Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying’s Regular Press Conference on 1 December, 2020
CCTV: The 19th Meeting of the Council of Heads of Government of the Member States of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) was held via videolink on November 30. Can you tell me what consensus has been reached at this meeting? What are the main outcomes?
Hua Chunying: Yesterday, Premier Li Keqiang attended the 19th Meeting of the Council of Heads of Government of the Member States of the SCO via videolink. At the meeting, Premier Li Keqiang, together with the heads of all participating delegations, exchanged in-depth views on the implementation of the outcomes reached at the recent SCO virtual summit and the strengthening of SCO cooperation in the fields of economy, trade, investment, and people-to-people exchanges in the face of the challenge of COVID-19, and reached broad consensus. The leaders of the Member States also signed and issued a joint communique and adopted cooperation documents in such fields as economy and trade. Overall, the meeting yielded good outcomes and sent three positive signals.
First, we should continue to live up to the “Shanghai spirit” in deepening anti-epidemic cooperation. The participants all spoke highly of the collective efforts taken by the SCO countries to help each other and overcome difficulties since the outbreak of the pandemic, and agreed to further carry forward the “Shanghai spirit”, work together to combat the virus, jointly oppose the stigmatization of the pandemic, and support the World Health Organization in playing its due role.
Second, we should persist in taking a package of measures to promote economic recovery. China pointed out that all parties should steadily promote the various SCO cooperation agenda, create a safe and stable development environment, give full play to the leading role of scientific and technological innovation, and create a better future for SCO in the post-COVID period. China also actively advocated upgrading the level of trade and investment liberalization and facilitation in the region, jointly building the Belt and Road, and tapping the potential of digital economic cooperation. China also announced specific cooperation initiatives. We will publish an index of our trade with other SCO members, accelerate the development of the SCO demonstration base for exchanges and training on agricultural technologies, and carry out poverty reduction training with other SCO countries. All parties agreed that promoting integrated and interconnected development in keeping with the general trend of the world economy is a sure path to economic recovery of regional countries. It is agreed by all to deepen cooperation on trade facilitation, connectivity, scientific and technological innovation, finance and agriculture, which will help the steady resumption of work and production.
Third, we should advocate openness and inclusiveness and endorse multilateralism. All parties agreed that unilateralism and protectionism seriously hinder the process of economic globalization, stressing that openness and cooperation is an irreversible trend of the times, and they are willing to actively safeguard multilateralism and free trade. In the joint communique of the meeting, leaders of the Member States pointed out that the SCO, as an influential and responsible part of current international relations, is committed to consolidating multilateralism and supporting the multilateral trading system with WTO rules at its core.
As an important founding member of the SCO, China has always attached great importance to the development of the SCO. Committed to the Shanghai Spirit, China will continue working with all parties to implement the consensus reached at this meeting and make SCO contributions to deepening cooperation and building a community with a shared future for mankind.
Shenzhen TV: Two years ago, Ms. Meng Wanzhou was arbitrarily detained by the Canadian police in Vancouver, triggering severe difficulties in China-Canada relations. How does China view the Meng Wanzhou case going forward?
Hua Chunying: As proven by facts, the Meng Wanzhou case is a serious political incident. The U.S. government’s deliberation and action on it are not out of any legal cause, but out of the agenda to suppress Chinese hi-tech companies and obstruct the development of Chinese science and technology. The Canadian government acted as an accomplice that bears unshirkable responsibilities in this process. Meng Wanzhou has been arbitrarily detained while she did nothing that violates the Canadian law. We express indignation and, once again, strong condemnation over this.
The Chinese government is determined in safeguarding our citizens’ legitimate rights and interests. We will continue taking all necessary measures towards this end. We once again urge Canada to correct its wrongdoing at once and release Meng Wanzhou so she could return to her motherland safe and sound.
Beijing Daily: The Canadian government has been accusing China of “arbitrarily detaining” two Canadians, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, and of pursuing “coercive diplomacy” over these cases. What’s China’s comment on this?
Hua Chunying: The Canadian side’s accusations are just fact-distorting. In nature the Canadian citizens’ cases are entirely different from the Meng Wanzhou case. In accordance with law, the Chinese authorities arrested and prosecuted them and will put them on trial because the two Canadians are suspected of crimes endangering China’s national security. Their lawful rights have been guaranteed during the whole process.
Phoenix TV: According to a report to be published, NATO must think harder about how to handle China’s rise. China doesn’t share NATO’s values and tries to “intimidate” other countries, and its rise poses security threats to the organization. Do you have any comment on this?
Hua Chunying: The report you mentioned is not published yet. We will make official comments after reading it. Here I’ll just give you an initial response to some elements you asked about.
You mentioned values. Indeed, some countries have brought it up so often recently. I’d like to bring to your attention that over the past years, on multiple occasions including at the United Nations, President Xi Jinping called for upholding the values of peace, development, equity, justice, democracy and freedom shared by us all. I wonder if the NATO member countries also agree on the six words? Aren’t they the values that all of us should be committed to?
You also mentioned “intimidation”. Earlier another journalist said China is accused of conducting “coercive diplomacy”. These two similar accusations are utterly disinformation. China has never practiced anything like “coercive diplomacy” or “intimidating diplomacy”. On the contrary, we have been a victim of that. By pinning these labels to China, certain countries are just trying to take away our legitimate right to safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests.
As for “threats” or “challenges”, can anyone give us an example of any security threat posed by China to other countries? China has always been a builder of world peace and defender of the international order. We will, as always, follow the path of peaceful development and continue to make greater contributions to world peace and development. China pursues a national defense policy that is defensive in nature, and our per capita defense spending is far lower than that of other major countries. It is agreed by many that China’s development is an opportunity for the world, not a threat to anyone. We will stay committed to the right path of peace and cooperation.
We hope NATO will uphold a correct view on China, look at China’s development and domestic and foreign policies in a rational manner, and do more things that are conducive to international and regional security and stability. China stands ready to conduct dialogue and cooperation with NATO on the basis of equality and mutual respect.
Bloomberg: A question regarding the four individuals that were sanctioned yesterday with their actions regarding Hong Kong. We wonder if you could clarify that they are banned from China’s mainland, Hong Kong and Macao and what this means if they are currently residing there?
Hua Chunying: As I made clear yesterday, China decides to impose sanctions on four U.S. nationals who behaved badly on Hong Kong-related issues. I’d like to emphasize again that Hong Kong is a part of China, and its affairs are purely China’s internal affairs. The United States should immediately stop meddling in Hong Kong affairs and China’s other internal affairs.
Beijing Youth Daily: A meeting of the Joint Commission of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) will take place in Vienna on December 16. Will China attend the meeting? Does China have any expectations? How do you see the significance of the meeting in the context of upholding the JCPOA?
Hua Chunying: A meeting of the JCPOA Joint Commission at the level of political directors will be convened in Vienna on December 16. Parties to the JCPOA will assess the current Iranian nuclear situation, review the implementation of the JCPOA and coordinate next-step actions. China maintains close communication with other parties on upholding and implementing the JCPOA. We have attended all previous meetings of the Joint Commission and will continue to send our delegation this time.
China believes that no matter how the situation may evolve, continuous efforts to uphold and implement the JCPOA should serve as the basic prerequisite for any political solution to the Iranian nuclear issue. We hope all parties will take the meeting as an opportunity to consolidate the consensus of upholding and faithfully implementing the JCPOA and UNSCR2231, discuss ways to effectively address current challenges and continue to advance the political settlement process. We also hope that the US side will come back to reason and practical approach, return to the JCPOA at an early date and take concrete actions to take up its due responsibility in upholding the international non-proliferation system and peace and stability in the Middle East.
Reuters: A U.S. analyst citing Japanese intelligence sources said that China has provided North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and his family with an experimental coronavirus vaccine. Can you confirm if that’s the case and tell us any more details about it, if so?
Hua Chunying: I don’t know where this information comes from. I haven’t heard of it.
Multiple Chinese vaccine candidates have entered phase III clinical trials. We pledged that our vaccines, after development and deployment, will be made a global public good and we will actively consider providing them to developing countries. We will act on our words. This is our general stance.
The Paper: The launching ceremony of the Lancang-Mekong water resource cooperation information sharing platform website was held in Beijing on November 30. Can you talk about the reason why this website was launched and what it means to the Lancang-Mekong water resource cooperation?
Hua Chunying: At the third Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Leaders’ Meeting in August, the six Lancang-Mekong countries agreed to join hands in building a water resource cooperation information sharing platform so as to enhance water resource data and technology sharing, make a collective response to climate change, floods and droughts, and contribute to the rational utilization and sustainable development of Lancang-Mekong water resources. On November 30, the Lancang-Mekong water resource cooperation information sharing platform website was officially launched. In fact, since November 1 this year, China has been providing Lancang River’s drought season hydrological data to Mekong countries. Now with the launch of this website, China will share our information on this platform. We also expect the water resource authorities in the six countries to make good use of this website to realize the all-round sharing of water resource data, information, knowledge, experience and technologies at an early date, which will help the decision-making and provide technological support for the comprehensive regulation and rational utilization and conservation of water resources in the Lancang-Mekong region.
The launch of the LMC has been motivated by a river, which brings all the countries together. China would like to closely collaborate with the five riparian countries, take concrete actions in protecting, regulating and developing water resources, discuss Lancang-Mekong cooperation together, and deliver more benefits to people in the region.
Global Times: On November 30, the US Treasury Department announced sanctions on China National Electronics Import & Export Corporation (CEIEC) under the pretext that the company supports “the illegitimate Maduro regime” in efforts to undermine democracy. It added that Chinese companies like CEIEC helped the Venezuelan government to conduct digital surveillance. What’s your comment?
Hua Chunying: China believes that upholding sovereign equality and non-interference in others’ internal affairs is the most important principle of the UN Charter. Whether the Venezuelan government is legitimate or not should not be decided by a third party. The Venezuelan government and people have the capability and wisdom to handle their own issues. We firmly stand against the abuse of unilateral sanctions in an attempt to coerce the Venezuelan people into changing their development path.
China attaches high importance to the relationship with Venezuela. We stand firm with the Venezuelan people, support the Venezuelan government’s right to uphold sovereignty, national dignity and social development. We support the Venezuelan side in choosing a development path suited to its national conditions. China and Venezuela have been following the principle of equality, mutual benefit and common development in conducting practical cooperation, which totally conforms to international customary practices and shouldn’t be politicized.
China is a firm defender of cyber security and believes that information and communications technology should be used to promote socio-economic development and improve people’s wellbeing. The US practice is nothing but another pretext to suppress Venezuela and relevant Chinese companies. China urges the US side to abide by international law and basic norms governing international relations, take concrete steps to correct its mistakes and rescind illegal sanctions under various names. China will take necessary measures to uphold the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies.
Phoenix TV: The Australian Prime Minister said yesterday that a spokesperson of China’s Foreign Ministry posted a “falsified photo” on his Twitter account. The official Weibo account of the Australian Embassy in China also updated a post, saying that the photo was falsified. What is your comment?
Hua Chunying: A falsified photo? Australia accuses China of using a falsified or fake photo, and even of spreading false information, but such an accusation is in itself a false one. What’s going viral online is not a “photo”, but a graphic created with computer techniques by a young Chinese artist. Computer-generated graphics and falsified pictures are two different things. The graphic depicts a fact because its creation is based on the inquiry report issued by the Australian Defense Department.
Chinese netizens had some heated discussions about Australia’s reaction yesterday. The artist of this graphic was also interviewed by media. According to media reports, he called out to Mr. Morrison, telling him that what some of his soldiers did was crueler than his artwork depicts.
Before coming here, I asked my colleague to print out some photos and the inquiry report by the Australian Defense Department. These are all what really happened. These are all released by the Australian side. Some of you may have the same question mark as I do: why does the Australian side react so strongly on this? The Australian side has made such a scene with this graphic because it wants to divert attention, avoid the real issue and relieve some pressure off its shoulder. It is under immense criticism and condemnation from the international community for the ruthless killing of Afghan innocents by some of its soldiers, but the Australian side wants to turn that into a tough-on-China position. Everyone sees that very clearly.
I also read an article on WeChat that I want to share with you. It’s titled “How Come It’s ‘I Can, But You Cannot’?”. I believe this article speaks for a lot of Chinese people. It is a fact that China is treated with this “I can, but you cannot” approach. For example, I can have 5G technologies, but you cannot; I can have a bigger economy than yours, but you cannot; I can make accusations against you while siding with “Tibet independence” forces, “Taiwan independence” forces, Xinjiang separatist forces, and the opposition and violent criminals in Hong Kong, but you cannot. This “I can, but you cannot” approach reflects the attitude of those unbelievably arrogant hypocrites. Their real motive is to deprive China of the right to tell facts and truth. They are afraid to hear that loud and clear voice – “Look, the emperor has no clothes on!”
When it comes to “false information”, I hope that these people will calm down and do some level-headed thinking. They need to view China and China’s development with soberness and reason and work in constructive ways. They need to face up to the issues and work with China to properly address them and uphold the sound development of bilateral relations on the basis of equality and mutual respect. This is what the people hope to see and what truly serves the fundamental and long-term interests of their countries.
Reuters: New Zealand’s prime minister said on Tuesday that her government had raised concerns with China about the image that was posted. Has China responded to those concerns? And if so, what was the response?
Hua Chunying: Frankly, I was very surprised when I read it in the news. Does this matter have anything to do with New Zealand? Can it be that New Zealand agrees with or even supports Australia’s deeds? Like I said, we have pictures and other facts including the Australian Defense Department’s report on this matter. The truth and the merits of this matter are crystal clear. If needed, our journalist friends, China and Australia can all provide these materials to New Zealand.
Reuters: Does the foreign ministry have any comment on the ongoing online disagreements between Chinese and ROK media about the origins of the ROK food kimchi?
Hua Chunying: Are there any disagreements on this? I’m not aware of it. But between China and the ROK, I think cooperation and shared benefits surely overweigh that.
NHK: China’s Export Control Law took effect today. Some foreign companies expressed concerns, saying that the control list is not clear and the regulation is not transparent. What’s your response?
Hua Chunying: I’d like to refer you to relevant Chinese authorities. It’s understandable that overseas companies may have some concerns and want to know more details. But as far as I know, the vast majority of foreign companies have great confidence in China and are optimistic about its future commercial prospects. China is actively fostering a new development paradigm and will stay as committed as ever to further opening-up. China will provide a bigger market, greater opportunities and brighter prospects for companies from all over the world. With an open mind, we are ready to strengthen cooperation with foreign companies in the spirit of mutual benefit, and strive for a fair, just, open, transparent and non-discriminatory business environment for foreign companies in China. In the meantime, we will also take essential measures to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies.