|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying's Regular Press Conference on November 30, 2020|
CCTV: The 17th China-ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO) and China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit (CABIS) were concluded today. How does China view the outcomes of these events and does China have any expectations for China-ASEAN relations going forward?
Hua Chunying: This year marks the 17th anniversary of the inception of China-ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO) and China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit (CABIS). It is a major international expo co-hosted by China and ASEAN countries amid the joint efforts to fight COVID-19. More than 1,600 businesses participated in physical exhibitions and many other overseas customers and companies attended the online "Cloud CAEXPO". President Xi Jinping attached high importance to it. He delivered a video address at the opening ceremony and made four proposals on advancing China-ASEAN cooperation and cultivating a closer China-ASEAN community with a shared future, including further synergizing our development plans, facilitating an early and full recovery of the regional economy, deepening cooperation on the digital economy and enhancing capacity building in public health.
At the signing ceremony, 86 investment cooperation projects were signed, with the total investment volume of 263.87 billion yuan, marking a year-on-year increase of 43.6%, the highest since the first CAEXPO. The volume and quality of major projects have also significantly improved, and 85.3% of them were attributed to the three major industries and three new industries, namely, big data, health, logistics, new energy, new manufacturing, and new materials. This fully shows the growing "magnetic field" effect of the Expo platform, where more and more Chinese and overseas companies share development dividends.
China is actively fostering a new development paradigm and stays as committed as ever to further opening-up, which will effectively boost regional economic recovery. China stands ready to work with ASEAN to advance cooperation across the board, build a closer China-ASEAN community with a shared future, and make greater contribution to regional and world peace, stability, development and prosperity.
Bloomberg: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison is seeking an apology from China after your colleague tweeted an image that purports to show an Australian soldier holding a knife to the throat of an Afghan child. Mr. Morrison called the tweet repugnant. He called for Twitter to remove it. He also said that the Chinese government should be totally ashamed of this post. Can I ask for any comments on this?
Hua Chunying: The heinous crimes committed by some Australian soldiers in Afghanistan have been reported by the Australian media and confirmed by the Australian Department of Defense in an inquiry report. Chief of Defense General Angus Campbell also talked about this report at a press conference announcing its release. The details in this report are shocking and appalling. Men and boys in a whole village were shot in the head or blindfolded and with throats slit. Two 14-year-old boys were killed with their throats slit and their bodies were bagged and thrown into a nearby river. Junior soldiers were required to shoot a prisoner in a practice that was known as "blooding". These atrocities have been unequivocally and strongly condemned and deplored by the international community.
The Australian side has been reacting so strongly to my colleague's tweet. Why is that? Do they think that their merciless killing of Afghan civilians is justified but the condemnation of such ruthless brutality is not? Afghan lives matter! The Australian government should conduct honest and deep reflections and hold the perpetrators accountable. It owes the Afghan people a formal apology and a solemn promise that it will never ever commit these horrible crimes again.
You cited the Australian side's words that the Chinese government should be ashamed. Shouldn't the Australian government feel ashamed that some of its soldiers on official duty in Afghanistan committed such cruelties?
IRIB: On November 27 an Iranian nuclear scientist named Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was assassinated near Tehran, the capital of Iran. This assassination has been condemned by the international community. What is the Chinese government's comment on that?
Hua Chunying: China is shocked by the killing of the Iranian scientist and condemns this violent crime. We hope that the incident will be thoroughly investigated. China opposes any act that aggravates regional tensions and undermines regional peace and stability. As the current situation in the region is highly complex and sensitive, all parties should work together to ease regional tensions and maintain regional peace and stability.
BBC: Secretary of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade expressed Australia's position on the tweet to the Chinese ambassador to Australia. Can you tell us what the Chinese side said in response?
Hua Chunying: I haven't heard anything from the Chinese Embassy in Australia and I got the news from media reports. It's unjustified for the Australian side to lodge representations with the Chinese embassy if they have done so. The Australian side should first make a formal apology to the Afghan people. As I said just now, according to the Australian media reports and the inquiry report issued by the Australian Department of Defense, some Australian soldiers have brutally killed innocent civilians in Afghanistan. This is a fact. The specific methods used by these Australian troops as well as other details, including slitting children's throats, are another fact. The Australian government should be ashamed of this. It needs to give an explanation to the international community and and pledge solemnly that it will never commit such terrible crimes again.
BBC: Australian reports say some soldiers have already been dismissed and there will be criminal proceedings in Australia about this. Some people will go to jail and be punished for it. What measures does China hope to see by the Australian government?
Hua Chunying: As a mature government, the Australian government should know the proper way to deal with this horrible matter.
Beijing Media Network: The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) recently held a ministerial meeting in Niamey, the capital of Niger, and a resolution of the meeting underscored the will to step up cooperation between the OIC and China. What's your comment?
Hua Chunying: The 47th session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) made positive and friendly statements on China and expressed the readiness to strengthen cooperation with China. China highly appreciates it.
China enjoys traditional friendship with the Islamic world and maintains good communication and exchanges with the OIC. The two sides have conducted fruitful cooperation in the joint fight against COVID-19. In particular, in the recent period of time, the OIC has sent two delegations to China and visited Xinjiang upon invitation. The delegations fully affirmed the importance the Chinese government attaches to protecting the rights of Muslim believers and spoke highly of China's preventive efforts in counter-terrorism and de-radicalization.
China attaches great importance to developing relations with the OIC and is ready to further deepen exchanges and cooperation with the Organization and work for comprehensive and in-depth development of relations between China and the Islamic world.
Beijing Youth Daily: Permanent Missions of China, Russia, South Africa and some other countries co-hosted an Arria-formula meeting on "End Unilateral Coercive Measures Now" in New York on November 25, which was attended by representatives from more than 70 countries. Could China offer any hint on why this event was held?
Hua Chunying: Unilateral coercive measures (UCMs) contradict the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and international law, and undermine the affected countries' capability to mobilize resources, develop economy and improve people's livelihood. In particular, UCMs undercut these affected countries' response to COVID-19 and hinder their post-COVID recovery. They seriou