|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian's Regular Press Conference on November 17, 2021|
CRI: We noted that a newly-released MV of the 2022 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games' theme motto promotion song "Together for a Shared Future" became an instant hit at home and abroad. Have you seen it? Would you like to give a comment?
Zhao Lijian: I watched this new MV like many of you. It is a mosaic of many individual stories depicting how ordinary people from all walks of life are looking forward to the Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games with joy and excitement. Through the heart-warming episodes from people's everyday life, the MV showcases the development of Beijing as the host city of both the Summer and Winter Olympics as well as the eager public anticipation for the Games. Just as the lyrics go, "Together for a Shared Future". I'm sure the Beijing Winter Olympics will ignite the passion of winter sports lovers all over the world and bring more people to experience the fun of ice and snow.
After 13 years, the Olympic flame was once again lit up in Beijing. In 79 days, Beijing will host Winter Olympics for the first time and become the first city to host both the Summer and Winter Olympics. At present, all preparatory work is being carried out in an intensive and orderly manner. As far as we know, test matches and logistics tests in the three competition zones are well underway in an orderly fashion. All stadiums and venues of the Winter Olympic Games are 100% powered by green energy, and innovative measures have been taken. The Games will be a carbon-neutral event. Chairman of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Coordination Commission for the Beijing 2022 Juan Antonio Samaranch Jr. said he was happy and proud to see that the Beijing Organising Committee for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (BOCOG) has dedicated enormous attention to sustainability. The Beijing Winter Olympics is delivering on the promise to hold a carbon-neutral Games and to get 300 million people involved in winter sports.
China will continue to follow a green, inclusive, open and clean approach to preparing and hosting the Games, demonstrate the Olympic spirit of "together" with the IOC and countries around the world, deliver a streamlined, safe and splendid Olympic Games to the world, and make new contributions to the promotion of winter sports and the international Olympic cause.
Reuters: Chinese media reported that China and the United States will ease restrictions on access for journalists from each other's countries. Can you confirm if these restrictions will be eased? Specifically, will the journalists from the US media expelled from China last year and the year before be allowed to return?
Zhao Lijian: China places great importance on the issue of media and has been doing its utmost to provide assistance, convenience and service to foreign journalists, including American journalists, in their reporting that is conducted in accordance with laws and regulations. In the meantime, we are unequivocally opposed to discriminatory practice on the US side against Chinese media in the US. After many rounds of consultations, China and the US recently reached a three-point consensus on the basis of mutual respect, reciprocity and mutual benefit:
First, the two sides guarantee that both will allow the other side's currently-employed resident journalists unhindered exit and entry on the condition that they are in strict compliance with COVID response protocols and consular regulations.
Second, the two sides agree to grant the other side's journalists one-year multiple-entry visas. The US side pledged to immediately start the domestic procedure to address the issue of Chinese journalists' duration of stay while the Chinese side pledged to accord US journalists in China the same treatment after US policies and measures are in place.
Third, the two sides will approve, in a reciprocal manner and in accordance with laws and regulations, the visa application of eligible journalists to be posted to the other side's country.
This hard-won outcome that serves the interests of the media on both sides should be cherished. It is hoped that the US can honor its words, put relevant measures and policies in place as soon as possible, and work with China to create a favorable environment for the work and life of journalists in each other's country.
AFP: I just wanted to follow up on the question about the three-point consensus on media outlets. Earlier you reiterated some of the points that were reached in this consensus. We're just wondering if the US and China have also a timeline for when these changes outlined are to take place?
Zhao Lijian: I just elaborated on the consensus reached between China and the US. With regard to the issue about timeline you mentioned, as I said earlier, it is hoped that the two sides can follow through on the consensus and put relevant measures and policies in place as soon as possible.
MASTV: US President Biden signed the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act on November 16, the same day the virtual meeting between Chinese and US heads of state took place. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that the virtual meeting is "an opportunity to set the terms of the competition with China". Do you have any comment?
Zhao Lijian: I would like to stress that how the US intends to invest in itself is its domestic affair. I worked in the Chinese Embassy in the US for many years and have some idea about the conditions in the country. For our part, we would be glad to see the US making greater progress at home.
It is never China's goal to surpass or replace the US or engage in zero-sum competition with it. Our goal is to constantly surpass ourselves, become a better version of ourselves and enable the Chinese people to lead better lives. As the two largest economies in the world, China and the US have deeply-intertwined interests. Both stand to gain from cooperation and lose from confrontation. For the sake of the Chinese and American people and for the sake of people of the whole world, cooperation is the only right choice for our two countries.
The US should adjust its mentality, look at China and its development in a rational light, and play a constructive role in the sound and steady development of bilateral relations.
CCTV: It is reported that when talking about the virtual meeting between Chinese and US Presidents, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said on November 16 at a webinar held by the Brookings Institution that the two Presidents both recognize the weight of responsibility in stewarding the US-China relationship and in stewarding their respective foreign policies as two significant countries in the world. "You will see at multiple levels, and intensification of the engagement to ensure that there are guardrails around this competition so that it doesn't veer off into conflict," he said. Do you have any comment?
Zhao Lijian: Yesterday morning, President Xi Jinping and President Joe Biden had a virtual meeting. The two Presidents agreed that their meeting is candid, constructive, substantive and productive. It helps increase mutual understanding, adds to the positive expectation of the international community for this relationship, and sends a powerful message to the two countries and the world. The two sides agreed to maintain close communication in different forms and steer China-US relations back on the right track of sound and steady development, for the good of the people in both countries and around the world.
Bloomberg: And just a clarification on the US-China agreement on journalists' visas. Is this only applied to US nationals at US media? And additionally, the South China Morning Post reported that the US asked China to release oil reserves as part of ongoing discussions between the two countries. Could the foreign ministry confirm that?
Zhao Lijian: On your first question, I already elaborated on the consensus reached between the two sides.
On your second question, during their virtual meeting yesterday, the Chinese and US heads of state talked about the issue of energy security. President Xi noted the need for China and the US to call on the international community to jointly protect global energy security, strengthen cooperation on natural gas and new energy, and work with other countries to keep global industrial and supply chains safe and stable.
Kyodo News: It is reported by US media that the Biden administration will announce that it will not send government officials to China for the Beijing Winter Olympics citing human rights issues. I'm wondering if you have a comment.
Zhao Lijian: I don't comment on speculative reports. I would like to reiterate that the Beijing Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games is a stage for all winter sports athletes around the world. It is them that should be in the spotlight.
The preparation work of the Games has entered the home stretch. The international community, including the IOC, highly recognizes the preparation work and foreign athletes are looking forward to coming to China for the Games. We firmly believe that, under the guidance of the Olympic spirit and with concerted efforts of all sides, we will deliver a streamlined, safe and splendid Olympic Games for the world and promote the robust development of the international sports cause.
Associated Press of Pakistan: On November15, CPEC Authority hosted a meeting with the Pakistan-based Chinese companies and briefed them about further investment opportunities in Pakistan. Over 70 Chinese companies participated in the meeting. Do you have any response?
Zhao Lijian: We noted relevant reports and appreciate the greater support for and input into the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) by the Pakistani side.
CPEC, an important pilot program of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), has entered a stage of high quality development. China stands ready to work together with Pakistan to implement the important consensus reached between the leaders of our two sides. On the basis of ensuring sound construction and operation of existing projects, we will focus more on cooperation in industries, agriculture and people's livelihood, and strive to turn CPEC into a demonstration project of high-quality BRI development. We also hope that Pakistan will continue to improve business environment and provide greater facilitation for all foreign investment.
Associated Press: Next week, Interpol, the International Criminal Police Organization, will meet in Istanbul to decide on its new 13-member executive committee. Is the Deputy Director-General of the Ministry of Public Security Hu Binchen China's nominee? Some lawmakers expressed concerns over this. Do you have any response?
Zhao Lijian: I would like to tell you that the Chinese police has long maintained a practical and friendly cooperative relationship with Interpol and law enforcement departments of its members. We conduct various cooperation in strict compliance with international laws and Interpol's Constitution and relevant regulations. Interpol is a professional organization focused on cracking down on cross border crimes. It should be free from the disruption of politics and other factors. By recommending appropriate candidates to run for the executive committee membership, China, an Interpol member, is taking concrete steps to support the organization's goal of fighting terrorism and cross border crimes to make the world a safer place, and contribute to international police cooperation. China will continue to support Interpol in playing its key role as a multilateral police cooperation platform in accordance with its Constitution and regulations.
Reuters: NSC Security Adviser Jake Sullivan also said that during the Biden-Xi meeting, China agreed to work with the US on nuclear arms treaty. Can you confirm this?
Zhao Lijian: I don't have any information to offer on top of the readout of the virtual meeting that was released by the Chinese side.
Bloomberg: On Tuesday, Biden told reporters that Taiwan makes its own decisions and is independent. He later said that "we are not encouraging independence, but that we're not going to change our policy at all. We're encouraging them to do exactly what the Taiwan Act requires. That's what we're doing. Let them make up their mind. Period." Does China have any comment on these comments?
Zhao Lijian: Regarding the two Presidents' discussion about the Taiwan question in their virtual meeting, I already briefed you on the situation yesterday. China also released a readout on the meeting.
I want to stress that what the US should abide by is the one-China principle and the three China-US Joint Communiqués, which are important political consensus between China and the US and the political foundation of Chine-US ties. Both the so-called "Taiwan Relations Act" and the "Six Assurances", concocted by some forces in the US, contravene the three China-US Joint Communiqués. In essence, they place US domestic law above international obligations and are illegal and invalid.