MASTV: World Bank President David Malpass said recently that “China’s unwillingness to deliver more stimulus during the current international slowdown is putting more pressure on the US to support international growth”. What is China’s comment?
Zhao Lijian: As the largest emerging economy, China is a key locomotive and stabilizer of world economic growth. The China Economic Update released by the World Bank in June gave a positive review of China’s effective fiscal and monetary policies. During the China International Fair for Trade in Services this year, World Bank officials also said that China’s latest measures of further opening-up will boost post-COVID global economic recovery.
The US, however, is another story. To resolve staggering inflation in the US, the Federal Reserve has resorted to rate hikes several times. The rapid appreciation of the US dollar has led to the depreciation of 36 currencies by at least one-tenth. This has left many developing countries in a bitter economic recession caused by currency depreciation, capital flight, the soaring cost of financing and debt repayment and imported inflation. Countless families were plunged into poverty overnight. The struggling world economy is taking yet another toll from this. The Wall Street Journal also pointed out recently that the dollar’s rapid rise is causing global economic woes.
The US should adopt responsible economic and financial policies and act responsibly for safeguarding international financial stability and promoting world economic recovery. It is the US that the World Bank needs to focus its efforts on in this regard.
Reuters: During a hearing before the US House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday, Republican congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer pressed US banking chief executives on how they would respond in the hypothetical event of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan. The chief executives all said they would follow US government guidance suggesting a reduced or even removal of their bank’s presence in the Chinese market. Does the foreign ministry have any comment?
Zhao Lijian: The Taiwan question has always been the most central and sensitive issue in China-US relations. The US side needs to abide by the one-China principle and provisions in the three China-US joint communiqués, earnestly follow through on the US leader’s statement of not supporting “Taiwan independence”, and stop manipulating Taiwan-related issues.
CCTV: President Xi Jinping put forward the Global Development Initiative (GDI) at the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in September last year, which has been actively supported and warmly responded to by the international community. On the GDI’s first anniversary, China chaired the Ministerial Meeting of the Group of Friends of the GDI. What was the consideration and what were the outcomes?
Zhao Lijian: In September last year, President Xi Jinping put forward the GDI to galvanize international commitment to development and accelerate the implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. So far, more than 100 countries and international organizations have supported the Initiative and more than 60 countries have joined the Group of Friends of the GDI. In June, President Xi Jinping chaired the High-level Dialogue on Global Development, which charted the course for the implementation of the GDI.
On the first anniversary of the GDI, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi chaired the Ministerial Meeting of the Group of Friends of the GDI in New York. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres delivered remarks via video link. Heads of nearly 10 international organizations and high-level representatives from 60 countries, including foreign ministers of nearly 40 countries, attended the meeting. This meeting was a major event during this year’s UNGA and produced positive outcomes.
First, it consolidated the international consensus on GDI cooperation. Secretary-General Guterres and participants at the meeting spoke highly of President Xi’s vision as demonstrated by the GDI. They said that the Initiative is of great significance for boosting international cooperation on development and implementing the 2030 Agenda, and believed that it can be a catalyst for the faster development of developing countries and small- and medium-sized countries in particular. Parties will continue to deepen their participation in GDI cooperation and synergize the Initiative with the strategies of international organizations, regions and countries and pool efforts together.
Second, it identified the pathway for advancing the Initiative on six fronts. The implementation of the GDI will focus on the central task of implementing the 2030 Agenda. It will be projects-led through promoting policy dialogue, experience sharing, capacity building and practical cooperation. It welcomes extensive participation, with the UN as an important cooperation partner and the Group of Friends of the GDI as the main body, to build a good example of cooperation and encourage the participation of others. It will increase input by fully leveraging the Global Development and South-South Cooperation Fund and the China-UN Peace and Development Trust Fund to pool more resources. It will advance all-round GDI cooperation by strengthening cooperation in the eight key areas of the Initiative to ensure that all 17 sustainable development goals of the 2030 Agenda can be met. It will have a special focus on key issues, including pressing challenges such as food and energy security, in the full implementation of the GDI.
Third, it witnessed China’s proposal of seven practical measures. They include the release of the first batch of projects of the GDI project pool, the announcement of specific actions on food security, clean energy and customs cooperation, the establishment of the World Digital Education Alliance under China’s initiative, the start of formulating the Bamboo as a Substitute for Plastics Global Action Plan, China’s pledge to make available globally the data acquired by the Sustainable Development Science Satellite (SDGSAT-1) launched by China, and the presentation of six global data products for sustainable development to the UN. These measures have demonstrated China’s firm resolve and specific actions to advance the Initiative and were warmly welcomed.
As State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said, the meeting has shown countries’ support for the GDI and their firm commitment to accelerating the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. We believe that with the support of all parties, the Initiative will be further deepened and substantiated, and inject new momentum into the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
The Paper: Today marks the 160th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. However, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey, about 45% of African Americans in the US said equality is not likely to happen. Do you have any comment?
Zhao Lijian: Slave trade was an original sin of the US. Slavery remained legal in the US for a third of the country’s 246-year history. According to Statista, a German statistics company, there were nearly 700,000 Black slaves in the US in 1790, and the number exceeded 3.95 million in 1860.
The US issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1862. However, today, 160 years later, African Americans still find themselves not emancipated from the yoke of racial discrimination. Statistics show that African Americans, who account for less than 13% of the US population, are more than twice as likely to be shot by the police, 2.9 times more likely to die from police brutality, and almost six times more likely to be imprisoned than white Americans. African Americans are infected with COVID-19 at three times the rate of white Americans and 1.9 times more likely to die from the virus. Their average life expectancy would shorten by 2.1 years due to the pandemic compared to 0.68 years for white Americans. According to the Pew Research Center survey conducted in August, 77% of African American adults said descendants of people enslaved in the nation should receive compensation, though most respondents think they will not see it in their lifetimes.
The US government needs to face its historical sin squarely and actually do something to improve the human rights conditions of racial minorities at home, rather than use human rights as a pretext to malign and smear other countries around the world.
Bloomberg: What is China’s view on the Afghan Taliban’s ties with the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM)? Has the Taliban shown concrete steps in limiting their association with ETIM? And is this the main reason why China hasn’t invested in Afghanistan?
Zhao Lijian: Regarding the relationship between the Afghan Taliban and ETIM, I think you need to raise your question to the Afghan Taliban. Judging from China’s communication with the Afghan Taliban, the Afghan Taliban has said repeatedly that it will not allow Afghanistan’s territory to be used by any terrorist organizations to attack China or any other country. We hope the Afghan side can earnestly fulfill this commitment.
As to China’s investment in Afghanistan, I have some knowledge of the investment projects there from my posting in Pakistan. China has invested in such projects in Afghanistan as the Mes Aynak copper mine. Relevant Chinese companies have maintained contact and consultations with the Afghan side. The Chinese government has open lines of communication with the Afghan side over the projects. Also, the Chinese government has provided substantial humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan to help the Afghan people pull through the humanitarian crisis.
Beijing Youth Daily: According to reports, the Yokosuka Municipal Government of Kanagawa Prefecture in Japan recently announced that the amount of toxic fluorine compounds detected in drainage water from a US naval base there exceeded Japanese government-set limits. The municipality has filed complaints to the US troops and they have yet to offer any explanation. Do you have any comment?
Zhao Lijian: This is not the first time that the US troops in Japan dumped toxic substances. This again shows the world how much harm the US troops in Japan have done, using extraterritoriality as their shield, to the local environment and people’s lives.
Saving the benefits of something to itself and leaving the environmental cost to others is the US’s standard practice. As the world’s largest exporter of solid waste and a major consumer of plastic in per capita terms, the US has yet to ratify the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal. The US has long taken developing countries whose handling capacity is still inadequate as the final dumping site of plastic waste. According to a report released by the NGO Basel Action Network (BAN), US companies were still illegally exporting hazardous electronic waste to developing countries in 2020.
In the US, racial minorities including the American Indians, African Americans and Latinos face serious environmental inequities. The US government has systematically used Indian reservations as toxic or nuclear waste dumps through the means of deception and coercion. As a result, the cancer incidence and fatality rates in the communities concerned are significantly higher than in other parts of the country. Numerous studies have shown a higher percentage of African and Hispanic communities that are exposed to air pollution, toxic waste sites, landfills and lead poisoning compared to white communities. UN Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance said in a statement that environmental racism poses serious threats to the enjoyment of several human rights of African American residents, including the right to life, the right to health and the right to an adequate standard of living.
Environmental issues are humanity’s shared challenge. They are issues for the global commons. As the most advanced developed country, the US needs to fulfill its obligations on global environmental governance in good faith, stop recklessly damaging other countries’ environment and do something to protect racial minorities at home from environmental racism.
CNR: On September 21, President Xi Jinping’s Special Representative State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi attended the Informal Leaders’ Roundtable on Climate Action. Could you share more details with us on that?
Zhao Lijian: On September 21 local time, President Xi Jinping’s Special Representative State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi attended and addressed the Informal Leaders’ Roundtable on Climate Action at the United Nations headquarters in New York.
State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that, President Xi Jinping explicitly noted that the earth is a big family and mankind is a community. Climate change is a common challenge that calls for a common response. China believes that efforts in four aspects need to be made if global climate governance goals are to be met. First, we need to channel energies into a successful UN Climate Change Conference in Sharm el Sheikh. Second, we need to attach importance to implementation action. We need to uphold the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, stick to what has been agreed, and accelerate progress toward the temperature goal of the Paris Agreement. China supports the Global Early Warning Initiative launched by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. Developed countries need to earnestly honor their commitments and provide financial, technological and capacity-building support for developing countries. Third, we need to advance results-oriented green transformation. Fourth, we need to create a favorable political environment. We need to ditch unilateralism, geopolitical games and green barriers. Developed countries need to achieve carbon neutrality way ahead of schedule to create space for developing countries’ development, and take concrete actions to rebuild North-South trust.
Wang Yi briefed the participants on a host of active measures taken by China to pursue a development path which is green and low-carbon and puts ecological conservation first. He said that China has announced its targets for carbon peaking and carbon neutrality, and will achieve the largest reduction in carbon intensity the world has ever seen and move from carbon peaking to carbon neutrality within the shortest time in world history. China has made steady progress in adjusting the energy structure, leading the world in the installed capacity and generation of wind and solar power. It has also produced and sold more new-energy vehicles than any other country. China has put in place a national carbon emissions trading scheme and established carbon market that covers the largest amount of greenhouse gas emissions in the world. China has increased the carbon sequestration capacity of its ecosystem, topping the world in terms of forest density increase and afforested areas. China is ready to work with all other countries to support the UN in playing a core role, practice true multilateralism, each do our part and unite our efforts to protect our home planet and create a better world for generations to come.
Macau Monthly: The Countering Untrusted Telecommunications Abroad Act recently passed the US House of Representatives. This bill requires the Department of State to report the use of untrusted telecommunications equipment (and services) in US diplomatic missions overseas and allies and partners. It also requires certain securities issuers to disclose the use of such equipment from entities owned or controlled by the government of China or Russia. What is China’s comment?
Zhao Lijian: Heh heh. This reminds people of a revelation from a former head of the British National Cyber Security Centre not long ago. He said that after the UK government was ready to cooperate with Huawei as the company was not found to pose any national security threats in 2019, the then senior director for Asian Affairs at the US National Security Council traveled to the UK and yelled at the UK representatives for five hours to pressure the UK to abandon Huawei.
The US now intends to turn its coercive and bullying practices into rules through legislation. This exactly shows that by talking about the “rules-based order”, the US politicians are simply defending the US’s own hegemonic interests. And not even “close allies” like the UK can be spared from US coercion and bullying. Such hegemonic rules clearly have undermined world peace and international cooperation, which the US apparently does not care about.
We urge the US to immediately correct its mistakes, stop its denigration and suppression of Chinese companies and remove the negative content about China from the bill. The Chinese government will continue to firmly defend Chinese companies’ legitimate rights and interests.
Dragon TV: On September 21, the Second Middle East Security Forum was held in Beijing. Could you share more with us on that?
Zhao Lijian: The Second Middle East Security Forum focuses on the Global Security Initiative (GSI) under the theme of “Building a New Security Architecture in the Middle East, Achieving Common Security for the Region”. Two parallel sessions are held, which are “Panel I: The Palestinian Question: Solutions and Prospects” and “Panel II: Persian Gulf Security: Multilateralism, Dialogue and Cooperation”.
In a virtual address to the forum’s opening ceremony, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi elaborated on China’s four-point proposal for fostering a new security architecture in the Middle East, i.e. pursuing the vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security; affirming the leading role of Middle East countries; observing the purposes and principles of the UN Charter; and enhancing regional security dialogue. Dr. Rami Hamdallah, former Prime Minister of Palestine and Dr. Adnan Badran, former Prime Minister of Jordan virtually attended and addressed the opening ceremony. They commended China’s GSI and efforts to help build a new security architecture in the Middle East. They also expressed the hope that China will play a bigger, constructive role in resolving hotspot issues and upholding security and stability in the region.
Participants at the meeting said that the Global Security Initiative is of great significance for promoting regional peace and stability and resolving regional conflicts. They welcomed China’s proposal to build a new security architecture in the Middle East. They also expressed the hope that China will continue to uphold fairness and justice and work intensively to encourage regional parties to resolve differences through dialogue with a view to common and lasting security in the region. They stressed that countries in the region should increase their independence, improve their relations with each other and play a bigger role in building a new security architecture in the Middle East. The international community, especially major countries outside the region, should also play a positive role in realizing regional security and stability.
As a sincere friend and partner of Middle East countries, China will continue to build consensus and pool strength of all parties through the Middle East Security Forum and other platforms, and make its contribution to building a new security architecture in the Middle East and realizing common security in the region.
Bloomberg: Can I ask who will China send to the state funeral of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on September 27?
Zhao Lijian: China will release information in due course.
AFP: President Joe Biden in his speech at the UN General Assembly yesterday said he does not wish to seek a Cold War, nor does he wish to seek a conflict with China and he also mentioned China several other times, including in relation to the UN Xinjiang report. What’s China’s response?
Zhao Lijian: China’s policy on the US has shown continuity and certainty. President Xi Jinping proposed that China and the US follow the principles of mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation. They not only embody the experience that China-US relations have gained over the past 50 years, but also constitute the basic principle that both sides need to follow in order to keep bilateral ties on the right course. President Biden has made the “five-noes” commitment on many occasions. We hope that the US side will act on the statements made by the US leader, view China and China-US relations from the right perspective, return to the three China-US joint communiqués, which are of fundamental importance to the bilateral relationship, handle Taiwan-related issues prudently and properly, and uphold the political foundation of China-US relations.
We hope that the US will work with China to find a way for the two major countries with different social systems, histories and cultures to get along and cooperate for win-win results. This will not only benefit the people of the two countries, but also contribute to world peace, stability and development.
On your second question about Xinjiang, the so-called assessment of the human rights condition in Xinjiang released by the OHCHR is orchestrated and produced by the US and some Western forces and is completely illegal, null and void. It is a patchwork of disinformation that serves as a political tool for the US and some Western forces to strategically use Xinjiang to contain China.
In recent years, nearly 100 countries, including Muslim countries, have spoken out at the Human Rights Council, the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly and on other public occasions to support China’s justified position on issues including Xinjiang and oppose interference in China’s internal affairs in the name of so-called Xinjiang-related issues. They are the mainstream of the international community. The US and some Western forces seek to destabilize Xinjiang and use it to contain China. Their unjust, pernicious political agenda will not have people’s support and will only fail.
The US side should face up to and address its own human rights issues such as racial discrimination, gun violence, violations of the Indigenous people’s rights, violations of immigrants’ rights, human trafficking, disinformation campaign, and indiscriminate unilateral sanctions. It should deliver a responsible account to the international community and the victims.
Bloomberg: Later today in New York, there should be a meeting of the BRICS foreign ministers. Do you have any details about the agenda? What China’s expectations might be for that meeting in New York on the sidelines of the UN?
Zhao Lijian: We will release information in due course.
Kyodo News: Tsai Ing-wen today met with a delegation of Czech Senators, and the two sides agreed to deepen their relations. What is China’s comment?
Zhao Lijian: There is only one China in the world and Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory. The Government of the People’s Republic of China is the sole legal government representing the whole of China. The Taiwan question is China’s internal affair. It concerns China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and bears on China’s core interests. We firmly oppose all forms of official interactions between the Taiwan region and countries having diplomatic ties with China. We firmly oppose external forces’ attempt to use the Taiwan question to interfere in China’s internal affairs. The Chinese government and people have the unwavering resolve and conviction to safeguard our sovereignty and territorial integrity. We urge the relevant Czech politicians to earnestly abide by the one-China principle, refrain from sending any wrong signal to “Taiwan independence” separatist forces, and avoid inflicting further damage on the political foundation of the development of bilateral relations.