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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian's Regular Press Conference on November 24, 2021
2021-11-24 17:00

1. At the invitation of Prime Minister of Cambodia Hun Sen, Premier Li Keqiang of the State Council will attend the 13th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit to be held through video link on November 25 and 26.

2. At the invitation of Prime Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan Askar Mamin, Premier Li Keqiang of the State Council will attend in Beijing the 20th Meeting of the Council of Heads of Government of Member States of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) to be hosted through video link by Kazakhstan on November 25.

3. Member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and Vice Premier of the State Council Han Zheng will co-chair the 10th meeting of China-Kazakhstan Cooperation Committee through video link with First Deputy Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Alikhan Smailov.

4. At the invitation of State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, President of the 76th session of the UN General Assembly and Foreign Minister of the Maldives Abdulla Shahid and Foreign Minister of Denmark Jeppe Kofod will pay official visits to China, and Vice President and Head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of the Swiss Confederation Ignazio Cassis will visit China and hold the third round of China-Switzerland Foreign Ministers' Strategic Dialogue from November 24 to 27.

CCTV: The 13th ASEM Summit will be held under the theme "Strengthening Multilateralism for Shared Growth", as we've learned. What is China's comment? What are the expectations for the outcomes? What cooperation initiatives will China put forward at the summit?

Zhao Lijian: The world is undergoing once-in-a-century changes and the impact of COVID-19. Countries in Asia and Europe need to strengthen solidarity and cooperation more than ever before to jointly respond to challenges, defend international peace and security and promote common development. The theme of this ASEM Summit meets the expectations of all parties.

In the face of new circumstances and new challenges, China believes that Asia and Europe, as two forces for stability and major economies in the world, should build on the momentum of this summit, and send clear messages on supporting real multilateralism, global anti-pandemic cooperation, world economic recovery, green development and connectivity. The two sides should further deepen Asia-Europe partnership and the commitment to a community with a shared future for mankind, safeguard regional peace and stability, and work toward more tangible cooperation outcomes of Asia-Europe cooperation to deliver more benefits to all the people.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of ASEM. Premier Li Keqiang will elaborate on China's expectations and propositions on deepening Asia-Europe cooperation under the new circumstances at this summit. At the same time, China will put forward cooperation initiatives, which mainly include China stepping up support to enrich practical Asia-Europe cooperation in various areas, facilitating regional trade and connectivity to help form an open world economy, and expanding people-to-people exchange between Asia and Europe to strengthen communication and cooperation between young people on both sides. China looks forward to and welcomes active support and participation of Asia-Europe members.

Radio Television Hong Kong: As the participant list published on the US State Department website shows, US President Biden has invited about 110 countries and regions to attend the "Summit for Democracy", the Taiwan authorities included. What is the foreign ministry's response?

Zhao Lijian: China firmly opposes the invitation by the US to the Taiwan authorities to the so-called "Summit for Democracy". There is but one China in the world, the government of the People's Republic of China is the sole legal government representing the whole of China, Taiwan is an inalienable part of China's territory, and the one-China principle is a widely recognized norm governing international relations. Taiwan has no other status in international law than being part of China. We solemnly urge the US to abide by the one-China principle and the stipulations of the three China-US Joint Communiqués, stop providing "Taiwan independence" forces with any platform, and stop bolstering and emboldening them. Those offering platform to "Taiwan independence" forces will find themselves in an awkward place. Those playing with fire with "Taiwan independence" forces will end up getting burned.

As to the "Summit for Democracy", we have repeatedly stated our position. Democracy is a common value of all humanity, not the patent of a few countries. What the US has done shows exactly that it is only using democracy as a cover and tool to advance its geostrategic goals, suppress other countries, divide the world, and serve its selfish agenda of maintaining hegemony. Its acts of practicing bloc politics and inciting confrontation under the guise of democracy are reincarnation of the Cold War mentality and have been widely questioned and rejected by visionary people of the international community.

People's Daily: You just announced that Premier Li Keqiang will attend the SCO Meeting of the Council of Heads of Government. Could you share China's expectations for the meeting?

Zhao Lijian: This year marks the 20th anniversary of the founding of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). Over the past two decades, the organization, guided by the Shanghai Spirit, has continuously enhanced good-neighborliness and friendship between member countries, deepened cooperation in various sectors, and successfully blazed a path of cooperation and development for a new type of regional organization. It has become an important underpinning for regional countries to safeguard security and stability and pursue development and prosperity. President Xi Jinping attended the Meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the SCO and delivered important remarks in September this year. He proposed that the SCO countries follow the journey of enhancing solidarity and cooperation, upholding common security, promoting openness and integration, boosting interactions and mutual learning and upholding equity and justice, putting forward China's solution to the future development of the SCO.

The upcoming Meeting of the Council of Heads of Government is an important event under the SCO framework this year. During the meeting, Premier Li Keqiang and other participating leaders will focus on implementing the outcomes of the September summit, explore new ideas and new measures to expand the mutually beneficial SCO cooperation, and have in-depth exchange of views on safeguarding enduring peace and stability in the region, strengthening public health governance, enhancing connectivity, facilitating regional economic circulation and promoting green and sustainable development to build greater consensus. We believe the meeting will inject fresh impetus into all sides' concerted efforts to pursue high-quality BRI development and forge a closer SCO community with a shared future.

China Review News: When asked about the start of the first-phase project to build nuclear submarines by the US and Australian governments, the French foreign ministry said, as the Foreign Minister has indicated on numerous occasions, France is extremely prudent in honoring contractual commitments and will firmly defend its interests. What is your comment?

Zhao Lijian: I want to stress a few points.

First, many countries have expressed serious concerns over the US-UK-Australia nuclear submarine cooperation, believing that it is a "gray rhino" undermining the international nuclear non-proliferation system and creating nuclear proliferation risks as it deliberately escalates regional tension, provokes an arms race, and threatens regional peace and stability. 

Second, the nuclear submarine cooperation is not a matter limited to few countries, and it hurts the interests of more than one party. The cooperation may lead to negative consequences, posing threat to the entire region and even the whole world.

Third, it is a shared view of the international community that the US, the UK and Australia should abandon the Cold War mentality and narrow-minded geopolitical concepts, respond to the trend of the times for peace and development and stop creating "small blocs" or "small cliques". The countries concerned should seriously abide by international non-proliferation obligations, earnestly safeguard regional peace and stability and withdraw the wrong decisions to give a responsible explanation to the international community.

MASTV: First question. According to the website of US State Department, US Under Secretary Jose Fernandez attended the second US-Taiwan Economic Prosperity Partnership Dialogue online on November 22. The two sides welcomed the dialogue as an opportunity to deepen cooperation. The American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) said the two sides plan to convene the Digital Economy Forum and the first in-person Science and Technology meeting in 2022. What is China's comment? Second question. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the Department of State has submitted a report to Congress that suggested sanctions on two vessels and a Russia-linked entity involved in the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. What is China's comment?

Zhao Lijian: On your first question. China strongly deplores and firmly opposes this. China firmly opposes all forms of official interactions in any name or form between Taiwan and countries having diplomatic ties with China. The US should earnestly abide by the one-China principle and the stipulations of the three China-US Joint Communiqués, immediately stop elevating relations with Taiwan in essence, stop any form of official interaction and contact with Taiwan and stop sending any wrong signal to "Taiwan independence" forces. We also have this stern warning to the Taiwan authorities that any attempt and act to solicit US and other foreign support and sabotage cross-Strait relations is doomed to fail.

On your second question. It is China's consistent and clear-cut position that we oppose politicization of business projects and oppose unilateral and illegal sanctions.

Out of its own geopolitical and economic interests and following the "America first" mantra, the US has been putting its domestic law above normal international relations, imposing unwarranted sanctions on normal cooperation between sovereign countries, and willfully slapping "long-arm jurisdiction" on other countries. Such flagrant bullying and hegemonic mentality tramples on international law and basic norms governing international relations and undermines other countries' legitimate rights and interests. This wins no support and will ultimately face opposition from the international community.

Phoenix TV: I also have two questions. First, a US State Department spokesperson said on November 23 that China's "human rights abuses in Xinjiang" will "weigh on our decision making when it comes to the Olympics". Do you have any comment? Another question, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov said that the US and some European countries have been plainly asking others to stop cooperation with Russia and China in various sectors including trade, but Russia never imposes such conditions on other countries. It respects partners' sovereignty and all countries' right to choose their cooperation partners. Do you have any comment?

Zhao Lijian: On your first question, some individuals in the US keep making an issue out of lies that have already been exposed by facts and truth and linking them to the Beijing Winter Olympics. This is essentially politicizing sports and profaning the Olympic spirit. China firmly rejects it. This kind of behavior that attempts to disrupt and sabotage the Beijing Winter Olympics out of ideological bias hurts the interests of all athletes including those from the US as well as the international Olympic cause. It will certainly get no support and will not succeed.

On your second question, Foreign Minister Lavrov's remarks are indeed thought-provoking. In today's world, who is breaking rules in the name of upholding rules? Who is disrupting market order under the pretext of ensuring fairness and non-discrimination? Who is sabotaging normal cooperation between other countries while shouting the slogan of cooperation? The international community has a clear answer.

I would like to highlight that certain countries gang up with allies, and abuse state power to politicize and intrumentalise economic and trade issues and turn them into ideological issues. Such acts not only undermine international trade rules, damage the global supply chain and split the global market, but will eventually hurt the interests of all, the perpetrators included. Relevant sides should follow the trend of the times, discard the Cold War zero-sum mentality, earnestly safeguard the fair, just and non-discriminatory market environment, and work to build an open world economy with concrete actions. 

Bloomberg: J.P.Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon said on Tuesday that "the Communist Party is celebrating its 100th year -- so is J.P.Morgan. I'd make a bet we last longer." He also made some comments on the Taiwan question. Do you have any comment about these remarks?

Zhao Lijian: Isn't Bloomberg a serious media outlet? Why the publicity stunt with some grandstanding remarks?

Radio Television Hong Kong: The White House said earlier that the US would, in concert with five countries including China, tap national strategic petroleum reserves to lower gas prices. Can you confirm this? If this is the case, can you share with us the specific arrangements?

Zhao Lijian: As a major oil producer and consumer in the world, China has long attached great importance to the stability of the global oil market. We stand ready to maintain communication, strengthen cooperation with relevant parties to keep the market balanced and steady in the long run and jointly address challenges. At the same time, China is committed to ensuring its security of energy supply, and has established an independent and full-fledged national petroleum reserves system. China will make arrangements to release crude oil from reserves and adopt other necessary measures to keep the market steady in light of its own realities and needs, and will release relevant information on a timely basis.

China has noted that major oil-consuming countries have recently decided to release oil from reserves to respond to volatility and changes in the market. China is in close communication with relevant parties, including oil consumers and producers, with the hope to ensure long-term stability in the oil market through communication and collaboration.

Shenzhen TV: Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said on November 23 that their supply boats successfully reached Ren'ai Jiao that day without any major incident. A Chinese Coast Guard ship deployed a rubber boat with three personnel who took pictures and video of the Philippine forces unloading the boats. He added the Philippine side considered these acts as a form of intimidation and harassment. Do you have any comment?

Zhao Lijian: Ren'ai Jiao is part of China's Nansha Qundao. China demands that the Philippine side honor its commitment and remove its illegally grounded vessel from Ren'ai Jiao. This position remains unchanged. This delivery of food and other supplies is a provisional, special arrangement out of humanitarian considerations. The China Coast Guard ship patrolled and performed its duty in the water area in accordance with law and monitored from start to end the Philippine side's supply delivery activities.

China Review News: China has announced its decision to downgrade China-Lithuania diplomatic relations. Will China take relevant punitive measures in other areas such as economy and trade?

Zhao Lijian: China has reiterated on many occasions that it will take all necessary measures to uphold national sovereignty and territorial integrity and safeguard its core interests. Lithuania has acted in bad faith and knowingly made a mistake. It openly creates the false impression of "one China, one Taiwan", and sets an egregious precedent in the world. It must pay for the mistake it has made.

Bloomberg: The Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in Senegal is next week. Which Chinese representatives will be attending? Will the Chinese leader or another senior official attend by video conference this year?

Zhao Lijian: Thank you for your interest in China-Africa cooperation. China will release information in due course. Please stay tuned.

CCTV: According to reports, the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office announced that British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss will host the G7 foreign ministers' meeting from December 10 to 12 to discuss a range of issues, including economic resilience post-COVID, global health and human rights. Foreign ministers of some ASEAN countries are also invited to attend. What is your comment?

Zhao Lijian: China and ASEAN countries treat each other as equals with mutual respect and assistance. We steer regional economic integration with openness, advance ASEAN-led regional cooperation based on equal consultation, and build an open rather than exclusive circle of friends in an inclusive manner. This is valuable experience in China-ASEAN relations over the past 30 years. It is also a model of regional cooperation in East Asia and a new type of international relations. 

We hope and believe that ASEAN will work with China to advance the China-ASEAN comprehensive strategic partnership, respect each other's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, avoid interfering in each other's internal affairs, and uphold the regional cooperation architecture featuring multilateralism, openness and inclusiveness. We also urge some countries outside the region to get a clear understanding of the situation in the world, follow the trend of the times, view the development and progress of China and Asia in an objective and rational light, respect Asian countries' political systems, development paths, values and cooperation consensus, abandon the Cold War mentality, stop willfully interfering in other countries' internal affairs, and do more for regional peace and stability.

China Daily: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China provided a batch of anti-COVID supplies for Laos yesterday to help it bring the pandemic under control along the border at an early date. Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said that "Cambodia's success in its COVID-19 vaccination campaign is inseparable from China's vaccine supply". Secretary-General of ASEAN Lim Jock Hoi also said that China's vaccine support and assistance effectively boosted ASEAN members' response to COVID-19. Some media believe that the anti-COVID cooperation promoted the development of China-ASEAN relations. Do you have any comment?

Zhao Lijian: The anti-epidemic supplies and vaccines China provided for Laos and Cambodia that you mentioned epitomize the anti-COVID cooperation between China and ASEAN. Leaders of ASEAN member countries including Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and Secretary-General of ASEAN have all spoken highly of the two sides' cooperation, which fully demonstrates the high level of the community of health China and ASEAN are working together to build.

The high level is demonstrated in the combination of bilateral and multilateral efforts. Shortly after COVID-19 broke out, China and ASEAN held a special foreign ministers' meeting, where all agreed to strengthen regional cooperation against the virus. To date, China has provided over 500 million doses of vaccines and lots of anti-epidemic supplies to the ten member states of ASEAN. From providing supplies to sharing prevention and control experience, from joint research and development of vaccines to keeping regional industrial and supply chains stable, China and ASEAN have illustrated with concrete actions the spirit of a community with a shared future featuring mutual assistance and sharing weal and woe.

The high level is also demonstrated in our present efforts and future plans. At the recent Special Summit to Commemorate the 30th Anniversary of China-ASEAN Dialogue Relations, the Chinese side announced a cooperative initiative to establish the "China-ASEAN Health Shield". Under this initiative, China will donate an additional 150 million doses of COVID vaccines to ASEAN countries, contribute an additional US$5 million to the COVID-19 ASEAN Response Fund, step up vaccine joint production and technology transfer, collaborate on research and development of essential medicines, and support ASEAN in strengthening primary-level public health systems and cultivating human capital for ASEAN to build stronger capacity in response to major public health emergencies. China is ready to provide ASEAN with another US$1.5 billion of development assistance in the next three years to support ASEAN countries' COVID-19 response and economic recovery. China stands ready to work hand in hand with ASEAN countries to safeguard people's life and health, boost regional economic recovery, and build a peaceful, safe and secure, prosperous, beautiful and amicable home together.

Xinhua News Agency: A recent article by a German scholar pointed out that Lithuania has many ignominious records in human rights. German media reported ten years ago that the US transferred Muslim terrorist suspects to "black sites" in Lithuania. Although the Lithuanian government denied this, the European Court of Human Rights ruled in 2018 that Lithuania was complicit in relevant crimes by allowing the CIA to set up secret prisons in its territory and that it also committed various human rights violations. Does the Chinese side have any comment?

Zhao Lijian: It is open knowledge that the CIA, to support its "war on terror", set up "black sites" in some countries as secret detention facilities for so-called terrorist suspects, where extortion of confession by torture was applied in grave violation of human rights. The notorious Guantanamo Bay, a typical example of such "black sites", has become a byword for the US' human rights stains such as arbitrary detention.

The German media reports and research by the German scholar reveal that Lithuania is a link in the overseas "black sites network" of the US. Lithuania willingly serves as a pawn, but dares not to own up to it, let alone apologize for it. This is not the behavior of a responsible country. If Lithuania really has the courage, then it should openly admit and promptly redress it.

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