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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian's Regular Press Conference on September 10, 2021
2021/09/10

CCTV: The 13th BRICS Summit was held via video link yesterday. Could you share with us China's initiatives and proposals for advancing BRICS cooperation?

Zhao Lijian: President Xi Jinping put forward the following five proposals aimed to advance the high-quality development of BRICS practical cooperation.

First, strengthen public health cooperation in the spirit of solidarity. We need to support each other's COVID response, pursue practical cooperation on vaccines, including joint research and production and mutual recognition of standards, and facilitate an early launch of the BRICS Vaccine R&D Center in virtual format.

Second, strengthen international cooperation on vaccines in the spirit of equitable access for all. China has provided more than one billion doses of finished and bulk vaccines to over 100 countries and international organizations, and will strive to provide a total of two billion doses by the end of this year. On top of the US$100 million donation to COVAX, China will donate an additional 100 million doses of vaccines to fellow developing countries within this year.

Third, strengthen economic cooperation in the spirit of mutual benefit. China proposes to host a BRICS high-level meeting on climate change and a BRICS forum on big data for sustainable development. We look forward to active participation of BRICS countries in activities held by the BRICS Partnership on New Industrial Revolution innovation center launched in Xiamen. We welcome the substantive progress made in expanding the membership of the New Development Bank (NDB).

Fourth, strengthen political and security cooperation in the spirit of fairness and justice. We need to consolidate the BRICS strategic partnership, support each other on issues concerning our respective core interests, better coordinate our positions on major international and regional issues, and send out an even bigger, collective voice of BRICS countries.

Fifth, strengthen people-to-people exchanges in the spirit of mutual learning. China suggests setting up a BRICS alliance for vocational education to organize vocational skills competitions. Going forward, China will host the BRICS seminar on governance and the BRICS forum on people-to-people and cultural exchanges. We look forward to welcoming athletes from BRICS countries and around the world to demonstrate their sporting skills and achieve excellent performance.

As China takes over the BRICS chairmanship next year, we look forward to working hand in hand with BRICS partners to deepen cooperation across the board, forge a closer and more results-oriented partnership, address common challenges and create a better future.

CGTN: On September 8, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi attended the first Foreign Ministers' Meeting on the Afghan Issue among the Neighboring Countries of Afghanistan. We noted that a joint statement was issued after the meeting. There is keen attention, both in and outside China, on this joint voice from Afghanistan's neighboring countries. Could you tell us what messages have been extended in this joint statement?

Zhao Lijian: On September 8, the first Foreign Ministers' Meeting on the Afghan Issue among the Neighboring Countries of Afghanistan was held via video link. This is the first time that the foreign ministers of Afghanistan's neighboring countries have jointly discussed Afghanistan-related matters, which is necessary and timely and has positive effects. As neighbors who share a border with Afghanistan, we are more eager than anyone else to see Afghanistan get out of war and chaos, and resume peace and development.

The joint statement is an important outcome of the Foreign Ministers' Meeting. It reflects the consensus and common will of the six countries, and sends a positive, strong and clear message to the international community. The core essence includes the following:

There is no military solution to the Afghan issue. We call on the Afghan side to form an open and inclusive political structure, practice moderate and sound internal and external policies, adopt friendly policies towards its neighbors, make a clean break with all terrorist organizations and not allow terrorist organizations including ETIM to maintain a foothold on Afghanistan's territory.

Afghanistan's neighboring countries will stand united with the Afghan people, support Afghanistan's sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, and stay committed to helping Afghanistan achieve peace, security, national reconciliation, stability and development. We are ready to keep ports open for Afghanistan and committed to continue providing medical supplies as well as technical and other assistance for the fight against COVID-19. We will continue our coordination and cooperation on drug control, immigration and other issues and continue to help strengthen economic and trade connectivity in Afghanistan and the region, call on the international community to help with Afghanistan's peace and reconstruction, and agree to hold more Foreign Ministers' Meetings among Afghanistan's neighboring countries and set up relevant mechanisms.

This Foreign Ministers' Meeting is the first trial by Afghanistan's neighboring countries to work closely in response to the evolving situation in the country. It also signifies the establishment of a coordination and cooperation mechanism of its neighboring countries. This mechanism and other existing multilateral mechanisms related to the Afghanistan issue are not mutually exclusive, and can form synergy by complementing each other. All participating parties support the continued operation of this unique mechanism so that countries can share policy propositions, coordinate their positions and jointly address challenges through this platform.

International public opinion attaches great importance to this meeting and the joint statement. It believes the move marks that Afghanistan's neighbors have found the greatest common denominator in seeking a solution to the Afghan issue and sends a clear message to the international community that the neighboring countries support the building of a peaceful, stable, prosperous and friendly Afghanistan, and will hopefully create a favorable external environment for Afghanistan's peace and reconstruction.

Prasar Bharati: You have just talked about the 13th BRICS Summit held yesterday under India's chairmanship. Would you like to comment on the initiatives, BRICS partnership and different agreements of these countries under India's chairmanship in the last one year?

Zhao Lijian: I just briefed you on the 13th BRICS Summit. We recognize and appreciate India's contributions during its chairmanship in the past year, including hosting this summit.

Global Times: Suhail Shaheen, spokesman for the Taliban Political Office in Qatar, said in an interview on September 9 that many East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) members have left Afghanistan and he did not see that "anyone, in any place" will be able to stay in Afghanistan. He also said "First, we will not allow any training on our territory. Second, we will not allow any fundraising for those who intend to carry out a foreign agenda. Third, we will not allow the establishment of any recruitment center in Afghanistan." However, he did not answer directly whether the Taliban will extradite ETIM members to China. Do you have any comment?

Zhao Lijian: We noted these further statements by the Afghan Taliban on the ETIM issue in the Global Times exclusive interview. The ETIM is an international terrorist organization designated by the UN Security Council. It is a direct threat to China's national security and territorial integrity, a scourge affecting regional security and stability and a tumor festering in Afghanistan. Afghanistan and the rest of the international community share the responsibility to firmly reject, curb, crack down on and eradicate the ETIM.

China has expressed serious concerns over the ETIM to the Afghan Taliban on multiple occasions. The Afghan Taliban attaches importance to this and has made solemn pledges. We hope they will honor their words, make a clean break with the ETIM and other terrorist groups, and take effective measures to resolutely crack down on these terrorist organizations within its territory. In the meantime, they should step up coordination and cooperation with neighboring countries to forestall spillover effects, and prevent Afghanistan from becoming a hotbed, harbor or source of terrorist forces.

China News Service: Australian Defence Minister Peter Dutton, when speaking to the American Chamber of Commerce in Australia, said that the world is "grappling with a regional environment far more complex and far less predictable than at any time since the Second World War"; the geopolitical climate had "echoes of the 1930s"; China has grown increasingly "coercive", driven by a "zero-sum mentality", and is undermining the sovereignty of other nations and the global rules-based order. Do you have any comment?

Zhao Lijian: The Australian government official openly hyped up the so-called China threat, and wantonly criticized and attacked China. This fully exposed his Cold War mentality and ideological bias. It runs counter to the trend of peace, development and cooperation in today's world, and is detrimental to regional peace and stability as well as Australia's interests. China firmly rejects his extremely dangerous and irresponsible remarks.

China is committed to the path of peaceful development and to developing friendly cooperative relations with other countries on the basis of the five principles of peaceful co-existence. We always contribute to world peace and development and uphold international order. We firmly uphold the UN-centered international system and basic norms governing international relations based on the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. That being said, we oppose the imposition of rules set by a few countries on the international community.

The responsibility for the current difficulties in China-Australia relations rests solely with the Australian side. China has never infringed upon Australia's sovereignty. It is Australia that has time and again violated international law and basic norms of international relations and grossly interfered in China's domestic affairs, provoking tension and confrontation as if it wished for nothing more than trouble. The international community can see plainly who is driven by "zero-sum mentality" and being coercive. We hope Australian politicians will stop sensationalizing the so-called China threat and seeing China as the "imagined enemy", or else the stone they are lifting will end up falling on their feet.

Shenzhen TV: The head of Taiwan's so-called foreign affairs department Joseph Wu wrote that China's mainland has pressured the UN and its agencies to exclude Taiwan by misusing and misinterpreting the Resolution 2758 (XXVI) adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1971 as a legal basis. He added that only Taiwan's democratically elected government can represent its people on the international stage. Do you have any response to that?

Zhao Lijian: What Joseph Wu said is purely "Taiwan independence" remarks. There is only one China in the world and Taiwan is an inalienable part of China's territory. China's representation at the UN certainly includes Taiwan. On the issue of the Taiwan region's participation in activities of international organizations, China's position is consistent and clear. It must be handled in accordance with the one-China principle, which is an important principle established by UNGA Resolution 2758. This Resolution has already recognized the representatives of the government of the People's Republic of China as the only legitimate representatives of China to the United Nations in political, legal and procedural sense, so there is no such issue of "misusing and misinterpreting" whatsoever. We urge the DPP authorities to stop pushing for de jure independence and political manipulation, otherwise they are just inviting further humiliation.

Beijing Daily: Recently several Indian media outlets got a slap in the face for running fake news. Some of them cited video game images and video clips and photos of US fighter jets as evidence of a "full-fledged Pakistani invasion" of Afghanistan, drawing criticism from foreign media and the Indian people. Indian media's concoction of fake news had been exposed time and again. Does China have any comment on this?

Zhao Lijian: China always holds that news reporting should show respect for facts. We firmly oppose fabrication of fake news in breach of professional ethics in the name of press freedom. The international community should strengthen cooperation in combating disinformation to jointly safeguard a healthy, rational and objective environment for public opinion.

Phoenix TV: The coming September 11 will mark the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 incident. Do you have any comment? What's your view on the current international counter-terrorism situation?

Zhao Lijian: Tomorrow marks the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 incident. In the past two decades, important progress has been made in international counter-terrorism cooperation. However, the situation remains complex and grave. Terrorism is a common scourge that afflicts the entire human society. To combat it is the shared responsibility of the international community. All countries must join forces for the same purpose, coordinate policies, give full play to the UN's central coordinating role in international counter-terrorism cooperation, attach importance to eradicating the breeding ground of terrorism, tackle prominent issues such as terrorists' abuse of new and emerging technologies, and also stay on high alert to terrorist forces' instigation of terrorist activities by taking advantage of COVID-19.

Double standard must be abandoned to crack down on terrorism. Terrorists are terrorists, period. To designate terrorists based on selfish political interests is to condone terrorist activities and hamstring international counter-terrorism cooperation. Ideology cannot be the criteria when it comes to fighting terrorism. We firmly reject attacks and smears against other countries' legitimate counter-terrorism and deradicalization measures under the pretext of protecting ethnic minorities and religious freedom. We also reject the pursuit of selfish geopolitical gains through condoning or using terrorist organizations.

The Afghan war waged by the US after 9/11 lasted 20 years. But it has not only failed in removing the terrorist threat, but has actually witnessed the dramatic increase of Afghanistan-based terrorist organizations and foreign terrorists. As the culprit of the Afghan issue, the US should learn some hard lessons. The end of US military intervention should mark the beginning of the US earnestly assuming its due responsibilities. The US is more obligated than any other country to provide the Afghan people with economic, livelihood and humanitarian assistance, help Afghanistan realize stability and prevent chaos on the basis of respecting its sovereignty and independence, curb the threat of terrorism and achieve sound development.

Macau Monthly: A group of 13 Republican lawmakers represented by Cathy Rodgers, a senior member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, on September 9 raised concerns about US approval for Chinese telecommunications company Huawei to buy chips for its auto components business in a letter. They asked US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg if he was concerned "Huawei will ... gather information on Americans and our transportation infrastructure". Does China have any comment?

Zhao Lijian: These thieving US politicians have the nerve to call others thieves. The Chinese people are indignant! When it comes to stealing and gathering information, the US is the true world champion. Global tapping scandals such as the PRISM program have proven that the US deserves the title empire of hacking more than any other country. It is not the US that should be concerned, but rather other countries.

Chinese businesses maintain a good record on information security. Huawei has openly announced to the whole world its readiness to sign no-backdoor agreements and to launch cybersecurity assessment centers in any country to receive external testing. I wonder if US companies dare to do the same. We urge the US lawmakers to actually serve their constituencies instead of smearing others and engaging in political manipulation.

Bloomberg: I just like to ask about the telephone call between President Xi Jinping and US President Biden. Could you offer some more details? Also in relation to the working groups meetings going forward, they said there would be a step up in that activity. Could you help us understand that a little bit more concretely? What should we be looking out for in the coming weeks and months to show that today's telephone call actually has yielded some results?

Zhao Lijian: China and the United States are respectively the biggest developing country and the biggest developed country. Whether they can handle their relationship well bears on the future of the world. It is a question of the century to which the two countries must provide a good answer. When China and the United States cooperate, the two countries and the world will benefit; when China and the United States are in confrontation, the two countries and the world will suffer. Getting the relationship right is not an option, but something we must do and must do well.

With the international community facing many common challenges, China and the United States need to show broad vision and shoulder great responsibilities. The two countries should look ahead and press forward, demonstrate strategic courage and political resolve, and bring China-U.S. relations back to the right track of stable development as soon as possible for the good of the people in both countries and around the world.

Both presidents agreed that in-depth communication between them on China-U.S. relations and major international issues is very important for steering the bilateral ties in the right direction. They agreed to maintain frequent contact by multiple means and instruct officials at the working level to intensify the work, conduct extensive dialogue and create conditions for the further development of China-U.S. relations.

As to the specifics you asked for, I have nothing more to add.

SCMP: President Biden said that the US side has no intention to change the one-China policy. Do you have any comment on this statement? Are you satisfied with it?

Zhao Lijian: The Taiwan question is the most important and sensitive issue in China-US relations. The one-China principle is the political foundation of China-US relations. As President Xi stressed during the call, on the basis of respecting each other's core concerns and properly managing differences, China and the US should continue engagement and dialogue to advance coordination and cooperation to inject more positive dynamics into the relationship. President Biden said during the phone call that the US side has no intention to change the one-China policy.

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Today is Teacher's Day in China. Respecting teachers and valuing education is a fine tradition of the Chinese nation. Students will always be grateful to their teachers and keep with them the guidance wherever they go. To all teachers: Happy Teacher's Day!

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