China FO Presser

China FO Presser, Jan 5, 2023

6 Min
<strong>China FO Presser, Jan 5, 2023</strong>

China FO spokesperson Mao Ning held a regular press conference on Jan 5, 223.  Excerpts

Xinhua News Agency: Philippine President Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Jr. just wrapped up his state visit to China. Over the past couple of days, this visit has captured much attention from media in both China and the Philippines and the region and beyond. How do you comment on this visit?

Mao Ning: The media attention shows the great importance people attach to China-Philippines relations. This is the first visit to China of President Marcos Jr. as the Philippine President and his first official visit to a country outside ASEAN. Also, President Marcos Jr. is the first foreign leader China hosts in 2023. This speaks volumes about the high importance both sides attach to this visit. Yesterday, President Xi Jinping held talks with President Marcos Jr. and had long and in-depth exchanges with him. They reached new common understandings on and made strategic guidance for the growth of China-Philippines relations in the future. Premier Li Keqiang and Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress Li Zhanshu met with President Marcos Jr. respectively. Both sides issued a joint statement that is rich in content.

Both sides agreed to carry on their traditional friendship. The two heads of state spoke highly of the history of friendly exchanges between China and the Philippines, especially the inspiring story of the Chinese leaders of the older generation working together with the father of President Marcos Jr. for the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and the Philippines. President Marcos Jr. said that his family has a profound friendship with China and underscored his privilege of being part of history in the establishment of the diplomatic ties between the two countries, and noted the important responsibilities that he is taking on to carry forward the longstanding friendship between the two countries. He said that China is the strongest partner of the Philippines, and nothing can hold back the continuation and development of the Philippines-China friendship.

Both sides agreed to enhance friendly relations. The two heads of state agreed to jointly open a new chapter in our relationship of comprehensive strategic cooperation and affirmed?that the two countries will stay good neighbors helping each other, good relatives sharing affinity, and good partners pursuing win-win cooperation, and?shift the trajectory of bilateral relations to a higher gear and to a new height. It is fair to say that this visit is another milestone in the friendly relations between the two countries and has set the direction and laid the foundation for the development of bilateral relations in the future.

Both sides agreed to expand practical cooperation. In particular, the two countries need to form greater synergy between China’s Belt and Road Initiative and the Philippines’ Build Better More program, and strengthen cooperation in the four priority areas of agriculture, infrastructure, energy, and people-to-people exchanges to boost each other’s modernization drive and bring more benefits to our two peoples. The two sides signed an updated Memorandum of Understanding on the Belt and Road Initiative and signed more than ten cooperation documents on agriculture, infrastructure, e-commerce, financing, customs and tourism.

The two sides agreed to deepen strategic mutual trust. The two Presidents reiterated readiness to continue to properly handle maritime issues through friendly consultation and announced the resumption of negotiations on joint?oil and gas exploration. A communication mechanism on maritime issues was established between the two foreign ministries. The two sides also held strategic communication on major international and regional issues and agreed to focus on cooperation and development, jointly safeguard regional peace and stability, uphold true multilateralism and defend developing countries’ shared interests.

President Marcos’s visit marks a good start in China-Philippines relations in 2023. It will give a strong boost to the growth of bilateral ties in the new era. China stands ready to work together with the Philippines to deliver on the common understandings between our Presidents, carry forward our two countries’ millennium-old friendship, expand mutually-beneficial cooperation, deepen strategic mutual trust and work for solid and sustained progress in bilateral relations to underpin our respective national development and contribute to regional peace and stability.

Fuji TV: A question on COVID-19. The WHO said that China should provide more detailed and accurate data. What is your comment?

Mao Ning: Since COVID began, China has shared information and data with the international community in an open and transparent manner. We shared the genome sequence of the virus at the earliest opportunity, making important contribution to the vaccine and drug research and development in countries around the world. China has carried out close cooperation with the WHO over the years. We have kept channels open for close communication at three levels with WHO’s headquarters, Western Pacific Regional Office and Representative Office in China. Preliminary figures show that since COVID was first reported, the two sides have had over 60 technical exchanges on COVID containment, treatment, vaccine research and development and origins-tracing.

After recently refining its COVID response measures, China has held several technical meetings with the WHO. I would like to briefly go over these meetings:

On December 9, 2022, China’s National Health Commission (NHC) held a special meeting with the WHO Representative Office in China, during which the NHC informed the WHO of the containment and treatment of?COVID?in China.

On December 30, 2022, China and the WHO held another technical meeting on COVID-19. The two sides exchanged views on the current COVID situation, clinical care, vaccination and other technical issues. Chinese experts shared in detail the background and basis for the policy refinement and provided a comprehensive update on the current situation in China.?

On January 3, 2023, China, at the invitation of the WHO, sent experts from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention to a meeting of the WHO Technical Advisory Group on SARS-CoV-2 Virus Evolution, where we provided a comprehensive update on the recent developments and COVID variants in China.

On January 5, 2023, the?WHO will hold a briefing with member states. China has asked relevant experts to attend the meeting where they will further inform the WHO of epidemic containment in China in detail and respond to technical issues that are of concern to other parties.

Besides all these, recently China’s relevant departments have shared the genome data of the virus from COVID cases in China via the Global Initiative on Sharing Avian Influenza Data (GISAID).

The WHO has noted on many occasions that the technical meetings between China and the WHO have gone smoothly and produced positive results. The information and data that China shared helped scientists from all countries to learn about the evolution of the virus in China and strengthened the global science community’s confidence in China’s COVID response.

Facts have proven that China has always maintained close communication with the WHO and shared information and data on the epidemic in a timely, open and transparent manner in accordance with law.

At the moment, China’s COVID situation is under control. As China adjusts its COVID response policy, we will continue to carry out activities including technical exchanges with the WHO. It is hoped that the WHO Secretariat will take a science-based, objective and just position and play a positive role in addressing the pandemic globally.?

AFP: I have a related question. The US leader said yesterday that he’s worried about how China is handling the COVID outbreak. Do you have any response to these remarks?

Mao Ning: Since COVID began, China has shared relevant information and data with the international community, including the US, in an open, transparent and responsible manner.?

I have gone over in detail how relevant authorities of China shared data with the WHO. According to a WHO release on January 4, the genome data of the virus provided by China’s National Health Commission shows that the predominant variants in China share the genomes from travelers from China submitted by other countries, and no new variant or mutation of known significance was noted.?

The COVID situation in China is under control. China will continue to closely monitor possible mutations of the virus, release relevant information in a timely manner, and work with the international community to tackle the COVID challenge. We also call on all parties to take science-based and proportionate response measures not targeting any specific country, avoid remarks and actions that politicize the epidemic, jointly safeguard normal people-to-people exchange and work together for an early victory over the pandemic.

Kyodo News: It is reported that Japan will impose new COVID measures targeting travelers from China from January 8. Travelers from China to Japan need to present a negative nucleic acid test taken within 72 hours prior to departure and take a nucleic acid test upon arrival. The EU also calls on its member states to take the same measures. What is China’s comment?

Mao Ning: We noted the reports. China always believes that for all countries, COVID response measures need to be fact-based, science-based and proportionate. They should not be used for political manipulation, there should not be discriminatory measures, and measures should not affect normal travel and people-to-people exchange and cooperation. We also remind our fellow citizens who are planning to travel abroad to check their health conditions and the entry requirements of their destinations in advance to avoid disruption to their itinerary.?

NHK: WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that given the lack of information from China, restrictions that some countries introduced in response to China’s COVID situation are understandable. What’s your comment?

Mao Ning: Let me stress again that China’s COVID situation is under control. For all countries, COVID response measures need to be science-based and proportionate. They should not be used for political manipulation, there should not be discriminatory measures against China, and measures should not affect normal travel and people-to-people exchange and cooperation.?

Bloomberg: You say that China has been open with the WHO and the rest of the world in providing data and yet the WHO still says China hasn’t provided complete data. So how do you respond to this?

Mao Ning: I just shared with you some details of the communication and exchange between the Chinese side and the WHO. We will keep up such exchange. On technical issues related to the sharing of data, I will refer you to competent Chinese authorities.

AFP: The WHO’s emergency director Mike Ryan also said yesterday that he believes that China’s definition of COVID death is too narrow. Do you have any response to this?

Mao Ning: I have noted the recent response by Chinese public health experts to this question. You can ask the competent Chinese authorities for further information.?