|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian's Regular Press Conference on May 27, 2020|
CCTV: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said yesterday that issues related to Hong Kong are entirely China's internal affairs. The US threat to impose sanctions on China in response to China's NPC deliberation on Hong Kong-related national security legislation fully exposed their sense of superiority and impunity, which will not make Washington a reliable dialogue partner on any other issues with China. What is China's comment?
Zhao Lijian: China fully agrees with and highly commends Foreign Minister Lavrov's positive remarks, which demonstrates the high level of China-Russia relations. Under the strategic guidance of the two heads of state, China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era has maintained sound and steady development. In particular, the two sides have been firmly supporting each other on issues concerning the core interests of the two countries.
China's position on the US threatening to impose sanctions on China in response to the NPC deliberation on the Hong Kong-related national security legislation has been very clear. I wish to reiterate that Hong Kong is a special administrative region of China and a sub-national administrative region directly under the Central People's Government of China. The legislation for safeguarding national security in the HKSAR is purely China's internal affair, and no foreign country has the right to interfere. The Chinese government is firm in its determination to safeguard China's sovereignty, security and development interests, to implement the principle of "one country, two systems" and to oppose any external interference in Hong Kong affairs. If someone is bent on harming China's interests, China will take all necessary measures to hit back.
Reuters: US President Donald Trump said that they were planning a strong response to the Hong Kong-related national security legislation. Can you give a response to these comments?
Zhao Lijian: Hong Kong is China's special administrative region and the Central Government is responsible for upholding national security in China. The legislation on upholding national security in Hong Kong is purely China's internal affair that allow no foreign interference. In response to the erroneous practices of external intervention, we will take necessary countermeasures.
CRI: Burundi's Independent National Electoral Commission announced on May 25 the initial results of the presidential election held on May 20. Evariste Ndayishimiye, candidate of the ruling party, the National Council for the Defense of Democracy-Forces for the Defense of Democracy (CNDD-FDD), won an absolute majority of 68.72 percent of the vote. Does China have a comment?
Zhao Lijian: We have noted the early results announced by Burundi's Independent National Electoral Commission. The results show that the ruling CNDD-FDD's candidate Ndayishimiye has won the majority of the votes. China congratulates Burundi on the smooth presidential election and respects its people's choice. We look forward to new progress in bilateral relations.
China News Service: A few days ago three Chinese nationals were brutally murdered in Zambia, triggering concerns among Chinese businesses and expatriates in the country. Yesterday three Zambian ministers held a joint press conference in the presidential palace and stated the government's position. I wonder if you have any comment on this?
Zhao Lijian: We are deeply saddened by the passing of the three Chinese nationals and we offer sincere condolences to the bereaved families. Upon learning of the incident, the Chinese Embassy in Zambia immediately lodged representations with the Zambian side and asked it to accelerate investigation and take effective measures to protect Chinese nationals' safety and property. The Zambian government expressed apologies to the Chinese side at yesterday's press conference, committed to bring the culprits to justice as soon as possible, and vowed to do everything to protect Chinese and other foreign nationals in Zambia.
China and Zambia have a traditional friendship. We believe a single case won't affect the mainstream of friendship and cooperation between the two sides. Against the backdrop of COVID-19, China stands ready to work together with Zambia to focus on anti-epidemic efforts and overcome the difficulties.
Bloomberg: A question about India-China relations. Indian officials are saying that China has moved an additional 5,000 troops to its border area with India. Can you confirm this? Indian officials are saying that diplomats in New Delhi and Beijing have begun talks after negotiations between Chinese and Indian military officials last week didn't bring about results. So the question is, can you confirm that diplomats in New Delhi and Beijing have begun talks?
Zhao Lijian: China's position on the boundary issue is consistent and clear. We have been earnestly implementing the important consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries, strictly abiding by the relevant agreements signed by the two countries, and committed to safeguarding China's territorial sovereignty and security as well as peace and stability in the China-India border areas. At present, the overall situation in the China-India border areas is stable and controllable. On border-related issues, there are sound mechanisms and channels of communication between China and India, and the two sides are capable of properly resolving relevant issues through dialogue and consultation.
Reuters: There are many overseas Chinese students who are stranded currently in countries they are studying in, and some of them said the civil aviation authorities' Five Ones policy has restricted the number of international flights allowed into China. Does China have any plans to add further flights to bring back Chinese students from overseas?
Zhao Lijian: Since the onset of COVID-19, the well-being of overseas Chinese nationals has been close to the heart of the motherland. The Chinese government attaches high importance to and cares deeply for their safety and health. Acting on this, the Foreign Ministry and Chinese diplomatic missions all over the world swiftly mobilized resources and conveyed to every Chinese national abroad the care and solicitude of the CPC and the country.
After the epidemics broke out, many countries and regions decided to suspend international flights and restrict people-to-people exchange, which has posed difficulties to overseas Chinese nationals who wish to travel back home. Shortly after COVID-19 started, we chartered planes to bring back citizens stranded abroad. As infections spiked in some countries, we worked hard to create conditions and arranged temporary flights for Chinese nationals who had an urgent need to return, including students, the elderly, the young, the sick, pregnant women and those on short overseas trips. At the same time, Chinese airlines have maintained flight operations with relevant countries, keeping open the "corridors in the air" for Chinese citizens eager to get home. The Foreign Ministry and Chinese diplomatic missions will continue doing our best to protect and assist Chinese nationals wherever they are and help ease their practical difficulties.
PTI: You said the two sides, India and China, are in talks to properly resolve the relevant matters. Are the talks being held in New Delhi or in Beijing? Can you specify?
Zhao Lijian: China and India have communication on the boundary question via existing mechanisms and diplomatic channels, including those between the border troops on the ground and between the diplomatic departments and embassies of the two countries.