Photo taken on Feb. 18, 2020 shows Chinese Ambassador to New Zealand Wu Xi addressing a press conference in Wellington, New Zealand, on China's fight against the novel coronavirus epidemic. (Xinhua/Guo Lei)
WELLINGTON, Feb. 18 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Ambassador to New Zealand Wu Xi on Tuesday urged New Zealand to lift the travel bans it has imposed on China amid the novel coronavirus outbreak, saying such measures have already had a negative impact on bilateral trade and education cooperation.
"As member states, we should respect and follow the recommendations made by international organizations like the World Health Organization (WHO)," Wu said in a press conference held by the Chinese embassy.
She noted that the WHO has said there is no reason for measures that unnecessarily interfere with international travel and trade, and Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, when addressing the 146th session of the WHO Executive Board meeting earlier this month, called on all countries to implement decisions that are evidence-based and consistent.
"The recommendations from the WHO are clear cut, and have been reiterated time and again," she said, urging New Zealand to lift the travel restrictions it adopted earlier this month against China.
Wu stressed that the novel coronavirus is generally under control through China's arduous efforts. "In a lesser situation, with a lesser risk, why should tougher measures be imposed in this case?" said Wu.
She warned that the restrictions have had a negative impact on bilateral cooperation, especially in trade and education.
According to figures from New Zealand Education Ministry, about 80 percent of university students in New Zealand were from overseas, and half of them were from China.
However, due to the restrictions, around 40 percent of international students from China are still overseas waiting for the travel bans to be lifted, and Chinese students that have arrived in New Zealand are facing xenophobia due to misinformation, she said.
"We need to look at why we have seen some discrimination and xenophobia. I believe part of the reason is maybe a lack of accurate information. That's why I want to have a press briefing to release the most up-to-date information," She said.
Wu stressed that the Chinese embassy will ensure the rights and interests of Chines students in New Zealand will not be impeded by such restrictions.