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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian’s Regular Press Conference on November 3, 2022

China Daily: On November 2 Beijing time, resolutions on “no first placement of weapons in outer space” and “further practical measures for the prevention of an arms race in outer space” were adopted at the 77th session of the UNGA First Committee. The vision of a human community with a shared future put forward by China was included in the resolutions again. What’s China’s comment? 

Zhao Lijian: On November 2, resolutions put forward by China and Russia on “no first placement of weapons in outer space” and “further practical measures for the prevention of an arms race in outer space” were adopted at the First Committee of the 77th session of UNGA with an overwhelming majority of votes. The two resolutions both stressed the need to prevent arms race in outer space and jointly build a human community with a shared future. This marks the sixth consecutive year this vision has been included in UNGA resolutions on outer space security.

Building a human community with a shared future is the way forward for all the world’s peoples. For its part, China has always been committed to its foreign policy goals of upholding world peace and promoting common development, and it is dedicated to promoting a human community with a shared future. Certain countries, however, without heeding international consensus, have smeared and distorted the vision of a human community with a shared future, and even sought to hinder its inclusion in UNGA resolutions.

The voting results speak to where the trend of the times is heading and what people truly aspire for. A human community with a shared future is proven to be consistent with international expectation and enjoy strong vitality and appeal. The vision has been widely supported and recognized by the vast majority of countries, particularly developing countries. China will work with the global community to jointly respond to global challenges and usher in an even brighter future for humanity.

Yonhap News Agency: The ROK and the US decided to prolong their joint exercises after the DPRK fired missiles. What’s China’s comment? 

Zhao Lijian: We have noted those developments. A peaceful and stable Korean Peninsula and solving the issues through dialogue and consultation is good for the entire region. We hope parties concerned will face the crux of the issues squarely, work with each other and create conditions for resuming meaningful dialogue.

Prensa Latina: At the UN General Assembly, several countries including China spoke out against the US blockade on Cuba, and they said they will support the resolution that demands the end of the blockade. Do you have any comment about it?

Zhao Lijian: Yesterday, Ambassador Dai Bing, China’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN elaborated on China’s position during the discussion on this subject at the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly. He stressed that the long-standing US unilateral coercive measures on Cuba and other countries are a serious violation of the consensus of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and damage the right to survival and development of these countries’ peoples. He called for an immediate termination of those measures.

Since 1992, for 29 consecutive times, the UN General Assembly has adopted with overwhelming majority a resolution calling for an end to the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed on Cuba by the US. This is a call for justice from the international community and the world demands action. Regrettably, the embargo has not only remained in place, but has even been tightened in recent years. Since the start of COVID-19, the US has imposed dozens of new sanctions on Cuba. This breaches the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and relevant UNGA resolutions, and calls for condemnation from the international community.

China urges the US to immediately lift all its economic, commercial and financial embargo against Cuba and develop normal state-to-state relations with other UN member states in accordance with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and the basic norms governing international relations. This serves the common interests of the US and Cuban peoples and contributes to peace and stability in the Americas as a whole. China has decided to vote in favor of Cuba’s draft resolution on this subject again.

CCTV: A recent poll by UK-based YouGov shows that people in African countries see China more favorably in recent years. In 2022, 83%, 82%, 61% and 57% of respondents in Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa and Egypt believe that China has a positive effect on world affairs, which are up by 15, 24, 13 and 10 percentage points respectively from last year. What’s your comment on this? 

Zhao Lijian: These polling results once again show that China-Africa cooperation brings real benefits to the African people, who welcome and speak highly of such cooperation. Our cooperation with Africa is an epitome of our cooperation with other fellow developing countries. Throughout the years, China has proven itself to be a true friend and reliable partner for developing countries and will always remain so. We will always breathe the same air, share the same future and grow with fellow developing countries.

The countries you mentioned, Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa and Egypt, all happen to be Belt and Road partners. In recent years, Belt and Road cooperation between China and partner countries has enjoyed steady progress. In Kenya, the Mombasa-Nairobi Railway has contributed more than 0.5% to national economic growth. In Egypt, the electrified light rail project in the 10th of Ramadan City has provided efficient and convenient commute services to residents, and played a key role in the economic development of the eastern part of Egypt and the industrialization of the country. Thanks to the BRI, Cambodia now has expressways, Kazakhstan is linked to the Pacific, the Maldives has a cross-sea bridge, and Laos is no longer a land-locked country but a land-linked hub. It is a joy to see how Belt and Road cooperation has made dreams come true for more and more people in developing countries, and helped shape a future of immense opportunities.

China will “safeguard the common interests of the developing world”. This is written in the report to the 20th CPC National Congress. President Xi Jinping made it clear that China follows the principles of sincerity, real results, affinity and good faith and a commitment to the greater good and shared interests in growing relations with developing countries. He launched the Global Development Initiative as a solution to development challenges. These are what guide China in deepening solidarity and cooperation with other developing countries. At a new historical starting point, China will continue to stand firmly with fellow developing countries. We see China’s development as part and parcel of the common development endeavor of all developing countries, and we will work together for shared prosperity.

Associated Press of Pakistan: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif  concluded his visit to China yesterday. Could you share more information about the visit?

Zhao Lijian: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif of Pakistan paid an official visit to China upon invitation from November 1 to 2. It was Prime Minister Sharif’s first visit to China after taking office and the first visit to China by a head of government after the 20th CPC National Congress. China attached great importance to his visit and received the Prime Minister with premium courtesy. On the morning of November 2, President Xi Jinping met with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and held a welcoming banquet for him. I shared the details about the meeting with you yesterday. On the afternoon of November 2, Premier Li Keqiang held a welcoming ceremony for him and held talks with him. Chairman Li Zhanshu of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress met with him.

President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Sharif have had two meetings in less than two months and provided strategic guidance for the future advancement of China-Pakistan relations. This fully demonstrated the special importance and high quality of China-Pakistan all-weather strategic cooperative partnership. President Xi Jinping shared with the Prime Minister the important outcomes of the 20th National Congress of the CPC, and noted that China is committed to its fundamental national policy of opening to the outside world and will create new opportunities for Pakistan and the rest of the world with China’s own development. Prime Minister Sharif once again expressed hearty congratulations on behalf of the Pakistani government and people to President Xi on his re-election as General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee. Prime Minister Sharif expressed his confidence that President Xi, with his extraordinary vision, will continue to lead China toward even more remarkable achievements and create an even brighter future for the world.

The two leaders had an in-depth exchange of views on China-Pakistan relations, and international and regional situation. Both sides believed that China and Pakistan are good friends, good partners and good brothers. China-Pakistan friendship is time-tested and rock-solid. Amid mounting global challenges, the China-Pakistan all-weather strategic cooperative partnership has demonstrated significance. Both sides reiterated their firm mutual support on issues concerning each other’s core interests. The two sides will jointly respond to changes and uncertainties and speed up efforts to build a closer China-Pakistan community with a shared future in the new era.

Both sides agreed to deepen synergy between their development strategies, share development opportunities, advance CPEC with greater efficiency, and make CPEC an exemplar of high-quality Belt and Road cooperation. The Pakistani side reaffirmed its commitment to fully protecting the security of Chinese individuals, projects and institutions in Pakistan. Both sides agreed to keep up their strong cooperation in multilateral mechanisms, uphold regional peace and stability and international fairness and justice, and defend the common interests of developing countries. The Pakistani side responded warmly to the Global Development Initiative and the Global Security Initiative put forward by China. The two sides will start pilot projects to implement the initiatives and make positive contributions to global governance.

During the visit, the two sides issued a joint statement and signed 21 cooperation documents concerning e-commerce, digital economy, post-disaster reconstruction, exports to China, livelihoods, the Global Development Initiative and law-enforcement and security.

Nos Television: I have a question on a visit that is going on in Taipei. At this point of time, several members of parliaments of European countries, including a representative of the Dutch coalition party D66, are meeting today with Tsai Ing-wen. And this MP, Sjoerdsma, has also called for sanctions in case China would take Taiwan by force. What do you make of this?

Zhao Lijian: The legislators you mentioned have often deliberately hyped up issues and spread falsehoods and rumors against China. They have little credibility to speak of and are not worth taking up your attention. The farcical political stunt of these few MPs will lead nowhere but only invite disgrace. A word of advice to the DPP authorities: to collude with external forces and seek “Taiwan independence” is doomed to fail.

China Review News: We noted that Hong Kong held a successful Global Financial Leaders’ Investment Summit. Some said this is another highlight for the city’s role as an international financial center. Do you have any comment?

Zhao Lijian: Congratulations to Hong Kong on the success of the Global Financial Leaders’ Investment Summit. This is the biggest corporate event in Hong Kong since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 200 representatives from around 120 financial institutions across the world attended the event to exchange views, share experience and plan for the future. They are sanguine about Hong Kong’s prospect and fully confident in the China market. The success of this summit fully testifies to Hong Kong’s distinctive advantages featuring close connection with the world market and strong support from the motherland and shows the world that Hong Kong has restored order and is set to thrive. A small number of voices have sought to sound a pessimistic tone about Hong Kong. They will gain no support, nor will they succeed in ruining Hong Kong’s prospect. 

This summit contributes to global economic recovery and financial stability. The summit is a major event not only for Hong Kong, but also for the world. The world has seen Hong Kong, an international financial center, open its arms to global financial leaders from all over the world. This underlines China’s resolve to advance high-level opening-up as well. 

Global Times: On November 2, a peace deal was signed between the Ethiopian Government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) in South Africa under the auspices of the African Union, which decides to put an end to the two-year hostilities. Do you have any comment?

Zhao Lijian: Ethiopia is an anchor of stability in the Horn of Africa. A peaceful and stable Ethiopia is of great importance to the region’s lasting peace and stability. China welcomes and commends the peace agreement reached by parties in Ethiopia under the auspices of the African Union. China supports Ethiopia in upholding its sovereignty and territorial integrity and believes in resolving differences and achieving reconciliation through political dialogue. China is ready to work with the international community to continue to play a constructive role in efforts toward lasting peace, development and prosperity in Ethiopia. 

AFP: The US government said the DPRK’s missile launches today point to the necessity of all countries to impose comprehensive sanctions on the DPRK. Will China ramp up its sanctions on the DPRK?

Zhao Lijian: China’s position on the issues of the Korean Peninsula is clear and consistent. The turn of events and root causes that have led to the current situation are clear to all. We hope parties concerned can take up responsibilities, demonstrate sincerity with actions, and play a positive role in seeking a political settlement of the issues of the Peninsula.

Phoenix TV: The Canadian government in a statement on November 2 ordered three Chinese companies to divest their shares from domestic companies like Power Metals. François-Philippe Champagne, Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, said that “We will act decisively when investments threaten our national security and our critical minerals supply chains”. What’s your comment? 

Zhao Lijian: We take note of what you mentioned. The current global minerals industrial and supply chains are a result of both the law of the market and the choices of businesses. The Canadian side has overstretched the concept of national security and placed arbitrary curbs on normal trade and investment cooperation between China and Canadian companies. This is against the principle of market economy and international economic and trading rules the Canadian side has been talking about. It does no good to the development of the target sectors, and hurts the stability of global industrial and supply chains.

China urges the Canadian side to stop suppressing Chinese companies. We call for a fair, just and non-discriminatory environment for Chinese companies doing business in Canada. The Chinese government will continue to protect the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies.

AFP: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said yesterday in an article that for his upcoming visit to China, he will not ignore controversies, and will raise to China issues including protecting human rights and the rights of minorities in Xinjiang, and ensuring free world trade. He added that “We are far — too far — from reciprocity in relations between China and Germany”. Is China willing to have discussions with the German side on these issues? Will his statements affect China’s expectations for this visit?

Zhao Lijian: We hope Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s first visit to China as German Chancellor will be a success. China and Germany are comprehensive strategic partners. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Germany. Our half a century of exchanges and cooperation has fully demonstrated the fact that the convergence of our views far outweighs our differences, and that our cooperation far outweighs our competition. China and Germany are partners, not rivals. Both countries have benefited from each other’s growth and practical bilateral cooperation. A sound China-Germany relationship is good not only for the two countries, but also for China-EU ties and the world. China will continue to make sure that practical cooperation and mutual benefit will remain the keynote in our relations with Germany, and work with Germany to further advance our ties and provide a greater source of strength for world peace and stability. 

Regarding what you said about some differences between China and Germany, for example on Xinjiang, China’s position is consistent and clear. These are China’s internal affairs, which brook no foreign interference. On the so-called “human rights” issues, China respects and protects human rights. China is an important contributor to global human rights cause. The promotion and protection of human rights is a common cause for humanity. On the basis of equality and mutual respect, China is open to having human rights dialogue and exchange and ready to steer global human rights governance toward greater fairness, justice, equity and inclusiveness. Having said that, China is against using human rights discussions as a pretext to interfere in China’s internal affairs or smear and discredit China.

Reuters: A senior US State Department official said on Wednesday that the United States cautioned Germany against allowing Chinese shipping company COSCO to obtain a controlling stake in a Hamburg port terminal. Does the foreign ministry have any comment?

Zhao Lijian: The practical cooperation between China and Germany is a matter between two sovereign countries. The US is in no position to attack or even meddle in it. Yet not only has the US done it, its official even openly vaunts the US’s interference in the affairs of the countries it calls “partners”. It says everything about the kind of might-is-right mentality and coercive diplomacy that have long been part of the US’s harmful approach.

AFP: The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), one of the most renowned media outlets in Canada, has been running a China bureau for over 40 years. Yesterday, CBC said it’s closing the bureau because China has repeatedly ignored its requests to base a reporter in Beijing. Why hasn’t the foreign ministry issued credentials to CBC? Why has China been stonewalling US and other Western media’s applications in the past couple of years? 

Zhao Lijian: What I can tell you is that China handles foreign media organizations’ applications to dispatch resident journalists in accordance with relevant laws and regulations and provides facilitation and assistance for foreign journalists’ work in China.

In 2020, CBC’s then resident journalist ended his posting of his own accord. The Chinese side provided facilitation for his departure procedures despite difficulties posed by COVID-19. According to applicable regulations, “Where the permanent office of a foreign media organization does not have any resident journalists for ten consecutive months or more, it shall be deemed to have automatically terminated its operation and its Certificate for Permanent Office of Foreign Media Organization in China shall be cancelled accordingly.” Although it has been far more than ten months since CBC had a resident journalist in China, the Chinese side, taking into consideration the COVID-19 factor, has not cancelled CBC’s permanent office certificate. During the Beijing Winter Olympics, the Chinese side provided convenience for several journalists from CBC and other Canadian media to cover the events in China.

I would like to stress that foreign journalists are always welcome to conduct reporting activities in China in compliance with relevant laws and regulations. At the same time, while in China, foreign journalists need to follow Chinese laws and regulations, abide by press ethics, report on what they see in a truthful and objective manner, and play a positive and constructive role in deepening the friendship, cooperation and mutual understanding between China and their home countries. 

Nos Television: Is there a plan for President Xi and President Biden to meet on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali this month?

Zhao Lijian: I have nothing to share at the moment. 

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