|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian's Regular Press Conference on June 2, 2020|
China Daily: It was announced yesterday that the Chinese government has decided to send a team of medical experts to Sao Tome and Principe to support its efforts against COVID-19. Last week, China released information on sending a medical team to Sudan. So we would like to know how many Chinese medical teams are now working in Africa to help fight COVID-19 and if more will be sent. China proposed to help accelerate the building of the Africa CDC. How is work progressing on that front? What are China's considerations?
Zhao Lijian: China and Africa are good brothers and good partners through good times and bad. In support of African countries' efforts against COVID-19 and at the invitation of the relevant countries, the Chinese side has sent a total of 148 medical workers to 11 African countries. These medical experts have conducted in-depth exchanges with the health departments and medical staff on the African side, shared their experience, reached out to local communities, visited hospitals and labs, and provided guidance for resident Chinese medical teams in these countries. All these have received positive feedback and praise from the relevant countries.
The Africa Center for Disease Prevention and Control (Africa CDC) is an important outcome of the Beijing Summit of the 2018 FOCAC. It is a significant measure to help Africa strengthen its public health system, disease prevention and control, and capacity building. China attaches great importance to this project and is now actively making early-stage preparations together with the African side. We hope that construction will start as soon as possible to further enhance African people's well-being.
Going forward, in light of the COVID-19 situation in Africa and the wishes of relevant countries, we will do whatever we can to support our African brothers, enhance cooperation in medical and health sectors, and jointly fight against COVID-19.
Shenzhen TV: US Secretary of State Pompeo said in a statement on June 1 that the Trump administration values the important contributions of international students and researchers, including from China. However, the administration "will not tolerate PRC attempts to illicitly acquire American technology and intellectual property from American academic institution and research facilities for Chinese military ends". I wonder if you have any comment?
Zhao Lijian: Mr. Pompeo is used to weaving lies as excuses for his wrongdoing, and his statement on this issue is no exception. Chinese students and researchers have been an important bond of friendship and bridge for scientific and educational exchange between Chinese and American people. The latest visa restriction on Chinese students and researchers was imposed by the US side under an abused concept of national security and flimsy excuses. It severely undermines their legitimate rights and interests and runs counter to the common aspiration for friendly people-to-people, especially youth-to-youth exchange. Taking a backward step like that will only bring harm to oneself and others.
Macau Monthly: According to reports, last Saturday, US President Trump said he will postpone the G7 summit, which was scheduled to be held at the end of June, to September or even later. He also hoped to invite Russian President Putin and leaders of Australia, the ROK and India to the summit. Sources from the US side say the topic of China will be discussed. Can you comment on that?
Zhao Lijian: We noticed that. China believes that all international organizations and conferences should be conducive to mutual trust between countries, multilateralism and world peace and development. This is also the aspiration of the vast majority of countries in the world. Seeking a clique targeting China is not a popular move, and it doesn't serve the interests of countries concerned.
Prensa Latina: Yesterday Cuba rejected once again its inclusion by the US in the list of countries that do not cooperate in the fight against terrorism. Cuba considers it a unilateral and arbitrary list that responds only to the intentions to put pressure on countries that refuse to yield to the will of the US government. Do you have any comment about it?
Zhao Lijian: In a statement released on June 1, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cuba states its strong rejection of being included on May 13 in a US State Department list of countries that are allegedly not cooperating fully with US efforts against terrorism. Terrorism is mankind's common enemy. China maintains that the international community should work together to fight terrorism. That said, we oppose the US side using counter-terrorism as a pretext to impose political oppression and economic sanctions on Cuba. The US and Cuba, as close neighbors, should treat each other with amity and continue developing normal state-to-state relations based on equality and mutual respect. This serves the interests of the two countries and will help promote peace and stability of Latin America.
Reuters: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in response to proposed new national security legislation, the US is considering welcoming people from Hong Kong to come to America. Do you have any comment on this?
Zhao Lijian: China has made clear its principled position on issues relating to Hong Kong. Hong Kong affairs are purely China's internal affairs that allow no foreign interference. We hope the US will do more that is conducive to stability and prosperity in Hong Kong and development of China-US relations.
NHK: China and the US have reached a phase one trade deal. But according to some reports, the Chinese government has ordered SOEs to stop purchasing pork and soybean from the US. I wonder if you have a comment?
Zhao Lijian: I'm not aware of what you mentioned. China's position on China-US trade issues is consistent and clear.
Macau Monthly: According to reports, the US government plans to secretly call for bids for its consulate general staff quarters in Hong Kong on the condition that the properties, after being sold, will remain as they are or be leased to the US. Do you have more on that?
Zhao Lijian: I'm not aware of that. You'd better ask the US side.