AFP: US Attorney General William Barr said China is engaged in an economic blitzkrieg and an aggressive campaign to seize commanding heights of the global economy and overtake US. He warned that China would take advantage of globalization to spread its political ideology. I wonder if China has any comments or response on this?
Hua Chunying: Recently many US senior officials have been attacking China with groundless criticism. They are merely following a threadbare script to distort facts and deflect attention. The world has seen through their tricks. I won’t go through their allegations one by one. The following will be able to cover all of them.
Lately there has been much attention on China-US relations with many concerned about the prospects of a deteriorating turn. I note the following comment from an academic: the US is pressing the accelerator to trash China-US relations, while China is putting the brakes on it.
Indeed, some in the US, driven by ideological bias, have been sparing no effort to paint China as a rival or even adversary, smear and attack China, and encircle and contain its development. They have been politicizing normal people-to-people and cultural exchange, and weaponizing economic, trade and tech cooperation. Simply put, attacking China is their panacea to deal with every domestic political issue. Galvanized solely by self-interest, they won’t even hesitate to hold domestic public opinion, China-US relations and international order hostage. Possessed by such evil, they are on the brink of losing their mind. Their short-sighted act of drinking poison to quench thirst is causing great harm to the US and the world.
With its most advanced and cutting-edge medical technology and resources, the US still managed to make itself the most seriously hit country in the world by COVID-19 with the highest number of infected and fatal cases. Just the other day four former US CDC directors spoke up against the unprecedented politicization of science issues in the country. Even Dr. Anthony Fauci, leading expert and director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has been targeted by blame-shifting. A real-life House of Cards is on in Washington, with people’s lives and social cohesion at stake. This is the American people’s misfortune.
China never intends to challenge or replace the US, or have full confrontation with it. What we care most about is to improve the livelihood of our people. What we deem as the most important is to realize the renewal of the Chinese nation. And what we hope for most is to maintain peace and stability of the world. The US has underestimated China’s noble aspirations. Those claiming that China seeks to “surpass the United States as the world’s preeminent superpower” and to “overthrow the rules-based international system” are judging us based on their own pattern. That’s serious misjudgment of China’s strategic intentions.
China’s foreign policy on the US remains unchanged. We are willing to grow China-US relations with goodwill and sincerity. A stable China-US relationship not only serves the fundamental interests of the two peoples, but is also necessary for upholding world peace and stability. It is also our due responsibility as the world’s top and second largest economies and UN Security Council permanent members.
To achieve that goal, China and the US must work in the same direction, respect each other’s core interests and major concerns, follow international law and international rules, and engage in equal-footed dialogue and consultation. As an independent country, China has every right to uphold its sovereignty, security and development interests, safeguard the achievements that the Chinese people have made through hard work, reject any bullying and injustice imposed on it, and counter malicious slandering and vilifying attacks by the US.
State Councilor Wang Yi, when addressing the China-US Think Tanks Media Forum, made three propositions on how to set things right and get China-US relations back on the right track: to activate and open all the channels of dialogue; to review and agree on the lists of interactions; and to focus and cooperate on COVID-19 response. We hope the US can return to rationality, adopt a more objective and cool-headed perspective towards China, formulate more rational and practical China policies, and act like a responsible major country to live up to its people’s mandate and stand the test of history.
In response to the recent smears and criticism against China by Pompeo and other US politicians, the following lines from a poem by Su Shi came to my mind: “Defying the rain hitting the leaves through the woods, I sing and walk ahead at my own pace.”
Nikkei: Japan said a Chinese ship conducted marine research activity in the exclusive economic zone near “Okinotori Island” without prior approval from the Japanese government, and it has protested to China over this. Can you tell us the reason for China’s sustained activities in the relevant waters?
Hua Chunying: The reason is simple. According to the UNCLOS, Okinotori is not an island, but rocks which shall have no EEZ or continental shelf. Japan’s unilateral claim has no legal basis. The Chinese research ship operating in the relevant waters is entitled to freedom of scientific research at high seas. They can do it freely and they do not need to get any approval from the Japanese side.
The Paper: When asked in an interview about the Trump administration considering putting travel bans on all members of the Chinese Communist Party, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the US government is thinking about pushing back against China and the President and their team are working their way through this. The White House spokesperson said that “we keep every option on the table with regard to China”. Do you have any comment?
Hua Chunying: We noted that Chinese people have reacted strongly to yesterday’s reports that the US government is weighing travel restrictions on all CPC members. Many say that they are Chinese Communist Youth League members and Young Pioneers, and some others say they don’t even care to go to the US as it has come to where it is today.
The US government hasn’t clarified if the reports are true. If they are indeed true, the US is in fact standing in opposition to the 1.4 billion Chinese people, who account for one fifth of the world’s total population, and is ridiculously acting in contrary to the wishes of the Chinese people and its own people.
The leadership of the CPC is the defining nature of socialism with Chinese characteristics. It is under the leadership of the CPC that the Chinese people achieved independence, freedom and liberation, and continuously made enormous progress in national development. Practices have proven that the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics has lifted 1.4 billion Chinese people out of poverty and backwardness, another major contribution the Chinese nation has made to the cause of human progress. No country, individual or force has any right to negate this path that is chosen by the Chinese people and proven correct by facts. China will unswervingly and unstoppably forge ahead along the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics.
As to whether the US will remain open and inclusive, or choose to isolate itself behind a locked door from the outside world, this is a choice left to the US people and government. The world is watching as it makes a choice.
Xinhua News: Some media say that although China’s economy was deeply impacted by the COVID-19 epidemic, its national economy has shown a growing trend of recovery in the first half of this year. China’s GDP grew by 3.2 percent year-on-year in the second quarter, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics. They believe that it is a sign that China has successfully brought the epidemic under control and the Chinese economy is going to rebound more strongly in the next six months this year. Do you have any comment?
Hua Chunying: You may have all noted that the National Bureau of Statistics yesterday released the data about China’s economic performance in the first six months and the Information Office of the State Council recently held a press conference on that. I noticed it caught a lot of attention from foreign media too.
The Chinese economy in the second quarter has returned to positive territory after reporting negative growth. Main indicators have resumed growth, the economy is steadily recovering and the market expectations are generally positive. These hard-won outcomes are the results of our endeavor to bring the epidemic under control timely and effectively, coordinate epidemic prevention efforts and socio-economic development. They manifest the effectiveness of the implementation of macroeconomic policy in a comprehensive manner and the strong resilience and potential of China’s economy. Facts have shown that the Chinese economy has stood the test of the epidemic and the fundamentals sustaining sound and steady economic growth remain unchanged.
The resumption of steady growth in China’s economy is good news to world economy. Since COVID-19 broke out, we have actively conducted anti-epidemic international cooperation by offering aid including money and goods to over 150 countries and international organizations as strong support to their epidemic response. We have fully advanced resumption of work and production and accelerated the recovery of regular life and work, making positive contributions to stabilizing global industrial and supply chains. We have continued to expand opening-up and promoted external trade and cooperation. In June, China’s total trade in goods registered a 5.1% growth year on year, with imports up by 6.2%, which has boosted the total demand of the world and promoted international development. Some authoritative international institutions are optimistic about the prospect of China’s economy and they predict that China may be the only major economy able to maintain positive growth for this year and will inject confidence and driving force into the recovery of global economy.
The pandemic is still spreading around the world with its impact on world economy still unfolding. China’s economy remains to be under enormous challenges. We stand ready to work with all parties to strengthen macroeconomic policy coordination, step up cooperation on epidemic prevention and resumption of work and production, jointly build an open world economy and make unremitting efforts to help world economy surmount from recession and achieve steady recovery.
China Review News: US Secretary of State Pompeo said in a recent interview that the U.S. government is morally superior to Beijing, saying that the US secures infinitely more freedom for its citizens. Do you have any comment?
Hua Chunying: Is that so? He’s like the “emperor in his imaginary new clothes”, completely immersed in his own world. Please give Floyd and other African Americans the freedom to breathe first.
Kyodo News: It is reported that the US administration will put in force the National Defense Authorization Act from August 13, prohibiting the US government from purchasing products or services from any company that uses the products of five Chinese companies, including Huawei and ZTE. What is China’s comment?
Hua Chunying: I have just made clear China’s view on the recent statements and actions of the US government. On the issue of Huawei, the US has not a single piece of evidence that Huawei poses a threat to its national security. Huawei is a Chinese company, more advanced than its US peers in 5G sector, and that’s where the US believes it has got wrong. The US cannot tolerate anything better than it, so it has abused its state power to oppress Huawei on trumped-up charges. This is economic bullying, a blatant rejection of the market economy principles that the US has always prided itself on. The world sees this very clearly.
We urge the US side to stop abusing the concept of national security, stop slandering China and unjustifiably oppressing certain Chinese companies, and provide a fair, just and non-discriminatory environment for Chinese companies to conduct normal business in the US. The American companies all hope that China will provide a fair, just and non-discriminatory environment for them. But they should also put themselves in the shoes of Huawei and think about this question: Is there any company from any other country rather than China, that has been treated so unjustly, unfairly and brutally in the US, like Huawei and other Chinese companies? I think countries and people with a sense of justice should stand forward and make appeals.
Bloomberg: Prime Minister Boris Johnson plans to hold the news conference Friday addressing UK claims which are corroborated by Canada and the US that Russian-linked hacking groups have attempted to steal coronavirus vaccine research. What is China’s response? And in addition, have Chinese institutions experienced any similar hacking attempts related to its coronavirus research?
Hua Chunying: Given the virtual nature of cyberspace and the fact that there are all kinds of online actors who are difficult to track, all countries need to present enough evidence when accusing others of cyber-related incidents, otherwise it is irresponsible. We hope all countries will play fair in pushing forward vaccine R&D and contribute to its worldwide accessibility and affordability. It is a good deed for mankind. We need healthy competition and interaction, not malicious attacks.
Bloomberg: Taiwan said that its top representative to Hong Kong has returned home due to “unnecessary political obstacles”. Some local media reported he refused to sign a statement endorsing “one China”. We are wondering if China has comments on this?
Hua Chunying: I am not aware of the situation. There is only one China in the world, a fact and an international consensus. How can some in Taiwan call it an “unnecessary political obstacle”?
Hua Chunying: Before letting you go, I want to, with great pleasure, introduce to you my new colleague Wang Wenbin, new Spokesperson of the Foreign Ministry and Deputy Director General of the Information Department.
Deputy Director General Wang Wenbin has been engaged in diplomatic work for 27 years. He once worked in the Information Department, Department of Western European Affairs, Policy Planning Department and General Office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as the Chinese diplomatic missions in Senegal, Cameroon and Mauritius. He served as China’s Ambassador to Tunisia from 2017 to 2020. Deputy Director General Wang Wenbin is a seasoned diplomat and good communicator. I believe that he will soon become friend with all Chinese and foreign journalists. I believe our friends from the press will support Deputy Director General Wang Wenbin as they have supported me and all previous spokespersons. Now I’ll give the floor to him.
Wang Wenbin: Friends from the press, good afternoon! Thank you, Director General Hua Chunying, for introducing me today. It is my great pleasure and honor to meet you all at this podium. As Director General Hua said, I have been serving as a diplomat for 27 years, but I am a new hand as a Spokesperson of the Foreign Ministry. I will do my best to learn from my predecessors and communicate with our journalist friends sincerely. I will introduce China’s foreign policy and diplomatic visions to you in a timely and accurate manner so as to enhance mutual understanding and friendship between the Chinese people and the rest of the world. In the days to come, I will take each and every of your questions seriously and facilitate your work to the best of my capability. At the same time, I look also forward to your understanding and support. Because of the epidemic, I’m afraid I won’t be able to shake hands with you one by one today, but I believe we’ll have many more opportunities to talk with each other in the future. Thank you!
Hua Chunying: Deputy Director-General Wang Wenbin will host the regular press conference starting from next week. We look forward to your participation and questions. That’s the end of today’s press conference. Have a nice weekend.