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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang's Regular Press Conference on March 25, 2020

According to the latest figures from the NHC, March 24 saw 491 patients cured and discharged from hospital in China's mainland, bringing the tally to 73,650.

To help Italy fight the COVID-19 pandemic, the Chinese government has decided to send the third team of medical experts to Italy. The team, organized by the National Health Commission, consists of experts selected by the Fujian Provincial Health Commission. The team left for Italy at noon on March 25.

CCTV: It is announced today that President Xi Jinping will attend the G20 Extraordinary Virtual Leaders' Summit on COVID-19. What is China's expectation for the meeting? What are the initiatives and proposals China will put forward this time?

Geng Shuang: Currently, COVID-19 is engulfing many parts of the world, endangering the life and health of people in all countries and hitting the world economy pretty hard. The international community expects all parties to work together to combat the pandemic and stabilize the global economy. The G20 is a premier platform for global crisis response and economic cooperation. It played an important role in responding to the 2008 international financial crisis, and the international community looks to the G20 once again for leadership at this critical moment. The virtual G20 summit, the first in its history, presents an important opportunity for world leaders to discuss joint actions.

The virtual summit will be the first major multilateral event attended by President Xi Jinping since the outbreak. Under the direct leadership of President Xi Jinping, China has achieved notable results in the pandemic prevention and control and is now actively supporting other countries in their battles against the pandemic, which has been highly praised by the international community. China expects that this virtual summit will deliver positive messages of pooling consensus and taking actions to strengthen solidarity, work together to counter the pandemic and stabilize economy.

China is ready to work with G20 members to make this summit a success with real results to be achieved.

China News Service: you mentioned that the Chinese government is ready to facilitate the commercial procurement of medical supplies by foreign countries from China. Could you give us more details?

Geng Shuang: since the outbreak of COVID 19, China has always maintained that the international community should jointly safeguard an open world economy and ensure the stability of global supply chains and value chains. At present, while meeting the domestic demand, we are trying to facilitate the procurement of medical supplies through commercial channels by all countries. We have not taken any measures to restrict foreign trade, and we support and encourage enterprises to expand exports in an orderly manner.

As far as I know, purchasers from Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei, the Czech Republic, Djibouti, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Qatar, Mexico, Portugal, Russia, Serbia, Turkey and Britain have signed purchasing contracts with China companies for goods including testing reagents, masks, protective clothing and goggles.

In addition to facilitating commercial procurement, China has also provided supplies of protective equipment to WHO in support of other countries epidemic response. After WHO expressed its wish to buy medical supplies from China to support the global response to the pandemic, Chinese enterprises quickly signed the first batch of supply contracts with WHO.

I am confident that China's business community will continue to provide more of such supplies to the international community, and the resumption of work and production and China's economic development will continue to provide stronger support for the international community's response to the pandemic. I also believe that it is in the common interests of the international community to make cooperation strong, barriers low and trade unfettered.

RIA Novosti: First, you announced that China sent the third expert team to Italy. How many are on this team? Second, the IOC and Tokyo 2020 organizing committee confirmed the postponement of the 2020 Olympic Games until 2021. Do you have any comment?

Geng Shuang: Regarding your first question, I don't have that specific number at hand but I will come back to you once I have it.

As to the second question, the decision to postpone the Tokyo Olympic Games shows the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Japanese government and Tokyo Organizing Committee's responsible attitude towards the health and safety of athletes, participants and all mankind. It also manifests the IOC's commitment to the Olympic Movement. China respects this decision and will continue to support Japan in hosting the Tokyo Games.

Phoenix TV : US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in an interview yesterday talked about moving medical equipment supply chain back to the US from China and elsewhere. President Trump also stressed in a daily briefing on coronavirus that we should never be reliant on a foreign country for the means of our own survival. US media reported that the US is preparing an executive order to relocate the supply chain of enterprises. Do you have any comment?

Geng Shuang: I have taken several similar questions recently and I just want to reiterate our position on this issue.

In an era of globalization, the interests of all countries are closely intertwined. The formation and development of global industrial and supply chains are determined by market forces and companies' choices. As such, it is unrealistic and insensible to try to sever them or even trumpet "shifting" or "decoupling" theories as they run counter to economic law. In face of the pandemic, such practice will not help with problems at home, but only harm the interests of US businesses and people.

China is a leading manufacturer as well as a major producer and exporter of epidemic-related and medical supplies. As the situation is continuously turning for the better at home, China is gradually resuming its normal socio-economic order. We are providing support to the steady operation of global industrial and supply chains by accelerating resumption of work and production. Chinese businesses are speeding up manufacturing of urgently needed medical supplies for the world. China has pledged assistance to 82 countries, WHO and African Union, and facilitated commercial procurement in China for countries in need, like I just said. Our responsible practice has been well recognized by the international community.

To sum up, I want to stress that no country can face the pandemic by going it alone. It's the time for solidarity and cooperation rather than division and decoupling.


Beijing Youth Daily: China released information on several video conferences on COVID-19 recently. Could you give us a number of such meetings? Will there be more?

Geng Shuang: After the outbreak of COVID-19, China has been fighting it with all-out efforts. The most comprehensive, stringent and thorough measures taken have produced positive effects. Thanks to the Chinese people's arduous efforts, the situation at home keeps trending for the better. China has made tremendous sacrifice in this battle and its strong response is an important contribution to the world as it bought precious time. We have also gathered valuable experience in this process.

With the pandemic breaking out and spreading in many places across the globe, China, with the vision of a community with a shared future for mankind and a responsible attitude towards global public health security and people's well-being, has been sharing its experience through communication, coordination and cooperation with relevant countries and regional organizations in an open and transparent manner.

As of today, incomplete statistics show that China has held about 20 video conferences for experts with more than 100 countries in Northeast Asia, South Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and South Pacific as well as international organizations including ASEAN, EU, AU, SCO and Caribbean Community. The latest one was held yesterday with over 200 specialists and officials from 24 Latin American and Caribbean countries having diplomatic ties with China and Nicaragua. Exchange through this mechanism has covered affected countries across the globe.

The Chinese side shared via video link what we have learned about COVID-19, including epidemiological features, prevention and control strategies, clinical diagnosis and treatment, and tracing of close contacts, and offered suggestions to foreign counterparts. Participants all expressed thanks to China and spoke highly of the open, transparent, information-rich and professional meetings, where Chinese experts shared everything within their knowledge and offered explicable experience.

As we speak, China is still receiving requests for such conferences from many countries. Competent departments are doing all they can to coordinate arrangements. We will continue close communication and exchange with other parties through video link to help developing countries enhance capacity-building and mount a concerted response to the pandemic for regional and global public health security.

Besides these conferences, China has also released the seventh version of its diagnosis and treatment protocol and sixth of prevention and control protocol. They are a collection of combat experience gathered over the course of more than two months. They represent the wisdom and hard work of tens of thousands of frontline medical personnel in China. With the protocols translated into many foreign languages, we are sharing them with WHO and the international community.

The video conferences and diagnosis and treatment protocols are both examples of how China is contributing to the global response through technical assistance and public goods.

I want to stress that large-scale infectious diseases are major unconventional security threats to mankind. The virus is a common scourge facing all. With our future linked together, countries can only overcome the challenge by standing in solidarity. China will remain committed to the concept of a community with a shared future for mankind, work together with other countries to defeat the virus through mutual assistance, and contribute our wisdom, experience and prescription to the international community.

Bloomberg News: We are wondering if you had any comment on President Trump's decision to stop using the term "Chinese virus" ?

Geng Shuang: China has made clear its stance on the origin of the virus. We firmly oppose languages that stigmatize China. This stance has not changed.

Virus knows no borders and ethnicity and can only be defeated by the concerted efforts of all mankind. COVID-19 has taken footholds and is rapidly spreading in many parts of the world. We hope that the US will work with China and the larger international community to jointly fight against the pandemic and safeguard the global public health security.

AFP: I wanted to ask about the Australian foreign minister's comment that writer Yang Jun has been formally indicted in China on espionage charges. Can China confirm this? Also, Australia has strong objected to the formal indictment. What is China's comment?

Geng Shuang: Yang Jun, an Australian national, is suspected of engaging in criminal activities endangering the national security of the People's Republic of China.

Relevant Chinese authorities are handling the case in strict accordance with the law. In this process, Yang Jun's legal rights are fully protected. In view of the current epidemic control needs and for the sake of detainee's safety, the relevant departments will not arrange for visit for the time being until the epidemic situation is stabilized and improved. Relevant departments of the Chinese side have fully communicated with the Australian embassy in China.

Finally, we urge the Australian side to respect China's judicial sovereignty and stop interfering in China's law-based handling of cases in any form.

Reuters: On Tuesday, US Secretary of State Pompeo said China is still denying the world information it needs to prevent further cases of the coronavirus. What's your response to this?

A: In recent press conferences, we have repeatedly responded to the US accusations. At the press conference last week, I also detailed how China has kept the US updated on the epidemic by retracing the timeline.

China has always shared information, stayed in communication and cooperated with WHO and countries and regions including the US in an open, transparent and responsible manner, which has been widely praised by the international community.

We urge the US to respect objective fact and the international public opinion, stop politicizing the pandemic and discrediting China and focus on getting its own house in order and stemming the spread of the pandemic in its country.

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