1. As decided by both sides, Premier of the State Council Li Keqiang will hold the 26th regular meeting between Chinese and Russian heads of government with Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin via videoconference on November 30.
2. State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Minister of Commerce Wang Wentao will attend the Eighth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) to be held in Dakar, capital of Senegal, from November 29 to 30. Before the meeting, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will pay a visit to Senegal at the invitation of Minister of Foreign Affairs and Senegalese Abroad Aïssata Tall Sall.
CCTV: Today, China announced that President Xi Jinping will attend the opening ceremony of the Eighth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) through video link. You just announced that State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Minister of Commerce Wang Wentao will attend the meeting in person. Can you share more information?
Zhao Lijian: President Xi Jinping will attend the opening ceremony of the Eighth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) and deliver a keynote speech through video link on November 29. The Bureau of the Assembly of the African Union Heads of State and Government, including President of Senegal and the African co-chair of FOCAC Macky Sall, President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo Félix Tshisekedi, President of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa, President of Comoros Azali Assoumani and President of Egypt Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will also attend the opening ceremony. This is another time that President Xi Jinping and African leaders will jointly chart the course for China-Africa relations, following the Johannesburg Summit of FOCAC in 2015, the Beijing Summit in 2018 and the Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity against COVID-19 in 2020. It will be China’s major diplomatic operation facing fellow developing countries this year and a grand gathering of the big, friendly family of China and African after the outbreak of COVID-19. After the opening ceremony, the foreign ministers or representatives of the 54 member states of the forum, and ministers responsible for external economic cooperation and representatives of the African Union Commission will hold the plenary meeting, where they will jointly evaluate the implementation of the outcomes of the Beijing Summit and the solidarity of China and Africa against COVID-19, and outline the development of China-Africa relations in the next three years and beyond, so as to deepen China-Africa mutual trust and elevate the practical cooperation. This will deliver greater benefits to the people in China and Africa with tangible cooperation outcomes and build a China-Africa community with a shared future in the new era.
MASTV: It is reported that a bipartisan delegation of five members of the US House of Representatives visited Taiwan. The “foreign affairs department” of the Taiwan authorities issued a statement saying that they will exchange views on issues including Taiwan-US relations, and that the visits of delegation from the US Congress demonstrate the firm bipartisan and bicameral support to the bilateral relations. We noted that US lawmakers have visited Taiwan twice in less than one month. Does the foreign ministry have any comment?
Zhao Lijian: The visit to Taiwan by certain US lawmakers gravely violates the one-China principle and stipulations of the three China-US Joint Communiqués and sends a seriously wrong signal of supporting the “Taiwan independence” separatist forces. China strongly deplores and firmly rejects this and has lodged solemn representation with the US side.
The one-China principle is an unshakable norm governing international relations. The moves of certain US politicians to wantonly challenge the one-China principle and embolden the “Taiwan independence” separatist forces have caused strong indignation among the 1.4 billion Chinese people. Taiwan is a sacred and inalienable part of China’s territory, not a card in international relations. We advise some in the US against playing the “Taiwan card”, because it will be an ill-conceived attempt that is doomed to fail. If they insist on playing this card, they will reap what they sow. China’s reunification is an unstoppable trend of history. The clumsy show put up by certain US politicians and the Taiwan authorities is only to be overwhelmed by China’s reunification process and can never change the unbreakable landscape where 180 countries in the world are committed to the one-China principle. All erroneous acts that run counter to the trend of China’s reunification are like ant trying to topple a giant tree and will end up in failure.
The Taiwan question concerns China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and bears on China’s core interests. The one-China principle and the three China-US Joint Communiqués constitute the political foundation of China-US relations. The US should earnestly abide by the one-China principle and the three China-US Joint Communiqués, immediately stop all forms of official interaction with Taiwan, prudently and properly handle Taiwan-related issues, and clear the landmines and barriers in bilateral relations. A stern warning to the Taiwan authorities: Attempting to solicit foreign support and rely on the US to seek independence will prove a dead end.
CCTV: Dmitry Peskov, Press Secretary for the President of Russia, said on November 24 that Washington is “trying to privatize the term ‘democracy’ ”, and only the democracy which the US believes in is true democracy. He added that Washington “prefers to create new dividing lines, to divide countries into those that — in their opinion — are good, and those that are bad”, which runs counter to the trend of today’s world. Do you have any comment?
Zhao Lijian: Mr. Peskov is right. Creating a dividing line of “democracy versus authoritarianism” will only instigate ideological confrontation, which is completely distortion of and affront to democracy. I would like to stress the following points:
First, the US democracy is not an exemplary model but a broken one. The Capitol riots early this year laid bare the myth of the US democracy. President of the Council on Foreign Relations Richard Haass said “So much for ... American exceptionalism, for our being a shining city on a hill.” Americans are seeing growing political polarization and division in their society. A latest report by the Pew Research Center showed that the vast majority of American people expressed deep disappointment about their country’s political system. The US so-called “beacon of democracy” has long collapsed.
Second, the export of the US democracy is a fiasco. The US democracy failed to fit in Afghanistan, leading to the debacle of US forces’ withdrawal and the loss of more than 100,000 Afghan lives. The so-called “Arab Spring” generated millions of refugees who have been displaced and homeless. The “Color Revolution” brought Eastern European countries political turmoil and their people destitution, which has continued to this day.
Last but not least, all roads lead to Rome. There is no single and only way to democracy. Forcing others to follow the US democracy will only make them take detour or lead them astray. What makes the US, a country with huge “democracy deficits”, believe that it has the right to be a model and judge for democracy and to host a so-called “Summit for Democracy”?
China Daily: China released a white paper on China-Africa cooperation in the new era this morning. Could you give us more information on it?
Zhao Lijian: The State Council Information Office released a white paper titled “China and Africa in the New Era: A Partnership of Equals” this morning. It is the first white paper released by the Chinese government giving a panoramic view of China-Africa cooperation. It is also the first white paper detailing the cooperation outcomes between China and a particular region since the 18th National Congress of the CPC.
The white paper summarizes comprehensively and systemically the new philosophy, new practice and new outcomes of the Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy in Africa. It elaborates on the principles of China’s Africa policy put forward by President Xi Jinping, namely, sincerity, real results, amity and good faith, pursuing the greater good and shared interests, and building a China-Africa community with a shared future characterized by six features. With ample facts and data, it captures the all-round, cross-sector and multi-dimensional cooperation between China and Africa, and documents the great journey of the Chinese and African people offering each other support and assistance in the new era.
China-Africa friendship goes way back. The profound bond of friendship was forged by the two sides during the historical process of fighting imperialism and colonialism for national independence. Developing solidarity and cooperation with African countries has been the cornerstone of China’s foreign policy as well as a firm and longstanding strategy. At the Johannesburg Summit of FOCAC in 2015 and Beijing Summit in 2018, President Xi Jinping and African leaders unanimously decided that the two sides would elevate relations to a comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership and build an even stronger China-Africa community with a shared future, ushering in a new era in relations, guiding cooperation to an unprecedented new high, and setting an example for building a community with a shared future for mankind.
As the Eighth FOCAC Ministerial Conference will be held soon in Senegal's capital city of Dakar, China-Africa cooperation faces a new opportunity to build on the momentum and scale new heights. Besides summing up China’s Africa policy and taking stock of China-Africa cooperation in the new era, the white paper released at this point will also promote the international community’s understanding and knowledge of China-Africa cooperation, and contribute China’s experience and wisdom to international cooperation with Africa and global development cooperation.
Hubei Media Group: Nathan Law said on his social media account that he met with Lithuania’s foreign minister and vice foreign minister, among others, and expressed thanks to their support for Taiwan and Hong Kong. Do you have any comment?
Zhao Lijian: This individual you mentioned is opposed to China and attempts to destabilize Hong Kong, and is wanted by Hong Kong police. The Lithuanian side is now emboldening the anti-China, destabilizing forces like Nathan Law, immediately after it flagrantly created the false impression of “one China, one Taiwan”. What it did has further laid bare its collusion with those anti-China, separatist elements.
Whoever plays with fire will get burnt. We hope certain individuals in Lithuania will heed this word of admonition and behave with ration and a clear head.
China Review News: We noticed that the Chinese diplomatic representation in Lithuania is renamed the Office of the Chargé d’Affaires of the People’s Republic of China in the Republic of Lithuania. Can you share more information?
Zhao Lijian: On November 18, the Lithuanian government, in disregard of China’s solemn representations, allowed the Taiwan authorities to set up the “Taiwanese Representative Office in Lithuania”. The act openly creates the false impression of “one China, one Taiwan” in the world and sets an egregious precedent. To safeguard national sovereignty and basic norms governing international relations, the Chinese government has announced the downgrading of China-Lithuania diplomatic relations to the chargé d’affaires level. On November 26, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China informed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania via diplomatic note of its decision to rename China’s diplomatic representation in Lithuania the Office of the Chargé d’Affaires of the People’s Republic of China in the Republic of Lithuania as well as its demand that the Lithuanian side change the name of its diplomatic representation in China accordingly.
I would like to point out that the step China has taken is a legitimate countermeasure to Lithuania’s decision that harms China’s sovereignty. The responsibility lies solely with the Lithuanian side. The Chinese people shall not be insulted and China’s sovereignty shall not be infringed upon. The Chinese government’s determination to safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests is unwavering. No acts that challenge China’s core interests will succeed. We advise the Lithuanian side to abide by widely recognized norms governing international relations, immediately correct its mistakes and return to the right path.
Xinhua News Agency: According to reports, Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare of Solomon Islands accused certain politicians of inciting riot in his remarks, saying he will not surrender to rioters and will never resign under pressure. He also said that the riot was encouraged by forces that wanted to thwart the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Solomon Islands. There are also comments saying that many of the demonstrators are from the pro-Taiwan Malaita province and that the establishment of diplomatic ties with China may be the reason behind the rioting. Does China have any comment?
Zhao Lijian: China is closely monitoring the latest developments in Solomon Islands. We condemn the violence that has caused serious damage and property loss and support the Solomon Islands government’s efforts to end the violence and chaos. We are confident that under the leadership of Prime Minister Sogavare, the Solomon Islands government has the capability to restore social order at an early date and stabilize the domestic situation. China is taking all necessary measures to safeguard the safety and lawful rights and interests of Chinese citizens and institutions in Solomon Islands.
It is universal knowledge that the one-China principle is a norm governing international relations and an invincible trend with overwhelming popular support. The establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Solomon Islands is a correct choice in keeping with the trend of the times that can stand the test of history. Since the establishment of diplomatic ties, bilateral relations have come a long way with fruitful outcomes in practical cooperation in various sectors, receiving Solomon Islands people’s sincere support and endorsement. As facts have proven, the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Solomon Islands serves the fundamental and long-term interests of Solomon Islands. All attempts to disrupt the normal development of relations between our two sides are nothing but futile.
Shenzhen TV: I have seen reports by the New York Times and some foreign social media that the Lithuanian government created “refugee camps in the style of concentration camps” at the borders, where refugees are forcibly detained in cramped containers. It is almost certain that the non-Belorussians' application for refugee status will all be rejected. Revealed footage shows, refugees who tried to protest their living conditions in refugee camps are exposed to the threat of force by armed Lithuanian military police. What is China’s comment?
Zhao Lijian: The reports you mentioned are indeed shocking and outrageous. It is hardly conceivable that such things are happening in the 2020s. Refugees are human beings, not canned sardines. They are not criminals and should not be forcibly detained in containers, still less threatened by military police with loaded guns.
Some US media reported that only ten non-Belorussian asylum seekers received approval among the 2,639 applicants in total. People in charge of Lithuania’s migration department admitted half-jokingly that Lithuania is indeed very xenophobic. The majority of refugees who received Lithuania’s asylum approval are dissidents of other countries. Former President of Lithuania’s Constitutional Court said the government’s large-scale detention of refugees and restrictions on their right to litigation are suspected of breaching Lithuania’s Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights.
At present, the humanitarian conditions of the thousands of refugees in Lithuania’s border area is quite worrying. But the US and some other self-claimed “human rights defenders” have turned a blind eye to the facts the refugees’ basic rights are gravely violated in Lithuania’s border area. The reason behind this is plain to see. Most of the refugees come from Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. They left their homeland thanks to the countries preaching “protection of human rights”. We have to ask where human rights are and where humanity is. We strongly call on the Lithuanian government to earnestly take effective measures to protect the human rights and all fundamental rights of the refugees.
CCTV: According to the latest reports, China has provided more than 1.8 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines to the international community, which is more than any other country. It is also the first country to bring the virus under effective control, resume work and production and reverse the economic downturn. By the end of November 24, up to 1.08 billion Chinese citizens, 76.8 percent of the entire population, are fully vaccinated. How does China manage to lead the world in vaccinating its own people and supplying vaccines overseas at the same time? What experience can the Chinese government share?
Zhao Lijian: The latest data on the two fronts you mentioned are indeed reassuring and inspiring. The Chinese government always puts people’s safety and health first. In pandemic prevention and control, it attaches the highest importance to people and life. Efforts are made to coordinate targeted prevention and control on a regular basis and contingency response, and to coordinate epidemic prevention and control and socioeconomic development. As a major country with a population of more than 1.4 billion, it has not been easy to accomplish this. Our success speaks volumes about the Chinese government’s governance capability and the strength of our social system. We will keep advancing with full strength relevant work in an orderly manner until we can declare victory on this people’s war against COVID-19.
The progress we have made in supplying vaccines overseas is our contribution to increasing the accessibility and affordability of vaccines in the developing world to build a global line of defense guided by the concept of a community of health for mankind and our pledge of making vaccines a global public good. That’s what China said and what we have been working on. We are the first to provide vaccines to developing countries in need through multiple means including donation and joint production, and we have provided more vaccines than any other country. Going forward, we will continue to provide more vaccines to the world, especially developing countries, to the best of our capability, to promote the equitable distribution and use of vaccines globally and make China’s contribution to vaccines’ fair distribution and use in the world.
China News Service: You just announced the 26th regular meeting between Chinese and Russian heads of government, which will be held by Premier Li Keqiang and Prime Minister Mishustin. Can you share China’s expectations for this meeting?
Zhao Lijian: This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Treaty of Good-neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation between China and Russia. President Xi Jinping and President Putin issued a joint statement and announced the extension of the Treaty, steering China-Russia practical cooperation to a higher stage, a broader scale and a deeper level for positive outcomes. In the first ten months this year, bilateral trade volume between China and Russia hit a record high of US$115.66 billion, up by 30.9 percent year-on-year. Our major strategic projects of cooperation were launched smoothly, new forms of businesses including cross-border e-commerce, artificial intelligence and mobile communications are gaining momentum. The Year of Scientific and Technological Innovation was successfully launched. The vitality of China-Russia cooperation is fully demonstrated.
The regular meeting between Chinese and Russian heads of government, which has been held 25 times, is an important mechanism for the two sides to coordinate, blueprint and guide practical cooperation and people-to-people exchange. The upcoming 26th regular meeting is an important high-level interaction between China and Russia against the background of COVID-19 flare-ups and a sluggish world economic recovery. It will further advance the implementation of a series of important consensus reached between our heads of state, inject stronger impetus into the China-Russia comprehensive and strategic partnership of coordination in the new era as well as our common development and revitalization, and contribute the two sides’ wisdom and strength to promoting the stability of global industrial and supply chains and revitalizing the world economy.
Bloomberg: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that a Chinese surveillance ship off Australia’s coast was a very serious situation in the “Indo-Pacific”. This Chinese ship was circulating the coast of Australia for around three weeks in August and in September. Does China have any comment?
Zhao Lijian: Certain Australian politicians, driven by selfish gains, are very keen on making remarks that incite confrontation. Such behavior is deeply irresponsible and unpopular.
I want to stress that China is always a builder of world peace, a contributor to global development and a guardian of international order. China’s development is an opportunity for the world. Despite all the benefits it has long enjoyed from cooperation with China, Australia is now hyping up the so-called “China threat theory”. It is groundless, immoral and will eventually hurt Australia’s own interests.
MASTV: On November 25, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said, “our principal stance is that we stand against politicizing the organization of the Olympic Games everywhere in the world and this stance is certainly in force in regard to the Games in China ... We have no doubts whatsoever that China will organize this sports event at the highest possible level”. She added that the US organizes media and political campaigns aimed at disrupting and undermining the Olympic Games’ organization under pretexts irrelevant to sports against China and other countries that are not following Washington’s commands. What is your comment?
Zhao Lijian: Ms. Zakharova made the point. China highly appreciates Russia’s recognition of and expectation for the Beijing Winter Olympics. Both China and Russia are both strong in sports and have supported each other in hosting Olympic Games. President Putin will attend the opening ceremony of the Beijing Winter Olympics at the invitation of President Xi Jinping, which will renew the two heads of state’s interaction on Winter Olympics. Athletes from both countries are now busy preparing for the Olympic Games and the two peoples are looking forward to this sports event.
In the meantime, there are some noises in the world that harbors the agenda of disrupting and undermining the Beijing Olympic Games. It is China’s belief that the Winter Olympic venues should host international athletes’ competition for excellence rather than wrestles and battles among political forces. Genuine Olympic Games should be free from political interference. Those who boycott Winter Olympic Games will be standing in opposition to the Olympic spirit and the mainstream public opinion. They will garner no support, still less succeed. With the 1.4 billion Chinese people in solidarity and wide support and collaboration from the international community, China is fully confident that we will present a streamlined, safe and splendid Winter Olympic Games to the world.
China Review News: In response to some lawmakers’ call for boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics, the Lithuanian National Olympic Committee circulated a statement that said the Olympic Games are an event of the entire world, and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) abides by the principle of political neutrality. “Every national Olympic committee is obliged to take part in the games”, it said, adding that it would be “unfair to ask athletes to give up this opportunity for political reasons”. What is China’s comment?
Zhao Lijian: China has reiterated many times that the Beijing Winter Olympics is a stage where winter sports athletes pursue their dreams, a feast for winter sports lovers every few years, and a platform for people across the world to promote friendship under the Olympic banner. The so-called boycott hurts the interest of global winter sports athletes who dedicated four years to the preparations, and undermines the interest of the IOC and the big international Olympic family.
According to the official data of the Beijing 2022 Organizing Committee, more than 14,000 registration applications have been submitted by national Olympic Committees of European countries, the US and Australia as of November 17, 2021. The US National Olympic Committee alone submitted 1,528 applications. For some time, delegations and athletes from many countries have expressed their expectation for Beijing 2022. The stark contrast between the boycott of certain countries’ politicians and active registration of Olympic Committees and athletes has fully shown so-called boycott wins no support.
China firmly believes that, guided by the Olympic spirit, more and more visionary people in the world will resolutely reject politicization of sports and staunchly support the Beijing Winter Olympics. China will work with the IOC and other countries, demonstrate the Olympic spirit of “together”, and present a streamlined, safe and splendid Winter Olympics to the world. We also believe that all political manipulation against the Olympic spirit will disappear, and the Olympic flame symbolizing peace and friendship will blaze in Beijing National Stadium, or the “Bird’s Nest”.
AFP: On Solomon Islands. Are Chinese citizens there safe? Does China advise Chinese citizens to leave Solomon Islands?
Zhao Lijian: According to reports, several local shops run by Chinese citizens were looted by mobsters. I have not received reports of Chinese casualties so far.
RIA Novosti: I also want to follow up on the Solomon Islands. I wonder if China is considering sending troops and police to Solomon Islands like Australia did?
Zhao Lijian: I haven’t heard of any request of this nature from the Solomon Islands government. We hope that relevant sides will respect the sovereignty of Solomon Islands.
RIA Novosti: The UK earlier announced its decision to ban flights from six Southern African countries over the spread of new coronavirus strain. I’ve seen that the China has one flight to South Africa every week. I wonder if China is considering banning this flight to South Africa?
Zhao Lijian: I don’t have any information on the specific situation you mentioned. Please ask competent authorities if you are interested.