Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian’s Regular Press Conference on July 6, 2020
CCTV: Following WHO’s last update on the timeline of its response to COVID-19, chairman of the China Task Force in the US House of Representatives Michael McCaul said that the WHO is finally admitting to the world the truth – the CCP never reported the virus outbreak to the WHO. Do you have any comment? Has China reported the outbreak to the WHO?
Zhao Lijian: The allegation by the US side is totally untrue.
As a State Party to the International Health Regulations (2005), China has been acting in an open, transparent and responsible manner, earnestly implementing its duties and obligations under the IHR, and timely sharing COVID-19 information with the WHO, relevant countries, regional organizations, and China’s Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan regions. The timelines published by the Chinese government and the WHO have clearly shown that China shared information with the international community in a timely and transparent fashion. On December 31, 2019, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission released a statement on the situation of pneumonia in the city on its official website. China reported to the WHO at the earliest time possible. This fact cannot be clearer.
By telling lies and spreading disinformation, certain US politicians aim to frame China and the WHO for their own political agenda. We urge them to respect facts and stop political maneuvering.
Macao Monthly: It is reported that China recently carried out military exercises in the South China Sea. The United States also sent two aircraft carriers to the South China Sea for drills on July 4. What is China’s comment?
Zhao Lijian: Last week, I answered questions about China’s military training in the relevant waters off the Xisha Islands. I want to stress once again that the Xisha Islands are indisputably China’s territory. China’s military training in the waters surrounding the Xisha Islands is within China’s sovereignty and beyond reproach.
At present, thanks to the joint efforts by China and ASEAN countries, the situation in the South China Sea is generally stable and witnessing sound development. Under such circumstances, it is completely out of ulterior motives that the US flexes its muscles by purposely sending powerful military force to the relevant waters for large-scale exercises. The US intends to drive a wedge between regional countries, promote militarization of the South China Sea and undermine peace and stability in the region. The international community, especially the regional countries, sees this very clearly.
China Review News: Canadian Foreign Minister François-Philippe Champagne said in a statement that Canada will not permit the export of sensitive military items to Hong Kong and is suspending the Canada-Hong Kong extradition treaty. Canada has also updated its travel advice for Hong Kong. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his country was considering immigration and other measures. What is China’s comment?
Zhao Lijian: By making such statements and announcing those measures, the Canadian side has turned a blind eye to the basic fact that the law on safeguarding national security in the Hong Kong SAR is conducive to the steady implementation of the “one country, two systems” principle. The Canadian side has seriously violated international law and basic norms governing international relations, and grossly interfered in China’s internal affairs. China strongly condemns that and reserves the right to further react. Canada will bear all the consequences arising therefrom.
Hong Kong affairs are China’s internal affairs, and other countries have no right to interfere. The Chinese government is firm in its resolve to safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests, and to oppose interference in Hong Kong affairs by external forces. The attempt to pressure China will never succeed.
China urges the Canadian side to immediately correct its mistakes and stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs and China’s other internal affairs in any way so as to avoid further damage to China-Canada relations.
China News Service: Somalia reaffirmed its commitment to the one-China principle and condemned Taiwan for undermining Somalia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in a statement issued by its presidential office. Earlier reports said the Taiwan authorities and Somaliland in northwest Somalia had decided to set up “representative offices” for each other and had appointed representatives for each other. What is China’s comment?
Zhao Lijian: We noticed and appreciate that the Somali government reaffirmed its adherence to the one-China principle and condemned Taiwan for undermining Somalia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. There is only one China in the world and Taiwan is an inalienable part of China. The one-China principle is a universally recognized norm governing international relations and an international consensus. China firmly opposes the establishment of official institutions or any form of official exchange between the Taiwan authorities and Somaliland. The Democratic Progressive Party has gone frantic in search of whatever support it could get, but it will never succeed in trying to stage separatist activities in the international arena.
The Globe and Mail: Canada does not have an extradition treaty with China’s mainland. It is now suspending its extradition treaty with Hong Kong. Why is China unhappy that Canada is now treating Hong Kong as part of China in this way?
Zhao Lijian: What sophistry in this! Don’t you know this constitutes interference in China’s internal affairs?
Beijing Youth Daily: China and Mongolia recently held the second meeting of joint response mechanisms, where the two sides announced the establishment and launch of “green lanes” at the borders. Can you confirm this and share more details?
Zhao Lijian: On July 3, China and Mongolia held the second meeting of joint response mechanisms, where the two sides announced the establishment and launch of “green lanes” at the borders. Participants include officials from diplomatic, transport, commerce, health, customs and immigration authorities of both sides. At the meeting, the two countries reached agreement on the implementation of the “green lanes” and its launch in the near future.
As we understand, the “green lanes” will facilitate flows of people and goods, including cross-border freight drivers from China and Mongolia, and urgently needed essential personnel for commerce, logistics, production, technology service and major cooperation projects. China and Mongolia will also optimize border check procedures, accelerate the process and raise the efficiency of customs clearance. As epidemic prevention and containment is conducted on a regular basis, the “green lanes” between China and Mongolia will provide an institutional guarantee for essential travels and flows of goods between the two countries, which is important to coordinating efforts on fighting the virus and resuming work and production in major cooperation projects.
As good neighbors and good friends, China and Mongolia have written a chapter of mutual assistance amid difficulties in the fight against COVID-19. China is ready to work with Mongolia for closer communication and coordination, smooth operation of the “green lanes”, and greater global efforts against the pandemic so as to achieve an early victory.
AFP: Huawei will be allowed to access France’s 5G network, but will only get limited license according to local media. Do you have any comment on that?
Zhao Lijian: China always believes that 5G technology is a frontier technology that leads the fourth Industrial Revolution and offers a valuable platform, and the development and utilization of 5G in a globalization era happens naturally as all countries undertake extensive consultation and joint contribution for shared outcomes.
The French government said publicly on many occasions that it will not take discriminatory measures against specific countries or companies on 5G-related matters, let alone exclude Huawei. We hope France can uphold an objective and fair attitude, respect market rules and the will of enterprises, make independent choices that serve its own interests, and take concrete actions to provide an open, fair, just and non-discriminatory business environment for all companies including Chinese ones.
The Paper: According to reports, White House Trade and Manufacturing Policy Director Peter Navarro said in a recent interview that China produced the coronavirus in a biological lab and used it as a weapon. He added, “They deliberately allowed Chinese nationals to come to the United States, Italy, and everywhere in between, who were infected, while they were locking down their own transportation network.” Do you have any comment?
Zhao Lijian: Mr. Navarro is a habitual liar and rumor-monger who has been spreading a “political virus” to stigmatize China under the pretext of the pandemic.
Facts have laid bare each and every lie he has ever made up. Since the epidemic broke out, the Chinese government has taken the most comprehensive, rigorous and thorough prevention and control measures to contain its spread and effectively cut off the transmission routes of the virus. On January 23, Wuhan temporarily suspended outbound transportation. Back then there was only one confirmed case in the US. On January 31, three major American airlines suspended direct flights between the US and China. On February 2, the US closed borders to China when there were only more than 10 confirmed cases reported in the US. From January 24 to April 8, a period during which Wuhan was under lockdown, there were no commercial flights or trains leaving Wuhan for other Chinese cities or foreign countries. On April 8, the number of confirmed cases in the US soared to over 400,000 from a two-digit figure. Now the number of confirmed cases in the US has reached more than 2.87 million with the death toll hitting nearly 130,000. Dr. Michael Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organization (WHO) Health Emergencies Program, recently warned that the COVID-19 pandemic will not magically go away and numbers don’t lie. The relevant countries should wake up to the situation on the ground. China has achieved major strategic progress and brought the virus under control within a short period of time. Then when we look at the US, we couldn’t help but ask what it has done, how it has done it and when it will stop shifting the blame to others.
Mr. Navarro fabricated an expert “Ron Vara”, an anagram of his own name, to tarnish China’s image, but the world has already seen through his nature of lying, blame-shifting and anti-China sentiment. He should first answer the MSNBC host’s question why the new disease count in the US is so much higher than anywhere else in the world. He should also do some soul-searching and answer the following questions from the international community: what is the true reason behind the shutdown of the Fort Detrick biolab by the US government? Does this have something to do with the EVALI, the seasonal flu and the COVID-19 pandemic? When will the US invite experts of the WHO or other international institutions to investigate the origin of COVID-19 in the US?
We urge Mr. Navarro and his like to respect facts and science, have at least some sense of responsibility, put domestic anti-epidemic efforts and saving lives first, reject the wrong practice of putting political gains above people’s wellbeing, and refrain from deceiving the world by telling lies and rumors.
Reuters: Indian media reported that China has pulled back tents and equipment from the flashpoint where the battle occurred in Galwan Valley. Can you confirm if that’s indeed the case?
Zhao Lijian: Chinese and Indian troops held the third round of commander-level talks on June 30. Both sides agreed to continue implementing previous consensus reached at the last two rounds of commander-level talks and made progress in taking effective measures on disengagement and easing tensions in the border areas by frontline troops. We hope India will meet China halfway, implement our consensus by taking concrete actions, keep in close contact with China via military and diplomatic channels, and work with China to deescalate tensions in the border areas.
China Daily: On July 3, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif sent a letter to EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell, announcing the decision to launch a dispute settlement mechanism in accordance with the JCPOA in response to the failures of France, Germany and the UK to fulfill their obligations under the JCPOA. What is China’s comment?
Zhao Lijian: The JCPOA is an important outcome of multilateral diplomacy endorsed by the UN Security Council resolution. It is an important pillar for the international nuclear non-proliferation regime and peace and stability in the Middle East, and an important part of the international order based on international law. The US withdrawal from the JCPOA and its maximum pressure on Iran is the root cause for the tension in the current Iranian nuclear situation. China hopes that all parties concerned can adopt an overall and long-term perspective, make efforts to meet each other halfway, resolve differences on the implementation of the JCPOA through dialogue and consultation within the framework of the JCPOA Joint Commission, restore the balance of rights and obligations under the JCPOA, and do their best to safeguard and implement the JCPOA. China will maintain close communication with relevant parties, facilitate peace, promote talks and continue working for the political and diplomatic resolution of the Iranian nuclear issue.
Global Times: According to reports, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a press conference on July 3 that regarding Chinese Coast Guard vessels’ patrol in China’s territorial waters near Diaoyu Dao, the Japanese side has lodged strong protest to China through diplomatic channels. He said, “We have been strongly urging China to stop trying to approach the Japanese fishing boat and leave our territorial waters immediately.” He added that Japan’s coast guard patrol ships have been deployed to ensure the safety of the Japanese fishing boat. Reports also say that recently the Chinese Coast Guard ships patrolled and performed duties in the territorial seas off Diaoyu Dao and its affiliated islands many times. Do you have any comment?
Zhao Lijian: Recently, in its routine patrol in the waters off Diaoyu Dao, China Coast Guard found a Japanese fishing boat illegally trespassing into the territorial waters off Diaoyu Dao. China Coast Guard followed and monitored this ship in accordance with law and demanded it immediately leave China’s waters. China has lodged solemn representations with the Japanese side through diplomatic channels, urging it to immediately stop violating China’s sovereignty.
Diaoyu Dao and its affiliated islands are China’s inherent territory. China enjoys the inherent right to patrol and enforce law in the waters off Diaoyu Dao. We demand Japan abide by the four-principled consensus and uphold stability in the East China Sea with concrete actions.
AFP: Iran has been reportedly negotiating a 25-year accord with China, according to Iranian foreign minister. I wonder if you could confirm that?
Zhao Lijian: China and Iran enjoy traditional friendship and the two sides have been in communication on the development of bilateral relations. We stand ready to work with Iran to steadily advance practical cooperation.
Beijing Daily: China and New Zealand recently held a video conference of experts on COVID-19. Could you give us more details?
Zhao Lijian: On July 3, experts from China and New Zealand held a video conference on COVID-19. The National Health Commission has released relevant information.
During the video conference, regarding COVID-19 prevention and control, experts from both sides talked about the latest development of the COVID-19 situation, experience in prevention and control, and measures to resume work and production. The experts also discussed COVID-19 testing methods, clinical diagnosis and treatment, and exchanged opinions on expanding cooperation areas, building technology-sharing platforms and strengthening communication under multilateral mechanisms.
The virus is a common enemy to all human beings, and all countries have a shared future. Only through solidarity can we overcome the difficulties. Guided by the vision of a community with a shared future for mankind, China will continue working with other countries to support each other in times of difficulties and defeat the virus together. China will continue contributing our wisdom, experience and proposals to the global fight against the pandemic.