Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian’s Regular Press Conference on August 24, 2020
At the invitation of State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó pays an official visit to China on August 24.
At the invitation of Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Luigi Di Maio, Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs Stef Blok, Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide, French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian and German Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will pay official visits to Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, France and Germany from August 25 to September 1.
CCTV: On State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s visits to the five European countries, could you share more information? And what’s the consideration for choosing Europe as the destination for his first overseas trip amid the easing epidemic situation?
Zhao Lijian: State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s trip to Europe is his first overseas visit after the COVID-19 situation has eased. It is warmly welcomed by all relevant countries, showing the importance attached to China-European relations by both sides.
In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, China and Europe offered each other support and assistance in the spirit of pulling together to get through hard times. President Xi Jinping maintained regular communication with leaders of the EU and European countries through video-conference, telephone and correspondence. The 22nd China-EU Summit was successfully held through video link. As this year marks the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the EU, the two sides’ joint efforts in promoting China-Europe and international anti-epidemic cooperation have enriched the China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership.
As COVID-19 adds to the instability and uncertainties in the international landscape, it is of even greater significance for China and Europe, two major forces, markets and civilizations in the world, to work together on strengthening international solidarity against the pandemic, upholding multilateralism, and jumpstarting the world economy. Through this visit, China hopes to achieve three goals: that the two sides will act on Chinese and European leaders’ consensus and advance major political and economic agenda; deepen cooperation on fighting the virus and keeping the global industrial and supply chains stable, and further discuss cooperation in emerging sectors like digital economy and green economy; send out the message of jointly upholding multilateralism and improving global governance and contribute more to world peace, stability and development.
La Repubblica: I have two questions regarding State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s trip to Italy. First of all, can you share with us the schedule of the visit? Will State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi meet and hold talks with Minister Di Maio and Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte? And the second question is related to Huawei, which is said to be recently excluded from a tender for the 5G core network by an Italian telecom operator. My question is whether Minister Wang Yi will discuss this with the Italian government?
Zhao Lijian: On your first question, Italy is a major founding member of the EU. In recent years, China-Italy relations have witnessed rapid development. The two sides understand and support each other’s core interests and major concerns. Our political mutual trust has deepened and practical cooperation in various fields has achieved fruitful results. Last year, leaders of the two sides drew up a blueprint for the development of bilateral relations, with President Xi Jinping paying a state visit to Italy and Italian Prime Minister Conte attending the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in China. Italy became the first major western country to sign a BRI cooperation document with China. Since the beginning of this year, China and Italy have supported each other and worked hand in hand to fight the pandemic. This will be another memorable chapter of friendship between the two countries serving as an example of mutual assistance in times of difficulties for the international community.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Italy. China attaches great importance to developing bilateral relations with Italy. State Councilor Wang Yi intends to use his visit to build on the positive outcomes of bilateral anti-epidemic cooperation, deepen the comprehensive strategic partnership and practical cooperation in various fields, and help China-EU relations maintain sound and stable development and the world regain prosperity and stability. More information will be released in a timely manner. Please stay tuned.
On the 5G network issue, China’s position is consistent and clear.
China Daily: You announced Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó’s visit to China. Can you tell us more about the agenda and how you see China-Hungary relations at present?
Zhao Lijian: Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó is the first European foreign minister to visit China as we are containing the virus on a routine basis. The special timing of his visit demonstrates the profound friendship and mutual support between our two countries and peoples. During Foreign Minister Szijjártó’s visit, he will have talks with State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi to discuss bilateral ties, cooperation and issues of mutual interest. We believe this visit will be significant to the implementation of the important consensus reached by Chinese and Hungarian leaders, the deepening of political mutual trust, and the expansion of bilateral cooperation in the post-COVID era.
China and Hungary enjoy a time-honored friendship and a high-level relationship. Recent years have seen frequent high-level exchange, solid political mutual trust, fruitful cooperation and close people-to-people ties between the two sides. China and Hungary have been assisting and collaborating with each other amid the COVID-19 pandemic, adding a new chapter of friendly cooperation in the new era. China is ready to work with Hungary to advance BRI and China-CEEC cooperation, and elevate bilateral relations to a new height.
The Paper: TikTok announced on August 22 that it will file a lawsuit against the US government over an executive order on the company and its parent company ByteDance, to defend its legal rights, according to reports. On August 21, a group of WeChat users in the US, the “WeChat Users Alliance”, filed a lawsuit to block the ban on WeChat. We have also noted that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in response to a question on TikTok on August 21 that the US side is not targeting successful Chinese companies, but rather Chinese Communist Party entities or commercial entities driven by the Chinese Communist Party that pose a risk to the US national security. What is China’s comment?
Zhao Lijian: China supports relevant companies in taking up legal weapons to safeguard their legitimate rights and interests, and will continue to take all necessary measures to resolutely safeguard the legal rights and interests of Chinese companies.
In response to the fallacies spread by some American politicians, I would like to emphasize two points:
First, some US politicians are working to crush such Chinese companies as TikTok, WeChat and Huawei because they are down with an anti-China syndrome and will strike at anything Chinese. That explains their frantic attempts to hunt down TikTok and other Chinese companies by pinning the ideological label on them under the pretext of “national security”. All the lies and smears are just disguise for their daylight bullying and robbery.
Second, the wanton actions some US politicians have taken against specific companies, such as TikTok, are in essence organized and systematic economic bullying targeting outperforming non-US multinational companies. US politicians fear their strength and success and would even resort to state power to pummel them. This is a repudiation of the principle of market economy and fair competition that the US has always boasted about. This is trampling on international rules and disrupting exchanges and cooperation in science, technology and innovation riding the trend of globalization. The world will only see more clearly the true face of these self-serving bandits-like politicians.
China Review News: When responding to the question whether China and the US are in a Cold War, US Secretary of State Pompeo said in an interview on August 21 that “the problem lies with the Chinese Communist Party”, and that “they’ve shown no evidence of the central understanding that if you want to be a world power, if you want to participate on the global stage, you can’t engage in the kind of predatory economic activities that the Chinese Communist Party has been engaged in for far too long.” On the same day he wrote on Twitter that “The challenges the Chinese Communist Party poses are great, but China’s world dominance is not inevitable.” I wonder if you have any comment?
Zhao Lijian: First I must correct Pompeo on the very basis of his remarks. The US is entirely and solely responsible for the current difficulties in China-US relations. Certain US politicians have been stirring up troubles, making moves that interfere in China’s internal affairs and undermine China’s interests, and doing everything they can to smear China’s domestic and foreign policies, which directly and gravely damages China-US relations.
Certain US politicians are working to suppress China because they fear China’s growth. The harder they strike, the more it proves how successful China is on the right path. The CPC’s goal is to realize the Chinese dream of the great renewal of the Chinese nation, so that people in China and across the world can live a better life. For 10 consecutive years China has been contributing over 30 percent to the global GDP growth. The Belt and Road Initiative proposed by China has become the most popular public good and the world’s biggest platform for economic cooperation. China is committed to opening-up and win-win outcomes. Our development and our huge market of 1.4 billion people have brought enormous opportunities for the whole world.
China never seeks hegemony, but we are not to be intimidated by anyone. We believe countries are all equal regardless of their sizes, and all countries should respect each other and cooperate for win-win results. We are committed to working with all countries to build a community with a shared future for mankind. However, when you look at the US, several of its politicians are busying doing nothing but political, economic, military and discourse bullying, which is increasingly denounced by the international community and visionary people at home. The US today is merely a far cry from the major power it used to be.
The Chinese people cannot be beaten down. China doesn’t provoke troubles, but we never flinch when trouble comes our way. I’d like to remind Pompeo and his like that anti-Communist and anti-China political manipulation is a lost cause. The more they lie and cheat, the more people with judgment and sense of justice will see through their true intention.
Shenzhen TV: On August 21, 13 countries on the 15-member UN Security Council expressed in a letter their opposition to the US bid to reinstate sanctions on Iran, saying that the US has no authority to invoke this mechanism as it has withdrawn from the JCPOA. US Secretary of State Pompeo said “it’s disappointing, because privately, every world leader, every one of my counterparts tells me that America is doing the right thing”, and “it’s incomprehensible to me” for them not to stand up publicly at the UN. He also said: “Our sanctions will work, American efforts will work, and I am confident when that day comes, the world will be alongside of us”. Does China have a comment on this?
Zhao Lijian: State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi already elaborated on China’s position on this issue in Hainan. I would like to add a few points.
When the US unilaterally withdrew from the JCPOA, it forfeited its right as a JCPOA participant state and with that, the right to call for a snapback of sanctions. The letter by the 13 Security Council members opposing the US attempt to trigger sanctions snapback reflects the position of the vast majority of the Security Council membership and the wide consensus of the international community. Once again it shows that unilateralism has no backing and bullying will not be allowed.
Pompeo calls US allies’ decision incomprehensible and even threatens to sanction anyone that disagrees. I’d like to remind a few American politicians that a just cause rallies abundant support while an unjust one has little. The way to resolving the Iranian nuclear issue is through equal dialogue and candid consultation, not sanctions, pressure or threat of force. We hope the US will heed the call of the most members of the international community and return to the correct track of upholding the JCPOA and Security Council resolutions.
Reuters: US President Trump in an interview aired on Sunday said the US could decouple with China if the US wasn’t treated well when responding to China-related questions. Do you have a comment on that?
Zhao Lijian: We’ve also taken note of his remarks. I would like to stress three points.
First, over the past four decades or so since diplomatic ties were established, despite twists and turns, China and the US have all along maintained the momentum of steady development in bilateral relations by managing disagreements and differences and properly handling sensitive issues from a historical and overall perspective. China-US cooperation is mutually-beneficial, not a one-way street. The expanding practical cooperation has brought tremendous benefits for the two countries and peoples. Some American politicians claim falsely that the US has been ripped off by China and that China’s development is a gift from the US. In essence, they are driven by ideological bias to hype up the so-called China threat theory and the Cold War and zero-sum game mentality. Such backpedaling shows their disregard for facts and disrespect for history.
Second, the development of China and the US is not mutually-exclusive. We are more than capable of drawing on each other’s strength to achieve common development. The two countries should work together to strengthen bilateral relations and shoulder their due global responsibilities rather than decoupling with each other. Globalization is the reality of our times and the path to greater social progress. In particular, as the world enters the post-COVID era, countries are all confronted with the tasks of resuming work and production, reviving the economy, and keeping domestic industrial and supply chains stable. No country can do this alone. Only by sticking together and lending each other a helping hand can we get through the hard times. Trying to solve domestic problems through decoupling is like looking for fish in trees or drinking poison to quench thirst. The country doing so will eventually harm the interests of its own businesses and people.
Third, China’s policy towards the US is highly consistent and stable. In the meantime, we are also prepared for possible bumps and storms ahead. We urge certain US politicians to redress their mistakes, return to reason, correctly view and handle China-US relations and stop harming Chinese interests and smearing China so as to bring bilateral ties back to the right track at an early date.
Reuters: Brent Christensen, the head of the American Institute in Taiwan and the de-facto US representative to the island, took part in a commemoration of the anniversary of the 1958 “Taiwan Strait crisis” on Sunday and talked about the history of security cooperation between the US and Taiwan. Do you have any comment on this?
Zhao Lijian: China’s position on the Taiwan question is consistent and clear. The so-called history of security cooperation between the US and the Taiwan region is nothing but an infamous track record of interfering in China’s internal affairs and obstructing China’s reunification. The 1.4 billion Chinese people know that record all too well.
We urge the US to earnestly abide by the one-China principle and three China-US joint communiques, stop pulling petty tricks to change the substance of its relationship with Taiwan, stop thin-ice skating on the Taiwan question, and stop sending out misleading signals to the “Taiwan independence” separatist forces. It is the China-US relations and peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait that is at high stakes here.