Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian's Regular Press Conference on September 9, 2021
2021/09/09

Vice President Wang Qishan will attend events including the opening ceremony of the 18th China-ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO) and China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit (CABIS) on September 10.

CCTV: Premier Li Keqiang attended the 7th Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Leaders' Summit this morning and delivered an important address. How does China see the outcomes of the summit? How do you plan to participate further in GMS cooperation?

Zhao Lijian: The 7th GMS Leaders' Summit was held against the background of flare-ups in and resurgence of COVID-19, complicated and complex international and regional landscapes and a lackluster world economic recovery. Premier Li Keqiang, leaders of the five Mekong River countries, and President of the Asian Development Bank attended the summit together with other delegates. All sides reviewed the progress in cooperation, reiterated solidarity in the face of risks and challenges, and jointly blueprinted future cooperation, reaching fruitful outcomes.

First, mutual trust was consolidated. Leaders of the six countries agree that the sound momentum in subregional development should be cherished. All sides should remain committed to good neighborliness and friendship, accommodate each other's major concerns, uphold the common interests of subregional countries, and forge a GMS community with a shared future. All should uphold multilateralism and advocate openness and inclusiveness, seek greater synergy between GMS economic cooperation and BRI cooperation, Lancang-Mekong Cooperation, among other mechanisms, give full play to their respective advantages, galvanize impetus for development, and strive to build a more integrated, prosperous, sustainable and inclusive subregion.

Second, new cooperative measures to combat COVID-19 were planned. The six countries will be guided by science, conduct active cooperation in COVID-19 prevention, control and vaccination efforts, strengthen national response capabilities, protect vulnerable and impoverished people and safeguard public health. China will prioritize providing vaccines and medical supplies to the Mekong River countries within its capability, and conduct cooperation in such areas of epidemic monitoring, traditional medicine and infectious diseases prevention and control.

Third, a new blueprint for development was drawn. With connectivity, competitiveness and a community with a shared future as pillars, the six countries will engage in cooperation in a wide range of sectors including transportation, energy, agriculture, tourism, climate, environment, urban development and trade facilitation. China stands ready to work together with other sides to unleash the demonstration effect of the upcoming opening of the China-Laos railway, build a New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor, deepen cooperation in agricultural products, SMEs, border trade and cross-border e-commerce, and accelerate information infrastructure-building such as 5G and land-based fiber optic cable, to build an economic corridor with deeply-integrated transportation, logistics, commerce and industry.

China and the Mekong River countries share mountains and rivers, enjoy cultural affinity and economic complementarity, and therefore are endowed with natural advantages for cooperation. For nearly 30 years, China has been an important participant in GMS cooperation, contributing to its growth as well as regional prosperity and revitalization. Premier Li Keqiang announced that China will host the 8th GMS Leaders' Summit in 2024. We will join hands with the Mekong River countries to stay unwavering in cooperation, expand it to more areas and elevate it to higher levels, and promote sustainable development and economic integration to deliver tangible benefits to all our peoples.

The Paper: On September 8, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi attended the first Foreign Ministers' Meeting on the Afghan Issue among the Neighboring Countries of Afghanistan via video link in Beijing. We've noted several Afghanistan-related mechanisms. Could you brief us on this meeting? What is the relationship between this meeting and other mechanisms concerning the Afghan issue?

Zhao Lijian: On September 8, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi attended the first Foreign Ministers' Meeting on the Afghan Issue Among the Neighboring Countries of Afghanistan via video link in Beijing. The meeting was chaired by Pakistani Foreign Minister and also attended by Foreign Ministers of Iran, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Deputy Foreign Minister of Turkmenistan.

All parties believe that the US and its allies are the culprits of the Afghan issue. They are more obligated than any other country to provide economic, livelihood and humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people, and help Afghanistan maintain stability, prevent chaos and move toward sound development on the premise that the sovereignty and independence of Afghanistan is respected.

All parties agree that the Afghan Taliban should be guided and urged to unite with all ethnic groups and factions, build a broad and inclusive political structure, pursue moderate and prudent domestic and foreign policies, make a clean break with terrorist forces, and establish and develop friendly relations with other countries, especially neighboring countries. We hope that the Taliban can draw on past experience, actively interact with all ethnic groups and factions in Afghanistan in the duration of the interim government, earnestly fulfill their commitments, and work to gain international recognition.

All parties said that Afghanistan's neighbors should play their unique role and provide a good external environment for Afghanistan's stability and reconstruction. All parties should focus on coordination and cooperation from the following six aspects: First, continuing to provide anti-pandemic supplies and technical assistance to Afghanistan and help it strengthen epidemic prevention and control. Second, keeping ports open on the basis of ensuring security to facilitate Afghanistan's interaction with the outside world, especially its access to humanitarian supplies. Third, strengthening the management of refugees and migrants, and call on the international community to share the responsibility and jointly handle the issue. Fourth, offering humanitarian assistance and help the Afghan people tide over difficulties. Fifth, all parties should step up intelligence sharing and cooperation in border control and other counter-terrorism security cooperation, and urge the Taliban to make a clean break with all extremist and terrorist forces. Sixth, carrying out counter-narcotics cooperation. We should support Afghanistan in stopping producing drugs and jointly combat transnational drug crimes in the region.

I want to stress that the foreign ministers' meeting today is the first attempt by Afghanistan's neighboring countries to respond to the evolving situation in the country through cooperation. It also signifies the establishment of a coordination and cooperation mechanism of Afghanistan's neighboring countries. This mechanism and other existing multilateral mechanisms related to the Afghan issue are not mutually exclusive and can form synergy by complementing each other. All participating parties support the continued operation of this unique mechanism so that countries can share policy propositions, coordinate positions and jointly address challenges through this platform. The hope to host the second Ministerial Meeting has already been expressed.

China Daily: On September 8, US Secretary of State Blinken and German Foreign Minister Maas co-chaired a virtual ministerial on Afghanistan, which was attended by 22 countries. They demand that the Afghan Taliban allow foreign nationals and Afghans who want to leave the country free passage and respect basic human rights, claiming that they will use economic, diplomatic and political means to protect the Afghan people. Does China have any comment?

Zhao Lijian: We noticed the meeting on Afghanistan co-chaired by the US and Germany. China did not participate in the meeting. Lately we have seen many multilateral meetings and initiatives on Afghanistan. There should be greater coordination to focus on actual effects and exert positive influence on the situation in Afghanistan.

The US government claims to care about people's welfare and economic reconstruction in Afghanistan. At the same time, it took home all that can be taken away and blew up those that cannot be taken to the US, not even sparing the navigation facilities in the airport in Kabul and civil aircraft that belong to the Afghan people. This is removing the plank after crossing the river. The US left a trail of destruction in Afghanistan.

The US spent huge fortunes evacuating its nationals from Afghanistan and resettling tens of thousands of Afghan nationals it cares about while standing callously by and offering not a cent to tens of millions of suffering Afghans and turning a blind eye to the hundreds of thousands of refugees created by its irresponsible troops withdrawal.

The US asks others to respect basic human rights while remaining reticent on its track record of trampling on human rights in Afghanistan and inflicting new miseries on the Afghan people.

The US shuns its unshirkable responsibility for the chaos in Afghanistan while wantonly speculating about and criticizing the constructive efforts of other countries, especially Afghanistan's neighbors.

The US government claims to combat terrorism while inheriting the previous administration's erroneous policy and refusing to re-designate the ETIM as a terrorist organization, which is actually double-standard on terrorism and selective counter-terrorism.

The US has said repeatedly that it wishes to cooperate with China and hopes that China will make greater contributions while also claiming that it withdrew from Afghanistan to focus on dealing with China and shift the strategic focus to addressing the so-called major power competition.

I don't know how the US can justify its logic. It owes the international community an explanation.

Xinhua News Agency: State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi yesterday attended a seminar to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the restoration of the lawful seat of the People's Republic of China in the United Nations via video link and delivered a speech. Could you offer more details on that?

Zhao Lijian: At the seminar yesterday, State Councilor Wang Yi put forward China's six-point proposition.

First, upholding multilateralism to safeguard world peace and stability. We must oppose the use of multilateralism as a pretext by a few countries to impose their own rules on the whole international community. It is important to bridge differences through dialogue and resolve disputes through negotiation.

Second, strengthening pandemic cooperation to jointly build a line of defense for life and health. We must see to it that COVID vaccines are first and foremost a global public good, and strive for the fair and equitable distribution of vaccines around the world. On the origins-tracing issue, any approach based on presumption of guilt or motivated by political maneuvering is doomed to fail. Honoring the spirit of science, China will continue to work actively with all sides in global origins-tracing.

Third, putting development first to promote common prosperity across the globe. We need to give full play to the UN's role as a coordinator, put development high on the global macro-policy agenda, and implement the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in a comprehensive, balanced and robust way.

Fourth, embracing openness and inclusiveness to develop an open world economy. We need to safeguard the multilateral trading system with the WTO as its cornerstone, ensure the stable and smooth operation of global industrial and supply chains. De-globalization that opts for closing doors and decoupling serves no one's interest and will only lead to a dead end. China welcomes all to join in Belt and Road cooperation.

Fifth, improving climate governance to build a clean and beautiful world. Developed countries must move expeditiously to deliver their climate financing commitment to developing countries. All countries need to continue to implement the Paris Agreement through NDCs and international cooperation. China will host COP15 of the Convention on Biological Diversity this October.

Sixth, enhancing exchanges and mutual learning to promote the progress of human civilization. We must reject prejudice that is based on systems and models, uphold the common values of humanity, adhere to mutual respect and equality to promote exchanges and mutual learning among civilizations and build an open and inclusive world.

CCTV: It is reported that Japan's Deputy Defense Minister Yasuhide Nakayama said on September 8 that the distance between Taiwan and Japan is very close, like that between one's tip of nose and mouth. That's why Japan takes as its own business peace and stability in Taiwan and it's impossible to regard it as others' affairs, he said. Do you have any comment?

Zhao Lijian: The remarks on Taiwan by the Japanese politician you mentioned are ludicrous. China strongly deplores and firmly rejects that and has lodged solemn representation with the Japanese side.

Japan's militarists once used geographical proximity as the main excuse to wage wars of aggression. It is a very dangerous development that some in Japan are still touting this logic in the 21st century. We need to stay on high alert about this. On the Taiwan question, the Japanese side bears historical responsibilities to the Chinese people for its past crimes and should especially be prudent with its words and actions. Japan should stop interfering in China's domestic affairs, avoid undermining China's sovereignty in any form and refrain from sending wrong signals to "Taiwan independence" forces in any form.

I want to stress once again that the Taiwan region is an inalienable part of the Chinese territory and the Taiwan question is purely China's internal affair that brooks no foreign interference. No one should underestimate the strong resolution, determination and capability of the Chinese people to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity.

China News Service: A series of meetings of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) have been concluded in Geneva. As a handful of countries are trying to politicize COVID-19 origins study, issues relating to the BWC, in particular, the biological verification issue, have received more attention. Could you brief us on the meetings? Did China put forward any proposal?

Zhao Lijian: Under current circumstances, the recently-concluded BWC meetings have attracted more attention. To strengthen BWC mechanisms is the core issue, on which China put forward a series of proposals. First, China stressed that establishment of a verification regime is the most effective means to ensure compliance and build mutual trust, called for the early resumption of negotiation for a verification protocol, and urged the US to stop being the sole country opposing it. Second, China pointed out that the US conducts more bio-military activities than any other country in the world, with an alarming lack of transparency in its domestic bio-military bases and numerous labs overseas. The US should earnestly fulfill its obligations, offer full clarification and subject itself to international verification. Third, China proposes that pending the resumption of negotiation and establishment of a verification regime, all countries should declare their bio-military activities overseas as a confidence-building measure.

At the meetings, the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) spoke on behalf of 123 state parties, and many countries including Russia, Brazil and South Africa all made statements calling for the resumption of negotiation for a verification protocol at an early date. It is thought-provoking that the US delegation should refer to the international community's consensus as "recycling", declare that the US will not accept resumption of negotiation, and even call the international community's legitimate concerns over US bio-military activities dissemination of "disinformation". We once again urge the US to adopt a responsible and constructive attitude. It cannot keep clamoring for investigation into other countries' labs while stubbornly obstructing the establishment of a just and effective verification regime through international negotiation.

Bio-tech review is also an important issue on the agenda of the meetings. China always advocates responsible biological scientific research to reduce bio-security risks and make sure bio-science can benefit mankind. China offered detailed information on the conclusion of the Tianjin Biosecurity Guidelines for Codes of Conduct for Scientists. All sides commended China for its efforts and expressed welcome and support for the Tianjin Guidelines.

Issues relating to international cooperation also received much attention. Against the backdrop of COVID-19, the importance and urgency of promoting the peaceful use of bio-tech is more pronounced, so are developing countries' concerns about discriminatory export control imposed by a certain country. China always stands together with the great number of developing countries. Back in 2016, we put forward relevant proposal under the BWC framework. This year we will submit a draft resolution to the UNGA First Committee to defend developing countries' right to peaceful use. China elaborated on this during the meetings.

To summarize, China will continue to uphold the concept of a community with a shared future for mankind, practice true multilateralism together with the international community, firmly defend and strengthen the BWC, and safeguard the shared goal of universal security and common prosperity.

Global Times: The "Uighur Tribunal" founded by the "World Uyghur Congress" (WUC) and some British lawyers plans to hold its second hearing soon. Do you have any comment?

Zhao Lijian: This so-called "Uighur Tribunal" is funded mostly by the "WUC", an organization dedicated to separating Xinjiang from China. Its "Chair" is Geoffrey Nice, a veteran British agent notorious around the world for filing frivolous lawsuits on human rights. The so-called "experts" are anti-China swindler Adrian Zenz and others from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), whose credibility has been bankrupted. The so-called "witnesses" include Duolikun Aisa, a terrorist listed by the Chinese government. These so-called "Chair", "experts" and "witnesses" have deplorable track records and are habitual liars, who have become a laughing stock in the international community a long time ago.

Take Adrian Zenz as an example. He has hurled the absurd accusations of "forced sterilization" and "genocide" in Xinjiang in his so-called reports. However, being unable to present any solid evidence, he chose to fabricate lies and rumors one after another, which has invited lawsuits.

Adrian Zenz and his like are feted by this co-called "Tribunal", which validates the body's nature as a special machine producing lies. It has nothing to do with law, justice or truth, and is just another farce staged to smear and attack Xinjiang.

This so-called "Tribunal" staged a so-called "hearing" in June this year. But no matter how many "actors or actresses" it recruits and how many "hearings" it arranges, it is nothing but a kangaroo court and a futile attempt. I want to stress that no matter how hard these anti-China clowns try to sell their performance, China's Xinjiang will see a better future and more and more people in the world will join the call for an impartial and objective perception of Xinjiang.

Bloomberg News: Does President Xi Jinping plan to travel in person to the G20 Summit in Rome at the end of October or to the next UN General Assembly meeting?

Zhao Lijian: I have no information to release at this moment.

CRI: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and UK Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs Dominic Raab made wanton comments about the lawful arrest of some members of the "Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China" by the Hong Kong police and about the national security law for Hong Kong. What is your comment?

Zhao Lijian: China strongly deplores and firmly rejects certain Western politicians' flagrant smear and detraction of the legitimate law enforcement activity by the Hong Kong Police Force. The arrest of law-defying members of the "Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China" by the police is a lawful, just and necessary move beyond reproach to defend the authority of the Law of the People's Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong SAR and to ensure Hong Kong's enduring peace and stability.

Hong Kong upholds rule of law. Laws must be complied with and offenses must be prosecuted. This is the basic connotation of rule of law. No one is allowed to whitewash illegal actions with the pretext of democracy and freedom. Anyone that violates Hong Kong laws including the national security law must receive the punishment stipulated by law. Since the enforcement of the national security law, national security has been safeguarded, Hong Kong society has returned to the normal track, and rule of law and justice have been upheld. The legitimate rights and freedoms of Hong Kong residents and foreign nationals in Hong Kong have been better protected. No attack or smear on this law can alter these facts or stop the turnaround from chaos to stability and prosperity in Hong Kong.

I want to emphasize again that Hong Kong is part of China, and Hong Kong affairs are purely China's internal affairs. China firmly opposes any move by foreign forces to use individual cases to smear the rule of law in Hong Kong and interfere in China's internal affairs. Any attempt or action that emboldens anti-China forces trying to destabilize Hong Kong is doomed to fail.

NHK: First question, a new warship was commissioned by Taiwan today to strengthen "defence" against mainland forces. What is the foreign ministry's comment? Second question, the DPRK held a military parade today. What is your comment?

Zhao Lijian: On your first question, I want to stress that the attempt of Taiwan separatist forces to confront the mainland militarily can lead nowhere.

On your second question, China and the DPRK are friendly close neighbors. China congratulates the DPRK on the 73rd anniversary of its founding, and wishes it new progress in all its endeavors.

Yonhap News: The International Olympic Committee said on its website on September 8 that it decides to suspend the Olympic Committee of the DPRK, meaning the country may miss out on the Beijing Winter Games. Do you have any response on that?

Zhao Lijian: We noted that the DPRK did not participate in the Tokyo Olympic Games due to COVID-19, and also noted the relevant information on the IOC website. As the host country, China is actively advancing preparations for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games. We have the confidence and capability to host a simple, safe and splendid Olympic Games as scheduled. We are ready to stay in communication with the IOC and relevant countries and regions on the participation of athletes and delegations.

RIA Novosti: There are reports that the inauguration ceremony of the new Afghan government is scheduled for September 11. The source in Taliban told our agency that Russia, China, Qatar, Turkey, Pakistan and Iran are invited to the ceremony. Could you share any more details? Who will represent China there?

Zhao Lijian: China has made clear its position on the new Afghan government. The Chinese Embassy in Afghanistan is performing its duties as usual. We are ready to stay in communication with the new Afghan government and its leaders. As for the specific question you raised, we are seeking further information from all parties.

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