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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian’s Regular Press Conference on July 4, 2022

2022-07-04 21:16

CCTV: At the recent High-level Dialogue on Global Development, many leaders of participating countries said that China’s Global Development Initiative (GDI) meets the development needs of relevant countries and will continue to support the GDI. Can you brief us on the progress of the GDI and plans on the work going forward?

Zhao Lijian: Since President Xi Jinping put forward the Global Development Initiative (GDI) last September, the initiative has received positive and warm responses. More than 100 countries and many international organizations, including the UN, have supported the GDI and nearly 60 countries have joined the Group of Friends of the GDI set up by China on the UN platform. As you said, at the recent High-level Dialogue on Global Development, leaders of many countries spoke highly of the GDI, saying that it well meets the urgent development needs of all countries, developing countries in particular, and provides a feasible pathway for accelerating the realization of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. At the meeting, President Xi Jinping proposed a host of pragmatic steps for cooperation to promote global development. After the meeting, China released a list of 32 deliverables, which is part of China’s initial action to implement the GDI. Leaders at the meeting highly commended this and expressed their willingness for cooperation.

Looking ahead, China will work together with the international community to actively implement the outcomes of the Dialogue, encourage the international community to focus on development issues, increase input in global development cooperation, advance practical cooperation in key areas as set out in the GDI including poverty alleviation, food security, COVID-19 response and vaccines, development financing, climate change and green development, industrialization, digital economy and connectivity, develop a project pool and enhance knowledge sharing on development. The GDI follows the spirit of open and inclusive partnership. We welcome the participation of all countries and international organizations, UN agencies in particular and developed countries included, so as to create the strongest synergy for accelerating the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. 

MASTV: A representative of Palau said at the closing ceremony of the UN Ocean Conference on July 1 that “Taiwan representatives were not allowed to be part of our delegation simply because they hold Taiwanese passports”, adding that Palau views this as a violation of its sovereign rights and the UN shouldn’t have excluded the 23 million people of Taiwan from the conversation. Representative of the US said that no committee “should have pressed them to remove those individuals from their delegation”. Do you have any comment on this?

Zhao Lijian: This is the third time that I have answered this question. The Taiwan authorities have tried several times to make an issue out of this. Is it because they are proud of the way they tried to wedge into the conference? 

There is only one China in the world and Taiwan is part of China. The one-China principle is a basic norm in international relations and an established international consensus. Based on the one-China principle, Taiwan has no right to attend as a delegation the activities of the UN and its special agencies and those of intergovernmental international organizations limited to sovereign countries. These principles and consensus will not change just because certain countries have endorsed and emboldened the Taiwan authorities. The failure of the Taiwan authorities to get into the conference was inevitable. Such a disgraceful act only exposes themselves to international ridicule.

Shenzhen TV: NASA’s administrator Bill Nelson said in an interview with German media the other day that China’s space program is a military space program and China might be planning a takeover of the moon. He also said that China stole designs and technologies of other countries and one task of China’s space station is to learn how to destroy other countries’ satellites. Do you have any comment?

Zhao Lijian: This is not the first time that the NASA administrator has lashed out at China in disregard of facts. Some US officials have spoken irresponsibly to misrepresent the normal and legitimate space endeavors of China. China firmly rejects such remarks. 

As the head of US space administration, the official must be quite familiar with the disreputable history of US space program, including its role in creating space junk, stoking space arms race and disrupting global strategic stability and its enormous threat to the peaceful use of outer space. 

In recent years, the US openly defined space as a war-fighting domain. It has been accelerating efforts to build a space force and space command, developing and deploying offensive space weapons, hindering the negotiation process for a legal instrument on arms control in outer space, and enhancing military cooperation with its allies in outer space. In the meantime, the US has obstructed space cooperation, willfully imposed sanctions on space agencies of other countries, and passed legislation to limit space cooperation and exchanges with China. The international community has long seen through the hegemonic and double-standard nature of US actions and the hypocrisy of its rhetoric. 

China always advocates the peaceful use of outer space, opposes the weaponization of and arms race in outer space, and works actively toward building a community with a shared future for mankind in the space domain. China’s space exploration is about meeting our legitimate national economic, social, scientific and security needs. Progress in China’s space endeavors is achieved through our own independent efforts. Our rights, interests and achievements shall not be unfairly questioned or discredited.

We urge the US to step up to its responsibility as a major country, reflect on and rectify its negative moves and statements about outer space, and make its due contribution to safeguarding enduring peace and security in space.

AFP: Japan lodged a protest to China after a Chinese naval vessel sailed near the disputed Senkaku Islands. What’s China’s response?

Zhao Lijian: Diaoyu Dao and its affiliating islands have been part of China’s territory. The activities of Chinese vessels in the adjacent waters are legitimate and lawful. The Japanese side has no right to point fingers over these activities.

Kyodo News: This morning Russian navy vessel also sailed in the contiguous zone around Senkaku Islands. I wonder whether China and Russia acted in concert this time?

Zhao Lijian: I made China’s position very clear just now. I suppose what you said is your own interpretation. If you are interested in Russia’s action, maybe you or your colleagues could take this question to the Russian side. 

Reuters: Earlier today the US Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns said at a forum that he hopes the Chinese foreign ministry spokesmen would stop repeating Russian propaganda by accusing NATO of starting the war in Ukraine and telling lies about American biolabs. What’s the Chinese foreign ministry’s comment?

Zhao Lijian: It is the US, not China, that has been spreading disinformation and telling lies. On Ukraine, China has always made its judgement independently on the basis of the history and the merits of the issue. 

There are plenty of facts and evidence of the US’s overseas biolabs, including its biolabs in Ukraine. The international community has deep concerns over this, and the US owes the world an explanation. Why hasn’t it opened up Fort Detrick and its overseas biolabs for international independent investigation? Why is the US being the last country refusing to establish a verification mechanism for the Biological Weapons Convention?

Hubei Media Group: The freight transit yard of the China-Laos Railway’s Vientiane South Station was recently completed and put into operation, which symbolizes the success in railway connectivity between China, Laos and Thailand. Do you have any comment?

Zhao Lijian: Indeed, the inauguration of the freight transit yard of the China-Laos Railway’s Vientiane South Station means faster, easier traffic on China-Laos-Thailand land-sea intermodal logistics transport channel. It means that to the north, the China-Laos Railway can now reach Chinese city hubs and connect with the China-Europe Railway Express network; and to the south, it can reach Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore. This transforms Laos from a land-locked country into a land-linked hub enjoying unprecedented opportunities.

As of June 30, the China-Laos Railway, which started operation at the end of last year, has transported four million passengers and nearly five million tonnes of goods, including 800,000 tonnes of cross-border goods. More than 20 Chinese provinces and cities have opened cross-border freight train services using the railway, which carry more than 100 varieties of goods including fruits, solar and electronic products and reach destinations in over ten regional countries including the Laos and Thailand. The China-Laos Railway is becoming an accelerator of regional connectivity and a new engine driving economic cooperation. It has been welcomed by countries across the region. It stands as a vivid example of the high-quality Belt and Road cooperation between China and ASEAN countries and a strong testament to their joint efforts to implement the Global Development Initiative.

Over the past nine years since the inception of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), China has signed BRI cooperation documents with 149 countries, the Laos included, and 32 international organizations. We have launched over 3,000 cooperation projects with investments totaling almost one trillion dollars. Under the impact of COVID-19 and other factors, the world economy is struggling to recover and the challenges posed by lack of investment and funding have become more pronounced for developing countries. We welcome the participation of more regional countries in the relevant cooperation to share in the opportunities and dividends of connectivity. 

The seventh Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Foreign Ministers’ Meeting has just been successfully held today in Myanmar. China is ready to work with the Laos and other member states of the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation mechanism to follow through on the outcomes of the meeting, continue to pursue its founding purpose for win-win cooperation and common development, and build an area of demonstration for high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, in order to bring more benefits to the people in regional countries and provide a stronger boost to regional stability and prosperity.

Xinhua News Agency: The recent success of the 14th BRICS Summit chaired by China received warm response at home and abroad. What’s China’s plan with the rest of its BRICS chairship?

Zhao Lijian: Not long ago, the 14th BRICS Summit was held successfully. Leaders of the five countries gathered virtually to hold in-depth exchange of views on enhancing BRICS cooperation, safeguarding world peace and promoting common development, reaching broad common understandings. The Summit delivered a series of pioneering, guiding and institutional outcomes, which marks the beginning of a new journey in BRICS cooperation.

As the curtain fell on the successful Summit, the BRICS China Year has just passed the halfway mark. As the chair, China will continue to advance the BRICS agenda this year as planned. In the latter half of the year, we plan to hold about 80 meetings and other events. In July for instance, we will hold important ministerial meetings in such fields as communications, anti-corruption, labor and employment, and activities in various sectors and at various levels including intellectual property, think tanks, and media. China looks forward to working hand in hand with fellow BRICS countries to act on the outcomes and common understandings reached at the Summit, further consolidate the BRICS strategic partnership, deepen practical cooperation across the board, constantly strengthen institution building, and inject strong impetus into high-quality BRICS development.

People’s Daily: Serbian Interior Minister Aleksandar Vulin said in a recent interview that NATO wants Serbia to engage in a conflict with Russia, but Serbia will not do that, nor will it become “a NATO foot soldier”. If NATO truly believes respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity is the most important principle in international politics, then it should apologize for bombing the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. What’s your comment?

Zhao Lijian: The Serbian Minister has made a good point, as he has spoken the mind of many countries.

It is not just to Serbia that NATO owes an apology. Over the past decades, the US-led NATO used humanitarian intervention as a pretext to launch the Kosovo War, interfere in Iraq, Libya and Syria, and justify its 20-year-long occupation of Afghanistan. Preliminary statistics show that the wars NATO waged or took part in after 2001 alone led to the deaths of 900,000 people, including 400,000 civilians, as well as the displacement of tens of millions of refugees. NATO claims to respect sovereignty and territorial integrity and calls itself a “defensive alliance”, but what it does is the exact opposite.

NATO is attempting to replicate the crisis and bloc confrontation it created in Europe in the Asia-Pacific. This is a particularly alarming development. Regional countries and the international community need to stay vigilant and firmly say no to this.

The following questions were raised after the press conference: 

What is China’s comment on the recent incidents in Nukus, capital of the Republic of Karakalpakstan, Uzbekistan some days ago?

Zhao Lijian: China has noted the incidents in Uzbekistan. As Uzbekistan’s friendly neighbor and comprehensive strategic partner, China supports the Uzbek government in maintaining national stability, and believes that under the leadership of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, Uzebekistan will maintain tranquility and unity.

According to reports, on June 30, the Ecuadorian government and the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE) signed a peace agreement, which basically ended the recent protests and demonstrations in the country. Do you have any comment?

Zhao Lijian: China and Ecuador are comprehensive strategic partners. China welcomes the peaceful settlement of the differences by relevant parties and the maintenance of stable social order in Ecuador through dialogue and negotiation under the framework of the constitution and law.

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