|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian’s Regular Press Conference on December 1, 2022|
AFP: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken criticized China’s COVID policy yesterday. What’s your response?
Zhao Lijian: The US side’s remarks are politically motivated and driven by a hidden agenda. They are meant to drive a wedge and create a false narrative. We are firmly against it. The Chinese government always puts people’s life, safety and health above all else in our COVID response over the past nearly three years since COVID began. We remain committed to a people-first and life-first philosophy, and have adjusted our response measures in light of the latest developments and achieved major progress in both COVID response and socioeconomic development. Facts have proved that China’s COVID response and policy have been science-based, correct and effective.
The US has enough problems to deal with at home. The US has more confirmed cases and COVID deaths than any other country in the world, and is in no position to blame China’s COVID response. What it needs to do is seriously respond to the needs of its own people and look after its own affairs.
Associated Press of Pakistan: It is reported that an official of Pakistan’s National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) said that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) energy projects have contributed to economic growth by increasing power supply at lower cost. What is China’s comment?
Zhao Lijian: We have noted the report. Energy is one of the most heavily invested, fastest advancing and most productive cooperation areas under CPEC. This year, the Karot hydropower plant, the first large-scale hydropower investment project under CPEC, and the Phase II of Thar Block II power station project have gone into commercial operation. The former project provides massive clean and affordable electricity for Pakistan, and the latter generates power from Pakistan’s coal, which helps save Pakistan’s valuable foreign exchange resources. The completed energy projects featuring advanced technologies and lower cost not only provide a solution to Pakistan’s electricity shortage, which is a historic achievement for the country, but also help Pakistan improve its energy structure and reduce the cost of power generation. This is an important contribution to the local economy and people’s lives.
China stands ready to work with Pakistan to act on our leaders’ common understandings and ensure the timely completion of energy projects under construction and the smooth operation of completed ones, so as to unleash CPEC’s potential in driving growth and improving people’s wellbeing and build it into a demonstration project of high-quality Belt and Road cooperation.
Phoenix TV: According to reports, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in an interview that President Biden and President Xi had a productive meeting in Bali in the sense that “it’s vitally important that we communicate clearly and directly to one another about our interests, about our intentions, about our policies”. He added that his upcoming trip is about continuing that communication, making sure that there are open lines of communication so that the two countries avoid any conflict and cooperate on issues that affect not only Americans and not only Chinese but people around the world. Do you have any comment? What expectations does China have for this visit?
Zhao Lijian: President Xi and President Biden had candid, in-depth, constructive and strategic discussions on major issues concerning China-US relations and the prospects for world peace and development in Bali. They agreed to strengthen communication and exchanges, and advance practical cooperation. The two teams need to act upon the common understandings reached between the two heads of state. In accordance with the priorities identified by the two heads of state, the two teams need to maintain dialogue and communication, manage tensions and differences, and advance exchanges and cooperation, so as to add positive energy and a safety valve to China-US relations, and bring about stability and certainty to this turbulent and changing world. Secretary Blinken hopes to follow up on the two Presidents’ meeting. China welcomes this.
The Chinese side always views and grows its relations with the US in accordance with the three principles of mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation as proposed by President Xi. We hope that the US will work with China in the same direction and fully deliver on the important common understandings reached between the two heads of state, jointly work out the guiding principles, or a strategic framework, for China-US relations, to find the right way for the two major countries to get along with each other and bring the China-US relations back to the track of sound and steady growth to the benefit of the two countries and the world as a whole.
MASTV: US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said that China’s COVID-19 restrictions would perhaps negatively impact the entire global outlook. What is your response?
Zhao Lijian: Such remarks from US officials have no factual grounds. Since the pandemic began, China has pursued COVID response and socioeconomic development in a science-based way and made important contribution to keeping the global industrial and supply chains stable and unimpeded and helping the world economy grow. In 2021, China’s trade in goods exceeded 6 trillion US dollars, hitting another record, and this figure grew by 9.9% year-on-year in the first three quarters of this year. While sharing its enormous market, China keeps providing products that are good value for money to the world.
Going forward, China will continue to carry out science-based and targeted COVID response measures and sustain the sound and steady economic and social development in China and contribute to world economic recovery through our effective containment efforts.
We also urge relevant people in the US to respect facts, stop making groundless remarks on China or even deliberately distorting facts to smear China, and act in ways that are conducive to international solidarity against the pandemic and the common development of the world.