|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian’s Regular Press Conference on November 25, 2021|
1. Premier Li Keqiang of the State Council will attend and deliver remarks at the 59th Annual Session of the Asian-African Legal Consultative Organization (AALCO) to be held in Hong Kong through video link in Beijing on November 29.
2. State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will attend the 18th Meeting of the Foreign Ministers of China, Russia and India on November 26 through video link.
MASTV: According to reports, the Social Democratic Party, the Greens and the Free Democratic Party of Germany held a joint press conference on November 24. They announced the completion of government coalition negotiations and officially released the coalition agreement, which involves such China-related issues as Taiwan, Xinjiang and Hong Kong. What is China’s comment? Can you share your view on the bilateral relations after the new government is formed in Germany?
Zhao Lijian: China attaches importance to the China-Germany comprehensive strategic partnership. We believe that developing the bilateral relations well meets the common interests of the two countries and the two peoples, and benefits China-Europe exchange and cooperation. Next year will mark the 50th anniversary of the establishment of China-Germany diplomatic relations. We hope the new German government can carry on China policies that are practical, work with China in the same direction, develop bilateral relations based on mutual respect, equality and mutual benefits, and focus on advancing practical cooperation between China and Germany in various areas.
I want to stress that issues related to Taiwan, Xinjiang and Hong Kong are all China’s internal affairs, bearing on China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Successive German governments all followed the one-China policy. We hope the new German government would continue to follow the policy, respect China’s core interests and safeguard the political foundation for the bilateral relations.
Beijing Daily: You just announced that Premier Li Keqiang will attend the opening ceremony of the 59th Annual Session of the Asian-African Legal Consultative Organization (AALCO). Can you share more information about this session?
Zhao Lijian: The Asian-African Legal Consultative Organization (AALCO) is the only cooperation platform dedicated to international law spanning Asia and Africa. The 59th Annual Session of AALCO will be the third annual session hosted by China. It will be the second time Premier Li Keqiang has attended the opening ceremony following the one in 2015. This fully demonstrates the importance attached by the Chinese government to AALCO. China is ready to work with Asian and African countries to carry forward the Bandung Spirit, jointly defend international law and promote international rule of law.
Dragon TV: At the seventh meeting of the China-Russia committee for parliamentary cooperation on November 23, Vasilii Piskarev, Chairman of the Committee on Security and Corruption Control of the State Duma said the US aims to divide the world to “us” and “them” and create division by hosting a “Summit for Democracy”. Do you have any comment?
Zhao Lijian: The international community has seen more and more clearly why the US is putting together this so-called “Summit for Democracy”. We should watch what the US does, not just listen to what it says. With regard to whether the US is creating cliques and blocs, oppressing others and instigating division and confrontation under the pretext of so-called “democracy”, the international community can make correct and objective judgment based on facts.
I want to stress that all humanity share the same future. Deliberate division of “us” and “them” does not serve world peace and strategic stability. Even the “us” group may not consist of equals. Lessons abound. Democracy is not a patent held by a certain country, but a common value of humanity. There is more than one form of democracy, and more than one path to realize democracy. No country has the right to monopolize the definition and judgement of democracy.
Democracy is not for window-dressing. Whether democracy works is judged, not by slogans, but by effects on the ground. The political polarization, social division and hollowing-out of democracy in the US has led to greater public discontent. The so-called “Summit for Democracy” should put more focus on examining the problems with US democracy and proposing concrete and practical rectifications. The US is obsessed with imposing the “democratic model” of the West on others and even seeks regime change, in an attempt to make democracy a tool for advancing its global strategies and geopolitical interests. This in itself is the greatest damage to democratic values. It goes against the trend of the times and wins no support.
CCTV: On November 23, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and the Chinese ambassador to Cambodia attended a ceremony marking the inauguration of the Stueng Trang-Kroch Chhmar Cambodia-China Friendship Bridge across the Mekong River and the groundbreaking of National Road No. 71C. “The best thing about having China as a friend is that if Cambodia makes something a priority that it must accomplish, then we can submit that plan to China. China then provides us with loans according to our actual needs”, said Prime Minister Hun Sen, adding, “That is what’s special about China and different from other sources. The others tell us that we must spend development money on one thing when we actually need to invest it in something else entirely”. Does China have any comment?
Zhao Lijian: That’s very well-put indeed! Prime Minister Hun Sen was telling the truth from the bottom of his heart. China and Cambodia are iron-clad friends and close neighbors. We always watch out for each other with firm mutual support. China always provides timely assistance to the best of its capability for Cambodia’s socioeconomic development. This is in line with the China-Cambodia community with a shared future.
Not long ago, President Xi Jinping put forward the Global Development Initiative, which is aimed at galvanizing international efforts to deal with challenges, promote world economic recovery and fully implement the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. China stands ready to deepen cooperation with Cambodia under this initiative, continue to provide development assistance for it, and bring greater benefits to the Cambodian people.
China Review News: According to reports, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) held a Board of Governors Meeting yesterday. Under China’s proposal, the Board shortly added a formal and separate agenda item by consensus to discuss issues related to nuclear submarine cooperation between the US, the UK and Australia. Can you share more information?
Zhao Lijian: China has expressed its grave concerns about and firm objection to the US-UK-Australia nuclear submarine cooperation on multiple occasions. Under China’s proposal, the IAEA Board of Governors added issues related to the trilateral nuclear submarine cooperation to the meeting’s official agenda. This is a right step toward proper resolution of the issue. The trilateral cooperation involves political, legal and technical issues, which China will raise under the Board’s new agenda item and have thorough discussions on with all parties.
I want to stress that the trilateral nuclear submarine cooperation concerns the integrity, efficacy and authority of the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), international security order, and security and stability of the region and even the whole world. It is a must that a resolution acceptable to all parties is sought with wide participation of the international community. The US, the UK and Australia should not proceed with the nuclear submarine cooperation, and the IAEA Secretariat should not have consultation with the three countries on so-called safeguards arrangement on the nuclear submarine cooperation until parties reach consensus.
CRI: According to media reports, Lithuania’s Minister of the Economy and Innovation disclosed that Lithuania will sign a US$600 million export credit agreement with the US, after China vowed to take all necessary measures in response to Lithuania’s decision to allow the Taiwan authorities to set up the so-called “Taiwanese Representative Office in Lithuania”. Media reports are saying that Lithuania is likely to get US trade support as it faces China’s fury over Taiwan. Would you like to comment on this?
Zhao Lijian: The reports you mentioned are further proof that behind Lithuania’s provocative move, there is a puppeteer master running the entire show with premeditation. The international community can see this clearly.
I want to stress the following points. Lithuania chose to pave its way to the loans by harming China’s sovereignty. It is an immoral and dangerous deal. In disregard of China’s solemn representations and international justice, Lithuania acted in bad faith as a cat’s paw for a major country. Eventually it shall pay for this.
The US went so far as to coerce or cajole other countries into serving as fodder for its political agenda. No responsible country would ever act in this way. At the end of the day, such behavior will hurt others as well as itself.
Macau Monthly: It is reported that Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis who was visiting the US said on November 24 that he had discussions with senior US officials about making the country less dependent on China. “I think that the biggest lesson out of Lithuania is that economic coercion does not necessarily mean that the country needs to step away from independent foreign policy decisions,” he said, adding that Lithuania will experience pain in the short term but will adapt to it. Lithuania would provide a model for countries on how to withstand such pressure. Do you have any comment?
Zhao Lijian: Lithuania ignored China’s stern position, disregarded the bigger picture of China-Lithuania relations and basic norms governing international relations, and openly created the false impression of “one China, one Taiwan” in the world, thus creating an egregious precedent. China always makes resolute and necessary responses to all provocative moves undermining China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Those acting in bad faith and going further down the wrong path will only reap what they sow.
If the Lithuanian government is still making independent foreign policy decisions like the Lithuanian Foreign Minister said, how will he explain what he is doing in the US?
Global Times: As is well known, the US, a self-proclaimed “beacon of human rights”, has long been obsessed with using human rights as a cover to review other countries’ conditions, and often makes condescending remarks. However, Fernand de Varennes, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues, told the press on November 22 at the end of a 14-day visit to the US that there is systemic discrimination against various ethnic minorities in the country, which can be seen in elections, education, religion, criminal justice, hate crimes, among other aspects. He noted that anti-Semitism, anti-Asian speeches, hatred against Islam, denigration and slander of the Latin community, as well as anti-migrant and xenophobia sentiments are all on the rise in the country, reaching record levels. He also noted that the US lacks “a comprehensive national human rights legislation which conforms more closely to its international human rights obligations” and urged it to “overhaul legislation to prevent increasing exclusion, discrimination and hate speech and crimes against minorities”. I wonder if you have any comment?
Zhao Lijian: We noted the statement you mentioned. Your question is a bit long, which shows extensive media coverage. It reflects the grave concern shared by the international community over the human rights conditions in the US, especially the deteriorating conditions of ethnic minorities.
“The United States is a nation of paradoxes when it comes to human rights and minorities”, the Special Rapporteur pointed out sharply. On one hand, the US committed genocide and systemic racial discrimination against native Americans, made things so bad that people like George Floyd “can’t breathe”, treat residents in its overseas territories as second rate citizens, and watch with indifference as ethnic minorities live in fear under the threat posed by grave hate crimes. On the other hand, the US is obsessed with political manipulation and the so-called human rights diplomacy in the world and uses human rights as a tool to meddle in other countries’ internal affairs. In its annual human rights report, the US wantonly criticizes other countries while keeping mum on its own human rights issues. This fully exposes its double standard and hypocrisy on human rights.
I wonder how come the US, riddled with human rights problems, so confidently congratulates itself on human rights conditions. It should face up to its own human rights issues and get its house in order, instead of wantonly criticizing and pressuring otherJ.P. countries using human rights as a cover.
China News Service: Just now you announced that the 18th Meeting of the Foreign Ministers of China, Russia and India will be held. What issues will the foreign ministers discuss at this meeting? What expectations does China have?
Zhao Lijian: The foreign minsters of China, Russia and India will have in-depth discussion on such issues as the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, multilateralism and international and regional hotspot issues.
The world is facing the combined impacts of changes unseen in a century and the COVID-19 pandemic, and has entered a period of turbulence and transformation at a faster pace. As major countries with global influence and the most representative emerging economies, China, Russia and India hold similar positions and shoulder important responsibility in promoting world peace, stability and development. China hopes to strengthen communication, enhance mutual trust and build consensus with Russia and India through this meeting, and send positive messages to the world of practicing real multilateralism, promoting democracy in international relations, fighting the pandemic together, boosting economic recovery and safeguarding world peace and stability. This is expected to inject more stability and positive energy into the world with changes and chaos.
MASTV: According to reports, the Bureau of Industry and Security of the US Department of Commerce announced that it added 27 foreign entities and individuals to the Entity List, including 12 Chinese companies. What is China’s comment?
Zhao Lijian: The US has repeatedly stretched the national security concept and abused state power to hobble Chinese companies, which severely hurts the interests of Chinese companies, recklessly undermines the international trade order and free trade rules, and gravely threatens global industrial and supply chains. It could be said that the US is almost of no scruples.
China firmly opposes such measures taken by the US and asks the US to immediately correct the mistakes. China reserves the right to take necessary countermeasures. We will firmly defend Chinese companies’ legitimate rights and interests with all necessary measures.
Bloomberg: On the submarine cooperation between the US, the UK and Australia. Was it that at the board of the IAEA meeting in Vienna, China raised the issue of AUKUS on the agenda? When will this item be discussed or was there any outcome from discussions? Can China offer additional details?
Zhao Lijian: I just shared the information. The IAEA held a Board of Governors Meeting yesterday. Under China’s proposal, the Board added a formal and separate agenda item by consensus to discuss issues related to nuclear submarine cooperation between the US, the UK and Australia.
Shenzhen TV: French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian criticized China-Africa cooperation in a recent interview with Le Monde. Would you like to comment on it?
Zhao Lijian: I’ve taken note of relevant reports. The remarks by the French Foreign Minister are inconsistent with facts. China finds them surprising. The African people are in the best position to judge the outcomes of China-Africa cooperation. A few days ago I mentioned a report by the African pollster Afrobarometer, which shows that 63 percent of Africans surveyed believe the economic and political influence of China in their country is “somewhat positive” or “very positive”.
China is the African people’s old friend, true friend and good friend. China has been Africa’s largest trading partner for 12 years in a row. Since the founding of Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), Chinese companies have built or upgraded more than 10,000 kilometers of railway and nearly 100,000 kilometers of highway across Africa, and created a total of over 4.5 million jobs. This has boosted local development and improved people’s living standards, as the international community has witnessed. Besides, African countries all spoken highly of China-Africa investment and financing cooperation, which always respects the will of the African side, proceeds from Africa’s actual needs, and follows the philosophy of intensive and sustainable development. Those who try to smear China-Africa cooperation will find no audience in Africa.
The eighth FOCAC Ministerial Conference will be held soon in Senegal. African leaders and foreign ministers are actively signing up for the event, which is a strong testament to the African side’s recognition of and support for China-Africa cooperation. China keeps an open attitude when it comes to cooperation between various parties of the international community with Africa. We support the international community in galvanizing efforts to promote Africa’s development. Relevant countries should view China-Africa cooperation in an objective and just light, listen to the voice of our African friends, and take more concrete actions to the benefit of Africa.
China Review News: US Under Secretary of State Jose W. Fernandez talked about the outcomes of the second US-Taiwan Economic Prosperity Partnership Dialogue (EPPD) in an interview, saying, “We are going to start creating private-sector engagement between the two private sectors” to deepen economic ties. He said the US told Taiwan the measures it can take to counter China’s economic coercion. The US believes very strongly that “Huawei is not secure” because “it depends on the PRC government” and so the US talked to countries about the risks and alternatives, he added. Does China have any response?
Zhao Lijian: I already stated China’s position on this yesterday. China firmly opposes official interaction between the US side and the Taiwan authorities in any form. We have lodged solemn representations with the US side. Certain US officials should immediately stop making irresponsible remarks and sending wrong signals to “Taiwan independence” separatist forces.
We also noted the latest cliche from certain US officials. I must stress that the US stretches the national security concept, abuses state power, and even resorted to such means as fabricating lies to wantonly suppress foreign businesses. With myriads of tricks up its sleeve, the US is a peerless master of coercion, juggling economic, military, hostage and other sorts of coercion. China has nothing to do with the word coercion. A stern warning to certain US officials: forming small cliques in the world and attempting to smear China by distorting facts will never succeed.
Reuters: Australian lawmakers are calling on the government for a diplomatic boycott of Beijing Winter Olympics. This is reported by the Sydney Morning Herald. Can you comment on this?
Zhao Lijian: China has reiterated many times that the Beijing Winter Games is a stage for all winter sports athletes around the world. It is them that should be in the spotlight. We firmly believe that, under the guidance of the Olympic spirit and with concerted efforts of all sides, we will deliver a streamlined, safe and splendid Olympic Games for the world and promote the sound development of international sports cause.
China firmly rejects politicization of sports and violation of the spirit of the Olympic Charter, which only undermine the interests of athletes from all countries. The attempt at a diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics is doomed to fail.
China Daily: On November 23, the House of Representatives of the Dutch Parliament voted on a motion put forward by some members demanding that the government does not send delegates to the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics. The motion failed to pass with fewer than half of the votes. Earlier, Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs Ben Knapen suggested explicitly at a relevant debate that the Dutch Parliament should not pass the motion on a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics. I wonder if you have any comment?
Zhao Lijian: It is a long-held consensus of the international sports community that boycott is the most ominous ghost in the Olympic movement. There is unanimous objection to any behavior that runs counter to the spirit of the Olympic Charter. As is well known, the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics is a platform for athletes of all countries to outperform themselves and pursue excellence. It is also a grand gathering for the international community to strengthen solidarity and deepen friendship. Politicization of sports goes against the ardent expectation of all winter Olympic athletes and winter sports lovers and will only harm the interests of all athletes as well as the international Olympic cause.
The IOC and political leaders of many countries have all sent their best wishes and support to the Beijing Winter Olympics recently. We firmly believe that guided by the Olympic spirit, more and more visionary people in the world will show their support for the Beijing Games and reject politicization of sports.
China will continue to uphold the principle of a green, shared, open and clean Olympic event, and work together with the IOC and other countries to demonstrate the Olympic spirit of “together” and present a streamlined, safe and splendid Olympic event to the world.
AFP: A question on the riots in Solomon Islands. According to reports, people in the capital city have attacked local Chinese shops. What’s the situation of Chinese citizens there? Is China asking its citizens to leave the country?
Zhao Lijian: China is closely monitoring the latest developments in Solomon Islands. We support the government’s efforts to end violence and chaos. We are confident that under Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare’s leadership, the government of Solomon Islands can restore social order and stability soon. We are gravely concerned over the attacks on Chinese citizens and enterprises, and have asked the local government to take all measures necessary to protect the safety of Chinese nationals and institutions.
I also want to stress that the one-China principle is a basic norm governing international relations. Over the past two years or so since the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Solomon Islands, bilateral relations have enjoyed sound development with fruitful outcomes in various areas including economy, trade, infrastructure, education and health, delivering tangible benefits to people in both countries. All attempts to disrupt the normal development of relations between China and Solomon Islands are just futile.
Hubei Media Group: On November 24, a State Department official said in a telephone briefing on condition of anonymity that Brian Nichols, the US Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, led a delegation to Honduras, where they explained to two Presidential candidates why the Honduras-Taiwan relationship is important and said they would like to see that continue. The US also warned Central American nations of “the risks associated with China’s approach to the region.” What is China’s comment?
Zhao Lijian: It is not China’s approach that the Latin American people should be wary of, but the US’ long-standing hegemonic approach of regarding Central American countries as US “backyard”. With the acts in Honduras, the US blatantly violates the one-China principle, and points fingers at and grossly interferes in others’ internal affairs. Is this “rules-based order” long preached by the US? Is this “democracy” championed by the US? What the US has done shows its so-called “rules-based order” is nothing but “the strong bullying the weak”, and the so-called “democracy” is nothing but “pitting one group against the other”.
Since the Monroe Doctrine was enunciated in 1823, Monroeism has been haunting Latin America. The US infiltration and oppression in Latin America can be found anytime, anywhere. There are no stones left unturned: military intervention, political subversion, bribery, and the list goes on. All this has severely impeded Latin America’s political and economic development and brought deep sufferings to Latin American people. Even to this day, the US, holding to the old dream two centuries ago, still sees Latin America as its sphere of influence and “backyard”. Such power politics and hegemonic practices by the US are abhorred by the Latin American people and are doomed to fail.
Associated Press of Pakistan: Recently, Pakistan and China have signed an agreement which would open Chinese markets for Pakistani agricultural product. Does the foreign ministry have any comment on it?
Zhao Lijian: On November 23, Chinese and Pakistani representatives signed the Protocol of Inspection and Quarantine Requirements for the Export of Onion from Pakistan to China. This means that Pakistani onions have acquired the access to China’s market. I worked and lived in Pakistan for many years. Pakistan’s onions are attractive in price and quality, which I believe will be loved by the Chinese people.
China and Pakistan are all-weather strategic cooperative partners with close economic and trade ties. China has been Pakistan’s biggest trading partner for seven years running. China is ready to work with Pakistan to jointly build a close community with a shared future by improving trade facilitation and expanding trade volume, so that the outcomes from the bilateral cooperation can better benefit the two countries and two peoples.
Bloomberg: Just to follow up on Solomon Islands. There are reports that Australia is sending police to quell the violent protests in Solomon Islands. Does the Chinese foreign ministry have a comment on Australia sending police?
Zhao Lijian: You may refer the question to the Australian side.
Reuters: The United States has made it clear to both leading Presidential candidates in Honduras’ election that Washington wants the country to maintain its longstanding diplomatic relations with Taiwan. Would you comment on it?
Zhao Lijian: I just elaborated on China’s position on the relevant issue. The US moves blatantly violate the one-China principle and constitute flagrant and gross interference in other countries’ internal affairs. Such acts of power politics and hegemony will garner no support.
Phoenix TV: First question. It is reported that after making improper remarks about the Communist Party of China, the CEO of J.P. Morgan said in a statement that “I regret and should not have made that comment.” Do you have any comment? Second question. LDP’s chief of foreign affairs Masahisa Sato said Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi’s visit to China should be handled carefully to avoid sending the wrong message abroad, as the West is considering a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics. Do you have any comment?
Zhao Lijian: Regarding your first question, I noted relevant reports and that the relevant individual has shown sincere reflection. I believe this is the right attitude to take. We hope relevant media outlets can stop hyping this matter.
On your second question, certain individual in Japan linked the Beijing Winter Olympics with bilateral political agenda. Such behavior is in essence politicizing sports and profaning the Olympic spirit. China is firmly opposed to that. China and Japan have reached important consensus on supporting each other’s hosting of the Olympic Games. China has lent full support to Japan’s hosting of the Tokyo Olympic Games. Japan should not break its faith.