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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the People's Republic of China

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian's Regular Press Conference on August 31, 2020

Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the People's Republic of China

Invited by the governments of Myanmar, Spain and Greece, 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, will pay official visits to the three countries from September 1 to 4.

China Daily: Last week, you briefed us on the work of a Chinese medical team to South Sudan. We noticed that the team has left South Sudan and arrived in Guinea. Can you update us on that?

Zhao Lijian: Thank you for your continued interest in the Chinese medical teams abroad. This team of experts has arrived in Guinea for a 10-day visit. The 8-member medical team was organized by the National Health Commission and appointed by the Anhui Provincial Health Commission.

On August 29, the team visited the China-Guinea Friendship Hospital in Conakry, capital of Guinea, and discussed China's anti-epidemic experience with experts from the hospital. Sandy Cora Torno, Director of the China-Guinea Friendship Hospital, welcomed the Chinese team and thanked the Chinese government and people for their selfless assistance, and said he looked forward to learning from China's epidemic prevention and control experience. In the next few days, the Chinese experts will make field trips, organize seminars and offer training sessions to share their practical experience with local health authorities and help their counterparts enhance capabilities to handle COVID-19.

China will continue standing with Guinea and other African countries to fight the virus for an early victory.

Xinhua News Agency: A meeting of the Joint Commission of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) will take place in Vienna from August 31 to September 1. Who will lead the Chinese delegation to the meeting? What's China's expectation for it?

Zhao Lijian: A meeting of the JCPOA Joint Commission at the level of political directors will be convened in Vienna from August 31 to September 1. JCPOA participants will evaluate the current state of the Iranian nuclear issue, review the implementation of the JCPOA, and coordinate next steps. Principal official of the Department of Arms Control of the Chinese foreign ministry will lead a delegation to the meeting.

Tension around the Iranian nuclear issue has been mounting because of the US unilateral withdrawal from the JCPOA and a series of actions it has taken unilaterally and illegally against the international rejection. The JCPOA has come to a crucial juncture. China hopes that all parties will take the Joint Commission meeting as an opportunity to further commit ourselves to firmly safeguarding the JCPOA and faithfully implementing the Security Council Resolution 2231, properly handle differences on JCPOA implementation under the framework of the Joint Commission, coordinate efforts to address the current challenges, and continue to move forward the political settlement process of the Iranian nuclear issue.

Bloomberg: Is the foreign ministry able to confirm whether TikTok will be required to seek regulatory approval for a sale to a US company? Are the new restrictions on exports that cover technologies ByteDance uses for TikTok aimed at ensuring China has oversight over any sale?

Zhao Lijian: You were talking about the catalog of technologies that are banned or restricted for export, which was established, revised and released jointly by the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) and the Ministry of Science and Technology, right?

MOFCOM has released information on the relevant matter. Official in charge of MOFCOM's Department of Trade in Services and Commercial Services took questions from the press on the revised catalog, stressing that catalog of technologies aims to regulate the management of technology export, advance science, technology and economic and technological cooperation with other countries, and safeguard China's economic security. I'd refer you to the competent authorities for the specifics regarding the implementation of the revised catalog.

I don't comment on the operation specifics of companies. The pertinent company has released information which you may refer to. As China clearly stated on many occasions, we oppose the US practices of stretching the concept of national security and abusing national power to oppress certain foreign businesses. The tricks of economic bullying and political manipulation that the US played on non-American companies, no matter they are "coerced transaction by government" or "forced transaction by government", are disguised and coercive robbery. It violates the market principles and international rules, and reveals the irony when the US boasts itself to be a champion of market economy and fair competition.

Global Times: US National Security Adviser O'Brien criticized China on issues related to China's political system, Taiwan, Hong Kong and the South China Sea during an online event at the Atlantic Council on August 28, and advocated using the US alliance system to deal with "challenges" from China and Russia. What is China's response?

Zhao Lijian: For some time, some US politicians, out of a zero-sum mentality, the Cold-War mindset and selfish political interests, have been viciously attacking China's political system, smearing China, and sowing discord between other countries and China. China is firmly opposed to this.

The Chinese people know the best and have the best say on whether socialism with Chinese characteristics is good or not. It is not up to US politicians to judge. As to whether China's development is an opportunity or a threat to the world, the answer is self-evident in the fact that China is the largest trading partner of more than 130 countries and regions and China has active exchanges and cooperation with others. When we look at the United States, it has been doing the opposite, arbitrarily withdrawing from international agreements and organizations and cherry-picking on international law, which has seriously undermined international fairness and justice as well as global peace, stability and development. In fact, the international community will not follow suit as they are well aware of the practices of US politicians to spread rumors on China, hype up the "China threat" and attempt to hijack other countries onto its "anti-Communist and anti-China chariot".

Phoenix TV: A delegation from the Czech Republic led by the Senate speaker Milos Vystrcil is visiting Taiwan. In response to that, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the Chinese government and people, instead of sitting idly by, will make them pay a heavy price for the short-sighted behaviors and political speculation. I wonder what measures China will take as a response?

Zhao Lijian: We express strong condemnation and grave concerns over the egregious practices of anti-China forces in the Czech Republic who deliberately violate China's sovereignty and blatantly interfere in China's internal affairs. Like you said, as State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi explicitly stated yesterday in Germany, Taiwan is an inalienable part of the Chinese territory, and those who challenge the one-China principle on the Taiwan question are walking away from international commitments and making themselves enemies of the 1.4 billion Chinese people. Facing provocations from the Czech Senate speaker and the anti-China forces behind him, the Chinese government and people won't sit idly by; they shall pay a heavy price for their short-sighted behaviors and political opportunism.

We urge the relevant authorities of the Czech Republic to immediately take measures to eliminate the negative impact of this erroneous practice, so as to avoid damaging the big picture of bilateral relations. We also solemnly inform the Taiwan authorities and the anti-China forces behind Vystrcil: your acts cannot alter the fact that Taiwan is an inalienable part of China, and your attempts of political manipulation and "Taiwan independence" separatist activities will never succeed.

Kyodo News: The Indian military said just now that the Indian troops pre-empted the PLA activity in Eastern Ladakh. Can you confirm that?

Zhao Lijian: The Chinese border troops have been strictly observing the Line of Actual Control and never crossed the line. The Chinese and Indian border troops are in contact with each other regarding the issue on the ground.

Beijing Daily: US Secretary of State Pompeo tweeted on August 29 that "Too much of the Chinese Communist Party's economy is built on willful disregard for air, land, and water quality. The Chinese people- and the world- deserve better." He added China is responsible for nearly 30% of global plastic pollution and is the largest emitter of mercury, marine debris and greenhouse gases. Do you have any comment?

Zhao Lijian: Mr. Pompeo should take a hard look in the mirror and ask himself why the US has pulled out of the Paris Agreement.

The Chinese government attaches high importance to environmental protection and has incorporated ecological progress into the five-sphere integrated plan for the cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics. Believing that a sound ecological environment benefits the well-being of all people, the Chinese government has made strenuous efforts to promote green, low-carbon and sustainable development and implemented action plans to prevent and treat air, water and soil pollution with significant results. In the international arena, China has earnestly fulfilled its obligations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Paris Agreement, the Basel Convention, the Minamata Convention on Mercury, among others. We made positive contributions to global environmental governance.

In 2018, China's carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP was down by 45.8 percent from its 2005 level, equivalent to a reduction of 5.26 billion tons of carbon dioxide. China invests more in renewable energy than any other country, with the number of new energy vehicles accounting for more than half of the world's total. As early as in 2008, China imposed restrictions on the use of plastic bags to promote recycling of plastic waste. By the end of 2019, nearly 99 percent of the country's urban household waste went through innocuous disposal. China's coastal cities all have garbage classification and marine sanitation mechanisms, and they have actively carried out beach and marine garbage clean-up activities. Regulations on the Safety Management of Hazardous Chemicals, the 13th five-year plan for ecological and environmental protection and other regulations and policies have been promulgated, in which the objectives, paths and measures for the prevention and treatment of mercury pollution were determined.

In contrast, the US, as the country with the largest cumulative emissions of greenhouse gases in the world, hasn't ratified the Kyoto Protocol and has pulled out of the Paris Agreement. It has also denied binding quantified emission reduction targets, dissociated itself from the global system and arrangement of carbon emissions, seriously hindered the global process of emission reduction and green development. At the same time, as the world's largest exporter of solid waste and a major country of per capita plastic consumption, the US refuses to ratify the Basel Convention and has set obstacles for the global governance process of plastic waste. It has transferred a lot of waste to developing countries, bringing great harm to the local and global environment. I think it is clear to everyone which country shows willful disregard for the global environment and the health of people around the world.

AFP: The Thai government said today that it has delayed a deal to buy submarines from China after public outcry over the deal. Do you have any comment on this?

Zhao Lijian: Were you talking about submarines? I haven't read reports on that. I'd refer you to the competent authority since it's about the military.

PTI: You said both troops on the ground as far as the India-China border is concerned are in touch. Is there a meeting going on at present to sort out the differences?

Zhao Lijian: China and India are in close communication through diplomatic and military channels. As for the specific meetings and talks, information will be released in due course once we have an update.

The following question was raised after the press conference: US media reported recently that the Chinese military has sent researchers who hid their affiliation with it to the US, and many were detained for visa fraud this year. The Chinese embassy and consulates in the US have helped them to circumvent US judicial investigation and return to China, and that's why the Chinese Consulate General in Houston was demanded to be closed. Do you have any comment?

Zhao Lijian: For some time, under baseless pretexts, the US has been abusing the judicial power to harass, interrogate, and even arrest and prosecute Chinese students in the US under fabricated allegations. Many Chinese students underwent incessant harassment at the airport from US law enforcement authorities when they were leaving the country, and their cell phones, laptops and other items were wantonly examined and even confiscated. Such egregious US behaviors have severely undermined the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese students in the US, and seriously obstructed normal people-to-people exchange and educational cooperation between the two countries. China strongly condemns that and urges the US to immediately correct mistakes, stop making up excuses and stop discrimination against Chinese students. China will continue taking all necessary measures to uphold Chinese citizens' legitimate rights and interests.

The Chinese side has repeatedly stated its solemn position on the US unilateral demand that China close the Consulate-General in Houston. I would like to stress once again that Chinese diplomatic missions and personnel in the US have all along performed their duties in strict accordance with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and the China-US Consular Convention, in order to promote China-US friendship and cooperation. All the excuses made up by the US are untenable. They cannot cover up the fact that the US has seriously violated international law and basic norms governing international relations and severely undermined China-US relations. We urge the US side to stop slandering Chinese diplomatic missions and personnel in the US, earnestly fulfill its obligations under the China-US Consular Convention, and protect the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese diplomatic missions and personnel in the US. China will continue taking legitimate and necessary measures to safeguard national interests and dignity.

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