|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian's Regular Press Conference on November 16, 2020|
The Paper: Yesterday, witnessed by leaders of ten ASEAN countries and China, Japan, the ROK, Australia and New Zealand, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership was signed by the 15 countries, which has drawn wide attention from the international community. What do you think this will mean to the world given the on-going pandemic?
Zhao Lijian: After eight years of negotiations, the RCEP was successfully signed yesterday, whichmarks the launch of a free trade area that covers the largest population, consists of the most diverse members, and has the largest potential for development. It is an important milestone of regional economic integration. The signing of the RCEP against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, the severe global economic recession and rising unilateralism and protectionism is a strong boost to regional economic recovery and global economic growth. This shows that all parties are committed to multilateralism and free trade, firmly support an open, fair and win-win multilateral trading system, and stick to solidarity and cooperation in meeting challenges.
Bloomberg: Senior officials from the Trump administration said they plan several new hardline moves against China in the remaining weeks of his term. This is according to reports by Bloomberg and other media outlets. Does the foreign ministry have a comment?
Zhao Lijian: The sound and steady development of China-U.S. relations serves the fundamental interests of the two peoples and meets the common aspiration of the international community. China always believes that both stand to gain from cooperation and lose from confrontation. Cooperation is the only right choice for both sides. We urge the U.S. side to meet China half way, manage differences on the basis of mutual respect, expand cooperation on the basis of mutual benefit and promote the healthy and steady development of China-U.S. relations. At the same time, China will continue to firmly safeguard its sovereignty, security and development interests.
The Global Times: Regarding US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's statements last week that "Taiwan has not been a part of China", the US State Department spokesman said on Wednesday that the US has followed the One-China policy guided by the Taiwan Relations Act, the three joint communiques between the US and China, and the "Six Assurances" to Taiwan over the past four decades. What is China's comment?
Zhao Lijian: Last week, we already made clear our solemn position on Pompeo's erroneous remarks. I would like to stress once again that there is only one China in the world, and Taiwan is an inalienable part of China. The Central People's Government of the PRC is the sole legitimate government representing China. This is an objective fact and a basic norm governing international relations. The one-China principle is the political underpinning of China-US relations. As per the 1979 Joint Communiqué on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between the People's Republic of China and the United States of America, the United States recognizes the Government of the People's Republic of China as the sole legal Government of China. This serves as the basis for China and the US to recognize each other and to establish diplomatic relations. Within this context, the people of the United States will maintain cultural, commercial, and other unofficial relations with the people of Taiwan.
The so-called "Taiwan Relations Act" unilaterally formulated by the US side and the "Six Assurances" it made to Taiwan severely violate the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communiques and basic norms of international relations and constitute gross interference in China's internal affairs, which is completely wrong, illegal, null and void. The Chinese government is firmly opposed to them right from the start. The US should abide by the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communiques, rather than concocting something unilaterally.
We once again warn the US that any act that undermines China's core interests or interferes in China's internal affairs will be resolutely countered by the Chinese side and cannot stop the historical trend of China's reunification. The US side should abide by the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communiques, stop official exchanges and military contacts with Taiwan in any form, and stop words and deeds that undermine peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and China-US relations, and refrain from going further down the wrong and dangerous path.
Globe and Mail: Canada's ambassador to the UN Bob Rae has said there is no question that there's aspects of what China is doing in Xinjiang that fits into the definition of genocide in the genocide convention. What is China's response? Will the Chinese government allow independent investigators into Xinjiang to investigate allegations of genocide?
Zhao Lijian: Thank you for your question. I've also got a question for you. Do you know the growth rate of population in Canada?
Zhao Lijian: Before I came, I checked the relevant figures. Canada's population growth rate in 2019 was 1.42%, and most of the increase came from immigrants.
I would also like to share with you some more figures. From 2010 to 2018, the population of the Uyghurs in Xinjiang rose from 10.17 million to 12.72 million, an increase of 2.55 million or 25%, which is about twice the increase of the whole Xinjiang population, which stood at 14%. The growth rate was also significantly higher than, or in fact 12.5 times that of the Han population, which stood at 2%, and about 18 times that of the Canadian population.
I would like to ask this ambassador, if his logic is plausible in finding out who best fits the label of genocide, it seems that it is not the Uighurs who are persecuted, but rather the people of Canada, am I right? You can see how ridiculous the ambassador's statement is. A piece of advice for him: do some homework before crafting a publicity stunt, so as not to make a fool of himself.
CCTV: As we understand, the Foreign Ministry invited some foreign diplomatic envoys in China to visit the Beijing Institute of Biological Products affiliated to the Sinopharm. Can you provide us more details on that?
Zhao Lijian: On November 12th, the Protocol Department of the Foreign Ministry invited a number of foreign diplomatic envoys in China to visit the Beijing Institute of Biological Products of Sinopharm. The envoys visited the COVID-19 vaccine production monitoring room and were briefed on the research and development of COVID-19 vaccine, and had in-depth exchanges on issues of their interest. The visit deepened their understanding of the safety, effectiveness, accessibility of China's COVID-19 vaccine. They said that President Xi Jinping's statement that the COVID-19 vaccine developed by China would become a global public good enhanced the confidence in defeating the virus. They also congratulated China on the remarkable progress made in COVID-19 vaccine research and development, saying that they stand ready to facilitate cooperation on COVID-19 vaccine development and deployment together with China to form stronger synergy in global fight against the pandemic.
Associated Press of Pakistan: My question is related to the situation on the Line of Control. On November 13 the Indian troops once again resorted to the unprovoked, deliberate and indiscriminate targeting of the civilian population along the LoC. It resulted in the loss of innocent and precious lives and injuries. This is not only a humanitarian issue but also poses a serious threat to the international peace. Would you like to comment on the situation in light of the principled Chinese position on Kashmir dispute?
Zhao Lijian: India and Pakistan are both important countries in South Asia. Harmonious co-existence between the two sides is vital to regional peace, stability and development. As a neighbor of both countries, China calls on the two sides to exercise restraint, resolve differences through dialogue, and jointly safeguard regional peace and stability.
China's position on the Kashmir issue is consistent and clear. It is an issue left over from history between India and Pakistan, which should be resolved properly and peacefully in accordance with the UN Charter, relevant Security Council resolutions and bilateral agreements.
Reuters: A follow-up question regarding the visit to Sinopharm by the diplomatic envoys. Can you name some of those countries that participated in the visit?
Zhao Lijian: I don't have the detailed list, but if you are interested, I will reach out to my colleagues to get you the information after the press conference.
South China Morning Post: According to Mainichi Shimbun, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will visit Japan at the end of November. Can you confirm this?
Zhao Lijian: Japan is China's close neighbor. We keep close bilateral exchange at all levels, including on the matter you asked about. We will release the information in due course once we have it.
Phoenix TV: Taiwan's Representative to the US tweeted on November 15 that she spoke to Biden's policy adviser Blinken to convey congratulations to the President-elect, and hoped to continue close cooperation with the US in coming years. What is your comment?
Zhao Lijian: China's position on the Taiwan question is consistent and clear. The one-China principle cannot be violated, and those who seek external interference to sabotage cross-Strait relations will end up hurting their own interests and suffering shameful failure. We urge the US side to stick to the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communiques, prudently handle Taiwan-related issues, and avoid seriously hurting China-US relations and peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.
Globe and Mail: You said the label of genocide is more suited for Canada. I am not sure I quite understand. Can you explain what you mean?
Zhao Lijian: This ambassador said, "there's no question that there's aspects of what the Chinese are doing that fits into the definition of genocide in the genocide convention." But he also said that "that then requires you to go through a process of gathering information and of making sure that we've got the evidence that would support that kind of an allegation." I must ask him, how he reached his conclusion without any evidence? Since the growth rate of the Uighur population in China's Xinjiang is 18 times that of Canada, according to his logic, which country is more suitable for the label of "genocide", then? I'm sure all of you find his logic ridiculous, including you, which precisely tells us how ignorant the ambassador is.
Associated Press of Pakistan: Recently, Pakistan shared a dossier with the international community which has incriminating evidence of India harboring, training and financing terrorist networks that not only seek to destabilize Pakistan but also the disruption of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor for which Pakistan is committed to implement. What is China's response?
Zhao Lijian: China opposes all forms of terrorism and calls on the international community, regional countries in particular, to carry out counter-terrorism cooperation and safeguard collective security.
CPEC, as a major pioneering project of the BRI, is important not only to the common development of China and Pakistan, but also to regional connectivity and common prosperity. We are confident that with the support of the international community, China and Pakistan will ensure the smooth and successful building and running of CPEC. we also believe that Pakistan will continue to take effective measures to ensure CPEC security.