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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin’s Regular Press Conference on December 28, 2022

2022-12-28 20:08

Beijing Youth Daily: Commenting on China’s decision to downgrade management of COVID-19, American, British, German and other foreign chambers of commerce in China, and some foreign diplomatic missions in China noted that this will clear the way for resumption of people-to-people exchange and business travel, rebuild foreign investors’ confidence in the Chinese market and contribute to restoring optimism and reinstating China as a priority investment destination. What’s your comment?

Wang Wenbin: We have noted relevant reports. China has been refining its COVID policies in light of the evolving situation. China made the decision to manage COVID-19 with measures against Class-B instead of the more serious Class-A infectious diseases in accordance with the law. This is an adjustment China has made to its response approach based on a comprehensive assessment of the mutation of the virus, the COVID situation, and ongoing response efforts. It will help make our response more science-based, targeted and effective, restore normalcy to people’s work and life, meet regular medical and health needs, and minimize the impact of COVID-19 on economic and social undertakings. We are confident that while effectively safeguarding people’s health and preventing severe cases, we will get economic and social activities back to normal more quickly and secure a full and final victory against COVID.

In accordance with the decision to manage COVID-19 with measures against Class-B infectious diseases, relevant departments formulated and released the provisional measures on cross-border travel. This will better facilitate the safe and orderly cross-border travel of Chinese and foreign nationals and international exchange and cooperation, and prove to be a boon for the global economy.

China will effectively coordinate COVID response and socioeconomic development, steadfastly expand opening-up, and work with all sides to strengthen international cooperation against the pandemic, keep global industrial and supply chains secure and stable, and revitalize the world economy.

Yonhap News Agency: Today the ROK presidential office unveiled the final version of its free, peaceful and prosperous Indo-Pacific strategy, which names China a key partner for achieving prosperity and peace in the Indo-Pacific region and stresses the importance of mutual respect and reciprocity guided by international norms and rules. What’s your comment?

Wang Wenbin: We have noted relevant ROK media reports. China believes that countries should work together in solidarity for the region’s peace, stability, development and prosperity and against exclusive coteries. This serves the common interests of countries in the region. We hope the ROK will work with China for the sound and steady growth of bilateral ties and jointly contribute to regional peace, stability, development and prosperity.

Kyodo News: Hiroshige Seko, a Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker of Japan, held talks with Tsai Ing-wen in Taiwan today. During the talks, Tsai Ing-wen welcomed Japan’s three defense documents. What is China’s comment?

Wang Wenbin: Certain Japanese politicians, in order to seek selfish political gains, have repeatedly put on political stunts and made provocative visits to China’s Taiwan region to bolster and embolden “Taiwan independence” separatist forces. China firmly opposes this and has made serious démarches to the Japanese side.

Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory. Japan once kept Taiwan under its colonial rule for half a century. Japan is historically responsible for its serious wrongdoing to the Chinese people and has all the more reason to be prudent in its words and deeds. We urge Japan to uphold the one-China principle and the spirit of the four political documents between the two countries, stop all forms of official contact with the Taiwan region, and stop sending wrong signals to “Taiwan independence” separatist forces. We also have this serious message to the DPP authorities: any attempt to go against the trend of history and solicit foreign support in seeking “Taiwan independence” is doomed to fail.

AFP: The US is considering COVID entry restrictions for travelers from China. Do you have any comment on this?

Wang Wenbin: As I shared with you yesterday, the current COVID situation in the world continues to call for a science-based response approach and joint effort to ensure safe cross-border travel, keep global industrial and supply chains stable, and restore world economic growth. We’ve always believed that for all countries, COVID response measures need to be science-based and proportionate without affecting normal people-to-people exchange. We have also noted that quite a few countries have spoken positively about China’s provisional measures on cross-border travel, and that they hope such travel will further pick up with greater ease.

AFP: One more question about Taiwan. Taiwan will extend mandatory military service from four months to one year over what authorities there called “China threat”. What’s your comment on this?

Wang Wenbin: Achieving complete reunification is the shared will of the Chinese people and a historic trend that no one can stop. National reunification is one of the noblest causes a person can dedicate his or her life to, whereas to serve the “Taiwan independence” separatist agenda is to give one’s life away to an unworthy cause. We believe the vast majority of our Taiwan compatriots are fully conscious about what is right for the nation and will not be used as cannon fodder by “Taiwan independence” separatist forces.

CCTV: Recently, some Western media have discredited China’s COVID policy adjustment, alleging that China’s COVID response has failed. What is your comment?

Wang Wenbin: This type of rhetoric is driven by bias, intended to smear China and politically motivated. There is no truth in such rhetoric, which simply misses the facts. That much is clear to the international community, who won’t be easily misled.

Facts are that since COVID began three years ago, the Chinese government has always put the people and their lives above all else. We have poured all our efforts and resources into protecting the life and health of every Chinese, which enabled us to withstand each wave and get the nation through the difficult time when the virus was wreaking the deadliest havoc. Globally speaking, China has had the lowest rates of severe cases and mortality. Despite the pandemic, average life expectancy in China went up from 77.3 to 78.2 years. Even when the global Human Development Index dropped for two years straight, China went up six places on the Index.

With Omicron much less pathogenic and deadly and China’s treatment, testing and vaccination capacity steadily on the rise, China has taken the initiative to refine its COVID response measures. We have adopted in an orderly fashion the 20 refined measures and 10 new measures. Earlier this week, we issued steps to treat COVID-19 as a Class-B instead of Class-A infectious disease, shifting the focus of our response from stemming infection to preventing severe cases and caring for health. This shift is science-based, timely and necessary. The aim is to protect the lives and health of the people and reduce the impact of the epidemic on economic and social development to the maximum extent possible.

Countries adjusting the COVID policy would invariably go through a period of adaptation. China is no exception as we shift gear in our COVID policy. China’s COVID situation on the whole remains predictable and under control. Beijing is the first city to have gone through the infection peak, where life and work are coming back to normal as we speak. Relevant Chinese departments have made scientific assessments of the potential peaks in other provinces and cities. They have made necessary preparations and are confident that this process of policy adjustment and shifting of focus will go ahead in a steady and orderly way.

A small number of Western media have deliberately hyped up and even misrepresented China’s COVID policy adjustment, and yet avoided reporting on the deficiencies and heavy price paid in their own countries’ COVID response. This is nothing but double standards and is clearly against journalistic ethics.

A people-first and life-first philosophy, commitment to whole-heartedly safeguarding people’s well-being and solidarity with the international community against COVID — these are the choices China has made and the action China has taken faced by a once-in-a-century pandemic. We believe that under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core, with the concerted effort of the over 1.4 billion Chinese people and with the backing of China’s growing comprehensive national strength, we will secure the final victory of the fight against COVID-19.

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