Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian’s Regular Press Conference on August 17, 2020
CCTV: On August 14, the United Nations Security Council voted on the United States draft resolution on extending arms embargo on Iran. China and Russia voted against the draft, and 11 Council members abstained in the voting, while only the United States and the Dominican Republic voted for it. The draft resolution was not adopted at the Security Council. On the same day, Russian President Putin called on the P5 countries, Germany and Iran to hold a video summit on the Iranian nuclear issue. I wonder if China has any comment?
Zhao Lijian: As you said, in the UN Security Council voting on the US draft resolution, most members were against the US wrongdoing, and held the view that the JCPOA and UNSCR 2231 should be earnestly preserved and implemented.
The voting result once again shows that unilateralism receives no support and bullying will fail. Any attempt to place one’s own interest above the common interest of the international community is a dead end. In recent years, in pursuing unilateralism and “America first”, the US has abandoned its international obligations, and withdrawn from multilateral agreements and international organizations, shattering its own credibility. China urges the US to abandon unilateralism, and stop unilateral sanctions and long-arm jurisdiction. The US should adopt a reasonable and realistic attitude, and return to the right track of observing the JCPOA and the UNSC resolution.
China welcomes Russia’s proposal on holding a video summit on the Iranian nuclear issue, and applauds Russia’s efforts on de-escalating tensions on this issue and its contribution to regional security. China firmly endorses the JCPOA and stays committed to upholding peace and stability in the Middle East. We are ready to work with relevant parties to keep close communication and coordination and advance the political settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue.
Reuters: China and the US were supposed to hold trade talks on August 15. Can you confirm that the trade talks were scheduled to take place on August 15? What is the reason for not holding them?
Zhao Lijian: Regarding the specifics of the China-US trade agreement, I’d refer you to the competent authorities.
China Daily: The Supreme Court of British Columbia will hold a hearing on the Meng Wanzhou case on August 17 local time to discuss the disclosure of evidence and information. The information published indicates that the Canadian law enforcement authorities are suspected of misconduct and abuse of process in planning and carrying out the operation to arrest Meng, including colluding with the FBI, stalling for time at the Vancouver airport and illegally searching and questioning her. Meng’s lawyers asked the court to demand that the Canadian prosecutors disclose more information and evidence. Do you have any comment?
Zhao Lijian: China’s position on the Meng Wanzhou case is consistent and clear. As is clearly revealed by evidence that has been made public, the US and Canada abused their bilateral extradition treaty and arbitrarily took compulsory measures against a Chinese citizen, which grossly violates the legitimate rights and interests of the Chinese citizen. The US aims to oppress Huawei and other Chinese hi-tech companies, and Canada is its accomplice. It is a serious political incident. This is not only China’s view, but also a conclusion shared by the rest of the international community including insightful people in the US and Canada.
I want to stress that the Chinese government is firmly determined in upholding the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens and businesses. In the meantime, we support Chinese companies and individuals in safeguarding their legitimate rights and interests through legal means. We once again urge the Canadian side to take seriously China’s solemn position and concern, immediately release Ms. Meng Wanzhou and ensure her safe return to China at an early date.
China News Service: US President Trump signed an executive order on August 14, asking ByteDance to divest its interest in TikTok’s operations in the United States within 90 days. According to Trump, “There is credible evidence that leads me to believe that ByteDance might take action that threatens to impair the national security of the United States.” I wonder if you have any comment?
Zhao Lijian: China has been putting forward facts, truth and reason on TikTok-related matters on multiple occasions. Here I’d like to add the following two points.
First, according to reports, in its operations in the US, TikTok’s middle and senior management personnel, including the chief executive officer, are all Americans. Its servers are in the US, data centers in the US and Singapore, and teams all localized. The company hired 1,500 American employees and promised to create 10,000 jobs. Its audit policy and source code are open to the public. It is fair to say that TikTok has done almost everything the US side demands. However, it still cannot escape from certain US individuals’ disguised and coercive robbery out of selfish political gains. Some US politicians are attempting to strangle TikTok with one baseless excuse after another.
Second, in the views of certain US politicians, “national security” is a one-size-fits-all pretext for the country to stir up troubles and oppress non-US companies. The US claims that companies like TikTok threaten to undermine US national security, but even a CIA assessment says there’s no evidence that China intercepted TikTok data or used the app to bore into cell phones. A think-tank in the US also said that there is no security justification for banning an app merely because it is owned by a Chinese company. This proves once again that “freedom and security” is nothing more than an excuse for some US politicians to pursue gunboat diplomacy in the digital age.
Such bullying practices are a flagrant denial of the principles of market economy and fair competition, of which the US is a self-claimed “champion”. Those practices violate international trade rules, undermine other countries’ interests, and will surely damage the US own interests. We urge the US to immediately correct its mistakes and stop smearing China and wantonly oppressing foreign companies.
Beijing Youth Daily: We noticed that on August 14, the Dutch Ouwehands Zoo held a 100-day and name day celebration ceremony for a giant panda cub born in May. Do you have more on that?
Zhao Lijian: On August 14, the Dutch Ouwehands Zoo held the 100-day and name day celebration ceremony for the baby panda of expat pandas Wu Wen and Xing Ya. Chen Ribiao, charge d’affaires of the Chinese embassy in the Netherlands attended the event and unveiled together with the Dutch side the name for the baby panda: Fan Xing.
In 2017, giant pandas Wu Wen and Xing Ya arrived in the Netherlands for bilateral friendship following the consensus President Xi Jinping and King Willem-Alexander reached during their exchange of visit. Several years passed and the baby panda Fan Xing was born. The first couples of the two countries exchanged congratulatory letters, calling Fan Xing a lovely token of China-Netherlands friendship and a symbol of fruitful cooperation. It’s worth mentioning that the cub, born amid the COVID-19 pandemic, brings hope and joy to the two peoples and also witnesses their friendship during the joint fight against the virus.
Giant pandas are China’s national treasure and messenger for friendship and exchange with other countries. We hope Fan Xing will grow up healthy and sturdy as a cute little ambassador bringing the Chinese and the Dutch people closer and strengthening their bond of friendship just like its parents.
Bloomberg: Can you provide any update on whether Chinese journalists in the US have their visas extended after the US shortened visas for Chinese journalists to 90 days in May?
Zhao Lijian: On May 8, 2020, the US limited visas for Chinese journalists to a maximum 90-day stay, which means they need to apply for an extension every three months. We understand all Chinese journalists have already submitted their extension application, but none has got a clear answer from the US side.
I stress once again that for some time, the US, driven by Cold War mentality and ideological bias, constantly escalated political suppression of Chinese media. Such practice severely affected Chinese media’s normal reporting in the US, tarnished their reputation, and disrupted normal people-to-people and cultural exchange between the two countries. On one hand, the US claims to champion freedom of the press, but on the other hand it wantonly thwarts Chinese media’s normal work in the US. This exposes the hypocrisy of its so-called freedom of the press. It is stark double standard and hegemonic bullying.
As we’ve repeatedly said, the cause and responsibility for the current situation lies with the US. It should correct its mistake, stop political suppression on Chinese media and journalists and ensure the safety and property of Chinese journalists are protected and their normal reporting unaffected. Should the US decide to go further down the wrong path, China will be compelled to take necessary and legitimate countermeasures to safeguard our legitimate rights and interests.
AFP: India’s Prime Minister Modi vowed in a speech over the weekend that India will build a strong military, and he also said the country’s territorial integrity is supreme. Does China have any response to this speech?
Zhao Lijian: We noted Prime Minister Modi’s remarks. As two neighbors and emerging major countries each with a population of over 1 billion, the growth of China-India relations will not only benefit our two countries and peoples, but also add stability and positive energy to peace and prosperity of the region and the world at large. Mutual respect and support between China and India is the right path and serves the long-term interests of both countries. China will continue to work with India to enhance political mutual trust, properly manage differences, strengthen practical cooperation and jointly uphold the big picture of bilateral relations.
AFP: First, do you have any comment on Taiwan finalizing a deal to buy dozens of F-16 fighter jets from the US? Second, police in Nigeria said that four Chinese workers have been freed after they were kidnapped from a quarry. Do you have any details on the kidnapping and the rescue process?
Zhao Lijian: On your first question, China consistently and firmly opposes US arms sales to Taiwan. US arms sales to Taiwan seriously breach the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communiqués, especially the August 17 Communiqué. It severely undermines China’s sovereignty and security interests and gravely violates the basic norms of international relations. China stated its solemn position and made a firm response after the US announced the sale of 66 F-16V fighter jets to Taiwan in August 2019.
The Taiwan question concerns China’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and core interests. China has firm resolve in upholding its sovereignty and security. We urge the US to earnestly abide by the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communiqués and stop arms sales to and military ties with Taiwan, lest it should gravely harm China-US relations and cross-strait peace and stability.
With regard to your second question, on August 15 local time, with the joint efforts of relevant parties, four kidnapped Chinese nationals in Nigeria were rescued. China will continue to take all necessary measures to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of our citizens overseas.
Reuters: China’s fishing ban near the Diaoyu Islands expired on Sunday. Japanese media reported that local Chinese authorities had ordered Chinese fishermen to stay away from the Diaoyu Islands in an effort to ease tensions with Japan. Can you confirm it?
Zhao Lijian: I haven’t heard this or seen reports on this. China’s position on the Diaoyu Islands is consistent and clear.