|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian's Regular Press Conference on November 24, 2020|
The Paper: On the early morning today, China successfully launched the Chang'e-5 spacecraft with a Long March-5 rocket at the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site, marking the start of the country's first mission to retrieve samples from an extraterrestrial body. Do you have any comment?
Zhao Lijian: The stunning picture of the Chang'e-5 unit lighting up the night sky and the more impressive video clip with the roaring launch really take one's breath away. We hope and believe that Chang'e-5 will make a safe return with greetings from the moon.
Mankind's exploration of space is infinite. Peaceful exploration and use of outer space is a common cause for all human beings, a cause that should lead to greater welfare for all. China is committed to peaceful exploration and use of outer space. We stand ready to work together with other countries to contribute more to this cause and advance the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.
NHK: State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi started his visit to Japan today. Against the epidemic background, what is the purpose of this visit and what does China expect to achieve through it?
Zhao Lijian: I shared information on State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi's visit to Japan last week.
China-Japan relations are on a track of sustained and steady development. Through this visit, China hopes to work with Japan to implement the important consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries, deepen high-level strategic communication, strengthen cooperation in fighting COVID-19 and resuming work and production, enhance coordination in international and regional affairs and advance the sound and steady development of bilateral relations. During State Councilor Wang's visit, he will hold talks with Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and meet with Japanese political leaders. We will release more details about the visit in a timely manner.
Beijing Youth Daily: Yesterday at a press conference, officials of the Guizhou provincial government announced that all 66 counties in the province are out of poverty, which attracts wide attention at home and abroad. How does China's poverty alleviation help global poverty reduction?
Zhao Lijian: The fact that all impoverished counties in Guizhou are lifted out of poverty bears special significance, as it signals that all 832 counties nationwide on the poverty list established by the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development have achieved poverty alleviation, and that China says goodbye to the history of "poverty-stricken counties". It is a hard-won result and cause for celebration. As our practice proves, if a country can follow a people-first approach, proceed from its realities for development, and seek a targeted, practical, open and win-win solution, it will successfully find a poverty reduction path that suits its domestic conditions and needs, which will be a "master key" to poverty eradication.
China's poverty alleviation cause received a lot of support and assistance from the international community, and we have been taking concrete actions and sharing our experience and wisdom to contribute to the global poverty reduction efforts and help other developing countries eradicate poverty. China will continue contributing to world poverty alleviation and development.
Reuters: According to media reports, some Chinese nationals in Ethiopia have been affected by the turmoil in the country. Do you have a comment?
Zhao Lijian: Ethiopia is China's important cooperative partner in Africa. We have been following the situation in the country and sincerely wish it peace, stability, development and prosperity. To my knowledge, there are some Chinese companies in the conflict region in Ethiopia. With the assistance of the Ethiopian side, the Chinese citizens there have basically been evacuated.
Associated Press of Pakistan: According to media reports, international transit activities have started at Gwadar Port. This reflects confidence of the international business community and shipping lines in the economic potential of the port. As Gwadar Port is an important component of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, do you have any response?
Zhao Lijian: During my post in Pakistan, I visited Gwadar Port six times, which gave me a first-hand experience of the port's construction, development and operation. I'm most delighted to learn of the new progress in the development of the Gwadar Port. China supports the port in playing a bigger role in regional trade in goods. As has been proven, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor not only brings benefits to the people in both countries, but also helps enhance regional connectivity and economic cooperation. We have every confidence that with the concerted efforts of all sides, the CPEC will contribute more to development and prosperity of the region.
AFP: The WHO said its team of international experts will travel to China soon for work related to origins of COVID-19. When will they arrive in China and can you give any further details of the trip? Second, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison recently talked about the needless worsening of ties with China. What's China's response?
Zhao Lijian: On your first question, China and WHO have been in communication and cooperation on the origin tracing of the virus. While tracing the origin domestically, China has been earnestly implementing WHA resolutions. We are the first to invite WHO experts in for origin-tracing cooperation. We also held video conferences with WHO experts recently.
Origin-tracing is a scientific matter that requires international research and cooperation by scientists across the globe, so as to advance the understanding of animal reservoirs and the route of transmission to humans, which will help to better prevent future risks to protect the life and health of people in all countries. This is an ongoing process that may involve many countries and places. We hope all relevant countries will adopt a positive attitude and cooperate with WHO like China does, making contributions to global origin-tracing and anti-epidemic cooperation.
On your second question, China noticed Prime Minister Morrison's positive comments on the global influence of China's economic growth and China's poverty alleviation efforts. China is committed to peaceful development and friendly cooperation with other countries based on mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit. We also hope all countries will reject ideological bias and base their positions on the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, universally acknowledged basic norms governing international relations, and the merits of the matters concerned. On China-Australia relations, we hope Australia will make independent, objective, sensible choices that serve its own interests.
Beijing Daily: On November 23, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office issued its latest Six-monthly Report on Hong Kong. Foreign Secretary Raab said in the Foreword that Beijing's decisions to impose the National Security Law and then to disqualify elected legislators represent two substantive breaches of the Joint Declaration in just five months. This calls into serious question China's commitment to the "one country, two systems" framework. The UK will continue to defend the rights of the people of Hong Kong and implement the Sino-British Joint Declaration. What is China's comment?
Zhao Lijian: It has already been 23 years since Hong Kong returned to the motherland, and yet the British government still tries to poke its nose into Hong Kong affairs while hurling unfounded accusations at China by publishing the so-called Six-monthly Report on Hong Kong. We firmly oppose and strongly condemn this.
Since Hong Kong's return, the Central Government of China has been earnestly implementing the principles of "one country, two systems", "Hong Kong people governing Hong Kong" and a high degree of autonomy, acting in strict accordance with the Basic Law, and fully supporting the Chief Executive and the SAR Government in exercising law-based governance. Hong Kong people enjoy full rights and freedoms in accordance with law. The Chinese Government is unswervingly determined to implement "one country, two systems", to safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests, and to oppose any external interference in Hong Kong's affairs.
I stress once again that Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region of China and that the United Kingdom has no right of supervision over or moral obligation towards it and has no right to interfere in Hong Kong affairs by citing the Sino-British Joint Declaration. During its colonial rule, the UK never granted democracy to Hong Kong. Today, the UK is in no position to sit as a judge. We urge it to discard colonial mentality, abandon hypocrisy and double standards, stop meddling in other countries' domestic affairs, and get back to the right track of upholding international law and basic norms of international relations as soon as possible.
PTI: You just took a question about the visit by WHO experts to China. Can you tell us when this visit is likely to take place? And how many of these scientists are expected to visit China?
Zhao Lijian: If there is any information, we will release it in due course.
BBC: There are reports that the Chinese government has proposed to develop a mutual recognition mechanism for health codes. Could you explain anything about this?
Zhao Lijian: As the global pandemic situation remains grave, the world is faced with the imperative tasks of resuming economic growth and facilitating personnel exchange. With a view to unclogging global economic arteries, resuming the safe and smooth operation of global industrial chains and supply chains, and facilitating orderly flow of people, China has put forward the proposal of establishing a mutual recognition mechanism of COVID-related health information of international travelers. At the moment, this mechanism is still in the early stages. Going forward, we will need to work around such issues as mutual recognition between countries, information protection, and use of data. The Chinese side will communicate with relevant sides on this.