China FO spokesperson presser, June29, 2022

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian held a regular press conference on June 29. He elaborated the Chinese view on the latest G7 summit, White House’s June 28 fact sheet, Newsweek report on US democracy, death of native American children at boarding schools, Taiwan, Padma bridge and a host of other issues.

EXCERPTS

CCTV: The 48th G7 Summit released a Leaders’ Communiqué on June 28. The word “China” appears 14 times in the text, which is largely critical of China on matters concerning Hong Kong, Xinjiang, human rights, the East China Sea, the South China Sea, peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, etc. What’s China’s comment?

Zhao Lijian: Despite China’s solemn position and firm opposition, the G7 used the Leaders’ Communiqué to peddle the “democracy versus authoritarianism” narrative, interfere in China’s internal affairs, attack and smear China, and incite confrontational sentiments. This shows that the G7 has no intention of having dialogue and cooperation on the basis of equality and mutual?respect, that the G7 remains entrenched in its Cold War mentality and ideological bias, and that the G7 prefers bloc politics that serves the group’s own interests.

The G7 members have benefited the most from globalization. As such, they have a special responsibility to promote globalization, boost world economic growth and tackle global economic and financial challenges. However, at a critical juncture in the global pandemic response and economic recovery, the G7, rather than committing to solidarity and cooperation, is preoccupied with stoking division and confrontation and has shown absolutely no sense of responsibility or moral authority. I must also point out that for a group which accounts for about one tenth only of the world’s population, the G7 has no authority to speak for the whole world, still less to present its own values and standards as universal values and standards.

We urge the G7 to earnestly step up to its responsibility and due international obligations, uphold true multilateralism, and stop applying double or even multiple standards, stop causing confrontation and division, stop discrediting and slandering China, and stop all forms of meddling in China’s domestic affairs.?

MASTV: US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said that NATO’s Strategic Concept will speak very directly and in a clear-eyed way to the multifaceted challenge posed by China. The number-one priority with respect to China, when it comes to the Russia-Ukraine conflict, is that China not become militarily supportive of Russia through the provision of equipment. Number two is that they not engage in undermining or evasion of US sanctions. He added that China has the responsibility to urge Russia to cease fire. Do you have any comment?

Zhao Lijian: We have made our position clear on the developments concerning China with regard to NATO’s Strategic Concept. NATO has publicly stated on?many?occasions?that it will remain a regional alliance, it does not seek a geopolitical breakthrough and it does not seek to expand to other regions. However, in recent years, NATO has repeatedly made forays into the Asia-Pacific region. Some NATO member states keep sending aircraft and warships to carry out military exercises in China’s nearby waters, creating tensions and fanning up disputes. NATO has sought to make advances into new areas and domains and clamored for bloc confrontation. The world needs to keep its vigilance and firmly reject it. NATO should stop drawing ideological lines, stoking political confrontation, or seeking to start a new Cold War. It should discard the Cold War mentality and zero-sum game mindset and stop making enemies. NATO has already disrupted Europe. It should not seek to destabilize Asia and the world.?

I want to stress that China consistently opposes unilateral sanctions and long-arm jurisdictions that have no basis in international law or mandate from the Security Council. Reality has shown that toughening sanctions is not an effective way to resolve conflict, nor can a continuous supply of weapons bring peace. The ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict has taken a heavy toll?on Europe politically, economically and socially, while the US benefits from it, with arms-dealers popping champagne and American grain and energy industries making exorbitant profits.

As the one who started the Ukraine crisis and the biggest factor fueling it, the US needs to reflect on its disreputable role it has played in the Ukraine crisis and stop smearing China.?

Reuters: On the topic of NATO, leaders of South Korea and Japan will attend NATO Summit as observers for the first time. North Korean media said that this is a dangerous prelude to the creation of an Asian version of NATO. Does China share this view?

Zhao Lijian: I have just restated China’s position on NATO. For years, NATO has sought to make advances into new areas and domains and clamored for bloc confrontation. The world needs to keep its vigilance and firmly reject it.

Peace, development and cooperation represents the trend of the times and the shared aspiration of people around the world. Anyone who clings to the Cold War mentality and ideological prejudice, encourages bloc confrontation and form small circles or blocs will receive no support and will not succeed.

CCTV: According to reports, at least 50 illegal migrants were found dead in San Antonio, Texas on June 27 local time. UN Secretary-General’s press office expressed sadness on this. Do you have any comment??

Zhao Lijian: I have noted the reports. The tragedy is heartrending. What is even more regrettable is that such tragic deaths of migrants did not happen by accident in the US.

According to statistics, US law enforcement authorities arrested about 1.7 million migrants at the US southern border with?Mexico?for fiscal year 2021, a record high for 20 years. That included roughly 145,000 minors. The US locks up migrants in detention centers with dreadful living conditions, where migrants are often subject to abuse, violence and other types of inhumane treatment. The US’s brutal law enforcement led to 557 migrant deaths during fiscal year 2021, more than doubling the figure for fiscal year 2020. Amid COVID-19, the US speeded up the repatriation of tens of thousands of COVID-infected illegal migrants despite international opposition. This directly worsened the pandemic situation in many Latin American countries.

The US needs to seriously reflect on and address its poor track record on migrant issues, take concrete actions to protect human rights and other basic rights of migrants, and prevent such tragedies from happening again.

Xinhua News Agency: We have learned that the Taiwan authorities failed to sneak into the UN Ocean Conference by trying to become part of the Tuvalu delegation. What is your comment?

Zhao Lijian: We have stated our position on the issue yesterday. I would like to reiterate that there is only one China in the world and Taiwan is part of China. The one-China principle is a basic norm in international relations and the shared understanding of the international community. It is also a fundamental principle affirmed in UNGA Resolution 2758. Certain country ignored the one-China principle and the overriding trend in the world. It facilitated the personnel of the Taiwan authorities to wedge into the conference, and deliberately hyped up this matter. China is firmly opposed to this. China practices true multilateralism and supports parties in attending the UN Ocean Conference in accordance with relevant laws and rules. We welcome the steps taken by the party concerned to correct the mistake and return to the conference. It is important that the conference focuses on the sustainable development of the ocean.

I also want to say that the Taiwan authorities will only bring disgrace to itself when it stoops to joining a foreign entourage in order to tag along and wedge into international conferences.

Dragon TV: According to reports, when talking about China’s COVID response in a recent interview with German media, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that unlike authoritarian state, it takes a while for democracy to respond to major issues, but by the end, they will get resolved. Do you have any comment?

Zhao Lijian: China follows the dynamic zero-COVID approach. We have curbed the spread of the virus at top speed and with minimum cost. We have provided maximum protection to people’s lives and health and minimized COVID’s impact on socioeconomic development. This is the responsible thing to do for the Chinese people and for the world. For over two years since COVID first hit, the infection rate and mortality rate in China have remained the lowest in the world. At the same time, China’s economy has maintained steady growth on the whole. That’s why we say China’s epidemic prevention and control policy is science-based, correct and effective, and it has been a responsible choice for the Chinese people.

The UK is among the first countries in the world to opt for “herd immunity”. But the cost for that is 22.61 million infections and 180,000 deaths. I noticed that according to media reports, a report published following an inquiry by two parliamentary committees last year found that the UK’s apparent decision to allow COVID to spread throughout the population in a bid to achieve “herd immunity” is a big mistake, which also delayed a comprehensive lockdown and could be called one of the country’s worst ever public health failures.

Countries may differ in their national realities, but that should not stop governments from taking a responsible approach to fighting COVID-19. China has no intention to compare or compete with any country in terms of the way we deal with the virus, but we hope the UK side will put China’s approach to COVID-19 into proper perspective. To propagate the narrative of “democracy vs. authoritarianism” in the context of COVID-19 would only lead to more mistakes and could take an even heavier toll on the people.?

MASTV: Following the inauguration ceremony of the Padma Multipurpose Bridge on June 25 in Bangladesh, Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh Li Jiming said in an interview that the project is a milestone of China-Bangladesh cooperation. It will connect with other projects under the Belt and Road Initiative and serve as an important link between?China?and the Trans-Asian Railway. Could you share more details with us?

Zhao Lijian: We congratulate Bangladesh on the opening of the Padma Multipurpose Bridge. In recent years, under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh has focused on economic and social development and improving people’s livelihood, and continues to strengthen infrastructure construction. It is on track to graduate from the UN’s Least Developed Countries list soon with remarkable achievements. The Padma Bridge is funded by the Bangladeshi government and constructed by a Chinese company. Having been inaugurated, the bridge will now further connect Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, with the southern and southwestern parts of the country and inject new impetus into Bangladesh’s economic development.

Reuters: The United States added five Chinese companies to a trade blacklist for allegedly supporting Russia’s military. Has China made checks into these five companies to verify whether they had sold goods to Russia’s military??

Zhao Lijian: The US sanctioned and blacklisted Chinese companies for alleged support to Russia’s military and?defense industrial base. This has no basis in international law, nor is there a mandate of the UN Security Council allowing such moves. This is another example of US unilateral sanctions and long-arm jurisdiction. China firmly opposes that and has lodged a strong demarche to the US side.?

China and Russia conduct normal economic and trade cooperation on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit. This should not become the target of any intervention or restriction by a third party. In handling its relations with Russia, the US must in no way undermine China’s legitimate rights and interests.?

We urge the US to rectify these measures at once, revoke the sanctions and stop imposing long-arm jurisdiction and unilateral sanctions on Chinese businesses. China will take all necessary measures to resolutely protect lawful rights and interests of Chinese companies.

Follow-up: Is China willing to let independent auditors check these companies to ascertain whether they had sold goods to Russia? Is it China’s position that even if the companies had sold goods to Russia’s military, they should not be sanctioned?

Zhao Lijian: I have stated China’s full position on this just now. What the US needs to do is to revoke the sanctions and stop imposing long-arm jurisdiction and unilateral sanctions on Chinese businesses. There is no basis for the US to slap sanctions on Chinese companies by citing domestic laws. China firmly opposes this.

Phoenix?TV: Nepali President Bidya Devi Bhandari has appointed Bishnu Pukar Shrestha as the new ambassador to China. What is China’s comment?

Zhao Lijian: China welcomes the new Nepali ambassador to China, and looks forward to his assumption of the post at an early date. China and Nepal are connected by mountains and rivers, and enjoy an ever-lasting friendship. China is ready to work with Nepal to follow through on the important consensus of the leaders of the two countries, deepen political mutual trust, promote mutually beneficial cooperation, and elevate the strategic partnership of cooperation featuring ever-lasting friendship for development and prosperity to new heights.

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