CCTV: Japan has seen another spike in COVID-19 cases recently. Denny Tamaki, Governor of Japan’s Okinawa prefecture, said the US military has spread the Omicron variant to the prefecture, and that he was outraged because the infections among the personnel in the US military camp have spilled over to the local civilian population. He also renewed the call that US military personnel should no longer be exempted from Japan’s quarantine rules. Do you have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: I noted relevant reports. This is not an isolated incident as clusters of cases in US military bases overseas have posed severe threats to local people’s life and health. Spread of infections has also been caused by US military personnel in the ROK and Germany.
US soldiers stationed overseas have overridden laws of host countries, defied and disobeyed local anti-pandemic protocols in disregard of local people’s life, health and right to public health. Time and again they have become COVID-19 “superspreaders” across the world. How ironic it is when the US claims to be “leading global COVID-19 response”.
COVID-19 protocols should be applied without exception, be it a place or a person. The US should deeply reflect on the negative impact of its acts on global anti-pandemic cooperation. It should enforce strict restraint on US military overseas, show respect and a sense of responsibility toward the health of people around the world, instead of setting a bad example in the global fight against COVID-19.
Yonhap News Agency: According to reports, the DPRK fired an unidentified projectile into the sea east of the Korean Peninsula this morning. This second launch came 78 days after it test-fired a ballistic projectile. Do you have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: We noted relevant reports. The peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula doesn’t come easily and should be all the more cherished. Under the current circumstances, all relevant parties shall bear in mind the overall interests, speak and act prudently, adhere to the right direction of dialogue and consultation, and work together to promote the political settlement of the Korean Peninsula issue.
Kyodo News: Lithuanian President said on January 4 that the government’s decision to allow Taiwan to open a representative office under the name of Taiwan was a mistake. The Taiwan authorities said Lithuania is facing comprehensive pressure from China and Taiwan strongly condemns that and firmly supports Lithuania. Do you have any comment?
Wang Wenbin: Recognizing one’s mistake is a step in the right direction, but it is more important to take actions to redress the erroneous act of creating the false impression of “one China, one Taiwan” and come back onto the track of upholding the one-China principle.
I also want to point out that the ins and outs of how China-Lithuania relations encountered setbacks are very clear. Looking for excuses for one’s erroneous act does not help to solve the problem or improve China-Lithuania relations.
We also have this stern warning for the Taiwan authorities that seeking “Taiwan independence” and secession is doomed to fail.
South China Morning Post: According to recent reports, Ambassador Zhang Ming, Head of the Chinese Mission to the EU, will be the next Secretary-General of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). Can you confirm this?
Wang Wenbin: In accordance with relevant SCO rules and as approved by the SCO Heads of State Council, Mr. Zhang Ming assumed the post of SCO Secretary-General on January 1 in 2022 for a term of three years. Secretary-General Zhang Ming is a veteran diplomat with rich experience in multilateral diplomacy. It is believed that Secretary-General Zhang Ming, like his predecessors, will work to bring the SCO to new heights.
As the host country of the SCO Secretariat, China will stay committed to supporting the work of the Secretariat and the Secretary-General. We are ready to work with all parties to carry forward the “Shanghai spirit”, deepen cooperation in political, security, economy and trade, connectivity, cultural, people-to-people and other fields, to build a closer SCO community with a shared future and contribute the “SCO strength” to promoting peace and development in the region and beyond.
Bloomberg: Australia and Japan are going to sign a treaty that will further strengthen their defense and security cooperation during a leaders’ summit on Thursday. The agreement is the first of its type for Japan, other than a similar deal with the US, and marks a step closer in a relationship that is already referred to as a “quasi alliance.” Does the ministry have a comment?
Wang Wenbin: We always believe that state-to-state exchanges and cooperation should be conducive to enhancing mutual understanding and trust among countries in the region and safeguarding regional peace and stability, rather than targeting or undermining the interests of any third party.
The Pacific Ocean is vast enough for the common development of countries in the region. Along the same line, peace and stability in the Pacific depends on the joint efforts of countries in the region. We hope that the Pacific will be an ocean of peace, not a place to make waves.