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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian’s Regular Press Conference on June 28, 2022

2022-06-28 21:20

At the invitation of the Philippine government, Special Representative of President Xi Jinping and Vice President Wang Qishan will lead a delegation to attend the inauguration ceremony of President Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos on June 30 in Manila, the Philippines.

CCTV: Could you share the arrangements for Vice President Wang Qishan’s trip to the Philippines and China’s expectation for the trip?

Zhao Lijian: China and the Philippines are close neighbors facing each other across the sea and important cooperation partners. China always sees the Philippines as a priority in its neighborhood diplomacy. With the concerted efforts of both sides, China-Philippines relations have been growing with a sound momentum, delivering tangible benefits to both peoples. Not long ago, President Xi Jinping had a phone conversation with President-elect Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos. They reached important common understandings on staying committed to good-neighborliness and friendship and pursuing shared development, which pointed the way forward for bilateral relations.

Vice President Wang Qishan’s upcoming trip to the Philippines as President Xi Jinping’s Special Representative for President Marcos’ inauguration ceremony fully demonstrates the great importance China attaches to the Philippines and bilateral relations. We believe this trip will help both sides to carry forward our friendship, cement mutual trust, expand cooperation, open up broader prospects for bilateral relations, and bring more benefits to both countries and peoples.

Reuters: According to reports, China wants its own security company to guard its citizens and assets in Pakistan following recent attacks against its interest. Can the foreign ministry confirm if the Chinese Ministry of State Security asked Pakistan in June to allow a Chinese security company to operate in Pakistan? Pakistan’s Interior Ministry has objected to this request, saying instead that Pakistan security forces are able to protect Chinese nationals and assets in Pakistan. Can you comment about this?

Zhao Lijian: I am not aware of what you mentioned. Between the responsible departments of China and Pakistan and between the Pakistani government and the Chinese embassy and consulates, there is close communication and coordination on protecting Chinese institutions and personnel in Pakistan. We have noticed that the Pakistani government has set up a special security division tasked with protecting Chinese personnel working on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and inter-governmental cooperation projects. It also offers protection to other Chinese personnel in the country.

People’s Daily: China proposed establishing the Global Development and South-South Cooperation Fund and the global development promotion center at the High-level Dialogue on Global Development last week. Could you share more information on them, including how China plans to flesh out these two new concepts?

Zhao Lijian: At the UN Sustainable Development Summit in September 2015, President Xi Jinping announced the launch of the South-South Cooperation Assistance Fund to support developing countries in implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. On this basis, with a view to increasing input to global development cooperation, the Chinese government has decided to upgrade the South-South Cooperation Assistance Fund to a Global Development and South-South Cooperation Fund and add $1 billion to the fund on top of the $3 billion already committed to support developing countries in implementing the Global Development Initiative (GDI) and the Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Fund will serve the main purpose of expanding multilateral cooperation in global development, focus on priority programs under the GDI, and support the roles of UN development agencies and international organizations, to inject new impetus into implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The global development promotion center will mainly act as a platform for actions and mobilize resources for implementing the GDI. The Chinese side will develop a project pool covering key GDI areas and hold a Forum on Global Action for Shared Development to provide insights for GDI cooperation.

These concrete steps are an important part of China’s practical plan  to substantiate the GDI. We believe that by pooling consensus on development worldwide and mobilizing global resources for development, they will surely contribute to implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and promoting global development.

Global Times: It is reported that in recent days, two batches of earthquake relief supplies donated by the Chinese government arrived in Afghanistan on civil and military aircraft. Chinese Ambassador to Afghanistan Wang Yu and Mr. Ghulam Ghaws Naseri, acting minister of state for disaster management and humanitarian affairs of Afghan interim government, attended the handover ceremony. Can you share more details on this?

Zhao Lijian: China feels deeply for the devastation endured by the Afghan people. Yesterday, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi spoke with acting Foreign Minister of the Afghan interim government Amir Khan Muttaqi over the phone to express once again heartfelt sympathies to Afghanistan over the quake. 

Right after the earthquake, the Chinese government decided to provide 50 million yuan worth of emergency humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan. Two batches of urgently-needed supplies such as tents, camp beds and sleep blankets have arrived in Afghanistan. Chinese Ambassador to Afghanistan Wang Yu and Mr. Ghulam Ghaws Naseri, acting minister of state for disaster management and humanitarian affairs of Afghan interim government, attended the handover ceremony. The Afghan side thanked China for the assistance and said they will deliver the relief supplies into the hands of the people in earthquake-stricken areas to provide concrete help to those in need. 

China will continue to follow the situation on the ground and post-disaster reconstruction in Afghanistan. We are ready to offer more urgently-needed help to the country in light of its need. We believe the Afghan side will pull through in solidarity and rebuild from the disaster soon. 

Associated Press of Pakistan: Last week, Pakistan received a RMB15 billion loan from China, which will help Pakistan build up its foreign exchange reserve. Do you have any comment on that?

Zhao Lijian: China and Pakistan are all-weather strategic cooperative partners. China always supports Pakistan in developing the economy, improving people’s livelihood and maintaining financial stability. We stand ready to continue to work with Pakistan to follow through on the consensus between the leaders of both countries, deepen practical cooperation in financial and other fields, jointly address risks and challenges and build a closer China-Pakistan community with a shared future in a new era. 

TASS: According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, Iran and Argentina have submitted applications for their membership in the BRICS. I wonder if you have any comments on that?

Zhao Lijian: Since its launch, the BRICS mechanism has been closely linked to the future of emerging markets and developing countries. In a world facing drastic changes and the pandemic unseen in a century as well as international hotspot issues, BRICS countries have agreed on the importance to strengthen cooperation with other emerging markets and developing countries, enhance the representation of the BRICS mechanism, raise BRICS’ voice on major international and regional issues, and jointly safeguard the common interests of emerging markets and developing countries.

We noticed that many countries including Iran and Argentina have favorably expressed their will to join BRICS. As the BRICS chair for this year, China actively supports BRICS in starting the membership expansion process and expanding the “BRICS Plus” cooperation. At the 14th BRICS Summit on June 23, BRICS leaders have spoken in one voice about BRICS expansion and expressed support for the discussion on the standards and procedures of the expansion. China will work with BRICS partners to steadily advance the expansion process so that more partners will join the BRICS family.

Bloomberg: NATO is set to label China a “systemic challenge” when it outlines its new strategy concept this week, while also highlighting Beijing’s deepening partnership with Russia. How does the foreign ministry respond to this?

Zhao Lijian: As a product of the Cold War and the world’s largest military alliance, NATO has long clung to the outdated security concept and become a tool for certain country to maintain hegemony. NATO’s so-called new Strategic Concept is just “old wine in a new bottle”. It still has not changed the Cold War mentality of creating imaginary enemies and bloc confrontation.

China pursues an independent foreign policy of peace. It does not interfere in other countries’ internal affairs or export ideology, still less engage in long-arm jurisdiction, economic coercion or unilateral sanctions. How could China be labeled a “systemic challenge”? China has promoted the building of a community with a shared future for mankind, advanced high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, put forward the Global Development Initiative and the Global Security Initiative, and provided a large number of public goods for the international community to address major issues such as peace and development. China’s development presents an opportunity for the world, not a challenge for anyone. We solemnly urge NATO to immediately stop spreading false and provocative statements against China. What NATO should do is to give up the Cold War mentality, zero-sum game mindset and the practice of making enemies, and stop seeking to disrupt Asia and the whole world after it has disrupted Europe.

Shenzhen TV: The Hudson Institute established a “China Center” in May this year, with former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as the chair of the Center’s advisory board. What is your comment?

Zhao Lijian: The Hudson Institute is a conservative think tank in the US. In recent years, it has provided a platform for US politicians including then Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to speak against China. The institute also received long-term funding from the Taiwan authorities and assisted the latter to spread “Taiwan independence” rhetoric.

Academic institutions should be bridges of communication and mutual learning between countries, rather than build deep trenches or high walls. They should become bridges of understanding and cooperation, rather than a source of disinformation about China. I believe people will stay vigilant to the real purpose and the potential moves of the China Center, and will not pull chestnut from fire for certain anti-China elements.

Hubei Media Group: High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell and Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian attended a joint news conference after holding talks on June 25. Josep Borrell said both sides agreed to restart the discussions between Iran and the US on the JCPOA in the coming days with the EU’s facilitation. Abdollahian said the meeting was positive and comprehensive, where Iran reiterated its demands and that Iran is prepared to resume the talks in the coming days. On the same day, NSC Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby said that “a nuclear deal is the best way to prevent Iran from achieving nuclear weapons status. And we want to get them back into compliance.” What is China’s comment?

Zhao Lijian: China has noted that indirect negotiations will be held between the US and Iran on the Iranian nuclear issue with the EU’s facilitation. We appreciate the EU’s efforts in restarting the negotiation on resuming compliance. Since the US started the Iranian nuclear crisis, it needs to fulfill its commitment of returning to the JCPOA, actively respond to Iran’s legitimate concerns and work toward an early resumption of the negotiation for progress to be made. All relevant parties need to be mindful of how the things they say or do can contribute to advancing the negotiations.

Diplomatic negotiations are the only right way to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue. Safeguarding the JCPOA is in the common interest of the international community. China always remains committed to the political settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue, and will continue to participate constructively in negotiations, bring the JCPOA back to the normal track as soon as possible, defend the international non-proliferation system, and maintain peace and stability in the Middle East. At the same time, we will not waver in defending our own legitimate rights and interests.

Reuters: Australia, New Zealand and other Pacific Island states are meeting at a pacific islands’ forum next month. A source told Reuters that the International Department of the CPC wants to host the dialogue with the Pacific Islands on July 14, which happens to be the last day of the PIF. Can the foreign ministry comment on why China wants to meet the Pacific Islands on the same day as the Pacific Islands Forum? Related to this, the Pacific Islands Forum this year canceled the usual dialogue with observer nations which include China. How do you comment about this?

Zhao Lijian: On your first question, China-Pacific Island Countries (PICs) relations enjoy sound development. We have maintained close exchanges and cooperation between government departments, legislatures, political parties, civil groups and local governments. As for the specific event you mentioned, I would refer you to the competent authorities.

On your second question, China attaches great importance to the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF). Since China became a Dialogue Partner of the PIF, China has actively participated in PIF’s annual dialogue activities and has never been absent. We fully respect PICs’ decision against holding a dialogue this year and will stay in close communication with the PIF on follow-up arrangements.

AFP: State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will reportedly visit Myanmar in July for the 7th Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Foreign Ministers’ Meeting. Can you confirm whether it’s true or not?

Zhao Lijian: We will release relevant information in due course. Please stay tuned. 

Beijing Daily: Japan’s Supreme Court has recently ruled that the government was not liable for the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The ruling covers four separate damages lawsuits filed by residents affected by the nuclear meltdown. To date, about 12,000 people affected by the accident have filed around 30 class action lawsuits demanding compensation from the Japanese government and the Tokyo Electric Power Company. It has been pointed out that the latest ruling “could affect the outcomes of similar lawsuits filed across the country”. What’s China’s comment?

Zhao Lijian: I have noted relevant reports. What happened at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is one of the worst nuclear accidents in history around the world. Large amounts of radioactive substances were leaked, which has a far-reaching impact on the marine environment, food safety and human health. For the Japanese government, the responsible thing to do is to properly handle the aftermath such as offering compensations, decommissioning the damaged reactors and disposing of the nuclear-contaminated water.

I would like to stress that on the matter of disposing of the nuclear-contaminated water, the Japanese government’s decision not only bears on the Japanese people’s basic human rights such as the right to health, but also concerns the rights and interests of people in all countries around the Pacific. Lately, the Japanese side, in disregard of the opposition at home and abroad, has expedited construction of facilities for discharging the nuclear-contaminated water into the sea and may soon secure approval for the ocean discharge plan, which can turn this bad plan into a fait accompli. China once again urges the Japanese side to take the legitimate concerns of various sides seriously, look for an appropriate means to dispose of the nuclear-contaminated water through full consultation with stakeholders including neighboring countries and relevant international organizations, and stop pushing through its ocean discharge plan.

Bloomberg: Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said on his way to the NATO Summit that the Chinese government should learn the lessons from Russia’s “strategic failure” in Ukraine. In an apparent reference to any attempt to seize Taiwan by force, Albanese said that the war “had shown attempts to impose change by force on a sovereign country meet resistance”. How does the foreign ministry view Mr. Albanese’s remarks?

Zhao Lijian: We have elaborated on China’s position on the Ukraine crisis on multiple occasions. We have also stressed many times that Taiwan is not Ukraine. A parallel cannot be drawn between them. Taiwan is not a sovereign country. We hope relevant politicians will stop making irresponsible remarks.

MASTV: The US and Taiwan held a meeting of the US-Taiwan Initiative on 21st-Century Trade recently. The two sides discussed the development of a roadmap for negotiations with a view to reaching agreements with high-standard commitments and economically meaningful outcomes. Do you have any comment?

Zhao Lijian: China firmly opposes all forms of official interaction between the Taiwan region and countries having diplomatic ties with China, including negotiating or concluding agreements with implications of sovereignty and of official nature. 

There is but one China in the world. Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory. The government of the People’s Republic of China is the sole legal government representing the whole of China. The US should abide by the one-China principle and the stipulations in the three China-US joint communiqués with concrete actions, stop all forms of official interaction with Taiwan, stop negotiating agreements with implications of sovereignty and of official nature with the Taiwan authorities, and refrain from sending any wrong signal to the “Taiwan independence” separatist forces. The DPP authorities need to give up on the idea that they could seek independence with US support, otherwise the higher they jump, the harder they will fall.

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