Q: Deng Xijun, former Chinese Foreign Ministry’s Special Envoy on Afghan Affairs, is now working as the Chinese ambassador to ASEAN. I wonder if there‘s going to be a new Chinese special envoy on Afghan affairs?
A: China has been actively participating in and advancing the Afghan peace and reconciliation process. We highly value communication, coordination and Afghanistan-related international cooperation with all relevant parties. Mr. Deng Xijun made contributions to helping realize political settlement of the Afghan issue while he was our ministry’s special envoy. Now he is fulfilling his mission as the ambassador to ASEAN.
Mr. Liu Jian is designated as the new Chinese special envoy on Afghan affairs. He is a veteran diplomat who has rich knowledge in Afghan affairs and worked in Afghanistan, Malaysia and Pakistan as the Chinese ambassador. China will continue to make constructive efforts in realizing peace and stability in Afghanistan at an early date.
Q: Do you think Taiwan’s exclusion from the WHO in the current situation in any way impairs its ability to respond to the coronavirus outbreak? Taiwan has called for the WHO to allow space for Taiwan’s participation. I wonder if you have any response to that?
A: No one cares more about the health and wellbeing of our compatriots in Taiwan than China’s central government does. After the pneumonia outbreak caused by the novel coronavirus took place in Wuhan, the National Health Commission notified the Taiwan region in a timely and prompt manner. From January 13 to 14, as requested by relevant authorities in Taiwan, experts from the Taiwan region went to Wuhan to see our work on prevention and control, medical treatment and pathogen detection. They also had discussions with experts in the mainland who participated in related medical work. The Taiwan experts expressed heartfelt appreciation for their reception in the mainland.
As we repeatedly stressed, Taiwan’s participation in international organization activities must be arranged in a fair and reasonable manner following the one-China principle after cross-strait consultations. Based on the arrangement made by China and the WHO, medical experts from the Taiwan region can attend relevant technical meetings at the WHO, and the WHO can send experts to Taiwan to inspect or assist when necessary. The Taiwan region has timely access to WHO’s information on global public health emergencies, and any emergency happening in the Taiwan region can be reported to the WHO in time. Those arrangements ensure that the Taiwan region can handle public health emergencies in a timely and effective manner regardless of where they may take place.
Q: The Financial Times carried an article, saying that the US was once the one and only superpower of innovation around the world. But China is quickly catching up and has greatly enhanced its IPR protection. China has gradually become a major power of innovation. What is your comment?
A: I believe you understand that we usually don’t comment on the ideas and reports of the media, thinktanks, experts and scholars. But here’s some statistics on hand that I’d like to share with you.
Currently China ranks the world second in research and development (R&D) spending, the first in patent application filings, and the third in the number of valid patent holdings. According to the 2019 edition of the Global Innovation Index (GII) report, China ranked the 14th worldwide, climbing up the ladder for four years in a row. The Global Business Report 2020 issued by the World Bank raised China’s business environment from the 78th place in 2017 to the 31st in 2019. More than once, Director General of WIPO Francis Gurry spoke highly of the achievements China has made in IPR protection. These are all strong proof that China has been making steady progress in its IPR protection, a conclusion that anyone without bias will be able to arrive at.
That said, China is still a developing country and there is still room for improvement in IPR protection. China is committed to according domestic and foreign IPRs equal treatment and equal protection, and we are taking effective measures to strengthen IPR law enforcement and protection.
Many policies and measures were rolled out last year to strengthen IPR protection. The NPC Standing Committee adopted a decision to amend the Patent Law last April, adjusting penalties on malicious infringement on trademarks to significantly increase the cost of violation. Last November, we published the opinions on strengthening IPR protection that focuses on coordinating efforts to better protect IPRs.
China has joined almost every major international treaty on IPRs. Here I have an announcement: China is seeking accession to the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Design. Relevant departments have initiated domestic legal procedures and will strive to finish them as soon as possible. China has the world’s largest filings of industrial designs. We believe more Chinese innovative ideas, designs and productswill go global after joining the Hague Agreement.
I want to stress that as a major country of innovation and IPR protection, China will continue to improve its IPR creation, application, protection, management and services.
Q: A court in Kazakhstan has decided not to deport two Chinese citizens who got there after illegally crossing the border from Xinjiang. Does the foreign ministry have any response to this court ruling?
A: China opposes illegal border crossing which undermines the normal order of border entry and exit as well as exchange of visits between China and Kazakhstan. The two sides are staying in communication on this issue.
Q: The new Russian government was appointed yesterday. Many ministers were replaced. China and Russia have many cooperation mechanisms and inter-government commissions. Some representatives of the Russian side who co-chaired these commissions are not in the government any more. In your opinion, will this latest reshuffle affect cooperation or exchanges between China and Russia?
A: Of course not.
I answered several similar questions recently. Under the strategic leadership of President Xi Jinping and President Putin, China-Russia relations have stepped into a new era and reached its best in history.
Russia recently announced the formation of its new government. We will work with the new government to ensure a smooth transition and continue to implement bilateral mechanisms and arrangements.
China and Russia will work for new progress in our comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination. It will serve our interests and make important contributions to peace, stability and prosperity of the region and beyond.
Q: The US has called on China to join the trilateral nuclear arms talks with itself and Russia, describing China‘s growing nuclear arsenal as a serious threat. What is the foreign ministry‘s response to this?
A: As I’ve repeatedly stated, China has no intention of participating in any trilateral arms control talks with the US and Russia. This position is very clear and has been widely understood by the international community including Russia. The US constantly makes an issue of China on this to dodge and shift its responsibilities for nuclear disarmament. China is firmly opposed to that.
I want to stress that it is the international community’s shared view that as the US owns the largest and most advanced nuclear arsenal, it should fulfill its special responsibilities for nuclear disarmament, respond to Russia’s call to extend the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, further reduce its large nuclear arsenal and create conditions for other nuclear states to join multilateral nuclear disarmament negotiations.We hope the US will live up to international expectations and immediately stop making negative moves that undermine global strategic stability such as withdrawing from international treaties and agreements. It should uphold multilateralism and the multilateral disarmament mechanism, safeguard international order based on international law, and defend the authority and effectiveness of the existing legal system of international arms control and non-proliferation regime.
China is committed to upholding the international arms control and non-proliferation regime, advancing international arms control and disarmament process and safeguarding global strategic balance and stability. China stands ready to work with all parties to strengthen communication and coordination within the framework of the Conference on Disarmament and the mechanism of five nuclear-weapon states, discuss a wide range of issues concerning global strategic stability, and make contributions to international peace and security.
Q: I wonder if you have an update on whether or not China will impose travel restrictions given the increasing number of foreign countries reporting cases of pneumonia caused by the new coronavirus?
A: At this morning’s press conference at the State Council Information Office, officials from the National Health Commission gave a thorough account of prevention and control measures concerning the pneumonia outbreak caused by the new coronavirus and answered questions from the press. I have nothing further to update you at the moment.
I’d like to stress that acting with openness, transparency and a high sense of responsibility towards global health security, Chinese authorities shared information of the epidemic with the WHO, relevant nations and China’s Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan regions in a timely manner. While stepping up efforts to contain the outbreak, we will deepen international cooperation and work together with the international community to deal with the epidemic and safeguard regional and global health security.