|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian’s Regular Press Conference on August 29, 2022|
Shenzhen TV: The Tenth Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) concluded at the UN Headquarters in New York last week and states parties were unable to reach consensus on the outcome document. Do you have any comment on this?
Zhao Lijian: The Tenth Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) was held from August 1 to 26 at the UN Headquarters. This conference was held at a time when the global strategic security environment keeps deteriorating and the international nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation system face severe challenges. Parties to the conference had comprehensive and in-depth discussions on disarmament, nonproliferation, and peaceful uses of nuclear energy, which form the three pillars of the NPT, and worked actively on an outcome document. It is regrettable, however, that the conference concluded without consensus on the outcome document. This once again shows that the NPT mechanism does not operate in the vacuum. China does not see the lack of an outcome document as a failure of the conference, because the exchange and clash of ideas, positions and concerns among parties during the meeting is important for understanding and reflecting on the complex and profound changes of the current international landscape and useful for jointly exploring ways to address the severe challenges facing the international non-proliferation system.
During the meeting, the Chinese delegation was guided by the new vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable global security, and participated actively and constructively in substantive work on various fronts. The Chinese delegation highly recognized the status and role of the NPT, advocated promoting the three pillars of the NPT in a comprehensive and balanced manner, and proposed the new role of the NPT in serving peace and development. The Chinese side reiterated that China has the most stable, consistent and responsible nuclear strategy and policy among the five nuclear-weapon states. China actively commits itself to advancing the international nuclear arms control process and will in the meantime firmly uphold its legitimate security interests. China firmly upholds the international nuclear non-proliferation system, and unequivocally opposes the erroneous practice of putting geopolitical interests above non-proliferation efforts. China also actively promotes international cooperation on the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
The NPT review conference has concluded, but this is not the end of upholding the object and purpose of the NPT. China will stay committed to the path of peaceful development, continue to be guided by the Global Security Initiative and Global Development Initiative put forward by President Xi Jinping, faithfully observe obligations under the NPT, preserve global strategic balance and stability, safeguard the international nuclear non-proliferation system and support the peaceful uses of nuclear energy by developing countries. We are ready to work with all parties to enhance the universality, authority and effectiveness of the NPT, add more stability and certainty to a time of turbulence and transformation and make new contributions to world peace, security and development.
China News Service: We noted recent revelations about people from Taiwan who are held captive and subject to beating in Cambodia after being lured to the country by job scams. This has received much attention from many social sectors. Is the Chinese embassy in Cambodia offering any consular protection to the compatriots from Taiwan? What is it doing exactly?
Zhao Lijian: The Chinese government attaches great importance to and is fully committed to protecting the safety and lawful rights and interests of overseas Chinese nationals, including our compatriots from Taiwan. The Chinese embassy in Cambodia is in close communication with the Cambodian government in the ongoing search and rescue efforts. The Chinese embassy has so far received help requests from over 20 compatriots who came from Taiwan and has assisted the Cambodian side in successfully rescuing some of them. We will continue to closely follow the handling of relevant cases. Compatriots from Taiwan and their families in need can contact the Chinese embassy in Cambodia promptly to seek help.
We once again remind our fellow citizens to be vigilant against fake overseas job postings on the Internet, strictly abide by laws and regulations, protect themselves, and promptly report any information related to fraud and gambling. In case of an emergency outside China, please contact the local police immediately and get in touch with the Chinese embassies or consulates there.
Bloomberg: Do you have any comment on the upcoming NASA launch and also some accusations in a recent Pentagon report that warns of China’s hegemonic ambitions in space? Secondly, I’d like to ask what is the Chinese government’s position on the US’s success in getting countries to sign up for the Artemis Accords, which is the Washington-based initiative to create rules for activities on the moon, but also elsewhere in space. Finally, I would like to ask what, if any, progress has been made on the China-Russia initiative to support the international lunar research station, if you have any updates on that?
Zhao Lijian: I would like to refer you to the competent authorities for these specific questions about outer space cooperation. What I can say is that outer space is not a wrestling ground, but an important field for win-win cooperation. The exploration and peaceful uses of outer space is humanity’s common endeavor and should benefit all. China is committed to the peaceful uses of outer space, security of outer space and extensive cooperation with all countries. China also welcomes progress by more countries in this area. We are ready to continue to work with other countries, advance the peaceful uses of outer space, better promote economic development and social progress of all countries, and make greater contribution to building a community with a shared future for mankind.
Reuters: On Sunday, two US warships passed through international waters in the Taiwan Strait, a move that a White House official described in the same day as very consistent with the US’s one-China policy and its policy of seeking a free and open Indo-Pacific. Does the foreign ministry have any comment?
Zhao Lijian: Spokesperson for the PLA Eastern Theater Command has responded to this. The Eastern Theater Command conducted security tracking and monitoring of the US warships’ passage in the whole course, and had all movements of the US warships under control.
US warships frequently flex muscles in the name of exercising freedom of navigation. This is not about keeping the region free and open. This is provocation aimed at “freedom of trespassing” and it constitutes deliberate sabotage of regional peace and stability.
China once again urges the US side to stop fudging, hollowing out and distorting the one-China principle, observe basic norms in international relations including respecting other countries’ sovereignty and territorial integrity and non-interference in their internal affairs, earnestly abide by the one-China principle and stipulations of the three China-US joint communiqués, and stop being a trouble maker for peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.
AFP: In addition to reports on people from Taiwan trapped in Cambodia and other Southeast Asian countries and forced to operate phone scams, we've also seen reports that there are people from Hong Kong as well as the mainland. I just wanted to ask the foreign ministry if you had received any request for help from people from Hong Kong and the mainland, and if you could share more details on what concrete steps are being taken to help these people.
Zhao Lijian: In addition to the details I just provided, let me also share with you a personal story. A Weibo account with the alias “一位想回家的孩子” (a child who wants to go home) messaged my personal Weibo account several times asking for help. I relayed the messages to our embassy in Cambodia. With the concerted efforts of the Chinese embassy and Cambodian police, this Chinese citizen was finally rescued and has returned safely to China. I kindly ask all the journalists here to watch out for similar cases. If you come across such cases, you could contact the consular protection center of the Chinese foreign ministry or our embassies and consulates in Cambodia and other countries.
Phoenix TV: The EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell had reportedly said that “Taiwan is a small country”, but later the EU spokesperson’s office said it was a mistranslation that didn’t reflect the High Representative’s view. Do you have any comment?
Zhao Lijian: We have noted relevant reports.
Let me stress that the definition of the one-China principle is crystal clear, i.e., there is only one China in the world, Taiwan is part of China, and the government of the People’s Republic of China is the sole legal government representing the whole of China. There is no room for ambivalence on this major matter of principle.
We hope the EU side will continue to follow the one-China principle, respect China’s core interests and major concerns, and reflect its commitment in concrete actions on Taiwan-related issues to avoid affecting China-EU relations and mutual trust.
The Paper: A recent article in British newspaper The Sunday Times citing the former head of the UK’s National Cyber Security Center and intelligence officials confirmed that in 2019, after the British government determined that Huawei does not constitute a national security threat and was ready to engage in cooperation with it, the US sent then US National Security Council’s director on Asia to the UK, who “shouted at” the UK side “for five hours”, demanding that the UK join them in suppressing Huawei without any compelling technical arguments that undermined the UK’s analysis. What’s China’s comment?
Zhao Lijian: I have noted the article. This is simply shocking and like a story for a movie. What has been revealed by the British media is further proof that the US’s coercion of the UK into giving up Huawei is all part of the political manipulation aimed at suppressing Chinese hi-tech companies. The so-called “national security” and “5G technology risks” are merely pretexts used by the US to mask its sinister intention.
I also noted that the article points out that the UK government’s decision to ban Huawei comes at a huge cost as it would delay the country’s 5G rollout by three years and cost it at least £2 billion to remove all Huawei 5G equipment from its networks by 2027. I believe the world can see clearly who is actually footing the bill for the US’s selfishness and bullying tactics.
These facts show once again that the US’s move to stretch and abuse the concept of national security and politicize technological issues is deeply unpopular. The so-called “clean network” peddled by the US is really a “dirty network” designed to repress anyone who disagrees with them. If the US’s self-serving calculations so dictate, even a close ally like the UK can be subject to coercion and bullying. The international community should see clearer the US’s hypocrisy behind all its false narratives.
AFP: We’ve seen reports that the UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss will likely label China “an official threat” if she becomes Prime Minister. Do you have any response to this?
Zhao Lijian: We do not comment on and have no interest in the UK’s internal affairs, including the Conservative Party leadership election. Our message for certain British politicians is that finding fault with China or hyping up the so-called “China threat” is an irresponsible thing to do and will not solve the UK’s own problems.
TBS: Recently on the internet, there are many videos of private drones flying from the mainland to the Kinmen island to take pictures. Do you have any comment on this?
Zhao Lijian: I have seen the videos too. Chinese drones flying over China’s territory — what’s there to be surprised at?
CCTV: It is reported that China criticized the AUKUS nuclear submarine cooperation during the NPT review conference and worked to include the matter in the draft final document. Do you have any comment?
Zhao Lijian: China firmly opposes the nuclear submarine cooperation between the US, the UK and Australia. During this review conference, China and many other countries expressed concern over their cooperation and viewed it as a violation of the object and purpose of the NPT which could impact the IAEA’s safeguard and monitoring system and pose grave nuclear proliferation risks. As called for by China, the conference had serious and thorough discussions on this issue and agreed on the content included in the draft final document on this topic, which, in particular, says the conference “notes the importance of transparent and open dialogue” on the topic of “naval nuclear propulsion”. This speaks volumes about the widespread concerns of the international community over the AUKUS nuclear submarine cooperation and the legitimacy of China’s proposal to establish an open and inclusive inter-governmental discussion process in this regard. The US, the UK and Australia had no reason to obstruct it.
Associated Press of Pakistan: Over 1,000 people have died and more than tens of millions of people affected from parts caused by heavy monsoon rains in Pakistan. Do you have any response?
Zhao Lijian: We have seen many news stories about the floods, especially videos of the devastation the floods have caused in Pakistan. They are heart-wrenching and staggering. China and Pakistan are all-weather strategic cooperative partners and true friends and good brothers sharing weal and woe. Since Pakistan was hit by the floods, our thoughts have been with the people in the affected areas. We feel deeply for the Pakistani side in this difficult time. State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi expressed sympathy to Pakistani Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari upon learning the news of the floods. Under the social and livelihood cooperation framework of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, China has provided 4,000 tents, 50,000 blankets and 50,000 pieces of waterproof tarp to Pakistan. They have been delivered to the frontline of disaster relief. In light of the situation on the ground and based on Pakistan’s needs, China has decided to provide an additional batch of emergency humanitarian supplies including 25,000 tents and other supplies in dire need. The Red Cross Society of China will provide USD 300,000 in emergency cash assistance to the Pakistan Red Crescent Society. The All-Pakistan Chinese Enterprises’ Association has donated PKR 15 million to the Prime Minister’s Flood Relief Fund.
A ruthless disaster can bring out the best of humanity. We won’t forget that in the wake of the Wenchuan earthquake in 2008, the brotherly Pakistani people rushed to our assistance and sent all their tents in reserve to the stricken area in China. The Chinese people were deeply moved. Now as the Pakistani people grapple with the floods, we are standing with them. Going forward, China will continue to enhance cooperation with Pakistan in disaster prevention and mitigation and global climate response and provide more assistance to Pakistan in its flood relief efforts and post-disaster reconstruction. The Chinese embassy in Pakistan and the Pakistani embassy in China are seeking help and donation from companies and people from various sectors. We believe the Pakistani people will surely overcome the disaster and rebuild their homes soon.
Global Times: According to reports, the Global Engagement Center of the US Department of State released a report on August 24 falsely alleging that the Chinese government has sought to create and spread disinformation on Xinjiang with various publicity tactics in an attempt to manipulate and dominate global discourse on Xinjiang. Do you have any comment?
Zhao Lijian: The report falsely accuses China of using disinformation to manipulate public opinion on Xinjiang. This is like nothing but a thief crying “stop thief”. Propaganda and infiltration veiled as “global engagement” — that’s what this center of the US Department of State actually does. It is a hotbed of disinformation and a command center for cognitive warfare.
China has long been a victim of disinformation. China’s Xinjiang, in particular, has been under heavy attack from the US’s worldwide campaign to spread disinformation against China. For quite some time, the US has propagated lies of the century about Xinjiang such as “genocide”, “forced labor” and “crimes against humanity” to serve the US’s sinister scheme of using Xinjiang to contain China. Even some US government officials have admitted it several times. Former senior US officials and US diplomats posted in China have told people that the US never cared about ethnic minorities in Xinjiang and was “very clear that nothing is wrong about Xinjiang”, and that the US just wanted to play up issues about Xinjiang to “foment unrest” and destabilize China from within.
In fact, the US’s disinformation campaign on Xinjiang is nothing new and the methods it uses have been debunked many times. First, the US has encouraged US academic institutes, think tanks and NGOs to keep fabricating so-called “research papers” flooded with false accusations on Xinjiang to smear China’s Xinjiang policy. They have bribed witnesses and fabricated evidence to justify the so-called charge of “human rights violations” in Xinjiang. Second, the US has instructed news agencies overseen by the US Agency for Global Media to produce fake news reports and “propaganda materials” about “genocide” and “forced labor” in Xinjiang in dozens of languages and coordinated with media networks in US ally countries to reprint such “products”. Third, the US has heavily financed online media outlets for them to weaken and block true information about Xinjiang released by the Chinese side while providing technical assistance for anti-China forces to spread disinformation related to the region. In this manufacturing chain of lies, the so-called scholars and certain media, the cyberspace and government agencies of the US both supply and consume these raw materials of the lies. The end product, disinformation related to Xinjiang, is then used by the US government as a pretext to sanction, pressure and interfere in China.
The manufacturers of lies and propagators of disinformation fear most about facts and truth. Xinjiang is a safe and stable place now and enjoys sustained and sound development, and the people there are living happy and fulfilling lives. This is the best and most powerful rebuttal to the US’s disinformation campaign against Xinjiang. No matter how many lies the US produces, they will not fool the people across the world, nor will they bring down Xinjiang’s harmony and stability. They will not drown out the voice for justice in support of China from the international community. In fact, what the US does will only bankrupt its own credibility at an even faster pace.
Beijing Daily: According to reports, during the NPT review conference, the issue of policies concerning the use of nuclear weapons received wide attention from non-nuclear-weapon states. The draft final document once included content about calling on nuclear-weapon states to commit to no-first-use of nuclear weapons, but the last draft contained no related expression. What’s China’s comment?
Zhao Lijian: How nuclear-weapon states see the role of nuclear weapons in their national security policy and what kind of nuclear strategy and policy they make and implement bear on international peace and security and the efficacy of the NPT. Since the first day of possession of nuclear weapons, China has pledged to “no first use” of nuclear weapons at any time and under any circumstances. China is the only one among the five nuclear-weapon states to have made this pledge. During this review conference, non-nuclear-weapon states jointly called on all nuclear-weapon states to adopt the no-first-use policy, which they believe is vital for reducing nuclear risks and improving the international security environment. UN Secretary-General António Guterres made the same call twice publicly during the conference. In the consultation process for the draft final document, content about no-first-use was once included upon China’s proposal.
Regrettably, a certain nuclear-weapon state and its allies blocked the inclusion of the content about no-first-use in the draft outcome document by taking advantage of the consensus rule. On one hand, these countries hype up the “China threat” and “China’s responsibility” narratives on the issue of nuclear arms control and claim to be supportive of reducing nuclear risks, but on the other hand, they bluntly reject the no-first-use policy. This says a lot about their hypocrisy. I would like to stress that when it comes to reducing the role of nuclear weapons in national security policy, nuclear-weapon states shoulder important responsibilities and their allies should also play a positive role.