外交部副部长乐玉成接受美国全国广播公司专访实录
2020/04/30

  2020年4月28日,外交部副部长乐玉成接受美国全国广播公司(NBC)资深记者马静(Janis Mackey Frayer)专访。

  以下为文字实录:

  乐:很高兴接受你的采访,这是我在新冠肺炎疫情暴发后第一次接受外国媒体采访。我在美国纽约工作过近四年,看到曾经热闹喧嚣的时代广场、百老汇、第五大道如今空空荡荡,我真的感到很难过。我谨借此机会,通过NBC向正在与疫情战斗的美国人民、特别是纽约人民表达深切慰问。今天一早,我从新闻中得知,美国新冠病毒感染者已接近100 万,令人痛心。在当前抗击疫情的关键时刻,中美两国应当搁置争议和分歧,携手应对共同的敌人——新型冠状病毒。我相信,只有团结合作,我们才能共赢,才能改变世界。

  马:接着您的开场白,我的第一个问题是,您现在是否觉得疫情这个问题已经被政治化了?

  乐:很不幸,现在有些政客把新冠肺炎疫情这个问题极大地政治化了,这是我们不愿意看到的。当前形势下,我们应该团结一心,共抗疫情,共克时艰,而不是相互指责,去搞政治操弄。

  马:现在大家都在呼吁各方提高透明度,能否详细介绍中国在抗击疫情之初的时间线?从最早武汉疾控中心通报第1起病例,直到武汉被封城的这段时间,中国政府采取了哪些举措?

  乐:中国的抗疫举措是公开、透明、负责任的。中国没有任何隐瞒疫情的行为,也没有任何的延误。我们已经全面公布了疫情通报的时间线。我想强调三个时间点:一是2020 年1月3日,中方开始定期向世界卫生组织以及美国等国家主动通报疫情信息。之后第2天,中美两国疾控中心负责人就进行了沟通。二是1月12日,中国及时向世界公布了新型冠状病毒全基因组序列,为有关国家确诊、治疗及疫苗研发等提供了重要前提。三是1月23日,武汉实施前所未有的“封城”,将一个1000多万人口的城市“封控”起来。这是一个惊天动地、举世皆知的行动。美国政府那时候就应该很清楚病毒问题的严重性,否则我们怎么会“封城”?

  关于中国的早期疫情应对,我们已邀请世卫组织专家组来中国考察过,其中包括两位美国专家。他们去了北京、广东、四川和湖北进行实地调研,并提交了全面报告,高度评价中国的应对举措。特朗普总统在同习近平主席通电话时以及在他的推特中,都高度肯定中国抗疫努力和透明度,认为中国提供的数据对美国很有帮助。

  马:美国情报部门多次对中国通报的数据表示质疑。他们说中国几次调整了确诊病例和死亡病例的数据。那么中国到底有没有把数据报低了,这样的猜疑是否有依据?

  乐:你刚才提到的美国情报部门,众所周知他们的情报已多次给世界造成灾难。当年他们说伊拉克拥有“大规模杀伤性武器”,到现在也没有找到。

  中方公布数据公开、透明、坦诚、真实,始终本着对历史负责、对人民负责、对逝者负责的原则,经得起检验。我们没必要去隐瞒,这些数据的背后是实实在在的人,是无论如何也隐瞒不了的。相反,有的国家把新冠肺炎说成是流感,这才是隐瞒。当前,中国正在全面实现复工复产,武汉已经解封,假如数字不实,我们敢这样做吗?我们对数据进行修订,正是体现了负责任的态度,这也是国际通常做法。据我所知,纽约前不久也进行了数据修订。质疑中国的确诊和死亡病例数,是对14亿中国人民,特别是数百万医护人员的极大不尊重!这些数字恰恰说明我们应对得当,反映的是“中国经验”,而不是“中国隐瞒”。

  马:那么美国人民是否能对中国公布的数据100%有信心?

  乐:完全可以。

  马:现在关于病毒的起源有一些猜测,也有各种各样的论调,中国是否允许独立的国际调查组到中国实地考察,研究病毒的来源?

  乐:有人说,人类千百年来,一直在同病毒作斗争,但从未真正战胜过病毒。病毒是很狡猾的。病毒源头是个严肃而复杂的科学问题,需要由科学家和医学专家去研究。但现在有个奇怪的现象,有些政客是搞经济的或是搞情报出身的,但谈起病毒溯源问题却绘声绘色。明明真正的专家们都不认同新冠病毒源自实验室,但有些政客却一口咬定,还振振有词地说病毒来自武汉的实验室,这不是很可笑吗?世界顶级医学杂志《柳叶刀》上刊登权威专家的联合声明,指出新冠病毒来源于大自然,而非人工合成。我们要相信专家,而不是政客。我们应该尊重科学,而不是去搞阴谋论。

  关于国际调查,我们是坦诚、开放的,支持科学家之间开展科研交流,包括总结经验教训。我们反对的是在没有任何证据的情况下,把中国放在被告席上,事先推定有罪,然后通过所谓国际调查来寻找证据。这种有罪推定式的国际调查我们坚决反对。刚才我提到,世卫组织专家组已第一时间到武汉考察。武汉病毒研究所也是开放的,自成立以来已接待过包括美国在内的各国科学家。日前,武汉病毒研究所所长还接受了外国媒体采访,他说武汉病毒研究所既没有意愿也没有能力制造病毒。

  马:请问中方有没有可能同意开展以科学为依据的调查,回应外界对中国透明度的关切,而且这样的调查,是不是也能帮助其他国家更有效地应对疫情?

  乐:开展国际调查要有依据。为什么这个调查只针对中国?有什么证据表明中国存在问题?为什么不去其他国家开展调查?如果要反思,从科学角度看,有的国家出现那么多确诊病例、死亡病例和扩散病例,这其中难道没有问题吗?我们反对把国际调查政治化、对中国搞污名化。

  马:我们听到有媒体报道说,病毒起源可能跟美国军方有关。这种说法在中国的社交媒体,包括中国官方的社交媒体账户上广为流传。请问这是中国官方观点吗?

  乐:在中国,不管是官方、民众还是个人,都对美国一些政客借疫情肆意诋毁中国感到愤怒,可以说义愤填膺。他们有权利通过各种方式表达自己的义愤,提出质疑和反驳。中国的企业家、海关人员、外交人员等每天辛辛苦苦、加班加点设法为美方抗疫生产和筹措医疗物资。而我们听到的、看到的却是美国一些高官政客对中国的谩骂和诋毁。你们想想,我们中国人是什么感受?更有甚者,美国共和党的内部竞选指南里,竟然提示候选人在被问及疫情问题时直接攻击中国。这种政治操弄已经到了赤裸裸、无底线的地步。对此中国人心里没法接受,当然要表达愤怒。

  马:如果这样的话,两国是不是在争先恐后进行一场传播虚假信息的战争?因为美方说了这些关于中国的不实信息,所以中国也要将这些信息再回击回去?中国官方是否允许媒体以及中国使领馆的网站去传播或者扩散这样的信息?

  乐:你觉得应该对有关假消息搞国际调查吗?中方的立场很清楚。因为病毒很狡猾,应该由科学家和医学专家去解开这个谜,而不是由政客来做。

  马:您刚才提到曾在美国工作过一段时间,请问您如何看待美国处理新冠肺炎疫情的方式?

  乐:美国国内的事我这儿就不说了,说了有“干涉内政” 之嫌。但既然你问我,我想给美国政府提一个建议,就是今后美国一定要找准,谁是真正的敌人。2017年底美国《国家安全战略报告》将中国定义为“战略竞争者”,有些人据此将中国视为敌人,并拉开架势要全政府、全方位对付中国。但现在发现,真正对美国构成威胁、迄今已夺走56000多美国人性命的是病毒,不是中国。中国是美国抗击疫情的战友和伙伴。如果美国在2017年将病毒等非传统安全挑战作为主要敌人来应对,那美国和世界可能就不会是今天这个样子。

  我想起毛泽东主席的一句话:谁是我们的敌人,谁是我们的朋友,这是革命的首要问题。我希望美国今后要找准真正的敌人,不要再错把战友当对手。

  马:现在很多美国人,不仅仅是美国政客,都在思考中国是否应该在一定程度上为病毒扩散成全球大流行病负一定的责任?

  乐:我首先要纠正一下,中国没有造成疫情,疫情是天灾,中国也是病毒的受害者,而不是病毒的同谋。中国是国际抗疫合作的贡献者、合作者。病毒神出鬼没,可能出现在任何地方。向中国追责、赔偿纯粹是荒唐的政治闹剧。首先于法无据。国际上没有哪条法律支持向首先报告疫情的国家追责,历史上也没有这样的先例。其次于理不通。中国遭到疫情第一波冲击,付出巨大代价和牺牲遏制疫情,为全球抗疫赢得了时间,积累了宝贵经验,作出了巨大贡献,应该得到公正对待而不是责难。既然要中国赔偿既不合理也不合法,那同不法之徒敲诈勒索有什么区别?要中国赔偿无非是想把自身抗疫不力的责任转嫁到中国身上,这种“甩锅”把戏不得人心,也不可能得逞。

  马:当前,尤其是在新冠肺炎疫情期间,美国对华看法日趋负面。特朗普总统在竞选时,似乎越来越多地在责难中国。在此背景下,您如何看待美中关系前景?

  乐:美国国内的确有一些对华负面论调。与此同时,很多有识之士都在呼吁中美要加强合作,反对“脱钩”和“新冷战”。我们始终认为不能用一次选举来定义和处理如此重要的一组大国关系,更不应为了大选“甩锅”中国,破坏两国合作,造成两国人民对立。这样做极其短视,也不负责任。中美之间矛盾分歧再大,也大不过两国人民的福祉和对美好未来的追求。中美完全可以开展合作。美国提出“让美国再次伟大”,中国要实现“中华民族伟大复兴”的目标,这两个历史进程完全可以并行不悖,中美完全可以相互成就,实现共同“伟大”。我们要有这个智慧和信心。千万不要被极端势力带偏方向,带错节奏,葬送两国人民的前途命运。

  对于下一步中美关系发展,我认为,双方首先要落实两国元首达成的共识,共同推进以协调、合作、稳定为基调的中美关系。具体来讲要做到“三要”、“三不要”。即一要保持两国领导人经常沟通和两国有关部门的对话和协调;二要深化双方各领域务实合作;三要加强两国在多边领域的国际抗疫合作。“三不要”就是不要对中国搞污名化、把疫情政治化;不要人为破坏、干扰两国合作大局;不要借疫情搞零和竞争。

  马:特朗普总统宣布暂停对世界卫生组织的资金支持,这很大程度上是因为世卫组织和中国走得近,中方对此有何回应?

  乐:世卫组织很好地履行了自身职责,表现得很专业、务实、高效。它不以任何一个国家为中心,而是以人类的健康和生命为中心,得到国际社会广泛好评和赞赏。除了美国,我没听说有哪个国家的领导人、或是哪个国际组织对世卫组织有什么不满。美国暂停向世卫组织供资是不理智的。在当前抗疫战争的关键时刻,美国应该集中力量抗疫,而不是将炮火对准世卫组织这样一个协调国际抗疫斗争的机构。美国政府这么做,实际上是站到了全世界的对立面,而且还会对世卫组织协调全球抗疫行动、挽救生命的努力,特别是对非洲等发展中国家抗疫斗争造成严重干扰和破坏。我不知道美方遵循的是什么逻辑。

  马:在疫情全球蔓延的背景下,中方对于过去几个月本国抗疫努力是否感到满意?

  乐:过去几个月,中国经历了非常困难的阶段。我们成功遏制住了疫情,积累了不少经验:一是以人为本、生命至上。为了挽救生命,我们不计成本、不惜代价,甚至也没太多考虑经济损失。人都没了,钱还有什么用?我们始终将挽救生命放在第一位。在武汉,我们甚至挽救了10多位百岁以上的老人。

  二是守望相助,一方有难,八方支援。武汉是这次疫情的“震中”,全国各地汇集了4万多医护人员驰援武汉,我的家乡江苏省就去了2800多名医护人员。武汉一家医院有位名叫甘如意的护士。她春节期间回到300公里以外的老家探亲。当得知武汉“封城”需要医护人员的时候,她义无反顾赶到武汉参加战斗。因为当时已没有交通,这个20多岁的女孩,骑着自行车加步行,4天3夜走了300多公里。这个故事让我感动至今。

  三是积极开展国际合作,我们向世界驰援,同时也得到了国际援助。中国给世界提供了各类天文数字的防护物资,其中口罩就有200多亿只,防护服、护目镜等也有几十亿个。

  从这次疫情防控中我们也学到了很多经验。在医疗方面,我们采取“四早四集中”、中西医结合、联防联控等举措,有效控制了疫情,挽救了生命,治愈率达到93.5%。现在我们开始复工复产,应该说得益于这些有效的举措。

  当然,这次疫情也暴露了我们的一些短板。比如,面对这场前所未有的疫情,我们的医疗专家和物资的战略储备不足、基层防治机构基础设施建设滞后、部分重大疾病治疗药物自主研发能力薄弱、公共卫生教育的普及以及人们防控的意识还不够强等等。所以,我们要不断改进工作,不断完善重大疫情防控体制机制,健全国家公共卫生应急管理体系。

  人类就是在同各种疾病灾难的抗争中成长发展起来的。天花、黑死病、埃博拉、H1N1流感等等,每一场重大流行病都给人类留下宝贵经验和教训。

  马:国际上有批评声音说,中国一开始应对疫情时反应慢了,特别是对“吹哨人”噤声,并在他们发声后中方反应也不够及时。请问中方如何让国际社会相信已从疫情应对中汲取了教训?

  乐:我觉得比起有些国家,中国的反应是相当迅速的了,尤其考虑到我们是第一波遭到疫情冲击。我可以举个例子, 1月23日武汉“封城”的时候,美国只有一个病例。3月13 日美国宣布进入国家紧急状态时,确诊病例达到1600多例。世卫组织中有很多美国专家,美国政府完全了解疫情情况。但这期间相隔整整50多天,这能怪中国反应慢吗?时间都去哪里了?

  马:最后一个话题,关于朝鲜劳动党委员长金正恩的健康问题。现在媒体就此有一些报道,考虑到中国和朝鲜关系非常密切,请问您对此有何回应?

  乐:我没有任何消息可以提供。我不知道你说的这些所谓消息源自哪里。我认为,媒体在涉及一国最高领导人的报道方面,还是要慎重、严肃。

  On 28 April 2020, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng spoke with Janis Mackey Frayer of the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) at an exclusive interview. The following is a transcript of the interview:

  Le Yucheng: First of all, it's my pleasure to do this interview with you. It is my first interview with a foreign media during this COVID-19 situation. I worked in New York for nearly four years, and I feel really sad when I see the once bustling Times Square, Broadway and Fifth Avenue have become so empty these days.

  So I want to take this opportunity to convey through NBC my heartfelt sympathies to the Americans and New Yorkers when they are in the fierce fight against the virus.

  This morning, I woke up to learn from the news that the US has nearly one million COVID-19 cases. I feel very sad to know this.

  Now at this critical and trying moment, China and the US must put aside all the differences, all the disagreements, just forget them, and join hands to confront our common enemy, the virus. I believe that together we will win and together we will make a big difference for the world. That's my opening remarks.

  Janis Frayer: To follow your opening remarks, do you believe we are now in a situation where the virus has become too politicized?

  Le Yucheng: Unfortunately, some politicians have gravely politicized the COVID-19 issue. This is not something we want to see. Under the current circumstances, it is the time for solidarity, for working together to combat the virus and tide over the difficulties. It is not a time for accusation and political manipulation.

  Janis Frayer: This is a time when people are calling for transparency on all sides. Can you take us back to the beginning of the time line here in China, the early days of when the cases were first being acknowledged by the CDC officials in Wuhan to when the lock down happened in Wuhan. What was happening within China's government during that period? Take us inside.

  Le Yucheng: China has been open, transparent and responsible in its COVID-19 response. We did not cover up anything, and did not delay any efforts. We have already publicized the time line of how we have shared the information on COVID-19.

  I would like to highlight three important points in time: First, 3 January. Starting from then, China has been updating the WHO and relevant countries, including the United States, about COVID-19 on a regular basis. On the following day, the heads of CDCs of China and the United States touched base with each other.

  The second one was 12 January. China timely shared with the world the whole genome sequencing of the coronavirus, which has been critical for diagnosis, treatment and vaccine development in relevant countries.

  The third one was 23 January. We put Wuhan, a city of over 10 million people, under quarantine. That was a momentous decision that was unseen before in our history. It was a massive action that has caught the world's attention. The US government should have become fully aware of the severity of the issue. If it were anything less serious, how could we lock down an entire city?

  As for the early stage of China's COVID-19 response, we invited a WHO-led joint expert mission for a field visit in China, which included two US medical experts. The group went to Beijing, Guangzhou, Sichuan and Hubei. Following the visit, it released a comprehensive report which gives full recognition to China's response efforts. President Trump himself, during his phone call with President Xi Jinping and in his tweets, spoke highly of China's transparency and response efforts. He said that the data China shared was helpful for the US in COVID-19 response.

  Janis Frayer: The US intelligence has suggested that China has artificially lowered the case numbers and the deaths and there were multiple revisions to the way that China was counting for coronavirus cases. So is it understandable that there is some skepticism about the numbers that China has been reporting and whether they are real?

  Le Yucheng: You mentioned US intelligence services. As is known to all, for more than once what they said caused disasters to the world. It was the US intelligence which claimed that Iraq had "weapons of mass destruction", yet till this day those weapons are nowhere to be found.

  China has been open, transparent, with good faith, and truthful when it comes to the release of data. We bear in mind our responsibility to history, to the people and to the lives lost to COVID-19. What we've done can stand scrutiny. There is no need for cover-ups. This is all about real people. It is literally impossible to hide anything. On the contrary, some countries once said that COVID-19 was just a common flu, and in fact that is cover-up. Now we are restoring economic activities across the board and have lifted travel restrictions on Wuhan. How could we have been confident in so doing if the case numbers were artificially lowered and not real?

  The revision of the case numbers was done out of a sense of responsibility. It is also a common international practice. To my knowledge, New York also revised its local case numbers recently. Challenging the truthfulness of the numbers of confirmed and fatal cases China has reported is highly disrespectful to the 1.4 billion Chinese people, especially millions of Chinese medical workers. The numbers we have released point only to the effectiveness of China's response efforts. What they reflect is China's experience, not China's cover-ups.

  Janis Frayer: So Americans can be one hundred percent confident in the numbers?

  Le Yucheng: Yes, absolutely.

  Janis Frayer: There are a lot of questions that are swirling about the origin of the virus. A lot of theories about the origin of the virus. How willing is China to allow an independent international investigation into where and how the coronavirus started?

  Le Yucheng: Some say that, for thousands of years, mankind has been battling against all kinds of viruses, but never seems to be able to claim an ultimate victory. Viruses can be really cunning. Their source is a serious and complex matter of science that must be studied by scientists and medical experts. Something strange now is that a few political figures, who supposedly are economists and intelligence people, are giving sensational accounts of the source of COVID-19. It is widely confirmed by experts that COVID-19 is not from labs. But some politicians are so insistent on the assertion of COVID-19 coming from a lab in Wuhan. Don't you think this is preposterous? A joint statement by 27 professional experts published at the Lancet, a world-class medical journal, also reaffirms that COVID-19 has a natural origin, and is not artificially synthesized. We need to listen to experts, rather than politicians. We need to respect science and refrain from resorting to conspiracy theories.

  You mentioned international investigation. We are candid, and we are open. We support professional exchanges between scientists, including exchanges for reviewing and summarizing experiences. What we oppose, however, is unfounded charges against China. One should not accuse China first and then run so-called international investigations just to make up the evidence. This is arbitrary investigation based on the presumption of guilt. That is what we firmly oppose. As I said just now, the WHO-led expert group visited Wuhan timely. As for the Wuhan Institute of Virology, it is open to international communication. Ever since its establishment, it has received visits by many international scientists, including those from the United States. Just recently, the head of the Institute took an interview with a foreign media, and made it clear that the Institute has neither the intention nor the capacity to engineer any kind of virus.

  Janis Frayer: But could a science-based investigation satisfy some of these questions and expectations we have apparently on China's part? And perhaps help countries that are still currently fighting COVID-19, help them adapt their responses in real time?

  Le Yucheng: The international investigation, if there is any, should have a solid basis. Why is this investigation only targeted at China? Is there any evidence to show that China does have problems? Why isn't there any investigation of other countries? Even for the sake of reviewing for improvement, then science-wise, don't those countries with rapid spread and surge of confirmed and fatal cases have their own problems? We oppose politically-driven investigation for the purpose of stigmatizing China.

  Janis Frayer: There have been some state media that have reported this theory that the virus was actually linked to the US military. And this is a theory that was amplified on social media by Chinese embassies, some Chinese ambassadors. Is this an official Chinese position? If not, why allow this disinformation?

  Le Yucheng: Chinese government officials, the general public and individual citizens are outraged as some US political figures are using COVID-19 to slander China. They are entitled to express their feelings, to question and rebut those slanders by various means. Here in China, business leaders, customs officials and diplomats are working so hard and around the clock these days to produce and pool together supplies for COVID-19 response in the US. But what we have heard all the time is bashing and slandering against China by some US politicians. Try to put yourself in our shoes: how would you feel if you were the Chinese people? Even worse, a Republican campaign memo goes so far as to advise the candidates to address COVID-19 issues by directly attacking China. Such flagrant moves have taken political manipulation to a level beyond anyone's imagination. Of course the Chinese people find them unacceptable, and have every right to express their outrage.

  Janis Frayer: So it is a disinformation war? If the US is engaging in disinformation, is that why China is engaging in disinformation as well? Merely asking if it is the position on the Chinese side to allow this sort of disinformation or theories to be distributed or amplified by state media and on the websites of Chinese embassies.

  Le Yucheng: Are you suggesting an international investigation on the relevant disinformation? China's position is clear. This virus is cunning, and its source is a complex issue that has to be addressed by scientists rather than politicians.

  Janis Frayer: You started our conversation talking about your time living in the US and being very concerned for friends who are there. What is your view on how the US has handled the pandemic?

  Le Yucheng: I don't want to comment on the COVID-19 response in the US, otherwise I would run the risk of "interfering in US domestic politics". But since you raised this question, I would like to put forward to the US government this suggestion: better find the real enemy in the future. The National Security Strategy that the US issued at the end of 2017 described China as a "strategic competitor". Some in the US used that as a basis to paint China as an enemy, clamoring for a whole-of-government and multi-pronged posture against China.

  What has turned out to be now is that the true enemy of the US is COVID-19, not China. The virus has claimed 56,000 lives in the US. China is a partner fighting the virus alongside the US. If the US had taken the virus and other non-traditional security threats as its major enemies since 2017, things might have been different today in the US and beyond.

  It reminds me of one famous saying from Chairman Mao Zedong: a first-order question in revolution is to discern the true enemies and true friends. I hope that in the future, the United States will identify the true enemy with greater precision, and will not mistake partners as opponents again.

  Janis Frayer: Is China willing to accept a degree of responsibility for how the virus spread and how it became a global pandemic? This is certainly a question on the minds of a lot of Americans, not just politicians.

  Le Yucheng: I must first correct your framing of the question. COVID-19 was not caused by China. It is a natural disaster. China is a victim, not an accomplice to it. China has contributed to the global efforts against COVID-19, and has been a partner of the world along the way. A virus can come and go without any trace. It can appear in any place in the world. Holding China accountable for the spread of COVID-19, or even demanding reparations from China, is a preposterous political farce. It has no legal basis. These is no international law that supports blaming a country simply for being the first to report a disease. Neither does history offer any such precedent. Second, it runs counter to common sense. China was among the countries hit by the first wave of COVID-19. China has suffered enormous losses and made big sacrifices in curbing the virus. We have gathered important experience, gained precious time and made a big contribution for the world's battle against the virus. What China deserves is fair recognition, not groundless accusation.

  The unreasonable and legally unfounded demand for China's reparations is not different from blackmail. The intention is nothing but shifting blame to China for the inadequate response of someone else. Blame game finds little support, and ends up nowhere.

  Janis Frayer: With an increasingly negative view of China in the United States given this extraordinary situation, with it now appearing as though President Trump is molding part of his re-election campaign along an "Anti- or Blame China" strategy, what is your outlook for US-China relations, particularly in an election year?

  Le Yucheng: Inside the United States, there are some negative views or comments with regard to China. But I also know that many Americans with fair judgment are calling for more cooperation with China. They oppose decoupling and a new Cold War. The China-US relationship, being such an important relationship between two major countries, should not be defined or handled in a way that serves only the purpose of one election. Nor should election be used as an excuse to shift groundless blame to China, undermine China-US cooperation, or pit the two peoples against each other. That is simply shortsighted and irresponsible. Whatever differences or disagreements between China and the US, they look pale when we consider the well-being of the Chinese and American peoples and their shared aspiration for a better future.

  Our two countries, China and the United States, can and should engage in cooperation. The United States is making America great again, and China is pursuing national rejuvenation. These are two historical processes that could run hand in hand without conflicting each other. China and the US are actually in a good position to help each other succeed and achieve greatness together. We must not let this relationship be led astray or brought to a wrong course by a small bunch of extreme forces. At stake is the future of our two peoples.

  Looking ahead, I think the two countries must first of all work together to advance a relationship based on coordination, cooperation and stability, which is an important common understanding reached between the two presidents. Specifically, the two sides should move forward in three areas and reject three ill-tendencies. We need to step forward to: first, maintain frequent communication between our leaders as well as dialogue and coordination between the relevant departments on both sides; second, advance practical cooperation in all areas; and third, promote international cooperation on COVID-19 at multilateral platforms. At the same time, we must reject: No.1, stigmatizing China and politicizing the virus issue; No.2, disruptions or damage to bilateral cooperation; and No.3, a zero-sum game in the context of COVID-19.

  Janis Frayer: The US has, or President Trump, has said that he's going to withdraw funding to the World Health Organization in large part because what is seen as the organization's deference to China, that the WHO is too pro-Beijing. How will China respond to those accusations.

  Le Yucheng: The WHO has done a great job in living up to its duties and responsibilities. It is very professional, very responsible and highly efficient. It does not center around any particular country. It is devoted to protecting lives and health of mankind. Its performance has been widely applauded by the international community. Besides the United States, I have not heard any leaders and any international organizations criticizing WHO's performance. The US decision to halt financial contribution to the WHO is not a wise one. At this critical moment, what the US needs to do is to focus on combating the virus, instead of opening fire at the WHO which is coordinating the international efforts in fighting the virus. By so doing, the United States actually has chosen to pit itself against the whole world. Such moves will only undermine WHO's efforts to coordinate the international response and save lives, especially the response in developing countries, African countries in particular. I don't understand what logic the US is following.

  Janis Frayer: I have two more questions if that's okay. I realize that we are nearing our time. Being at this point in the time line of the epidemic here in China over the past several months. Are you satisfied, is China satisfied with its response to the outbreak here, to the epidemic in China and to the pandemic that's spread around the world?

  Le Yucheng: China has gone through a lot in the past months, and has finally stemmed the spread. Along the way, considerable experience has been accumulated. Let me mention the following:

  First, we have put people's lives front and center. We have adopted a people-centered approach. We spared no efforts and no resources in saving lives, without worrying too much about economic cost. If lives are lost, what's the point of money? We have always taken saving lives our utmost priority. In Wuhan, for instance, more than 10 COVID-19 patients over 100 years old were cured.

  Second, as a nation we looked out for each other. Nationwide, more than 40,000 health workers were rallied and sent to support the battle against COVID-19 in Wuhan, which was hit the hardest. From my home province Jiangsu alone, over 2,800 medical workers went to Wuhan and Hubei to join the fight.

  Let me share with you a touching story. There is a young nurse who works in Wuhan. Her name is Gan Ruyi. During the Chinese New Year holiday, she was in her hometown 300 kilometers away from Wuhan. When she saw the news about the lack of health workers in Wuhan due to the lockdown, this young lady in her 20s, did not hesitate a minute to travel 300 kilometers back to Wuhan. Since there was no public transportation, she biked and walked for four days and three nights. She just wanted to play her part in this fight. This story is deeply touching for me.

  Third, we actively engaged in international cooperation. Receiving help from other countries, we have also managed to help others. China has provided to the world an astronomical number of protective equipment, including over 20 billion masks, and billions of protective suits and protective goggles.

  We also gained much experience in the fight against COVID-19. We adopted proven practices such as early detection, early reporting, early quarantine, and early treatment. We pulled together the best medical and technological resources and health professionals to improve treatment. We combined traditional Chinese medicine with western medicine in therapeutics. We mobilized nationwide joint containment and control efforts. These measures have proved effective and enabled us to control the situation, save lives, achieve a cure rate of 93.5%, and now restore economic activities.

  Of course, COVID-19 has also exposed the areas where we need to improve. For example, this unprecedented situation reveals to us that we need to ramp up our medical teams and medical supplies reserve. Our community-level medical agencies shall be better equipped. Our R&D capacity for the therapeutics for some major diseases must be further enhanced. We also need to improve public education on hygiene, disease preparedness, etc. All in all, we will improve our work, build up the institutions and mechanisms for infectious disease containment and enhance public health emergency response.

  Mankind has emerged stronger from the battles against the scourge of diseases, from smallpox, to the Black Death, to Ebola, to H1N1 flu. Each of these diseases has left mankind with valuable experiences.

  Janis Frayer: Given the criticism coming from many quarters of the world that there was a slow response in the beginning, that there was information from whistle-blowers that was ignored or suppressed, that there was a slower response to what was recognized as potential for a pandemic, how do you then go about reassuring the international community that there have been lessons learned from this epidemic?

  Le Yucheng: I think in comparison with some countries, China was fairly fast in responding to COVID-19, especially given the fact that China was among the countries hit by the first wave of COVID-19. Let me give you an example. On 23 January when Wuhan went under lockdown, the United States reported only one case. But on 13 March when a national emergency was announced, the United States reported over 1,600 confirmed cases. There are quite a number of US experts working in the WHO, and the US government was fully aware of the situation. And there are as many as 50 days of interval. How could anyone blame China? Where have those 50 days gone?

  Janis Frayer: Lastly on a slightly different topic. There is a lot of speculation on media about the health of Chairman Kim Jong-un of the Workers' Party of Korea of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). Given the close relations between China and the DPRK, what can you tell us about his health?

  Le Yucheng: I don't have information for you, and I don't know the source of the speculation that you mentioned. One thing I would say is that for things related to the top leadership of a country, media reporting needs to be based on a serious and prudent approach.

  来源:外交部网站

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