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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian's Regular Press Conference on September 22, 2021
2021-09-22 19:35

CCTV: On September 21, President Xi Jinping attended the General Debate of the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly and made an important statement, during which he proposed a Global Development Initiative. This is the first time that China put forward the Global Development Initiative. Can you share more information?

Zhao Lijian: Yesterday, President Xi Jinping attended the General Debate of the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly and made an important statement via video link. He put forward the Global Development Initiative and called on the international community to speed up the implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development for global development that is strong, green and sound. This major initiative raised by President Xi draws a blueprint for rising up to the changing international landscape, and charts the course for global common development.

Peace and development is the trend of the times. At present, the North-South gap and development gap keep enlarging. Developing countries have long been lagging in development. Particularly, COVID-19 has removed the outcomes of global poverty alleviation over the past decade. Developing countries are hard hit, and face political, economic, social and livelihood crises, including declined economic growth, prominent food security problems, mounting challenges of climate change and difficulties in the access to vaccines. There are serious challenges to the implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda and the realization of sustainable development. At the same time, the burgeoning industrial revolution and the new forms of businesses and models brought by digital and green development as well as COVID-19 have created opportunities for leapfrog development for developing countries.

It is in this context that President Xi Jinping put forward the Global Development Initiative. He called for commitment to such philosophy as advancing development as a priority and a people-centered approach, and put forward the vision and proposal for cooperation in eight key areas: poverty alleviation, food security, COVID-19 response and vaccines, development financing, climate change and green development, industrialization, digital economy and connectivity. Focusing on addressing unbalanced development among and within countries, this initiative sets out the goals, principles and key areas of global development and international development cooperation. It will further pool the consensus of all parties, push for the international community to meet the challenges and jointly seize opportunities. By aiming at speeding up the implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Global Development Initiative is not only an important public good and cooperation platform provided by China, but also a vivid demonstration of the vision of a community with a shared future for mankind in the development field. The initiative is open to all. We welcome the participation of all countries.

Xinhua News Agency: Italy, the current G20 president, announced that the group's foreign ministers will hold a virtual meeting on Afghanistan on September 22. Will China attend the meeting and what role does it intend to play?

Zhao Lijian: At the invitation of Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio of Italy, the country holding the G20 presidency, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will attend the virtual G20 foreign ministers' meeting on Afghanistan to elaborate on China's position and proposition on issues such as humanitarian assistance for and peace and reconstruction in Afghanistan. China holds that the UN is the main channel when it comes to safeguarding peace and stability in and providing humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan. We hope that the G20, a forum for international economic cooperation, will play a constructive role.

MASTV: France recalled its ambassadors to the US and Australia after the two countries together with the UK announced their cooperation on nuclear-powered submarine technology. Some commentators are saying that the trilateral AUKUS mechanism shows that the US only works with Europe when it's convenient. Do you have any comment?

Zhao Lijian: Cooperation on nuclear-powered submarine technology between the US, the UK and Australia will gravely undermine regional peace and stability, aggravate arms race and impair international nuclear non-proliferation efforts. It runs counter to regional countries' wishes. The three countries should discard the Cold War zero-sum mentality and narrow geopolitical perspective, follow the trend of the times for peace and development, and stop forming exclusive blocs or cliques.

People's Daily: Some US officials lately anonymously let out information to the media, saying that dialogue and communication between the US and China has not been effective for some time. They accuse China of being "tough" without the intention to have serious or substantive meetings. What is China's comment?

Zhao Lijian: Since the beginning of 2021, the presidents of China and the US had two phone calls, and the two sides had a dialogue in Anchorage and a meeting in Tianjin. Director Yang Jiechi and State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi had multiple phone calls with Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Vice Premier Liu He spoke with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Trade Representative Katherine Tai. The US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry visited China twice. In addition, people responsible for various departments and sectors also maintain communication and contact. Both publicly and privately, the US side said such dialogue and communication is candid, beneficial and constructive.

In the talks, China has elaborated on its position. The "two lists" and "three bottom lines", among others, are about the fundamental and substantive issues in China-US relations, which we expect serious treatment and earnest response from the US. However, we have not seen substantive response so far.

China is serious, consistent and clear about dialogue and communication between China and the US. We welcome dialogue and communication, but only with mutual respect. We support coordination and cooperation, but only for mutual benefits.

Let me be clear about what we oppose: First, plotting gimmickry before and after the talks to provoke and smear China, and using megaphone diplomacy and even threat of sanctions in attempt to gain the so-called "position of strength" through extreme pressure. The Chinese people don't buy such condescending and bossy moves. Second, interfering in China's internal affairs and undermining China's interests while expecting China to render help on issues of US' concern. This approach won't work. Instead of reflecting on its own bullying rhetoric and actions, the US turned to accuse China and falsely criticize China's legitimate and justifiable moves to safeguard sovereignty, security and development interests as being "tough" and without the intention to have serious or substantive meetings. The US is trying to blame the innocent party for what itself is guilty of. How unreasonable it is when one asks others to swallow all the beat and scold!

The two heads of state reached important and positive consensus on bringing China-US relations back onto the right track of sound and steady development in their two phone calls on the Chinese Lunar New Year's Eve and September 10 respectively. President Biden also reiterated the US side's commitment to the one-China policy. Guided by the spirit of the phone calls, the Chinese side will continue advancing dialogue and communication with the US and strive for the development of bilateral ties. We hope that the US will also match its words with actions, work in the same direction with China, and earnestly implement the spirit of the ph