Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying's Regular Press Conference on May 12, 2021

China News Service: The second China+Central Asia (C+C5) foreign ministers' meeting was held in Xi'an this morning. What important outcomes have been achieved?

Hua Chunying: State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi chaired the second C+C5 foreign ministers' meeting in Xi 'an, which is a great success. The meeting issued the joint statement on coordinated response to COVID-19, joint statement on deepening sub-regional cooperation, and joint statement on the Afghan issue, and adopted the memorandum on the establishment of the C+C5 foreign ministers' meeting mechanism.

The in-person meeting between the foreign ministers of China and the five Central Asian countries against the backdrop of the epidemic demonstrates the confidence of the six countries in jointly combating the epidemic and their determination to strengthen solidarity and coordination. Since the first C+C5 foreign ministers meeting in July last year, despite the impact of COVID-19 and under the guidance of head-of-state diplomacy, the six countries have taken anti-epidemic cooperation as the main line to protect people's safety, take measures to resume work and production, promote in-depth connectivity, inject impetus into regional coordinated development and economic recovery, and make tangible contribution to regional peace and development. Facts have proven that the collective cooperation between China and Central Asian countries, standing at a great time, has broad prospects and great potential.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the independence of the five Central Asian states. Over the past 30 years, the relationship between China and the five Central Asian states has achieved great success. China has successfully established strategic partnerships with all the five Central Asian countries, and we have led the world in building a community with a shared future for mankind. At a new historical starting point, State Councilor Wang Yi put forward a five-point proposal at the meeting. First, we should work together to fight the epidemic and build a community of health for all. Second, we should continue to forge ahead with innovation and jointly build the Silk Road Economic Belt pilot zone. Third, we should stick to opening-up and cooperation to build a corridor of connectivity for Eurasia. Fourth, we should work together to build an anchor of regional stability. Fifth, we should continue to learn from each other through exchanges and jointly draw a new blueprint for high-quality development.

During the meeting, the foreign ministers of the five countries expressed congratulations on the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China and spoke highly of the achievements made in their cooperation with China. They said China is a good neighbor and partner of the Central Asian countries. They are willing to work with China to ensure better synergy and coordination between the BRI and the development strategies of the Central Asian countries, expand cooperation in various fields, and jointly combat the "three evil forces" and transnational crimes, enhance coordination and cooperation within multilateral institutions including the United Nations, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, and the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia, firmly defend multilateralism, and jointly maintain lasting peace, stability and security in the region.

We believe this meeting will help China and the five Central Asia countries to make new progress in our relations.

China Daily: We noted that at the second C+C5 foreign ministers meeting, the foreign ministers devoted time specially to in-depth discussions about the Afghan situation and what role neighbouring countries can play and released a joint statement. How do you see the current Afghan situation?

Hua Chunying: Indeed, at the second C+C5 foreign ministers meeting this morning, the foreign ministers held in-depth discussions about the Afghan situation and what role neighbouring countries can play and released a joint statement, reaching important consensus.

The current Afghan situation has drawn great attention from the international community. State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi elaborated China's position on the Afghan situation. To summarize, China proposed the following. First, the peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan should be "Afghan-led and Afghan-owned". Second, Afghanistan should form inclusive political arrangements to make sure that all ethnic groups and parties could participate in political life in the future and enjoy equal political rights. Third, Afghan national governance structure in the future should conform to the country's unique national conditions and development needs, and should not simply copy foreign models.

The Chinese side believes that foreign troops should withdraw from Afghanistan in an orderly and responsible manner to prevent any hasty action from adversely affecting and seriously interfering with the peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan. As close neighbors of Afghanistan, Central Asian countries should make due contribution to the final settlement of the Afghan issue, and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization should also play its due role for the long-term peace and stability in Afghanistan. China stands ready to continue working with regional countries and the international community to move forward the peace and reconciliation process and help Afghanistan realize peace and stability at an early date.

Beijing Youth Daily: Recently, the Wall Street Journal published an article to play up a new surge in Covid-19 infections in Seychelles and questioned the efficacy of China's Sinopharm vaccines the island nation has administered to its people. President Wavel Ramkalawan of Seychelles refuted the doubts in an interview, saying that most of the newly infected patients have not been vaccinated and Seychelles has not recorded any death of people who received two doses of vaccines. He added that Sinopharm vaccines have served the population very well. Do you have any comment?

Hua Chunying: I noticed relevant reports. Indeed, certain Western media outlet is obsessed with smearing the safety and effectiveness of Chinese vaccines. This is not the first time they spread disinformation against China. It once again exposes their unhealthy mindset of denigrating China at every turn.

As you mentioned, the President of Seychelles explicitly negated this report and said that Chinese vaccines serve the country well in its fight against COVID-19.

If the relevant media outlet really cares about vaccine safety and effectiveness, why did it choose to ignore the vaccine accidents in its own country? Why did it choose to ignore the fact that the safety, efficacy and quality of Chinese vaccines is recognized by the WHO? Why did it choose to ignore the fact that some developed Western countries are hoarding vaccines while offering nothing but superficial lip service to countries in urgent need?

I read an article published by Bloomberg today titled "China Sinovac Shot Seen Highly Effective in Real World Study". It quotes Indonesian Health Minister as saying that Indonesia tracked health workers in the country after they are vaccinated and found that the vaccine protected 100% of them from death, 96% from hospitalization and 94% from infection. We hope media organizations can follow the principles of authenticity, objectivity and justice, report on the epidemic and vaccines in an impartial and fact-based manner, and use their voice to inject more positive energy to promote vaccine accessibility and affordability in developing countries.

SCMP: Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh said during a recent event that if Bangladesh chose to join the Quad that groups US, Japan, India and Australia, China-Bangladesh relations would suffer "substantial damage". The foreign minister of Bangladesh has expressed regret over this. What's Chinese foreign ministry's comment on this?

Hua Chunying: I can tell you clearly that China and Bangladesh are very friendly close neighbors. We have grown our ties on the basis of the five principles of peaceful coexistence. We always treat each other with mutual respect and firmly support one another on issues bearing on respective core interests and major concerns.

We all know what kind of mechanism the Quad is. China opposes certain countries' efforts to form an exclusive clique, portray China as a challenge, and sow discord between regional countries and China.

China Review News: China released data of the seventh national population census yesterday. A recent "exclusive" Financial Times report said the latest Chinese census was not made public immediately after its completion, because the total population of the country stands at less than 1.4 billion, marking the first population decline since the 1950s. After the data was disclosed yesterday, certain US and European media hyped up that China's population has grown at its slowest pace since the 1960s, calling it a "long-term time bomb" and a looming demographic crisis. They said China's falling birth rate, aging society and shrinking labor force will severely impact economic growth and that in the foreseeable future, China may not be able to overtake the US as the top economy. They even forecast that this may obstruct the realization of the "Chinese dream" as promised by the Chinese leadership. Do you have any comment?  

Hua Chunying: I noted those reports and remarks from US and European media on the latest population census in China. You just mentioned the so-called exclusive news by Financial Times. Now that the authoritative information about the latest census was released, I wonder whether this media outlet would care to publish a correction to its previous report?

According to the authoritative data released by the National Bureau of Statistics of China yesterday, China's population reached 1.41178 billion, up by 5.38 percent compared with 2010. This represents an average annual growth rate of 0.53 percent from 2010 to 2020. The data shows that China's population has maintained a low growth trend in the past decade, and the total population has continued to grow. China still has the biggest population in the world. The population quality has improved steadily with significantly higher level of education. The population structure has adjusted and changed with improved gender composition. There is a more obvious trend of mobility and agglomeration, and the level of urbanization has continued to improve. In particular, it's worth mentioning that the population of ethnic minority groups increased 10.26 percent from 2010, up by 0.4 percentage points, while that of Han Chinese grew by 4.93 percent. The steady growth of ethnic minority population fully demonstrates the all-round progress of all ethnic groups in China. In the meantime, the data also indicates some structural problems in China's demography, including drops in working-age population and the number of women of childbearing age, the increasingly severe aging problem, falling total fertility rate, and low number of birth.

In response to those points made by certain US media, I'd like to stress one point: isn't China's 1.41178 billion population still larger than the combined population of the US and European countries? I wonder how those journalists-turned "demographers" and "experts in social studies" come to the conclusion that China is facing a demographic crisis? The United States' population growth slowed in the past 10 years to its lowest rate in nearly a century, according to latest data released by the U.S. Census Bureau. A recent report by the CDC National Center for Health Statistics shows that the number of births in the US in 2020 was down four percent from the previous year. With sustained socioeconomic development, especially due to the changes of people's attitude towards childbearing resulting from industrialization and modernization, low birth rate and the aging of population has become a widespread issue among developed countries and a practical problem in China. At the press conference of the State Council Information Office yesterday, it was pointed out that we need to view the impact of demographic changes on socioeconomic development in a dialectical manner and promote quality development and formulate targeted population-related strategies and policies. The 14th Five-Year Plan has made it clear that we need to achieve appropriate fertility rate and reduce the costs of childbearing, up-bringing and education to unleash the potential of childbearing policy.

At every critical stage of China's development, various judgment or predictions from the West have kept emerging, such as the "China threat theory" and "China collapse theory", which only turn out to be nothing but fallacies later on. China has embarked on a new journey of building a modernized socialist country in an all-round way. We will continue to forge ahead along the path that has been proven to be correct. I hope those who made up these China-related fallacies can enjoy health and happiness like the Chinese people and witness together with us the realization of the Chinese dream together.

Global Times: On May 11, 11 people were killed and 21 hospitalized after a 19-year-old gunman opened fire in School No. 175 in Kazan, capital of the Russian Republic of Tatarstan. The suspect has been arrested. The mayor of Kazan said it was a terrorist attack on children. Do you have any comment?

Hua Chunying: Upon learning of the shooting incident in Kazan, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi sent a message of condolences to the Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov, mourning the victims, expressing sincere sympathies to the bereaved families, and wishing those injured a speedy recovery.

China opposes violence in all forms. China supports Russian efforts to safeguard social security and hopes the country can maintain stability.

Bloomberg: The United States government has agreed to remove Xiaomi from a US blacklist following a lawsuit. The original order under the Trump administration would have seen Xiaomi delisted from US Exchanges. I wonder if the foreign ministry has any comment?

Hua Chunying: I'm not aware of what you said. I suggest you ask the relevant authority and enterprise. However, I want to stress that China supports its businesses in protecting their legitimate rights and interests through legal approach. It is hoped that the US will correct the mistake made by the former administration and provide the Chinese companies with a fair, just and non-discriminatory business environment.

SCMP: You mentioned yesterday that the visa extension applications submitted by US-based correspondents for the Xinhua News Agency and the People's Daily Online in early November last year have not yet been approved. The Xinhua reporter was forced to return home on May 1. Could you please clarify if you mean that all Xinhua journalists in the US have left? Are People's Daily Online journalists forced to plan their return to China?

Hua Chunying: As we said many times before, the United States has used every possible means to suppress Chinese media. It designated 15 Chinese media organizations in the US as "foreign missions" or asked them to register as "foreign agents." In March last year, the US expelled 60 Chinese journalists in the US, and in May it limited the duration of their visas to no more than 90 days, meaning they have to renew their visas every three months.

As far as I know, the visa renewal application submitted by two correspondents in early November, 2020 have yet to be approved, and they have been unable to work since early February. One of them, a Xinhua reporter, was forced to return to China on May 1, and was subjected to very detailed and unusual questioning at the Los Angeles airport by US border agents, who also checked his laptop and other electronic equipment. Other reporters, including one with the People's Daily Online, did not get an extension and are still waiting for reply in the United States. Every time the Chinese reporters pressed for updates, the US side replied that they need to wait and the application is still being processed. The relevant journalists are still waiting.

I also stressed yesterday that these politically-motivated suppression has thrown the Chinese media journalists in the US into great uncertainty in life and work. As reporters, you can easily imagine how you will feel if your press card is subjected to revocation at any time, or its validity will expire in just a few days after having a hard time getting the application approved, leaving you no choice but to immediately apply for a renewal for another three months.

Even though China has been doing its best to provide conveniences to foreign correspondents in both their life and work, some may still worry that they may encounter some trouble returning to China from their home country against the backdrop of COVID-19. The Information Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been accommodating their concerns and providing conveniences. I suggest that you put yourself in the shoes of Chinese journalists working in the US. For US journalists, I hope you may inform your government that most of you have visas valid for a year, and that we haven't taken any countermeasures for US moves to restrict Chinese journalists' visa validity to a maximum of 90 days.

We hope the US can treat seriously China's concerns, stop politically-motivated repression against Chinese journalists and offer them fair and just treatment as soon as possible, including by resolving the visa issue.

Shenzhen TV: The US Solar Energy Industry Association released a Solar Supply Chain Traceability Protocol last week to help steer manufactures away from products involving suspected forced labor or other immoral labor behaviors. Some analysts say the solar energy industry in Xinjiang may become the next "Xinjiang cotton". Do you have any response?

Hua Chunying: As we've repeatedly said, the allegation of "forced labor" in Xinjiang is an outrageous lie. We still recall that not long ago, a few Western countries and anti-China forces went all out to hype up the so-called "forced labor" in Xinjiang's cotton-growing industry. Now they are turning to the solar energy industry. Xinjiang cotton is speckless and solar energy is clean, but those in the US and the West who are hyping up the issue have a dark and sinister intention. They are trying to fabricate lies like "forced labor" to create "forced industrial decoupling" and "forced unemployment" in Xinjiang to suppress Chinese companies and industries to serve their malicious agenda to mess up Xinjiang and contain China.

There is no "forced labor" in Xinjiang, only voluntary employment and free choice in the labor market. Workers of ethnic minorities in Xinjiang choose profession of their own free will, sign labor contracts with employers voluntarily following the principle of equality, and receive payment for their work. This is in accordance with China's Constitution and laws and conforms to international labor and human rights standards. A March report titled "'Forced Labor' or 'Pursuit of A Better Life'? An investigation of Xinjiang minority workers' employment in Guangdong, China" released by Jinan University detailed the fact that minorities from Xinjiang voluntarily choose to work and have decent jobs with solid data, true examples and field visits. Xinjiang authorities also held many press conferences and many people have shared their stories and expressed their indignation and condemnation on lies and rumors fabricated by the US and the West.

There have been more and more voices for justice on Xinjiang in the world for some time. For example, US independent news website The Greyzone, the website Project Syndicate, Counterpunch, media outlets from Australia, Brazil, Singapore, Sweden and so on, Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post, former mayor of Frogn municipality in Norway, French author, among others, have all published articles or books, pointing out that the allegations of "forced labor" and "genocide" lack evidence and exposing the double standard on counter-terrorism by the US and other Western countries as well as their geopolitical conspiracy to use Xinjiang to contain China. China Daily also ran an article with the title of "Things to Know about All the Lies on Xinjiang: How Have They Come About?". I hope those in the US will take some time reading them.

As I said the other day, some in the US would rather believe the two dozens of fake "academics" and "witnesses" than listen to the voices of the people from all ethnic groups in Xinjiang and people of insight in the world. This is inconsistent with its much-touted principle of democracy. But no matter what they do, I want to tell them that attempts to suppress Xinjiang's economic and social development and undermine its stability and prosperity to contain China will never succeed.

CRI: It is reported that Honduras President Hernandez recently stated that Honduras would purchase vaccines from China's mainland though El Salvador, which would help Honduras to break geopolitical blockade. He also mentioned the intention to set up a business office in China for further purchase. Do you have any comment?

Hua Chunying: Vaccine is the hope for saving lives. Since the outbreak of Covid-19, China has been adhering to the vision of building a community of shared future for mankind and a global community of health for all, and making significant contribution to reducing the vaccination divide and promoting the accessibility and affordability of vaccines in developing countries. Relevant cooperation is totally aboveboard, and highly appreciated by the international community, including central American countries, which serves as a good demonstration.

I'm not sure what the statement of so-called "geopolitical blockade" made by some people in Honduras is driving at. I want to reiterate that there is only one China in the world, and that Taiwan region is an inalienable part of China, which is a fact based on history and jurisprudence. The correct path is to make the right choice that is in line with the trend and people's aspiration.  

Reuters: During Ramadan, Reuters viewed dozens of mosques across Xinjiang, including many that were damaged and destroyed. And outside of large cities, mosques were very sensitive places to visit, where we were not allowed to take pictures or have interviews. The foreign ministry and the Xinjiang government have said that they are committed to protecting religious sites in Xinjiang, and the right for people to practice their religions. How is the government ensuring people can freely and openly practice their religion in Xinjiang, and in cases where mosques have been removed or destroyed, how can the local government ensure there are still places nearby for people to  practice their religion?

Hua Chunying: Where are you from?

Journalist: I'm British.

Hua Chunying: You asked a long question in a breath. I would just like to ask, do you know the number of mosques in the UK or the US?

Journalist: No.

Hua Chunying: Let me tell you, there are about 2,000 mosques in the United States, about 1,750 in the United Kingdom, and the number is 24,400 in China's Xinjiang, which means one mosque for every 530 Muslims. There are more than twice as many mosques in Xinjiang as in the United States, Britain, Germany and France combined.

So I don't know what is the point in hyping up the issue of mosques in Xinjiang. And before starting the job, have you done your homework? It's always important to do your homework. When making comments, you must make sure you have the facts.

I reiterate that China's Constitution clearly stipulates that the following: Citizens of the People's Republic of China enjoy freedom of religious belief. No State organ, public organization or individual may compel citizens to believe in, or not to believe in, any religion; nor may they discriminate against citizens who believe in, or do not believe in, any religion. The State protects normal religious activities. Muslims from various ethnic groups are free to practice their belief in mosques and at home according to religious doctrines, rules and traditional customs.

With regard to mosques in Xinjiang, the State Council Information Office has offered detailed descriptions in its many white papers. The mosques there were mostly built in the 1980s and 1990s or even earlier. Some of them were originally adobe houses, some are too narrow, some have become so dilapidated as to render religious activities impossible during windy and rainy weather. In recent years, as urbanization gathers speed and the rural revitalization strategy is implemented, some local governments, responding to local Muslim community's call and application, took measures including building new facilities, relocation and extending existing buildings to solve the problem and made mosques safer, better situated and cleaner, to the satisfaction of believers. All this was done together with work relating to shanty town renovation in urban areas, improvement of living environment in rural areas and poverty-alleviation relocation in accordance with development plans for urban and rural areas. The mosques in Xinjiang meet the needs of believers.

You mentioned some problems journalists encountered during their filming there. I would like to talk about this with foreign journalists, especially those from the US and European countries. Chinese media reported not long ago how some journalists from a well-known British media agency tricked people into giving interviews in places like Xinjiang and Hubei. They even knowingly made lies and rumors. This has hurt the local people. You may relate to their feelings if you imagine how would you feel if someone in your house or around you is always seeking an opportunity to bad mouth or smear you and even to hurt you. Wouldn't that put you on guard?

So if you want your interviewees to be forthcoming in a relaxed setting, an important point is to take concrete actions and win the trust of the Chinese people including residents of Xinjiang with objective reports. You need to make them feel sure that you will report on what you filmed and the interview in an objective and just manner, unlike others who concoct fake news and harm local people's interests and reputation. To build such trust calls for two-way efforts.

RIA Novosti: When interviewed by Sputnik, the first deputy secretary of Russian Security Council Yury Averyanov stated that lethal and dangerous microorganisms from the US and NATO laboratories near Russia's border "could potentially be released into the environment, allegedly by mistake", and "would lead to a massive destruction of the civilian population both within the country and in neighboring states". China, on multiple occasions, urges the US to offer a full clarification on its bio-military activities at home and abroad. Has China lodged an official claim regarding the issue? Is there any response?

Hua Chunying: Indeed, China has repeatedly urged the US side to offer a full clarification on its bio-military activities at home and abroad, which is a concern shared by Russia and many other countries. However, unfortunately, no meaningful response has yet been made by the US side. The so-called annual report on Adherence to and Compliance with Arms Control, Nonproliferation, and Disarmament Agreements and Commitments released by the US not long ago, made a mere passing claim that all American activities are in compliance with the Biological Weapons Convention, fails to address the concern of the international community on Fort Detrick, and glosses over its large number of bio-labs overseas.

We once again call on the US side to give a detailed clarification and take concrete actions, to ensure the legitimacy, transparency and security of its bio-labs and relevant activities. A verification mechanism should be established under the Biological Weapons Convention, which is a global consensus and an effective way to address concerns and build mutual trust. Again we urge the US side to stop single-handedly thwarting the resumption of relevant negotiation process.

Reuters: There will be a debt relief conference for Sudan in Paris next Monday. China is one of Sudan's largest non-Paris Club donors, with a total of $2.1 billion. China has been invited by Sudan to attend. Does China plan to attend? What kind of debt relief does China plan to extend?

Hua Chunying: China and Sudan have friendly relations and fruitful cooperation in various fields. We have decided to send delegates to the international conference in support of Sudan's transformation to be held in Paris on May 17. China has not only granted partial debt relief to Sudan bilaterally, but has also been working for international debt relief for Sudan. Going forward we will continue to work with the international community to promote Sudan's development.

The Paper: A couple of days ago, Republican congressman introduced a bill that would create 56 new FBI agent slots to investigate Chinese espionage and theft at higher education institutions in the US. What's the foreign ministry's comment on this?

Hua Chunying: I have seen this report. Indeed, American lawmakers often come up with all sorts of strange arguments or suggestions. You just mentioned that Republican congressmen proposed to set up 56 FBI posts to supervise the activities of Chinese students in American universities, right? I think that's an underestimate. There were more than 300,000 Chinese students studying in the United States. Perhaps they should propose to set up 300,000 FBI posts or at least 150,000, which may also help solve the unemployment problem in the United States.

In fact, many people find it hard to believe that the US lawmakers are making such baffling arguments when there are so many pressing problems to be solved at home. Just to give a few examples. Some US leaders often complain that the infrastructure in the country is far behind that of some other countries and regions. Nearly 600,000 American people have died of the COVID-19 epidemic, and recent reports say that this figure is far underestimated, and the actual death toll could be much higher. The past year saw a sharp increase in hate crimes against Asian Americans, and there are severe problems concerning ethnic minorities in the US. Pulitzer Prize winner John Toland wrote in his book Adolf Hitler: The Definitive Biography that Hitler attributed his idea of concentration camps and his practice of genocide to his study of British and American history. David Edward Stannard, an American historian at the University of Hawaii argues in his book American Holocaust that that European warfare against the Native American population after the arrival of Christopher Columbus was the largest genocide in history.

With so many problems either left over from history or besetting the US in reality, those US lawmaker elected by the American people, instead of focusing their time and energy in solving problems at home, are keen to point fingers at China every now and then. Do they really have no clue as to what the real threat to the US is? As elected members of the American people, what have they done to promote the well-being of the American people, protect their health, safeguard their human rights and improve social equality for all ethnic groups? How about these US lawmakers do some serious thinking on these matters?

Bloomberg: The top Philippines diplomat has said that China has sent more ships to disputed waters in the South China Sea. Do you have any comment on this?

Hua Chunying: I haven't read relevant reports. But China's position on the South China Sea is very clear, consistent and firm. China and the Philippines have a smooth channel and maintain close communication on the relevant issue. Our full consensus is that the South China Sea issue account for only 1% of the overall bilateral relations. The two sides are committed to properly handling the relevant issue through dialogue and consultation, so as to continue to safeguard and promote the sound and steady growth of bilateral relations.

HRTN: Violence and tension in East Jerusalem has been escalating. We learned that the Security Council held an emergency consultation on the situation in East Jerusalem on May 10, but the release of an outcome document experienced hindrance. Can you tell us more?

Hua Chunying: With the severe clashes between the Palestinian people and Israeli police in East Jerusalem recently, the tensions between Palestine and Israel have been escalating. The international community expressed high concern over this. As the president of the UN Security Council for May, China chaired an emergency consultation to discuss the situation in East Jerusalem. Security Council members expressed shared concern about the clashes, urging cessation of violence against civilians and observance of international law. In collaboration with relevant countries, China drafted and disseminated a Security Council presidential statement. Most countries supported this draft and called for its early release. But regrettably, the Council has yet to reach consensus on it.

China condemns violence targeting civilians. We call on parties to avoid provocative rhetoric and acts and take actions conducive to reducing violence and achieving a soft-landing of the situation, so as to restore peace and stability on the ground at an early date. Facing the on-going tensions, China believes that the Security Council should do something to reaffirm commitment and firm support to the two-state solution, work for the deescalation of the situation and fulfill the obligations of upholding international peace and security. As the president of the Security Council for this month, China will continue to do its best to ensure that the Council take actions about the situation in East Jerusalem as soon as possible.

PTI: Further to what you said about response to the Bangladesh foreign minister, China stated that its policy is not to interfere in the affairs of the other countries. Now the Bangladesh foreign minister has stated that "we are an independent and sovereign state. We decide our foreign policy." This, I suppose, applies to a number of countries too. How do you respond to critics that China is aggressively trying to push its foreign policy, and what are your stand on issues on countries, especially the smaller countries?

Hua Chunying: I'm not sure if your information on the statement from the Bangladesh foreign minister was an accurate quote or if further clarification is needed. But one thing is clear. China always treats other countries as equals, especially small and medium ones.

As I said, China and Bangladesh have very friendly relations. We develop ties based on the five principles of peaceful coexistence, always respect and trust each other and offer each other firm support on matters concerning core interests and major concerns. In South Asia, it is definitely not China that is interfering in other countries' domestic affairs. China was, is and will remain committed to this principle.

As to the Quad, I think India knows better than us the intention of this mechanism. Isn't it intended to as a small clique against China? Remarks expressing opposition to this mechanism are not about interference but about rejecting small cliques and bloc politics. They also reflect the aspiration for maintaining regional peace and stability.