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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian’s Regular Press Conference on November 28, 2022

As agreed by both sides, Premier of the State Council Li Keqiang will have a meeting with Kazakh Prime Minister Alikhan Smailov via videolink on November 29.

CCTV: China has announced that President Charles Michel of the European Council will visit China. Can you share with us the program of the visit? What expectations does China have for this visit?

Zhao Lijian: President of the European Council Charles Michel will visit China on December 1. This will be the first time for an official meeting to take place between the leaders of China and the EU institutions after the 20th National Congress of the CPC.

During President Michel’s visit, President Xi Jinping will have talks with him, and Premier Li Keqiang and Chairman Li Zhanshu of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress will meet with him respectively. The leaders of both sides will have an in-depth exchange of views on China-EU relations and international and regional issues of mutual interest.

China attaches great importance to its relations with the EU. China hopes to strengthen strategic communication and build consensus with the European side through this visit and jointly work for sustained, sound and steady development of China-EU relations to inject more stability into the complex and fluid international landscape. 

Associated Press of Pakistan: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, during his visit to Turkey, had a press briefing with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on November 26, saying Pakistan welcomes Turkey to participate in the construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project. He also said he’s willing to discuss with the leadership of China on this. Do you have any comment on that?

Zhao Lijian: The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is an open and inclusive platform. China and Pakistan welcome any proposed ideas that support the Belt and Road Initiative and CPEC. We welcome that countries and international organizations engaged in mutually beneficial cooperation for common development with China and Pakistan will participate in CPEC through appropriate forms to share the benefits of Belt and Road cooperation.

TASS: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) said in a statement that it has banned multiple Chinese companies from providing telecommunications equipment and video surveillance devices, citing national security threats. What’s China’s comment on this? Is China considering taking countermeasures?

Zhao Lijian: What the US did is yet another example of its abuse of the national security concept and state power to hobble Chinese companies. Such practice is against the principles of the market economy and international trade rules and hurts Chinese companies’ interests. China is firmly against it.

The US needs to mend its ways, stop politicizing and weaponizing economic, trade and sci-tech issues, and provide a fair, just and non-discriminatory business environment for foreign companies including those from China. China will continue to firmly defend the legitimate and lawful rights and interests of our companies.

Prasar Bharati: This is regarding the first China-Indian Ocean Region Forum held on November 21 where the Chinese side issued a joint statement saying that 19 countries attended. So the Maldives and Australia have denied that there was participation by their countries in this forum. Do you have any response to this? Also, can you provide information on who attended this forum which China said was a high-level representation? Who is going to host it next, as the press release mentioned that some countries expressed their desire to host it? 

Zhao Lijian: My colleague answered this question last week. The competent authorities of China have also put out a detailed readout and held a press briefing about the event. If you are interested in knowing more details, I would refer you to them.

Shenzhen TV: Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Ali Sabry said recently that China respected it when Sri Lanka went to China and sought funds and the Chinese never forced Sri Lanka to take money. He said that China also provided Sri Lanka with some financial facilities and credit lines and also some humanitarian assistance, and that the “debt trap” is a Western phrase. He also said that China has been Sri Lanka’s close friend, and this year the two countries celebrated 70 years of economic ties, beginning with the Rubber-Rice pact. What is China’s comment?

Zhao Lijian: We welcome Foreign Minister Ali Sabry’s remarks. This is a strong rebuttal to the narrative about the so-called Chinese “debt trap” in Sri Lanka. I would like to reiterate that China’s assistance to Sri Lanka is never attached with any political strings, and we never seek any selfish political gains in China’s investment and financing in Sri Lanka. China fully relates to the difficulties and challenges faced by Sri Lanka and supports relevant financial institutions in discussing with Sri Lanka and properly resolving them. We have all along provided support to Sri Lanka’s socioeconomic development as long as our ability permits.

This year marks the 65th anniversary of China-Sri Lanka diplomatic relations, and the 70th anniversary of the Rubber-Rice Pact. It is of great significance of building on past achievements and working for fresh progress. China will work with Sri Lanka to carry forward the traditional friendship, cement strategic mutual trust, deepen and expand practical cooperation, and consolidate and expand China-Sri Lanka strategic cooperative partnership to better deliver benefits to the two countries and the two peoples.

AFP: Firstly, the Vatican said that the recent appointment of a bishop in Jiangxi province violates the Sino-Vatican agreement. What’s China’s response? Second, Canada recently released its diplomatic strategy for the Asia-Pacific region designed to mitigate risks posed by China. The Canadian Foreign Minister also said that China does not respect international norms in a newspaper interview. What’s China’s comment?

Zhao Lijian: On your first question, I’m not aware of what you mentioned. I need to point out that in recent years, China and the Vatican have maintained engagement and reached a host of important common understandings. The sustained improvement of ties between China and the Vatican has also contributed to the harmonious development of Catholicism in China. China stands ready to work with the Vatican to continue to expand common understandings on friendly ties and jointly uphold the spirit of the provisional agreement. 

On your second question, the content on China in the strategy released by Canada is dominated by ideological bias. It hypes up the so-called “China threat” and makes unwarranted accusations against China. The Chinese side is gravely concerned and strongly opposes this, and we have made solemn démarches to the Canadian side.

China has all along been committed to peaceful development, advocated openness and inclusiveness and engaged in win-win cooperation. China has been a defender of world peace, a contributor to global development and an upholder of international order. China’s development creates opportunities for the world and strengthens the force for world peace. No matter what level of development China achieves, it will never seek hegemony or expansion. Who is safeguarding world peace and promoting common development and who is fanning up the Cold War mentality and hyping up bloc confrontation? The international community knows all too well.

The principle of non-interference in each other’s internal affairs is a “golden rule” governing state-to-state exchanges. Affairs related to Taiwan, Xinjiang and Hong Kong are purely China’s internal affairs, and we accept no finger-pointing from external forces. The Chinese side will not waver in its resolve to safeguard the nation’s sovereignty, security and development interests. The Canadian side has said on many occasions that it attaches importance to its relations with China and would like to improve and grow the relations with eyes set on the future. The Canadian side needs to honor its words, show sincerity and goodwill, seek common ground while reserving differences, adopt reasonable and practical policies towards China, and deliver its commitments with concrete efforts.

Prasar Bharati: Last week, the spokesperson said in response to a question regarding the China-South Asia Expo that ten Indian businessmen participated in the expo. However, the Consulate General of India in Guangzhou denied that. So my question is, was there any official contact by the Chinese side with any Indian official and Indian ministry in this regard, or did China approach the Indian businessmen directly?

Zhao Lijian: Regarding the China-South Asia Expo, the Chinese side has issued relevant press releases. I’d like to refer you to the competent authorities for the specifics you asked about.

Xinhua News Agency: First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC) and President of Cuba Miguel Díaz-Canel has concluded his state visit to China. Can you share more information on the visit?

Zhao Lijian: First Secretary of the PCC and President Díaz-Canel is the first head of state from Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) to visit China after the 20th CPC National Congress. This visit is held at a critical juncture and is of great significance. The Chinese side has released the readout which you may refer to. 

President Xi Jinping held talks with President Miguel Díaz-Canel. During the talks, the two sides said that Cuba was the first country in the Western hemisphere to establish diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China, and China and Cuba are good friends who trust each other, good comrades committed to the same cause, and good brothers sharing weal and woe. Under the new circumstances, the two sides need to enhance strategic coordination, and work together to build a China-Cuba community with a shared future. China is ready to work with Cuba to deepen practical cooperation, jointly advance the socialist modernization drive, and strengthen exchange and mutual learning to jointly open up new vistas in the cause of socialism.

The two sides agreed that after more than six decades of growth, China-LAC relations have entered a new era featuring equality, mutual benefit, innovation and openness to deliver more benefits to our peoples. Cooperation between China and the LAC is South-South cooperation in nature. Such cooperation is premised on mutual respect, guided by the principle of mutual benefit, characterized by openness and inclusiveness, and aimed at achieving common development. It is consistent with the trend of the world and of history, and serves the common interests of countries in the region. China will work with Cuba and other LAC countries to pursue greater progress in the China-LAC comprehensive cooperative partnership of equality, mutual benefit and common development in the new era, so as to deliver greater benefits to the people of both sides. The Cuban side firmly supports the high-quality Belt and Road cooperation as well as the Global Development Initiative and the Global Security Initiative. It will strengthen coordination and cooperation with China in regional and international multilateral mechanisms such as the CELAC-China Forum and the Group of 77 and China, and make further contributions to growing LAC-China relations and upholding the common interests of developing countries.

Global Times: German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock delivered remarks at Süddeutsche Zeitung’s recent Night of the European Economy event. She claimed that China, Saudi Arabia and other wealthy members of the Group of 77 pressure other countries for selfish interests. Speaking on the issue of reciprocity, she said that foreign companies are not allowed to invest in critical infrastructure projects like airports, ports and the grid in China. Lately, some German politicians have repeatedly warned German businesses to reduce dependency on China. What’s your comment? 

Zhao Lijian: The remarks of the German official are not consistent with the fact. She mentioned several issues and my response is as follows. Firstly, China is not a member of the Group of 77. As the largest developing country, China always stands on the side of fellow developing countries, firmly upholds the common interests of the developing world, provides assistance to fellow developing countries to the best of our capability, and pursues win-win cooperation with them. Unlike some countries, we never pressure other developing countries for selfish interests.

Secondly, regarding airports, ports and telecommunications, China’s market is open. I can share with you some examples. Denmark-based Maersk, one of the world’s largest shipping companies, has invested in piers across China, including in Dalian, Tianjin, Qingdao, Shanghai and Shenzhen. It secured a 25-percent share of an RMB4.3 billion port project in Ningbo back in 2012. According to the Report on the Development of Telecom Companies with Foreign Investment released by the China Academy for Information and Communications Technology, as of June 2020, a total of 266 telecom companies with foreign investment have been approved in China. Last year, China adopted the negative-list approach regarding access of foreign investment in the aviation sector. We believe it is important to respect basic facts and maintain an objective and impartial stance in one’s remarks, instead of leveling criticism based on misinformation or presumption.

Lastly, the so-called “dependency on China” is a false narrative, because cooperation is mutually beneficial, and dependency is always mutual when it comes to business and trade. Over the past four decades or so since China began reform and opening-up, we have opened up more and more areas with an abiding commitment to providing a business environment that is market-oriented, law-based, and internationalized for foreign investors. China will always deepen cooperation and share opportunities with the rest of the world.

MASTV: Premier Li Keqiang will hold a virtual meeting with Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Alikhan Smailov. What is China’s expectation for the meeting?

Zhao Lijian: In recent years, thanks to the strategic guidance and personal commitment of the two heads of state, China-Kazakhstan relations have experienced leapfrog development. The two countries have witnessed deepening political mutual trust, greater synergy between development strategies, fruitful practical cooperation, and efficient and close international coordination, which effectively contributed to our two countries’ strategic, security and development interests.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of China-Kazakhstan diplomatic relations. In September, President Xi paid a successful state visit to Kazakhstan. The two heads of state agreed to build a community with a shared future defined by lasting friendship, a high degree of mutual trust and sharing weal and woe, pointing out the way forward and painting a blueprint for the development of bilateral relations under the new circumstances. During the virtual meeting with Prime Minister Alikhan Smailov, Premier Li Keqiang will exchange views with him on following through on the common understandings between the two presidents and deepening the two countries’ comprehensive and mutually beneficial cooperation, so as to elevate China-Kazakhstan relations to a higher level for the benefit of the two countries and two peoples.

Bloomberg: Do you have any more information on when President Xi will meet with the Mongolian President?

Zhao Lijian: We have released the announcement about the upcoming visit of the Mongolian President. We will release the information once it becomes available. Please check back for updates. 

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