|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian's Regular Press Conference on March 12, 2021|
China News Service: The IOC president, Thomas Bach, said the IOC has received a kind offer from the Chinese Olympic Committee to make vaccine doses available to participants at this year's Tokyo Olympics and the Beijing Winter Games in 2022. Also, preliminary data from a study in Brazil indicates that the COVID-19 vaccine developed by China's Sinovac Biotech Ltd is effective against the P1 variant of the virus first discovered in Brazil. Mongolian Deputy Prime Minister Sainbuyan Amarsaikhan spoke highly of the efficacy of Chinese vaccine on social media after receiving his first shot of a COVID-19 vaccine donated by China. What is your comment?
Zhao Lijian: These above-mentioned examples show that the safety and effectiveness of Chinese vaccines are earning recognition across the world. China is a committed front-runner in promoting international vaccine cooperation. Responding to a UN appeal, we have donated vaccines to peacekeepers from various countries. We are also ready to work with the International Olympic Committee to provide vaccines to Olympians. These are our concrete steps to make COVID vaccines a public good as pledged by President Xi Jinping. We sincerely hope that Chinese vaccines will inject more confidence and hope into the global fight against the virus.
Reuters: Japan's Olympics Minister Tamayo Marukawa said on Thursday that Japanese athletes at the Summer Olympics won't be eligible for the coronavirus vaccinations offered by China, because Japan has not approved the Chinese vaccines for emergency use. Does China have any response or will China push to have the vaccines approved in Japan for the Olympic?
Zhao Lijian: I am not aware of the situation you mentioned. China has already made relevant decision. Going forward, China will have communication and coordination on specific issues with the International Olympic Committee and the relevant country.
CCTV: Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on March 11 that the Russia-China partnership is "really great" in jointly combating the COVID-19 pandemic. "Our partnership was indeed very close and, most importantly, effective. This partnership and cooperation will continue," he said. What is China's comment on this?
Zhao Lijian: Since the outbreak of COVID-19, China and Russia have stood shoulder to shoulder and worked closely to combat the coronavirus. We've been helping each other with anti-epidemic materials at the earliest time possible, sharing practical experience unreservedly, and jointly carried out research and development of vaccines and drugs, and worked hand in hand to resist all kinds of "political viruses". This reflects the high-level operation of China-Russia relations in the new era and the profound friendship between the people of the two countries. China highly appraises this.
At present, the global epidemic is still not over. The global fight against COVID-19 must not stop until the virus gets eliminated in each and every country. As a responsible major country and a comprehensive strategic partner of coordination, China is willing to work with Russia to contribute our efforts to international cooperation against the pandemic, and to offer Chinese and Russian wisdom into the building of a global community of health for all.
RIA Novosti: Ukrainian authorities announced Thursday they plan to nationalize Motor Sich, an aircraft engine manufacturer majority-owned by Chinese companies. I wonder what is the ministry's comment on this and if Chinese companies and investors have asked for any assistance or help from Chinese government?
Zhao Lijian: We have noted relevant reports. We urge the Ukrainian side to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies and investors in accordance with law and properly handle relevant issues.
FSN: Two questions. First of all, the Global Times reported yesterday that the trial for the Canadians, Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig would take place soon. Would you be able to confirm whether that's correct or not and also provides any other possible details? The second question is will China bring up the topic of Meng Wanzhou when it meets with the U.S. side in Alaska later this month?
Zhao Lijian: On your first question, the Chinese side has made clear its position on the cases of the Canadian citizens on many occasions. The Chinese judicial authorities handle the cases in accordance with law and fully protect the lawful rights and interests of the relevant personnel. As for the specific situation you mentioned, I have no information to offer at present.
As for the China-US high-level strategic dialogue, the specific agenda has yet to be decided by the two sides.
Reuters: Has the Chinese side been in contact with the Canadian foreign ministry in relation to this recent development and are two Canadians permitted visits from the Canadian Embassy given that their trial could be upcoming?
Zhao Lijian: As I said just now, China's judiciary handles the cases in accordance with law and their legitimate rights and interests are fully protected. The Canadian Embassy in China paid consular visits to the two individuals on multiple occasions.
The Paper: I wonder if you have a comment on the statement by the President of the UN Security Council on Myanmar released on March 11?
Zhao Lijian: The Security Council issued a presidential statement on Myanmar through consensus. China participated in a constructive manner in relevant consultations. We hope the message from the Council will help ease the situation. The immediate priority is to prevent further conflict and bloodshed, deescalate the situation and bring down the temperature as soon as possible, step up diplomatic mediation and facilitate dialogue and reconciliation. The international community should create enabling conditions for this.
We hope parties in Myanmar will remain calm, exercise restraint, act in the fundamental interests of the people, strive to resolve differences through dialogue and consultation within the constitutional and legal framework, and continue to advance democratic transition. China supports ASEAN in mediating in the ASEAN Way to seek common ground following the principles of non-interference and consensus building. The Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General on Myanmar should play a constructive role and engage in active diplomatic mediation.
China and Myanmar are "pauk-phaw" brothers connected by the same mountains and rivers, and are a community with a shared future through thick and thin. We stand ready to engage and communicate with parties in the country to play a constructive role in easing tensions. China's friendship policy toward Myanmar is for all the people of Myanmar. Over the years, we have maintained friendly exchanges with various political parties in Myanmar, including the National League for Democracy. And developing friendship with China has also been a consensus across all sectors of Myanmar. No matter how the situation evolves, China will not waver in its commitment to advancing China-Myanmar relations, and will not change the course of promoting friendship and cooperation.
Bloomberg: Diplomats from the US, Australia, India and Japan, the Quad group, will meet Friday for the first time. Part of the rationale for this grouping is to counter China's economic and military influence. Would you like to comment on this meeting?
Zhao Lijian: State-to-state exchanges and cooperation should help enhance mutual understanding and trust among regional countries, instead of targeting against or undermining the interests of any third party. We hope relevant countries will follow the principles of openness, inclusiveness and win-win results, refrain from forming closed and exclusive "cliques" and act in a way that is conducive to regional peace, stability and prosperity.
Associated Press of Pakistan: According to media report, a senior Pakistani official has urged representatives of ASEAN countries to promote China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. I wonder if you have any comment on this?
Zhao Lijian: As an important pilot project of the Belt and Road Initiative, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is an open one guided by the principles of extensive consultation, joint contribution, and shared benefits. All countries and international organizations that support the BRI and the CPEC, and want to have mutually beneficial cooperation with China and Pakistan for common development, are welcome to participate in the building of CPEC on the basis of consensus and share the dividend of BRI cooperation.
Bloomberg: Washington has apparently told some suppliers to Huawei Technologies of tighter conditions on previously approved export licenses that prohibit items for use in or with 5G devices. The ban, effective this week, creates a more explicit prohibition on the export of components like semiconductors, antennas and batteries for Huawei's 5G devices. What is the ministry's comment on this ban? Does the ministry have any comment on Washington's approach to Huawei?
Zhao Lijian: The Chinese side has made clear its stern position on this issue many times. The previous U.S. administration abused the concept of national security and left no stones unturned to suppress Chinese hi-tech companies with state power. In doing so, the U.S. side is negating its much-flaunted principles of market economy and fair competition. Such actions will damage the legitimate interests of not only the Chinese companies but American ones and those from other countries, seriously disrupt scientific, technological and trade exchanges between the two sides and around the world and wreak havoc over the global industrial and supply chains.
The U.S. side should stop its crackdown on Chinese companies, treat them in an open, fair, unbiased and non-discriminatory manner, and do more to enhance China-U.S. scientific and technological exchanges and economic and trade cooperation.
Reuters: The White House made several comments about the upcoming meeting between China and the US in Alaska. The White House spokeswoman said the meeting would be difficult and Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan plan to discuss topics including Xinjiang, Hong Kong and other issues during the upcoming talks. What's the ministry's comment on this?
Zhao Lijian: Yesterday we announced that China and the United States will hold a high-level strategic dialogue in the coming days. Proposed by the U.S. side, it will be the first high-level contact between the two sides after the two presidents had a phone call on the eve of the Chinese lunar new year, and the first face-to-face meeting between the two sides since the new U.S. administration took office. We hope that through dialogue, the two sides can build on the spirit of the phone conversation of the two heads of state, focus on cooperation, manage differences and promote the sound and steady development of China-US relations.
The specific topics of the dialogue have yet to be decided by the two sides. We hope that the two sides can have candid talks on issues of common concern. China will make its position clear. The two sides should accurately understand each other's policy intentions, enhance mutual understanding, manage differences and bring China-US relations back to the right track.
China's position on issues related to Xinjiang and Hong Kong is consistent and clear. China has said many times that the door to Xinjiang is always open. In recent years, more than 1,200 foreign diplomats, international organization officials, journalists and religious personnel from over 100 countries visited Xinjiang, and they agreed that what they saw and experienced in the region was entirely different from Western media reports and politicians' accusations. We welcome unbiased foreigners to visit Xinjiang and get a better understanding of Xinjiang through personal experience. In the face of these facts and truths, all the lies and disinformation cooked up by anti-China forces will collapse.
Hong Kong is China's Hong Kong. Hong Kong affairs are purely China's internal affairs, and no foreign country has the right to interfere. We urge the U.S. side to stop interfering in China's Hong Kong affairs and refrain from going further down the wrong path. China will firmly safeguard its sovereignty, security and development interests.
Global Times: Yesterday, the Japanese government held a commemorative ceremony to mark the 10th anniversary of the March 11 earthquake in Japan. I wonder if you have any comment on this?
Zhao Lijian: On March 11, 10 years ago, the northeastern region of Japan was hit by a devastating earthquake and tsunami, causing heavy casualties and property losses. Yesterday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson expressed sincere condolences to the Japanese people through social media, hoping that with the joint efforts of the Japanese government and all social sectors, the disaster-hit areas will be rebuilt and revitalized at an early date.
Crushing disasters only highlights the compassion of humanity. As friendly neighbors separated by a strip of water, China and Japan have a fine tradition of standing in solidarity and helping each other in trying times. After the devastating earthquake in 2011, the Chinese government and people extended a helping hand to Japan in a timely manner and provided support and assistance to the best of our capability. Likewise, we will never forget the valuable support provided by the Japanese government and people to China in the aftermath of the Wenchuan earthquake in 2008. In the wake of the sudden outbreak of COVID-19, the Chinese and Japanese people supported each other and jointly wrote a chapter of the new era, which gives true meaning to the verses "though we live in different lands, the same moon and sky make us one" and attests to our fine tradition. China is ready to further deepen practical exchanges and cooperation with Japan in disaster prevention, reduction and relief, and protect the life and property of the two peoples as part of contributions to strengthening the regional and global disaster prevention system.
China Daily: Libya's parliament voted on Wednesday to approve Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dbeibeh's cabinet, which some believe represents the biggest opportunity in years for a resolution to Libya's conflict. Do you have any response?
Zhao Lijian: China welcomes the Libyan parliament's vote of confidence to the new interim government. We hope the interim government will work collaboratively with other parties, consolidate consensus and promote new progress in political settlement of the Libyan issue. China is willing to continuously develop friendly cooperative relations with Libya, work with the rest of the international community, and play an positive role in restoring peace and stability in Libya.
CRI: The Prime Minister of the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire, Hamed Bakayoko, has passed away due to illness in a hospital in Germany on March 10. Mr Bakayoko was also the country's defence minister. What is China's comment?
Zhao Lijian: Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Bakayoko was friendly to China and he made positive contributions to promoting friendly cooperation between China and the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire. China expresses its condolences on his passing-away and sincere sympathies to the family of Prime Minister Bakayoko and to the government and people of the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire. We attach importance to our relations with the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire and are willing to make joint efforts to promote greater development of bilateral relations.
Bloomberg: Microsoft has put out an advisory saying that a family of ransomware is exploiting vulnerabilities last week and has issued more update. There are thousands of servers that haven't been patched at all. In China there are 7,000 servers. Experts say this will impact businesses in China after developed countries in the world have been patched. Can we ask if the government has issued notices to businesses to install patches regarding this ransomware? And if they're concerned that it's been over a week and these new campaigns will continue to target vulnerable businesses until their systems have been patched?
Zhao Lijian: I am not aware of the situation you mentioned. This information you mentioned is very important and we will relay it to relevant department.
Yonhap News Agency: First, it is reported that the new DPRK Ambassador to China has arrived in China. Can you confirm it? Second, there are reports that China and the DPRK will return the exchange of personnel to the previous state. What is China's comment on this?
Zhao Lijian: On your first question, the DPRK appointed Ri Ryong Nam as DPRK ambassador to China, and China welcomes this. With regard to Ambassador Ri Ryong Nam's arrival in China and other follow-up developments, I have no information to release at present.
On the second issue, as a friendly neighbor to the DPRK, China is willing to work with the DPRK to safeguard, consolidate and develop well the traditional friendly and cooperative relations between the two sides.
NHK: Just now a reporter asked about China offering vaccines to athletes participating in the Tokyo Games and the Beijing Winter Olympic Games. When, which and how many Chinese vaccines will be provided to the athletes?
Zhao Lijian: Thank you for your interest in this matter, but at present I have no specific information to offer.