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Remarks by Ambassador Chen Xu at the ACANU Virtual Press Conference
2020/05/06

 

Ambassador Chen Xu (Permanent Representative of China to the United Nations Office at Geneva and other International Organizations in Switzerland): After tremendous efforts under the strong leadership of President Xi Jinping and with the mobilization of the whole nation, the Chinese people have been united to make tremendous efforts to fight against the Covid-19. With joint efforts of the whole nation, significant progress has been achieved and the outbreak was brought under control, and the domestic situation is turning for the better. We are now trying to focus on two fronts. One is to prevent the import as well as the resurgence of the virus. In the meantime, we try to resume production and economic and social life in a gradual and well-organized manner. Many people might be worried about China's economy. Indeed our economy suffered a lot because of the measures we've taken, including the lockdown of the whole city of Wuhan and many restrictive measures across the country. But I do believe that the Chinese economy is resilient enough. As long as our economy and the normal life come back to track gradually with well-organized approach, I think China's economy will greet a bright future in the days to come.

While we take a better care of ourselves, we are trying our best to render helping hands to others, especially African countries. International cooperation is of crucial importance and the efforts should be made in this front. We have been conducting our business from the very beginning in a transparent, open and responsible manner. We shared all relevant information, starting from late December last year, with the World Health Organization as well as the other countries and partners. We have donated two times, altogether $50 million, to the World Health Organization. Until this point, we have provided assistance to about 140 countries and four international organizations. And we held video conferences with medical and health experts with more than 150 countries. We also established an online knowledge center for the prevention and control of Covid-19, which is open to all countries. So with all these efforts, among others, we will continue to work with the international community, based on what has been achieved already, because the task ahead of us is still very much challenging.

Next point I wish to share with you is that, while the whole international community has joined hand in hand to fight against the pandemic, we noticed that there are some noises. Some of them are quite absurd and ridiculous. For instance, I think you know better through your channels, accusing China of so-called "covering up". Somebody are advocating for "holding China accountable" by launching lawsuits against China. There are many other unhealthy moves as well, all trying to smear, demonize China's performance. All these politically motivated behaviors will not be conducive to the international efforts for the fight against this pandemic. Because at this moment, the utmost importance and the first priority should be to race against the time and to save life. All these groundless allegations will jeopardize the international efforts. We cannot allow these accusations to derail the cooperation in fighting against the pandemic, nor should we allow politicization and stigmatization to create disparity and confrontation among the international community. This is one front we need to take good care of.

What are we going to do next? I should say the road ahead of us is bumpy and full of challenges, but I believe with the joint efforts, we will win the victory eventually. As far as China's concerned and based on what has been achieved already, we will continue to take good care of ourselves while in the meantime render our helping hands to the others. We need to strengthen the support of multilateral cooperation. This is the core to win the fight against the pandemic. In this respect, the key role of the World Health Organization deserves further strengthening rather than the other way round. At this point, I wish to share with you that China highly appreciates the launching of the ACT accelerator. That is "the Global Collaboration to Accelerate the Development, Production and Equitable Access to New Covid-19 Tools", which was launched by the WHO and a couple of other partners last week. China is ready to be part of this initiative. This is another indication that we are determined to strengthen international cooperation.

In the meantime, we need to unite against any "political virus", because the pandemic deserves the joint combat. We need to work together to cope with the spreading of the virus, and we need to do the same to prevent the spreading of the "political virus". All countries, all communities, all works of life, need to work together to build a healthy community with a shared future. Because everybody, every country in this planet, all are on the same boat. We have to paddle in the same direction. We need to work together by sharing information, experience, research findings, etc. In this respect, not only North-South cooperation, but also South-South cooperation should be deepened and strengthened to help those countries, especially in Africa, with weak health system.

I'm looking forward to benefiting from you. Before Q and A, I wish to share with you a video clip, which may be very much helpful before you have your questions, because many of the answers have been contained in the video clip already. (Playing the video clip entitled "Once Upon a Virus".)

 

Estado de Sao Paolo: Thank you, Ambassador, for giving us this opportunity. You have this video on the US but my question is basically on Brazil. Brazil did not take part in the mechanism that was established by you and WHO. Brazil refuses to acknowledge the role of WHO. Brazil refuses to acknowledge the gravity of the virus itself, and it has also pointed it as "the Chinese virus". My question to you is, how do you see the situation in Brazil regarding this politicization of the issue, and will this affect the relationship between Brazil and China?

 

Chen Xu: Let me highlight one point. That is the crucial role played by the World Health Organization under the leadership of Dr. Tedros as its Director General. The performance was highly appraised by the international community in general. You will find high positions across the board, from the UN secretary general, many heads of states and regional organizations, are all self-explanatory. I don't need to amplify it at this moment. So everybody knows the role played by the World Health Organization, which has been recognized and highly appreciated by our colleagues. The virus is without borders. You cannot say that since it is first reported at a certain point, then it was the production of this place. So it's like a natural disaster. You cannot say the natural disaster like a volcano erupted somewhere, then somebody will be hold accountable because of the eruption of the volcano. The virus is like a boat. It could embark here in this harbor or the other harbor. So it's a common enemy, it deserves the common response by the whole international community. I cannot agree that the virus to be earmarked to a specific venue. That is why the WHO came out with the scientific naming, that is Covid-19.

It's natural that different people in different country have different evaluations or assessment. I believe, as long as we are aiming at the same direction, with our hands united to make tremendous efforts to have an early curbing of the spreading of the epidemic. We may not see eye to eye on each and every specific aspect, but as long as our hearts are united, and share the same goal, I believe we can move ahead to win the final victory. I don't believe the China-Brazil relationship will be affected, because China and Brazil have shared much more things in common, to have a reinforced relationship between the two countries serves the interests not only for the Brazilian and Chinese people, but also to the benefit of the whole world. We may see differently for these and other issues, but I believe the fundamentals of our relationship remains strong. And as far as China's concerned, we are ready to work together with our Brazilian colleagues to further reinforce this relationship.

 

Svenska Dagblade: My question concerns the wet markets. As China reopened the wet markets where wild animals and wild meat are sold, especially concerning Wuhan, what tightening or restrictions measures are China thinking about to take on how you are going to be able to control this in China, to have wet markets where you do not have one animal sold in the future? Also I want to add the question after the controversy with Pompeo insisting that the virus is coming from a laboratory in Wuhan? What is your comment on this?

 

Chen Xu: The wet market you mentioned is not a trade market for wild lives. China has already adopted laws for comprehensive prohibition of illegal hunting, trading, transportation and eating of wild lives. It's illegal practice in those trade or agricultural markets to sell wild lives. If found, it will be abandoned and seriously punished by the law. The Chinese government has always put the safety and health of our people on top of the priority. Especially after this round of the pandemic, we have strengthen the regulations with regard to the so-called wet market, in our terminology, agricultural trading market. And I can tell you that the markets in Wuhan until this point are not open. We take a very cautious manner. We need to strike the right balance between the reopening of the normal life in the gradual, steady, sustainable manner, vis-à-vis the control of the virus. That is why very strict measures have been taken. Until this point, the market in Wuhan remains closed.

You mentioned remarks by Secretary of State Pompeo. It is really alarming for a high ranking official at his position to air views like this. It doesn't serve the purpose for the Americans to cope with the virus. And I don't think it's a constructive move simply to shift the blames to others. It will not help the efforts by the Americans themselves. It will jeopardize the international efforts to join hands to fight the epidemic. Now it seems the mindset of some American politicians has got problems. They have adopted an approach that, anything from China, no matter how China performs or even we do nothing, they will always blame us. I don't believe this kind of approach is conducive. I hope that those officials could reflect by themselves. Apparently their perceptions about China in particular, and about the world have got some problems. Having said that, China remains open and constructive, and we are ready to conduct cooperation with all partners concerned for a better world, a healthy and safe world for everyone.

 

Swiss News Agency:As a follow up to Gunilla's latter question, besides Secretary Pompeo's statement, US sources said that President Trump has its intelligence agencies to investigate and look for proofs directed at China on a potential link to that laboratory in Wuhan. And President Trump himself has also threaten your country of a new trade war with additional tariffs. So how do you consider that? Will China decide for some reprisal if these measures are actively taken? And secondly, WHO asked to be associated with the investigation in China about the origin of the virus with you? Will China grant an access to WHO staff to be associated to these investigations?

 

Chen Xu: Indeed, what you mentioned needs to be objectively appraised and analyzed by scientists. I don't believe it advisable for the politicians to air their views without backup of scientific support. I don't believe it's advisable for state leaders to have this kind of opinion. And you mentioned that the president of the Untied States even threatened to launch a trade war. This is something that goes far beyond. It would be contradictory to the joint efforts of the international community, including the Americans, to fight against the pandemic. Indeed, the situation in the Untied States, especially in New York, is really worrisome. At this moment it's time to call for more international efforts. I think everybody needs to be preoccupied with working together to find ways to curb the virus , rather than to point fingers at others.

And you mentioned the investigations in which the WHO will be involved. I think you will find those references in the most recent reports. It's natural for the benefit of the whole mankind to have this kind of evaluations as what happened after the previous pandemic, like Ebola and others. The purpose is to enhance our capability to have a better response in case we are facing new pandemics. As far as myself is concerned, I believe that for the time being, the top priority is to focus our efforts to save life. And having said that, I have to say, if we are going to talk about any inquiries, evaluations, and reviews, we need a right atmosphere. You cannot allow, as I said earlier, this kind of politicizing, or "political virus" to spread freely without any curbing, while we are talking about the efforts against the real virus. We need to focus to save life, and in the meantime to stop the "political virus".

 

France 24: I'd like to come back on the international cooperation. Could you please give us more details about 140 countries to which you provided help? Did you send some Chinese experts? Did you send some some food or some PPE to the countries? I'm talking about the western countries affected by the virus and African countries.

 

Chen Xu: We provided, within our capability, medical expert teams, PPE, facial masks. And we shared our experience by the information sharing center I mentioned earlier. My colleague, health counselor, could offer more details.

Counselor Feng Yong: Okay. We have sent several medical teams to African countries, for example, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia. And we sent many technical experts to other countries around the world, For example, you can learn it from the news report, like Italy, Venezuela and many other countries. Also we sent the PPE to countries, nearly each African countries. Furthermore, we launched many workshops, experience sharing with colleagues around the world, such as the US, some European countries, African countries. So we are trying our best and within our capacity to support countries around the world and join together to fight these diseases. Thank you.

 

German Press Agency: This is on the upcoming World Health Assembly. Is China going to block an application by Taiwan to have an observer status at this World Health Assembly? If the answer to this is yes, can you explain to us how the participation of Taiwan is detrimental to China's interest? What is the problem that China would have for Taiwan to take part in this as an observer? Thank you very much.

 

Chen Xu: The World Health Organization, as well as the World Health Assembly to be convened in virtual conference, should follow and be guided by the basic principles enshrined in the Resolution 2758 of the General Assembly of the Untied Nations, and also the relevant WHO resolutions. These are the political basis to handle the issue of Taiwan's involvement in the activities of the World Health Organization. I think the door remains open and effective channels have been established across the strait and between the headquarter of WHO and also the local medical experts in Taiwan province. There's no issue at all for the information sharing or to participate in the expert groups discussions. We have many rounds of discussions, and there are some experts from Taiwan province invited to Wuhan in early days. So there's no such issue as we are blocking Taiwan's involvement.

But as for membership or observer status, that is the political decision to be taken by member states. As you know, the current local authority sticks to the secessionist policy, abandon one China principle. Actually they themselves closed the door. They destroyed the political basis for the involvement in the WHO's activities. That's the key to the issue.

 

Bloomberg News: I want to ask you, Ambassador, with regards to the anti-Chinese sentiment, what impact is this having on the Chinese diaspora, and how will the Chinese government seek to counter that?

 

Chen Xu: As far as I know, and through our contacts with many interlocutors around the world, no matter bilaterally speaking or vis-à-vis international organizations, I didn't find the ground of your referring to the anti-China mood. Indeed, there are some groups, small number of people, who have some different attitude, which are very much different with the majority of the world. But they didn't represent the mainstream of the world opinions. We are quite confident that we have enjoyed over the last several decades ever stronger relationship with the outside world. Actually we have more common ground than the differences, even with some most difficult pair of relationship at this moment. So I didn't see the ground for any anti-China mood around the world.

 

Independent Newspapers S. Africa: We've had a lot of statements by US president and his secretary of state concerning laboratories in China. And you stated, obviously, that the situation of the Covid-19 needs to be objectively appraised by scientists. But it's not clear yet from questions asked that the members of the WHO have full access to the laboratory that are called government laboratories in Wuhan. Basically what I'm asking is, do WHO scientists have full access to government laboratory that US officials have been talking about?

 

Chen Xu: As I said earlier, we have adopted an open, transparent practice since the very beginning. As for the cooperation between scientists, I think we have quite a number of cooperation with different countries. As for the particular research center, I will come back to you after I have further information. Maybe my health counselor could elaborate a little bit.

Feng Yong: I think you're referring to Wuhan Virology Institute. Actually, this Institute is quite an international one. It was established by the support from France. So actually, the scientists working in that institute have very extensive international cooperation around the world, especially with the US scientists before. Actually we are quite open at this point. And we are also in close discussions with WHO.

Chen Xu: Just as my colleague said, the variety of institutes in Wuhan are open to the outside world. Actually that one was established with a kind of joint venture between China and France. It depends on how you categories or itemize your inquiries. If you're talking about international cooperation and exchanges in general terms, they are always open. But if you are connecting with the proposed inquiries or investigations, that's something else. As my colleague indicated, discussions have been underway with many interlocutors.

 

Associated Press: Unfortunately, during this presentation, a number of questions have emerged beyond what I had originally intended to ask. The first is the video that you showed was very interesting. Is that produced by the Chinese Foreign Ministry, and could you make that available to us first of all. The second is, you mentioned that China supports the ACT program between the WHO and a number of other countries. Will there be a financing money provided by China to support that as well? And then finally, my real question coming in is, there have been a number of investigations launched by US, and including a review that President Trump has discussed of communications and actions by the World Health Organization. And I know that some American legislatures are trying to get documents from World Health Organization. How concerned are you about that? Some documents between communications showing documents between China and the World Health Organization might be compromising, might shed a negative light on China. Finally, I'm sorry, but you just brought this up. I wanted to just make sure I heard this correctly your adviser about the Wuhan institute of virology? Are you saying it's a joint venture between China and France? Are there Americans who work there? Is there an open dialogue with Americans there now?

 

Chen Xu: Let me catch up with your series of questions. As for ACT, we just announced a moment ago. We are going to be part of this exercise. For the details I will come back to you afterwards, whether we are going to make our contributions in cash or in kind or in the science and scientific research. I don't have any additional information at this moment. But you will find this is a very important gesture that China is ready to be part of the international efforts as long as they are beneficial to the reinforced efforts to fight against the epidemic.

As for the video clip, I don't know who is the author of the video clip. I think it is not a difficult issue. And one additional information on the other video clips. I know that's not production of the Foreign Ministry of China. It's now spreading in the website. And it was broadcast by CNN as well the day before yesterday. I can provide you with a full clip afterwards. Afterwards my colleague can share with you the clip. In the meantime they will tell you who the author is. But I think the another is someone who is very clever at the computer technologies. I really admire them to put a long and complicated story in such a succinct and a composite manner.

And for the Virology Institute of Wuhan, some of your colleagues also raised this issue. The US president is trying to make linkage between the virus origin with the Wuhan Virology institute. I don't think it's the right opinion to do that. You will find that different opinions have been expressed both inside and outside the Untied States. In the Untied States, you will find implosion of different views, including their institutes, and even from the military officials. Jumping into the hasty generalization that the virus is from that institute in Wuhan is not a scientific and responsible approach. And you will find that the first affected cases even earlier in December from other parts of the world instead of Wuhan. So let's leave it to the scientists rather than politicians to make arbitrary finger pointing.

You mentioned the investigations. With regard to the unilateral investigations announced by President Donald Trump, like many other countries, we don't believe this is a healthy approach. The US leadership should have its own discretion, whether this will be conducive to boost the international efforts to fight against the epidemic. I have total confidence of the integrity of the World Health Organization, including the Director General, Dr. Tedros. We have full confidence about performance and personal integrity in terms of the performance of the DG and WHO. Because what happened after the outbreak of this round of pandemic plus the experience in the previous occasions, the conclusion is simple and sound that they have conducted their business in a responsible manner. They take up the responsibility to coordinate and mobilize the international efforts to fight against this pandemic. We have full confidence, and we don't need to worry about the integrity of this organization.

 

McClatchy Newspapers, France24-English: Good morning Ambassador. I was wondering, sir, if you could please elaborate a little bit, and perhaps your health counselor can shed some light into this. The head of the WHO office in China Dr Gauden Galea last week said on the record that the WHO has yet to be invited by China to participate in your ongoing investigations on the origins of the Covid-19 virus. If you could elaborate a little bit on that Sir. And secondly, there are reports that China has yet to share a sample of the virus with any of the WHO reference laboratories around the world. Is that still the case? Or have you gone ahead and shared the virus?

 

Feng Yong: About Dr Gauden Galea's interview with Sky News. I believe his interview was miss-interpreted by the media. And we enjoy very close working relationship with WHO and we're happy to talk with WHO to further strengthen our cooperation.

About virus sharing. Actually, I believe that if someone asked us to share the virus and then we can share. It should be between laboratories. For example, if A laboratory asks to share virus with B laboratory, they need to reach agreement on this issue. So far I don't know which laboratories make this request.

Chen Xu: I think what has been said is self explanatory for the virus sharing. Like many other countries, we have the same enthusiasm and interest because it will benefit not only the curbing of this round of pandemic, but will be conducive to the future endeavors if we are going to face in similar situation. As my colleague indicated, it depends on the will and interests of all parties concerned. It cannot be one sided. We are ready to share with others, but also we need the others to show the same interest. The cooperation between the labs depends on the close contact and talks between relevant labs. If the World Health Organization could serve as a facilitator, it will be very much helpful. We are ready to conduct meaningful dialogues with WHO and other relevant labs. And on the regional Director's remarks, my colleague has rightly pointed out. If you look at the whole of his remarks, you will find the whole picture. I simply wish to draw your attention to the most recent remarks Mr. Gauden made yesterday, and that's representing the whole picture of his comments.

 

Agence France Presse: WHO says that it will need an invitation from China in order to come and investigate the source of the virus in Wuhan. When can they expect that invitation to come? Secondly, do you have a very direct response to Trump and Pompeo's claims to have seen strong evidence that the virus came from the Wuhan laboratory? I just feel a very, very direct response on that.

 

Chen Xu: As I said earlier, the top priority for the time being is to focus on the fight against the pandemic until we win the final victory. So we need to have the right focus and allocation of our resources. It's not that we are allergic to any kind of investigations, inquiries or evaluations, as long as it will be beneficial to the international efforts for this round of fighting or to the future preparedness for any unprepared kind of public health emergencies, we are ready to take an open minded attitude. As Dr. Tedros said, we need to race with time to save life as much as we can. Having stressed that, it does not mean that we pay less attention to the issue you mentioned. For whether or how the invitation will take place, we need to have the right priority setting at this moment.

On the other hand, we need the right atmosphere. This is closely linked with your second question. You mentioned that the president and secretary of state of the Untied States, they make a lot of observations about the origin of the virus, and try to shift their own responsibilities to others. This can only reflect their own failure at this moment to curb the spreading of the virus in the Untied States. This kind of accusations of shifting of responsibilities will not help. We hope that they could now focus more on coping with the spreading of the virus in the Untied States, while at the same time also helping the others, and to support the international efforts coordinated by the World Health Organization.

 

Agence de Presse Espagnole: It has been confirmed that a case of the new current virus had a cure in France, at least in a person without any contact with China or any other history explaining data. And it was by the end of last year before the first report from China, as you mentioned yourself a few minutes ago. My question, some people think that China was late to report to WHO intentionally or but something else happened. So I would like to have the China position on this timing.

 

Chen Xu: As you mentioned, in France, there were reported cases in December last year. At the end of December, we find some cases. Then in January, on the 3rd, we reported to the World Health Organization to share this information with all the relevant countries, including the Untied States. Then on January the 23rd, we have taken the decisive measures to lock down the whole city of Wuhan. Then you would find the evaluations and comments by the president of the Untied States. It was quite positive. He'd praised China's efforts on many occasions. So now you will find it quite a different tune. So it is hard for me to establish the logic and the consistency. What is this for their comments? I didn't find a consistency. And I didn't find the relevancy of the all these comments. I believe as many people ask that, what happened for almost two months after we reported to the WHO and shared this information to others. As Dr. Tedros has indicated, when he announced the Public Health Emergency of International Concern at the end of January, there were only 86 cases outside China. That means that WHO fulfilled his duty, made that announcement in a very timely manner. You cannot blame WHO to try to delay or try to cover up of China's performance. Or there is some colluding between China and WHO, or try to cover up the matter or delay the information. What happened afterwards? What happened to all this performance by the president, by the secretary of state? Why, where are the secretary of state, what he was doing? I could have many questions like these. The key to the point was that there's no use to continue with this kind of rhetoric, try to shift blames to others. It will be more advisable to focus on the fight against pedantic both domestically while at the same time to render a helping hand to the others.

 

Valor Economico: First, a lot of people have said that Dr. Tedros, DG from WHO is under strong influence of China. What would you say about this, Ambassador? Second question, does China think of stepping up its financial support to WHO in the close future? Thank you so much, Ambassador.

 

Chen Xu: Actually, there is no such issue. I don't think it will be right to put your question in this manner. It's not the question that Dr. Tedros was influenced by China. It's a cooperation between China and World Health Organization. If you're going to talk about the influence, I don't think China shares the largest influence with WHO and any other international organizations. It is the Untied States in terms of the budgets, in terms of high ranking officials, etc. Among the more than 20 senior management members in the World Health Organization, we only have one assistant director general. And in terms of the budget, although along with the development of China's economy, I think it is inevitable that we are going to increase our share to the assessment including its subsidiary bodies. We are ready to make more contributions as long as our economy develops. It's not our purpose to deliberately seeking world influence, especially through providing more funding. We will follow the formula of each and every organization for the assessment. We will follow faithfully the assessment. As I know the day before yesterday, we paid our UN budget in time and in full. I hope the others could follow suit. Thank you.

 

Xinhua News Agency: We know that for UNOG and your office here in Geneva, there are so far a total of like 17 cases reported among UN staff. So my question is, Mr. Ambassador, do you have any information about the Chinese diplomats and Chinese employees of international organizations here in Geneva who are tested positive of corona virus? I didn't hear any cases. So if this is the case, their number is very low, what do you think the reasons behind this? Is this because that Chinese residents here in Geneva are more alert or they follow the rules recommended by WHO and the Swiss government?

 

Chen Xu: Thank you very much for your question for you are concerned about our staffs. Actually, at this moment, we are trying to keep the zero inflection at this point. There's no one in my Mission, and my staff and including their family members inflected. We try to keep this record. We have followed very closely the directions and policy guidance of not only the World Health Organization, but also the Swiss Federal Government. We follow very closely on the issue. No other suggestions or advices, but two key things: first to wash your hand as much as you can. Secondly, to keep a social distance. I can tell you that we shifted our team into two, that is, half of my staff will conduct their business at their home.

 

Der Tagesspiegel: It's two questions. The first question is on the coming World Health Assembly. Are you expecting a ferocious, a bitter showdown between your and the United States delegation at the WHA? Secondly, at the end of January, Dr. Tedros and his team visited China. He met President Xi Jinping behind closed doors. As far as I know, the minutes of this meeting have not been released. Don't you think, that for the sake of transparency and for the sake of international cooperation, it is important to release the minutes of this meeting? So to counter any rumors or any suspicions that the Chinese have had any influence on Dr. Tedros or gave him some instructions as rumors, say many things.

 

Chen Xu: What I can tell you is that as far as we're concerned, we didn't have that interest or intention to deliberately to engage in the battle with anyone, including the United States. We will participate in this virtual conference in a constructive manner. We will try to solicit the common ground as much as we can and try to deal with issues in a constructive manner. We are not in the position to provoke anything, but we have to defend ourselves. If you look at all the situations around, this political pandemic is not provoked by us but by others. We are ready to conduct our business in a constructive manner, but we are ready to cope with any difficulties or challenges caused by the others.

And you're talking about Dr. Tedros' visit in late January to China. I was there during the meeting with the President. You will find all the main messages through the press coverage. My suggestion is that you can read the press report once again, and the main points are all contained there. There's nothing to hide. As I said, we always conduct our business in the open, transparent manner, including, among others, the meeting between the President and the Director General of the World Health Organization. The main points were there, and you will find all the relevant information in the press coverage.

 

Svenska Dagblade: Just a short follow up as you seem quite convinced that the virus is not coming from any laboratory in China, As far as you are informed, what is the source of the virus?

 

Chen Xu: As I said earlier, this question has been answered many times by the Chinese spokesman of the Foreign Ministry and also by some of my colleagues, other fellow Ambassadors elsewhere. This is the issue that needs a scientific answer. I'm not in a position to jump into this kind of questions. I do hope that the others, no matter its heads of state or ministers, it is more advisable to leave these issues to the scientists.

 

Bloomberg News: I want to follow up, Ambassador, on your point about the virus emerging in France in December. Are you saying that it's possible the virus could have emerged and jumped into humans outside of Wuhan, perhaps in France? Is that what you're saying?

 

Chen Xu: No. I'm not in a position to talk the whole story like this. What I stressed was that the virus is the common enemy of the human beings of the whole international community. I'm not in a position to give any indications that this virus is coming from Wuhan or outside of Wuhan or some other potential venues. Someone mentioned that earlier that in December in France also reported the cases. I don't believe that we can easily jump into the conclusion that it might come from France. It is not the conclusion as far as myself is concerned. We highly appreciate the tremendous effort made by the French people, and we do have bilateral cooperations in this respect. And we do hope that not only in Europe, but in America and in Africa, the situation could turn better with the joint efforts.

 

Associated Press: You mentioned that there should not be politicization. There should be international cooperation in the fight against the pandemic. By showing this video, are you not concerned that China could be seen as playing politics? Could you also answer Robbin's Question? Very simply, the allegations from Mr. Pompeo and President Trump about evidences at Wuhan. Are you saying it is not true, that this virus may have come from the Wuhan Institute of Virology? Could you just say yes or no?

 

Chen Xu: I'm not in a position to say that, because I'm not a scientist. This is quite clear. If the President and the Secretary of State, if they have hard evidence, please show to the whole world. If they have hard evidence that this come from some lab in Wuhan, they need to show this evidence to the whole world rather than to point fingers with groundless accusations. And you mentioned that the video clip. I don't think it's the right collocation to say we are trying to criticizing, because the video clip itself tells the truth both in terms of the timeline as well as the substantive aspects. Actually, as I said earlier, we are not the first one. We never take initiative to provoke any undesirable things, as the others are trying to shift their responsibility, trying to blame the others. We have an old saying, like "someone tried to set fire freely while will not allow the others to even use a candle". I don't think this is the right approach.

 

Der Tagesspiegel: Thank you. It's a follow-up clarification. Perhaps the health counselor can clarify. Has China shared any sample since the outbreak with any laboratory, WHO reference laboratory since the outbreak as of today? Because it wasn't clear to me all about the cooperation and protocols. WHO is very clear that to find the origins of a new virus, as much cooperation and sharing and the reference laboratory were specifically set up for that purpose. So has China provided any samples, especially in the critical early days for scientists to work on this virus? And the same applies to other regions of the world.

 

Feng Yong: Virus sharing is a quite complicated issue. And also a technical issue. If they want to share the virus, they need to reach agreement first. For example, how to secure the safety of the virus, the safety of the samples, then how to share the benefit, for example, or who will be the author of the scientific research paper and who will get some kind of benefit from the research. This is a quite technical and complicated issue. And the two laboratories need to talk and reach this agreement and then they can share the samples and virus. This is a totally dialogue between scientists. We have very clear position and we want to have international cooperation on scientific research. They need the virus for them. They need to produce laboratory reagents and they need to divide vaccines and also they need to have a clinical trials. So this is very technical issue and it depends on the cooperation between laboratories, institutions, between the scientists. As a government, we support this kind of international cooperation.

 

Der Tagesspiegel: I was asking the Counselor if any sample has been shared with any of the WHO reference laboratory in the last four months, given he stressed the importance of international cooperation and given the extensive long history of cooperation of distinguished Chinese institutes with their counterparts in other parts of the world. I just don't know the answer. If a viral sample has been shared to date or not, that's all, or are they still in the process of working out the terms of reference?

 

Feng Yong: As you may know, there are many laboratories in China. Also there are many laboratories around the world. So I don't have this very detailed information at this moment for you.

 

Agence de Presse Espagnole: I regret if I didn't understand, but on the issue of contributions by China to WHO, I would like to know if China has concrete plans to increase its contribution after the cutback of the United States at this moment?

 

Chen Xu: I don't think it's the right time to talk for the others to share the burdens of one particular member. And I don't think it's a healthy move and a constructive gesture for an important member of the World Health Organization to halt its funding. As far as member states are concerned, it's a duty obligation bound to pay their shares, especially to pay their assessment in full and on time. That is the basic requirements as far as the member states are concerned. It's not the right setting. When the one particular member states withheld its assessment while for the others to talk about how to take up the vacuum, I don't think it's the right approach. We do hope that the Americans could have their second thought and come back to the right track.

But as far as China's concerned, we have already made contributions of US$50 million to the this organization. And we paid our assessment in full and on time. As I said, because the UN budget has been assessed to each and every of its member states according to a specific formula, we will follow the formula.The formula is based on the economic strengths of each and every member states. Thank you.

Thank you once again for this getting together in such a unique manner. Thank you, for your interests and for your questions, which help us to have a better understanding of the observations of the outside world. I benefit quite a lot from this conversation and wish everybody a good health, and I hope to see you soon in other settings.

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