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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian’s Regular Press Conference on November 4, 2022
2022-11-04 22:58

At the invitation of Prime Minister Hun Sen of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Premier of the State Council Li Keqiang will attend the 25th China-ASEAN Summit, the 25th ASEAN Plus Three (APT) Summit and the 17th East Asia Summit to be held in Cambodia from November 8 to 13, and pay an official visit to Cambodia.

Xinhua News Agency: Can you share with us the arrangement of Premier Li’s visit to Cambodia? How does China view its relations with Cambodia?

Zhao Lijian: China and Cambodia are friendly neighbors and iron-clad friends. In recent years, China-Cambodia relations have shown high-level robustness. Efforts to build a China-Cambodia community with a shared future has delivered fruitful results for both countries. Both Chinese and Cambodians have benefited from the growth of bilateral relations.

As the pandemic lingers and the global economy is struggling to recover, uncertainty and instability continues to rise. China remains 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. Acting on the principles of amity, sincerity, mutual benefit, and inclusiveness and the policy of forging friendships and partnerships with its neighbors, China strives to enhance friendly ties, mutual trust, and converging interests with Cambodia and other neighboring countries. 

During his visit, Premier Li Keqiang will meet with His Majesty King Norodom Sihamoni, and have talks with Prime Minister Hun Sen. The visit provides an important opportunity for China and Cambodia to share experience in governance, deepen cooperation on agriculture, manufacturing, green economy and people-to-people contacts, be each other’s company on our respective unique path to modernization, contribute together to the diversity of developing countries’ pathways to modernization and create more benefit to our two peoples.

CCTV: Facing rising uncertainty and instability in the international situation, what are China’s view and expectation on how the leaders’ meetings on East Asia cooperation will drive regional peace and development? 

Zhao Lijian: The challenges we face in our world today — sluggish economic recovery, global security volatility, and mounting risks in food, energy and financial security in the region — all call for a collective response.

The successful 20th CPC National Congress made it clear that China remains 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. 

China hopes the meetings will: first, focus on the common development of the region, advance high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, jointly respond to pressing challenges such as food and energy issues, and nurture new driver of growth such as digitalization and low-carbon development; second, push forward East Asia’s economic integration process, work together for high-quality implementation of RCEP, accelerate the negotiations of a China-ASEAN Free Trade Area 3.0, and keep industrial and supply chains stable and unfettered; and third, protect peace and tranquility of the region, uphold multilateralism and open regionalism, bolster ASEAN centrality, and build an open and inclusive regional cooperation architecture.

Yonhap News Agency: The US-ROK Security Consultative Meeting was held in Washington yesterday. Both leaders reaffirmed the commitment to deploy US strategic assets to the Korean Peninsula in a timely and coordinated manner as necessary, in the face of the DPRK’s nuclear threats. Do you have any comment?

Zhao Lijian: China has noted this. I need to stress that to bring about the political settlement of issues on the Peninsula and prevent a spiral of escalation, parties need to work with each other rather than take unilateral moves that exert pressure and heighten confrontation. We hope relevant parties will stop any move that may escalate tension and confrontation and undermine mutual trust.

CRI: Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan has concluded her visit to China today. Can you share more details of her visit with us? 

Zhao Lijian: Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan paid a state visit to China upon invitation from November 2 to 4. President Hassan is the first African head of state China has received after the 20th CPC National Congress. On the afternoon of November 3, President Xi Jinping had a meeting with President Hassan, and held a welcoming ceremony and a welcome banquet for her. On the same day, Premier Li Keqiang and Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress Li Zhanshu met with President Hassan respectively.

President Xi briefed President Hassan on the proceedings of the 20th CPC National Congress. He said, China has already found a development path suited to its national conditions. Chinese modernization is grounded in China’s own realities, with features that are unique to the Chinese context. On behalf of the Tanzanian Revolutionary Party (CCM) and the Tanzanian government, President Hassan extended warm congratulations on the success of the 20th CPC National Congress and President Xi’s re-election as General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee. 

The two presidents announced the elevation of the bilateral relationship to a comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership, which provides strategic guidance for the development of China-Tanzania relations going forward. Both sides are of the view that China and Tanzania enjoy a time-honored friendship. The sound growth of China-Tanzania relations not only advances the common and long-term interests of the two countries, but also carries great significance for building a China-Africa community with a shared future in the new era. The two sides reiterated their firm mutual support for each other on issues concerning each other’s core interests, and agreed to work together to boost the level of trade and economic cooperation, deepen high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, strengthen people-to-people and cultural exchanges, and carry forward the friendship between the two peoples, enhance cooperation in international and multilateral settings, and jointly uphold international fairness, justice and the common interests of fellow developing countries.

The two sides agreed that in growing China-Africa relations, both sides need to remain committed to the overall direction of mutual trust, mutual benefit, mutual learning and mutual assistance. Both China and Africa need to build on their time-honored traditional friendship, carry forward the spirit of China-Africa friendship and cooperation, and show greater historical initiative in advancing friendship between China and Africa. China’s continuous development will create new opportunities for Africa. China will speed up the implementation of the ongoing nine initiatives for cooperation with Africa. With a particular focus on infrastructure, we will continue to nurture new drivers for China-Africa cooperation through trade, investment and financing. The Tanzanian side responds warmly to the Global Development Initiative and is willing to work with China to operationalize this initiative and build a community with a shared future for mankind.

During the visit, the two sides issued a Joint Statement on Establishing a Comprehensive Strategic Cooperative Partnership between the People’s Republic of China and the United Republic of Tanzania and signed 15 cooperation documents covering trade, investment, development cooperation, digital economy, green development and blue economy.

AFP: A question on German Chancellor Scholz’s visit to China. Have the two leaders discussed issues related to human rights and the rights of ethnic minorities in Xinjiang?

Zhao Lijian: Prior to our press briefing, China has put out the readout about the meeting between President Xi and Chancellor Scholz. You may refer to that. There are other meetings and talks scheduled between the leaders of the two sides. Please check back for updates. 

Shenzhen TV: According to reports, the Muang Xay station of the China-Laos Railway in Northern Laos recently launched its freight train services, which marks the opening of all freight stations of the China-Laos Railway. Do you have any comment?

Zhao Lijian: We noted the reports and would like to express our congratulations. Fully opened, these freight stations will add to the boosting power of the China-Laos Railway in accelerating regional connectivity and further bolster the high-quality Belt and Road cooperation between China and ASEAN countries.

As President Xi Jinping noted, connectivity is vital to advancing Belt and Road cooperation. We are happy to note that China and its neighbors have recently seen quite a few milestones in their connectivity. During the visit to China by General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) Central Committee, China and Vietnam agreed to speed up the effort to sign a cooperation plan on promoting the synergy between the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the “Two Corridors, One Economic Belt” initiative. Under the framework of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, China and Pakistan will speed up the implementation of projects including the Gwadar Port and the upgradation of ML-1. At the China-Singapore Bilateral Cooperation Mechanism Meetings, the two sides jointly announced important outcomes in connectivity and agreed to further deepen strategic synergy and advance the New International Land-Sea Trade Corridor. 

The 20th National Congress of the Party stated explicitly that China will contribute its share to building an open global economy and promote the high-quality development of the BRI. China stands ready to work with all parties to deepen the BRI’s synergy with the development strategies of other countries and regional cooperation initiatives. China is committed to wider and more convenient connectivity and mutual benefit for people in all countries.

Phoenix TV: Tensions on the Korean Peninsula have been rising recently. Certain country said that countries in the world should take all measures possible to impose sanctions on the DPRK and hold it accountable for continued provocations. What is China’s comment? 

Zhao Lijian: Sanctions and pressure does not help the political settlement of the issues on the Korean Peninsula. The right way forward is to resolve the legitimate concerns of all parties in a balanced way through meaningful dialogue. We hope parties concerned will face squarely the root cause and timeline of events regarding the developments on the Korean Peninsula, and play a more constructive part in resuming dialogue and safeguarding regional stability.

Reuters: According to a Bloomberg report, China is considering ending the circuit breaker system whereby if there are more than a certain number of positive cases of coronavirus on international flights that arrive in China, then that route is suspended for a certain period of time. Can China confirm this? And also, if true, when? Does this signal that China is looking to ease its strict COVID policies?

Zhao Lijian: I’m not aware of what you mentioned. I would refer you to competent authorities. China’s policy and position on COVID-19 containment are clear and consistent.

AFP: The Chinese and Japanese leaders are reportedly planning to meet at international meetings to be held in mid-November in Southeast Asia. Can you confirm that President Xi will meet with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida at the G20 Bali summit?

Zhao Lijian: On your question, I have nothing to share at the moment.

China News Service: China recently published the Special Plan on Scientific and Technological Innovation in the Field of Ecological Environment for the 14th Five-Year Plan Period (2021-2025). Do you have any comment?

Zhao Lijian: On November 2, the Special Plan on Scientific and Technological Innovation in the Field of Ecological Environment for the 14th Five-Year Plan Period (2021-2025) was officially released. This is another important step taken by China toward building a beautiful country. The Plan lays out the 50 main tech development tasks in ten fields including eco-environment monitoring and climate response. The aim is to accelerate an all-round transition to a model of green economic and social development.

The report to the 20th CPC National Congress states that Chinese modernization is committed to harmony between humanity and nature. We will continue to uphold the principle that lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets, and bring about bluer skies, greener mountains and clearer waters. China has announced the vision of carbon peaking and carbon neutrality, and established the “1+N” policy framework for implementing carbon peaking and carbon neutrality goals. China will continue to actively participate in international cooperation on climate response.

This Sunday, the 27th session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change will be held in Sharm el Sheikh in Egypt, and China will send a high-level delegation to the conference. We will join hands with all parties to address the climate challenge, and work together for positive, balanced and comprehensive outcomes.

China Daily: The First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) of the 77th session of the UN General Assembly adopted the draft resolution “Promoting International Cooperation on Peaceful Uses in the Context of International Security” put forward by China, as had happened last year. Could you give more insight into this? 

Zhao Lijian: On November 3 Beijing time, the 77th session of the UNGA First Committee adopted China’s draft resolution “Promoting International Cooperation on Peaceful Uses in the Context of International Security”.

A peaceful world is the shared desire of all countries. Advancing common development is a long-standing pursuit of the developing countries. Utilizing science and technology for peaceful purposes and conducting relevant international cooperation are the inalienable rights of all countries conferred by international law. They also provide a key force driving sustainable socioeconomic development. For years, the right of the developing countries to the peaceful use of science and technology and to international cooperation free from discrimination has not received due attention. There are still undue restrictions on developing countries’ normal access to material, equipment and technology.

The resolution is essentially about upholding developing countries’ right to the peaceful use of science and technology. It calls for open, inclusive and fair dialogue within the UN framework and aims to achieve mutually-reinforcing interaction of peaceful uses and export control. This resolution represents the shared stance and voice of developing countries and speaks for the important principles and commitment the developing countries stick to and advance on peaceful use, international cooperation and sustainable development.

In the new context of our times, China will stay firmly committed to a mutually beneficial strategy of opening up and remain an integral part of advancing global governance through joint consultation and concerted efforts, promote inclusive sci-tech progress and create an international environment that is conducive to common development. China will work with all parties to advance the follow-up process of the resolution to ensure its full and effective implementation and the attainment of its object and purpose.

AFP: According to French Foreign Minister, upon China’s invitation, French President Emmanuel Macron will pay a visit to China in the coming weeks or months. Can you confirm this visit?

Zhao Lijian: I have no information to offer at the moment. 

The New York Times: Another Long March rocket booster is expected to make its descent. Have any measures been taken to reduce the risk it might pose to populated areas?

Zhao Lijian: I would like to refer you to the competent authorities for specific questions. To give you our principled position, I would like to stress that China has all along pursued the peaceful use of outer space in accordance with international law and the international customary practice. The reentry of a rocket’s upper stage into the Earth’s atmosphere is an established international practice. The rocket you mentioned is designed with special technology, and the overwhelming majority of its components will burn up during the re-entry into the atmosphere. The probability of this process causing harm to aviation activities or to the ground is extremely low. The competent authorities in China have been closely tracking the orbital parameters of the rocket remnants, and sharing information in an open, transparent and timely manner to the international community. 

Global Times: On November 3, the 77th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) once again voted with an overwhelming majority for the US to lift economic, commercial and financial blockade against Cuba. A total of 185 countries voted in favor of the resolution to lift the blockade, two countries abstained, and two voted against the resolution. This marks the almost unanimous adoption of such a resolution at UNGA for 30 consecutive times. What’s China’s comment? 

Zhao Lijian: The fact that 185 countries voted overwhelmingly in favor of the resolution once again shows that the vast majority of countries in the world are seriously concerned about and firmly opposed to the US's arbitrary unilateral sanctions on Cuba that have gravely threatened the basic human rights of the Cuban people, and that they support Cuba’s just fight for its sovereignty and against the blockade.

Just as Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla said ahead of the vote, the embargo is a “deliberate act of economic warfare with the purpose of...causing the economy to collapse and creating a situation of ungovernability.” The 60-year-long embargo on Cuba has generated huge economic losses and grave humanitarian disasters in Cuba.

While claiming to be a “human rights defender”, the US has been creating human rights disasters and tragedies one after another. It is certainly not human rights, but its own hegemony that the US seeks to protect. The US keeps saying one thing and doing another. Such hypocrisy is no secret to the world, and the world has acted in response. UNGA has adopted this resolution for 30 consecutive times, each time with an overwhelming majority. This should prompt the US to heed the voice for justice, put an immediate end to the economic, commercial and trade restrictions and embargo on Cuba, and stop being on the wrong side against the international community. 

China and Cuba are good friends, good comrades and good brothers. Since 1992, China has voted in favor of all 30 resolutions calling for an end to the blockade. China will continue to firmly support the Cuban people’s efforts to oppose external interference and blockade and defend sovereignty and national dignity.

AFP: Has China stepped up its effort in talking to the DPRK following the DPRK’s firing of missiles this week? If yes, what specifically has been talked about?

Zhao Lijian: I can assure you that the diplomatic channel between both sides is unimpeded. As to the particular details you asked about, I have no specific information to offer at the moment.

The Paper: Twenty years ago today, government representatives of China and ASEAN countries signed the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) in Phnom Penh, capital of Cambodia. How does China see the role of the DOC over the past two decades?

Zhao Lijian: This year marks the 20th anniversary of the signing of the DOC. It is the first political document signed by China and ASEAN countries on the South China Sea, which established the basic principles and common norms for the parties on handling the issue. The signing and implementation of the DOC has consolidated political mutual trust between China and ASEAN countries and promoted bilateral dialogue and cooperation on maritime issues. It has not only played a key role in keeping the South China Sea peaceful and stable, but also created a sound regional environment for China-ASEAN relations. In July this year, China successfully held a workshop to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the DOC. Participants from China and ASEAN countries reviewed the spirit of the DOC, spoke highly of its role and landmark importance, and expressed their expectation for the continued full and effective implementation of the DOC.

A peaceful and stable South China Sea serves the common interests of China and ASEAN countries and is desired by the international community. The 20-year success of the DOC fully shows that China and ASEAN countries have the confidence, wisdom and ability to properly handle issues relating to the South China Sea. China will continue to fully and effectively implement the DOC, advance the consultations on a code of conduct in the South China Sea at a faster pace, and deepen maritime dialogue and cooperation with ASEAN countries so as to build the South China Sea into a sea of peace, friendship and cooperation. 

Reuters: Is China considering any adjustments or changes to COVID protocols?

Zhao Lijian: I would refer you to competent authorities on questions about the COVID policy.

Reuters: You just said that the channel between China and the DPRK is unimpeded. Do you think China has done enough in terms of maintaining peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula?

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

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