|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian’s Regular Press Conference on July 29, 2022|
CGTN: We noticed that recently the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway has entered the stage of construction above the subgrade and the Karot Hydropower project has been put into full operation. In the meantime, a new batch of Chinese assistance has been delivered to Afghanistan and Sri Lanka, among others. We have seen continuous progress in cooperation projects between China and its neighboring countries despite multiple challenges including the lingering COVID-19 pandemic, increasing risk factors in regional economy, blows dealt to the industrial and supply chains and growing noises for decoupling and breakage of the industrial and supply chains. Could you shed some light on how this has been made possible?
Zhao Lijian: The Asia-Pacific is a common home for China and other countries in the region. China has always followed open regionalism and been committed to jointly building an Asia-Pacific community with a shared future with other regional countries.
Both the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway and the Karot Hydropower project you mentioned are hallmark projects of the high-quality Belt and Road cooperation between China and relevant countries, and they will give a strong boost to local socio-economic development after completion. Throughout the process of advancing relevant projects, China has always focused on development and cooperation, kept in mind the benefits of people in these countries, and respected the development needs and independence of relevant countries. We have always acted upon the vision of win-win cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, been committed to equal consultation on the basis of mutual respect and sought to form synergy for relevant cooperation and complement each other with comparative strengths. We have never pursued political agenda in the name of promoting economic cooperation, still less put China before anything else or force other countries to pick side. In the wake of the earthquake in Afghanistan and the economic difficulties in Sri Lanka, China has done its best to help and put credibility, the greater good and sincerity first, for we believe this is the way how neighbors should treat each other.
Just as State Councilor Wang Yi noted in his speech at the ASEAN Secretariat not long ago, the friendly cooperation between China and its neighbors and other countries in the Asia-Pacific has been able to keep advancing steadily and make accelerating progress because China has always upheld the concept of peaceful coexistence, the goal of development and rejuvenation, the principle of independence and the spirit of openness and inclusiveness. This is an embodiment of Oriental wisdom and Asian strength and an important contribution to global economic recovery and growth.
Xinhua News Agency: It has been reported that the Tenth Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) will be held in New York in August. Will China attend the conference? What outcomes would you like to see?
Zhao Lijian: The Tenth NPT Review Conference will be held from August 1 to 26 at the UN headquarters in New York. The Director-General of the Department of Arms Control of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs will head a delegation to the conference.
The NPT is the cornerstone of the international nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime and an integral component of the post-war international security architecture. The world is undergoing once-in-a-century changes and a pandemic at the same time and entering a stage of fluidity and turbulence. The global strategic security environment has been deteriorating. The international nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime is confronted with grim challenges. There is deep divergence in the area of peaceful uses of nuclear energy. It is China’s hope that all sides will take this conference as an opportunity to firmly uphold the universality, authority and effectiveness of the NPT, advance in a balanced manner the three pillars of nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and add new vigor to the NPT’s role in serving peace and development.
China has been actively implementing the Global Security Initiative. We are committed to the vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security. We stand ready to work in concert with all parties for a successful and productive NPT Review Conference to improve global nuclear governance and uphold the international order underpinned by international law. At the same time, we will firmly safeguard the legitimate security and development rights and interests of China and the developing world.
Macau Monthly: A delegation of Japanese lawmakers, led by former Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba, recently visited Taiwan and met with the leader of the Taiwan region. What is China’s response?
Zhao Lijian: Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory, and the Taiwan question is purely China’s internal affair. China firmly opposes all forms of official interaction between the Taiwan region and countries having diplomatic ties with China. We seriously urge the Japanese side to earnestly abide by the principles of the four political documents between China and Japan and its solemn commitment on the Taiwan question, prudently and properly handle relevant issues and not to send wrong signals to the “Taiwan independence” forces. The DPP authorities’ attempt to rope in external forces to engage in political manipulation and benefit politically will never succeed.
PTI: We have seen the elaborate statements from both sides after yesterday’s talks between President Biden and President Xi Jinping. From China’s point of view, what exactly is the outcome, especially on the issue related to Taiwan?
Zhao Lijian: With regard to the telephone conversation between the heads of state between China and the US, the Chinese side has issued a press release at the earliest time possible.
As for the Taiwan question, President Xi elaborated on China’s principled position on the Taiwan question. China’s opposition to official exchanges between the US and Taiwan is clear and consistent. Recently, China has made its position and attitude clear on multiple occasions. As President Xi stressed, the three Sino-US joint communiqués embody the political commitments made by the two sides, and the one-China principle is the political foundation for China-US relations. China firmly opposes separatist moves toward “Taiwan independence” and interference by external forces, and never allows any room for “Taiwan independence” forces in whatever form. The position of the Chinese government and people on the Taiwan question is consistent, and resolutely safeguarding China’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity is the firm will of the more than 1.4 billion Chinese people. The public opinion cannot be defied. Those who play with fire will perish by it. It is hoped that the US will be clear-eyed about this. The US should honor the one-China principle and implement the three joint communiqués both in word and in deed.
CCTV: A follow-up on the talks between President Xi and President Biden yesterday. The White House Press Secretary said that President Joe Biden “raised genocide and forced labor practices” in Xinjiang during the call with President Xi Jinping. Can you confirm this?
Zhao Lijian: I can tell you that allegations of “genocide” and “forced labor” in Xinjiang are pure lies. You said the White House Press Secretary claimed that “genocide” and “forced labor” came up in last night’s call. That is disinformation.
Kyodo News: During the call between the two Presidents, the Chinese side made clear its position on the Taiwan question. The two sides also agreed to stay in touch. But if Speaker Pelosi would visit Taiwan, does China believe that the atmosphere to keep the China-US high-level dialogue going will no longer exist?
Zhao Lijian: In their phone conversation yesterday, Chinese and US Presidents had a candid, in-depth communication and exchange on China-US relations and issues of interest. The Chinese side has repeatedly made clear to the US side our serious concern over Speaker Pelosi’s potential visit to Taiwan and our firm opposition to the visit. If the US side challenges China’s red line, it will be met with resolute countermeasures. The US must bear all consequences arising thereof.
China Daily: Former Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating openly criticized US House Speaker Pelosi’s potential visit to Taiwan in a recent statement, saying it would be “foolish, dangerous and unnecessary to any cause”. “If the situation is misjudged or mishandled, the outcome for the security, prosperity and order of the region and the world and above all for Taiwan would be catastrophic”, he added. Do you have any comment?
Zhao Lijian: About Speaker Pelosi’s potential visit to Taiwan, people with insight both within and outside the US have spoken out on this. We believe former Prime Minister Paul Keating’s statement is one such example. We hope the US side will see what they see and hear their voice of reason.
Bloomberg: The US readout from the call yesterday said that the two sides agreed that their team should work towards an in-person meeting between the two Presidents. Can you confirm that was agreed on the call? Do you have any information about when that meeting might be? Could the two Presidents meet at the G20 Summit in Bali?
Zhao Lijian: I can tell you that both Presidents agreed to stay in touch and instructed the two teams to keep up communication and cooperation.
Bloomberg: Can you confirm whether the specific question of Nancy Pelosi’s possible visit to Taiwan came up on the call?
Zhao Lijian: I think I have covered the related points.
PTI: Are there any other issues besides Taiwan discussed by the two leaders, especially the issues related to the Indo-Pacific? Can you just give us an idea of any outcome related to that?
Zhao Lijian: It was late at night when the phone call between the two Presidents concluded. The Chinese side released a readout immediately afterwards.
During the call, the two Presidents had a candid communication and exchange on China-US relations and issues of interest. President Xi elaborated on China’s principled position on the Taiwan question. He stressed that the two sides need to maintain communication at all levels and make good use of existing channels to promote bilateral cooperation. The two Presidents also exchanged views on the global economic situation. The two sides believe that China and the US need to maintain communication on such important issues as coordinating macroeconomic policies, keeping global industrial and supply chains stable, and protecting global energy and food security. President Xi also stressed that attempts at decoupling or severing supply chains in defiance of underlying laws would not help boost the US economy. They would only make the world economy more vulnerable. The two sides need to work for deescalation of regional hotspots, help rid the world of COVID-19 as early as possible, reduce the risk of stagflation and recession, and uphold the international system centering on the UN and the international order underpinned by international law. The two Presidents exchanged views on issues including the Ukraine crisis.
Bloomberg: One question on the Long March rocket which still has not returned to Earth. The tracking data shows still a risk of hitting a populated area. Do you have any more information about where China expects the rocket remains to land?
Zhao Lijian: I shared relevant information the day before yesterday and gave China’s position on that. I have nothing more to add at the moment. The team responsible for the mission is keeping a very close eye on it.
Macau Monthly: On July 26, the Helena Kennedy Center at the Sheffield Hallam University in the UK issued a report to once again hype up the so-called human rights issues in Xinjiang. Do you have any comment?
Zhao Lijian: The institution you mentioned has released multiple fake reports on Xinjiang. It was previously revealed that some authors of these reports had received large funding from certain US agencies and some even have links with terrorist groups. The patron of the Helena Kennedy Center is the founder of an extremist anti-China political group. The allegations of “forced labor” in Xinjiang as claimed by the report are seriously flawed. They cannot even stand basic fact-check and have been proven false by the people cited in the reports themselves. The Helena Kennedy Center presents itself as an academic institution, but serves in reality as the tip of the spear of the anti-China forces. This is such a contemptible act.