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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian’s Regular Press Conference on December 29, 2021

Xinhua News Agency: International Olympic Committee (IOC) senior member Dick Pound expressed confidence in the Beijing Winter Olympics by saying in a recent interview that, “In the sense of having a host country that could organize and put on an excellent Games from a Games perspective, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with China”. Do you have any comment?

Zhao Lijian: Just as Mr. Pound said, “When we award the Games to a country ... it’s done on the basis of the importance of the country as a sporting nation and its ability to organize Games at the level that the world now expects”. Since Beijing won the bid in 2015 to host the 2022 Winter Olympics and established its organizing committee, the entire preparatory team has been forging ahead with concrete steps, turning a beautiful Olympic blueprint into reality.

We are now in the final week of 2021. In less than 40 days, the curtain will rise on the Beijing Winter Olympics. The year 2021 has been a crucial year with preparatory work on all fronts progressing steadily toward full completion. It has been a year of many major events in the Olympic calendar. For example, all competition venues for the Games were made ready; the Olympic torch for Beijing 2022 bearing the name “Flying” was introduced to the world; the official motto “Together for a Shared Future” and official posters were released; the flame lighting, handover and welcome ceremonies were held successfully; the Olympic and Paralympic medals named “Tongxin” as well as uniforms and gear were all unveiled; and ice-sports test events were successfully held. While advancing efficient and high-level preparation for the Games, we have also ensured solid epidemic prevention and control to protect the safety and health of all personnel participating in the Games as well as the public.

The excellent preparatory work for the Beijing Winter Olympics has been witnessed by all. Athletes and people from all walks of life in many countries as well as international organizations including the International Olympic Committee have all said that they support and look forward to the Beijing Olympics.

Preparation for the Games has entered the home stretch. Beijing, a city to host both the Summer and Winter Olympics, will present a streamlined, safe and splendid event for the world.

MASTV: According to media reports, in a recent letter to the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen and the President of the European Council Charles Michel, co-chairs and members of the Formosa Club in 25 European countries urged the two EU bodies to take concrete actions to support Lithuania as soon as possible. Do you have any comment?

Zhao Lijian: The ins and outs of what happened regarding Lithuania on the Taiwan question is clear. Lithuania blatantly violates the one-China principle and stands against basic norms governing international relations and the universal consensus of the international community. Its scheme is doomed to fail.

Only by correcting its mistakes and returning to the right path of adhering to the one-China principle can Lithuania get out of the current predicament.

“Formosa” is a word with strong colonial undertones. The platform of a club with “Formosa” in its name can be easily imagined. Its malicious hype-up is not even worth commenting on. 

CCTV: We noted that the chairman of the China-Russia Committee for Friendship, Peace and Development Boris Titov spoke highly of the cooperation between Chinese and Russian enterprises at a plenary meeting of the committee yesterday. He said statistics show that “85.7% of Russian business owners assess their personal experience of interacting with Chinese partners as positive”. Do you have any comment?

Zhao Lijian: China and Russia are each other’s biggest neighbor, development opportunity and global partner. China-Russia cooperation enjoys a solid foundation and broad prospects. Since the start of COVID-19, the two countries have stood together with mutual assistance. In the first 11 months this year, two-way trade exceeded $130 billion. Chinese companies have actively reached out to their Russian partners, and business cooperation between the two sides has made steady progress, with an even brighter future in store. 

At the same time, Chinese companies have been embracing the world with open arms. According to the recently-released 2021 Chinese Enterprise Global Image Survey Report, nearly 70 percent of the respondents believe Chinese companies are playing a leading role in promoting scientific and technological innovation and green progress, and hope to enhance cooperation with China in such areas as science and technology, manufacturing, infrastructure, and energy and resources. Making full use of the Belt and Road Initiative, Chinese enterprises have boosted growth around the world. While achieving self-development, they have actively promoted the economic and social development, livelihood improvement and environmental protection in host countries, delivering win-win results and advancing the building of an open world economy with concrete actions. 

I would also point out that the Chinese government is committed to expanding high-level opening-up and encouraging all types of capable and reputable companies to invest and conduct cooperation in other countries in accordance with market principles and international common practice. With the entry-into-force of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership in a few days, the world economy will take an important step towards steady recovery, opening-up and development amid the COVID-19 pandemic. We stand ready to work together with all parties to continuously deepen economic and trade exchanges and practical cooperation to lead the world economy to a brighter future. 

Bloomberg: It’s reported that talks are underway between the US and China on possible changes to the Chinese government’s new aircraft-cleaning requirements that prompted a Delta Air Lines flight to turn back to Seattle and could trigger the cancellation of some flights. Could the foreign ministry confirm these talks and provide more details?

Zhao Lijian: The Chinese Embassy in the US already issued remarks on this. Recently, a number of China-bound flights from the US have been delayed or canceled. American Airlines abruptly canceled flights just hours before take-off, and a Delta Air Lines flight even turned back more than halfway to its destination, causing huge losses to Chinese passengers. The Chinese diplomatic and consular missions in the US have actively provided assistance to the passengers affected and immediately lodged solemn representations with the airlines concerned, urging them to ensure the legitimate rights and interests of the passengers.

According to media reports, relevant crew members once said that the flight return was caused by China’s entry ban, which is not consistent with the facts. The Embassy has noted that recently, US airlines are facing severe staff shortages as flight crews are reluctant to go on duty due to fear of COVID-19 infection, which has led to widespread cancellations of domestic and international flights in the US. The Chinese diplomatic and consular missions in the US are in communication with relevant airlines to understand the specific technical issues involved and explore solutions so as to prevent similar incidents from happening again.

MASTV: According to reports, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison opened his official TikTok account on Christmas Eve and sent season’s greetings with a video. In 2020, Mr. Morrison reportedly warned users that TikTok “connects right back to China”. It’s believed that by opening a TikTok account, he means to appeal to young voters through the platform. Do you have any comment? 

Zhao Lijian: Certain Australian politician’s choice of social media platform is his own business. I need to reiterate that the Australian side should follow the principle of openness and market rules, stop abusing the concept of “national security” or applying double standard to serve its interests, and provide a fair, open and non-discriminatory business environment for Chinese companies.

Bloomberg: Experts are saying that the recent close encounters of SpaceX satellites with China’s space station could spur the international community to update the Outer Space Treaty. However, some experts also pointed to the space debris generated by China as a risk. What changes does China hope to see with regards to international cooperation in space exploration?

Zhao Lijian: According to the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, States Parties should “bear international responsibility for national activities in outer space” conducted by their private companies. The comments you mentioned understate the fact that the safety of the China Space Station and the astronauts was under threat, hype up the so-called China space debris threat, and misrepresent China’s normal space activities in an attempt to deflect international attention. This is shifting the blame on the innocent by distorting concepts.

I’d like to stress that, guided by the vision of advancing the welfare of all humanity, China is committed to peaceful uses of outer space. Outer space is not a place beyond the reach of law. All countries should respect and uphold the international order in space based on international law, and adopt a responsible attitude to protect the safety of in-orbit astronauts and the safe and steady operation of space facilities. China is ready to maintain communication and cooperation with all countries over this.

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