|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying's Regular Press Conference on September 29, 2021|
CCTV: On September 28, IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi said the US-UK-Australia submarine cooperation is a "very tricky" issue in terms of inspections. It will be the first time that a non-nuclear-weapon state regulated by the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) introduces a nuclear submarine, and it means highly-enriched uranium used in power reactors of nuclear submarines will be excluded from IAEA supervision. The IAEA has to enter into a very complex, technical negotiation to see to it that there is no weakening of the nuclear non-proliferation regime. On the same day, the Philippine Presidential Spokesperson said that Philippine President Duterte is concerned that AUKUS could trigger a "nuclear arms race". What is China's comment?
Hua Chunying: The international community is closely following and is vigilant about AUKUS and the plan for nuclear submarine cooperation. Many countries have expressed concerns and doubts. China has taken note of the statements of Director General Grossi and President Duterte.
State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi pointed out yesterday when co-chairing the China-EU High-Level Strategic Dialogue with Josep Borrell, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, that such move of the US, the UK and Australia will pose three potential dangers to regional peace and stability and the international order.
First, the danger of Cold War resurgence. The three countries, drawing lines along ideology, have built a new military bloc which will heighten geopolitical tensions. When the international community widely rejects Cold War and divisions, the US blatantly violates its political statement of not seeking a new Cold War and gangs up with others to create a small Anglo-Saxon "clique", putting geopolitical self-interests above international solidarity. This is typical Cold War mentality.
Second, the danger of arms race. The move will spur regional countries to accelerate the development of military capabilities, and even seek to break the nuclear threshold and increase the risk of military conflicts. The US, on the one hand, sanctions and suppresses some countries with the excuse of developing nuclear technologies, and flagrantly transfers nuclear technologies to non-nuclear states on the other. This is typical double-standard.
Third, the danger of nuclear proliferation. In the name of building nuclear-powered submarines, the provision of nuclear materials to a non-nuclear-weapon state will exclude weapons-grade highly-enriched uranium from necessary supervision and pose huge nuclear proliferation risks. The move will bring shocks to the non-proliferation system, undercut the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty and ASEAN countries' efforts to build a Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone (NWFZ) in Southeast Asia. This is typical contempt of rules.
It should draw special attention from the international community that the IAEA safeguards mechanism cannot verify whether Australia will use the highly enriched uranium in the power reactors of nuclear submarines for nuclear weapons. As Director General Grossi said, the nuclear submarine cooperation among the US, the UK and Australia will be the first time that a non-nuclear-weapon state introduces a nuclear submarine, which will exclude the highly-enriched uranium from IAEA's supervision. In brief, this is a malicious exploitation of loopholes in international rules for out-and-out proliferation activities. Supervisions on the Australian nuclear submarines will set a precedent, concerns the rights and obligations of all IAEA member states, especially signatories to the NPT, and will have far-reaching impact on the international non-proliferation system. This is not an issue between the IAEA Secretariat and the three countries; it shall be handled by all member states through joint consultation. China will stay in communication with the IAEA Secretariat and other member states to resolutely defend the authority and efficacy of the international non-proliferation system.
TASS News Agency: According to Reuters, the United States has reached out to China diplomatically about reducing its purchases of Iranian crude oil. It is said that this was one of the issues raised by US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman when she visited China in late July. Do you have any comments on this information?
Hua Chunying: China's position is clear and consistent on normal economic and trade cooperation between China and Iran. China and Iran always conduct cooperation following the commercial principles with equality, mutual benefit and win-win results within the framework of international law. We firmly oppose any unilateral sanction, and urge the US to remove the so-called "long-arm jurisdiction" over third-party entities and individuals as soon as possible.
NHK: Today, Japan's former Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida is elected as the head of Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). He is set to succeed Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga. Do you have any comment?
Hua Chunying: We have taken note of the election result. China is ready to work with Japan's new administration to observe the principles and spirit set out in the four political documents between China and Japan, deepen practical cooperation in various fields, and move forward China-Japan ties along the right track in a sound and steady manner.
Hubei Media Group: On September 27, permanent missions of China, Belarus, the DPRK and Venezuela held a videoconference in Geneva on the sidelines of the 48th session of the Human Rights Council with the theme of US, Canada and Australia's violation of indigenous people's human rights. Representatives of Canadian and Australian indigenous people as well as Chinese scholars disclosed the severe crimes committed by the US, Canada and Australia. Representatives from many countries urged the three countries to take practical measures to improve the human rights situation of indigenous people. Can you share more information and what is China's comment on the meeting?
Hua Chunying: The videoconference was co-hosted by the permanent missions of China and three other countries in Geneva, which saw active participation from permanent missions, NGO representatives and reporters from many countries.
The Chinese representative pointed out at the meeting that indigenous people's human rights in the US, Canada and Australia have become a "black hole." The meeting was held for indigenous people in the three countries because their voice should be heard and their rights valued by more people. The international community should devote more attention to the human rights problems of the indigenous people in the US, Canada, Australia, investigate violation of indigenous people's human rights and bring the perpetrators to justice. The three countries should reflect upon themselves, thoroughly investigate the history of indigenous residential schools, return justice to and reveal truth for indigenous people that they deserve and earnestly address their own severe human rights problems.
At the meeting, representatives of indigenous tribes and descendants in Canada and Australia said, for centuries, colonizers in pursuit of self-interests took control of lands that indigenous people had lived for generations and blatantly plundered all kinds of resources, leading to long-term racial discrimination and economic exploitation of indigenous people, and perils of genocide and culture elimination. Colonizers, under the banner of protection, forcibly took indigenous children from their parents and sent them to residential schools. Their real agenda was to wipe out indigenous languages and words, knowledge system and identity toward eventual assimilation. Centuries have passed, but discriminatory laws and policies against indigenous people are still effective, and indigenous people are still among the most oppressed and poverty-stricken in the three countries.
Diplomats from the countries at the meeting said the US, Canada and Australia claim themselves as "human rights pioneers", but their own human rights situations are "fraught with problems". The international community should condemn their gross violations of indigenous people's human rights. All participating parties expressed gratitude to China and other countries for organizing the event and paid their respect to those who are brave enough to speak out on behalf of indigenous people. They hoped the international community can take actions, and redress social and historical injustice, and urge the US, Canada and Australia to give an explanation to indigenous people.
Kyodo News Agency: As the resolution of the Meng Wanzhou incident removed a thorn inserted in China-US relations, will it be possible that President Xi Jinping meet with President Biden on the sidelines of the G20 summit to be held in Italy in November? Is the likelihood of a meeting increased?
Hua Chunying: I can feel from your question that you hope to see the China-US relationship improve as soon as possible and the remaining thorns that vary in size removed from the bilateral ties. We appreciate this. Engagement at the heads-of-state level needs to be discussed and agreed upon by the two sides. We don't have any information on that at present.
As I said yesterday, China put forward two lists to the US side in the Tianjin talks. We hope the US side can attach importance to China's concerns, take concrete actions and make concerted efforts to empty the two lists as soon as possible.
Associated Press of Pakistan: On September 27, China-Pakistan Media Forum was held via video link. Speakers at forum urged the media of China and Pakistan to enhance cooperation in countering fake news to promote regional peace, stability and development. What is your response?
Hua Chunying: Thank you for your attention on this forum. On September 27, the China-Pakistan Media Forum was held via video link by the Institute of Peace and Diplomatic Studies of Pakistan. Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Nong Rong attended and addressed the forum.
You mentioned that participants of the forum called on the media of the two countries to strengthen cooperation and jointly combat fake news. I think this is very necessary and urgent under the current circumstances because we can see that certain countries and individuals have fabricated and spread malicious disinformation with the political purpose of meddling in other countries' internal affairs, endangering their national security and smearing their image. Such malicious disinformation is the common enemy of mankind, as it causes confusion, undermines solidarity, undercuts mutual trust and hinders cooperation. Chinese and Pakistani media should cooperate in cracking down on disinformation. Moreover, we hope more and more countries will understand the harm of disinformation and join hands to combat it, and create a healthy, rational, objective and friendly environment for international public opinion, where people can have correct mutual understanding, friendly exchanges and mutually beneficial cooperation.
MASTV: Commander of the US Central Command Gen. Kenneth McKenzie said he took full responsibility for the August drone strike in Kabul which killed ten Afghan civilians. The Afghan Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said the the US had sent drones in the airspace of Afghanistan, violating its sovereignty and international laws. He also warned the US of bad consequences if the US continues to operate drones over Afghan airspace illegally. Do you have any response to this?
Hua Chunying: For a start, Afghanistan is an independent sovereign state. The US should earnestly respect Afghanistan's sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.
In the past two decades of the US presence in Afghanistan, there were repeated tragedies of countless innocent civilian deaths and displacement. As you mentioned, on August 29, the US military staged an airstrike on a civilian residence in Kabul, killing 10 civilians, including many children. This is just the tip of the iceberg of all tragedies and misdeeds the US made in Afghanistan. According to reports, in 2008, US troops attacked a village in Herat province, which killed nearly a hundred civilians including 50 children and 19 women. Reports said during its military's presence Afghanistan, the US has implemented a project to create a drug laboratory on a global scale there. The production of opiates has increased more than 40 times. The International Criminal Court (ICC) also pointed out that the US troops may have committed war crimes and crime against humanity in Afghanistan through the "cruel or violent" interrogation of detainee and human rights violations including "torture and cruel treatment" between 2003 and 2014. You may all know that in response, the US government last year announced sanctions on the personnel of the ICC who participated in the investigations of relevant crimes, triggering opposition from the international community.
The US troops irresponsibly and hastily withdrew from Afghanistan, leaving behind misery and suffering as well as serious challenges in livelihood and the pandemic to the innocent Afghan people. The Afghan people now finally have a new window of opportunity for their country's peace and reconstruction. On the basis of respecting Afghanistan's sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, the international community should support the Afghan people in taking the future in their own hands, and help Afghanistan to maintain stability, forestall turbulence, and achieve sound development.
In the face of widespread doubts and condemnation from the international community, the US, as the culprit of the Afghan issue, should show its responsibility as a major country, make sincere apologies, conduct thorough investigations, do some soul searching and make full reparations. More importantly, the US should stop habitually imposing wanton military intervention and forcing its own will on others, and avoid repeating the tragedies of plunging people into misery and suffering.
Yonhap News Agency: According to the report by Korean Central News Agency on September 29, the Academy of Defence Science of the DPRK successfully test-fired a newly-developed hypersonic missile on the morning of September 28. Do you have any comment?
Hua Chunying: China noted the relevant report and the latest moves of all parties related to the Korean Peninsula. We hope relevant sides can keep in mind the big picture of peace and stability on the Peninsula, stay cool-headed and exercise restraint, meet each other halfway, follow the "dual-track" approach and the principle of phased and synchronized actions, and find an feasible solution to address each other's concerns in a balanced manner, in order to jointly advance the political settlement of the Peninsula issue.
Since Yonhap News Agency pays much attention to the situation on the Korean Peninsula, I would like to elaborate a little bit. We also noticed that a senior official of the US State Department said recently that the US reached out directly to the DPRK to initiate dialogue and stands ready to meet without preconditions. The DPRK's Permanent Representative to the United Nations urged the US to permanently stop its joint military exercises and the deployment of strategic weapons in and around the Korean Peninsula, and give up its hostility toward the DPRK. No matter how the situation evolves, China holds that parties should exercise restraint, meet each other halfway, build mutual trust, and settle the issue through dialogue and consultation.
Under the current circumstances, the key to breaking the stalemate and restarting dialogue is taking seriously and resolving the DPRK's legitimate concerns. The US should avoid repeating empty slogans, but rather show its sincerity by presenting an appealing plan. It is imperative to invoke the rollback terms of the Security Council's DPRK-related resolutions as soon as possible and make necessary adjustments to relevant sanctions, especially those relating to provisions on the humanitarian and livelihood aspects. This is conducive to resuming the dialogue and maintaining peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, and is in line with the spirit of the resolutions.
TASS News Agency: According to Times of India, Indian army has deployed more sophisticated artillery to the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China in the Eastern Ladakh. It is said that three M777 howitzers regiments has been deployed on the border with China. Do you have any comments on this information?
Hua Chunying: The Indian side has long pursued the "forward policy" and illegally crossed the LAC to encroach on China's territory, which is the root cause of tension in the China-India border situation. China opposes any arms race in the disputed border areas for the purpose of competition over control. We have always been firm in safeguarding national territorial sovereignty and security, and committed to peace and stability in the China-India border areas.
Beijing Daily: It is reported that the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on September 27 said it would open a $1.9 billion program to reimburse mostly rural US telecom carriers for removing network equipment made by Chinese companies like Huawei. Do you have any comment?
Hua Chunying: Considering the grave pandemic and economic situations in the US, the $1.9 billion could be used better in areas in urgent need. The US has kept smearing and slandering Huawei and other Chinese companies, but is unable to present any solid evidence to support its accusations. The so-called "national security" is only a clumsy excuse of the US to impose "national bullying" and practice trade protectionism. We don't mind that the US is restless in making domestic policies. But the US should immediately correct its mistakes and stop abusing state power and trying all means to hobble Chinese companies. The Chinese government will continue to firmly defend the legal rights and interests of Chinese companies.
Beijing Youth Daily: Daniel Drezner, Professor of Tufts University of the US and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, published an article on Foreign Affairs recently, criticizing US administrations for abusing economic coercion and economic violence. Sanctions have become the go-to solution for nearly every foreign policy problem, which do not work but exact a humanitarian toll. The United States of America has become "the United States of Sanctions". What is China's comment?
Hua Chunying: This professor of Tufts University is of great ingenuity. "The United States of Sanctions" is far and away a name tailored for the US. For a long time, the US has been abusing its financial hegemony and technical advantages to adopt frequent unilateral bullying practices, impose long-term sanctions on Cuba, the DPRK, Iran, Venezuela, among other countries, willfully wage "trade wars" with multiple countries and wantonly hobbles foreign high-tech companies in the name of national security. The US not only imposes sanctions on countries it sees as enemies or adversaries, but also adopts illegal, unilateral long-arm jurisdiction on third parties with exchanges with these countries, even without sparing entities and individuals of its allies.
The US abuse of sanctions severely undermines sovereignty and security of other countries, affects their national interests and people's livelihood of countries concerned, violates market economy principles and international trading rules, and disrupts security and stability of global industrial and supply chains. This, in turn, also harms the US own interests.
Some in the US are still talking about coercion. It must be pointed out that the birthplace and headquarters of economic coercion are Washington D.C.. Coercion has been a strength and feature of the US, whose government never shies away from using the expression "coercive diplomacy" but even takes pride in it. The US, through its policies and actions, has provided the world with textbook examples of coercive diplomacy, which means achieving one's strategic goals with military threats, political isolation, economic sanctions and technical blockade. The labels of "economic coercion" and "coercive diplomacy" fit the US better than anyone else.
As a member of the international community, the US government should listen to the advice of visionary people both at home and abroad, give up the old path of wanton sanctions and pressuring, and abandon hegemony and bullying. As a major country in the world, the US should truly play a constructive role in world peace, stability and development.
CCTV: Some panel buyers and solar-energy developers in the US said at an business briefing on September 27 that some Chinese solar-panel manufacturers have stopped sending panels to the United States, or are threatening to halt shipments, over regulatory concerns including a proposal for higher import tariffs. They said the freeze could derail the Biden administration's green-energy goals and lead to large layoffs among US panel installers. What is China's comment?
Hua Chunying: As you all know, the US cooked up the outrageous lie of "forced labor" in Xinjiang, and used it as an excuse for hobbling photovoltaic companies and sanctioning photovoltaic products in Xinjiang. What the US did lacks morality, violates market economy principles and international trading rules, and disrupts and undermines international industrial and supply chains. Both history and practice have proven time and again that those lifting stones up may end up hurting their own feet. Unilateral, illegal sanctions are like boomerangs that will eventually come back to harm the US own interests. We have seen many such examples. We hope the US can have a clear understanding of this and refrain from doing things that are no good to others as well as itself, because ultimately it is the American people that suffer.
The Paper: We noticed today, the spokesperson of the Chinese Embassy in the US made remarks on the wanton repatriation of a Chinese student by the US. Can you share more information?
Hua Chunying: Recently, some cases of wanton interrogation and repatriation of Chinese students by US law enforcement have happened. The case disclosed by the spokesperson of the Chinese Embassy in the US is one example. A Chinese student with a legal visa issued by the US government was recently wantonly interrogated by the US side at the border entrance. After being confined in a small room for more than 50 hours without proper food and rest, he was deported by the US side through a third country on trumped-up grounds. The US action seriously infringed upon the legitimate rights and interests of the student, and caused serious physical and mental damage to him and his family. This is not the only case. For example, not long ago, a Chinese student was groundlessly interrogated for nearly one hour by the US at the San Francisco airport before leaving the US for China, and thus nearly missed her trip back home. In addition, less than one month after three Chinese students were questioned upon entry into the US and then repatriated in August, other cases of US interrogation and repatriation of Chinese students have happened. The US groundless actions are illegal, unfair and immoral. Over every case, China lodged solemn representations to the US at the first instance and asked it to immediately correct the mistakes.
The current US administration claims that it welcomes Chinese students. In fact, however, it inherits the erroneous practice of the previous administration and restricted or suppressed the pursuit of education or research in the US by Chinese students. Lately it has gone from bad to worse. Under the guise of law enforcement, the US used untenable excuses to harass, interrogate or even repatriate Chinese students. To our knowledge, during their interrogation, the US repeatedly made an issue out of the students' membership of the Communist Party of China and whether or not they would serve the Chinese government. They insisted on looking at the issue through the ideological lens and linking people-to-people, cultural and academic exchange with politics. They even admitted themselves afterwards that there was not enough evidence to support the repatriation. In other words, this is typical presumption of guilt and political manipulation to artificially create confrontation. Given the fact that some in the US accuse China of mistreating foreign nationals in China for made-up charges, the hypocrisy and bullying of the US are laid bare.
People-to-people exchanges are the social foundation of China-US relations. Chinese students in the US play a positive role in promoting mutual understanding and friendship between the two countries. Normal educational and cultural cooperation serves the interests of both sides. We urge the US side to honor its statement of welcoming Chinese students, immediately stop abusing the excuse of national security, stop repatriating, harassing and interrogating Chinese students, stop infringing upon the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens and urge the US side to ensure that such incidents do not happen again. The Chinese side will continue to support Chinese students in safeguarding their legitimate rights and interests in accordance with law, and also reminds the students to raise their awareness of safety and guard against similar incidents.
Reuters: Yes, we spoke a lot about America today. The US Commerce Secretary said yesterday that the Chinese government has been preventing its domestic airlines from buying tens of billions of dollar of US manufactured Boeing airplanes. Has the Chinese government been blocking these purchases?
Hua Chunying: I would like to refer you to competent authorities for the specifics regarding trade between China and the US. But I want to stress that the China-US economic and trade relations are in essence mutually beneficial and win-win, and both sides stand to lose in a trade war. China has all along firmly upheld the WTO-centered multilateral trading system and do business in accordance with international trade rules. The international community sees very clearly who has been wielding the big stick of sanctions, and politicizing and weaponizing economic issues with ideological prejudice in the past few years. We hope the US will earnestly respect market economy principles and international trade rules, and work with China to strive for healthy and steady development of China-US trade and economic relations.
Follow-up: But just specifically about the Boeing airplanes, as far as you are concerned, is the US Commerce Secretary telling the truth?
Hua Chunying: The question you mentioned is whether China will buy Boeing aircraft. I think it's a matter that should be left to companies. The foreign ministry will not involve in such specific economic and trade issues. We hope that both sides will develop healthy, normal and mutually beneficial economic and trade relations based on the principle of respecting market economy and trade rules.