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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian’s Regular Press Conference on November 8, 2022

2022-11-08 20:50

CCTV: According to the latest press release on the website of the foreign ministry, China and Algeria have signed a second five-year plan for comprehensive strategic cooperation. Could you share more with us on that?

Zhao Lijian: Recently, Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Algerian Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra signed a five-year plan for China-Algeria comprehensive strategic cooperation, covering the years from 2022 to 2026.

In 2014, China and Algeria established comprehensive strategic partnership. In the same year, the two countries signed the first five-year plan for comprehensive strategic cooperation, which charted the course for exchanges and cooperation between both sides in various fields. 

This is the second five-year plan China and Algeria have signed. It aims to fully tap into our potential for cooperation, and advance the China-Algeria comprehensive strategic partnership for new progress. China stands ready to work with Algeria to take the implementation of this five-year plan as an opportunity to consolidate our traditional friendship, further synergize our development strategies and jointly build a human community with a shared future. 

The Paper: Yesterday, China’s State Council Information Office issued a white paper titled “Jointly Build a Community with a Shared Future in Cyberspace”. Could you share more with us? 

Zhao Lijian: I noted this white paper you mentioned. It points out that everyone is interconnected and has a common stake in cyberspace. In an era of both challenges and hope, it is the responsibility of all of humanity to develop, use, and manage the internet well. 

Today, problems with the Internet such as unbalanced development, unsound regulation, and unreasonable order are becoming more prominent. Cyber-hegemonism poses a new threat to world peace and development. Certain countries are exploiting the Internet and information technology as a tool to seek hegemony, interfere in other countries’ internal affairs, hobble other countries’ sci-tech development and cooperation, and put together small circles to create schism and confrontation in cyberspace. They have also adopted a selective and utilitarian approach to international rules and norms on cyberspace under UN frameworks. China is committed to the principle of mutual respect and seeking common ground while reserving differences, and maintains that cyber affairs should be handled through extensive consultation. We stand firmly against the zero-sum game and bullying the weak, against unilateralism and exerting maximum pressure, and against erecting walls and barriers, decoupling and severing supply chains.

The Internet is the common home for humanity and the fruits of its development should be shared by all. Facts have proven that to build a community with a shared future in cyberspace is the right way forward. Not long ago, the First Committee of the United Nations General Assembly adopted with an overwhelming majority a resolution on information security that included the notion of “a community with a shared future in cyberspace”. This is another evidence that this vision has been widely accepted by the international community. As the world’s largest developing country and the country with the largest number of Internet users, China follows a philosophy of people-centered development, and is committed to mutual benefit and win-win cooperation. We believe that the development of the Internet should benefit all, and we should work jointly to build a community with a shared future in cyberspace to create a brighter future for humanity. 

Shenzhen TV: Tanzania’s New Wami Bridge, which is constructed by a Chinese company, recently opened to traffic. Do you have any comment?

Zhao Lijian: I have also noted the good news. The New Wami Bridge, a key strategic project of Tanzania, has a significant role to play in promoting integrated regional development in Tanzania and boosting its economic growth.

The completion of the bridge has opened up a transport artery vital for Tanzania’s development. It is also the latest outcome of China and Tanzania’s efforts to carry forward traditional friendship and deepen mutually beneficial cooperation in the new era. Since construction started, the project has created more than 500 local jobs and groomed a corps of infrastructure professionals and skilled workers for Tanzania. The expertise and hard work of the Chinese team has won high recognition from various communities in the country.

Underdeveloped infrastructure has long been a bottleneck hindering African countries’ development. Since the launch of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), Chinese companies have built in Africa over 10,000 kilometers of railway, close to 100,000 kilometers of roads, nearly 1,000 bridges, almost 100 ports and many hospitals and schools. Going forward, we will continue to engage in practical cooperation with Africa across the board on the principles of sincerity, real results, affinity and good faith and with the commitment to the greater good and shared interests, with a view to further enhancing the Chinese and African people’s well-being and injecting new impetus into building a China-Africa community with a shared future in the new era.

MASTV: On November 7, Josep Borrell, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, said in an article that “For the EU, China remains, simultaneously, a key economic partner, an overall competitor, and a systemic rival...We have to manage competition with China across all areas, and at the same time aim for constructive cooperation...in our interest.” The EU also called on China to act in accordance with its international commitments and obligations in the field of human rights. Do you have any comment?

Zhao Lijian: We’ve noted this article. In recent years, trade between China and the EU has kept hitting record highs, and the two sides have maintained communication and coordination on international and regional issues. In fact, the two sides have broad converging interests, a long-accumulated foundation for cooperation, and highly complementary strengths for development. There is competition between China and the EU, but our cooperation far outweighs competition. Healthy competition between China and the EU helps accelerate our respective development.

We hope the EU side can view China-EU relations in an objective and rational light, and work with China to maintain a sound bilateral relationship that focuses on dialogue and cooperation and features mutual benefit and win-win results, and to jointly address global challenges, so as to contribute more certainty and positive energy to a volatile and uncertain world. This serves the interests of both China and the EU, and the world at large. 

China embraces a human rights philosophy that puts the people front and center, and works to promote coordinated development of the political, economic, social, cultural and environmental rights of all the people. There is no one-size-fits-all development path for human rights. And no one can claim to be perfect in human rights protection, as there is always room for improvement. China never accepts any condescending lectures on human rights. We stand against the politicization of human rights issues and double standards, and against interference in other countries’ internal affairs under the pretext of human rights. The EU should reflect on itself and stop holding a “flashlight” only to check on the behavior of others but never itself. 

AFP: Canada’s Prime Minister said yesterday that China is playing aggressive games with Canada and other countries’ democratic institutions. This was after Canadian media reported that China provided funding to a number of federal election candidates. Do you have any response to these comments?

Zhao Lijian: Relations between countries can only be built on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit. China-Canada relations are no exception. The Canadian side should stop making remarks that would harm bilateral relations. We have no interest in Canada’s internal affairs.

Bloomberg: Does the foreign ministry have any comments on Lithuania opening a trade office in Taiwan on Monday?

Zhao Lijian: There is but one China in the world and Taiwan is an inalienable part of the territory of the People’s Republic of China. China firmly opposes any form of official interaction between the Taiwan region and countries having diplomatic ties with China, any action that violates China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and any practice that runs counter to the prevailing consensus of the international community and the basic norm of international relations. We urge the Lithuanian side to strictly abide by the one-China principle, handle Taiwan-related issues prudently, and take credible steps to safeguard the political foundation of bilateral relations.

Reuters: This is about Saudi Arabia. Sources in the kingdom had recently told us that the country will host two summits in December. Both summits will be aimed at strengthening the ties that China shares with countries in the Persian Gulf as well as Arab countries. My question is whether you have any exact dates or any new details to share about the Chinese leader’s visit to the kingdom?

Zhao Lijian: I’m not aware of the information you mentioned.

Bloomberg: Just to follow up on Taiwan. China’s air force has also stepped up its incursion into sensitive areas near Taiwan to the highest level since US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited three months ago. Does the foreign ministry have any comments on the warplane incursion over Taiwan?

Zhao Lijian: This is not a question about diplomacy.

Reuters: Just on this question of Taiwan announcing yesterday that it’s going to invest ten million euros towards chip production in Lithuania. A Taiwanese official, the one who made the announcement, also said yesterday that Taiwan would like to work with Lithuania together to strengthen the resilience of the “democratic supply chain” in the face of coercion. Does the foreign ministry have any comment on these remarks?

Zhao Lijian: The root cause of the current tensions in the Taiwan Strait is that the DPP authorities, refusing to recognize the one-China principle, have been making provocations in collusion with external forces in an attempt to seek “Taiwan independence” and to change the status quo that both sides of the Taiwan Strait belong to one and the same China. We want to make it clear to the Taiwan authorities once again that any move against the trend of history is bound to be rejected by all Chinese people, and any attempt to collude with external forces is doomed to fail.

Bloomberg: El Salvador received an offer from China to help the nation refinance its foreign debt, according to the nation’s Vice President. Could the foreign ministry confirm this? And do you have any additional detail?

Zhao Lijian: I’m not aware of the information you mentioned. You may need to check with El Salvador if this is what they said and if it’s true.  


Today, we celebrate the 23rd Journalists’ Day in China. I would like to take this opportunity to wish all the friends from the press, including foreign journalists in China, a very happy Journalists’ Day! I hope you will continue to use your pens and cameras to tell the China story as it is and make China’s voice heard. 

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