|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian's Regular Press Conference on July 10, 2020|
AFP: First question, US Secretary of State Pompeo said in a statement that the United States has imposed sanctions on multiple Chinese officials in Xinjiang. What is your comment? Second question, the US Department of State spokesperson said the US "welcomes China's commitment to engage in arms control negotiations", and will invite China to three-way negotiations with the US and Russia. Does China have a comment on this?
Zhao Lijian: On your first question, the US practice constitutes serious interference in China's internal affairs, severe violation of basic norms governing international relations, and grave harm to China-US relations. China firmly opposes and strongly condemns that.
In response to its wrongdoing, China decides to take reciprocal measures against US agencies and individuals with egregious practices on Xinjiang-related issues.
Xinjiang affairs are entirely China's internal affairs. The US has no right and is in no position to intervene. The Chinese government is determined to safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests, combat violent terrorism, separatism and religious extremism, and oppose foreign interference in Xinjiang affairs and China's other internal affairs. We urge the US to immediately rescind its wrong decision and stop making any remarks or moves that interfere in China's internal affairs and undermine China's interests. The Chinese side will firmly fight back if the US obstinately pursues such agenda.
On your second question, after reading this statement, I think of a Chinese idiomatic phrase that perfectly describes it: a bright person who plays dumb.
It is China's clear position that we oppose so-called trilateral arms control negotiations, and the US knows it only too well. Still, it pesters China and even distorts our position, which precisely demonstrates that the "trilateral arms control negotiations" are political tricks rather than sincere, serious proposals. The US cannot deceive the world because its intention has already been seen through.
We urge the US to respond as early as possible to Russia's call of extending the New START Treaty, and further drastically reduce its nuclear arms stockpile, which will create conditions for other nuclear-weapon states to join in multilateral nuclear disarmament talks.
The Paper: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that China is "going to allow the WHO to come in (for consultations on tracing the origin of the virus)...but the WHO needs to be free to do its real work." He also said, "we need real answers, not a perfunctory political solution." What is your comment?
Zhao Lijian: That's very hypocritical of him. China and the WHO have been in close communication and cooperation since the epidemics broke out. Now China is undertaking an arduous task of preventing both case import and domestic resurgence, and we are the first to invite WHO experts to discuss science-based origin tracing. It is our contribution to global public health cooperation as a responsible major country. By contrast, the US has been shirking its own responsibilities and undermining global solidarity in combating the virus by declaring to exit the WHO, politicizing matters related to the pandemic and smearing others.
Since it already declared withdrawal from the WHO, the US is in no position to make unwarranted comments on China's cooperation with the WHO. If the US truly cares about global efforts against the pandemic, the first thing it needs to do is to fulfill its due international responsibilities and obligations and cooperate with the WHO in ways like inviting WHO experts to trace the source of the virus in the US. Is this something the US can do, Mr. Pompeo?
Reuters: You mentioned China's reciprocal measures against US officials and organizations with egregious practices on Xinjiang-related issues. Can you give us any details about them? Are they in place immediately today?
Zhao Lijian: The specifics will come out soon.
Reuters: Yesterday the Chinese embassy said in a consular notice that according to local media reports, there was a significant increase in cases of a new type of pneumonia in Kazakhstan. The Kazakh health ministry came out today and said that the media report is not correct. Does the ministry have any comment on this?
Zhao Lijian: I'll leave that to the relevant authorities of Kazakhstan. China also hopes to learn more about the situation. We want to work with Kazakhstan in this joint fight against the epidemics and to uphold public health security of the two countries.
Xinhua News Agency: US Secretary of State Pompeo said recently that the US is "unhappy" to see Africa's economic cooperation with China and Russia. He hopes these African countries can "appreciate the fact that they have true partners" in Europe and the US. The US gives humanitarian assistance to African "because it's the right thing to do". However, "when the Chinese do it, it's always in exchange for something." Do you have any comment on that?
Zhao Lijian: China sees African countries as our good brothers that have a shared future with us. Our cooperation with Africa follows the principles of sincerity, real results, amity and good faith and of pursuing the greater good and shared interests. We respect African people's will and meet their needs. We never interfere in their internal affairs, impose our will on them, attach political strings or seek political gains.
Since COVID-19 broke out, China and Africa have been cooperating and helping each other amid times of difficulties. The important propositions made by President Xi Jinping at the Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity Against COVID-19 were welcomed by African countries. China has provided a lot of material assistance for African countries. Our medical teams in Africa carried out almost 400 anti-epidemic training programs that offered guidance to tens of thousands of local medical personnel. China has also sent medical teams consisting of 148 members to 11 African countries. We are working with the international community to enhance support for African countries and help them relieve debt burdens.
Forty-four African countries and the AU Commission signed BRI cooperation documents with China, demonstrating our African brothers' trust in China-Africa cooperation. The Mombasa-Nairobi railway, jointly built by China and Kenya, created more than 30,000 local jobs during its construction alone, boosting Kenya's economic growth by 1.5 percentage points. China's assistance to Africa and trade with Africa has effectively enhanced relevant countries' socio-economic development and people's wellbeing by delivering concrete benefits to them.
China-Africa cooperation has never been exclusive. We welcome greater attention and input in Africa from the international community. The African countries have the best say in who truly brings benefits to them. I'd like to remind Mr. Pompeo that smearing China-Africa cooperation and trying to drive a wedge between us won't "make America great again". Such attempts will certainly fail.
China Review News: About 20 US soldiers stationed in the ROK recently roamed around Busan's famous scenic area of Haeundae without wearing face masks, which was in violation of the country's anti-epidemic regulations. They also set off fireworks, shot firecrackers at passersby and harassed tourists nearby. Local people and media expressed dissatisfaction over their behaviors, and complaints were filed by civil groups asking for severe punishment of the US soldiers for their illegal acts. Do you have any comment?
Zhao Lijian: I noted relevant reports and it doesn't surprise me at all. I won't make comment on that since it is something between the ROK and the US, but I believe justice will prevail anywhere in the world.
Associated Press of Pakistan: A hospital built with the financial support of the Chinese government started operation to combat COVID-19 in Islamabad yesterday. Do you have any comment on that?
Zhao Lijian: Helping Pakistan to build the Isolation Hospital and Infections Treatment Center (IHITC) is an important consensus reached between the leaders of the two countries during Pakistani President Alvi's visit to China in March this year. Thanks to the joint efforts of both sides, the construction of the hospital was recently completed and the inauguration ceremony was held on July 9. Prime Minister Imran Khan and the Chinese ambassador to Pakistan attended the ceremony. The hospital, built within only three months, will be helpful in Pakistan's fight against the epidemic after it starts running.
China and Pakistan are all-weather strategic cooperative partners and iron-clad friends sharing weal and woe. We will never forget the precious assistance we received from the Pakistani side at the most trying moment of our combat against the pandemic. We will continue supporting Pakistan to the best of our capability and in accordance with its needs. We will work with Pakistan to safeguard public health security in both countries and around the world, and build a closer China-Pakistan community with a shared future. Long live China-Pakistan friendship!
AFP: The Indonesian police searched a Chinese fishing vessel and found the body of an Indonesian man aboard. Does China have any comment on the issue?
Zhao Lijian: China noticed that. We express concerns over Indonesia's detention of the Chinese fishing vessel, which was sailing normally on an international shipping route, without prior notice. The company owning the ship said that an Indonesian crew member on board unfortunately passed away. The company notified the human resources company and talked to the crew member's beloved ones about the follow-up matters.
China asks the Indonesian side to take concrete, effective measures to protect the legitimate rights and interests of the Chinese fishing vessel and crew members, and deal with the matter as properly and quickly as possible. We will stay in close communication with Indonesia on this.