Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian’s Regular Press Conference on 12 January, 2021
Shenzhen TV: U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo tweeted on January 11 that the biggest threat to the UN. He also criticized China’s practice in international institutions such as WHO. Do you have a comment?
Zhao Lijian: Mr. Pompeo certainly went to great lengths to spread political viruses. He’s truly in a league of his own when it comes to weaving lies and distorting facts. I will just respond with three points.
First, China has always been a defender of world peace and international order. Only recently President Xi Jinping announced a series of major initiatives at the high-level meetings commemorating the 75th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations, including providing $50 million to the COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan, setting up the third FAO-China South-South Cooperation Trust Fund at $50 million, and making an additional donation of $10 million to UN Women in the next five years. These are concrete actions China has undertaken to support multilateralism.
Second, it is the United States that is the biggest destabilizing factor threatening global peace and security and undermining multilateral cooperation. In rampant pursuit of unilateralism, it blatantly withdraws from treaties and organizations and arbitrarily resorts to the threat of sanctions. To date it has exited a dozen of international conventions and organizations. The United States unilaterally announced the restoration of UN Security Council sanctions against Iran, and abused the venue of the UN to flagrantly smear other countries, drawing wide opposition from the international community. Such behaviors gravely undermine international cooperation in various areas, the existing international order and mechanism, and world peace, stability and security.
Third, Pompeo’s lying diplomacy has once again exposed the infamous “American double standard”: whatever doesn’t serve American interests can be cast aside, while any international cooperation with the participation of China is problematic. This is the logic of the U.S. side. As has been proven by history and reality time and again, erroneous actions that stigmatize and scapegoat China can by no means make America great again, or justify its bullying, or help with its international image and reputation. The international community should keep its eyes wide open to distinguish right from wrong and refuse to allow certain people’s venom to erode global solidarity and cooperation.
RIA Novosti: U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo announced in a statement yesterday that the United States has again designated Cuba as a State Sponsor of Terrorism. Do you have any comment on this?
Zhao Lijian: China always maintains that the international community should fight terrorism together, and firmly opposes U.S. political oppression and economic sanctions against Cuba under the pretext of counterterrorism. We believe the United States should develop normal state-to-state relations with Cuba on the basis of equality and mutual respect, which will serve the fundamental interests of the two countries and peoples, and contribute to peace and stability in Latin America.
CNR: Vice Premier Han Zheng of the State Council attended the One Planet Summit via video-conference in Beijing yesterday. Could you offer more information on that?
Zhao Lijian: On January 11, Vice Premier Han Zheng attended the One Planet Summit via video-conference in Beijing and delivered an address under the theme of “join hands on the road to Kunming toward a new journey of biodiversity governance”. He put forward three proposals and called upon all parties to take the path of win-win cooperation, the path that is both ambitious and practical, the path toward common progress, which is of practical guiding significance for promoting progress of COP-15.
China has always been a participant, contributor and front-runner in ecological protection. We have been faithfully implementing the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Aichi Biodiversity Targets set out at COP-10. We have drawn red lines for ecological conservation, established a national parks system, and significantly improved land and marine ecological environment, presenting a refreshing and beautiful China. We have proposed building the Belt and Road Initiative International Green Development Coalition and conducted exchange and cooperation in environmental-protection with over 100 countries. We have launched a number of biodiversity cooperation projects and offered assistance to the best of our capability to fellow developing countries through South-South cooperation.
This year, China will host COP-15 in Kunming, where a Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework will be formulated to serve as the blueprint for biodiversity protection in the next decade. We hope to use this opportunity to work with other parties to advance negotiation on the framework, set scientific and effective targets, strengthen safeguard mechanism for actions, and jointly contribute to the global cause of biodiversity protection.
Bloomberg: U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday appeared to blame the coronavirus crisis on traditional Chinese medicine, saying it “originates from bats or pangolins, from the demented belief that if you grind up the scales of a pangolin you will somehow become more potent.” Does the Foreign Ministry have any comment on this?
Zhao Lijian: Interesting. We already reiterated our position on multiple occasions. Tracing the origin of COVID-19 is a scientific issue which requires careful and meticulous studies by scientists before tenable conclusions can be reached. Groundless conjecture or hype-up of the issue will only disrupt normal international cooperation on origin-tracing.
RIA Novosti: Will WHO experts be quarantined after they arrive in China? How long will they stay? And could you offer more details of what’s on their agenda?
Zhao Lijian: The NHC released information yesterday that upon consultation between the two sides, the WHO experts will visit China on January 14 and conduct scientific cooperation in origin-tracing with Chinese scientists. According to the current plan, they will fly to Wuhan from Singapore on by flight on January 14. We will share more information with you if there’s any update. You may also contact the Chinese competent authority directly.
Beijing Daily: According to initial results released by Kyrgyzstan’s Central Election Commission on January 11, Sadyr Japarov won a landslide victory in the presidential election held the day before. Do you have a comment?
Zhao Lijian: China extends congratulations to the smooth presidential election in Kyrgyzstan, which Mr. Japarov has won with a large margin. We believe the new government will lead the Kyrgyz people to greater progress in national development. China and Kyrgyzstan are friendly neighbors linked by mountains and rivers with a long tradition of people-to-people exchange. China stands ready to work together with Kyrgyzstan to deepen mutually-beneficial cooperation in various sectors, consolidate people’s traditional friendship, enrich our comprehensive strategic partnership, and deliver more benefits to both countries and peoples.
Reuters/Bloomberg: Taiwan’s representative to the Netherlands recently met with the U.S. Ambassador at the U.S. Embassy there after Secretary of State Pompeo lifted restrictions on U.S.-Taiwan interactions. The U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Cooper met with Taiwan’s Representative to the United States Bi-khim Hsiao on January 11. Does the foreign ministry have any response?
Zhao Lijian: I already stated China’s solemn position on Taiwan-related issues yesterday.
The one-China principle is the political foundation and fundamental precondition for the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the United States. The China-US Joint Communiqué on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations clearly stipulates that “The United States of America recognizes the Government of the People’s Republic of China as the sole legal Government of China. Within this context, the people of the United States will maintain cultural, commercial, and other unofficial relations with the people of Taiwan.” It is the solemn pledge of the U.S. side not to have official interactions with the Taiwan region. It should honor its commitment and not misinterpret or deviate from it under any pretext.
We urge the U.S. side to abide by the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communiqués, stop manipulating Taiwan-related issues and stop going further down the wrong and dangerous path.
Global Times: Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has reportedly shot down a 300 million AUD offer made by China State Construction Engineering Corporation to acquire Australian-based construction giant Probuild on the grounds of national security. Does China have any comment?
Zhao Lijian: I have taken note of relevant reports. This is the latest example of how the Australian government has been politicizing trade and investment issues, violating market principles and the spirit of the China-Australia free trade agreement, and imposing discriminatory measures on Chinese companies. Such actions have disrupted the sound momentum in practical cooperation between China and Australia and hurt the image and reputation of Australia itself.
I would like to stress again that China-Australia trade and investment cooperation is mutually-beneficial. The Chinese government always asks Chinese companies to abide by international rules and host country laws and regulations when conducting international cooperation. It is a mistake to politicize normal commercial cooperation and seek political interference in the name of national security. We hope Australia will adhere to the principle of open market and fair competition and provide a fair, open and non-discriminatory business environment for foreign companies including Chinese ones.
Kyodo News: On January 10, three Chinese telecom companies were officially delisted from the New York Stock Exchange. Do you have any comment?
Zhao Lijian: We have stated China’s principled position on this issue repeatedly. I stress once again that the position of the United States as an international financial hub hinges on global companies and investors trusting the inclusiveness and certainty of its rules and mechanisms. Lately some political forces in the United States have been wantonly suppressing foreign companies listed in the country, exposing an arbitrary and capricious uncertainty in its rules and mechanisms. The suppression against Chinese companies will have very limited direct impact on them, but will harm the national interests and image of the United States and the global standing of the American capital market at the end of the day. We hope the United States will respect rule of law and market principles and do things conducive to upholding order in the global financial market, protecting investors’ lawful rights and interests, and promoting the steady development of the global economy. I’m sure all countries, not just China, are watching what the United States plans to do, which will determine whether it can be seen as a reliable and trustworthy partner for cooperation.