|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang's Regular Press Conference on January 23, 2020|
Q: It's reported that US Secretary of State Pompeo said on January 22 during a visit to Jamaica that countries should be wary of easy money from China because it may feed corruption, undermine rule of law, ruin the environment and not create jobs locally. While in Costa Rica, he said on on January 21 that China's flashy promises have often produced debt, dependency and even the erosion of sovereignty. What's your comment?
A: It is hardly any news for certain people in the US to denigrate China-Latin America relations with the same old clichés. Time and again they tried to spread the rumors, which only shows how unpopular those rumors are in Latin America.
Such remarks reveal an underlying contempt for Latin American countries' judgment. For a long time, China and Latin American and Caribbean countries have focused on common development through mutually-beneficial cooperation under the principle of mutual respect and equality. Such win-win cooperation meets the needs and serves the interests of both sides. It has given a strong boost to economic growth and improvement of livelihoods, created a great number of jobs and brought tangible benefits to the peoples. When asked whether cooperation with China is a good thing or not, Latin American countries have a clear answer.
If the US side could take concrete actions to help Latin American countries grow their economy and improve people's welfare, we will welcome that. We are also open to third-party or multiple-party cooperation in Latin America with other sides including the US. However, if they are merely paying lip service and writing empty banknotes, or even criticizing or disrupting the mutually-beneficial cooperation between China and Latin American countries, we are firmly against it.
I want to stress that Latin American countries and peoples have the right and ability to choose cooperation partners by themselves. Nobody should wantonly criticize their decisions or stand in the way of such cooperation. Certain people see Latin America as their backyard. Such wishful thinking is indeed inappropriate and against the trend of the times.
Q: Regarding the pneumonia epidemic caused by the novel coronavirus (nCoV), the WHO has decided to postpone a decision on whether or not to declare a global health emergency. I wonder what is the foreign ministry's response? Is China in favor of declaring such an emergency?
A: On the night of January 22 Beijing time, in the form of telephone conference, the WHO convened the first Emergency Committee meeting in response to the pneumonia caused by the novel coronavirus.
After the meeting, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus didn't declare the nCoV a global health emergency.
As I know, parties concerned will stay in close communication and coordination on evaluation and possible adjustment of prevention and control measures. The committee plans to hold another meeting later.
Acting with openness, transparency and a high sense of responsibility to global health security, Chinese authorities will continue to share information of the epidemic with the WHO, relevant nations and China's Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan regions in a timely manner. We believe the WHO Emergency Committee will have fair, fact-based and reasonable evaluation and judgment on the situation.
Q: Yesterday Chinese health authorities said in more than one statement that without special reason, it's better not to go to Wuhan. I wonder if foreign journalists can be allowed to go to Wuhan to cover the situation? Can they get special equipment to protect themselves?
A: We understand foreign journalists' special attention on the recent pneumonia outbreak in Wuhan. A chief official of the National Health Commission briefed the media and answered questions on the prevention and control measures on the pneumonia caused by the novel coronavirus at a press conference held by the State Council Information Office yesterday morning. I also answered many related questions in recent days. I hope our efforts have helped you know more about the epidemic and better understand the prevention and control work. More updates will be coming out in an open and transparent manner.
As you may have noticed, to better prevent and control the epidemic, on January 21, the Wuhan government called on people outside Wuhan not to visit the city in the near future. This morning the Wuhan Novel Coronavirus Infected Pneumonia Prevention and Control Headquarters announced a series of measures, including suspending the operation of buses, subways, ferries and intercity buses in Wuhan, advising citizens against leaving the city if not necessary, and temporarily closing exit channels in airports and train stations.
We hope foreign journalists in China can apprehend what is happening in Wuhan, understand the prevention and control measures taken and heed the advice from local authorities. This is for their own good.
Of course, I understand that some foreign journalists are already in Wuhan to report on the situation. They should listen to the suggestions from local authorities, take preventive health measures and avoid cross infection.
I advise all journalist friends to take care of themselves and take good preventive health measures.
Q: A statement was recently released by a coalition in Sao Tome and Principe consisting of the the Democratic Convergence Party, The Force for Democratic Change Movement and the Union of Democrats for Citizenship and Development. It clarifies that the "congratulations" from former President Fradique de Menezes to recently elected Taiwan leader Tsai Ing-wen were not true at all, a piece of fake news that was previously released by Taiwan's department for foreign affairs on its website. The statement also says that the coalition firmly sticks to the one-China principle and Mr. Fradique de Menezes has never congratulated Tsai. I wonder if you could comment on that?
A: We noted this statement and commend this coalition in Sao Tome and Principe for reaffirming its commitment to the one-China principle and clarifying the truth.
The one-China principle is a basic norm governing international relations and a universal consensus of the international community. In the past three years or so after China and San Tome and Principe resumed diplomatic ties, our bilateral relations have developed smoothly and our cooperation has benefited both peoples. The attempt to undermine our friendly relations will never succeed.
We advise the DPP authority to give up those pathetic tricks that fool only themselves and make them a laughing stock of the world.
Q: This morning the Wuhan authorities announced a series of measures that came into effect at 10am, including suspending the operation of buses, subways, ferries and intercity buses in Wuhan, advising citizens against leaving the city if not necessary, and temporarily closing exit channels in airports and train stations. There are many foreigners already staying in Wuhan. The restrictions are on them also. Will the Chinese government consider any requests from them to return to their countries as special reasons? For example, after proper screening that shows they are healthy and free from any chance to spread it further?
A: I would refer you to local authorities for these specific questions.
As a principled response, China guarantees the legitimate rights and interests of foreign citizens in our country.
Q: Authorities in Wuhan announced this morning to temporarily close airports and train stations. Are foreign citizens not allowed to leave the city either?
A: Your question is the same as the previous one. I'd still refer you to local authorities.
As a principled response, China guarantees the legitimate and legal rights and interests of foreign citizens in our country.
Q: A Financial Action Task Force (FATF) meeting was held in Beijing this week that reviewed Pakistan national action plan report. How does China see Pakistan's progress?
A: Indeed, the Asia-Pacific Joint Group of the FATF International Cooperation Review Group is holding a meeting in Beijing. I'm not aware of the details in the meeting as it is still ongoing.
Here is a principled response. The FATF is an important platform for international cooperation in countering money-laundering and terrorist financing. The purpose and goal of FATF is to help countries better fight illicit activities including money-laundering and terrorist financing and to prevent the international financial system from being abused.
Pakistan has made all-out efforts to strengthen domestic CFT regime with visible progress. Its political will and active efforts should be recognized and encouraged by the international community. We hope FATF will offer Pakistan constructive support and assistance in its continued efforts to improve its counter-terrorism financing system and effectively fight terrorist financing.
As the president of FATF and co-chair of the Asia-Pacific Joint Group, China will continue to uphold an impartial and constructive attitude in relevant discussions.
Q: I just saw the news that a Japanese man in his 60s in Wuhan was diagnosed with pneumonia caused by the new coronavirus. Could you confirm this? Is this the first confirmed case of a foreign citizen in China?
A: I haven't seen the news. What's your source?
Journalist: It's a Japanese media report. It says the case is yet to be confirmed, but the patient has shown symptoms suspected to be caused by the new coronavirus.
A: I'm not aware of the case. I will try and get information from the competent authorities. You may also ask them directly. As to whether there are confirmed cases of foreign citizens, I would also refer you to competent authorities.
To celebrate the Spring Festival (the Chinese New Year), our press conference will be in recess from tomorrow to January 30 and resumed on 31. During the recess, you may still reach the MFA Spokesperson's Office via telephone, fax, email and WeChat.
Tomorrow will be the lunar new year's eve. It's a great pleasure for me to hold the year-end press conference for the third year. As usual, I would like to express heartfelt appreciation and festival greetings to all of you. I wish you an auspicious new year in the Year of the Mouse.
In 2019, we proudly celebrated the 70th anniversary of the founding of the PRC. The great achievements China made in the past seven decades have won high praise from the international community. In 2020, we will meet the target of poverty eradication, complete the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects, and contribute even more to human development and progress.
My colleagues and I will work together with all journalist friends to tell and present this great historical process.
Happy Spring Festival to you all! Don't forget to wear masks when you go out.