|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian's Regular Press Conference on September 14, 2021|
Sputnik: According to The Washington Post, the US will hold the Global COVID-19 Summit on September 22. Will China attend the meeting?
Zhao Lijian: I noted relevant reports and have no information to offer at this moment.
Associated Press of Pakistan: The China-ASEAN Expo was successfully held in Nanning and concluded yesterday. Pakistan participated as special partner country for the second time this year. What is your comment?
Zhao Lijian: The 18th China-ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO) was concluded on September 13. President of Pakistan Arif Alvi delivered video remarks at the opening ceremony and Pakistan attended the meeting and exhibition as a special partner country for the second time. China appreciates that.
The Expo is an important platform to deepen China-ASEAN cooperation. In recent years, as China-ASEAN relationship is upgraded, the influence and appeal of the CAEXPO has also been enhanced. It has propelled and witnessed the continuously deepening economic integration of the two sides, accelerating economic and trade cooperation with greater connectivity and closer cultural and people-to-people ties.
As all-weather strategic cooperative partners, China and Pakistan have enjoyed deepening economic and trade cooperation in recent years. China has been Pakistan's largest trading partner for 6 years running. We are ready to work with Pakistan to jointly move forward the high-level bilateral ties, deepen cooperation in various fields including economy and trade, build a closer China-Pakistan community with a shared future in the new era, and contribute to common development and prosperity in the region.
Beijing Youth Daily: A group of 177 Stanford faculty members on Monday sent an open letter to the U.S. Department of Justice, criticizing the "China Initiative" launched by the Trump administration in 2018. They said "the China Initiative has deviated significantly from its aimed mission; it is harming the United States' research and technology competitiveness and it is fueling biases that, in turn, raise concerns about racial profiling." Do you have any comment?
Zhao Lijian: The media has exposed that the so-called "China Initiative" sets targets before investigating cases. Such disregard of judicial justice will only lead to cases involving unjust, false or wrong charges. As of the end of March, none of the so-called China-Related Cases Examples posted on the DOJ website involved intellectual property or commercial theft, with charges ranging from fraud to misrepresentation to tax evasion. This joint letter signed by the faculty members once again proves that more and more people in the US have realized that the so-called "China Initiative" is essentially a tool for anti-China forces in the US to abuse the concept of national security to contain and suppress China. The initiative has not only seriously impacted China-US relations, but also aggravated racial discrimination in the US and caused grave damage to the Asian American community.
We urge the US side to heed the just call from all walks of life in the US, earnestly correct its mistakes and stop interfering with normal exchanges and cooperation between China and the US in science, technology, culture and other fields.
MASTV: In the countdown to Japan's Liberal Democratic Party's presidential election, candidates are making frequent references to China. Former Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, one of the candidates, said yesterday that he will create the post of special adviser on human rights issues to deal with China's alleged human rights abuses in Xinjiang if elected. Earlier, Sanae Takaichi said that she would continue to visit the Yasukuni Shrine if elected. What is your response to this?
Zhao Lijian: China's position on the Yasukuni Shrine is consistent and clear. China's internal affairs brook no foreign interference. Japanese politicians should stop making an issue out of China. Enough with such senseless political hype-up.
Bloomberg: President Joe Biden will host the leaders of Australia, India and Japan at the White House next week for discussions that will include countering China's expanding influence in the Asia-Pacific region. Does the ministry have a comment on this meeting of the Quad?
Zhao Lijian: It is China's consistent belief that any regional cooperation mechanism should follow the trend of peace and development, and help promote mutual trust and cooperation among regional countries rather than target a third party or undermine its interests. Forming closed and exclusive "cliques" targeting other countries runs counter to the trend of the times and deviates from the expectation of regional countries. It thus wins no support and is doomed to fail.
I want to stress that China is not only a major engine of economic growth in the Asia-Pacific, but also a staunch defender of regional peace and stability. China's development strengthens the force for world peace and is a boon for regional prosperity and development. Relevant countries should discard the outdated zero-sum mentality and narrow-minded geopolitical perception, view China's development correctly and respect people's aspiration in the region and do more that is conducive to solidarity and cooperation of regional countries.
The Paper: On August 29, two days after the terrorist attack at the Kabul airport, the US conducted a drone strike in Kabul. It claimed two terrorists were killed. However, US media reported in recent days that their investigations on the ground found those killed in the airstrike were not terrorists, but 10 innocent civilians. It was an intelligence mistake. Some media commented that the incident once again smashed the myth that the US military and the US intelligence agency are omnipotent, calling on the international community to hold accountable those who committed the crimes. Do you have any response to this?
Zhao Lijian: There have been a slew of media reports that the US mistakenly killed innocent civilians in Afghanistan and the international public opinion is demanding that the US should be held accountable. In the face of the widespread skepticism and condemnation from the international community, the US should not seek to gloss over its mistake and get away with it. Instead, it should investigate and ascertain the truth and give a responsible explanation to the Afghan people and the international community.
Prasar Bharati: Recently China has allowed chambers of commerce from Germany, France and Italy to bring back their employees and family members to China. So, my question is, what's the criteria China is adopting to give visas to people from certain countries while blocking visas to 11 countries including India for the past 10 months? When will China issue visas to people from India?
Zhao Lijian: The global COVID-19 situation remains grave and complicated. Referencing the practices of other countries, China adjusts its management measures on in-bound travelers accordingly as the epidemic situation evolves. China stands ready to maintain close communication with all parties and properly manage the work related to international travel on the premise of ensuring effective epidemic control.
Follow-up: What do you mean by the steps by relevant countries? COVID cases are in many countries, not just the 11 countries or India, for that matter. So do you think there is no way people can be allowed to enter China following proper COVID protocols?
Zhao Lijian: China and relevant countries agreed to launch fast track arrangement for two-way travels related to resumption of work and production. This is a mutually beneficial arrangement made between China and relevant countries in light of the COVID-19 situation and need for resumption of work and production.
Follow-up: Do you think such arrangement can be done between China and India also?
Zhao Lijian: I believe we should leave that to the diplomats of our two countries to discuss. India can also talk to China if it has such needs.
Bloomberg: South Korea recently joined a small list of countries that can launch a missile from a submarine. How much of a concern for China is South Korea's development of missile technology and will State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi raise the issue during his visit to Seoul?
Zhao Lijian: China has noted relevant reports. We hope countries concerned can jointly contribute to regional peace, stability and development. China and the ROK are important neighbors. State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will soon visit the ROK. The two sides will have an in-depth exchange of views on bilateral relations and international and regional issues of common concern.