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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian's Regular Press Conference on January 14, 2021
2021-01-14 19:58

CCTV: Could you share with us some information on State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi's visit to Indonesia? What outcomes have been achievedthrough this visit?

Zhao Lijian: During his visit to Indonesia, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with President Joko Widodo, Indonesia's Coordinator for Cooperation with China and Coordinating Minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan. He also held talks with Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, after which they jointly met the press. The two sides reached five-point consensus on strengthening vaccine cooperation, boosting bilateral trade in a healthy and balanced way, advancing regional cooperation in East Asia, upholding peace and stability in the South China Sea, and promoting multilateralism. China and Indonesia also signed documents on cooperation between the Chinese and Indonesian foreign ministries, developing cybersecurity capacity building and technical cooperation and China-Indonesia cooperation on the "Two Countries, Twin Parks".

China and Indonesia are both major developing countries and important emerging economies, and the cooperation between the two countries are of strategic significance and has global influence. China stands ready to work with Indonesia to follow through on the consensus of the two heads of state, take combating COVID-19 and development cooperation as the main lines and move forward our bilateral relations in a post-COVID era.

Bloomberg: The US will now bar entry of all cotton products and tomatoes from China's Xinjiang region. What is your comment?

Zhao Lijian: China is firmly opposed to this. "Forced labor" is the biggest lie of the century made by persons and agencies in some Western countries including the United States, with an aim to restrict and suppress the relevant Chinese authorities and companies and contain China's development. The United States both creates lies and takes egregious actions based on its lies to violate international trade rules and principles of market economy, undermine global industrial and value chains, and damage the interests of companies and consumers all over the world including those in the United States, bringing no good to anyone.

It is despicable that the issue of "forced labor" in the United States has been reported from time to time. According to the Los Angeles Times, after the outbreak of COVID-19, some women prisoners in the United States were forced to work overtime to produce masks at the risk of contracting the virus. They worked up to 12 hours a day, but they were unable to wear one. In the United States hundreds of thousands of innocent people died of COVID-19, people like George Floyd cannot even breathe freely. Why on earth do some U.S. politicians think they can lecture China on its Xinjiang policy while their country cannot even guarantee the citizens' most basic rights to health and security?

Xinjiang affairs are China's internal affairs that no other country has the right or privilege to interfere with. The United States should respect basic facts, immediately withdraw its erroneous decision and stop interfering in China's internal affairs while taking Xinjiang as an excuse. China will take all essential measures to uphold national interests and dignity, and safeguard sovereignty, security and development interests.

Xinhua News Agency: On the morning of January 13, Indonesian media broadcast live President Joko Widodo's inoculation with Sinovac's CoronaVac, calling him the first in the country to get a vaccine for COVID-19. When meeting with State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, President Joko Widodo thanked China for providing the vaccines and noted the especially fruitful bilateral cooperation in the health sector against the pandemic background. Do you have a comment?

Zhao Lijian: I have also taken note of the reports. China and Indonesia are important strategic cooperative partners. Our fruitful vaccine cooperation demonstrates the high level political mutual trust and has fostered a new highlight in practical cooperation. China stands ready to advance cooperation with Indonesia in vaccine R&D, production and procurement. We will support Indonesia's efforts to become a regional center for vaccine production and deepen cooperation with it in the medical and health sector to contribute to the building of a community of health for mankind.

Shenzhen TV: According to reports, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft had a video call with leader of the Taiwan region Tsai Ing-wen on January 14 after a planned visit was canceled. After the call, Craft tweeted that "Taiwan is unable to share those successes in UN venues, including the World Health Assembly, as a result of PRC obstruction", referring to its success in fighting COVID-19. Do you have any comment on this?

Zhao Lijian: China is firmly opposed to official exchanges between the United States and Taiwan. Craft's words and deeds constitute grave interference in China's domestic affairs in serious violation of the one-China principle, the three China-U.S. joint communiqués and the political commitment made by the U.S. side on Taiwan. China is firmly opposed to them.

There is but one China in the world. The Taiwan region is an inalienable part of the Chinese territory. The People's Republic of China is the sole legal government representing the whole of China. This is a fact recognized by the international community and a basic norm of international relations.

The United Nations consists of sovereign states. Taiwan's participation in the activities of international organizations including WHO must follow the one-China principle. This is an important principle affirmed by the UNGA Resolution 2758 and Resolution 25.1 of the World Health Assembly.  

The Chinese Central Government always attaches great importance to the health and well-being of our compatriots in the Taiwan region. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, we have been updating the Taiwan region in a timely manner of the latest information. We've made proper arrangement for Taiwan's participation in global health affairs. There is an International Health Regulations Contact Point in the Taiwan region. So channels of information flow are unimpeded.

The U.S. side should abide by the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communiqués and stop meddling in China's domestic affairs or undermining China-U.S. relations. We will continue to take all necessary measures to safeguard sovereignty and security interests. Certain U.S. politicians will pay a heavy price for their mistakes.

China Review News: U.S. Under Secretary of State Keith Krach tweeted on January 13 that Secretary Pompeo orders lifting of self-imposed restrictions with Taiwan by US Govt giving it Free Country status". Do you have any comment?

Zhao Lijian: Krach's remarks are a grave breach of basic norms of international relations, the one-China principle and the three China-U.S. joint communiqués, and the political commitment made by the U.S. side on Taiwan. China rejects and condemns them.

We urge the U.S. side to abide by the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communiqués, immediately stop the political manipulation of the Taiwan question, stop official exchange with Taiwan, and stop elevating relations with it in essence.

Reuters: A top official of the US Chamber of Commerce said on Wednesday that he sees every indication that a high-ranking delegation of Chinese officials will visit Washington early in the administration of President-elect Joe Biden. Can you confirm that?

Zhao Lijian: I have no information to offer in this regard.

The Globe and Mail: The Canadian government has said Canada has obtained to get increased family and consular access for Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor. What increased family and consular access has China agreed to provide and when will that begin?

Zhao Lijian: We have repeatedly stated China's position on the cases of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor. The Chinese competent authorities handle the cases in accordance with law and fully protect their legitimate rights. After the COVID-19 outbreak, the Chinese competent authorities took timely measures to ensure the health and safety of all detainees including Kovrig and Spavor, and arranged for officials from the Canadian embassy in China to have meetings with them as epidemic prevention and control conditions allow. Recently, at the request of the Canadian side, the Chinese authorities, in a humanitarian spirit and on a lawful basis, have allowed Kovrig and Spavor to talk over the phone with their family respectively during Christmas time. Both Kovrig and Spavor thanked our authorities for the above-mentioned arrangements.

Follow-up: How long were those phone calls? The Canadian government says that it gives special permission to Meng Wanzhou's family to come to Canada to visit her in Vancouver. Will the Chinese government give permission to the families of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor to come and visit them here?

Zhao Lijian: As for the situation you mentioned, I have no more details to offer you.

It appears that the Canadian foreign ministry has made a statement on Meng's husband and children coming to meet her in Vancouver after they were granted permission. It is normal for governments around the world to deal with matters involving each other's citizens on the basis of mutual respect and reciprocity.

Kyodo News Agency: Do you have any comment on the impeachment of U.S. President Trump today?

Zhao Lijian: What you mentioned is an internal affair of the United States and we usually don't comment on that.

China News Service: We have noted reports that many Chinese embassies and consulates are planning to distribute anti-epidemic and Spring Festival supplies among local Chinese students, employees of Chinese enterprises and resident Chinese nationals in need. Could you tell us a bit more about these Spring Festival kits?

Zhao Lijian: The Spring Festival is a traditional festival most dear to the Chinese people's hearts. This year, due to the pandemic, many compatriots overseas are deciding to stay put for the festival in answer to the suggestion of "essential and emergency travel only". However, the distance cannot dilute the solicitude of loved ones at home or the care of the motherland. The health and safety of overseas Chinese citizens is always close to the heart of the Chinese government. Chinese diplomatic and consular missions will distribute Spring Festival kits to groups including students before the festival in light of the actual situation to bring the nation-wide festivity to them wherever they are. At the same time, the missions will continue to mobilize all available resources to help address the immediate difficulties of our fellow countrymen overseas and safeguard their health, safety and legitimate rights and interests.

Reuters: China previously said that it welcomes the WHO team of experts to Wuhan to conduct investigations. How long will the visas last for these expert? If, come the end of their scheduled visit, they feel they like to stay a bit longer, will China welcome them to stay a bit longer?

Zhao Lijian: As I understand, their visas are long enough to meet their working needs in China.

Reuters: They've arrived in Wuhan. As far as you know, will they be staying in Wuhan for the duration of their mission or will they be invited to go to other locations in China?

Zhao Lijian: I would refer you to the competent authority if you are interested in the specifics. As I understand, the WHO experts will undergo quarantine after they arrive in Wuhan. During this period, Chinese scientists and medical experts will have exchanges with them via video link.

Bloomberg: Could you please clarify how long the quarantine period will be for the WHO experts team?

Zhao Lijian: You may ask the competent authority if you are interested in this question.

Reuters: Is China still engaging in communication with the Trump administration now? When was the last time that China was in communication with the Trump administration?

Zhao Lijian: I'm afraid I have no updates to offer at this moment. The two sides stay in communication through our embassies, consulates and other diplomatic channels.

Bloomberg: U.S. Officials have deliberated but ultimately decided against banning investment in Alibaba and Tencent, as Bloomberg and Wall Street Journal reported. Does the ministry have a comment?

Zhao Lijian: China's position on the issue is consistent and clear. The Chinese government encourages Chinese enterprises to carry out foreign investment cooperation on the basis of complying with market principles and international rules as well as laws and regulations. What we stand against is politicizing economic and trade issue and abusing state power and the concept of national security to oppress foreign companies. The U.S. side should respect the principles of market economy and fair competition, abide by international economic and trade rules, and provide an open, fair, just and non-discriminatory business environment for foreign companies operating in the United States, including Chinese ones.

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