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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian’s Regular Press Conference on May 31, 2022

AFP: Yesterday, President Xi Jinping had a meeting with Chief Executive-elect John Lee of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). According to reports, President Xi said that the new HKSAR government will “bring new changes”. What exactly do “new changes” refer to? 

Zhao Lijian: The readout has been released with regard to President Xi’s meeting with Chief Executive-elect John Lee of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. You should raise this question to my colleagues of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, who I guess will give you more authoritative interpretation. But what I can say is that since the implementation of the national security law for Hong Kong, the city has embarked on the right track. We believe that the Pearl of the Orient will shine even brighter.

Shenzhen TV: In his recent speech outlining the US’ policy toward China, US Secretary of State Blinken slandered China on issues related to Xinjiang, Tibet and Hong Kong. Do you have any comment?

Zhao Lijian: The denigrating accusations about “genocide”, “crimes against humanity” and “detention camps” in Xinjiang in Secretary Blinken’s speech are nothing but the biggest lies of the century. China has repeatedly clarified the truth by presenting facts on that. Since the peaceful liberation of Tibet 70 years ago, Tibet has witnessed economic prosperity, social harmony and religious and cultural development. Since the implementation of the Law on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong SAR, the so-called “beautiful sight to behold” in the eyes of certain US politicians has vanished. All these lies mongered by the US have been shattered in front of facts and truth time and again. The more desperate the US politicians are in repeating such lies as “genocide”, the more will be exposed about their bullying and hypocritical nature, the more the US’ credibility and reputation be corrupted and the stronger indignation will be triggered among the Chinese against the US acts.

All these accusations the US is pinning on China mirror exactly its original sins and crimes that cannot be washed away. Let me start with the original sins. The American Indians are still living in scattered reservations after surviving the brutal past of genocide and crimes against humanity. African Americans were subject to forced labor in cotton plantations, and still cannot breathe today. The dream of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. remains out of reach. Now let's move onto the egregious crimes of the US. The list is even longer. To be specific, the resigned COVID policy of the US government has costed more than one million lives, a price for its irresponsibility and inability. The continuous shootings in the US, which claim more than 110 lives a day on average, have broken not only the so-called American dream, but also the hearts of millions of Americans. The US has wantonly invaded and interfered militarily in other countries, killing over 800,000 people and turning more than 20 million into refugees in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Afghanistan. I wonder in what position the US officials are to criticize China in a patronizing and brazen manner?

The US should earnestly respect China’s sovereignty, security and development interests, and stop fabricating and spreading lies and rumors of all kinds to smear and denigrate China, and stop  interfering in China’s internal affairs in the name of so-called human rights issues. The US should face squarely to its deplorable human rights track record, stop acting like a condescending lecturer and keep its own house in order.

Bloomberg: India is probing the local units of ZTE Corp and Vivo Mobile for alleged financial mistakes on behalf of the company. This is extending an investigation into the China-based firms in India, such as Xiaomi. My question is, do you have any comment on the Indian government’s investigation into these two additional Chinese companies, ZTE and Vivo in India?

Zhao Lijian: The Chinese government is closely following the situation. The Chinese government always asks Chinese companies to abide by laws and regulations when doing business overseas. In the meantime, we firmly support Chinese companies in safeguarding their legal rights and interests. The Indian side should act in accordance with laws and regulations and provide a fair, just and non-discriminatory business environment for Chinese companies investing and operating in India.

Kyodo News: In a meeting with Taiwanese “President” Tsai Ing-wen today, US Senator Tammy Duckworth said she wanted to emphasize support for Taiwan, not only about military, but also to ensure that Taiwan will not stand alone and the US will stand with Taiwan. Do you have any comment? Given the clear signal of supports to Taiwan sent by the US recently, does China believe that the US has given up its policy of strategic ambiguity?

Zhao Lijian: Taiwan is a province of China, what president does it have to speak of? Relevant US congresswoman’s visit to Taiwan seriously violates the one-China principle and the stipulations of the three China-US joint communiques. China deplores and rejects this and has lodged solemn representations with the US side. 

We urge relevant US politicians to earnestly abide by the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communiques, and immediately stop official exchanges with Taiwan in any form and refrain from sending any wrong signals to the "Taiwan independence" separatist forces. China will continue to take forceful measures to resolutely safeguard China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. We noted that the US government has recently sent out a series of wrong signals on the Taiwan question. What the US government should do is to follow through on President Biden’s remarks that the US does not seek a new Cold War with China; it does not aim to change China’s system; the revitalization of its alliances is not targeted at China; the US does not support “Taiwan independence”; and it has no intention to seek a conflict with China. 

AFP: State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi is reportedly visiting Tonga today. Can the foreign ministry provide a more detailed schedule of State Councilor Wang? What is the plan and the objective of this visit? 

Zhao Lijian: I can tell you are closely following the trip. The delegation led by State Councilor Wang Yi is indeed visiting Tonga today. I checked before coming here and so far I haven’t seen any information released by the delegation. Please continue to pay attention to our release as it will come out on a timely basis.

Bloomberg: Do you have any more details on the visit to Singapore of the Defense Minister Wei Fenghe between June 8 and 12? For example, Mr. Wei Fenghe is expected to meet with foreign officials. Can you give us an idea of which foreign officials he will meet with during that trip and any other details?

Zhao Lijian: Thank you for your interest in State Councilor Wei Fenghe’s visit. The Ministry of National Defense released relevant information today. If you want to know more about the schedule, you may raise the question to my colleagues at the Ministry of National Defense.

PTI: The latest data released by Indian Commerce Ministry says that the US has surpassed China to become India’s top trading partner last year. This is perhaps what is considered to be a very transformative change because China happened to be the largest trading partner for a long time. And there’s also a sharp fall in India’s exports to China, widening the trade deficit because of various reasons. There is a lack of flight, lack of communication and transport facilities between the two countries in many ways. Is this decline in any way due to declining relations between the two countries post Ladakh border conflict two years ago? Can we expect an improvement of relations that may again lead to the improvement of trade between the two countries?

Zhao Lijian: According to the statistics of Chinese competent authorities, bilateral trade volume between China and India stood at $125.66 billion in 2021. On that basis, China remains India’s largest trading partner, and the total trade volume topped $100 billion for the first time. The disparity in trade figures published by China and India is a result of different statistical measurement scales. China does not object to the development of normal trade relations between India and the US, and is not that interested in the changes of the ranking in trade volume. The difference in the figures should be seen as it is. What we care about is whether the Indian side has the will and takes real actions to create a fair, transparent, sustainable and sound environment for bilateral trade and investment, further expand mutually-beneficial cooperation between the two sides and deliver tangible benefits to the two countries and two peoples. 

You mentioned the China-India boundary question. At present, the border situation is stable in general. The two sides have been maintaining close communication through diplomatic and military channels. China always believes that the boundary question doesn’t represent the whole of China-India relations and we should put it in an appropriate position in bilateral relations and under effective control and management. We hope India will work with China to continuously enhance mutual trust, strengthen practical cooperation, and ensure that the bilateral relations will move forward along the right track, deliver more benefits to the two peoples and make greater contributions to the region and beyond.

Prasar Bharati: This is a follow-up of what my colleague just asked regarding the India-China bilateral trade. The same media reports have mentioned that the bilateral trade deficit has increased to a large extent in China’s favor. The same reports have also mentioned quoting Indian officials that China has been imposing some non-tariff barriers on Indian exports and Indian officials are in talk with Chinese officials to tackle this issue. I would like to know what steps China is taking to remove the non-tariff barriers and reduce the trade deficit between the two countries, which India has been demanding for a very long time?

Zhao Lijian: I would like to refer you to my colleagues at the Ministry of Commerce as your question concerns very specific matters. In principle, I would like to say that China never seeks trade surplus. We stand ready to take measures to advance normal trade with India. 

People’s Daily: The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said in its latest report on May 30 that it estimated that Iran’s total enriched uranium stockpile was more than 3,809 kilograms, more than 18 times the limit laid down in the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal. It added that Iran has not provided explanations that are technically credible in relation to outstanding safeguards issues. Do you have any comment?

Zhao Lijian: We have noted the latest IAEA report on the Iranian nuclear issue. China supports the IAEA in continuing to follow the principle of objectivity, neutrality and impartiality, and in strictly complying with its mandate to carry out supervision and verification of Iran’s implementation of the JCPOA. China supports the IAEA and Iran in resolving outstanding issues of safeguards through dialogue and consultation.

As negotiations on resuming compliance with the JCPOA come to the home stretch, relevant parties should enhance their sense of urgency, step up diplomatic efforts, reach consensus on the remaining outstanding issues as soon as possible and remove obstacles to resuming the full and effective implementation of the JCPOA. Once the implementation resumes, all the problems mentioned in the report will be resolved. China hopes that all parties will make efforts to create necessary conditions and sound atmosphere to such end and refrain from taking any action that may undermine the diplomatic efforts.

CCTV: According to reports, in response to Japan’s submission to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf on the extension of its continental shelf to the south of the Okinodori Reef, there have been many dissertations in China refuting the claim recently. Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Matsuno Hirokazu said at a press conference on May 30 that the Japanese government noted those science papers but would not respond to each and every one of them. Do you have any comment?

Zhao Lijian: We have noted relevant reports. As is well known, Okinodori is a reef, not an island. It is submerged underwater except for less than ten square meters above water at high tide. However, Japan, in pursuit of self-interest, has illegally staked claim to nearly 700,000 square kilometers of jurisdictional waters based on the tiny reef. This encroaches upon the high seas and international seabed areas and undermines the overall interests of the international community. According to UNCLOS, Okinodori is a reef, not an island. As such, it is not entitled to an EEZ or continental shelf. Japan’s claim of an EEZ and continental shelf based on it violates international law.

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