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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian's Regular Press Conference on June 24, 2021

Prensa Latina: Once again the international community said "no" to the US blockade against Cuba. I wonder if China has any comment about this call?

Zhao Lijian: For the 29th consecutive year, the UN General Assembly has adopted a resolution calling for an end to the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed on Cuba by the US, which urges states to abide by the UN Charter and the norms of international law, and revoke or rescind laws and regulations, the extraterritorial effects of which affect the sovereignty of other states, the legitimate interests of entities or persons under their jurisdiction and the freedom of trade and navigation.

Regrettably, these resolutions have not been effectively implemented over the years, and the embargo imposed by the United States against Cuba is till in place and has been tightened in recent years. China always believes that we should respect the right of each country to independently choose its social system and development path, uphold the international order based on international law, safeguard international fairness and justice, and oppose unilateral coercive measures imposed on other countries by military, political, economic or other means.

China urges the US to immediately and fully lift its economic, commercial and financial embargo against Cuba, which is the universal call of the international community. We hope that the US will develop normal state-to-state relations with Cuba 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 two peoples and contributes to peace and stability in the Americas as a whole.

CCTV: According to reports, the Asia and Pacific High-level Conference on Belt and Road Cooperation was held in Beijing yesterday. Could you offer more details and any outcomes of the meeting?

Zhao Lijian: On June 23, the Asia and Pacific High-level Conference on Belt and Road Cooperation was successfully held via videolink. President Xi Jinping delivered written remarks. State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi presided over the meeting and delivered a keynote speech. The conference was themed on "Promoting Cooperation on Combating the Pandemic for Sustainable Recovery". It was attended by political leaders from 29 countries, such as Colombian President Iván Duque, and representatives from six international organizations including the United Nations.

The meeting reached six-point consensus.

First, all participants spoke highly of the progress made in the international cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative. They hope to build closer partnership, form greater synergy between BRI and their development strategies and plans.

Second, the pandemic is the most pressing challenge at present, and the international community must work together to overcome the difficulties.

Third, all parties agreed to further strengthen international cooperation on vaccine and promote its equitable distribution as a global public good among all countries. All parties oppose vaccine nationalism and support the efforts made by the UN system in promoting global immunization and improving the accessibility and affordability of vaccines globally, especially in developing countries.

Fourth, the BRI cooperation should give priority to green development and building a green Silk Road, and create more highlights of cooperation in green infrastructure, green energy, green finance and other fields.

Fifth, all parties support cross-border flows of goods and people, and support countries in advancing trade and investment liberalization and facilitation.

Sixth, all parties stressed the importance to accelerate the implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and support and practice multilateralism advocated by the UN.

Besides, two cooperation initiatives were launched during the meeting. The first is the Initiative for Belt and Road Partnership on COVID-19 Vaccines Cooperation, which calls for strengthening international cooperation in vaccine research and development, production and distribution, and improving the accessibility and affordability of vaccines globally, especially in developing countries. The second is the Initiative for Belt and Road Partnership on Green Development, which supports the building of a green Silk Road to step up cooperation in such areas as green infrastructure, green energy and green finance, and promote green, low-carbon and sustainable development.

Bloomberg: Australia will appeal to the World Trade Organization regarding China's imposition of anti-dumping duties in the country's wine. What's your response? Second question, the US is poised to bar some solar products made in Xinjiang over allegations of human rights abuses. Does the foreign ministry have any comment on this?

Zhao Lijian: On your first question, China has made clear its position on the relevant issue on many occasions. Please refer to competent authorities for details. I want to emphasize that China abides by the WTO rules and always acts in accordance with them.

On your second question, China strongly condemns the sanctions that the US imposes on Chinese companies based on lies and disinformation.

The allegations of so-called "forced labor" and "genocide" in Xinjiang are the biggest lies of the century. Based on lies, the US abuses its "Entity List" to suppress Xinjiang's photovoltaic industry. This not only violates international trade rules and the principles of the market economy, but also undermines the global industrial and supply chains. From cotton to PV, from agriculture to industry, the US side uses human rights as a disguise to do all it could to cripple the industrial development in Xinjiang. What it does is detrimental to Xinjiang people's rights to subsistence and development, and also exposes that what they are after is not facts, truth or Xinjiang people's well-being, but to create "forced unemployment" and "forced poverty" to mess up Xinjiang and contain China's development.

A reminder for the US: the real perpetrator of genocide and forced labor is no other than the US itself. US politicians should repent the country's history of genocide against American Indians and African Americans in Tulsa, and focus their energy on how to solve human rights problems such as racial conflicts and forced labor in the US. China will take all necessary measures to resolutely safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies.

NHK: At a press conference today, Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato voiced his deep concern about the closure of Apple Daily and called it "a huge setback for the freedoms of speech and the press" in Hong Kong. What's your response?

Zhao Lijian: The Japanese politician openly interferes with Hong Kong affairs, which are China's internal affairs. It is a serious breach of international law and basic norms governing international relations. We deplore and stand firmly against it and categorically reject the absurd remarks by the Japanese side.

Hong Kong upholds rule of law. It is not a safe haven beyond the law. Freedom of the press does not entail impunity for crimes. Anti-China, destablizing forces have no extrajudicial rights. The Hong Kong SAR government ensures that laws are strictly enforced and complied with and offences are prosecuted. This has been endorsed and supported widely by the public in Hong Kong. It will help consolidate and improve the One Country, Two Systems and promote Hong Kong's stability and prosperity.

AFP: Also related to Apple Daily. The UK government said yesterday that not only was the closure of Apple Daily a chilling blow to freedom of expression in Hong Kong, but also said that the Hong Kong national security law is being used to punish dissent rather than keep public order. Do you have any response to this particular comment?

Zhao Lijian: We deplore and reject the blatant interference in China's Hong Kong affairs time and again by some individuals in the UK.

The basis for the Chinese government's administration of Hong Kong is China's constitution and the Basic Law, not the Sino-British Joint Declaration. No foreign country has the right to point fingers at or make irresponsible remarks on Hong Kong affairs or China's other internal affairs. Under the disguise of upholding "freedom of speech and the press", the UK is undermining the rule of law in Hong Kong. A word of advice for certain individuals on the British side: no matter how hard they try to whitewash their ploy of pressuring China by playing the "Hong Kong card", they will only end in failure.

We urge the UK to abide by international law and the basic norms governing international relations, grasp the reality that it has been 24 years since Hong Kong returned to China, get over its old colonial dream, reject double standards, stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs and other China's internal affairs in any way, and do more to contribute to the prosperity and stability of Hong Kong and the development of China-UK relations.

Reuters: According to a report, the Pacific island of Nauru is negotiating for the construction of undersea communications cable that would connect to an Australian network after it earlier rejected the Chinese proposal due to security concerns. Do you have any comment on this report?

Zhao Lijian: I don't know if the situation you mentioned is true or not. Please refer to relevant authorities for that question.

I want to stress that, first, the Chinese government always encourages Chinese enterprises to follow market principles and international rules and abide by local laws while doing business overseas.

Second, Chinese companies have always maintained a good record in cyber security. The allegation of so-called China-related security concerns is groundless and China is wrongly targeted. The world is clear-eyed about who has engaged in espionage activities including spying and theft of secrets. Do I really need to repeat what is so clear?

Beijing Daily: Joschka Fischer, former foreign minister and vice chancellor of Germany, wrote in an article that it is "misleading" to compare the relationship between the West and China to that between the US and the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Given the "economic interdependencies" between China and the world economy, "the idea that China can be isolated is absurd". Do you have a comment on this?

Zhao Lijian: We agree with Mr. Fischer's objective and rational assessment.

It has been more than 30 years since the Cold War ended. Today, the political and economic landscape of the world is vastly different, with countries' interests deeply intertwined. Zero-sum game and Cold-War mentality are doomed to be discarded by history. Just as Mr. Fischer puts it, the global challenge of the 21st century will force the great powers to "embrace cooperation", regardless of who is "Number One".

Win-win cooperation is the trend of the times and people's shared aspiration. It is nothing but an illusion to believe that any country can be contained or isolated with the Cold-War modality. China is committed to the path of peaceful, open, cooperative and common development. We advocate peace, development, equity, justice, democracy and freedom, which are common values of humanity. We are committed to promoting the building of a new type of international relations and a community with a shared future for mankind. We hope those who are still lost in the Cold-War delusion can wake up as soon as possible, pay more attention to the insights of visionary people, and do more things to boost mutual trust and cooperation between countries and advance the shared development interests of all mankind.

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