|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian's Regular Press Conference on July 28, 2021|
CCTV: State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi just held talks with Mongolian Foreign Minister Batmunkh Battsetseg in Tianjin. Do you have more information to share about that?
Zhao Lijian: On July 27, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi held talks with Mongolian Foreign Minister Batmunkh Battsetseg in Tianjin, where they had in-depth exchange of views on bilateral relations and issues of common concern.
State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that since the outbreak of COVID-19, China and Mongolia have maintained a record of zero exported case to each other. The two sides have stood together with mutual assistance, gifting one another with sheep and tea. Together we've added a new chapter to our friendship. China attaches high importance to ties with Mongolia in its neighborhood diplomacy. We appreciate that Mongolia takes developing relations with China as a key priority in its foreign policy. We stand ready to enhance communication and coordination with Mongolia in international and regional affairs on the basis of respecting each other's independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, core interests, major concerns and development path. Under new circumstances, China will continue to work together with Mongolia to forge ahead and enrich and invigorate our comprehensive strategic partnership so as to deliver more benefits to both peoples and boost regional prosperity and development.
Foreign Minister Battsetseg commended China's neighborhood diplomacy featuring amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness and expressed thanks for valuable Chinese support for Mongolia's socioeconomic development. She also expressed Mongolia's readiness to work together with China to enrich and update the comprehensive strategic partnership and strive for new outcomes. The two sides should actively dovetail the BRI with the Steppe Road program, expand trade, deepen people-to-people and cultural exchange, and conduct long-term cooperation in such areas as mining, energy, railway, highway, livelihood, prevention and treatment of desertification and dust storms.
The two sides exchanged congratulations on the centenary of the CPC and the Mongolian People's Party. A broad range of consensus was reached on epidemic response, trade, environmental protection, cultural and multilateral cooperation. Both firmly support multilateralism and reject unilateralism. The two sides called on the international community to act with a stronger awareness that mankind has a shared future and effectively deal with the pandemic. A joint statement on further strengthening anti-epidemic cooperation was released, which affirmed the two sides' commitment to jointly build a community of health. Both welcomed the report of the Joint WHO-China Study of Origins of SARS-CoV-2, stressed that study of origins is a scientific task that should not be politicized, and called for a global study in this regard.
Xinhua News Agency: According to an online survey report released by CGTN Think Tank on July 26, 80% of the global netizens who participated in the poll believe "the issue of virus tracing on COVID-19 has been politicized". What's your comment on this?
Zhao Lijian: The CGTN Think Tank poll in the UN official languages including Chinese, English, Russian, French, Spanish and Arabic has shown strong global disapproval with the US politicization of study of origins. Participants have voiced their shared opinion in different languages that "the investigation of the origin of the virus does not help to solve the problem of pandemic control. This is nothing but a stupid and unhelpful political move to cover up the United States' attempt to contain China's rise."
For some time, the US, in order to shift responsibility for its poor COVID-19 response and achieve the political motive of smearing and suppressing other countries, has pursued politicization and stigmatization and used origin-tracing as a tool. This has severely undermined science-based origin tracing and the global fight against COVID-19.
First, the US has distorted facts and spread disinformation. While turning a blind eye to the conclusions of the Joint WHO-China Study, the US has cited groundless information from some officials or intelligence channels to hype up the theory that "the virus was leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology". Such moves to mislead the public, muddy the water and scapegoat China are only aimed to deflect attention and cover up early cases in the US and the truth of the suspicion-shrouded biological laboratories.
Second, the US violates science in clamoring for an investigation led by the intelligence community. To substantiate its predetermined conclusion of a lab leak, the US set aside scientific research and brazenly ordered its intelligence community to come up with a conclusion on the origin of the virus within 90 days. This act is not science-based, objective or serious. It's a total political farce.
Third, the US has been obsessive with coercion and playing dirty tricks all around. Through coercive and pressurizing means, the US intends to force scientists to bow and turn to support the "lab leak" theory in the face of their hegemony, bullying and coercion. According to reports, many of the unyielding in the scientific community have been suffering verbal abuse, physical assaults and threats, and some of them had to resign in defence of their scientific positions.
Facts speak louder than words. People shall not be deceived or manipulated. The US side's political manipulation of the origin-tracing process has been widely rejected by the international community. As of now, 60 countries have written to the WHO Director-General Tedros to stress that tracing the origins of the virus is a scientific matter and should not be politicized, and the joint WHO-China study report should be upheld. In many countries, condemnation of the US side's politicization of the issue has been expressed by political leaders, media outlets, experts and the general public. In China alone, over 16 million netizens have endorsed the open letter calling on the WHO to investigate the Fort Detrick bio-lab. A solemn reminder to the US side: in the face of facts, science and justice, political manipulation will gain no support and is doomed to fail.
AFP: At least one Chinese national was injured in a gun attack in Karachi, Pakistan this morning. Can you please offer more details about this incident? And do you see a growing security risk for Chinese nationals and assets in Pakistan?
Zhao Lijian: China is closely monitoring this incident. It is under further investigation as we speak. This is an isolated incident. We have every confidence in Pakistan's protection of Chinese nationals and assets in the country.
Shenzhen TV: On July 26, Amami-Oshima Island, Tokunoshima Island, northern part of Okinawa Island and Iriomote Island of Japan were inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List at the extended 44th session of the World Heritage Committee. What's China's comment on this?
Zhao Lijian: The relevant decision was adopted by the extended 44th session of the World Heritage Committee (WHC). The Japanese side has made its promise in verbal and written forms to the member states of the WHC including China and UNESCO that it would not extend the inscribed area beyond the land areas of Amami-Oshima Island, Tokunoshima Island, northern part of Okinawa Island and Iriomote Island for any reasons in the future. The decision adopted at the session also reiterated Japan's pledge. We hope the Japanese side can honor its promise, and safeguard the reputation of the World Heritage List and the authority of the WHC with real actions.
Hubei Media Group: The Sudanese style mosques in northern Côte d'Ivoire was inscribed on UNESCO's World Heritage List. This is said to be the first African project to be inscribed on the list during this session. Do you have any comment?
Zhao Lijian: China extends warm congratulations. Before the session started, ICOMOS, a professional advisory body, had advised deferral on this project. However, the World Heritage Committee decided through discussion that the project merits a world heritage's outstanding universal value and its authenticity, integrity, conservation and management all meet basic inscription requirements. Therefore it finally decided on its inscription on the World Heritage List. China endorsed the amendment to the draft decision in support of the inscription. During this session, China has called on members to contribute wisdom and strength to the Global Strategy for a Representative, Balanced and Credible World Heritage List. We also urged parties to pay more attention to underrepresented countries and regions, especially African countries and small island developing nations, and to give more support to developing countries in heritage protection, including with regard to capacity-building, so that the List could better reflect the full spectrum of our world's diverse cultural and natural treasures.
Bloomberg/Macau Monthly: US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has vowed during a trip to Asia this week to challenge what he called China's aggression. He said, "we will not flinch when our interests are threatened, yet we do not seek confrontation." Does the foreign ministry have a comment on this?
Zhao Lijian: The remarks from the US side, in disregard of facts, deliberately smear China, meddle in China's domestic affairs and attempt to sow discord between regional countries. The aim is to serve selfish geopolitical gains. We urge the US not to make an issue out of China at every turn and instead do more things conducive to regional peace and stability.
China's position on relations with the US is clear-cut. The US should adopt an objective and correct perception of China and choose to work with China in the same direction, uphold mutual respect and fair competition, pursue peaceful coexistence and strive for sound and steady development of bilateral relations.
Bloomberg: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned during a visit to India of a rising global threat to democracy. He added that the two world's leading democracies continue to stand together in support of these ideals. Blinken seemed to be raising concerns about China here though he didn't name China directly. Can you give a comment on this matter?
Zhao Lijian: I want to stress that democracy is a common value shared by all, not a patent owned by any country. To achieve democracy, there are various ways rather than a fixed formula or a standard answer. "One-man, one-vote" and a multi-party system is not the sole form of democracy. Democracy should not be used as a label or tool to belittle or smear other countries or stoke confrontations. Which country is a democracy and which an autocracy should not be determined by a very small number of countries. Debasing others while elevating oneself in itself is not democratic at all.
I would like to point out that, the yardstick to measure a political system lies in whether it suits the national conditions of a country, whether it brings about political stability, social progress and betterment of people's livelihood, whether it is endorsed by its own people, and whether it makes contribution to the cause of human progress. Some self-proclaimed democracies are deeply troubled at home by wealth disparity, social division, racial divide and political polarization. Is that how their so-called democracy looks like? In some countries, it's "no money, no vote" and partisan interests above public interests. Is that democratic politics or money politics? Some countries blatantly meddle in other countries' domestic affairs, shift blames, and suppress and contain other countries' development. Is this what the so-called democracy is all about? Is this democracy or actually hegemony?
Beijing Youth Daily: According to reports, the search and rescue operations for ROK mountaineer Kim Hong-bin will stop at the request of Kim's family, the Gwangju City Accident Management Committee announced at a press conference on the afternoon of July 26. Has the Chinese side received any notice on that? Will China halt its search and rescue work? What is your comment?
Zhao Lijian: The Chinese side received a note from the ROK Embassy in China on the evening of July 26, which said that the family of the ROK mountaineer Kim Hong-bin decided to end the search and rescue operations. The ROK government respects this decision and expresses thanks to the Chinese side for its goodwill and sincerity during the operations. The government of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region has halted relevant work. We regret that Mr. Kim remains missing after days of searching.
Upon learning that Mr. Kim Hong-bin might have fallen into Chinese territory, the Chinese side spared no effort to carry out a search and rescue mission. Taking this very seriously, the government of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region immediately dispatched personnel and set up a rescue command center. Despite bad weather and other hazards in the mountains, the Chinese side dispatched helicopters, high altitude drones, professional search-and-rescue staff and reserve rescuers to search for Mr. Kim. In the meantime, emergency assistance was provided to Pakistani helicopters for its search operations in Chinese air space. All these show how China has gone to great lengths to help with the humanitarian spirit.
RIA Novosti/AFP: It is reported that State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with an Afghan Taliban delegation in Tianjin. Is the delegation still in China? When will China release relevant information?
Zhao Lijian: On July 28, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with the visiting delegation led by head of the Afghan Taliban political committee Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar in Tianjin. The heads of the Afghan Taliban's religious committee and publicity committee were also on the delegation.
State Councilor Wang Yi said that China, as Afghanistan's largest neighbor, has always respected Afghanistan's sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, adhered to non-interference in Afghanistan's internal affairs and pursued a friendly policy toward the entire Afghan people. Afghanistan belongs to the Afghan people, and its future should be in the hands of its own people. The hasty withdrawal of the US and NATO troops from Afghanistan actually marks the failure of the US policy toward Afghanistan. The Afghan people have an important opportunity to achieve national stability and development.
State Councilor Wang pointed out that the Afghan Taliban is an important military and political force in Afghanistan and is expected to play an important role in the country's peace, reconciliation and reconstruction process. We hope that the Afghan Taliban will put the interests of the country and nation first, hold high the banner of peace talks, set the goal of peace, build a positive image and pursue an inclusive policy. All factions and ethnic groups in Afghanistan should unite as one, truly implement the "Afghan-led and Afghan-owned" principle, push for early substantive results in the peace and reconciliation process, and independently establish a broad and inclusive political structure that suits Afghanistan's national realities.
Wang stressed that the ETIM is an international terrorist organization designated by the UN Security Council that poses a direct threat to China's national security and territorial integrity. Combating it is a common responsibility for the international community. We hope the Afghan Taliban will make a clean break with all terrorist organizations including the ETIM and resolutely and effectively combat them to remove obstacles, play a positive role and create enabling conditions for security, stability, development and cooperation in the region.
Baradar expressed appreciation for the opportunity to visit China. He said China has always been a reliable friend of the Afghan people and commended China's just and positive role in Afghanistan's peace and reconciliation process. The Afghan Taliban has the utmost sincerity to work toward and realize peace. It stands ready to work with other parties to establish a political framework in Afghanistan that is broadly-based, inclusive and accepted by the entire Afghan people and to protect human rights, especially rights of women and children. The Afghan Taliban will never allow any force to use the Afghan territory to engage in acts detrimental to China. The Afghan Taliban believe that Afghanistan should develop friendly relations with neighboring countries and the international community. It hopes that China will be more involved in Afghanistan's peace and reconciliation process and play a bigger role in the future reconstruction and economic development. The Afghan Taliban will also make its own efforts toward fostering an enabling investment environment.
On the same day, Assistant Foreign Minister Wu Jianghao held talks with Baradar and other representatives to exchange views on issues of shared concern, which helped enhance mutual understanding and broaden consensus.
Bloomberg: Media reports in Hong Kong say China's top legislative body will take the first steps toward imposing an anti-sanctions law on the city next month. Xinhua has said that the body would consider adding national laws to the annexes of the charters of both Hong Kong and Macau. Does the foreign ministry have a comment on this matter? My second question is, members of a US congressional panel urged US corporations including Coca-Cola Co. and Visa Inc. to pull their sponsorship of the 2022 Winter Olympics unless the games are moved out of Beijing. The members of the Congressional Executive Commission on China said that unless the Chinese government changes its stance toward the Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang, American companies that sponsor the games will be complicit in giving cover to the policies, including genocide against the Uyghurs. Does the foreign ministry have a comment? The third question is, do you have any information to offer on the next ambassador to Washington?
Zhao Lijian: On your first question, the 30th session of the Standing Committee of the 13th National People's Congress will be held next month. I would refer you to the information that has already been released. I have nothing to add.
On your second question, the so-called genocide in Xinjiang is a through-and-through lie of the century fabricated by a few anti-China forces. We have also noticed that individual Congressmen in the US, out of ideological and political prejudice, have used it to smear China and try to disrupt, obstruct and undercut the efforts to prepare for and host the Beijing Winter Olympics. This runs counter to the spirit of the Olympic Charter and harms the interests of athletes from all countries as well as the international Olympic cause. China is firmly opposed to this. The remarks of the congressmen are full of arrogance, ignorance and lies, amount to typical "American farce" and are doomed to lose support and fail. Different sectors of the international community, including governments and Olympic committees of many countries as well as the International Olympic Committee, have explicitly opposed such wrong moves of politicizing sports.
Certain anti-China Congressmen in the US have repeatedly hyped up the issues and exerted pressure on companies. Their malicious intention of hijacking business with political schemes and keeping China down with Xinjiang-related issues has been laid bare. We believe that any rational and conscientious business, especially American businesses that have benefited enormously from more than four decades of progress driven by reform and opening-up in China, would make the right judgement.
As for your third question, I am sure you will see relevant news very soon.