At the invitation of the Argentine government, President Xi Jinping's Special Envoy and Vice Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) Arken Imirbaki will attend the inauguration ceremony of President Alberto Fernandez in Buenos Aires on December 10.
Q: A New York Times article on December 5 showed drawings done in captivity by a Guantanamo Bay prisoner portraying details of how the CIA abused and tortured him, including waterboarding which he endured 83 times, confinement boxes, walling, sleep deprivation, etc. What's your comment?
A: I know this report has received a lot of attention. The timing couldn't be more appropriate. What it describes stands in stark contrast with the sanctimonious and shameless lies of some US lawmakers and politicians on issues relating to Xinjiang. The strong irony also exposes to the world American hypocrisy and odiousness on human rights issues. I wonder if the US Congress will take any action on this?
Q: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned at a news conference with Portuguese Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva that the Chinese government won't hesitate to use Huawei as a tool to steal secret data, and the US has tried for years to make clear to allies of the risks of working with unreliable telecom companies. But Foreign Minister Silva said that bids from 5G operators will be assessed in the light of EU regulations and all foreign investment is welcome in Portugal. What is your comment?
A: We commend this just attitude of the Portuguese side. The US has been leaving no stones unturned to oppress and strangle certain Chinese companies. Such stark bullying behavior has met firm opposition from China and other countries standing for justice.
The principles of fairness, justice and non-discrimination are extremely important in a globalized world. We believe that all countries will make independent judgment and choices based on their fundamental and long-term interests.
Q: A JCPOA Joint Commission meeting will be held on December 6 in Vienna, Austria, to discuss how to salvage the international agreement, which will be attended by officials from Russia, the United Kingdom, Germany, China, France and Iran. Who will represent China? Does China have any expectations?
A: Parties to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action will hold a Joint Commission meeting on December 6 in Vienna to discuss the current situation of the Iranian nuclear issue and the implementation of the deal. Official in charge of the Arms Control Department of China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs will lead a delegation to the meeting. The US withdrawal from the Iranian nuclear deal and its maximum pressure campaign against Iran is the root cause of the Iranian nuclear crisis. China hopes that parties to the JCPOA will continue to work for the full and effective implementation of the deal and restore the balance of rights and obligations. At the same time, parties should exercise restraint, work to resolve differences by stepping up negotiations within the framework of the Joint Commission, and refrain from steps that could further complicate the situation. China will continue to work with all parties to facilitate political settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue.
Q: A Russian state company suspended its research project with Iran after the US lifted sanctions exemption on Fordow. I wonder what is your comment?
A: The US not only unilaterally pulls out of the JCPOA and imposes maximum pressure on Iran, but also wantonly sanctions and threatens to sanction other responsible parties that implement the deal in accordance with US domestic law. Such unilateral and hegemonic practice has severely compromised the implementation of the JCPOA, escalated the crisis and aggravated regional situation. We believe dialogue and negotiation is the only viable way out of the Iranian nuclear issue. We urge the US to adjust its wrong policy and practice of maximum pressure as soon as possible so as to make room for diplomatic efforts and create conditions for easing the regional situation.
Q: This afternoon the Tariff Policy Commission of the State Council announced tariff exemptions for certain purchases of soybeans and pork from the US. First, why was the announcement made this afternoon? Following that, can you give us more details about the volume of the purchases or perhaps the value of the purchases?
A: You were asking about specifics. I don't think this is a question within the Foreign Ministry's scope of work, so I'd refer you to the competent authority.
Q: US Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman James Risch said recently that the Communist Party of China must be held accountable for severe abuses of human rights in Xinjiang. Senator Graham said that this is the 21st century and the US is not going to tolerate a totalitarian regime running concentration camps for people based on their religious status. What's your comment?
A: I noted the reports this morning. These remarks lead people to doubt the speakers' common sense with regard to history and geography. Do they know what concentration camps mean? Do they know in which part of China Xinjiang is located? They are fabricating the lie of the century to slander a country with 1.4 billion people and the second biggest economy in the world. Shame on them!
China is a major country with a civilization of 5,000 years. Its vast land of 9.6 million square kilometers is free from war, terror and displacement. Over 800 million people have got out of poverty. With steady economic development and continued social progress, people of all 56 ethnic groups have the chance to lead happy and fulfilling lives. For over ten consecutive years, China has contributed to over 30% of global GDP growth. It has created a development miracle in human history, and today the miracle continues. This is the best and greatest human rights endeavor and practice. What enables us to make such great achievement? It is socialism with Chinese characteristics under the leadership of the CPC, a right path endorsed by Chinese people as it suits China's national realities.
Besides, after seeing this report, I looked for reports on Senator Graham's visit to China in July 2006. Before he came, he had been talking about acting tough and calling for punitive trade measures on China for the RMB exchange rate issue. However, after setting foot on Chinese soil, his attitude changed. With prudent reflection, he confessed that the visit was an eye-opening experience. I don't know if he paid a second visit to China after that. But we do hope he will come again and perhaps also visit Xinjiang sometime. I'm sure he will find it eye-opening, too. I also hope he will have more prudent reflection on China this time.
Q: Reports say China has taken countermeasures in response to US restrictions on Chinese diplomats. Could you confirm that and offer more information?
A: China provides support and necessary convenience to foreign diplomatic and consular officials posted in China in carrying out their official duties. After the US State Department in October placed restrictive measures on Chinese diplomatic and consular officials posted in the US, the Chinese side has sent a note to the US embassy in China on December 4, informing it of reciprocal measures going into immediate effect. We will take appropriate measures in response to US actions.
Once again we urge the US to correct its mistake, withdraw the decision and instead provide support and convenience for Chinese diplomatic and consular officials posted in the US as they fulfill their official duties.
Q: The World Bank issued a budget yesterday of 1 to 1.5 billion USD planned in low interest rate loan programs for China. US Senator Grassley made a statement saying the World Bank should not be lending American tax dollars to wealthy countries that violate human rights of their citizens. What's your response to that?
A: I'd refer you to the Ministry of Finance for the specifics. My principled answer to you is that China is an important partner of the World Bank with long-term, good cooperation. We'd like to deepen that cooperation with the World Bank in loans and knowledge sharing, and share our poverty alleviation experience with other developing countries to help them achieve long-term, sustainable development.
Q: You just announced China took countermeasures. I just want to clarify if these measures mean visa restrictions for American officials and diplomatic passport holders?
A: The countermeasures I just referred to are on US diplomatic and consular officials posted in China. They are reciprocal to the US State Department's restrictive measures imposed in October against Chinese diplomatic and consular officials posted in the US.
Q: Another follow-up on the countermeasures. There are reports saying specifically that it required US diplomats in China to notify the foreign ministry five working days in advance before meeting with local government officials. I just wonder if you could confirm this specifics of the countermeasures?
A: Yes. The countermeasures are reciprocal to the US State Department's restrictive measures imposed in October against Chinese diplomatic and consular officials posted in the US.
Follow-up: When will this come into effect? Is it December 4?
A: Yes, December 4.
Q: The 2019 Meeting of States Parties to the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) opened on December 3. A certain State Party has been obstructing negotiations for a protocol with a verification regime. Do you have a comment? What's China's position on the negotiations?
A: The Meeting of States Parties to the BWC is being held in Geneva. To my knowledge, the vast majority of the 183 State Parties, China included, all support negotiations for a protocol that includes a verification regime to strengthen the Convention. Unfortunately, for almost 20 years, the US alone stood in the way of relaunching such negotiations. The excuses it has given are that bio-sector cannot be verified, and international verification may threaten US national interests and trade secrets as well as facilitate industrial espionage activities. But I find it hard to understand, as the US alone also stood against China, Russia and other countries' proposal to negotiate the "Treaty on the Prevention of the Placement of Weapons in Outer Space, the Threat or Use of Force Against Outer Space Objects" (PPWT) at the Conference on Disarmament held in Geneva, citing the exact opposite excuse that the draft lacks a verification regime. These serve to show how the US often resorts to unilateralism and double standards on issues regarding international security, arms control and non-proliferation. It has severely impacted the effectiveness of the existing arms control and non-proliferation regime.
China firmly supports the purposes and objectives of the BWC and supports negotiations for a non-discriminatory verification protocol to strengthen the authority and effectiveness of the Convention. We will work with the international community to deepen international cooperation on bio-security, advance the development of multilateral biological arms control, and build a global community of a shared future for bio-security.