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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying's Regular Press Conference on March 22, 2021
2021-03-22 22:13

CCTV: Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov said in an interview that the Untied States and Western countries are pursuing policy of hegemony in international affairs, trying to impede the trend toward a multi-polar and democratic world, and imposing its will and requirements on others. The primary task of China and Russia is to strengthen high-level collaboration and jointly advance multipolarity and regional integration and collaboration. What's your comment?

Hua Chunying: Foreign Minister Lavrov's remarks are right to the point. The more unstable the world is, the more China and Russia need to advance our cooperation. For a long period, the US and the West wantonly interfered in other country's domestic affairs by using democracy and human rights as an excuse. Such moves created troubles in the world and even became the source of instability and war. China and Russia always stand together in close cooperation, firmly rejects hegemony and bullying practice and have become a pillar for world peace and stability.

In the past year, under the leadership of President Xi Jinping and President Putin, China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era achieved remarkable outcomes. In the face of once-in-a-century pandemic and changes, China and Russia stand in solidarity to fight the virus together, and advance cooperation in such areas as economy, trade and scientific innovation despite challenges. The two sides firmly support each other on issues concerning each other's core interests and jointly uphold international fairness and justice. It is fair to say that China-Russia relations withstood the test and emerged stronger with our friendship becoming even closer.

We believe Foreign Minister Lavrov's on-going visit will further cement the sound momentum of the high-level bilateral relations and bring the two countries closer in the strategic collaboration on international affairs. China is ready to work with Russia to follow through on the consensus of the two heads of state, and take the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Good-neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation as an opportunity to carry forward the spirit of the treaty and advance China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era at greater scope, in wider areas and at deeper levels. The two sides will join hands in building a model of international relations featuring strategic trust, mutually beneficial cooperation, close people-to-people ties, fairness and justice. Together, the two sides can make greater contribution to upholding world peace and stability.

CCTV: The high-level strategic dialogue between China and the United States concluded last weekend. How do you evaluate the outcome of the dialogue? Do you believe the dialogue has achieved desired goals?

Hua Chunying: China's attendance at the high-level strategic dialogue at the invitation of the U.S. side in Anchorage is an important step to implement the consensus reached by the two heads of state in their telephone conversation, and the dialogue was decided by the two presidents personally. The Chinese side already issued readouts on that. After the talks concluded, Director Yang Jiechi and State Councilor Wang Yi gave an interview to the press.

During the dialogue, the two sides conducted candid, in-depth, long and constructive communication on domestic and foreign policies, China-U.S. relations and major international and regional issues of common concern. The dialogue is timely, helpful and deepens mutual understanding.

First, the two sides agreed to follow the spirit of the telephone conversation between the two presidents to maintain dialogue and communication, conduct mutually beneficial cooperation, avoid misunderstanding and misjudgment, forestall conflict and confrontation, and promote sound and steady development of China-U.S. relations. Both sides expressed readiness to continue such high-level strategic communication.

Second, China has made clear its firm position on issues concerning its sovereignty, security and development interests, which we believe the U.S. side understands more clearly. The Chinese side has unequivocally stated that sovereignty and territorial integrity are major issues of principle. The United States should never underestimate China's resolve to defend its sovereignty, security and development interests and the Chinese people's determination to uphold national dignity and legitimate rights and interests. We hope that the U.S. side will work with China toward the same direction, and we need to respect and accommodate each other's core interests and major concerns in particular. The United States reiterated its adherence to the one-China policy on the Taiwan question.

Besides, the two sides had discussions on cooperation and other issues in specific areas and reached consensuses including stepping up dialogue and cooperation on climate change by establishing a joint working group on climate change. The two sides discussed making reciprocal arrangements for the COVID-19 vaccination of each side's diplomats and consular officials, agreed to hold talks on facilitating activities of each other's diplomatic and consular missions and personnel, as well as on issues related to media reporters, in the spirit of reciprocity and mutual benefit. The two sides also agreed to maintain and enhance communication and coordination on other topics, including economy and trade, military, law enforcement, culture, health, cyber security, climate change, the Iranian nuclear issue, Afghanistan, the Korean Peninsula and Myanmar, etc.

I want to stress that China's attitude toward China-U.S. relations remains clear and consistent. China is committed to achieving non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation with the United States. At the same time, we are firm in safeguarding our sovereignty, security and development interests. We hope that the United States will work with us toward the same direction, and it's particularly important for us to respect and accommodate each other's core interests and major concerns. On this basis, China's door is always open for continued dialogue with the U.S. side.

China Daily: During the China-US high-level strategic dialogue, the United States mentioned multiple times China's economic and military coercion against US allies. Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Dan Tehan thanked the US for having come out and said that it has got Australia's back and the US won't leave it alone on the playing field. In the meantime, we also see reports saying that regional countries should be prudent about US attempt to form an "anti-China coalition", adding that catering to the US strategic goals while ignoring China's concerns is not a balanced approach. For example, Republic of Korea said that it will not see China as a threat, but will step up practical cooperation with the country. What's your comment?

Hua Chunying: Director Yang Jiechi and State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi made strong responses to the so-called issues of "allies" and "coercion" in their opening remarks at the high-level strategic dialogue. Here, I would like to add a few things:

First, the US and some so-called allies of it cannot represent the international community. The fact is, the overwhelming majority of countries don't take the US as the international community, its values as international values, or its opinion as international opinion. They don't recognize rules made by a small number of countries as international rules.

Second, there are problems and different positions between China and the US and its allies including Australia respectively, and the ins and outs of those problems are crystal clear. The attempt to form a clique to pressure and blackmail China, even intimidate China by virtue of someone else won't work. There are direct flights between Australia and China. Taking a detour via the US is only counterproductive.

Third, the international community know too well who is wielding the sticks of sanctions, pursing long-arm jurisdiction and coercing other countries. China doesn't seek a trade war, illegal detention of foreign citizens or wanton suppression against foreign enterprises. The label of "diplomacy of coercion" is more suitable for the US, not China.

In conclusion, both the two peoples and the overwhelming majority of countries, including people in US ally countries, hope to see peaceful co-existence of China and the US. The two countries can have more mutual friends. We hope the US can show the confidence and demeanor of a major country, and stop coercing other countries into choosing sides and into interfering in China's internal affairs and undermining China's interests.

TASS: A follow-up question on Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's visit to China, can you give any details on the agenda?

Hua Chunying: What I can tell you at this moment is that Foreign Minister Lavrov has arrived in China. His talks with State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will be held in Guilin, Guangxi. The two sides will have in-depth communication on a wide range of important topics including bilateral relations, coordination in international and regional issues and high-level exchanges between China and Russia. It is believed that the visit of Foreign Minister Lavrov will surely promote further development of China-Russia relations.

Neue Zuercher Zeitung: Last week the Federal Council in Switzerland adopted a new China strategy. What is your opinion on that?

Hua Chunying: We noted that the government of the Swiss Confederation released a strategy on China, and the spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Switzerland already made clear our attitude. The document affirms the great achievements of China's economic development, gives a positive evaluation of China-Switzerland cooperation on the whole, and takes China as one of its priority countries in foreign affairs. I think this serves the common interests and meets the shared aspirations of the Chinese and Swiss people.

However, the document makes groundless accusations against China's political system, ethnic minority policy and human rights situation, which is the exact opposite of basic facts. China is firmly opposed to that. We reject "megaphone diplomacy", and never will we accept remarks by any self-styled lecturer on human rights. Making an issue out of all this will not help the sound development of China-Switzerland relations.

Over the past 70-plus years since the establishment of our diplomatic ties, bilateral relations between China and Switzerland have made continuous positive progress. The most fundamental experience we've learned is adherence to mutual respect and mutual trust, treating each other as equals and win-win cooperation. We hope the Swiss side can view China's development in an objective and fair way, cherish the sound development of China-Switzerland relations and maintain the sound and steady development of bilateral relations.

National Public Radio: The trial of Canadian Michael Kovrig is being held today. Diplomats, including those from the Canadian embassy, were not allowed to attend the trial. Do you have a comment? And the second question, the Chinese side has suggested that the case of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou and the two Canadians, Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig are somehow connected and that a halt in the extradition processes for Ms. Meng would give some space to the resolution of the situation of the two Canadians. Do you have comment on that potential leakage?

Hua Chunying: The Canadian side, by ganging up on China with a few individuals from some embassies in China to point fingers at China's lawful handling of relevant cases involving Canadian citizens, has grossly interfered in China's judicial sovereignty. We deplore and reject that.

Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor are suspected of crimes endangering China's national security. The Chinese judicial authorities try cases in strict accordance with law and fully protect the two individual's litigation rights. As relevant cases involve state secrets, relevant courts didn't hear them in open court, which is in compliance with law and thus beyond reproach. The Criminal Law of Canada also has clear provisions that Canadian judges have the right to decide if cases should be heard in private for the purpose of safeguarding national security. It is hypocritical and unjustifiable for Canada, a self-styled champion of the rule of law, to make wanton comments on China's judicial authorities' lawful handling of cases and practice "double standards" on legal issues.

Here is a piece of advice: it is a fool's errand that serves no purpose at all to resort to "megaphone diplomacy" or to gang up on China. We urge those diplomatic personnel involved to earnestly abide by the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and Chinese laws and regulations, stop interfering in China's judicial sovereignty and refrain from engaging in activities inconsistent with their capacities.

China's position on the Meng Wanzhou case is very clear. This is nothing short of a political incident in which Canada played a very disgraceful role as an accomplice. We urge the Canadian side to immediately release Ms. Meng Wanzhou, who has been arbitrarily and unreasonably detained by the Canadian side, and ensure her early and safe return to China.

AFP: First, a follow-up on Russian foreign minister's visit and you mentioned that he will be meeting with China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi. Can you confirm that the visit is taking place tomorrow and does China have any expectations on specific talks between the two sides? Is this a way to show that China and Russia are united against the US after the Alaska meetings as some observers have suggested? The second question, the Philippines on Sunday accused China after more than 200 boats were spotted near the disputed Whitsun Reef in the South China Sea. It called on China to recall the boats and said this was a violation of its maritime rights. Does the foreign ministry have any response on that?

Hua Chunying: On your first question, as I just said, Foreign Minister Lavrov has arrived in China today and will have talks with State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Guilin, Guangxi. They will meet today and continue the talks tomorrow. The two sides will have a series of in-depth discussions on important and a wide range of issues. We believe that Foreign Minister Lavrov's visit will further advance China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era.

You mentioned that some said the timing of this visit after the China-US high-level strategic dialogue is a deliberate arrangement. You know, every diplomatic activity and visit is decided by the two sides through discussion beforehand. China and Russia are very close partners that maintain close exchanges at all levels. As permanent members of the UN Security Council, China, Russia and the US shoulder special and important responsibility for world peace and security. The growth of bilateral ties between China and Russia does not target any specific country. Our relationship is above-board, in contrast to certain countries that seek small clique with hidden or even obvious agenda.

On your second question, Niu'e Jiao is part of the Nansha Islands. Chinese fishing boats have been fishing in the waters near the reef all along. Recently, due to maritime situation, some fishing boats have been taking shelter from the wind near Niu'e Jiao, which is quite normal. We hope relevant sides can view this in an rational light.

Middle East News Agency: Saudi Arabia announced on Friday that drones attack by Yemen's Houthi militia caused a fire in an Aramco oil facility in its capital Riyadh. The Arab League and other countries condemned the attack, and expressed their support for Saudi Arabia's measures to maintain its security and stability and fight terrorism. Do you have any comment on this?

Hua Chunying: China condemns the attack targeting the oil refinery in Saudi Arabia. We stand against all attacks against civilians and civil facilities including oil field, and supports Saudi Arabia's efforts to safeguard its safety and stability. We call on relevant sides to refrain from taking actions that will escalate regional tensions.

China News Service: Tanzania's new President Samia Suluhu Hassan was sworn in on March 19. Do you have any comment? Do you have any expectations for China-Tanzania relations going forward?

Hua Chunying: We congratulate Ms. Samia Suluhu Hassan on her appointment as Tanzania's President. We believe that under the leadership of President Hassan, Tanzania will make new achievements in national development and rejuvenation.

China and Tanzania are good friends that boast profound traditional friendship and enjoy fruitful outcomes of practical cooperation. China attaches high importance to its relations with Tanzania and stands ready to work with it to deepen exchanges and cooperation in various fields and scale new heights in China-Tanzania comprehensive cooperative partnership.

Global Times: Six of the eight people killed in a shooting spree in Atlanta, Georgia, US, on March 16 were of Asian origin. Vice President Harris said "Racism is real in America and it has always been. Xenophobia is real in America and always has been. Sexism too." "People who are perceived as Muslim know what it was like to live in our country after 9/11". Last year, "we've had people in positions of incredible power, scapegoating Asian Americans. People with the biggest pulpits spreading this kind of hate". US President Joe Biden issued a statement on March 21, which acknowledges that "systemic racism and white supremacy are ugly poisons that have long plagued the United States... We must change our hearts". The statement also referred to "mistreatment of the Uyghurs in China". What is China's comment?

Hua Chunying: We were saddened to learn that a Chinese citizen died in the shootings in Atlanta on March 16. China urges the US side to punish the perpetrator according to law at an early date and do justice to those killed and their beloved ones. In the meantime, the US should take concrete measures to protect the safety and legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens in the US. Chinese embassy in the United States is following closely the handling of the case and providing assistance to family members of the deceased.

Vice President Harris was telling the truth about the United States. In recent years, hate crimes and racism against Asians have been on the rise in the United States, and many tragedies have taken place. It's been 58 years since Dr Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his iconic "I Have a Dream" speech, however, George Floyd still "can't breathe". Nearly 20 years has passed since the September 11 attacks, Muslim Americans still face discrimination and stigmatization. Since the outbreak of the epidemic, the former US administration has spread false information and racist remarks, leading to systematic racial discrimination and hate crimes against Asian-Americans.

Now that the US side has the courage to face up to the problems, it will need determination to solve them. We hope that the US side will match its words with deeds, and take concrete actions to truly protect the legitimate rights and interests of ethnic minorities, including the Asian community, and prevent them from being discriminated, attacked, hated or even killed. The United States should earnestly fulfill its obligations under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, safeguard and protect the legitimate rights of ethnic minorities, and respond to the concerns of the international community with concrete actions.

The White House statement mentioned Uyghurs in Xinjiang. I think Xinjiang-related issues are not about the treatment of the Uyghurs, but about lies and truth. It's nothing short of absurdity that the US side bases its accusations against China on lies and rumors. If the US government could truly care for and safeguard the lawful rights of ethnic minorities as China does with the Uyghur and other ethnic groups in Xinjiang, the problem of racial discrimination in the US would have been solved long ago. I suggest the US side read the following: the Lies on Xinjiang-related Issues Versus the Truth released by Xinhua News Agency, China's white papers on Xinjiang-related issues, the 30 plus press briefings by the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, reports by the US independent website The Grayzone and the book Uyghurs: To Put an End to Fake News by French author Maxime Vivas.

The door to Xinjiang is always open. We welcome all, including US personnel, who really want to know Xinjiang's development to visit the region, but we firmly oppose any condescending presumption of guilt.

Reuters: With regard to China not allowing Canadian diplomats to attend the trials of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, can you clarify that China is trying to say that its domestic law supersedes international agreement like the Vienna Convention in this case?

Hua Chunying: What a fallacious argument! As I said just now, Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig are suspected of endangering China's national security. The Chinese judicial authorities handle the cases in strict accordance with the law. Given that relevant cases involves state secrets, relevant courts didn't hear them in open court in accordance with the law. The Criminal Law of Canada has similar clear stipulation that Canadian judges have the right to decide not to hear cases in open court for the need of safeguarding national security. It's China's judicial sovereignty. The Canadian side attempts to work with diplomats from a few countries to mount pressure on China, this is an interference in China's judicial sovereignty. It is very disrespectful, and a diplomat should know better. It is common sense that all diplomats must abide by the laws and regulations of the host country.

RIA Novosti: I have a follow-up question about Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov's visit to China. Before his visit, he said in an interview with the Chinese media that China and Russia should reduce sanctions raised by strengthening their technological independence and by switching to payment in national currencies and in world currency alternative to the dollar. He also said that the US is aiming to limit technological development of Russia and China. So the two countries need to strengthen their independence. I wonder how China can comment on his proposals and remarks?

Hua Chunying: I just answered a relevant question. Indeed, China and Russia are firmly opposed to the arbitrary move of the US to impose unilateral sanctions on others and conduct long-arm jurisdiction. The US and the West wantonly interfere in other's domestic affairs and make trouble by citing democracy and human rights. On this issues, China and Russia share the same position. This is the reason why our two countries strengthen strategic coordination, ensure our respective development, jointly uphold fairness and justice, and firmly oppose hegemony and bullying practice. China and Russia will continue to step up close communication and coordination on this.

Reuters: You said that China and the US agreed to set up a joint working group on climate change at the Alaska talks, but a US State Department spokesman has said that although the two sides discussed climate change, they did not set up a formal working group. So there seemed to be some discrepancy here. Could you clarify if the two sides definitely did or if the US might have a different understanding on this?

Hua Chunying: In accordance with the consensus reached at the high-level strategic dialogue between China and the United States, China and the United States are committed to strengthening dialogue and cooperation in the field of climate change and will establish a joint working group on climate change.

I also want to point out that climate change is a common challenge facing mankind. China and the United States should trust, understand and cooperate with each other to tackle climate change and other pressing tasks for the international community.

RIA Novosti: National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine last week imposed sanctions against two Hong Kong-based companies owning almost 50% shares of Donetskoblgaz, which is engaged in distribution of gas in Ukraine. Security Service of Ukraine said that actions of these two companies, which led to the shutdown of 58 boiler houses in Donetsk region, jeopardized lives and health of local residents. Does China have any comment on this?

Hua Chunying: I am not aware of the situation you mentioned.

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