|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin's Regular Press Conference on November 5, 2020|
CCTV: What's your view on the role that the BRI has played in helping partner countries fight the virus and improve people's lives?
Wang Wenbin: Seven years after it was first proposed, the Belt and Road Initiative has become an international public good that is popular across the world as well as the biggest platform for cooperation. It is committed to delivering more projects that improve local people's livelihood. China has signed BRI cooperation documents with 138 countries and jointly launched more than 2,000 projects generating tens of thousands of jobs. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, BRI projects have also contributed to the local economic and social recovery.
On November 3, the Chinese Enterprise Global Image Summit 2020 released the 2020 Chinese Enterprise Global Image Survey Report (Belt and Road edition). According to the report based on a survey in 12 BRI partner countries in Asia, Africa, Europe and beyond, 78 percent speak highly of the Chinese companies, and 70 percent and more than 60 percent comment positively on the Chinese enterprises' performance in helping the local communities in fighting the virus and poverty alleviation respectively. Sixty percent of the respondents said they are most impressed by the Chinese companies "putting the employees' life and health first" during the pandemic. More than half of those surveyed believe the Chinese enterprises have helped improve local infrastructure and advance domestic development in areas like education, medical care and public health.
Following the principle of consultation and cooperation for shared benefits, China will continue working with BRI partners to pursue open, green and clean cooperation and high-standard and sustainable development that benefits the people. We will continue advancing BRI cooperation to deliver more tangible benefits to people in all countries.
Bloomberg: China announced that "our aim is to turn the China market into a market for the world, a market shared by all, and a market accessible to all", but these words come as China prepares to ban copper and sugar from Australia. Australia's wine industry is also bracing for restrictions. Australian timber and barley also face hurdles in China. My question is, how will China's actions be consistent with the messages it sent?
Wang Wenbin: I'm glad you were following President Xi's keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the third China International Import Expo (CIIE) yesterday. As scheduled and confident in the containment protocols that have been put in place, China is hosting this global trade event. It demonstrates China's sincere desire to share its market opportunities with the world and contribute to global economic recovery. Like you said, President Xi noted in his speech that China will steadfastly expand all-round opening up and explore more efficient ways to connect domestic and foreign markets and share factors of production and resources. Our aim is to turn the China market into a market for the world, a market shared by all, and a market accessible to all. This is not only our statement but also a concrete action. Despite the pandemic, the number of Fortune 500 companies participating in the third CIIE is basically the same as in the previous ones, and the exhibition area is even larger. All this speaks volumes about China's steady progress in opening up and cooperation.
As for the Australian exports to China that you asked about, we responded to similar questions on multiple occasions. The Chinese competent authorities' measures on foreign imports are in line with Chinese laws and regulations and international customary practices. They protect the safety of consumers and the legitimate rights and interests of domestic industries, and are consistent with the free trade agreement between China and Australia.
I'd like to reemphasize that a sound and stable China-Australia relationship serves the fundamental interests of the two peoples, and mutual respect is the foundation and guarantee of practical cooperation between countries. We hope Australia can do more to enhance mutual trust and bilateral cooperation, as the China-Australia comprehensive strategic partnership calls for, and bring the bilateral relations back to the right track as early as possible.
CRI: The Independent Electoral Commission of Côte d'Ivoire announced on November 3 that incumbent President Alassane Ouattara won the presidential election with 94.27 percent of the vote. At the same time, some violent incidents during the election have drawn attention from the international community. What is China's comment on this?
Wang Wenbin: The Chinese side is following the presidential election in Côte d'Ivoire and has taken note of the preliminary results announced by the Independent Electoral Commission of Côte d'Ivoire as well as the statements made by the Economic Community of West African States, the African Union and other African regional organizations. China believes the people of Côte d'Ivoire have the capability and wisdom to safeguard national stability and development. China is ready to strengthen cooperation with Côte d'Ivoire and move forward our friendly cooperative relations.
AFP: Chinese embassies in Belgium, the UK and the Philippines have announced that China will suspend entry to foreign travelers from these countries holding valid visas or residence permits. Can you tell us if these suspensions will affect other countries as well?
Wang Wenbin: The notices issued by the Chinese embassies in the relevant countries have made it clear that this is a temporary response necessitated by the current situation of COVID-19.
Learning from other countries' practices and taking into consideration the evolving epidemic situation, we have adjusted measures concerning pertinent travelers to China. This is a reasonable and legitimate move consistent with international customary practices, and I believe it will be understood by all.
The Chinese embassies in relevant countries will publish timely notices in accordance with the evolving situation. You may keep following up on that.
Bloomberg: You mentioned that you've taken questions on Australia quite frequently recently. And I agree. I was also asking this question a couple of days ago. In light of the recent actions that China has taken, I'm trying to figure out if there are conditions for the open access to the Chinese market and, if so, what are the conditions?
Wang Wenbin: As I said earlier, the Chinese competent authorities' measures on foreign imports are in line with Chinese laws and regulations, international customary practices, and the free trade agreement between China and Australia. There is simply no reason to doubt China's commitment to opening-up and cooperation which has already delivered tangible benefits.
AFP: Australia's trade minister has called for greater clarity on the reported restrictive actions that China's taken against Australian imports. So could you give more details or any confirmation of the measures that have been taken against these products?
Wang Wenbin: I already responded to this matter.