|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian's Regular Press Conference on February 27, 2020|
Invited by the government of Uruguay, Li Ganjie, President Xi Jinping's special envoy and Minister of Ecology and Environment, will attend the power handover ceremony of the Uruguayan President in Montevideo on March 1.
Invited by head of Japan's National Security Council Shigeru Kitamura, Yang Jiechi, member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the CPC Central Committee, will visit Japan and have a new round of China-Japan high-level political dialogue from February 28 to 29.
Before we begin the Q&A session, I'd like to share some figures with you. According to the NHC update this morning, February 26 saw 2,750 patients cured and discharged from hospital in China's mainland, bringing the total number of cured cases to 32,495 as of 24:00, February 26.
Q: You just announced Director Yang Jiechi's upcoming visit to Japan. Does China have any expectations for the visit?
A: Since the COVID-19 outbreak, the Japanese government and people have lent sincere and friendly support to China, and the two sides have helped and cooperated with each other in fighting the epidemic. This shows that China and Japan, as close neighbors, stand together with mutual assistance amid difficulties, which is an epitome of friendship between the two peoples. Director Yang's visit to Japan at this particular time fully showcases the high importance China attaches to its relations with Japan. The two sides will exchange in-depth views on China-Japan relationship, joint fight against the epidemic and other issues of mutual interest. We hope that this visit will help implement important consensus between leaders of the two countries, enhance high-level strategic communication, strengthen cooperation in epidemic response and move forward bilateral relations.
Q: The COVID-19 situation in the ROK and Japan has become increasingly severe, which has attracted a lot of attention from the international community including China. Is China considering enhancing cooperation with the two countries in fighting against the epidemic together?
A: We have been closely following the developments of the epidemic in the ROK and Japan. We have received great support and help from the ROK and Japanese governments and people in our fight against the epidemic, to which we are deeply grateful, and we certainly can relate to what they are going through at the moment. As friendly, close neighbors, China, Japan and the ROK are a community with a shared future in the face of the epidemic. China will not be absent in our two neighbors' fights against the epidemic.
Under the current circumstance, we stand ready to improve and strengthen our emergency communication and coordination mechanism on public health and epidemic prevention with the ROK and Japan, enhance information sharing on the epidemic, exchange related experiences and technologies, and conduct cooperation on diagnosis, treatment and medicine and vaccine R&D.
To coordinate epidemic prevention and control efforts, China is ready to work with the two countries to strengthen regulation at entry and exit points, step up inspection and quarantine, and cut down unnecessary cross-border travels.
As the fight has come to a crucial stage at home, we still want to do as much as we can to help the ROK and Japan. "Are you not battle-dressed? Let us share armor and the rest!". It is exactly how China, Japan and the ROK are looking after each other and tiding over difficulties together.
Q: Can you give us more information on the schedule of Mongolian President Khaltmaa Battulga's visit to China, which was announced this morning by the Foreign Ministry?
A: Mongolia is China's friendly neighbor. After the COVID-19 broke out, the Mongolian government and people have supported China in various means. President Khaltmaa Battulga specifically pays this visit to China to express firm support, and we applaud that. President Khaltmaa Battulga is the first head of state to visit China after the epidemic outbreak, demonstrating deep friendship that Mongolia shares with us.
During the visit, President Xi Jinping will have talks with President Khaltmaa Battulga and Premier Li Keqiang will meet with him. Under the strong political guidance of leaders from both sides, I believe China-Mongolia comprehensive strategic partnership will be brought to a higher level.
Q: The Mongolian government has called on all sectors at home to provide support to China. The Mongolian Ministry of Nature, Environment and Tourism, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Finance organized a fundraiser under the slogan of "warm support for our permanent neighbor". What's your comment?
A: We noticed the heartwarming report on such a heartwarming action. Since the COVID-19 broke out, the Mongolian government and people have supported China in various means, showcasing the deep friendship that Mongolia shares with us.
Linked by mountains and rivers, Mongolia and China are good neighbors, good friends and good partners. A close neighbor means more than a distant relative and a friend in need is a friend indeed. I believe such bonds of mutual assistance will cement traditional friendship between the two peoples and move forward our bilateral relations.
Q: Sources say that China will provide additional medical supplies to help Japan tackle the COVID-19 epidemic soon. Can you confirm that? Do you have any comment?
A: The Japanese government and people have given strong support and help to China's fight against the COVID-19 outbreak, which will not be forgotten. Facing the latest situation of the epidemic, China is ready to share information and experiences with the Japanese side and provide support and assistance to the best of our ability while fighting the epidemic at home. This is what we should do for Japan as we are close neighbors helping each other during times of adversity. The Chinese side has delivered a batch of testing kits to the Japanese side. After discussions between the two sides, China will provide other medical supplies to Japan, too, of which the first batch will arrive in Japan today. We will give positive consideration to any further needs put up by the Japanese side.
Q: On February 26, the Political Director Level Meeting of the JCPOA Joint Commission was held in Vienna. Can you give us more details on China's participation?
A: On February 26, the Political Director Level Meeting of the JCPOA Joint Commission was held in Vienna to discuss implementation and coordinate next-stage actions. Wang Qun, Permanent Representative and Ambassador of the Permanent Mission of China to the United Nations and other International Organizations in Vienna led a delegation to the meeting.
During the meeting, China stressed that the JCPOA, as an important outcome of multilateral diplomacy, has been widely supported by the international community. The US withdrawal from the JCPOA and its maximum pressure against Iran is the root cause of the Iranian nuclear crisis. All parties should proceed from the goal of preserving the JCPOA, deal with the Iranian nuclear issue in an objective and fair way, and seek to resolve disputes through consultation under the Joint Commission framework. It is imperative for all parties to restore balance between rights and obligations under the JCPOA. All parties reaffirmed their commitment to upholding the JCPOA, agreed on the principle China proposed to resume implementing the agreement in a gradual, step-by-step and reciprocal way, and promised to take concrete measures to comprehensively and effectively implement the JCPOA. China will continue to closely coordinate with all parties to safeguard the JCPOA and work for a political and diplomatic settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue.
Q: With serious epidemic spread in the ROK, will China consider offering help to the ROK? Some people in China are worried there may be importation of infected cases while some in the ROK think it's overreaction that will hurt the emotional bond between both countries as China does not reciprocate the ROK's kindness. I wonder if you could comment on that?
A: Virus knows no borders. In the past month or so, COVID-19 broke out in China, the ROK and other countries were worried of the disease spreading to their countries. Now as the ROK - our close neighbor - is faced with a growing number of COVID-19 cases, the Chinese people are concerned about the importation of epidemic cases. I think those worries are all understandable. But more importantly, the Chinese and ROK governments and people have demonstrated good neighborliness with mutual assistance during times of adversity. We will never forget President Moon stressing "China's difficulties are the ROK's difficulties", and the fact that the ROK government and people provided us with valuable support and help. As the epidemic is becoming more severe in the ROK, we completely relate to what it is going through, and we believe the ROK's difficulties are ours, too. China is ready to provide necessary assistance to the ROK to support its government and people in fighting the virus. We are in close communication on that. As I know, some Chinese localities and companies have provided or are ready to provide supplies to the ROK, especially those areas seriously affected by the epidemic like Daegu and North Gyeongsang Province. For instance, Qingdao of Shandong Province will donate epidemic control supplies to its sister city Daegu. The donation is under preparation and will soon be delivered to the ROK by air.
As I said yesterday, the two sides have taken some science-based, professional and necessary measures at this stage to control unnecessary cross-border flows of people, minimize the risk of epidemic spreading and protect the safety and health of people in the two countries, the region and the world. It meets the greatest common interests of our two countries and people. As the saying goes, "After the storm comes the rainbow." We believe the friendship between our two countries will grow deeper and bilateral exchanges and cooperation more dynamic after we overcome the epidemic hand in hand.
Q: As we saw online, dozens of US Jewish organizations, including the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA), expressed support to Chinese community in the US and the Chinese people in a co-signed open letter amid the fallout of COVID-19 epidemic. What's your comment?
A: I noticed the open letter. It's so touching to see such friendship the US Jewish community cherishes towards the Chinese community in the US and the Chinese people. This is another example of friendship between the people of China and the US, and between the Chinese and Jewish peoples. We applaud them and extend our heartfelt thanks to them.
The virus respects no borders. While infectious diseases are a common challenge facing the people of China, the US and the rest of the world, solidarity and cooperation is the most powerful weapon in the fight against them. We will continue to work with the international community to win the battle against the COVID-19 and jointly safeguard the health and well-being of mankind.
Q: China reported an infected person coming from Iran. This person traveled back from Iran to China's Ningxia. Can you confirm that this person is a Chinese national?
A: China has been closely following the development of the epidemic situation in Iran and other countries. We stand ready to coordinate efforts with Iran and the wider international community to coordinate prevention and control efforts, share experience, enhance cooperation, take science-based, appropriate and calibrated measures to safeguard global public health security.
As for the specific details of your question, I need to check with the competent department after the press conference.
Q: There have been some reports recently that China is requiring people arriving from other countries to go into quarantine. I wonder if you could clarify why China is taking those steps when it also argues other countries should not impose similar measures on people arriving from China?
A: I noted the relevant WSJ report. The virus respects no borders. Some countries have taken measures on border entry and exit that are necessary for the purpose of epidemic prevention and control. The aim is mainly to protect the health and safety of their citizens and foreign nationals and safeguard regional and global public health security. As long as these measures are science-based, professional and appropriate, I think people will understand. We stand ready to enhance communication and cooperation with all sides to boost coordination to prevent cross-border spread of the COVID-19 epidemic and effectively safeguard regional and global public health security.