Xinhua News Agency: The Protocol to Upgrade the Free Trade Agreement between China and New Zealand came into effect today. People from all walks of life generally believe that this measure will promote the economic recovery of the two countries after the epidemic and promote the high-quality development of bilateral economic and trade cooperation. Can the spokesperson introduce the specific situation?
Zhao Lijian: We are pleased and satisfied with the official entry into force of the China-Singapore Free Trade Agreement Upgrade Protocol, and congratulate us on this. I would like to highlight the following points:
1. The Upgrade Protocol is a high-level free trade agreement reached on the basis of the China-Singapore Free Trade Agreement that conforms to modern international economic and trade rules. On the basis of the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP), further improvement in quality and efficiency will provide strong support for the two countries to further deepen trade and investment exchanges and stabilize cooperation in industrial and supply chains.
2. The current global COVID-19 epidemic is delayed, the world economic recovery is sluggish, the international situation is turbulent, and uncertainty is rising significantly. The official implementation of the China-Singapore Free Trade Agreement Upgrade Protocol is not only conducive to further deepening China-Singapore economic and trade cooperation, releasing high-level opening-up policy dividends, and benefiting more enterprises and consumers in the two countries, but also reflects China and New Zealand’s practical actions to support multilateral The firm determination of socialism and free trade will help maintain the stability of the international industrial chain and supply chain, and play a positive and exemplary role in cooperating with countries to deal with the challenges of the epidemic, supporting multilateralism and free trade, and promoting the stable recovery of the global economy.
3. The China-Singapore Free Trade Agreement is the first free trade agreement signed between China and a developed country. The China-Singapore Free Trade Agreement was signed and entered into force in 2008. The upgrade negotiations started in 2016, the upgrade negotiations were completed in 2019, and the upgrade protocol came into effect today. It fully reflects that China-Singapore relations and cooperation between the two countries have established different systems, development stages, and economies. A model of win-win cooperation between countries. This year marks the 50th anniversary of China-Singapore diplomatic relations. China is willing to work with New Zealand to take the important consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries as a strategic guide, continue to carry forward the spirit of “striving to be the first”, jointly implement the upgraded version of the free trade agreement with high quality, further strengthen dialogue, enhance mutual trust, deepen cooperation, and properly handle differences. Expand the connotation of China-Singapore comprehensive strategic partnership and make positive contributions to regional and even global peace, stability, development and prosperity.
CCTV: According to reports, on April 6, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said that if mainland China “invades” Taiwan, the US has the ability and determination to take the same action as sanctions against Russia for aggression against Ukraine. On the same day, US Deputy Secretary of State Sherman said that China should draw lessons from the coordinated response of the West on the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, that is, any act of taking Taiwan by force is unacceptable. What is China‘s comment?
Zhao Lijian: There is only one China in the world, and Taiwan is an inalienable part of China‘s territory. The Taiwan issue is a legacy of China‘s civil war. How to resolve the Taiwan issue is China‘s internal affairs, and no foreign country has the right to interfere. The determination and will of the Chinese people to safeguard sovereignty and territorial integrity are unshakable. We are willing to strive for the prospect of peaceful reunification with the utmost sincerity and best efforts, but reserve the option of taking all necessary measures, targeting the interference of external forces and the very few “Taiwan independence” separatists and their separatist activities.
At present, the situation in the Taiwan Strait is facing a new round of tension. The root cause is that the Taiwan authorities have repeatedly tried to “rely on the United States to seek independence”, while some people in the United States intend to “use Taiwan to control China“. The United States and Taiwan are in cahoots with each other, and some people even deliberately compare Taiwan and Ukraine, two issues that are fundamentally different, in an attempt to confuse the public and take advantage of the chaos. This is playing with fire, and those who play with fire will surely set themselves on fire.
China Daily: According to media reports, with the mediation of Sudan and other regional countries and relevant international and regional mechanisms, major parties in South Sudan have reached consensus and signed an agreement on security arrangements for the transition period. What is China‘s comment?
Zhao Lijian: The main parties in South Sudan have reached an agreement and signed an agreement on the transitional security arrangements. This is another important progress in the peace process in South Sudan. China welcomes this. China appreciates the active role played by Sudan and other neighboring countries and relevant international and regional mechanisms in promoting the signing of the agreement, and hopes that relevant parties in South Sudan will earnestly implement the relevant content of the agreement, steadily advance the political transition process in South Sudan, and achieve long-term peace and stability in the country.
Bloomberg: U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi apparently plans to visit Taiwan this Sunday after her visit to Japan. This will be the first (US House of Representatives) speaker to visit Taiwan in 25 years. What is the comment of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on this?
Zhao Lijian: China firmly opposes any form of official exchanges between the US and Taiwan. The US Congress is an integral part of the US government and should strictly abide by the one-China policy pursued by the US. If House Speaker Pelosi visits Taiwan, it will seriously violate the one-China principle and the three Sino-US joint communiques, seriously damage China‘s sovereignty and territorial integrity, seriously impact the political foundation of Sino-US relations, and send a serious message to the “Taiwan independence” separatist forces. error signal. China firmly opposes this and has lodged solemn representations with the US.
The U.S. should abide by the one-China principle and the three Sino-U.S. joint communiques, immediately cancel Speaker Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, stop official exchanges between the U.S. and Taiwan, and take concrete actions to fulfill the U.S. commitment not to support “Taiwan independence”. If the US insists on going its own way, China will take resolute and forceful measures to firmly safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity. All consequences arising therefrom must be entirely the responsibility of the US side.
China Radio: According to reports, US Secretary of State Blinken met with the foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany in Brussels on the 6th to discuss preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. They agreed that resuming the implementation of the Iran nuclear deal through diplomatic channels is the best solution. Make the necessary preparations. What is China‘s comment?
Zhao Lijian: Currently, the negotiations on the resumption of the implementation of the JCPOA have entered the final stage. All parties have reached consensus on most of the text of the agreement to resume performance, but there are still individual issues to be resolved.
China believes that there is currently no better alternative to the JCPOA. The more the last moment is reached, the more all parties should strengthen their confidence and intensify their efforts to push for a smooth conclusion of the negotiation, so as to avoid the failure of previous achievements. As the initiator of the Iranian nuclear crisis, the US should make a political decision as soon as possible and actively respond to Iran’s legitimate concerns.
China will continue to participate constructively in the negotiations, push the JCPOA to return to the right track at an early date, safeguard the international nuclear non-proliferation regime, and promote peace and stability in the Middle East.
Al Jazeera: The Ministry of Mines of Afghanistan said that Afghanistan has signed an agreement with China Metallurgical Corporation, and China can continue to operate the largest Aynak copper mine project in Afghanistan. My question is, does the signing of this agreement and the recent series of meetings of foreign ministers of Afghanistan’s neighbors held by China mean that China officially recognizes the Afghan government?
Zhao Lijian: I have noticed the progress you mentioned on the Afghan issue. At the end of last month, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi presided over the third Afghan Neighboring Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and related series of meetings in Tunxi, Anhui. Since its establishment in September last year, the Coordination and Cooperation Mechanism for Afghanistan’s Neighboring Countries has leveraged the advantages of neighboring countries and played a constructive role in the smooth transition of the situation in Afghanistan. All parties spoke highly of the relevant meetings. China will work with Afghanistan’s neighbors to do their best, build consensus, coordinate and cooperate, and support the Afghan people in creating a better future.
Regarding the recognition of the Afghan interim government you mentioned, China‘s position on the relevant issue is consistent and clear.
“Helsinki News” reporter: Finland is considering applying to join NATO soon. Russia’s attack on Ukraine has dramatically changed Finland’s attitude towards joining NATO. China has previously expressed opposition to NATO expansion. So how will China react if Finland applies to join NATO soon?
Zhao Lijian: First of all, I will not answer hypothetical questions. China‘s position on NATO’s eastward expansion is very clear. NATO is a product of the Cold War, long overdue for history. We advise relevant countries to act prudently when developing relations with NATO.
Hubei Radio and Television: The preparatory meeting for the Review Conference of the Biological Weapons Convention is being held in Geneva. Russia has accused the US of violating the Biological Weapons Convention with its biological military activities in Ukraine. The United States continued to accuse Russia of spreading false information, and also called the international community’s criticism of the United States‘ exclusive opposition to the establishment of a verification mechanism for the Biological Weapons Convention as “historical revisionism.” What is China‘s comment?
Zhao Lijian: The United States is the country with the most biomilitary activities in the world, and the only country that opposes the establishment of a verification mechanism. The international community has long had serious concerns about this, and related issues have been the focus of BWC meetings. At the meeting, Russia accused the United States of violating the Convention on biological military activities, and raised clear and specific concerns. Regrettably, the US still did not respond directly, but repeatedly accused Russia of spreading false information. This practice itself is not in conformity with the provisions of the Convention. According to the convention, Russia has the right to question the US’s compliance, and the US is obliged to cooperate in making clarifications, which should ultimately be assessed and judged by the international community.
I also want to give you a basic fact. According to the working paper submitted by the US to the Conference of the Parties to the Biological Weapons Convention in November 2021, under the Biological Threat Reduction Project, the US has built 336 so-called “cooperation facilities” overseas, including 26 in Ukraine. . However, the so-called “fact document” released by the US Department of Defense on March 11, 2022 also stated that the US has 46 “cooperative facilities” in Ukraine. Why did the US add 20 “cooperative facilities” in Ukraine in just 4 months? Not only that, the above-mentioned working document by the US side that I just mentioned has errors in itself. One country appears twice in the document. Therefore, the total of 336 is also definitely inaccurate. The international community has questioned this. What reason does the US have for not clarifying this? Why is it called false information?
I have also noticed that the US calls the international community’s criticism of the US’ exclusive opposition to the establishment of the BWC verification mechanism as “historical revisionism”. This hat is not small! The United States even claimed that this matter should be turned over, and there is no need to talk about any verification mechanism. The above statement of the US side is shocking. In July 2001, it was the United States that suddenly and unilaterally announced its withdrawal from the negotiation, causing the results of the seven-year negotiation between the parties to be wasted. The international community was in an uproar at that time. At the preparatory meeting for the ongoing convention review conference, the vast majority of countries, including the allies of the United States, advocate the resumption of multilateral negotiations to establish a verification mechanism as soon as possible, but only the United States has expressed its opposition.
The characteristic of the multilateral verification mechanism is that it grants equal rights and obligations to all countries in a fair and just manner. What the U.S. wants is to freely accuse other countries of defaulting and demand “presumption of guilt”-style checks. The United States has refused to accept any monitoring and verification of its own compliance. This is the essence of the United States‘ exclusive opposition to the verification mechanism.
The BWC belongs to the international community, and the issue of compliance concerns international peace and security, and cannot be arbitrarily defined by the United States based on its own double standards. The United States is one of the depositary countries of the Convention, and should lead by example in compliance, rather than be an exception. We once again urge the US to make comprehensive and specific clarifications on its biomilitary activities, and stop its exclusive opposition to the establishment of a multilateral verification mechanism, so as to restore the international community’s confidence in the US’ compliance.
Zhao Lijian: What I just said has been very clear. If this visit takes place, China will take resolute and forceful measures to respond, and the consequences of this will be entirely borne by the US side.
Al Jazeera: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said he will meet or speak with President Xi Jinping this Friday. Can you introduce the arrangement and details?
“Beijing Youth Daily” reporter: According to the recent data released by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of deaths caused by drug overdose in the United States is increasing rapidly. Does the spokesperson have any comment on this?
Zhao Lijian: I have noticed relevant reports. The drug problem in the United States is on the rise. About 104,000 Americans died from drug use between September 2020 and September 2021, compared with 52,000 during the same period in 2015. The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed a bill to legalize marijuana. Some media believe that this means that the United States has taken another key step towards the legalization of marijuana. The proliferation of drugs in the United States has become a deep-seated problem in society. The bill may exacerbate the drug abuse problem in the United States.
Drugs are a human hazard. We have been friendly and candid to help the U.S. side deal with the solution. On May 1, 2019, the Chinese side designated all fentanyl-like substances for control, which fully demonstrated its sincerity and support. Regrettably, as the country with the most prominent fentanyl problem in the world, the United States has yet to officially list all fentanyl-like substances. On the contrary, the U.S. has included important institutions such as the Physical Evidence Identification Center of the Ministry of Public Security of China and the National Narcotics Laboratory, which are responsible for the detection and control of fentanyl-like substances, on the “entity list” for sanctions.
The United States should find out the reasons for itself, permanently list fentanyl-like substances in all categories, and take practical and effective measures to reduce the demand for drugs, instead of blindly shirk responsibility, shift conflicts, and repeatedly blame other countries for the control of so-called non-scheduled chemicals. The US should correct its wrongdoing as soon as possible, instead of demanding China‘s cooperation while sanctioning China‘s anti-drug department.
Bloomberg: U.S. cybersecurity consultancy Recorded Future says suspected state-backed Chinese hackers have attacked India’s power sector in recent months as part of an apparent cyber espionage campaign. What is the comment of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on this?
Zhao Lijian: We have noted relevant reports. We have reiterated many times that China firmly opposes and cracks down on any form of hacking in accordance with the law, and will not encourage, support or condone hacking. Cyberspace is highly virtual, difficult to trace, and diverse actors. There should be complete and sufficient evidence when investigating and characterizing cyber incidents. Associating relevant cyber attacks with a country’s government should be more cautious. As we all know, the United States is the world‘s largest source of cyber attacks and the “Matrix”. I would like to advise the relevant companies you just mentioned, if they really care about global cybersecurity, they should pay more attention to the cyberattacks by hackers of the US government against China and other countries, and do more things that are conducive to promoting dialogue and cooperation among countries, instead of Use the issue of cyber attacks to sow discord and throw dirty water on China.
AFP: China has denied plans to build a military base in the Solomon Islands. But formal letters from 2020 between Chinese state-owned companies and former Solomon Islands officials, uncovered by Australian media, discussed similar agreements. What’s your opinion?
Zhao Lijian: We have made briefings and clarified our position on the security cooperation between China and the Societe Generale several times recently. As for the reports of individual Australian media you mentioned, they are unprovoked attacks to smear China and deliberately create tensions in the region. This fully exposed their Cold War mentality and ideological bias. China firmly opposes this.
The Paper: The Afghan interim government recently announced a ban on the cultivation of opium poppy across the country, as well as the manufacture, use and sale of various narcotics. What is China‘s comment?
Zhao Lijian: China appreciates the anti-drug measures of the Afghan interim government. Drugs are a human hazard. The Chinese government has always resolutely cracked down on drug crimes and actively participated in international anti-drug cooperation. China is willing to continue to deepen anti-drug cooperation with Afghanistan and other countries in the region, and maintain a healthy and peaceful living environment for the people of China, Afghanistan and the region.
It is worth noting that, as the initiator of the Afghan problem, the United States acquiesced and even participated in the drug production and trade in Afghanistan’s history, and played a very disgraceful role in the Afghan drug problem. According to reports, a global drug laboratory project was implemented during the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan, resulting in a more than 40-fold increase in the production of opiates in Afghanistan during the U.S. military presence. American historian Alfred McCoy pointed out that in order to fight against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, the United States had heavily funded the Afghan armed forces through the channels of the CIA, completely ignoring that these people “operated a chain of heroin laboratories”. Charles Cogan, the former director of the CIA’s “Operation Afghanistan”, has also said that the United States has not really used resources to investigate the drug trade in Afghanistan.
The 20 years that the United States has been in Afghanistan has been a 20-year period in which Afghan civilians have been killed and displaced, and a 20-year period in which local drug savagery has grown. The US hastily withdrawn its troops from Afghanistan irresponsibly, leaving a series of serious challenges such as drugs to the innocent Afghan people. The United States should deeply reflect on its actions, sincerely apologize, make full compensation, and make up for the harm caused to the Afghan people with concrete actions.
Beijing Daily: Azerbaijani President Aliyev, Armenian Prime Minister Pashinyan, and European Council President Michel held a tripartite meeting in Brussels a few days ago. Aya and the two sides agreed to set up a border committee to delimit the border by the end of April. Aya leaders also instructed the foreign ministers of the two sides to start preparations for the signing of a peace treaty between the two countries. what opinions do the Chinese have on this issue?
Zhao Lijian: Both Azerbaijan and Armenia are friendly and cooperative partners of China. China welcomes the two sides to resolve their conflicts and differences through dialogue and consultation, and sincerely hopes that the two sides will implement the ceasefire consensus and jointly maintain regional peace and stability and the tranquility of people’s lives.
(Comprehensive content from: the official website of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
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