|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin's Regular Press Conference on March 3, 2021|
Bloomberg: According to Gallup poll results, favorable views of China in the United States hit a new low. Does the foreign ministry have any comment on the negative views of China?
Wang Wenbin: I've noticed that lately there have been many polls on China-US relations. Some results suggest that a considerable number of respondents in the United States believe people-to-people and cultural exchanges with China should be maintained and 72 percent support active U.S. cooperation with China on climate governance.
I'd like to stress that the Chinese and American people always have friendly sentiments towards each other. This underpinning friendship brings vitality to bilateral relations. However, the previous U.S. administration and anti-China forces in the United States, driven by ideological bias and selfish political gains, flagrantly smeared and maligned China, provoked confrontation and division, disseminated political viruses, and poisoned the public opinion atmosphere in both countries.
Recently there have been a series of interactions at various levels between China and the Untied States. First, President Xi Jinping held a telephone conversation with President Joe Biden on the Spring Festival's eve. Last month, Yang Jiechi, Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Director of the Office of the CPC Central Commission for Foreign Affairs, talked over the phone with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken. More recently, State Councilor Wang Yi addressed the opening ceremony of the Lanting Forum themed "Promoting Dialogue and Cooperation and Managing Differences: Bringing China-U.S. Relations Back to the Right Track", which was attended by representatives from various sectors including former government officials, experts and scholars. Only yesterday, the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC) and the State Legislative Leaders Foundation (SLLF) of the United States co-hosted the Virtual Conference of the 5th China-U.S. Subnational Legislatures Cooperation Forum under the theme of opening a new chapter through win-win cooperation. China and the United States should heed the voice of the people and expectations of the international community and maintain and strengthen dialogue and exchange in all areas.
We hope the United States will view China and China-US relations in an objective and rational light, adopt practical and rational China policies, work with China in the same direction, and do more to promote mutual trust and cooperation, so as to help bring bilateral relations back onto the track of sound and steady development. We also hope our friends from the press will report on China and China-US ties objectively and faithfully to play a better role in enhancing the two peoples' mutual understanding and trust.
RIA Novosti: The European Union on Tuesday imposed sanctions against a number of Russian citizens for the arrest of opposition figure Alexey Navalny. Later on the same day, the United States also confirmed that they have imposed sanctions on several senior Russian officials and 14 entities over the same case. Russian side said that these actions of EU and US are driving relationships with Russia into a dead end. Is China concerned that this situation and further deterioration of Russia's relations with the United States and EU may affect coordination in the UN Security Council and cooperation within various international formats?
Wang Wenbin: We've stated China's position more than once. The handling of the issue concerning Mr. Navalny is entirely Russia's domestic affair. External forces have no right to interfere in a sovereign nation's internal affairs. We hope relevant countries will strive to enhance mutual understanding and resolve differences through consultation and dialogue, instead of resorting readily to the use or threat of unilateral sanctions in international relations.
Russia, the United States and the European Union have important influence in the international community. China hopes that relevant countries will strengthen communication and dialogue, which is conducive to world peace and stability and will help the international community to jointly address global challenges.
Xinhua News Agency: According to the latest report released by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) on March 2, China, with around 68,000 applications in 2020, or a 16.1 percent year-on-year growth, remained the largest user of WIPO's PCT system for the second consecutive year. Do you have any comment on this?
Wang Wenbin: I noted this report. According to the report, China remains the top user of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) system with 68,720 applications for 16.1% year-on-year growth, higher than the rate of 10.6% in 2019. The top filer has been a Chinese company for the fourth consecutive year. The top 10-university list for PCT applications comprises five universities from China.
Despite the impact of COVID-19, the number of Chinese patent application filings through the PCT system has continued to grow. This attests to the prominent progress in China's IPR and epitomizes the continuous improvement of China's innovation capability and public awareness of intellectual property, indicating China's transformation from a major IPR importer into a major IPR creator.
According to recent data released by the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA), China granted 530,000 invention patents in 2020, up by 17.1% year on year. China retains its 14th place in the 2020 Global Innovation Index (GII), remaining the only middle-income economy among the 30 top-ranking countries.
As China has entered a new development stage, it is putting in practice the new development philosophy and formulating a new development paradigm, which would not be possible without the strong support of IPRs. No country can become an independent innovation center or enjoy fruits of innovation alone; innovation should benefit the world rather than being encaved. China stands ready to work with other countries to strengthen scientific innovation and cooperation, actively participate in global IPR governance, and contribute more to the balanced, inclusive and sustainable development of global IPRs.
China News Service: According to reports, a missile attack targeting Saudi Arabia's Jizan Province injured five people. Do you have a comment?
Wang Wenbin: China condemns attacks targeting civilians and civil facilities. We support Saudi Arabia's efforts to uphold its security and stability and urge relevant sides to avoid actions escalating regional tensions.
RIA Novosti: Microsoft says China-based government hackers have exploited a bug in its email server software to target U.S. organizations. The company also said that hackers have been trying to steal information from universities, law firms and infectious-disease researchers. I wonder if China has any comment on this?
Wang Wenbin: China firmly opposes and combats cyber attacks and cyber theft in all forms. This position is consistent and clear. China has reiterated on multiple occasions that given the virtual nature of cyberspace and the fact that there are all kinds of online actors who are difficult to trace, tracing the source of cyber attacks is a complex technical issue. It is also a highly sensitive political issue to pin the label of cyber attack to a certain government. We hope that relevant media and company will adopt a professional and responsible attitude and underscore the importance to have enough evidence when identifying cyber-related incidents, rather than make groundless accusations.
CCTV: This year marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Pakistan. Yesterday State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi attended together with Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi a virtual ceremony to launch celebration of the 70th anniversary. Could you tell us something about the events to be held and your outlook on the future of China-Pakistan relations?
Wang Wenbin: On March 2, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi attended together with Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi a virtual ceremony simultaneously held in Beijing and Islamabad to launch celebration of the 70th anniversary of China-Pakistan diplomatic ties and delivered an address. The two sides also unveiled a logo to mark the occasion. This event officially commenced a series of commemorative activities throughout the year.
The two sides have agreed through initial communication to hold over 100 events to mark the anniversary in a wide range of areas including the political, economic, trade, cultural and military sectors. The detailed list, once confirmed, will be released as soon as possible. Of course the commemorative activities will go far beyond the list. People from all walks of life in both countries, especially the young generation, are welcome to take an active part to enrich the celebrations and make them more broad-based and fruitful. With our concerted efforts, we will surely carry forward the traditional friendship, expand and deepen practical cooperation in various fields, bring the two peoples closer, and achieve greater development in the all-weather strategic cooperative partnership between China and Pakistan.
Bloomberg: US-based cybersecurity company Recorded Future has alleged that a Chinese state-sponsored hacking group has been targeting Indian ports and power plants since the middle of 2020 when the border conflict between China and India broke out. Does the foreign ministry have any comment on this claim?
Wang Wenbin: I answered relevant questions recently. I noticed that the Indian side has openly denied relevant report. It is irresponsible and ill-intentioned to make unsubstantiated accusations against a specific party. We urge relevant sides to respect facts, and stop stirring up trouble and sowing discord.
The Paper: According to a survey of the Lowy Institute on March 2, 18% of Chinese Australians have been physically threatened or attacked because of their Chinese heritage in the past year, while 37% reported negative treatment. The majority said the COVID-19 pandemic and the state of Australia-China relations had contributed to that experience. There are also reports that lawmakers of Chinese origin are subjected to racist attack. Do you have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: I have noted the relevant survey and reports. For quite some time, there has been continuous discrimination in Australia against people of Asian origins, including overseas Chinese, which poses serious threats to the safety and legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens in Australia. We are deeply concerned about this. The Chinese government previously issued a travel advisory and an alert for Chinese students going to study in Australia, hoping that Chinese citizens in Australia will take precautions for their own safety. At the same time, we hope that the Australian side will take this issue seriously and earnestly raise public awareness, solve the problems of racism and discrimination at home, and safeguard the safety and legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens in Australia.
South China Morning Post: It is reported that German government officials said a German warship will set sail for Asia in August this year and cross the South China Sea on its return journey. If this is happening, it will be the first German warship to sail through the South China Sea since 2002. What is your comment?
Wang Wenbin: Countries enjoy the freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea as stipulated in international law, but they cannot take it as an excuse to undermine the sovereignty and security of littoral countries.