The Paper: On October 26, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken issued a statement, which read “Taiwan’s meaningful participation in the UN system is not a political issue, but a pragmatic one” and the US encourages “all UN Member States to join us in supporting Taiwan’s robust, meaningful participation throughout the UN system and in the international community, consistent with our ‘one China’ policy, which is guided by the Taiwan Relations Act, the three Joint Communiques, and the Six Assurances.” What is your comment?
Zhao Lijian: The US statement seriously violates the one-China principle and the stipulations of the three China-US joint communiqués, violates the promise it has made, violates the basic norms governing international relations, and has sent a seriously wrong signals to the “Taiwan independence” forces. China strongly deplores and firmly opposes this, and has made clear its solemn position to and lodged stern representations with the US. I want to stress the four-point basic position.
First, there is only one China in the world. The government of the People's Republic of China is the sole legal government representing the whole of China. The Taiwan region is an inalienable part of the Chinese territory. A total of 180 countries, including the US, have established diplomatic relations with China on the basis of commitment to the one-China principle. The one-China principle is a universal consensus of the international community and a widely recognized norm of international relations, which does not allow unilateral challenge or distortion by the US. In the three China-US joint communiqués, the US unequivocally recognizes the government of the People's Republic of China as the sole legal government of China. Within this context, the people of the US will maintain cultural, commercial, and other unofficial relations with the people of Taiwan.
Second, the Taiwan region’s participation in activities of international organizations must be handled in accordance with the one-China principle. Resolution 2758 adopted by the UN General Assembly has solved once and for all the issue of the China’s representation in the UN in political, legal and procedural terms. The system, agencies and the Secretariat of the UN should abide by the one-China principle and UNGA Resolution 2758 when dealing with Taiwan-related affairs. By touting and whitewashing of Taiwan’s so-called democracy and contribution and endorsing Taiwan, the US is trying to distort concepts and mislead others. But the US motive and intention are seen clearly by the international community. Fifty years ago, the US attempted to create “one China, one Taiwan” or “two Chinas” in the UN, only to confront setbacks. If the US still backpedals in history today, it is pitting itself against the 1.4 billion Chinese people and the vast majority of countries in the world, and will only face another failure.
Third, the Taiwan authorities recalcitrantly stick to the “Taiwan independence” separatist position, refuse to recognize the 1992 consensus and go all out to expand its so-called “international space”, going further down the path of “Taiwan independence” separatism. This is the greatest realistic threat to peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and the crux for the repeated frustration Taiwan has experienced in participating in activities of multilateral institutions such as the ICAO and WHO in recent years. As a matter of fact, the Taiwan region has unfettered access to information from the ICAO. It is linked to many cities in the world with convenient flights. On the premise of observing the one-China principle, medical and health experts in the Taiwan region can attend WHO technical meetings. Taiwan has unfettered access to public health information including with regard to COVID-19. Now the US is making an issue out of Taiwan’s participation in the ICAO and WHO to angle for sympathy. This attempt is miscalculated and futile.
Fourth, the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communiqués constitute the political foundation of China-US relations. The so-called “Taiwan Relations Act” and “Six Assurances” unilaterally concocted by the US gravely violate international law, basic norms governing international relations and the one-China principle. China has made clear its firm rejection to them from the very beginning. For a while, the US has been keeping up erroneous words and acts on the Taiwan question. The Chinese side has made resolute and necessary reactions every step of the way. Should the US side choose to continue playing the “Taiwan card”, it would inevitably pose seismic risks to China-US relations, seriously undermine peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, and gravely harm the interests of the US itself.
We urge the US to abide by its commitment, the one-China principle, the stipulations of the three China-US joint communiqués and UNGA Resolution 2758, stop making irresponsible erroneous remarks, stop assisting Taiwan in expanding the so-called “international space”, avoid sending wrong signals to “Taiwan independence” forces, and safeguard the political foundation for China-US relations with concrete actions.
Macau Monthly: It is reported that Chinese investment in Australia went down by 61% in 2020. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Australia is working on a plan to diversify foreign investment to fill the gap of nosedived investment from China. What is your comment?
Zhao Lijian: The responsibility of the drop in Chinese investment in Australia fully rests with the Australian side. For a while, some in Australia have been politicizing and stigmatizing normal economic and trade cooperation between China and Australia at every turn and wantonly restricting normal bilateral exchange and cooperation. This has disrupted the sound momentum of practical cooperation and dampened Chinese companies’ confidence in investing in Australia. Some people in Australian also claimed that China’s investment in Australia went down last year. But the fact is, in 2020, China’s outward direct investment (ODI) was 153.71 billion dollars, up by 12.3% year on year, ranking the first in the world for the first time.
As I said, China’s ODI went up by over 12% year on year, but Australia attracted 61% less Chinese investment. The comparison speaks volumes. The Chinese government encourages Chinese enterprises to conduct investment and cooperation overseas in line with market principles, international rules and local laws. We will also firmly safeguard the lawful rights and interests of Chinese companies investing and operating overseas. We hope the Australian government will look at China-Australia cooperation in an objective and rational light, provide a fair, transparent and non-discriminatory business environment for Chinese companies in Australia, and do more things conducive to bilateral mutual trust and cooperation.
CCTV: Yesterday, Premier Li Keqiang attended the 24th China-ASEAN Summit. Can you share some details?
Zhao Lijian: Yesterday afternoon, Premier Li Keqiang attended the 24th China-ASEAN Summit through video link. Premier Li Keqiang pointed out that China always sees ASEAN as a priority in its neighborhood diplomacy, firmly supports ASEAN’s Community-building, firmly supports ASEAN centrality in the regional architecture, and firmly supports ASEAN in playing a bigger role in regional and international affairs. China is ready to take the 30th anniversary of the China-ASEAN dialogue relationship as an opportunity, see to it that the giant ship of China-ASEAN friendship and cooperation will sail ahead steadily, and make greater contributions to peace, stability, development and prosperity of Asia.
Premier Li Keqiang put forward six points for China-ASEAN cooperation in the next stage: First, we need to jointly build a line of defense for health. China will further increase assistance in vaccines and anti-COVID supplies to ASEAN countries, and proposes establishing a China-ASEAN Public Health Research and Development Collaborating Center. Second, we need to deepen economic integration. We need to hasten work for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) to take effect as early as possible. China is ready to officially launch the joint feasibility study to identify other areas for possible inclusion in further enhancing the China-ASEAN FTA. Third, we need to promote inclusive development. We will speed up the building of the Partnership on Blue Economy. China is ready to set up dedicated offices in ASEAN countries and build demonstration areas of development cooperation. Fourth, we need to uphold an innovation-driven approach. We need to deliver on the Plan of Action on a Closer Partnership of Science, Technology and Innovation for Future (2021-2025). We need to finalize the Plan of Action on the Implementation of the China-ASEAN Digital Economy Partnership as quickly as possible. Fifth, we need to expand green cooperation. We need to implement well the Framework of China-ASEAN Environmental Cooperation Strategy and Action Plan 2021-2025 and jointly make climate response. We need to push for the transition and upgrading of energy industries and economic structures as appropriate. Sixth, we need to cement the foundation of popular support. We should manage the return of ASEAN students to China for school in a phased manner while ensuring COVID-related safety. We will make additional contribution to the China-ASEAN Cooperation Fund.
Leaders of ASEAN countries at the summit appreciate the positive progress of China-ASEAN relations, look forward to holding a summit to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the China-ASEAN dialogue relationship, and stand ready to continue to strengthen practical cooperation with China in various areas, fully and effectively implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), work for an early conclusion of a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea that is effective and substantive, and promote the early entry-into-force of the RCEP.
Premier Li Keqiang will also attend the 24th ASEAN Plus Three Summit and the 16th East Asia Summit. Please stay tuned.
Radio Television Hong Kong: The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) revoked the authorization for China Telecom's US subsidiary to operate in the United States, citing national security concerns. Do you have any comment?
Zhao Lijian: As for your specific question, competent authorities in China will give a response. Please stay tuned.
Associated Press of Pakistan: Yesterday, President Xi and Prime Minister Imran Khan held a telephonic conversation. Can you share some details of it?
Zhao Lijian: President Xi Jinping had a phone conversation with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan yesterday. The Chinese side has released a readout about it. I can add several points.
President Xi Jinping pointed out, during the past 70 years since the establishment of China-Pakistan diplomatic ties, no matter how the international situation may change, the two sides have always stood side by side in weal and woe. History has fully proved that the two countries are the most reliable iron-clad brothers for each other. Under the new circumstances, the two countries should stand together even more firmly and push forward the all-weather strategic cooperative partnership, and build a closer China-Pakistan community with a shared future in the new era. President Xi stressed that China supports Pakistan in exploring a development path suited to its own national conditions and is willing to share China's new high-quality development opportunities with Pakistan. China will continue to support Pakistan in its fight against COVID-19, jointly pursue high quality CPEC cooperation and continue to unleash the positive effects of CPEC in promoting growth and improving people's wellbeing. The two sides should strengthen counter-terrorism and security cooperation. China is ready to work with Pakistan to enhance multilateral coordination, practice true multilateralism and promote international fairness and justice, so as to safeguard the shared interests of the two countries and maintain world peace and stability.
Prime Minister Imran Khan said that the world is faced with many major issues that require Pakistan and China to communicate and work together more closely. Pakistan-China relations have withstood all tests and the two countries always support each other in both good and bad times. China has supported Pakistan in its fight against COVID-19, and protected the life and safety of the Pakistani people, setting an example for global cooperation against the pandemic. Pakistan staunchly pursues the one-China policy, firmly supports China's stance on issues concerning China's core interests such as the issues related to Taiwan, Hong Kong, Xinjiang, Tibet and human rights, and firmly supports the Global Development Initiative proposed by President Xi Jinping. Pakistan stands ready to work with China to promote the building of CPEC and practical cooperation in various areas.
Macau Monthly: On October 26, Angela Merkel officially ended her term as Chancellor of Germany. What is your comment on Chancellor Merkel?
Zhao Lijian: Chancellor Merkel attaches importance to developing relations with China. She visited China for 12 times during her term, and launched and co-chaired all six rounds of China-Germany inter-governmental consultations. She helped to deepen and substantiate practical cooperation and friendly interactions in various areas with China, which have brought tangible benefits to the two countries and the two peoples, and made contribution to China-Europe exchange and cooperation and world peace, stability and development. China highly appreciates this. Facts have fully shown that as long as China and Germany keep consolidating and deepening mutual trust and follow the approach that focuses on cooperation on an equal footing for mutual benefits, the bilateral relations can continue to achieve new development. We hope the new German government can carry on the practical and balanced China policy and consolidate the keynote of cooperation in China-Germany relations.
CRI: State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi just paid a visit to Qatar and met with a delegation of the Afghan Taliban's interim government in Doha. Could you share more details on that?
Zhao Lijian: On October 25 and 26, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi paid a visit to Qatar, during which he met with Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and held talks with Qatari Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani.
During meetings with the Qatari side, State Councilor Wang said that under the strategic guidance of the leaders of the two countries, China-Qatar relations have witnessed sustained, sound and stable development. China firmly supports Qatar in exploring a development path suited to its national conditions and opposes any interference in Qatar's internal affairs. China stands ready to work with the Qatari side to promote high quality development of the Belt and Road, expand cooperation across the board and advance new progress in China-Qatar strategic partnership. The Qatari side said Qatar is firmly committed to developing Qatar-China friendship, appreciates and supports China’s commitment to democracy with Chinese characteristics, opposes any country's interference in China's internal affairs and is ready to work with China to expand mutually beneficial cooperation under the BRI framework and elevate bilateral relations to a higher level. The Qatari side supports the Global Development Initiative put forward by China and treats the Initiative on China-Arab Data Security Cooperation with a positive attitude. The two sides also exchanged views on supporting each other in holding the Beijing Winter Olympics and the Qatar World Cup 2022.
State Councilor Wang Yi also had contact with Acting Deputy Prime Minister Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and Acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi of the Afghan Taliban's interim government in Qatar. State Councilor Wang Yi noted that Afghanistan now stands at a critical stage of transition from chaos to order. China stands ready to work with the international community to push for the earnest implementation of the “Afghan-owned, Afghan-led” principle and play a constructive role to this end. China attaches importance to the humanitarian difficulties facing Afghanistan, urges the US and other Western countries to lift sanctions, calls on all parties to engage with the Afghan Taliban in a rational and pragmatic manner. China is also ready to provide humanitarian assistance within its capacity. China hopes and believes that the Afghan Taliban will make a clean break with the ETIM and other terrorist organizations, and take more effective measures to resolutely crack down on them. The Afghan Taliban elaborated on the domestic and foreign policies of the interim government and made more positive remarks on relevant issues of China and the international community’s concern. The Afghan Taliban said it attaches great importance to China's security concerns, will resolutely honor its promise and never allow anyone or any force to use the Afghan territory to harm China. The two sides agreed to set up a working liaison mechanism to discuss exchanges in the next stage.
People’s Daily: On October 26, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said the US believes that it can both take a strong stand against forced labor “anywhere it occurs, including in Xinjiang, and at the same time cultivate and develop a robust, resilient, and effective solar supply chain”. What is China’s comment?
Zhao Lijian: In China’s Xinjiang, people live a happy and fulfilling life, all ethnic groups coexist in harmony and the society enjoys prosperity and stability. The so-called “forced labor” in Xinjiang is purely a lie. A handful of Western politicians when alleging “forced labor” are in essence engaging in political manipulation, flagrantly interfering in China’s internal affairs, containing and suppressing the development of China and Xinjiang in particular, and undermining the stability of global industrial and supply chains under the pretext of human rights. Their scheme will never succeed. Instead, making up and spreading lies will only hurt US itself and its credibility.
I want to remind some people in the US of several facts. There are approximately 500,000 child farmworkers in the US. Roughly 240,000 to 325,000 women and children in the US are victims of sexual slavery. Up to 100,000 people were trafficked into the US for forced labor annually over the past five years, and half of them are sold to sweatshops or enslaved in households. Certain US politicians should see with their own eyes the pictures and physical exhibitions of the history of Chinese people in the US now on display in New York, and learn the tragic experiences of Chinese laborers. "Under every sleeper there is the soul of a Chinese worker" as a saying goes. They should also have some knowledge about the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, which was the first law of the US to prevent all members of a specific ethnic or national group from immigrating to the US and exclude them from US citizenship. Its adverse impacts, including racial discrimination against Chinese and other people of Asian descent, continue to this day. Certain US politicians are evasive about their country’s history and reality of forced labor while bossing other countries around based on rumors and lies. It even fantasizes about staying immune to backfires when committing almost every evil deed. Some in the US should have long sobered up.
Beijing Youth Daily: Yesterday a feature event marking the 100-day countdown to the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games was held in Beijing. The Olympic and Paralympic medals were also unveiled at the ceremony. I wonder if you have any comment on this?
Zhao Lijian: I watched the feature event live with great excitement last night. The unveiling of the Olympic and Paralympic medals named "Tongxin", meaning "Together as one", at the significant 100-day countdown is a message to the world saying Beijing is ready to welcome winter sports athletes from all across the globe to dazzle us with their amazing performance.
Romance unique to China can be found in the medals again. From the golden jade medals to the "Tongxin" design featuring concentric circles, Beijing, the first city to host both the summer and winter Olympic Games, is singing the highest praise to the Olympic motto of “faster, higher, stronger - together”. From the Water Cube to the Ice Ribbon, Beijing is once again extending an invitation to an exciting rendezvous in China. From “One World, One Dream” to “Together for a Shared Future”, the 1.4 billion Chinese people, inspired by the Olympic spirit, remain committed to the vision of a brighter future where people of the whole world move forward hand in hand with mutual assistance. Together as one, we will turn this vision into reality. China will work in concert with all parties to carry forward the Olympic spirit and host a streamlined, safe and splendid Olympic games for the world.
AFP: According to the South China Morning Post, a delegation from the European Parliament will travel to Taiwan next week. Do you have any comment on this?
Zhao Lijian: The Chinese Mission to the EU already released a statement on this. I’d like to stress that the one-China principle is a universally-recognized norm governing international relations and a consensus of the international community. It is a solemn commitment made by the EU side upon establishing diplomatic relations with China. The European Parliament is an important official organ of the EU. It follows naturally that its members should stay true to the commitment made by the EU, prudently and properly handle Taiwan-related issues and keep the political foundation for China-EU relations intact. I stress once again that the Chinese people are firmly resolved to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Xinhua News Agency: According to reports, the Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic has invited Joseph Wu, head of the foreign affairs department of the Taiwan authorities, to visit the Czech Republic. Does the Chinese side have any comment?
Zhao Lijian: China strongly deplores and firmly rejects the malicious provocative act by the Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic and the individuals concerned. We have lodged solemn representations with the Czech side and will make legitimate and necessary reactions.
There is but one China in the world, and Taiwan is an inalienable part of the Chinese territory. The government of the People's Republic of China is the sole legal government representing China. This is an ironclad fact, a basic norm in international relations and a consensus of the international community. The despicable maneuvers by a few individuals in the Czech Republic are doomed to fail. We urge them to promptly change course, otherwise they will end up swallowing the bitter fruit themselves. The Taiwan authorities should bear in mind that seeking “Taiwan independence” by soliciting external support is a dead end. China’s resolution and will to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity is steadfast. We will take all necessary measures to crush any “Taiwan independence” plot.
Radio Television Hong Kong: US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said that the Chinese and Russian leaders will not attend the G20 Summit and the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 26). Can we say that the chances for a meeting between President Xi and President Biden on the sidelines of the G20 Summit are quite slim? Sullivan also said that the two heads of state may hold a virtual meeting before the end of the year. Do you have the date for that?
Zhao Lijian: We will release the arrangement for China’s attendance at the G20 Rome Summit in due course.
As to a virtual meeting between the Chinese and US heads of state before the end of the year, my colleagues and I have responded repeatedly to relevant questions. Director Yang Jiechi and NSA Sullivan discussed during their meeting in Zurich, Switzerland a virtual meeting between the two heads of state before the end of the year. I don’t have additional information to offer at this moment.
Bloomberg: I have a question on comedian John Oliver’s television segments. He aired the segment on Taiwan, which has gained attention from China’s state media, as well as Taiwanese officials. I am wondering if the foreign ministry has any comment.
Zhao Lijian: I have never heard of the program or the comedian you mentioned. Neither do I have time to watch it. I want to stress that the historical merits of the Taiwan question is very clear and China’s position on the Taiwan question is consistent and clear-cut.