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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian's Regular Press Conference on November 19, 2021

2021-11-20 11:12

Han Zheng, Member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Vice Premier of the State Council, will hold the fifth meeting of the China-Turkmenistan Cooperation Committee via video link with Serdar Berdimuhamedow, Deputy Prime Minister of Turkmenistan on November 22. 

CCTV: China released the information that President Xi Jinping will attend and chair the ASEAN-China Special Summit to Commemorate the 30th Anniversary of ASEAN-China Dialogue Relations. Can you share China’s expectation for this upcoming meeting?

Zhao Lijian: ASEAN is China's close neighbor and important cooperation partner. Since the establishment of dialogue relations in 1991, China and ASEAN have become each other's biggest trading partner, most dynamic cooperation partner and most substantial strategic partner. The fact that the two sides have decided to hold this special commemorative summit as they mark the 30th anniversary of the establishment of dialogue relations once again shows the great importance they attach to this relationship. 

President Xi Jinping and leaders of ASEAN countries will jointly review the achievements and experience of China-ASEAN relations over the past 30 years, draw a blueprint for the future development and chart the course for bilateral relations going forward. China looks forward to working with ASEAN countries to advance the cooperation, upgrade bilateral relations, build a closer China-ASEAN community with a shared future, and promote regional peace and prosperity. 

RTHK: President Joe Biden confirmed that the US is considering a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics. Do you have any response? 

Zhao Lijian: I want to stress that Xinjiang-related issues are purely China’s internal affairs that brook no foreign interference under any pretext and in any way. The US falsely accuses China of committing genocide and forced labor in Xinjiang. This would only give the Chinese people a good laugh. The US also makes accusations against China over other issues, which are untenable as they run counter to facts. 

I would like to reiterate that the Beijing Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games is a stage for all winter sports athletes around the world. It is them that should be in the spotlight. Politicizing sports violates the Olympic spirit and undermines the interests of all athletes. China firmly believes 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 healthy development of the international sports cause.

Xinhua News Agency: Speaking at an expanded board meeting of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Russia-China relations are a model of effective inter-state interaction in the 21st century. "Of course, not everyone likes this," he stated. Putin also said that together with China, Russia will further respond to attempts to drive wedges between Russia and China “by expanding cooperation in politics, the economy and other areas and will coordinate steps on the international arena". Does the Chinese side have any comment?

Zhao Lijian: President Putin’s positive remarks demonstrated once again the high importance attached to developing relations with China by the Russian side, especially President Putin himself. They also showed that the two sides see each other as a foreign policy priority. China highly appreciates this.

In June this year, the Chinese and Russian heads of state released a joint statement on the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Good-neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation between China and Russia. The two sides reiterated explicitly that Russia needs a prosperous and stable China and China needs a strong and successful Russia. China-Russia relations have been and will always be based on the principles of equality, a high degree of mutual trust, and safeguarding each other’s core interests.

I would like to stress that China and Russia are neighbors and true partners that can stand the test of anything. To develop a high-level strategic partnership of coordination is a long-term strategic choice made by both sides based on respective national realities. We have no intention of forming an exclusive clique, and it’s simply impossible to drive a wedge or sow discord between us. Both will continue to abide by the consensus of rendering each other firm support in four aspects, forge ahead in the direction identified by our heads of state, constantly enrich and expand the strategic dimension of our relations in the new era, jointly foster a new type of major country relationship that transcends ideological, historical and cultural differences, and advance the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.

Macau Monthly: According to reports, the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission of the ROK regretted the radiological impact assessment report regarding the discharge of nuclear contaminated water from Fukushima into the sea released by Tokyo Electric Power Company, saying that the report fails to give a full explanation for the inevitability of the ocean discharge plan and that it has started further studies on the appropriacy of the report together with the Korea Institute of Nuclear Safety. Do you have any comment?

Zhao Lijian: I have taken note of relevant reports. Is ocean discharge truly inevitable or is it Japan’s wilful decision driven by selfish interest? If the nuclear contaminated water is truly harmless, then why doesn’t Japan release it into lakes at home? Japan needs to answer these questions.

As a matter of fact, since the Japanese government unilaterally decided to discharge the Fukushima nuclear contaminated water into the sea in April 2021, people in Pacific Rim countries and Japan itself have been questioning and opposing the decision nonstop. However, the Japanese side has failed to offer a convincing explanation to show that its decision is justified, necessary, science-based and safe. The radiological impact assessment report only came out seven months after the ocean discharge decision. This shows further that the decision-making back then lacks scientific reasoning and rigorous discussion. Over the past seven months, the Japanese side has turned a deaf ear to the international community’s legitimate concern and appeal. What the international community has seen is that the Japanese company in charge of the disposal of the Fukushima nuclear contaminated water repeatedly tempered with data, covered up truth and operated under chaotic management. The world has seen one scandal after another exposed by Japanese media involving radioactive leaks at the Fukushima nuclear power plant site. We have also seen the inadequate regulation by the Japanese government.

I reiterate that the disposal of the Fukushima nuclear contaminated water is by no means Japan’s private matter. It cannot be handled with too much prudence. Strict supervision must be exercised. The Japanese side should respond to the call of people in Japan, neighboring countries and the international community, revoke its wrong decision, fulfill its due international obligations, and prevent the “black swan” of destructive nuclear leakage from turning into a looming “gray rhino” of nuclear contamination.

Phoenix TV: The Lithuanian government has approved the establishment of the so-called "Taiwanese Representative Office in Lithuania" by the Taiwan authorities. We took note of the statement made by the foreign ministry spokesperson last night to express strong protest. What measures will China take in response?

Zhao Lijian: The Lithuanian government, in disregard of the Chinese side’s strong objection and repeated dissuasion, has approved the establishment of the so-called “Taiwanese Representative Office in Lithuania” by the Taiwan authorities. This act creates the false impression of “one China, one Taiwan” in the world, flagrantly violates the one-China principle, and renounces the political commitment made by Lithuania in the communiqué on the establishment of diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China. It undermines China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and grossly interferes in China’s internal affairs. The Chinese government expresses strong protest over and firm objection to this extremely egregious act, and will take all necessary measures to defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity. The Lithuanian side shall be responsible for all the ensuing consequences.

There is but one China in the world, Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory, and the government of the People’s Republic of China is the sole legal government representing the whole of China. We demand that the Lithuanian side immediately correct its wrong decision. We also have this stern warning for the Taiwan authorities: Seeking "Taiwan independence" by soliciting foreign support is a totally misguided attempt that is doomed to fail.

As to what necessary measures China will take, you may wait and see. The Lithuanian side shall reap what it sows.

MASTV: On November 18, the 23rd meeting of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on Border Affairs (WMCC) was held via video link. Do you have more on that?

Zhao Lijian: On November 18,Hong Liang, Director-General of the Department of Boundary and Ocean Affairs of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Naveen Srivastava, the Additional Secretary of the East Asia Division of the Indian Ministry of External Affairs co-chaired the 23rd meeting of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on Border Affairs (WMCC) via video link. Representatives from the foreign affairs, defense, immigration and other departments of the two countries participated in the meeting.

The two sides said that in accordance with the spirit of the consensus reached by the two foreign ministers in their meeting in Dushanbe, they will continue to further ease the situation in the border area and strive to switch from emergency response to normalized management and control as soon as possible. The two sides had candid and in-depth exchanges of views on the recent situation in the China-India border area. They agreed to consolidate the existing disengagement outcomes, strictly abide by the agreements and consensus reached between the two sides, and avoid flare-ups in the situation on the ground. The two sides agreed to maintain dialogue and communication through diplomatic and military channels, actively prepare for the 14th round of military commander-level talks, and make efforts to resolve the remaining issues in the western section of the China-India border.

PTI: Further on what you said about yesterday’s talks, did the two sides reach an understanding that they will hold the next round of commanders’ talks?

Zhao Lijian: I just briefed you on the relevant situation and have nothing more to add. 

China Review News: It is reported that the name-unveiling ceremony of the twin giant panda cubs was held yesterday in Beauval, France. Can you share more information?

Zhao Lijian: In August this year, giant panda named Huan Huan gave birth to twin cubs in France. On November 18, the ceremony to unveil the names of the two cubs was held at Beauval Zoo in France. Chinese Olympic diving gold medallist Zhang Jiaqi and French football player Kylian Mbappe unveiled the names. Over 1,000 people, including officials from the Chinese Embassy to France and the French foreign ministry attended the ceremony. 

The twin cubs were named Huan Lili and Yuan Dudu. The names are inspired by the cubs’ parents’ names Huan Huan and Yuan Zai, as well as the Chinese pronunciation of Paris and Chengdu. Huan Lili uses the mother’s surname and Yuan Dudu uses the father’s surname. Their names symbolize the wishes and expectation of the Chinese and French people on the bilateral friendship. It is believed that China and France will continue to jointly steer the global bio-diversity protection cause and make greater contribution to the building of a shared future for all life on Earth. 

Bing Dwen Dwen, an Olympic mascot for the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022, is also an adorable panda. We wish Huan Lili and Yuan Dudu healthy and happy growth and hope they can bring joy and good luck to the Paris 2024 Summer Olympics. 

Beijing Daily: An international seminar on the significance of UNGA Resolution 2758 was held yesterday. Could you share more information on that?

Zhao Lijian: Chinese and foreign experts at the seminar agree that UNGA Resolution 2758 affirmed that the Government of the People’s Republic of China is the only legitimate government representing the whole of China including Taiwan in the world. The one-China principle is a basic norm governing international relations affirmed in this resolution that is widely recognized by the international community and shall not be challenged.

There is only one China in the world and Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory. This is not only supported by a solid factual and jurisprudential basis, but also affirmed in a series of legal instruments including the Cairo Declaration and the Potsdam Proclamation. UNGA Resolution 2758 resolved the issue of representation of the whole of China, making it clear that the PRC Government is the only legitimate government representing the whole of China including Taiwan in the UN. The resolution stated explicitly that it decided to “restore all its rights to the People's Republic of China and to recognize the representatives of its Government as the only legitimate representatives of China to the United Nations, and to expel forthwith the representatives of Chiang Kai-shek” claiming representing the whole of China including Taiwan “from the place which they unlawfully occupy at the United Nations and in all the organizations related to it”.

If we look at the history of the adoption process of Resolution 2758, we can see that the so-called international representation of the Taiwan authorities has long been denied outright. A handful of countries including the US proposed the "dual representation" draft resolution in an attempt to create “two Chinas” in the UN, only to end in failure.

Lately, the US and Taiwan authorities have maliciously distorted UNGA Resolution 2758, spread false argument on the issue of Taiwan’s so-called representation at the UN, and intentionally brought up an issue that has long been settled by the international community. Such acts have no legal basis and violate international consensus. The historical and legal facts which prove that Taiwan is part of China and that both sides of the Taiwan Strait belong to one and the same China shall never be altered by anyone or any force. The political manipulation and malicious intention of certain forces is bound to end in failure and disgrace again in front of the overwhelming recognition of and support for the one-China principle by 180 countries and the invincible trend of China’s reunification. 

CNA: Regarding the upcoming China-ASEAN summit, what are China's expectations when it comes to discussions on the South China Sea and the Code of Conduct? One more question, a recent report citing diplomatic sources said that a Chinese envoy has lobbied ASEAN states to let Myanmar military chief attend the summit next week. But this has been met with opposition from ASEAN countries. What is your comment on this? 

Zhao Lijian: On your first question, I just talked about China’s expectations for the ASEAN-China Special Summit to Commemorate the 30th Anniversary of ASEAN-China Dialogue Relations. Regarding your specific question, China and ASEAN maintain diplomatic communication. The overall situation in the South China Sea is tranquil.

On your second question, Sun Guoxiang, Special Envoy for Asian Affairs of China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, visited Myanmar and other ASEAN countries recently. China actively supports Myanmar, an important member of the ASEAN family, in working together with ASEAN to implement the five-point consensus on Myanmar reached by ASEAN. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the establishment of the ASEAN-China Dialogue Relations. Both sides hope to take this summit as an opportunity to strive for greater development of the bilateral relations. 

CRI: On November 17, the IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi released two reports on the Iranian nuclear issue, introducing Iran’s implementation of its nuclear-related commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and on matters related to verification and monitoring of Iran’s nuclear activities. Grossi has accepted an invitation to visit Iran. Do you have any comment?

Zhao Lijian: I have noted relevant reports. China hopes that the IAEA and Iran can properly resolve differences on monitoring and verification through dialogue and consultation on the basis of mutual respect. We also call on all relevant parties to play a constructive role in this regard.

China always believes that upholding and implementing the JCPOA is the only effective way to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue. All parties should step up diplomatic efforts and take concrete actions to push for a smooth restart of negotiations on resuming compliance with the JCPOA and achieve positive results. We also hope that relevant parties bear in mind the overall interest, be rational and exercise restraint, and avoid disrupting diplomatic efforts to advance the negotiations.

Bloomberg: SCMP has reported that travelers from Hong Kong will be allowed to enter China's mainland without quarantine starting from the first week of December. Could the foreign ministry confirm this? And is there any update on cross-border travel? 

Zhao Lijian: I’m not aware of the situation you mentioned. I will come back to you later since I may need to check with my colleagues.

Kyodo News: Which official will be representing Myanmar at the ASEAN-China Special Summit to Commemorate the 30th Anniversary of ASEAN-China Dialogue Relations upon China’s invitation?

Zhao Lijian: Good question. China and Myanmar are in communication and we will release information in due course if there’s any.

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