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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian’s Regular Press Conference on July 1, 2022

From July 3 to 14, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will chair the seventh Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Myanmar, attend the G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Indonesia upon invitation, pay an official visit to Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia and host the second Meeting of China-Indonesia High-level Dialogue Cooperation Mechanism, and chair the 14th Meeting of the China-Vietnam Steering Committee for Bilateral Cooperation and the sixth Meeting of China-Cambodia Intergovernmental Coordination Committee in Nanning, Guangxi.  

CCTV: State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi has visited China’s neighboring countries several times over the past couple of years and held frequent virtual and in-person interactions with leaders in Southeast Asian countries. Could you share with us China’s consideration and expectation for his upcoming trip to the four regional countries?

Zhao Lijian: China and Southeast Asian countries are friendly neighbors. We are linked by mountains and rivers and share our future together. We are also important partners that share vast common interests and seek common development. At present, mankind’s pursuit of peace and development is confronted with strong headwinds in the face of the combined impact of major changes and a pandemic both unseen in a century. In a world fraught with turbulence and changes, China and Southeast Asian nations have worked hand in hand to address the challenges, safeguarded peace and stability in our region, and cultivated this region into a most dynamic and promising hub for development.

Through this visit, China hopes to deepen strategic communication with the four Southeast Asian countries, work for high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, strive to build a peaceful, safe and secure, prosperous, beautiful and amicable home, inject new impetus into and foster new highlights in bilateral relations, and get the China-ASEAN Comprehensive Strategic Partnership off to a good start. The Chinese side will also work in concert with Southeast Asian nations to advance the implementation of the Global Development Initiative and the Global Security Initiative, boost economic recovery, uphold peace and tranquility, build a community with a shared future for mankind, and make greater contributions to regional and global peace and development.

Phoenix TV: Today we celebrate the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to the motherland. This morning a meeting celebrating the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to the motherland and the inaugural ceremony of the sixth-term government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) was held. At the same time, some Western countries including the US and the UK issued statements claiming that Hong Kong’s democracy and rule of law had been undermined and that China had failed to comply with its commitment to One Country, Two Systems. What’s China’s comment?

Zhao Lijian: Today we celebrate the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to the motherland. President Xi Jinping personally attended the meeting celebrating the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to the motherland and the inaugural ceremony of the sixth-term HKSAR government, and visited the Hong Kong SAR. He was warmly greeted by people from various sectors.

President Xi Jinping delivered an important speech at the meeting celebrating the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to the motherland. He fully recognized the success seen by the world of One Country, Two Systems in the past 25 years. He stressed that One Country, Two Systems is a sound policy that has been well-tested in practice. It serves the fundamental interests of the country and the entire nation, and serves the fundamental interests of Hong Kong and Macao. It has the overwhelming support of the over 1.4 billion Chinese people and has been fully endorsed by residents across Hong Kong and Macao. It has also been well-received internationally. President Xi underscored that the Central Government will remain firmly committed over the long term to the policy of One Country, Two Systems without deviating. He also stressed the importance of applying the policy fully and faithfully, of ensuring a high degree of autonomy in the SAR while upholding the Central Authorities’ overall jurisdiction, of following the principle of patriots administering Hong Kong, and of maintaining Hong Kong’s unique status and advantages. President Xi’s important speech has drawn up a blueprint for Hong Kong’s development as it enters the new stage of transition from governance to greater prosperity, and pointed the way to achieve steady and continued success of One Country, Two Systems. We are convinced that with the strong leadership and firm support of the Central Authorities, with the great motherland having its back, and with the united efforts of the over seven million Hong Kong compatriots, Hong Kong will surely create an even brighter future.

At this joyous moment for Hong Kong compatriots and all other Chinese, certain Western countries chose to wantonly criticize the practice of One Country, Two Systems in Hong Kong and point their fingers at Hong Kong affairs, which are purely China’s domestic affairs. We firmly oppose and strongly condemn this. These countries keep stressing the importance of democracy and human rights, but remain oblivious to their own serious problems and poor track records. They have no authority to pass judgement on a prospering, stable, united and flourishing Hong Kong. We want to make it clear to these countries that no attempt to maliciously smear the success of One Country, Two Systems will lead anywhere; no attempt to meddle in China’s internal affairs will succeed; no external force will bar the steady and continued success of One Country, Two Systems or stop Hong Kong from enjoying lasting prosperity and stability.

People’s Daily: What’s China’s expectation for the G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting?

Zhao Lijian: The world is facing the persistent impact of the pandemic, turbulence in the international situation and setbacks in global economic recovery. The G20, as the premier forum for international economic cooperation, needs to take the lead in strengthening multilateralism, improving global economic governance, and working toward robust, green and sound global development. China is ready to work with all parties for a productive foreign ministers’ meeting, and send a positive message of the G20’s commitment to supporting multilateralism, deepening solidarity and cooperation and jointly responding to global challenges.

CRI: How does China assess the development of Lancang-Mekong Cooperation at the moment? What’s China’s expectation for the seventh Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Foreign Ministers’ Meeting?

Zhao Lijian: The Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) is the first new type of sub-regional cooperation mechanism jointly initiated and established by the six riparian countries. For six years since its launch, the six riparian countries have upheld the original aspiration for win-win cooperation and common development and deepened practical cooperation in various areas. We six countries have built a shining example for regional cooperation, and steadily injected vibrancy into regional development. China expects that this meeting will offer an opportunity for countries to further cement political mutual trust, take stock of cooperation experience, outline development blueprints and elevate LMC to new heights to jointly build an area of demonstration for high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, an area of pioneering efforts under the Global Development Initiative and an area of cooperation under the Global Security Initiative in order to bring more benefits to the people in the six countries and provide a stronger boost to regional stability and prosperity.

Associated Press of Pakistan: Senior Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi conducted a two-day visit to Pakistan. Can you share some details? And what is the significance of the visit?

Zhao Lijian: At the invitation of the government of Pakistan, Yang Jiechi, Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Director of the Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs, paid an official visit to Pakistan from June 29 to 30. During his visit, Director Yang met with Pakistani Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and Chief of Army Staff Qamar Javed Bajwa respectively, and the two sides had in-depth exchange of views on bilateral relations, practical cooperation and international and regional issues of common interest.

Director Yang stressed that China always prioritizes China-Pakistan relations in its neighborhood diplomacy, and is ready to further strengthen policy communication and link up development strategies with Pakistan, continue the traditional friendship, enhance strategic mutual trust, deepen practical cooperation, ensure the safety, smoothness and high quality of cooperation to develop the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and jointly build an even closer China-Pakistan community with a shared future in the new era. The Pakistani side stressed that developing relations with China serves as the cornerstone of Pakistan's foreign policy. Pakistan is ready to work with China to deepen practical cooperation in various fields, speed up the construction of CPEC and elevate the all-weather strategic cooperative partnership between Pakistan and China to a new height. Both sides agreed to further strengthen cooperation in safeguarding and promoting regional security, stability and development as well as counter-terrorism, and play a positive role in regional and global peace and development. 

Beijing Youth Daily: At the 50th Session of the UN Human Rights Council, a member of the US delegation said that disinformation is a dangerous, quick, and inexpensive way to destabilize societies, sow confusion, and shake public trust. Do you have any comment?

Zhao Lijian: Speaking of disinformation, that US official must have quite a lot of experience, for the US is a true expert on playing with disinformation. The US is accustomed to using the public opinion machine and its hegemony of narrative to distort facts, cover up its egregious acts and evade accountability.  

The Iraq War is a case in point. With a false claim backed by a vial of white powder, or what some describe as “washing powder”, the US waged the Iraq War, which lasted eight long years and killed more than 200,000 civilians. By monopolizing the source of information, the US sought to convince the world that its military operation there was “clean” and “responsible”. In 2009, then Associated Press CEO Tom Curley criticized the US administration, saying that it turned the US military into a global propaganda machine. A high-ranking US military official even threatened to do away with Curley and AP if they continued to follow the principles of journalism. In order to hide the atrocities it committed during the war from the world, the US military invented a whole set of narratives, which calls civilian casualties “collateral damage”, murders “key operations”, extorting confessions by torture “enhanced interrogation techniques” and killing civilians “wasting the enemy”.

The US also suppressed targeted media outlets to manipulate the narrative of wars. In the Kosovo War, the US-led NATO bombed the Radio Television of Serbia headquarters in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and killed dozens of media practitioners and civilians in order to stop the country’s media from reporting what truly happened there to the rest of the world. In March this year, people in Serbia unfurled huge banners carrying the names of victim countries and regions of wars launched by the US and NATO at a Europa League match. It was a scene to behold, yet it received very little media coverage in the US.

Nothing can change the truth. A lie will always be a lie. The US may present itself as an advocate for justice or a superhero trying to save the world using whatever kind of narratives it comes up with and glosses itself over, and still nothing can hide its hypocrisy, hegemony and double standard on justice. We believe more and more people will find out about what the US is truly like.

Reuters: General Motors said today that it’s called off the sale of a shutdown Indian plant to China’s Great Wall Motor after Great Wall Motor failed to obtain regulatory approvals in India. What’s China’s foreign ministry’s comment to that?

Zhao Lijian: We noticed relevant reports. We hope relevant country will act upon its commitment to openness and cooperation, and provide a fair, just and non-discriminatory business environment for foreign investors. 

Phoenix TV: At the NATO Summit, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said that the security and defense of Europe and the Indo-Pacific are inseparable. No attempt to make unilateral changes to the status quo with force should be allowed. Japan has a strong sense of crisis that “Ukraine today may be East Asia tomorrow”. Do you have any comment?

Zhao Lijian: We have noted relevant reports. Japan is merely repeating its old rhetoric at the NATO Summit. While claiming itself to be against changing the status quo by force, Japan is actually looking for excuses to justify its own military buildup. This has long become quite clear to others. Before talking about East Asia’s future, one needs to first think about what happened to East Asia in the past. If Japan truly hopes to see a peaceful and stable East Asia, it should seriously reflect upon its history of militarist aggression, draw lessons from it, instead of going about stirring up trouble and fanning the flame.

Japan says it welcomes greater input from NATO to the Indo-Pacific region. It seems Japan intends to spearhead NATO’s foray into the Asia-Pacific. This is driven entirely by selfish interest and a Cold War mentality. It will only stoke bloc confrontation and create antagonism and division in the region. Nothing good will come out of this for Japan or any other regional country. I would like to stress that East Asia is one of the most peaceful and stable regions in the world and a promising land for cooperation and development, not an arena for geopolitical contest. Any attempt to undermine its peace and stability and sabotage regional solidarity and cooperation will be jointly rejected by the people in China and the rest of East Asia. Such attempts are bound to fail.

Bloomberg: The new Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong will also attend the G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting. You said that China is ready to work with all parties for positive outcomes from the meeting. Does that include Australia? Will Wang Yi be willing to meet with Australia’s foreign minister?

Zhao Lijian: As usual, on the sidelines of the G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will have a number of bilateral meetings. As for the meeting between Chinese and Australian foreign ministers you asked about, I have nothing to release.

Bloomberg: You commented earlier about the criticism of the UK and the US about the situation in Hong Kong. Prime Minister Boris Johnson last night said that the actions of the Hong Kong government had breached the Joint Declaration that governed Hong Kong’s handover and the drafting of its Basic Law. Do you have any comment on these comments from the prime minister?

Zhao Lijian: The Chinese side has elaborated on its position on the Sino-British Joint Declaration on multiple occasions. Hong Kong is China’s Hong Kong. No external force has the right to interfere in Hong Kong affairs. The UK has no sovereignty, no power of administration, and no right of supervision over Hong Kong after its return to the motherland. There is no so-called “promise” to keep. The UK has time and again brought up the Sino-British Joint Declaration to support its argument, yet it only exposes its dark and outdated colonial mindset and malicious intention to tarnish Hong Kong’s image under the pretext of human rights. The UK should accept the fact that it has been 25 years since Hong Kong returned to the motherland. The UK should view Hong Kong’s development in an objective and unbiased light, respect China’s sovereignty and unity, stop meddling in Hong Kong affairs or anything else that belongs to China’s domestic affairs, and stop creating trouble for China-UK relations.

Reuters: Yesterday the US Supreme Court decided, ruling six to three, that it would limit the powers of the US’s top environmental regulator to curb carbon emissions. I wondered if the Chinese foreign ministry had a comment?

Zhao Lijian: China has taken note of the relevant ruling and the international community’s fair criticism of it. As we always say, to address climate change, it is not enough to just chant slogans. It is about everyone doing their own part. We hope that all parties will actively fulfill the commitments they’ve made and work together to turn into reality the green and low-carbon vision set out in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement. We urge developed countries, including the US, to earnestly abide by the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, own up to their historical responsibilities and show greater ambition and actions. At the same time, developed countries should effectively help developing countries enhance their capacity to cope with climate change in terms of funding, technology and capacity building.


The following question was raised after the press conference:

On June 29, the Republic of Korea’s senior presidential secretary for economic affairs Choi Sang-mok said at a press briefing during the NATO summit that the era of export boom through China that South Korea has enjoyed over the past 20 years is coming to an end, adding that the ROK needs to develop its economy through cooperation with Europe. His remarks have triggered opposition to and concerns over decoupling with China in the ROK. Do you have any comment?

Zhao Lijian: I noted what Mr. Choi Sang-mok told the press on June 29 and the attention and reaction it received from China and the ROK. I would like to share some figures here. According to our statistics, against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic and huge downward pressure on the world economy, China-ROK two-way trade volume increased by 26.9% year-on-year to a record-high $362.35 billion last year, which is higher than the figure of the ROK’s trade with the US, Japan and Europe combined. The ROK export to China reached $213.49 billion and its import from China stood at $148.86 billion, taking the ROK’s trade surplus with China to $64.63 billion. Apart from trade, two-way investment exceeded $100 billion. The two countries’ central banks have signed a local currency swap agreement worth RMB 400 billion. These figures fully attest to the high degree of integration of the two closely-intertwined economies. I would like to stress that fundamentally what drives the rapid development of China-ROK relations across the board is mutual benefit. The current situation is a result of market laws. China stands ready to work together with the ROK to advance economic and trade cooperation and deliver more benefits to both peoples.  


Today marks the 101st anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to the motherland. We wish the CPC a happy birthday and all the best for Hong Kong and for our motherland!

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