|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian's Regular Press Conference on November 23, 2020|
Global Times: The award ceremony of the Second Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) Short Video Competition was held in Wuhan. The competition received more than 500 entries from nearly 80 countries, and over 60 won awards. Have you watched these short videos? Any stories that impressed you?
Zhao Lijian: This short video competition was co-organized by the China Public Diplomacy Association, the News Center of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council (SASAC), and Global Times Online. Through various perspectives, film-making methods and languages, the videos present the hand-in-hand cooperation by people in China and BRI partners to fight the virus, and stories of their contribution to local economic and social development.
I'd like to cite some examples. Amity Along the Orange Line depicts the joy of Pakistani people when they see the completion of the Orange Line metro train in Lahore. Taking Off at Any Time: Air Transport of Medical Supplies records how Chinese airlines supported other countries during the pandemic. Coffee Meets Rice Dumplings is a story of deepening mutual understanding through BRI projects between the local communities and employees of Chinese companies in Ethiopia. "Enjoying rice dumplings over a cup of coffee" is an epitome of exchange and mutual learning between different cultures and a demonstration of the competition's theme, "Act in Solidarity". There are a lot of moving short videos in this contest. You may check out the whole collection online.
Beijing Daily: Australian trade officials said the Australian side hopes to have a phone call with Chinese officials on bilateral relations, but so far it hasn't been able to have the phone call arranged. Do you have any response to this?
Zhao Lijian: I'm not aware of the specifics you asked about, regarding the Australian trade officials hoping to have a phone call with the Chinese side. Communication at the working level between China and Australia has been unimpeded.
As for China-Australia relations, my colleagues and I have made clear China's position on multiple occasions recently. It is Australia that caused the current difficulties in bilateral relations. We urge Australia to face up to the problems, correct mistakes and create conditions for bringing bilateral relations back on track.
Associated Press of Pakistan: Could you give us more details about the short video on the Orange Line in Pakistan that you just mentioned?
Zhao Lijian: The short video I mentioned just now is the Orange Line metro train in Lahore, the first subway project in Pakistan. The short video captured the delight of the Pakistani people, especially the people of Lahore, at the completion of the line. You may enjoy the full video online.
Reuters: First question, Biden will reportedly nominate Antony Blinken as the Secretary of State. Do you have any comment? If he is appointed, will China-U.S. relations get better compared with during Pompeo's term? Second question, the United States is close to declaring that 89 Chinese companies have military ties, restricting them from buying American products and technologies. Can you comment on this?
Zhao Lijian: On your first question, we don't comment on the U.S. internal affairs. Maintaining sound and stable development of China-U.S. relations serves the fundamental interests of people in both countries, and meets the common aspiration of visionary people in the United States and the international community. China is ready to strengthen communication with the United States, expand cooperation, manage differences, and work for sound and stable development of China-U.S. ties.
On your second question, as we made clear on multiple occasions, China firmly rejects the U.S. unwarranted oppression against Chinese companies. Its behaviors, in serious violation of the market competition principles and international trade rules of which the United States is a self-claimed champion, will inevitably damage its own national interests and image.
Chinese companies have been operating in accordance with law and strictly observing laws and regulations of the host countries including the United States. The United States should stop its erroneous moves of oppressing foreign companies by overstretching the concept of national security.
Beijing Youth Daily: We have noted that the China-ROK Friendship Youth Forum 2020 was successfully held online and offline in Seoul on November 19. Could you share more information about it? What's your expectations for China-ROK youth exchange?
Zhao Lijian: The China-ROK Friendship Youth Forum 2020 was co-hosted by the Chinese Embassy in the ROK and the Korea-China City Friendship Association. You may find more details about the event in the press release on the website of the Chinese embassy in the ROK.
China and the ROK enjoy geographic proximity, close cultural links and people-to-people affinity. We hope that young people in both countries will carry forward the two sides' traditional friendship and contribute to creating brighter prospects in bilateral relations. China stands ready to work together with the ROK to support stronger youth exchange and cooperation and make new progress in bilateral relations.
China News Service: According to the Chinese Consulate General in Osaka, giant panda Rauhin gave birth to a male cub at the zoo in Adventure World in Shirahama Town, Wakayama Prefecture on November 22. Would you like to send your blessings to this newborn cub through this platform?
Zhao Lijian: I have also learned this great news. I sincerely wish that the baby panda will be healthy and happy as he grows up in Japan. I also want to thank all panda-lovers who have given their unreserved care and affection to this little creature.
Giant panda is China's national treasure and name card. Adored by people across the world, it is the most perfect fit for the role of ambassador of friendship. In 1972, two giant pandas, Lan Lan and Kang Kang, traveled far to reach Japan, capturing people's hearts and starting a panda craze. Since then, for nearly half a century, our ambassador of friendship has been playing a unique and significant role in enhancing the Japanese public's understanding of China and promoting friendship between the Chinese and Japanese people. Though miles apart, we are under the same sky. We believe that this adorable cub, born during this extraordinary time, will bring joy to the Japanese people and bear witness to China-Japan friendship.
Phoenix TV: On the evening of November 22, a U.S. charter plane landed at Songshan airport, Taiwan, China. Neither the United States nor Taiwan gave any details about the flight. According to some media in Taiwan, it was a visit by high-level U.S. intelligence officials to Taiwan. I wonder if you have any comment on this and if the mainland is going to take some measures in response to the frequent visits to Taiwan by the U.S. side? Second question, Taiwan and the United States recently held their first Economic Prosperity Partnership Dialogue. The two sides signed an MOU on establishing a dialogue mechanism. Do you have any response to this?
Zhao Lijian: As for your first question, China firmly opposes any form of official exchange and military contact between the U.S. and the Taiwan region. This stance is clear and consistent. We urge the U.S. to fully grasp the high sensitivity of the Taiwan question, abide by the one-China principle and the three China-U.S. joint communiques, immediately halt official exchanges and contacts in any form and handle Taiwan-related issues in a prudent and proper manner. China will make legitimate and necessary responses in light of the developments.
As to your second question, China consistently opposes official exchanges between the U.S. and the Taiwan region and have lodged solemn representations with the U.S. side. We urge the United States to earnestly adhere to the one-China principle and the three China-U.S. joint communiques, stop official exchanges and contacts with the Taiwan region and stop elevating its relationship with the Taiwan region in substance so as to avoid serious damage to China-U.S. relations and stability across the Taiwan Strait.
The Paper: The U.S. State Department announced in a statement on November 22 its official withdrawal from the Treaty on Open Skies. Does China have any comment?
Zhao Lijian: China deeply regrets the US insistence on withdrawing from the Treaty on Open Skies regardless of opposition from the international community. This move undermines military-to-military mutual trust and transparency between relevant countries, is not conducive to regional security and stability, and will negatively impact the international arms control and disarmament process. The United States should earnestly address the concerns of Russia and other parties to the treaty as well as the international community and strive to resolve differences through dialogue. Withdrawing from treaties at every turn is hardly the manner or approach befitting a major power.
China Daily: On November 21, the Afghan capital Kabul was hit by two rounds of attacks, with 23 rockets killing at least 10 civilians and injuring 51. The Islamic State has claimed responsibility. Since the hasty withdrawal of U.S. troops, the security situation in Afghanistan has deteriorated severely, with frequent armed and violent incidents putting the life and property of Afghan people at great danger. What is your comment?
Zhao Lijian: We condemn the attacks targeting civilians, mourn the victims and extend sympathy to the bereaved families and the injured.
China will continue to firmly support the Afghan government and people in their efforts to combat terrorism and safeguard national stability and security. We stand ready to work with the international community to help Afghanistan achieve peace and stability at an early date. China calls on foreign troops to withdraw from Afghanistan in an orderly and responsible way, make sure terrorist forces cannot fester, and contribute to Afghanistan's peace and reconciliation process.
NHK: A court in Hong Kong started the trial of cases related to Joshua Wong and two others today. Do you have any comment?
Zhao Lijian: This is not a question on foreign affairs. We support relevant authorities of the Hong Kong SAR government in fulfilling their duties according to law.