Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian’s Regular Press Conference on August 26, 2020
CCTV: According to the Canadian Foreign Ministry, Canadian Foreign Minister François-Philippe Champagne met with State Councilor Wang Yi in Rome on August 25. He talked about the cases of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, calling on the Chinese side to agree to Canadian consular visits to the two Canadians. Can you confirm that? What is your comment?
Zhao Lijian: China has issued a press release on State Councilor Wang Yi’s meeting with Canadian Foreign Minister François-Philippe Champagne. As for the individual cases you mentioned, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor are suspected of engaging in activities endangering China’s national security. The Chinese judicial authorities have been handling the cases in strict accordance with law and protecting their lawful rights. In all our communications with the Canadian side, we have made it very clear that Canada should respect the rule of law and China’s judicial sovereignty.
I would like to stress once again that things between China and Canada have come to this stage not because of China. The Canadian side is well aware of the crux of the problem. It should take immediate and effective measures to correct the mistakes and create conditions for bilateral relations to return to the right track.
Global Times: It is reported that Taiwan authorities plan to open a new representative office in Aix-en-Provence in Southern France, which they say is aimed at fostering cooperation between Taiwan and France and other European countries in culture, tourism, business, innovation, and education. What is China’s comment?
Zhao Lijian: There is only one China in the world and Taiwan is an inalienable part of China. China firmly opposes any country having diplomatic ties with China making any form of official contact and exchanges with Taiwan, including the establishment of official institutions in each other’s places. France should abide by the one-China principle and prudently and properly handle issues related to Taiwan. The attempts of the DPP authorities to carry out separatist activities in the international arena will not succeed.
Shenzhen TV: Indonesia’s Permanent Representative to the UN, who held the rotating presidency of the Security Council in August, reportedly said that the Security Council had no consensus on the US request to activate the snapback mechanism, and the President of the Security Council would not take further action. What is China’s comment?
Zhao Lijian: China has expounded on its position on the Iranian nuclear issue many times recently. The statement by the current President of the Security Council reflects the position of the overwhelming majority of the Security Council members and the consensus of the international community.
As State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi stressed the other day, China supports the establishment of an alternative multilateral dialogue platform on the premise of firmly safeguarding the effectiveness and authority of the JCPOA on the Iranian nuclear issue, where all parties can raise their concerns and forge new consensus on maintaining regional peace and stability. We are ready to work with relevant parties to push for the political and diplomatic resolution of the Iranian nuclear issue.
China News Service: Protests in Belarus over the presidential election result have not subsided and the international community is paying close attention to the situation there. What is China’s comment?
Zhao Lijian: China always respects the development path chosen by the people of Belarus in line with their national conditions, firmly supports Belarus’ efforts to safeguard national independence, sovereignty, security and development, and firmly opposes interference by external forces in the country’s internal affairs. We are confident that political stability and social tranquility will be restored under the leadership of President Lukashenko. China is ready to continue to push for in-depth development of China-Belarus comprehensive strategic partnership featuring mutual trust and win-win cooperation and deepen bilateral cooperation in all fields to the benefit of the two countries and peoples.
CRI: You announced earlier that China sent a team of medical professionals to South Sudan. We now know they have been working to contain the virus and train staff since they arrived. Can you give us more details on that?
Zhao Lijian: The team of medical experts, sent by the Chinese government, has been working intensively after they arrived in South Sudan. From August 19 to 24, they visited Juba International Airport and the biggest local commodity market, had discussions with a medical advisory group of South Sudan’s special committee on COVID-19, visited South Sudan’s national public health lab, and provided professional guidance for local health authorities. During their stay, based on China’s training plans and the features in local epidemics, the experts shared as much as possible their knowledge on epidemic prevention and control with local medical workers and answered their questions. This has effectively helped local medical personnel know more about China’s experience and measures, and enhanced the capacity of front-line medical institutions in South Sudan.
Vice President Abdelbagi of South Sudan met with the Chinese experts and said that South Sudan and China are true friends and good partners. Over the past years, whenever South Sudan faced difficulties, China was always the first to offer help. After COVID-19 broke out in South Sudan, China was also the first to provide emergency medical supplies, making it a true friend in trying times. China chose South Sudan as one of the first destinations to send medical experts after the Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity Against COVID-19, demonstrating the Chinese side’s deep friendship and high attention attached to South Sudan. Olushayo Olu, WHO Representative for South Sudan, also expressed gratitude for China’s strong support for the efforts by African countries and the WHO to fight the pandemic. The Chinese medical experts received wide attention and warm welcome from people in South Sudan, who believe their visit will contribute to bilateral cooperation in health and epidemic containment, enhance South Sudan’s confidence and capability in defeating the virus, and help South Sudan and other African countries to bring the epidemics under control as soon as possible.
The Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation: State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will visit Norway soon. What are the issues that will be discussed? What’s the importance for China of this visit?
Zhao Lijian: Thanks for your interest in the visit. While in Norway, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will meet with Prime Minister Solberg and hold talks with Foreign Minister Søreide to exchange views on bilateral relations and issues of mutual interest. Norway is one of the first European countries to recognize the New China and its market economy status. Recent years has seen sound development in bilateral relations, with frequent high-level exchange and fruitful cooperation in various fields. China stands ready to work together with Norway to act on the important consensus of our leaders and achieve greater development in bilateral relations in the new era. We also hope this visit will inject new impetus into China-Norway practical cooperation, especially negotiation on a free trade agreement.
More information will be released as it comes out. Please stay tuned.
China Review News: The Wall Street Journal published an article by US Defense Secretary Esper on August 24. The article, titled the Pentagon Is Prepared for China, says that the PLA is not a military that serves the nation, let alone a constitution, as the US armed forces do. The PLA belongs to and serves a political entity, the Chinese Communist Party. It goes on to say that the Chinese Communist Party coerces other countries and impedes their sovereignty. What is your comment?
Zhao Lijian: Mr. Esper’s allegations are completely groundless. Here I would like to offer one recommendation, two facts and three questions.
First, one recommendation. I recommend Mr. Esper read over the full text of Pompeo’s Fact-twisting China Speech Versus the Truth released by the Chinese side. It is a compilation of a large number of facts and data that are more than enough to expose and shatter the lies and fallacies of the so-called “China threat”.
Second, two facts. First fact, since 1990, the Chinese military has participated in more than 20 UN peacekeeping operations and sent over 40,000 military personnel, making China the largest contributor of peacekeeping troops among the five permanent members of the Security Council. Second fact, in the 240-plus years since the founding of the US, only 16 years have passed without a war. The US military budget for 2019 exceeds $716 billion, equivalent to the combined military spending of the next nine countries trailing the US.
Third, three questions. First question, China pursues a national defense policy that is defensive in nature. Both the Constitution of the Communist Party of China and the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China clearly stipulate that China adheres to the path of peaceful development and opposes hegemony. Can the US pledge the same? Second question, who is the one that owns hundreds of military bases around the world, illegally waged war and military operations against countries such as Iraq, Libya and Syria, and sent ships to and planes over far-flung waters to flex their muscles? Third question, who is the one that has been behaving out of a Cold War mentality, quitting treaties and multilateral organizations and wielding sticks and fists like crazy?
The right answers are not difficult to get as long as these US politicians respect the facts.
Tass News Agency: According to Chinese military, the US sent a U-2 high attitude reconnaissance plane to the no-fly zone established by the north military command during the live-fire drills. I wonder if the foreign ministry has any comment on this?
Zhao Lijian: The spokesperson of the Ministry of National Defense has issued remarks on that. I’d like to stress that the US U-2 high attitude reconnaissance plane arbitrarily intruded into the no-fly zone for live-fire exercises by the Northern Theater Command of the People’s Liberation Army. The trespass severely affected China’s normal exercises and training activities, and violated the rules of behavior for air and maritime safety between China and the United States, as well as relevant international practices. It could easily have resulted in misjudgments and even accidents. China firmly opposes such blatant provocation and has lodged stern representations with the US. We urge the US to immediately stop such provocative moves and take real actions to uphold regional peace and stability.
The Globe and Mail: We saw the readouts from both Canadian and Chinese sides about the meeting that took place yesterday. I just want to ask was there anything on which the two sides agreed? We heard quite a bit about what they disagreed about, so did they agree on anything?
Zhao Lijian: We already put out a press release on the meeting. There is consensus on developing bilateral relations. More than half a century ago, pioneering Canadian leaders braved external pressure and took the right step to establish diplomatic relations with China. We hope today Canada will act as a good custodian of what the forefathers built, show the same resolve and take concrete actions to bring China-Canada relations back to track at an early date.