Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian's regular press conference on August 14, 2020
Agence France-Presse: According to reports, on August 13, the UAE, Israel, and the United States issued a joint statement announcing that the two countries agreed to normalize relations. Israel will suspend its plan to annex some Palestinian territories. What is China's comment?
Zhao Lijian: China has noted relevant reports, including Israel’s suspension of annexation of Palestinian territories and its commitment to reaching a comprehensive, just and lasting solution to the Palestinian issue. China is happy to see measures that will help ease tensions among countries in the Middle East and promote regional peace and stability. It hopes that relevant parties will take concrete actions to bring the Palestine issue back to the track of equal dialogue and negotiation at an early date.
China’s position on the Palestinian issue is consistent and clear, and will continue to firmly support the Palestinian people’s just cause for the restoration of their legal rights and the cause of independent nation-building. We will continue to play an active and constructive role in this regard.
Al Jazeera reporter: All along, Arab countries, as supporters of the Palestinian cause, have put forward many peace initiatives. China has also been supporting the just cause of the Palestinian people in the international community. Is it worried that the UAE’s actions will affect the implementation of relevant peace initiatives? Do you think that this will harm the interests of the Palestinian people?
Zhao Lijian: I have clarified China's position just now. China's position on the Palestine issue is consistent and clear. We firmly support the Palestinian people's just cause for the restoration of their legal rights and the cause of independent nation-building, and support efforts to ease tension in the Middle East and promote regional peace and stability. China will continue to play a positive and constructive role in this regard.
Reuters reporter: On the 13th, the US State Department announced that it required the Confucius Institute American Center to register as a "foreign mission." Secretary of State Pompeo issued a statement stating that the Confucius Institute is an entity that China uses to promote the expansion of its global influence. What is your response to this?
Zhao Lijian: The American Center of the Confucius Institute has issued a statement on this. What I want to emphasize is that the relevant US approach is to demonize and stigmatize the normal operation of Sino-US cooperation projects. We express our strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition to this.
The Confucius Institute is a bridge and link to help people from all over the world learn Chinese, understand China, and strengthen education and cultural exchanges and cooperation between China and other countries. For a long time, Confucius Institutes in the United States have been voluntary applications by universities. Chinese and American universities have been established in cooperation based on the principles of "mutual respect, friendly consultation, equality and mutual benefit". Their operation and management are open and transparent, strictly abide by local laws, and abide by the university's various norms. He has made a positive contribution to the promotion of China-US cultural exchanges, and is generally welcomed by the university and all walks of life in the United States.
For a period of time, out of ideological prejudice and self-interest, some people in the United States have grossly interfered and obstructed the normal operation of Sino-US cooperation projects, including Confucius Institutes, which is totally unacceptable. We have also noticed that Pompeo cited a large number of so-called reports and reports with no factual basis in his statement, which is evident in his intention to suppress the Confucius Institute by making out of nothing.
We urge the US to abandon the Cold War and zero-sum game thinking, immediately correct its mistakes, stop politicizing related educational exchange programs, stop interfering with normal humanities exchanges between China and the United States, and stop damaging mutual trust and cooperation between China and the United States.
We reserve the right to make further responses to this matter.
CCTV reporter: According to reports, during his visit to Slovenia, Secretary of State Pompeo signed a joint declaration on 5G network security with the Slovenian Foreign Minister. Pompeo tweeted that this reflects "our common commitment to protect the privacy and personal freedom of citizens." Pompeo also talked about jointly building a "clean network" in the Czech Republic. What is China's comment?
Zhao Lijian: Since Pompeo keeps saying that he wants to build a "clean network," he should first explain: Why is there a shadow of the United States behind cyber espionage activities such as "Prism Gate", "Formula Organization", and "Echelon System"? Why did the US intelligence agencies monitor cell phones and Internet computers around the world 24 hours a day, and even monitor the cell phones of leaders of allies for more than a decade? This is obviously done by the "Matrix". The United States is already covered in smears on cyber theft, but its secretary of state has the face to propose a so-called "clean network", which is really absurd and ridiculous.
The so-called "protection of citizens' privacy and personal freedom" by some people in the United States is nothing but a high-sounding excuse. They think that they can deceive the world with this. They have underestimated the world's IQ too much! From intervening in the 5G construction of other countries to openly intimidating allies to obey the will of the United States to reject Huawei, individual US politicians have used national power to suppress it by any means to prevent Chinese companies from gaining a leading advantage in the 5G field. What they want is probably not a "clean network" but a "US network", not a "5G secure network" but a "US monitoring network", not to protect personal "privacy freedom" but to consolidate the US "digital hegemony."
In the era of globalization, 5G development should be discussed and shared by all countries. The practice of politicizing 5G issues and engaging in small circles is not conducive to the development of 5G, runs counter to the principle of fair competition, and does not conform to the common interests of the international community. We fully believe that the international community can see the true face of individual US politicians, say "no" to the US's bullying practices of interfering with other countries' 5G network construction and cooperation, and maintain a fair, just, open, and non-discriminatory business environment.
"New York Times" reporter: Regarding the joint statement issued by the UAE, Israel, and the United States announcing that the two countries agree to normalize relations, some commentators believe that this may increase tensions between the UAE and Iran. Considering that China is one of the few countries that can get along with the UAE and Iran at the same time, will China mediate between Iran and the UAE?
Zhao Lijian: I have stated China's position just now. China attaches great importance to peace and stability in the Middle East and is willing to continue to play a positive and constructive role in this regard.
"Beijing Daily" reporter: We have noticed that a video seminar on China-Africa unity against the epidemic has been held recently. Can you introduce the relevant situation of the seminar and the latest progress of China-Africa anti-epidemic cooperation?
Zhao Lijian: On August 11, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and the Chinese Mission to the African Union jointly held a video seminar on China-Africa unity against the epidemic. Officials from the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the African Union Commission and other institutions, disease control experts, and think tank representatives participated. At the meeting, China focused on the progress of the implementation of the results of the China-Africa Unity Anti-epidemic Special Summit held in June this year. The African representatives spoke highly of this and expressed their willingness to work with China to fully implement the summit results, firmly uphold multilateralism and international fairness and justice, and work together to defeat the epidemic and benefit the people of China and Africa.
In the past two months since the China-Africa Unity Anti-epidemic Special Summit was held, China and Africa have been closely connected, actively implementing the consensus reached by the leaders of the two sides and the summit results, and cooperation in various fields has achieved important results. The leaders of China and Africa maintain close exchanges. The parties, legislatures, and local exchanges between the two sides have gradually resumed. China continues to provide assistance to Africa with urgently needed anti-epidemic materials. The wife of President Xi Jinping, Professor Peng Liyuan, provided anti-epidemic supplies to 53 African countries through the African First Lady Development Association. China has dispatched anti-epidemic medical expert teams to 11 African countries, and will also send new expert teams to Guinea, South Sudan and other countries. The cooperation list of 30 counterpart hospitals in China and Africa is being determined. China has actively implemented the G20 Debt Mitigation Initiative and has signed debt mitigation agreements or reached agreements with more than 10 African countries. The construction of the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Headquarters project has completed the signing of the implementation agreement and is preparing for the start of construction. Many Chinese corporate personnel went to Africa to resume work and production through chartered flights, and China’s investment in Africa grew against the trend.
In the next step, China is willing to work together with the African side to coordinate the advancement of epidemic prevention and control, resumption of work and production, and fully implement the results of the special summit, especially in consideration of the concerns and needs of the African side, and strengthen the development and application of vaccines, trade and investment facilitation, and industrial localization. Exchanges and cooperation in the fields of chemical industry, e-commerce, etc., promote China-Africa cooperation to overcome the challenges of the epidemic, and continue to recover and move forward.
Barton News Agency reporter: Today is Pakistan’s Independence Day. Do you have anything to say to the Pakistani people? It is also reported that a batch of ventilators aided by China to Pakistan has arrived in Pakistan. Can you tell us more about China's support for Pakistan's fight against the epidemic?
Zhao Lijian: Today is Pakistan's Independence Day. We extend our warm congratulations! It is believed that Pakistan will surely make new and greater achievements in national construction. We wish the flower of China-Pakistan friendship bloom more and more beautifully!
The handover ceremony of 1,000 ventilators aided by China to Pakistan was held yesterday at Islamabad International Airport. Afzal, director of Pakistan's National Disaster Management Agency, expressed his gratitude to the Chinese government and people.
At the handover ceremony, Afzal stated that the Chinese government and people have provided Pakistan with continuous and substantial assistance in fighting the new crown pneumonia epidemic to help Pakistan effectively prevent and control the epidemic. In addition, China has also actively helped Pakistan to effectively deal with the locust plague. All these have injected new connotations into Pakistan-China friendship.
Since the outbreak of the epidemic, China and Pakistan have worked together and helped each other in the same boat, which fully embodies the traditional friendship between the two peoples that is higher than the mountains, deeper than the sea, and sweeter than honey. The Chinese government attaches great importance to supporting Pakistan’s fight against the epidemic. China-Pakistan cooperation in the fight against the epidemic fully demonstrates that solidarity and cooperation are a powerful weapon to overcome global challenges. According to statistics, since this year, the Chinese government has provided Pakistan with seven batches of anti-epidemic materials, including masks, protective clothing, testing reagents, ventilators, goggles, surgical gloves, and thermometers. The materials weighed more than 100 tons. China will continue to work with Pakistan to fight the epidemic and expand cooperation in the fields of material assistance, experience exchange, traditional Chinese medicine and vaccine development, until we finally overcome the epidemic.
Kyodo News Agency reporter: According to reports, the Eastern Theater of the Chinese People's Liberation Army conducted military exercises recently. From a diplomatic perspective, what signal do you think the exercise has sent?
Zhao Lijian: You should have noticed that the Eastern Theater of the Chinese People's Liberation Army has released information on this. Here I can introduce the relevant situation again.
In recent days, the Eastern Theater of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army has deployed its forces in multiple directions in a system, continuously organizing actual combat exercises in the Taiwan Strait and the north and south ends to further test and enhance the joint combat capabilities of multiple services. Recently, some major powers have continued to move negatively on Taiwan-related issues, sending serious wrong signals to the "Taiwan independence" forces, and seriously threatening peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait. Taiwan is a sacred and inalienable part of Chinese territory. The patrols and training activities organized by theater troops are necessary actions to be taken in response to the current security situation across the Taiwan Strait and the maintenance of national sovereignty. The theater troops will always maintain a high level of alert, take all necessary measures, resolutely counter all provocative acts that create "Taiwan independence" and split the country, and resolutely defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Xinhua News Agency: US President Trump stated in an interview that if the Chinese government is allowed to manage Hong Kong, Hong Kong will lose its commercial appeal and cease to be an international financial center. What's the comment from China?
Zhao Lijian: China has repeatedly stated its position on the US's fallacies involving Hong Kong.
Here I would like to emphasize that the status of Hong Kong as an international financial center is the result of the hard work of generations of Hong Kong people. It is the result of China's continuous deepening of reform and opening up and the most solid and powerful support for Hong Kong. It is also the result of our resolute implementation and maintenance of development" The inevitability of the established national policy of "one country, two systems" is by no means a "gift" of any country, nor can anyone take it away.
Bloomberg reporter: What is your comment on the upcoming meeting of leaders of China-US high-level economic and trade consultations? Can you introduce the relevant arrangements? What are China's expectations for the meeting? In view of the new crown pneumonia epidemic, will the two sides discuss adjusting the text of the first phase of the economic and trade agreement?
Zhao Lijian: The person in charge of the Ministry of Commerce has already answered relevant questions on this, so I can introduce it again.
Since China and the United States signed the first phase of the economic and trade agreement in January this year, China has conscientiously implemented the agreement, and relevant departments have done a lot of work to promote the implementation of the agreement. The new crown pneumonia epidemic and the tightening of US export controls to China and other restrictive measures have had a certain impact on the import of some goods and services. Under the current situation, both sides need to work together and strengthen cooperation to overcome the difficulties together. It is hoped that the US will stop restrictive measures and discriminatory practices against Chinese companies and create conditions for the implementation of the first phase of economic and trade agreements.
Regarding the meeting between the leaders of the high-level Sino-US economic and trade consultations you just mentioned, if there is any exact information, the relevant Chinese authorities will release it in time.
Reuters reporter: Yesterday, the new coronavirus was detected on the surface of frozen chicken wings imported from Brazil. Will China take further inspection and quarantine measures? Do you communicate with relevant countries on this?
Zhao Lijian: Viruses are the common enemy of all mankind. After the outbreak of the new crown pneumonia, China, Brazil and other countries have actively taken prevention and control measures to safeguard people's lives and health. Facing the normalization of epidemic prevention and control, countries around the world are speeding up the resumption of work and production, and pushing economic and social development back to the right track. On the other hand, they are unswervingly doing a good job in epidemic prevention and control to avoid a rebound of the epidemic.
As for the question you mentioned, we have taken note of relevant reports. Relevant Chinese departments are verifying that they are in contact with relevant countries on relevant matters in a friendly, scientific and rigorous manner. We will make overall plans for the resumption of work and production under the background of normalization of epidemic prevention and control, and work with relevant countries to properly handle relevant issues.