expressed in your question because you failed to understand the essence of the NPC Standing Committee's decision. So, it is a misguided view.
Financial Times: A new UK national security investment bill is set to be released tomorrow which will raise requirements for international investors and international takeovers of UK assets and establishing a government unit to review investments in sensitive sectors. This comes amid various UK scrutiny agencies raising concerns about Chinese investment in the UK, particularly in critical infrastructure. I'm wondering if China has any response to this and is it concerned about the impact it might have on China-UK relations?
Wang Wenbin: The Chinese government asks Chinese enterprises to observe market principles and international rules and abide by laws and regulations in their overseas economic cooperation. Meanwhile, we hope that the government of the relevant country can offer an open, fair, unbiased and non-discriminatory environment for Chinese enterprises.
Reuters: Taiwan's deputy minister of economic affairs is set to lead a delegation to the United States for the Taiwan-U.S. Economic Prosperity Partnership Dialogue with U.S. Undersecretary of State Keith Krach on November 20. Do you have any comment on this visit?
Wang Wenbin: China consistently opposes official exchanges between the US and the Taiwan region. We urge the US to adhere to the one-China principle and the three China-U.S. joint communiques, stop all forms of official exchanges and contacts with Taiwan, stop elevating its relationship with the Taiwan region in any substantive way, prudently and properly handle Taiwan-related issues, and send no misleading signals to the Taiwan separatist forces, so as to avoid serious damage to China-U.S. relations and peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. Enlisting support from external forces will not help build up their unjust cause, and no one and no attempt will succeed in sabotaging the relations between the mainland and the Taiwan region.
CRI: The Constitutional Council of Côte d'Ivoire recently announced the final result of the presidential election confirming incumbent President Alassane Ouattara's win with 94.27 percent of the vote. What is China's comment on this?
Wang Wenbin: We extend congratulations to President Ouattara for his reelection. Recent years have seen smooth progress in the friendly relations between China and Côte d'Ivoire. We stand ready to enhance cooperation with Côte d'Ivoire in various sectors to achieve new outcomes in bilateral relations.
Tass: On November 9, Russia President Putin, Azerbaijani President Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Pashinyan signed a joint statement on a complete ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh. According to this document, Russian peacekeepers would be deployed to the region. Can you give us any comment on this?
Wang Wenbin: China has noted relevant reports. China maintains that it serves the interests of all parties, including Azerbaijan and Armenia, to properly resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh issue. We hope relevant countries will observe the ceasefire agreement, avoid further escalation and resolve disputes through political dialogue.
China will work with Russia and other members of the international community and play a constructive role for regional peace and stability.
Reuters: Do you have any details on when the next round of trade talks with the United States will take place? Has China reached out to president-elect Biden or his team to arrange talks?
Wang Wenbin: I already stated China's position on the relevant issue. We are also following how people in and outside the U.S. are responding to the U.S. presidential election result.
Financial Times: ByteDance, in its latest proposal in a challenge to the White House's order to force it to sell its U.S. operations of TikTok, has proposed to CFIUS that it would see TikTok be fully owned by U.S. investors. If this were to be the nature of the deal where U.S. investors were to fully own and also to moderate the content of TikTok, is that something China could accept?
Wang Wenbin: We have repeatedly stated China's principled position on this issue.
We oppose the U.S. practices of overstretching the concept of national security and abusing national power to oppress certain foreign businesses. I noted not long ago that a U.S. judge when ruling against a Commerce Department's TikTok ban wrote that the administration's phrasing for the national security concerns the app posed was "hypothetical". We hope the United States will earnestly respect the principles of the market economy and fair competition, observe international trade rules, and ensure an open, fair, unbiased and non-discriminatory business environment for all foreign companies in the United States.