Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian held a press conference on July 26, and fielded a wide range of questions.
CNR: With regard to State Councilor and?Foreign?Minister?Wang Yi’s visit to the three Central Asian countries and attendance at the SCO foreign ministers’ meeting, can you share with us the background and China’s consideration and expectations?
Zhao Lijian: Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are all friendly neighbors and comprehensive strategic partners of China. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the three countries, the 20th anniversary of the signing of the SCO Charter and the 15th anniversary of the Treaty on Long-term Good Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation among SCO member states. Currently, the situation in Central Asia is facing new challenges due to various internal and external factors. Regional countries share the hope to deepen cooperation with China, jointly pursue development and promote security, and look forward to more SCO contributions and commitments.
Against such a backdrop, State Councilor and Foreign Minister’s upcoming visit will carry forward the traditional friendship between China and Central Asian countries, deepen high-quality Belt and Road cooperation between our two sides, and build an even closer China-Central Asia community with a shared future.
During the visit, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will meet with the leaders and have talks with the foreign ministers of the three countries to exchange views on bilateral relations and international and regional issues of shared interest. State Councilor Wang will attend the SCO foreign ministers’ meeting and other multilateral events, and make full preparations for the SCO Samarkand Summit later this year with other foreign ministers of SCO member states. We believe this visit will fully implement the important common understandings among President Xi Jinping and leaders of other SCO countries, deepen bilateral and multilateral mutually beneficial cooperation in various areas, promote strong and solid Belt and Road cooperation, and make new contribution to regional peace and stability and countries’ development and prosperity.
People’s Daily: Can you share with us the main arrangements for this SCO foreign ministers’ meeting? What’s China’s expectations from this meeting?
Zhao Lijian: The meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) will be held in Tashkent, capital of Uzbekistan, on July 28 and 29. State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will exchange views with foreign ministers of other member states on issues of shared interest including international and regional situation and SCO cooperation in various areas to make full preparation for the SCO Summit later this year.
The year 2022 marks the 20th anniversary of the signing of the SCO Charter and the 15th anniversary of the Treaty on Long-term Good Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation among SCO member states. Guided by these important documents, the SCO has firmly upheld the Shanghai Spirit, deepened cooperation in various fields, found a way to success for new type of regional organizations, and made important contribution to building a new type of international relations and a community with a shared future for mankind.
At present, our world has entered a new period of volatility and transformation with the combined impact of major changes and a pandemic both unseen in a century, and the resurgence of Cold War mentality and hegemony. China is ready to work with all parties to strengthen solidarity and mutual trust, deepen high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, implement the Global Development Initiative and the Global Security Initiative, and forge an even closer SCO community with a shared future.
Phoenix TV: First question, a recent report by the Washington Post said that China’s heavy-handed pandemic practices have “trampled on” the rights of US diplomats and forced them to live in constant fear. What’s your comment on this? Second, regarding?the US request for the?Republic?of?Korea?(ROK) to join the “chip 4” alliance. What is China’s response?
Zhao Lijian: On your first question, China’s COVID-19 policy is about responsibly protecting people’s life and health. It applies equally to everyone inside China, and provides the same protection to the health of Chinese and foreign nationals in China. For more than two years, the infection rate and mortality rate of China remain among the lowest in the world, providing maximum protection for Chinese citizens and foreigners in China alike. The well-functioning Chinese economy and society have allowed foreign nationals and businesses as well as the Chinese public to protect their interests to the greatest extent possible. China takes very seriously COVID-related issues concerning diplomatic and consular staff from the US and other countries. We have been providing necessary facilitation and convenience for them to perform their duties in line with the letter and spirit of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.
For over two years, despite the considerable pressure of preventing imported cases, China has facilitated inbound and outbound travels of US and other foreign diplomats and their families, their life and work in China and their need for family visits or co-residence. All foreign diplomatic missions in China have witnessed our efforts. As I understand, more than a thousand US diplomats and their families have arrived in China on chartered planes since June 1, 2020. In what way are their rights “trampled on”, and what “fear” is there to speak of? I also want to stress that foreign diplomatic and consular staff here in China are obligated to respect and comply with China’s pandemic protocols. This is also about honoring obligations in the two conventions I just mentioned.
On your second question, the global chip industrial and supply chains, as they currently exist, are the result of market principles. Promoting openness and cooperation of industrial and supply chains and preventing fragmentation are in the interest of all relevant parties and the whole world. China opposes moves to forcibly push for industrial relocation and decoupling, undermine international trade rules and split the global market.?
China and the ROK are each other’s important cooperation partners. In the course of the development of the bilateral ties, both sides have benefited tremendously and contributed to the success of the other side. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and huge downward pressure of the global economy, the two-way trade between China and the ROK increased by 26.9% year-on-year to $362.35 billion in 2021, which is close to the ROK’s trade volume with the US, Japan and Europe combined. In terms of chip trade alone, 60% of the ROK’s chip export went into China’s market. We hope that the ROK side will keep in mind its own long-term interests and market principles of fairness and openness, hold an objective and just position, and do more things that are conducive to China-ROK relations and the stability of global industrial and supply chains.
MASTV: During his visit to Egypt on July 24, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said “We welcome the interest of our Egyptian friends in obtaining the status of a dialogue partner in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).” Belarusian Ambassador to China Yury Senko said on the same day that Minsk wants to become a member of the SCO. Do you have any comment on this??
Zhao Lijian: Since the founding of the SCO, the organization has followed the “Shanghai spirit” and firmly upheld the cooperation vision of openness and inclusiveness. This is highly recognized by the international community. Now, more and more countries hope to enhance cooperation with the SCO. This speaks volumes to the increasing appeal and international influence of the SCO. Countries that endorse the Shanghai spirit and the purposes and principles of the SCO are welcome to join the big family of the SCO.
Last year’s meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the SCO granted Egypt the status of dialogue partner. China supports Egypt’s active participation in SCO cooperation.
As an observer state, Belarus has been actively participating in SCO cooperation in relevant fields and has made important contributions to the sound and steady development of the organization. China commends Belarus for its contribution. China and Belarus are comprehensive strategic cooperative partners. China supports Belarus’s application for SCO membership and stands ready to work with other member states to look closely at and decide together on the application.
Reuters: Today Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen boarded a naval warship for only the second time in her six years in office, during which she lauded the military’s determination to defend the island whilst overseeing the annual naval and air exercises. What’s the Chinese foreign ministry’s comment?
Zhao Lijian: I need to make it clear first that there is no so-called “President” in Taiwan. Please pay attention to the term you use. I also want to take this opportunity to make it clear to the Taiwan authorities that the path of “Taiwan independence” will lead to a dead end. If Taiwan wants to confront the mainland militarily, it will only find it futile and doomed to fail.
China News Service: Today marks the 77th anniversary of the release of the Potsdam Proclamation. How does China see the positive role of this document?
Zhao Lijian: On July 26, 1945, China, the US and the UK issued the Potsdam Proclamation. This document, together with the Cairo Declaration released by the three countries in 1943 and other documents on international law, constitute the legal cornerstone of the post-war international order and played an important role in consolidating the outcomes of the victory?of?the?world anti-fascist war and in safeguarding world peace.
The Cairo Declaration stipulates clearly that all the territories Japan has stolen from the Chinese, such as Taiwan and the Penghu Islands, shall be restored to China. The Potsdam Proclamation states that these terms shall be carried out. In 1945, Japan signed the Instrument of Surrender, which explicitly states that the Japanese side accepts the provisions set forth in the Potsdam Proclamation.?
There is only one China in the world and Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory. The government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is the sole legal government representing the whole of China. The one-China principle is a fundamental principle affirmed in UNGA Resolution 2758. It is the premise on which the PRC established diplomatic relations with 181 countries.
MASTV: According to reports, former US Secretary of State Dr. Kissinger said in a recent interview that the US and its allies must maintain their strength, while also respecting China as a participant in the international order. A “cooling” of rhetoric by the US and China over Taiwan would ease tension, reduce the potential for conflict, and improve relations,?he?said. What’s China’s comment?
Zhao Lijian: We appreciate Mr. Kissinger’s remarks. As the world’s top two economies and permanent members of the UN Security Council, China and the US must make the relationship work and not mess it up. We urge the US side to view China and China-US relations objectively, follow through on the five assurances reiterated by President Biden and the positive statements by Secretary of State Blinken, abide by the one-China principle and the provisions of the three China-US joint communiqués in particular, properly and?prudently?handle Taiwan-related issues, and work with China to find the right way forward for the two countries to get along under the new circumstances by following the principles of mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation.
Bloomberg: China has become a topic in the contest to replace Boris Johnson as the Conservative party leader in the UK with both Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak taking tough lines. Truss has said yesterday, I think, that the UK must crack?down on companies like TikTok and limit tech exports. How does the foreign ministry view comments such as these?
Zhao Lijian: I already made clear China’s position yesterday. We regret and firmly oppose their statements concerning China. The UK’s Conservative Party leadership election is an internal affair of the UK. We won’t comment on?it.?Neither?are?we?interested?in?doing?so.?I want to make it clear to certain British politicians that making irresponsible remarks about China, including hyping up the?so-called “China threat”, cannot solve one’s own domestic?problems.
Reuters: There were further comments from President Joe Biden yesterday that he was expecting to speak to his Chinese counterpart soon. Is that right? When should we expect that to take place?
Zhao Lijian: Regarding the question you raised, I have no information to offer at this moment.
AFP: The US State Department spokesperson urged China to use its influence with Myanmar. He said that after executions that sparked widespread condemnation. My question is, will China use its influence on Myanmar?
Zhao Lijian: I already made clear China’s position on this issue yesterday. China always adheres to the principle of non-interference in other countries’ internal affairs. We always maintain that all parties and factions in Myanmar should properly handle their differences and disagreements within the framework of the Constitution and laws with an eye on the long-term interests of the country and the nation.