The Paper: In response to reports that the Trump administration is considering putting travel ban on all members of the Chinese Communist Party, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in an interview that the US government is thinking about pushing back against China and the President and their team are working their way through this. White House spokesperson said that “we keep every option on the table with regard to China”. Do you have any comment?
Hua Chunying: We noted that Chinese people have reacted strongly to yesterday’s reports that the US government is weighing travel restrictions on all CPC members. Many say that they are Chinese Communist Youth League members and Young Pioneers, and some others say they don’t even care to go to the US as it has come to where it is today.
No matter whether these reports you mentioned are true or not, the US is in fact standing on the opposite of the 1.4 billion Chinese people, who account for one fifth of the world’s total population, and is ridiculously acting in contrary to the wishes of the Chinese people and its own people.
The leadership of the CPC is the defining nature of socialism with Chinese characteristics. It is under the leadership of the CPC that the Chinese people achieved independence, freedom and liberation, and continuously made enormous progress in national development. Practices have proven that the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics has lifted 1.4 billion Chinese people out of poverty and backwardness, another major contribution the Chinese nation has made to the cause of human progress. No country, individual and force has any right to negate this path that is chosen by the Chinese people and proven correct by facts.
China will unswervingly and unstoppably forge ahead along the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics.
As to whether the US will remain as open, inclusive and diverse as it was or choose to isolate itself behind a locked door against the outside world, this is a choice left to the US people and government. The world is watching as it makes a choice.
Bloomberg: How does China respond to a speech Thursday by US Attorney General William Barr, in which he claimed hackers linked to China have targeted their universities and companies in a bid to steal intellectual property tied to coronavirus treatments? And how does China respond to Barr’s additional comments that the Chinese Communist Party has used public threats of retaliation and barred market access to exert influence over US companies?
Hua Chunying: We keep stressing that China is a staunch defender of cybersecurity. China has long been a major victim of cyber theft and attacks. Our position on cybersecurity issues is consistent and clear. We firmly oppose and fight all forms of cyber attacks and thefts.
As we’ve repeatedly said, given the virtual nature of cyberspace and the fact that there are all kinds of online actors who are difficult to trace, I must underscore the importance to have enough evidence when investigating and identifying cyber-related incidents. Groundless speculations should not be allowed. Certain US politicians are so irresponsible that they will say whatever needs to be said to make China a target. We firmly reject that. I am sure those who have long been following cybersecurity issues have not forgotten the PRISM program. They must have also heard of the Equation Group. Yahoo recently reported on CIA’s secret authorization to conduct cyber attacks. The US and a few followers randomly wage cyber warfare against other countries. They are the biggest threat to peace and security in the global cyber space.
I stress again that cybersecurity is a global issue that bears on the shared interests of all countries and should be jointly guarded by the international community. The confrontational mindset, reminiscent of Cold War, will only poison the atmosphere for cooperation and will not be conducive to peace and security of cyber space.
Some US politicians seem to be alleging time and again that China is waging cyber attacks to steal US research on COVID-19 vaccines. Our top researchers don’t need to secure an edge by theft. As we speak, Chinese research teams are moving ahead with multiple vaccine tasks through five technical routes. Chinese IP vaccines have entered clinical trial stages. The Beijing Biological Products Institute of CNBG of Sinopharm has already built the world’s largest production facility for COVID-19 vaccines. Relevant authorities including the National Medical Products Administration of China have been working to accelerate progress on vaccine development. Besides, China has also been working actively with relevant countries on vaccine research and development, production and distribution to contribute to the global efforts towards securing an early victory against the virus.
I have also seen reports over the past couple of days on an article by leaders of eight countries including the ROK, Ethiopia and Tunisia, among others. They called on all countries to contribute to a fair and effective vaccine allocation mechanism. None of us is safe until all of us are safe. They also said that “immunization is our best chance of ending the pandemic at home and across the world – but only if all countries get access to the vaccine. We couldn’t agree more.
As a matter of fact, Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged at the 73rd WHA that COVID-19 vaccine development and deployment in China, when available, will be made a global public good. This will be China’s contribution to enhancing vaccine accessibility and affordability in developing countries.
China will not act like some countries and seek monopoly or buy out vaccines and anti-epidemic medicines. Instead, we will continue working with relevant countries on vaccine research and development, production and distribution. And we will do our best to contribute to the endeavor to defeat the virus as soon as possible safeguard people’s lives and health.
You also mentioned US officials’ claim on China’s threats of retaliation against US companies. That is a typical distortion of facts and stark hegemonism. Have you not seen how the US government spared no efforts to repress Chinese companies including Huawei? Have you not seen how they crossed every line, violated human rights to intimidate and arrest Chinese business executives, and coerced and co-opted its minion to illegally detain Ms. Meng Wanzhou? I wonder has any American business had the same treatment or experience in China? China will not go low as the US does. Instead, we will firmly advance all-round opening-up, foster an open economy at a higher level, and create a level playing field for all businesses, Chinese and foreign alike. That being said, we will never allow the US to rampantly trample on Chinese companies’ legitimate rights. We have every right to say no to bullying and injustice.
AFP: US Attorney General William Barr said China is engaged in an economic blitzkrieg and an aggressive campaign to seize commanding heights of the global economy and overtake US. He warned that China would take advantage of globalization to spread its political ideology. I wonder if China has any comments or response on this?
Hua Chunying: Recently many US senior officials have been attacking China with groundless criticism. They are merely following a threadbare script to distort facts and deflect attention. The world has seen through their tricks. I won’t go through their allegations one by one. The following will be able to cover all of them.
Lately there has been much attention on China-US relations with many concerned about the prospects of a deteriorating turn. I note the following comment from an academic: the US is pressing the accelerator to trash China-US relations, while China is putting the brakes on.
Indeed, some in the US, driven by ideological bias, have been sparing no effort to paint China as a rival or even adversary, smear and attack China, and encircle and contain its development. Some politicians, in particular, have been politicizing normal people-to-people and cultural exchange, and weaponizing economic, trade and tech cooperation. Simply put, attacking China is their panacea to deal with every domestic political issue. The world has already seen through the US playbook of fabricating narratives to deflect attention. Galvanized solely by self-interest, they won’t even hesitate to hold domestic public opinion, China-US relations and international order hostage. Possessed by such evil, they are on the brink of losing their mind. Their short-sighted act of drinking poison to quench thirst is causing great harm to the US and the world.
With its most advanced and cutting-edge medical technology and resources, the US still managed to make itself the most seriously hit country in the world by COVID-19 with the highest number of infected and fatal cases. Just the other day four former US CDC directors spoke up against the unprecedented politicization of science issues in the country. Even Dr. Anthony Fauci, leading expert and director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has been targeted by blame-shifting. A real-life House of Cards is on in Washington, with people’s lives and social cohesion at stake. This is an American tragedy.
China never intends to challenge or replace the US, or have full confrontation with it. What we care most about is to improve the livelihood of our people. What we deem as the most important is to realize national renewal of the Chinese nation. And what we hope for most is to maintain peace and stability of the world. The sparrow knows not the mind of the eagle. Those claiming that China seeks to “surpass the United States as the world’s preeminent superpower” and to “overthrow the rules-based international system” are judging us based on their own pattern. That’s a misinterpretation of China’s strategic intention.
China’s US policy remains unchanged. We are willing to grow China-US relations with goodwill and sincerity. A stable China-US relationship not only serves the fundamental interests of the two peoples, but is also necessary for upholding world peace and stability. It is also our due responsibility as the world’s top and second largest economies and UN Security Council permanent members.
To achieve that goal, China and the US must work in the same direction, respect each other’s core interests and major concerns, follow international law and international rules, and engage in equal dialogue and consultation. As an independent sovereign country, China has every right to uphold its sovereignty, security and development interests, safeguard the achievements that the Chinese people have made through hard work, reject any bullying and injustice imposed on it, and counter malicious slandering and vilifying attacks by the US.
State Councilor Wang Yi, when addressing the recent China-US Think Tanks Media Forum, offered three suggestions on how to set things right and get China-US relations back on the right track, namely, activate and open all the channels of dialogue; review and agree on the lists of interactions; focus and cooperate on COVID-19 response. We hope the US can return to rationality, adopt a more objective and cool-headed perspective towards China, formulate more rational and practical China policies, and act like a responsible major power to live up to its people’s mandate and stand the test of history.
As to the recent smears and criticism against China by Pompeo and other US politicians, the following lines from a poem by Su Shi came to my mind: Defying the wind and rain, we keep walking at our own pace.
CCTV: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said at a press availability on July 15 that when the UN arms embargo on Iran expires on October 18, China will sell weapons systems to Iran and they have been working on it. Do you have any comment?
Hua Chunying: We noted relevant reports. Pompeo’s remarks are totally unreasonable and apparently an excuse to push the UN Security Council to extend arms embargo against Iran. This is another proof of the untrustworthy and unreliable US turning away from its commitments, after defying UNSCR2231 and international consensus and unilaterally withdrawing from the JCPOA. We hope the US will return to the right track of upholding the sanctity of the Security Council resolution and complying with the Iranian nuclear deal, instead of going further down the wrong path.
China has all along adopted a prudent and responsible attitude toward weapons exports and followed the three principles for arms exports: the exports should be conducive to the legitimate self-defense capability of the recipient country; they should not undermine peace, security and stability of the region concerned and the world as a whole; and they should not be used to interfere in the internal affairs of the recipient country. Without violating international obligations including Security Council resolutions, China can carry out normal arms trade cooperation with any country and such cooperation is beyond reproach. The US has no rights to criticize China on this issue. It unsigned the Arms Trade Treaty last year while China recently just joined it. The two countries’ attitudes towards international rules stand in such sharp contrast that they are self-explanatory.
CRI: The first China + Central Asia (C+C5) foreign ministers’ meeting was held via video link yesterday. Could you share more details with us?
Hua Chunying: Yesterday, the China + Central Asia (C+C5) foreign ministers’ meeting was held via video link, which was attended and chaired by State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi. This is the first foreign ministers’ meeting between China and the five Central Asian countries. The participants had an in-depth exchange of views on four topics: strengthening cooperation against COVID-19, promoting economic recovery, maintaining regional security and enhancing international coordination. The meeting adopted and issued a joint statement on the virtual meeting of C+C5 foreign ministers and decided to establish a regular meeting mechanism of C+C5 foreign ministers, which will be a new and important platform for deepening bilateral strategic partnership.
The participants reached nine important consensuses on advancing cooperation between China and Central Asian countries and promoting regional peace and development. First, the development, stability and prosperity of China and Central Asian countries serve the common interests of all parties. All parties respect each other’s choice of development path based on national conditions and stand ready to jointly make contributions to safeguarding regional peace, stability and prosperity. Second, all parties speak highly of the outcomes of the anti-epidemic cooperation between China and Central Asian countries, which embodies the vision of a community with a shared future. They expressed willingness to further strengthen COVID-19 prevention and control cooperation and set up the “fast tracks” for personnel exchange and “green passages” for the flow of goods at an early date. Third, all parties will continue to seek complementarity between the Belt and Road Initiative and the development strategies of Central Asian countries, further expand trade volumes, and build more consensus and take concrete actions on building the silk road for health and the digital silk road. Fourth, all parties will support the building of partnership through enhancing connectivity, explore more trans-border routes that meet the needs and serve the benefits of all parties, and enable Central Asia to play its important role as a transport hub on the Eurasian continent. Fifth, all parties will strengthen agricultural cooperation to ensure food security. China welcomes Central Asian countries to increase their exports of high-quality and green agricultural products to China. Sixth, all parties will expand high-tech cooperation in e-commerce, smart cities, artificial intelligence and the application of big data technology, and jointly forge a digital economic partnership. Seventh, all parties condemn terrorism in forms and advocate jointly fighting against terrorism, extremism and separatism, drug trafficking and organized transnational crimes. Eighth, all parties unanimously support the peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan and stand ready to play a constructive role in promoting intra-Afghan negotiations, restoring peace and stability, advancing economic reconstruction and strengthening regional cooperation. Ninth, all parties should further strengthen cooperation in the UN and other multilateral mechanisms, jointly defend multilateralism, jointly oppose interference in other countries’ internal affairs, and uphold international fairness and justice.
You may ask why C + C5 foreign ministers need to meet regularly. Linked by mountains and rivers, China and Central Asian countries are friendly neighbors, closely related and inter-dependent like lips and teeth. More than 2,100 years ago, when the Han dynasty sent Zhang Qian, a diplomatic envoy to the Western Regions, China began a historical chapter of friendly exchanges with Central Asian countries. Twenty-eight years ago, China was among the first to establish diplomatic relations with the C5 countries. Over the past 28 years, guided by mutual respect, fairness, justice and win-win cooperation, we have embarked on an extraordinary path of cooperation and set an example for a new type of international relations.
Strengthening collective cooperation between China and Central Asian countries is neighbors helping and supporting each other, which conforms to the trend of the times, serves all side’s interests and benefits the international community. Cooperation between China and Central Asia is based on the common needs of both sides. It does not target any third party, nor does it affect bilateral and multilateral cooperation in the region. We are ready to take the opportunity of the establishment of the foreign ministers’ meeting mechanism between China and the C5 countries to hold regular meetings and formulate cooperation plans so as to steadily move forward the cause of the China-Central Asia friendship.
China News Service: On July 16, the White House issued a Presidential Message on the 75th Anniversary of the Trinity Nuclear Test. It said the US nuclear force has effectively maintained post-WWII global security and stability and provided security guarantee for the US and its allies. Since 1992, the US has observed a moratorium on nuclear testing “although Russia has conducted nuclear weapons experiments that produce nuclear yield, and despite concerns that China has done the same”. It once again called on Russia and China to join it in trilateral negotiations, working together to stave off a new arms race. Do you have a comment?
Hua Chunying: I have noted the Message. As we can see, the US is glorifying the role of its nuclear force in upholding global security and stability. It is also disregarding the overriding international momentum for peace and development. It hypes up major power competition, advances nuclear weapon modernization, and develops new types of nuclear weapons to seek absolute strategic advantage. At the same time, it tramples on the international arms control regime, shifts blame, and withdraws from organizations and treaties, all to unshackle its nuclear prowess. What the US has done poses grave threats to global strategic security and stability.
The US has conducted more nuclear testing than others, over a thousand at home and abroad, causing unspeakable damage to other countries’ ecological environment. As exposed by media reports, its multiple nuclear tests in the Marshall Islands caused irreparable damage to local residents’ health and ecological environment. You have surely noted recent US media reports on discussions within the administration on resuming nuclear tests. Now the US, the real thief, is crying “catch thief” by accusing others of conducting testing with trumped-up charges. By dragging China into this issue, it seeks to let itself off the hook and out of the straitjacket. I need to stress that of all five nuclear-weapon states under the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, China comes last on the number of tests. China was among the first group of signatories to the CTBT. It supports the purpose and objective of the treaty, stays committed to the nuclear testing moratorium.
As to the US call for the so-called China-US-Russia nuclear disarmament negotiation, my colleagues and I have stated China’s position repeatedly. We hope the US will stop playing dumb. With the largest nuclear arsenal, the US should respond to international concern, earnestly fulfill its special and primary responsibilities to nuclear disarmament, respond positively to Russia’s call on extending the New START, and further drastically reduce its nuclear arms stockpile. This is the correct way to safeguard its own security and global strategic stability.
Beijing Daily: David Stilwell, the State Department’s Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs said in his recent speech at a think tank that the US would urge all countries participating in the election of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) to carefully evaluate China’s candidacy, saying that electing a Chinese official to the ITLOS was like hiring an arsonist to run a fire station. What is China’s comment?
A: They always resort to some sensational but deceitful lines to slander and attack China. The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) is an important international judicial body established in accordance with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). China attaches great importance to and strongly supports the work of the Tribunal and maintains good cooperative relations with it. It has been the long-standing consensus and consistent practice of the Parties to the Convention that the representation of the principal legal systems of the world and equitable geographical distribution shall be assured. Judges of the Tribunal perform their duties in their personal capacity. The candidate nominated by China is well versed in international law and the law of the sea and has rich knowledge and practical experience in the field of international law of the sea. He fully meets the conditions stipulated in the Statute of the Tribunal and has been approved by the United Nations Asia-Pacific Group. If elected, He will surely devote himself in making an important contribution to the work of the Tribunal and to the peaceful settlement of maritime disputes.
So far, the United States has not ratified the UNCLOS but has always posed as a defender of it. Assistant Secretary Stilwell showed no respect to the basic rules reached by the States Parties to UNCLOS on the election of judges to the Tribunal and the practical arrangements observed by the States Parties over time. He wanted to use his aggressive words to turn the international public opinion against China and lord over the States Parties to UNCLOS. Such action is what constitutes the greatest breach and violation of the UNCLOS, the international legal order, and international relations.
Nikkei: Japan said a Chinese ship conducted marine research activity in the exclusive economic zone near “Okinotori Island” without prior approval from the Japanese government, and it has protested to China over this. Can you tell us the reason for China’s sustained activities in the relevant waters?
Hua Chunying: The reason is simple. According to the UNCLOS, Okinotori is not an island,but rocks which shall have no EEZ and continental shelf. Japan’s unilateral claim has no legal basis. The Chinese research ship operating in the relevant waters is entitled to freedom of scientific research at high seas. They can do it freely and they do not need to get any approval from the Japanese side.
Xinhua News: Some media say that although China’s economy was deeply impacted by the COVID-19 epidemic, its national economy has shown a growing trend of recovery in the first half of this year. China’s GDP grew by 3.2 percent year-on-year in the second quarter, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics. They believe that it is a sign that China has successfully brought the epidemic under control and the Chinese economy is going to rebound more strongly in the next six months this year. Do you have any comment?
Hua Chunying: You may have all noted that the National Bureau of Statistics yesterday released the data about China’s economic performance in the first six months and the Information Office of the State Council recently held a press conference on that.
The Chinese economy in the second quarter has returned to positive territory after reporting negative growth. Main indicators have resumed growth, the economy is steadily recovering and the market expectations are generally positive. These hard-won outcomes are the results of our endeavor to bring the epidemic under control timely and effectively, coordinate epidemic prevention efforts and socio-economic development. They manifest the effectiveness of the implementation of macroeconomic policy in a comprehensive manner and the strong resilience and potential of China’s economy. Facts have shown that the Chinese economy has stood the test of the epidemic and the fundamentals sustaining sound and steady economic growth remain unchanged.
The resumption of steady growth in China’s economy is good news to world economy. Since COVID-19 broke out, we have actively conducted anti-epidemic international cooperation by offering aid including money and goods to over 150 countries as strong support to their epidemic response. We have fully advanced resumption of work and production and accelerated the recovery of regular life and work, making positive contributions to stabilizing global industrial and supply chain. We have continued to expand opening-up and promoted external trade and cooperation. In June, China’s total trade in goods registered a 5.1% growth year on year, with imports up by 6.2%, which has boosted the total demand of the world and promoted international development. Some authoritative international institutions are optimistic about the prospect of China’s economy and they predict that China may be the only major economy able to maintain positive growth for this year and will inject confidence and driving force into the recovery of global economy.
The pandemic is still spreading around the world with its impact on world economy still unfolding. China’s economy remains to be under enormous challenges. We stand ready to work with all parties to strengthen macroeconomic policy coordination, step up cooperation on epidemic prevention and resumption of work and production, jointly build an open world economy and make unremitting efforts to help world economy surmount from recession and achieve steady recovery.
China Review News: US Secretary of State Pompeo affirmed in a recent interview the moral superiority of the U.S. government over that of Beijing, saying that the US secures infinitely more freedom for its citizens. Do you have any comment?
Hua Chunying: Is that right? He’s like the “emperor in his new clothes”, completely immersed in his own world. Please give Floyd and other African Americans the freedom to breathe first.
Kyodo News: It is reported that the US administration will put in force the National Defense Authorization Act from August 13, prohibiting the US government from purchasing products or services from any company that uses the products of five Chinese companies, including Huawei and ZTE. What is China’s comment?
Hua Chunying: I have just made clear China’s view on the recent statements and actions of the US government. On the issue of Huawei, the US has not a single piece of evidence that Huawei poses a threat to its national security. Huawei is a Chinese company, more advanced than its US peers in 5G sector, and that’s where the US believes it has got wrong. The US cannot tolerate anything better than it, so it has abused its state power to oppress Huawei on trumped-up charges. This is economic bullying, a blatant rejection of the market economy principles that the US has always prided itself on. The world sees this very clearly.
We urge the US side to stop abusing the concept of national security, stop slandering China and unjustifiably oppressing certain Chinese companies, and provide a fair, just and non-discriminatory environment for Chinese companies to conduct normal business in the US. We all hope that China will provide a fair, just and non-discriminatory environment for US companies. But US companies should also put themselves in the shoes of Huawei and think about this question: is there any company from any other country rather than China, that have been treated so unjustly, unfairly and brutally in the US, like Huawei and other Chinese companies? I think countries and people with a sense of justice should stand forward and make appeal.
Bloomberg: Another question from Bloomberg on hacking. Prime Minister Boris Johnson plans to hold the news conference Friday addressing UK claims which are corroborated by Canada and the US that Russian-linked hacking groups have attempted to steal coronavirus vaccine research. What is China’s response? And in addition, have Chinese institutions experienced any similar hacking attempts related to its coronavirus research?
Hua Chunying: Given the virtual nature of cyberspace and the fact that there are all kinds of online actors who are difficult to trac, all countries need to present enough evidence when accsuing others of cyber-related incidents, otherwise it is irresponsible. We hope all countries will play fair in pushing forward vaccine R&D and contribute to its worldwide accessibility and affordability. It is a good deed for mankind. We need healthy competition and interaction, not malicious attack.
Bloomberg: Taiwan said that its top representative to Hong Kong has returned home due to unnecessary political obstacles. Some local media reported he refused to sign a pro-Beijing statement. We are wondering if China has comments on this?
Hua Chunying: I am not aware of the situation. These is only one China in the world, a fact and an international consensus. How do those in Taiwan call it “unnecessary political obstacles”?