Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian’s Regular Press Conference on 26 January, 2021
Shenzhen TV: In yesterday’s 25-minute speech delivered by President Xi Jinping at the World Economic Forum virtual event of the Davos Agenda, he mentioned “multilateralism” 11 times. What message is the Chinese side trying to convey by stressing “multilateralism” this much at the WEF?
Zhao Lijian: The world is undergoing changes unseen in a century. The COVID-19 pandemic is still ravaging across the globe. The world economy is mired in deep recession. Global challenges keep popping up. All these place mankind at a crossroads. Against this backdrop, President Xi Jinping mentioned “multilateralism” many times in his speech because he has clearly grasped the pulse of the times and sought to resolve the challenges of the times with China’s propositions.
President Xi made insightful observations on the four major tasks facing people of our times, including to promote world economic growth, abandon ideological prejudice, close the North-South divide and come together against global challenges. To address these issues, there must be global action, global response and global cooperation, and we need to uphold multilateralism and build a community with a shared future for mankind. He also expounded on what kind of multilateralism we need in our times by proposing we should stay committed to openness and inclusiveness instead of closeness and exclusion, to international law and rules instead of seeking one’s own supremacy, to consultation and cooperation instead of conflict and confrontation, and to keeping up with the times instead of rejecting change. President Xi put forward a five-point proposition for China’s pursuit of multilateralism going forward, saying that China will continue to take an active part in international cooperation on fighting COVID-19, implement a win-win strategy of opening-up, promote sustainable development, advance science, technology and innovation, and promote a new type of international relations.
President Xi’s address charts the course for the world at a loss and demonstrates China’s wisdom and sense of responsibility. It will give a strong boost to the rebuilding of mutual trust, consolidate consensus and pool strength from around the globe toward the goal of a community with a shared future for mankind.
Reuters: A U.S. State Department spokesperson on Monday said President Joe Biden is committed to making sure that Chinese companies cannot misuse and misappropriate American data and will ensure that US technology does not end up supporting China’s malign activities. What’s the ministry’s comment on this?
Zhao Lijian: China attaches high importance to and stays committed to IPR protection, and our efforts and achievements on it are witnessed by all. In the meantime, we believe the scientific and technological outcomes should benefit all mankind instead of being exploited to restrict and contain other countries’ development. We hope the United States will refrain from politicizing and weaponizing science and technology, stop making unwarranted slanders against China, and work with the international community for an open, fair, just, and non-discriminatory environment for scientific and technological development.
HRTN: President of EU Chamber of Commerce in China Joerg Wuttke said in a recent interview that “Europe has to leave its island of complacency and try to also frankly learn from China.” He says if China wins, they will also win. “China will stand for 30 percent of global growth for the next ten years... so you have to be here in order to be relevant.” Do you have any comment?
Zhao Lijian: We applaud Mr. Wuttke’s positive remarks on China-EU cooperation. I also took a question yesterday on comments by Chairman of AmCham China on China-U.S. economic and trade cooperation. The recent comments by the business community in Europe and the Unites States represent the international community’s favorable opinion on China’s economic prospect and their hope to maintain and strengthen cooperation with China. According to the latest survey conducted by the EU Chamber of Commerce in China, 62 percent of EU companies with presence in China are willing to increase their investment here. A new report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) showed that global foreign direct investment (FDI) flows to China rose by 4 percent in 2020 despite the pandemic, making China the world’s largest FDI recipient. These figures once again attest to the positive appraisal of China’s business and investment environment.
As a major developing country with a population of 1.4 billion, a labor force of 900 million and a market of 120 million economic entities, China has been a vital driver for world economic recovery and a popular destination for foreign investment. As China has entered a new development stage, it will forge closer economic ties with the rest of the world, and the conclusion of the China-EU investment agreement has offered more opportunities and wider room for cooperation between China and the EU as well as other countries. We will follow through on the new development philosophy, continue to pursue higher-level opening up, and build a new development paradigm with domestic circulation as the mainstay and domestic and international circulations reinforcing each other. As President Xi Jinping reiterated in his special address at the WEF virtual event of the Davos Agenda, China will continue to implement a win-win strategy of opening-up, promote institutional opening-up that covers rules, regulations, management and standards and will foster a business environment that is based on market principles, governed by law and up to international standards. We believe China’s opening-up and development will provide more cooperation opportunities and deliver more dividends to foreign businesses in China.
Middle East News Agency: Saudi-led coalition said it destroyed on Saturday an air target launched towards Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh. The coalition said it intercepted an “apparent missile or drone attack” over Riyadh. Many Arab countries condemned the attack and voiced their support to Saudi Arabia in facing terrorism, defending its territory and the safety of its people. Do you have any comment on this?
Zhao Lijian: China condemns the attack targeting Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh, and supports Saudi Arabia’s efforts to safeguard its safety and stability. We stand against all attacks against civilians and civil facilities and call on relevant sides to refrain from taking actions that will escalate regional tensions.
China Daily: Yesterday, Vice Premier Han Zheng attended via videoconference the first Climate Adaptation Summit hosted by the Netherlands and delivered remarks, saying China attaches importance to both mitigation and adaptation, and has done a lot of effective work on adaptation. What are China’s proposals on international cooperation in this area?
Zhao Lijian: On January 25, Vice Premier Han Zheng of the State Council attended via videoconference the first Climate Adaptation Summit hosted by the Netherlands and delivered remarks, calling for joint efforts of all countries to enhance actions of climate adaptation and work for new progress in global climate governance. This is another global summit on climate change with the attendance of a Chinese leader after the Climate Ambition Summit last year and the One Planet Summit in January this year, indicating the high importance that China attaches to international cooperation on climate change.
Adaptation and mitigation are two major approaches to deal with climate change. As Vice Premier Han Zheng pointed out at the summit, climate adaptation is the most direct and urgent demand for developing countries. He also made three propositions in this regard. First, he called on developed countries to take the initiative in implementing the Paris Agreement and earnestly increase financial and technological support for developing countries to adapt to climate change. Second, he called on all countries to formulate and act on their national adaptation plans based on their domestic realities, in order to enhance their adaptation capabilities. Third, he called on the international community to raise the awareness of a community with a shared future and strengthen international cooperation to forge powerful synergy in climate adaptation.
Vice Premier Han Zheng also talked about what China has done in this field, stressing China attaches importance to both mitigation and adaptation, has developed and put into effect the National Strategy for Climate Change Adaptation, and is formulating a national strategy of adapting to climate change for 2035. China will continue strengthening domestic work on this front to make the country more resilient to climate risks.
I’d like to add that China has always been actively participating in and advancing international cooperation on climate adaptation, and providing support to the best of its ability to other developing countries via the South-South cooperation mechanism. The Global Center on Adaptation’s first regional office was opened in China in 2019. China will continue making positive efforts for global adaptation to climate change.
Beijing Youth Daily: International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach expressed his firm support for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games in a phone call with President Xi Jinping yesterday. Do you have any comment?
Zhao Lijian: President Xi Jinping talked to IOC President Thomas Bach over the phone yesterday, and the two sides reached important consensus on overcoming the impact of COVID-19 to ensure safe and smooth Beijing Winter Olympic Games, promoting the sustainable and healthy development of the Olympic Movement, and opposing the politicization of sports. The Chinese side already issued a press release.
China is among the first to bring the epidemic under control and achieve economic recovery, which creates enabling conditions for hosting the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games. We have put in place strict epidemic control measures and overcome the impact of COVID-19 to steadily and actively advance the preparatory work of the Winter Olympic Games, which is highly recognized and supported by the IOC and the international community. We have full confidence that the Beijing Winter Olympic Games will be a splendid Olympic event. As President Xi pointed out, as Beijing is the first city in the world to host both the summer and winter Olympic Games, it will make unique contribution to the International Olympic Movement.
We applaud President Bach’s remarks that the IOC stays committed to upholding the Olympic spirit and rejecting politicization of sports, and appreciates the organization’s support for China’s sports development. The Chinese side stands ready to work with the IOC and the international community to deliver safe and successful Winter Olympic Games in Beijing, carry forward the Olympic spirit and pursue the goal of becoming higher, faster, and stronger.
NHK: The White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a briefing that the United States is in a serious competition with China, and President Biden hopes to approach China-related matters with some strategic patience. What’s your comment on this?
Zhao Lijian: Over the past few years, the Trump administration went in a very wrong direction. They regarded China as a “strategic competitor” and even a “threat”, and thus took erroneous actions that interfered in China’s internal affairs and undermined China’s interests, leading to a profoundly severe situation in China-U.S. relations, which does no good to the fundamental interests of the Chinese and American people. As pointed out repeatedly by the Chinese side, as two major countries, China and the United States have broad common interests and shoulder special, major responsibilities in safeguarding world peace and stability, and in promoting global development and prosperity. Both countries stand to gain from cooperation and lose from confrontation. Cooperation is the only right choice for both.
We hope the new U.S. administration will draw lessons from the Trump administration’s wrong policies on China. We hope the new administration will view China and China-U.S. relations in an objective and rational manner, implement China policies that are positive and constructive, meet China halfway, focus on cooperation, manage differences, and bring China-U.S. relations back on the right track of sound and stable development.
CCTV: This morning, on behalf of the two governments, China’s Minister of Commerce Wang Wentao and New Zealand’s Minister for Trade and Export Growth Damien O’Connor signed via videolink a protocol for upgrading the China-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement. New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, “China remains one of our most important trade partners... For this to take place during the global economic crisis brought about by COVID-19 makes it particularly important.” Do you have any comment?
Zhao Lijian: We applaud Prime Minister Ardern’s remarks. China is pleased to see the official signing of the protocol to upgrade the China-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement. The Ministry of Commerce has published a press release about this. Here I’d like to emphasize three points.
First, 12 years into effect, the China-New Zealand FTA has brought huge, tangible benefits to both countries and peoples. The upgrade protocol involves multiple areas such as trade in goods, trade in services, investment and rules, making China-New Zealand free trade cooperation more efficient and of higher quality on the basis of the RCEP. It will help both sides further tap into our potentials in economic and trade cooperation, deepen practical cooperation in various fields, and facilitate domestic economic recovery and development amid the pandemic.
Second, the upgrade of the China-New Zealand FTA demonstrates both sides’ firm resolve to endorse multilateralism and free trade through concrete actions. China is ready to work with New Zealand and other countries to continue supporting economic globalization, advocating trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, promoting institutional opening-up that covers rules, regulations, management and standards, fostering a business environment that is based on market principles, governed by law and up to international standards, giving further impetus to global economic recovery, and fostering an open world economy.
Third, the upgrade of the China-New Zealand FTA is an important step to implement the consensus of the leaders of both sides and to achieve healthy and stable development of bilateral ties on the sound basis that we already have. Taking this as an opportunity, China will make concerted efforts with New Zealand to strengthen mutual trust, expand common ground, strengthen dialogue and deepen cooperation, so as to embrace new, greater progress in our comprehensive strategic partnership.