Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian's Regular Press Conference on May 22, 2020
2020/05/22

At the request of the Peruvian government and in light of the country's practical needs, the Chinese government has decided to send a medical expert team to Peru. It is the second Chinese medical team to Latin America, which is organized by the National Health Commission and consists of experts selected by the Guangdong Provincial Health Commission. The team left for Peru on the early morning of May 22. It is expected to help the Peruvian side improve epidemic response and treatment, contribute Chinese strength to Peru's fight against COVID-19 and carry on the traditional China-Peru friendship. China also sent an expert team to Venezuela not long ago.

While keeping prevention and control measures at home, China will continue upholding the vision of a community with a shared future for mankind. By sharing anti-epidemic experience and know-how, providing medical supplies, facilitating commercial procurement and through other means, China will continue supporting Latin American and Caribbean countries in fighting the epidemics and safeguarding people's health and safety, and forging a China-Latin America community with a shared future with concrete actions.

The Paper: In accordance with the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2019, the Trump administration recently delivered to Congress its Strategic Approach to China, detailing the administration's implementation of the 2017 National Security Strategy of the United States of America (NSS) over the past two years or so. The report said since the US and China established diplomatic relations over four decades ago, the US engagement has failed to change China as expected, and China has posed challenge to the US national interests in various fields. It proposed that the US should continue with a whole-of-government approach against China. Do you have any comment?

Zhao Lijian: Just like the 2017 NSS, this new report deliberately distorts China's political system and strategic intention and hypes up the so-called "China threat", a pretext it uses to trumpet the continuation of all-dimensional hardline policy against China. In response to the US erroneous words and deeds to interfere in China's internal affairs and harm China's interests over the past two years or so, China has stated its solemn position multiple times and made firm, strong responses. Facts have proven that the US approach and policy following the Cold-War mentality and ideological prejudice has been fundamentally wrong from the very beginning, and thus doomed to fail. I would like to stress the following points.

First, since the People's Republic of China was founded 70 years ago, the Chinese people, under the strong leadership of the CPC, have found a development path in line with the country's national realities and achieved great progress to the amazement of the world, making contributions to world peace, stability and development. The past and reality have shown that the development path chosen by the Chinese people is entirely correct and we have every confidence in it. We will press ahead for greater victory while committed to socialism with Chinese characteristics. No one can stop China from growing stronger.

Second, after China and the US established diplomatic ties, the past 40 years or so have fully demonstrated that both sides stand to gain from cooperation and lose from confrontation. Cooperation is the only right choice. Neither side can change or replace the other. The so-called failure to engage or change China in the US report is nonsense. For two major countries with different national conditions to get along, they need mutual respect, equality and the approach of seeking common ground while shelving differences. The US also said in the report that it does not seek to contain China's development. We urge the US to match its words with deeds and earnestly respect China's core interests and major concerns instead of saying one thing and doing another.

Third, China's policy towards the US is consistent and clear. We are committed to working with the US side to realize the goal of no conflict or confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation. At the same time, we firmly safeguard China's national sovereignty, security and development interests. If the US seeks dialogue and cooperation, we are here welcoming that. If they aim for containment and oppression, we will resolutely take countermeasures and the US will not have its way.

Fourth, China-US relations are now at a critical juncture. A stable and growing China-US relationship serves the fundamental interests of the two peoples and is what the international community is looking forward to. We urge the US side to abandon its Cold War mentality and ideological bias, follow the trend of the times, view China and China-US relations in an objective and rational way, immediately stop interfering in China's internal affairs, harming China's interests or undermining China-US relations, and work with China to bring bilateral relations back onto the right track.

CCTV: The US announced on May 21 that the US will withdraw from the Treaty on Open Skies because Russia didn't adhere to it. Secretary of State Pompeo said that the US administration will give official notice of its intent to exit the Treaty on May 22, effective in six months. The US may, however, reconsider its withdrawal should Russia return to full compliance with the Treaty. What is your comment?

Zhao Lijian: We note relevant reports. China deeply regrets the US insistence on withdrawing from the Treaty on Open Skies regardless of opposition from the international community. This decision, following the US practice of walking away from international commitments in recent years, is just another proof of its entrenched Cold War mindset, pursuit of "America First" and unilateralism, and contempt for international commitments.

This decision will not help maintain military-to-military mutual trust and transparency between regional countries, neither will it be conducive to regional security and stability. It will negatively affect the international arms control and disarmament process.

China Daily: The Heritage Foundation, an American think tank, released a report titled "Government Buildings in Africa Are a Likely Vector for Chinese Spying." I wonder if you have any comment on that?

Zhao Lijian: We noted the report. It hypes up "China bugging AU headquarters" and other ridiculous claims based on nothing but lies, illusions and ideological bias. African leaders publicly refuted such rumors on multiple occasions.

Facts speak louder than words. As Africa's good friend, partner and brother and based on the need of the African side, China has been conducting practical and efficient cooperation with African countries. Our cooperation outcomes, which include a large number of infrastructure projects, have brought tangible benefits to the African people and created favorable conditions for cooperation between Africa and international partners. Since COVID-19 cases were reported in Africa, China has been assisting African countries through various means. In his recent remarks delivered at the virtual opening ceremony of the 73rd World Health Assembly, President Xi Jinping announced China's new measures to support Africa in fighting the virus. Our cooperation with Africa is above board and substantive, demonstrating the vision of a China-Africa community with a shared future, which has won high acclaim from the African side.

We urge certain think tank in the US to spend more time and energy on assisting Africa with real actions instead of spreading lies. The African people have a fair judgment. Attempts to drive a wedge between China and Africa in their friendly cooperative relations will only lead to self-inflicted humiliation.

Xinhua News Agency: According to some mainstream media in the US, a top Florida Department of Health data manager lost her role because she sticks to keeping information open and transparent and refused to manually change data to drum up support for the reopening plan. Also, a graph on the website of the Georgia Department of Health showed a downward trajectory in new cases for two weeks, an illusion created by listing dates in an non-chronological order and sorting data in an incorrect way. What is your comment?

Zhao Lijian: We note relevant reports. The US media have disclosed a lot of information on the US administration covering up the real situation. The US side should give a clear explanation.

Shenzhen TV: Alice G. Wells, US Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in charge of South and Central Asian Affairs, said on May 20 at a press conference that China has offered predatory and unfair lending to Pakistan under the CPEC, with a lack of transparency involved, and Chinese companies have continued to gain profit. In the meantime, she added the US hopes Nepal will accept the $500 million loan from the Millennium Challenge Corporation program, suggesting only that will prove it does not take dictation from China. Do you have any comment?

Zhao Lijian: This is not the first time that Ms. Wells aired such remarks. The US practice of distorting and slandering the mutually-beneficial cooperation between China and South Asian countries has once again laid bare its arrogance, prejudice, selfishness and narrow-mindedness. As good neighbors, friends and partners, China and South Asian countries have always treated each other with mutual respect and equality for common development. China has all along aimed to help relevant countries to enhance their capabilities for self-reliant development, and provide financial support and engage in cooperation projects based on their development needs. We have never imposed our will on others or attached any political strings, still less asked them to prove anything by taking any action.

AFP: US President Trump said that he will address a potential national security law for Hong Kong very strongly if it is passed. A small number of US Senators have also introduced legislation to impose sanctions on any entity that curbs Hong Kong's autonomy. Do you have any comment on this?

Zhao Lijian: National security is a basic prerequisite for countries to survive and thrive. No country in the world would tolerate separatist and other activities that undermine national security within its territory. Hong Kong is China's special administrative region, and any legislation for Hong Kong SAR to safeguard national security is China's internal affair that allows no foreign interference. The Chinese government is determined in safeguarding national sovereignty, security and development interests. It is determined in implementing the "one country, two systems" principle and opposing external interference in Hong Kong affairs.

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