|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian's Regular Press Conference on June 18, 2020|
CCTV: State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi had a phone conversation with Indian External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar on recent developments in the west section of the China-India boundary. What is your comment? Will the border areas see more escalation?
Zhao Lijian: Regarding what happened in the west section of the China-India boundary, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi expounded China's stern position during his phone conversation with External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar. China has repeated multiple times that the whole thing happened because India's front-line troops, in violation of the agreement reached at the commander-level meeting, once again crossed the Line of Actual Control for deliberate provocation when the situation in the Galwan Valley was already easing, and even violently attacked the Chinese officers and soldiers who went there for negotiation, thus triggering fierce physical conflicts and causing casualties.
The Paper: The Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity Against COVID-19 was held yesterday. China has done more to help African countries fight the pandemic, reduce their debt and support them in overcoming economic difficulties. But some media believe that China is holding the summit to further expand its influence in Africa. What is China's comment?
Zhao Lijian: The Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity Against COVID-19 was successfully held on June 17. It was a special gathering of Chinese and African leaders amid our joint fight against the pandemic. In President Xi Jinping's keynote speech delivered at the Summit, he put forward a series of important initiatives and proposals, declared full support for African countries' efforts against COVID-19, and pledged to continue assisting Africa with supplies and medical experts and accelerate the construction of African CDC headquarters. China promises that once the COVID-19 vaccine is developed and put into use, African countries will be among the first to benefit. China is ready to work together with the international community to step up support for African countries, particularly those that are hardest hit by the coronavirus and are under heavy financial stress, by such means as further extending the period of debt suspension, to help them tide over the current difficulty.
African leaders warmly welcomed and spoke highly of this. They said that the Summit was convened at the right time and has strengthened the confidence of African countries to defeat the virus. China is a true friend that delivers help to Africa when it is most needed. By strengthening the bond of solidarity and cooperation, China and Africa will boost global confidence in achieving an early victory over COVID-19 and set a good example for relevant international cooperation.
As the pandemic continues to spread in Africa, African countries face multiple challenges and look forward to greater international support for Africa. China calls on the international community to heed Africa's voice, respond to its concerns, take more practical steps and make concrete contributions to helping Africa secure an early victory over the pandemic and realizing sustainable development.
CGTN: US President Trump signed into law the "Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2020", according to which President Trump needs to submit a report and a sanction list to Congress 180 days after the law comes into force. What is your comment?
Zhao Lijian: The Foreign Ministry, the NPC Foreign Affairs Committee, the CPPCC Foreign Affairs Committee and the Standing Committee of the People's Congress of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region have all issued statements in response to this. The United States signed into law the so-called "Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2020". This so-called Act deliberately denigrates the human rights conditions in China's Xinjiang, viciously attacks the Chinese government's Xinjiang policy, blatantly violates international law and basic norms governing international relations, and grossly interferes in China's internal affairs. The Chinese government and people express strong indignation and firm opposition to this.
Xinjiang-related issues are not issues about human rights, ethnicity or religion at all, but about combating violent terrorism and separatism. Xinjiang once suffered deeply from extremism, violent terrorism and separatism, which jeopardized the safety and property of the people there. Xinjiang has taken a series of measures to combat these activities and prevent their re-occurrence, in an approach of addressing both the symptoms and root causes of the problem. The measures taken are in compliance with Chinese laws. They are also China's concrete steps in implementing the international counter-terrorism and de-radicalization initiatives, including the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and the Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism.
The measures carried out in Xinjiang have effectively curbed the rising and frequent occurrences of violent terrorist activities, safeguarded national unity and security to the greatest extent possible, and protected the fundamental rights of the people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang, including their rights to life, health and development. Over the past three years and more, there has not been a single violent terrorist case in Xinjiang. People of different ethnic groups and religious beliefs in Xinjiang live together as equals, enjoy unity and harmony, and lead a peaceful and stable life. China's policy in Xinjiang has been positively recognized across the international community.
Terrorism and extremism are common enemies of human society. Countries' efforts in fighting terrorism and extremism should not be judged by different yardsticks, still less deliberately distorted in violation of international justice and human conscience. The so-called Act of the US side, by disregarding facts and distorting truth, seeks to stigmatize Xinjiang's measures against terrorism, separatism and radicalization, and applies double standards on counter-terrorism. The Act further reveals the ill intention of the US side to undermine China's sovereignty and security, sow discord among the ethnic groups in China, harm Xinjiang's prosperity and stability, and contain China's development.
We hereby warn the US side that Xinjiang affairs are purely China's internal affairs that allow no foreign interference. The Chinese government and people are resolute in safeguarding China's sovereignty, security and development interests. Once again, we urge the US side to immediately redress the mistake, and stop using this Xinjiang-related Act to harm China's interests and interfere in China's internal affairs. Otherwise, China will respond resolutely, and the United States must bear all the consequences arising therefrom.
China Daily: Can you confirm that Director Yang Jiechi and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo talked about issues on the COVID-19 pandemic during their meeting?
Zhao Lijian: We have released information on the dialogue between Yang Jiechi, Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the CPC Central Committee, and US Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo in Hawaii. With regard to the COVID-19 pandemic, Yang Jiechi stressed that as facts show, China's prevention and control measures are open, transparent, rapid and effective. Amid the ongoing pandemic, China and the US should strengthen anti-epidemic cooperation, support WHO's leading role, help developing countries fight the virus, and contribute to cooperation in global public health security.
AFP: You mentioned that China firmly opposes the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act and the US will face consequences. Can you give us details on what these consequences might be?
Zhao Lijian: How the situation will develop depends entirely on what the US will do.
Kyodo News: The G7 Foreign Ministers' Statement on Hong Kong was released today. I wonder if you have a response?
Zhao Lijian: We strongly deplore and firmly oppose the G7 Foreign Ministers' Statement on Hong Kong, which wantonly comments on Hong Kong affairs. We have repeatedly emphasized that Hong Kong affairs are purely China's internal affairs that allow no interference by any foreign government, organization or individual.
The NPC's decision and its standing committee's legislation of establishing and improving a legal framework and enforcement mechanisms for safeguarding national security in the Hong Kong SAR aims at filling in a national security legislative gap in the HKSAR. This state-level effort in itself is an illustration of the "one country, two systems" principle. It is to ensure this principle's sustained and steady implementation and to maintain Hong Kong's lasting stability and prosperity. As we have repeatedly stated, the core of the Sino-British Joint Declaration is to establish China's resumption of exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong. The Constitution of the People's Republic of China and the Basic Law of the HKSAR form the constitutional basis of the HKSAR.
China is firmly determined to advance this national security legislation in Hong Kong. We urge relevant sides to read through the Basic Law, take an objective and just view of the legislation, abide by international law and basic norms of international relations, and stop meddling in Hong Kong affairs and China's internal affairs.
RIA Novosti: Yesterday Russian foreign minister said the video conference between Russian, Indian and Chinese foreign ministers will be held next Tuesday on June 23, but later there were some reports that the conference is postponed, and there's no reason why. Could you confirm this?
Zhao Lijian: China, Russia and India are in communication regarding the foreign ministers' video conference. We will keep you updated if there is anything new.
AFP: India seems to have reinforced its troops along the borders. So, is China doing the same? And can China disclose more details today?
Zhao Lijian: I already stated China's position on the situation in the west section of the China-India boundary. The two sides are working to resolve the matter on the ground through military and diplomatic channels. I have nothing more to release.
Reuters: Another question on the China-India borders. Indian officials said an army colonel and other soldiers were attacked with iron rods by Chinese soldiers. Do you have any comment on this? Second, did the confrontation begin when Indian troops arrived to demolish structures created by China at or across the Line of Actual Control?
Zhao Lijian: The right and wrong of this matter is very clear. The onus is not on China. We have given a clear account of how the situation came into being. Indian frontline border defense troops on the night of June 15 blatantly broke the consensus reached at the commander-level talks between the militaries of the two sides. Under the circumstance that the situation in the Galwan Valley was easing, the Indian troops once again crossed the Line of Actual Control for deliberate provocation, and even violently attacked the Chinese officers and soldiers who went there for negotiation, thus triggering fierce physical conflicts and causing casualties. China demands that India carry out a thorough investigation into the incident, severely punish those who should be held accountable, strictly discipline Indian frontline troops, and immediately stop all provocative actions so as to ensure that such incidents do not happen again.
We have released information on the phone conversation yesterday between State Councilor Wang Yi and External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar. The two sides agreed to handle in a just manner the serious situation caused by the Galwan Valley clash, observe the agreement reached during the commander-level meeting, cool down the situation on the ground as soon as possible, and uphold peace and tranquility of the border areas in accordance with the bilateral agreements reached so far.
PTI: Further to what you said about the foreign ministry level talks, what is the next step to be followed after this? Is there something that has been contemplated by both sides?
Zhao Lijian: Besides stating China's position, State Councilor Wang also stressed in the phone call with his Indian counterpart that China and India, both emerging forces with a population of over one billion, bear the historic mission of accelerating national development and rejuvenation. Hence, acts of mutual respect and mutual support represent the right track and also conform to the long-term interests of both countries, whereas those of mutual distrust and friction belong to an evil path and go against the fundamental aspirations of the two peoples. China and India should follow the important consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries and leverage such existing channels as meetings between the two countries' special representatives on the boundary issue and meetings between border troops of both sides to strengthen communication and coordination on properly addressing the border situation, and jointly maintain peace and tranquility in the border areas.
The two sides agreed to handle in a just manner the serious situation caused by the Galwan Valley clash, observe the agreement reached during the commander-level meeting, cool down the situation on the ground as soon as possible, and uphold peace and tranquility in the border areas in accordance with the bilateral agreements reached so far.