|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian's Regular Press Conference on September 11, 2020|
Premier Li Keqiang will attend the World Economic Forum Special Virtual Dialogue with Global Business Leaders on September 15, where Premier Li will deliver a speech and have discussions with the business leaders attending the meeting.
CCTV: State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi attended the meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) yesterday. How do you comment on the outcomes of this meeting? Does China have any advice or expectation for the organization as it is heading into its second decade?
Zhao Lijian: The holding of this face-to-face meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers by SCO member states in Moscow amid COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates the importance they attach to the meeting and their expectations. State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi put forward five proposals for strengthening SCO cooperation. First, firmly support each other and uphold each other's core interests. Second, stand in solidarity and cooperate with each other in this fight against COVID-19. Third, persist in sharing weal and woe to resolve various security risks. Fourth, adhere to coordinated development and boost economic recoveries in the member states. Fifth, uphold multilateralism and improve global governance. He stressed that SCO member states should never allow external forces to intervene in their internal affairs, a "color revolution" to succeed in this region, or the regional peace and stability to be undermined. The SCO member states should also adhere to multilateralism, prevent power politics from dragging the world back to "the law of the jungle" and reject unilateral bullying that hinders the democratization of international relations.
State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi's proposals have been echoed by participants of the meeting. The SCO members underlined the need to preserve the basic norms of international relations with the UN Charter as its basis, defend the core position of the UN, firmly uphold multilateralism and oppose unilateralism, and reject interference by external forces in the internal affairs of countries in the region. The SCO members reiterated that they are committed to countering all forms of terrorism and promoting political settlement of regional hotspot issues through dialogue. A press statement was adopted at the meeting.
We will be celebrating the 20th anniversary of the SCO next year. China stands ready to work with all parties closely to ensure the SCO always stands on the side of multilateralism, the side of justice and fairness and the right side of history, in an attempt to more effectively address risks and challenges and make contributions to regional and world security, stability, development and prosperity.
ITV: The Disney film Mulan is released in China today. I'm sure you are aware of its controversy surrounding the movie's credits giving thanks to Xinjiang and also comments on Hong Kong made by its lead actress Liu Yifei. Can I ask for your view on calls for an international boycott of the movie by human rights groups?
Zhao Lijian: Hua Mulan is the heroin of one of the best-known folktales in China. The story of her joining the army in the place of her ailing father has been adapted several times for the big screen, winning the hearts of the audience all over the world. This latest version has caused some controversy for giving thanks to the Xinjiang authority in its credits. But in my view, nothing can be more natural than the film thanking the local authorities for offering convenience for the shooting. Disney has also made a statement to that effect. You mentioned that the film's lead actress previously made comments in support of the Hong Kong police. I want to say "bravo!" to that.
China has repeatedly stated its position on issues relating to Xinjiang and Hong Kong. They are China's domestic affairs where no foreign government, organization or individual has any right to interfere. The several so-called human rights organizations have long been making false remarks on issues relating to China. Such frivolous comments filled with lies and bias are not even worth refuting.
China Daily: The Caribbean countries have been severely impacted since COVID-19 pandemic broke out. Could you update us on the anti-epidemic assistance China has provided to the Caribbean countries?
Zhao Lijian: The COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted the Caribbean countries. China relates to what they are going through and has provided assistance at the best of its capacity to friendly countries and regional organizations in the Caribbean region via various means and channels.
The Chinese government has provided for free multiple batches of urgently needed anti-epidemic supplies to all countries with diplomatic relations in the Caribbean. In particular, the Special Vice-Foreign Ministerial Meeting on COVID-19 between China and Caribbean Countries That Have Diplomatic Relations with China was held successfully via videoconference on May 12 this year, during which Vice Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang announced that China will provide another batch of anti-epidemic supplies, including masks, ventilators, protective suits and test kits to the Caribbean countries having diplomatic relations with China and the CARICOM Secretariat. By August 31, all the assistance from China has been delivered. Chinese localities, businesses and civil society including the Alibaba Foundation and the Jack Ma Foundation, have leveraged their strengths to offered support and assistance to the Caribbean side in a timely manner. Besides material assistance, China has conducted multilateral and bilateral technology cooperation with Caribbean countries via videolink and shared experience in epidemic control.
The Caribbean countries commended and appreciated China for the anti-epidemic supplies, which stands as a token of friendship through hard times and played an important role in enhancing their anti-epidemic capabilities, improving medical staff's preparedness, and resuming socioeconomic development. While keeping the epidemic firmly under control at home, China has also played a constructive role in international anti-virus cooperation and made important contribution to the global fight. They also expressed readiness to work hand in hand with China to fight COVID-19 and foster a community of health for mankind to benefit all the people.
In the face of the challenges posed by this global pandemic, China and Caribbean countries stand in solidarity with mutual assistance, writing a new chapter of friendship in trying times. China attaches high importance to relations with Caribbean countries and stands ready to build on the momentum of anti-epidemic cooperation to deepen exchange and cooperation in various sectors.
The Paper: According to reports, American journalist Bob Woodward revealed in his new book that President Donald Trump claimed in an interview that the US is working secretly to develop a new nuclear weapons system. Anonymous US officials gave tacit confirmation. Does China have any comment?
Zhao Lijian: Equipped with the largest and most advanced nuclear arsenal, the US not only goes against international consensus and refuses to fulfill its special and primary responsibilities in nuclear disarmament, but also pursues a regressive agenda dominated by Cold War mentality and major power rivalry, willfully withdraws from treaties and organizations, and vigorously strengthens nuclear build-up. Such practices severely undermine strategic mutual trust and heighten nuclear risks. The US owes the world an explanation. We hope it will respond to international concerns, earnestly assume its due responsibilities and stop damaging the system of international arms control treaties and undermining global strategic stability.
APP: Yesterday, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi held a meeting with China's State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi on the sidelines of SCO Council of Foreign Ministers Meeting in Moscow. Do you have more information and details to share with us?
Zhao Lijian: Yesterday, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on the sidelines of the meeting of the SCO Council of Foreign Ministers in Moscow. The two foreign ministers agreed that the SCO foreign ministers' meeting this time has achieved positive results. In particular, against the backdrop of rising unilateral bullying practices, it made a resounding voice of upholding multilateralism, defending the authority of the United Nations and international law, and jointly addressing various challenges, thus fulfilling the SCO's due international responsibilities.
During the meeting, State Councilor Wang Yi stressed that China is ready to continue to provide support to Pakistan in fighting COVID-19 until the epidemic is defeated. China stands ready to work with Pakistan to better develop the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, including conducting agricultural cooperation to the benefit of the people. It is believed that with the joint efforts of both sides, the CPEC will play a greater role in boosting Pakistan's economic development and improving its people's well-being. China is ready to continue to firmly support Pakistan on multilateral occasions to safeguard international justice. Next year marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Pakistan. The two sides should carry forward traditional friendship, plan for the future and elevate bilateral relations to a new height.
Foreign Minister Qureshi said that Pakistan and China have always trusted and supported each other. Pakistan will continue to stand firmly with China and oppose any stigmatization and groundless accusations against China. Pakistan is ready to better develop the CPEC with China, enhance experience sharing in poverty alleviation, carry out agricultural cooperation and move forward the all-weather strategic partnership between the two countries.
APP: It is reported that Mr. Nong Rong was appointed as the new Ambassador to Pakistan. Can you confirm it?
Zhao Lijian: You are well informed. My knowledge is that Mr. Nong Rong will be the new Ambassador to Pakistan. He will assume the office in due course.
AFP: Microsoft said yesterday it detected some cyber attacks coming from China, from Chinese hackers. Microsoft said these cyber attacks are targeting the US presidential campaign. Is China aware of these reported cyber attacks? What is China doing to prevent such cyber attacks?
Zhao Lijian: The US presidential election, as we've said many times, is the US internal affair, in which we are not interested and have never interfered. I believe that you may have also noticed that several US intelligence officials have told the US media that they have not yet seen any evidence linking China to interference in the US elections. Microsoft should not target China and make such unfounded accusations.
It is the US government and relevant companies that have been for a long time mounting a large-scale, organized and indiscriminate cyber theft, surveillance and attack, without any regard to international law and basic norms governing international relations. This is not a secret, but a well-known fact.
All countries around the world should be on high alert against US hi-tech companies installing backdoors to gather personal data overseas and transmit them back to the US intelligence agencies. Examples like WikiLeaks, Snowden incident, Equation Group and Echelon System abound. They are proof that the US is the largest cyber attacker and no one deserves the title of Empire of Hacking, Bugging and Spying better than the US.
Shenzhen TV: US Secretary Pompeo has leveled a barrage of attacks on the Communist Party of China (CPC), accusing it of exploiting COVID-19 to weaken democracy. I wonder if you have a response?
Zhao Lijian: Facts are the best myth-busters. After the epidemic broke out, the Chinese people, under the leadership of the CPC, adopted the most comprehensive, rigorous and thorough prevention and control measures and secured major strategic achievements in the nation-wide fight against the virus. By September 10, the Chinese mainland has not seen any newly-confirmed local case for 26 days in a row.
In the meantime, the epidemic in the US has torn "the emperor's new clothes" off Pompeo's American democracy. According to the latest statistics, the number of confirmed cases in the US has surpassed 6.3 million, including over 510,000 children, with more than 190,000 fatal cases in total. Our hearts all go out to them. However, faced with such grim circumstances, some US politicians, instead of respecting life and science and protecting people's health, are busy seeking selfish political gains by scapegoating, deflecting attention, and concocting flimsy lies to smear other countries. While some sing high praises for social equality in the US, the epidemic has seen the rich given priority access to testing while the aged, the poor and the ethnic minorities suffer the most fatalities. A Time magazine commentary in May called the coronavirus crisis in the US "a failure of democracy". And yet, some in the US have been promoting their so-called "American democracy" and trashing China all over the world. I wonder what gives them the confidence and makes them think they are in any way entitled to do so!
The US has no monopoly on democracy. What it has is but one version of democracy. And China has its own version. Regardless of their differences, all democracies must go through the test of COVID-19. Pompeo and his like can by no means represent the American people. They only speak for the minority ruling class and the interest groups behind it. No matter how they carry on bragging, facts will only make them a laughing stock. I would like to ask you, friends of the press, to convey this message to those few American politicians: do away with your arrogance and bias towards China, spare a thought for American people's well-being, and work harder to fix your problems at home.
Prasar Bharati: In a joint statement, India and US have asked Pakistan to take immediate, sustained and irreversible action to ensure that no territory under its control is used for terrorist attacks and to expeditiously bring to justice the perpetrators of such attacks. Do you have any comment on this?
Zhao Lijian: Terrorism is a common challenge for all countries in the world. Pakistan's tremendous efforts and sacrifice in fighting terrorism should be recognized and respected by the international community. Countries should conduct international cooperation on counter-terrorism on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit to jointly safeguard international peace and security.
Today marks the 19th anniversary of 9/11. The attacks brought into sharp focus the serious challenge to world peace and stability posed by non-conventional security threats including terrorism. The current international counter-terrorism situation remains grave. Frequent terrorist attacks put the security and stability of all countries under severe threat.
China opposes terrorism in all forms and calls for stronger international cooperation to tackle this threat with the UN playing a leading role. We reject double standards on this issue and oppose linking terrorism with any ethnicity or religion. We will continue cooperation with other countries to prevent and fight terrorism and maintain world peace and stability.
As we mark the occasion, we hope the US will bear in mind that terrorism and COVID-19 are common enemies of mankind; China and Pakistan are not enemies of the US.
NHK: Police in Inner Mongolia issued a notice saying that clues are needed for more than 100 people who are wanted for their role in the demonstration and protest against Mandarin language education. More than 20 people have already been arrested. Can you confirm this and what is your comment?
Zhao Lijian: What you asked about is China's internal affair. I suggest you direct this question to the competent authority in China.
Phoenix News: US President Trump told reporters that he will not extend deadline for TikTok business sale in the US. If TikTok fails to sell its operations in the US as scheduled, these operations will be shut down due to security concerns. What is your comment?
Zhao Lijian: On TikTok, we have said many times that China opposes the unjustified suppression and targeting of these non-US companies by abusing the US state power under the weakest pretext of national security. When we see the US pulling maneuvers of economic bullying and political manipulation over non-US companies, we see typical "coerced transaction by government" and "forced transaction by government", which is nothing short of broad daylight robbery. The US has not only violated market principles and international rules, but also negated the principles of market economy and fair competition that it has been priding itself on.
The US should immediately correct its mistakes and stop its unjustifiable suppression on Chinese companies and other non-US companies. The Chinese side retains the right to take necessary measures to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of the Chinese companies.
Reuters: Do you have any more information to share on the meeting between State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and the Indian foreign minister? Did they discuss the possibility of India removing its recent bans on Chinese apps or any other non-military issues?
Zhao Lijian: We have released a press reading on this meeting. So far, I have nothing further to add.
Reuters: Taiwan's defense authorities said yesterday that China's air and naval drills off its coast were a serious provocation and a threat to international air traffic. Do you have any comment on this?
Zhao Lijian: It is not a diplomatic matter. I would refer you to competent authority.
Reuters: US Secretary of State Pompeo said yesterday that Southeast Asian countries should stand up to bullying by China and reassess business deals they make with its state-owned firms. Do you have any comment on that?
Zhao Lijian: It is Pompeo's day-to-day work to spread lies about China. I don't think more time shall be wasted today to refute his meaningless lies. We should start our weekend in a light mood.